Syztem 7 – Evolving

Though new album Evolving is the first time we have come across US rockers Syztem 7, it is a proposition which immediately felt like an old friend back to eagerly stir things up. That is because the Seattle hailing outfit openly aligns familiar rock, industrial, and metal textures to their own just as bold imagination. It is the distinctiveness of the latter though which fuels and drives their rousing sound and makes their new album one highly enjoyable encounter.

The multi-flavouring adventure of their industrial rock sound has allowed Syztem 7 to share stages with and find support amongst the fans of bands as varied as Zakk Wylde, The Genitorturers, One-Eyed Doll, Thrill Kill Kult, Lords of Acid, King’s X, The Dreaming, and many others. It now provides a gripping incitement within Evolving which needed mere seconds to ignite attention and appetite as album opener No Regrets erupts to kick things off.

An initial lure of guitar makes for a potent coaxing, one swiftly ignited as the rolling rhythms of drummer Ed Rhoads add their ear grabbing bait to the great dirty grumble escaping Nathan Raynes’ bass. With keys keenly bursting into the already rousing mix, the track had us swiftly bouncing before relaxing into an infectious stroll alongside the enticing tones of vocalist Jason Ames. Rhythms continue to pick their spot with military precision, accelerating their strikes as the track’s anthemic chorus erupts upon the increasingly intense sonic hookery of guitarists Jaymz Kennedy and Shane Scot. Like a blend of Gravity Kills, Powerman 5000, and Rammstein, it is a gripping and highly manipulative start to the album and a persuasion only matched and twisted to greater temptation thereon in.

This Disguise is next up, the song laying down an electronic misting from which sonic tendrils wrap the imagination and a thick fusion of rock and metal spirals. As with the first, a certain familiarity in its voice and moves only entraps eager participation while fresh enterprise and individual imagination breeds the overall uniqueness which fuels the Syztem 7 sound. It swiftly had body and ears engaged passing them over to the just as easily persuasive Eternita Divina. Emerging as one of if not our favourite moment within Evolving, the song has a great touch of Breed 77 to its cosmopolitan web of melody and rhythmic animation, it all making the passage under our skin fluid and swift.

Proving just as captivating, Forgive and Forgets raises its anthemic hand upon the equally magnetic croon of Ames, the song with a Mudvayne meets Stabbing Westward air swiftly irresistible while The Worst sizzles on the senses straight after to match the virulence and captivation previously on offer. From guitars to rhythms, vocals to electronics, the track is a rapacious dance of varied rock enterprise designed to and succeeding in enticing full participation from its willing victims.

The following Skintag captures a 16 Volt/Celldweller hued temptation to its breath-taking enticement, the song another with a firm grip on best album moment as it nags eager and complete involvement in its arousing endeavours. Unsurprisingly it cast a web of tantalising flavours lined with varied and recognisable yet freshly individual threads in its energetic and inspiring weave and no shock, it too had us hook, line, and sinker.

Evolving closes out with firstly the physically intoxicating Godsend and finally the spiralling tempest of its title track. The first of the pair stalks the senses as it seduces ears with its melodic yet more carnal traits; its electronic elements inciting the bite of its rock and metal nurtured essences whilst equally breeding richer harmonic tempting in sound and vocals. Its successor aligns sonic turbulence and emotional intimacy with melodic intimation and ravening electronic contagion resulting in a final slice of inimitable Syztem 7 enterprise and audacity.

With every second, from its first lungful of sound to last, hitting the spot, Evolving easily rose as one of the year’s most arousing moments and Syztem 7 a band we can only anticipate much bigger attention rising up for.

Evolving is out now via Mighty Music @

Pete RingMaster 12/12/2019

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Boundless lifescapes; exploring the realm of Lucid AfterLife Interview


With a sound as eclectic as the themes within its imagination driven walls, Vancouver hailing Lucid AfterLife has earned loyal attention and support at home and across a global landscape. Renowned as one of Canada’s more impressive and memorable live propositions, the progressive groove rockers are luring bigger spotlights their way with their new EP, the successor to their well-received debut album I Am, expected to spring a new wave of invention hungry fans the way of the quartet. We recently had the pleasure to find out more about the band, that upcoming EP, and the creative heart of Lucid AfterLife with guitarist Thom Turner

Hello and thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.

Hello, Thom from Lucid AfterLife here.  Thank you so much for having us!

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?

In the beginning our vocalist Nat Jack was floating through the aether contemplating the purpose and form of existence.  He then came upon our drummer Matt.  The two of them forged a great alliance. From this union a great universe was born. It was one of never ending inspiration and possibilities. To round out this vision myself, Thom, and our bassist Miles were sought. Together we are take these rough shapes and turn them into the most honest and kick ass songs that we can.

Have you been or are any of you involved in other bands? If so have they had any impact on what you are doing now, inspiring a change of style or direction maybe?

I am a current member of the band Freya as well as being a professional musician for the last 15 years.  I have played in numerous groups.  The work ethic and attention to artistry that I got from that band is immense.  Sonically they are very different.  Miles is a member of Riftwalker and Hallux. Matt has played with many groups as well.  As for Nat Jack…He simply is.  All of us take our experience and add it to everything we do. That is one of the best things about LAL. Genre does not factor in. Whatever mood serves the lyric or vibe is what it needs to be.

What inspired the band name?

As a group we feel that reality is in an illusion…More than that it is malleable. Life, death they are merely shades on a continuum.  So through our music we transcend.  To be able to visualize and experience multiple levels of existence is.  We can experience multiple worlds through our songs and live shows.  That is what Lucid Afterlife means to me.

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

There are always stories that come to us…things that may be inspired by every day.  Some come from deeper more existential places.  All of them are important to us.  As we have toured we have been lucky to see that these topics hit home with so many people.  So we continue to write them.  As for the sound it is meant to be inclusive.  To be the heaviest thing ever when the emotion is deep and powerful then, turn around and be very clean and melodic to represent another story or character is as honest as we can be.

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

Constant evolution…we are all about that.  That said though most of the same principles are the corner stones of what LAL is.  Relatable honest music that is served with all the energy we have live.

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

Since I was brought on I would say that the sound has evo-loved.  We still love Sabbath and Monster Magnet.  On top of that we explore our mutual love of progressive music.  Things like Kansas and Yes and Porcupine Tree and Kings X.  It adds a broader pallet to the stories we can tell. Really though it all comes down to the live show for us.  Nat Jack is a wild man on stage and we push out the sound track for the listener’s experience.

Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

Extremely organic I believe.  We work to service the songs that come out.  Our sound is extremely diverse.  Yet, when you hear it you know it is LAL.  It all comes from that point of honesty in the lyric and music.

You mentioned some already but presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any others in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach to creating and playing music? As I said before Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Monster Magnet, Yes, Kansas, Porcupine Tree.  Also Ministry, Cream, Dream Theater, Kings X, Hendrix, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu Tang Clan, Body Count, MF Doom.  Soooo much music goes into what we do.  From rock to jazz to metal to Hip-Hop, it all moves us.

Does the band have a particular method to its songwriting?

We work in very brotherly way.  I will write some things, pass them to Nat and a lyrical idea will usually pop out.  From there Matt and I go to work on fleshing out an arrangement and Miles lays down the bass.  So far it has been all hands on deck movement.

Where do lyrical inspirations more often than not come from?

Everyday life through the lens of existential global truths…A lot of our songs have to do with relationships.  Not really with people per se, more archetypes.  If we do a song that is very obviously about sex then you can bet it isn’t at all about sex.  We like to lead people, through the parlance of our time to deeper truths.

lucid-afterlife_RingMasterReviewCan you give us some background to your latest release?

Our new EP Occult Mafia Mistress is an opening salvo into what is coming next for LAL.  With this line-up we have 4 great singers so we wanted to put that to use.  Most songs really take advantage of all of us.

How about an insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs?

This record focuses on themes of transcendence.   Be it through love, sex, meditation or sheer elation.  They are explained in somewhat adversarial roles.  Some characters and ideas want to hold you down from your potential.  Others are the inner explorers rupturing out into being against that oppressive force.  We are able to do this through the use of many styles and genres, from hip hop on a song like Time Killaz (feat. Merkulese) to the pure rock and roll of Retarded Owl, the voice of the song blends seamlessly with the lyric.

Are you a band entering the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

The frame of a song is all done by the time we get in there.  Because we play the crap out of the songs live and see what goodness comes out. So when we get into the studio what happens is we add all the touches; layering and vocals.  A record should be a piece of art unto itself.  Music is ephemeral.  It changes depending on your mood; where you listen to it, even through the course of the song.  Then it is over.  That time has passed.  So when we are in there recording and mixing everything is fluid.  What comes out is even more magical then what went in.

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

Live we are a completely different band depending on Nat Jack.  His mood and character shape our live performance…never the same thing twice.  We reach out to the audience and invite them in…literally.  They play with us.  We feel that the live stage is a conversation so we go all out.  We breakdown our bodies and minds while we are up there and show the people they can too.  We do a lot of improv along with our normal songs as well.  We ask the audience for suggestions on style and lyrical content.  And we go at it…all within the confines of a normal set.

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

With the internet EVERYTHING IS REGIONAL; we have many devoted fans and neighbors in BC.  They are amazing and we love them.  But, we also have some amazing fans all over the world just looking for the same stuff we are.  The impact is right there.  The days of $500,000 an album contracts are gone.  We are out there just to make these connections…One person at a time.  Art drives life; even if only one person listens to us and passes it onto one friend.  That is growth and the conversation continues.  As long as you are creating you are growing.

Do you see the internet and social media impact you mentioned destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or when or if it happens it is more that those bands have struggled to use it in the right way?

The internet is reality for many people.  So ignorance on how to use it to your advantage doesn’t seem to make very much sense.  Every tool is right there for you.  It can be no different from handing a demo to a person on the street.  As long as that person passes it on you are good.  I really think it is a matter of perspective size.  Many musicians hold themselves in light of Metallica and Sabbath and Kanye and Adele or whoever Enormous star.  These standards can be so daunting that you quit creating.  This is an atrocity.  Look, did you know that Platinum albums are now 500,000 albums instead of 1,000,000?  That proves that the old system is dying.  That level of “success” is meaningless without a real connection with people.  That is what the internet affords you…The ability to connect with THE WORLD.  We all want to be able to make a living off what we love to do.  But, that can’t be the end goal.  We all have a world of art inside us and we owe it to ourselves and humanity to get it out there.  So go into it with the goal of making great honest art, whatever that is and, people will take notice.

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

Myself (Thom) and all of LAL want to tell you and your readers that we are so thankful for you to be participating in all this with us.  We are looking forward to meeting all of you.  Remember to keep your head up and your mind open.

Occult Mafia Mistress is released digitally and on CD December 9th @

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 15/11/2106

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Sushi Rain – Cocktail



In reference to its mix of sound alone, Cocktail is the perfect name for the new album from Tuscany hailing progressive funksters Sushi Rain. It is an energetic and imaginative maelstrom of flavours and styles across twelve tracks as individual to each other as they are united in unpredictable adventure. It is at times also as intoxicating as its namesake and even in moments where personal tastes do not connect as fully as in other moments, a lack of enjoyment is never an issue.

The beginnings of Sushi Rain go back to Italian hard rock band Valentine and its remaining four members around 2008. A band inspired by the likes of like Extreme, Gun’s Roses, Living Colour, and Faith No More, it had already begun incorporating main elements of funk and cross-over to create a distinctive sound. Soon the line-up of songwriter/lead guitarist Francesco Bini, vocalist Matteo Carrai, rhythm guitarist Stefano Maestrelli, bassist Saimon Sieni, and drummer Francesco Micieli pushed further forward with this evolving sound though across the following year a host of changes ensued. 2009 saw the departure of Maestrelli and Sieni, a name change to Sushi Rain, the beginning of the recording of a debut album, as well as the addition of firstly bassist Davide Biondolillo before Marcello Arena took over and also keyboardist Alessandro Biondi and alto saxophonist Alessio Crocetti.

First album Breathless appeared in 2011 to good responses from fans and media alike, it backed by successful live adventures across Italy and into Europe over the following year. More changes saw Crocetti leave the band during the start of creating their second album, to be replaced by Florence based American saxophonist and blues-soul vocalist Nadia Koski with a pair of backing singers in Giada Secchi and Sandro Toncelli also joining up. Completed earlier this year, Cocktail is the captivating refreshment emerging from the ‘fun’ of the previous few months and something for all to find some feel good tonic in.

SUSHI-RAIN_COVER_RingMaster Review    The album opens with Pop yoy pay, a slither of an introduction certainly awakening ears with its fun drama of bad entertainment being disposed of for the funk revelry of Sushi Rain and first song proper, Bunga Bunga. The second track is instantly inciting feet to shuffle and hips to sway, riffs and hooks as inviting as the flames of sax and the theatre of vocals already whipping up the imagination. Straight away as the infectious encounter tempts further involvement, essences of bands like Extreme and Red Hot Chili Peppers, and maybe a touch of Mr Bungle, are a spicy pleasure but only essences in a recipe already emerging as distinct to the band. It is a great true start to the album, a devilry to get all funked up with.

The following Why? similarly has the body involved with its tangle of tangy grooving. Its pop funk prowess is a virulent persuasion driven by a great mix of vocals across the band and a rhythmic enticing as catchy as the sparkling hooks and mischief within the incitement. Keys layer psych seduction and imagination into the mix too, another flavour colluding with equally captivating jazz enterprise and pop rock tenacity as the song reveals more diversity within Cocktail. This kind of variation is a perpetual lure within the album and continues in varying degrees in the reflective croon of One last night in Philadelphia, an emotive hug of melodic rock and the boldly simmering tango of Pillows. Neither track quite match up to the previous pair but both create a web of invention and unpredictability that has ears and appetite a little greedier. In many ways Sushi Rain is like a funk/classic rock version of Russkaja or Kontrust; a band twisting a horde of diverse flavours and textures into something instinctively different and invigorating to most things around them.

The smoky beauty of March of groove comes next, its noir lit climate a sultry seduction with jazz bred scenery enclosing rich blues rock tempting whilst the melancholy hued Free brings a compelling calm with its heart bred croon. Acoustic guitar provides a tender hand on ears but it is the superb blend of vocals across Carrai, Secchi, and Toncelli which steals the show. Both songs, and especially the latter leave a richer pleasure and want for more in their wake, a hunger fed by the excellent fiery roar of Jesus cries from your eyes and the melodic romance of It’s time to believe. The first of the two is a boisterous bundle of hooks and grooves bound in electronic imagination and sonic flirtation, matched and at times eclipsed by the brass enterprise of Koski, whilst its successor is a sublime summers day of reggae riffs and grooving aligned to Caribbean temptation and a feel good tonic of vocal and smiling melodies.

Things get dirtier and rock ‘n’ roll with Sushi Rain can’t write a single next, the song a grooved stomp with contagious attributes from start to finish, though for these ears it does lack that final spark and invention to rival earlier treats. There is no escaping some gorgeous twists and elements inside it though as too within the outstanding Brain drain. Like Oingo Boingo meets King’s X, the track is a bubbling infestation of body and soul sculpting another lofty high within Cocktail before the album drifts off with mellow charm in to the sunset via One.

It is a captivating close to an album which just gets more persuasive and enjoyable with every listen; even within this review and another simultaneous listen, Cocktail has grown again. For some this could be an album of the year contender, for others a pleasure to pass through now and again but for all, Sushi Rain is a proposal sure to leave ears and emotions feeling good.

Cocktail is available now via Indian record label Jackson Records through most online stores.

Pete RingMaster 26/11/2015

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Stone Angels – Give In To Temptation

Stone Angels Promo Shot_RingMaster Review

Give In To Temptation is a great title for the debut album from the Brighton hailing Stone Angels (not to be confused with The Stone Angels from Devon), as that is exactly what you do, inescapably submit to its eventful rock ‘n’ roll roar. Jammed with eleven fresh sounding tracks which brew up rousing exploits from admittedly pretty recognisable sounds and inspirations the album is hefty in anthems and punchy adrenaline charged stomps, and as high on that familiarity to others as it can be at times, Give In To Temptation lets no one down when it comes to thrills and enjoyment.

Stone Angels emerged in 2011 from the ever musically resourceful scene in Brighton, the experienced quartet rising from the ashes of ‘several broken’ bands. Drawing on inspirations from the classic LA rock and legendary UK rock scenes, and bands ramngimng from Alter Bridge, Black Stone Cherry, Black Spiders, AC/DC, Massive, and Rival Sons to Five Finger Death Punch, Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Slash’s Snake Pit, and King’s X, Stone Angels’ hard rock incitement has seen them become one of the UK’s most potent live propositions. Now the band is looking to awaken even broader attention with the national re-release of Give In To Temptation, a prospect you can see gathering rather potent success.

The reason being songs like Misplaced Memories and Devil’s Child, they just the first two tracks on the swiftly persuasive encounter. The opener worries ears with a torrent of hungry riffs and spiky grooves meshed into a rhythmic web cast by drummer Ben Taylor and bassist Chris Wilson. There is grouchiness to the tone of the song and instant contagion on offer with the sonic enterprise of guitarists James Innes and Niall Kersey tempering the growl a touch with melodic enticement, especially the former’s precise grooves. Kersey’s vocals also carry a dusty snarl which only adds to the easily accessible and familiar but refreshing confrontation, a blend exploited enjoyably again in the slower prowl of the second song. Bands such as Black Stone Cherry and Rev Theory get hinted at though the song has a more vintage bluesy hue to it as it backs up the album’s forcibly engaging start.

Stone Angels Album Cover_RingMaster Review   That sultry air and texture becomes richer in the following fiery melancholy of Last Goodbyes where keys deliciously add a psychedelic strain to the increasingly eventful and impressive croon, Stone Angels revealing more good variety to their sound and songwriting. Uniqueness is, as suggested earlier, not a dramatic quality to their sound and indeed the song but it matters little in its persuasive bellow and not at all in Can You? straight after. Again attitude and melodic flames fuel the track, but it is the bewitching sonic hook and easy swagger which grips most prominently, they and the vocal lure of Kersey backed potently by the rest of the band’s calls.

At only two and a half minutes, the track is a swift, bait loaded jab and the relative shortness of most songs within Give In To Temptation does add to the rapier like feel of the album and its thick success on ears and appetite, this proven again by the not much longer body of Fantasy and swiftly after in the slightly lengthier Lines In The Sand. The album is like a heavy weight poking senses and satisfaction, this pair uppercuts of rock ‘n’ roll which has energy reeling and bodies exhausted. Both tracks unveil individual grooves which induce ears and hunger to arousal amidst greedy riffs adding enticing weight to the song’s tenacious grip.

Thousand Years slips into a mellower melodic reflection within a hazy flame of emotive intensity to bring a respite of sorts for adrenaline and energy whilst Falling Down gets funky on the listener whilst unleashing another dose of predatory riffs, wicked rhythms, and spice rich, bordering on salacious, grooves across guitar and bass. The first of the pair takes longer to find the right spot but is perpetually enjoyable nonetheless whilst its successor is an immediate stomp which just has bodies swinging, an anthem no doubt igniting venues for the band and calling out to be a single.

There is a darker almost sinister shade to the imposing blues rock stroll of Devil’s Grip and a lighter glaze of stoner-esque infectiousness to Fine Day, both songs rich with tendrils of sonic imagination and the healthy spices bred by some of the band’s influences. The latter is another single prospect for these ears; its Alter Bridge meets Shinedown character tantalising before Shadows Of The Black Sun is left to bring the album to a close. Again it is ripe with a familiarity which only seems to works in the song’s favour, as indeed for Give In To Temptation’s success.

Future demands might ask for more distinctness to the Stone Angels sound next time around though you are pretty much sure of some stonking songs at the very least anyway, but for an introduction, Give In To Temptation is one enjoyable slab of rock ‘n’ roll you can only have a thoroughly good time with.

Give In To Temptation is nationally released on Friday 4th September on CD and digitally through all stores.

RingMaster 04/09/2015

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Lifescreen – The Lock Up Sessions

Fancy some good enthused melodic rock with big sounds and eager riffs then look no further than the new EP from UK rockers Lifescreen. Returning with their second EP The Lock Up Sessions, the Leeds trio give proof that rock music in the UK is vibrant, thrilling, and more than able to match their counterparts anywhere in the world.

Since forming in 2007 the Yorkshire trio of vocalist and guitarist Mark Burrows, bassist and backing vocalist Chris Unwin, and drummer Andy Richards have not only been one of the leading forces in their local scene but also gradually made waves further afar with their compulsive sounds, something which the new EP should energise decidedly. Formed from the ashes of Nerve Engine the band has gigged extensively over the years and through this and their releases in the debut EP Extended Play in 2007 and their two albums Deprogramming and Connexions in 2008 and 2010 respectively, have garnered strong praise in the media and a determined following from an ever growing swarm of fans to their sounds. The bands heady mix of melodic grunge tinged rock and heavier thumping riffs and rhythms demand attention without forcing it down the throat, their easily accessible and addictive tones hard to deny. April of this year saw the release of the single ‘Opting Out’ which saw another step in the bands development and a more rounded sound which the new release takes even further to unveil a fuller and inexcusably eager and impressive quartet of songs. 

Lifescreen list their prime influences as the likes of Alice In Chains, King’s X, Helmet, and Deftones and especially with the first of those four it is apparent on many of their songs quite clearly but the band uses these to foster their own sound rather than simply borrowing elements. Opening song ‘Sparks’ is a perfect example. It carries a defined Alice In Chains feel but is given a more vibrant and uplifting energy, as strong riffs from guitar and bass alike sway in front of the ear driven by the controlled drums of Richards. Though there is a strong grunge tone it gives a QOTSA feel as well especially with the dual vocal harmonies and as a personal preference the band really feels complete when they use that rather than a single voice, no disrespect to the fine tones of Burrows but he and Unwin together feel like they are closes of the circle of the band, making the sound complete.

Second song ‘Better’ comes in a similar in style to the opener but has a darker feel recalling the band Gruntruck to mind. The chunky controlled riffs against caressing melodies and smooth harmonies is a treat and though subdued in pace compared to the first track its intensity is higher and deeper.  These two songs immediately prove to any newcomers that this band can write engaging but instinctively powerful songs, and deliver them with the acutest skill.

The second half of the EP gets its heavier and more forceful boots on to show the other more aggressive side of Lifescreen, though they can never be accused of being light at any point. ‘Cyclic’ pulsates with choppy and incisive riffs and seams of mesmeric melodies. As the song progressives the riffs turn more waspish to infiltrate even deeper and hook the senses fully. This is the best track so far though soon to be shaded by the brilliant ‘PRNTRPNK’. This song whips up a frenzy with mischievous intent and devilish riffs to excite and thrill. The incessant grind is hypnotic, clasping tightly as the guitar of Burrows lights up the ear whilst the bass of Unwin throbs belligerently.

The Lock Up Sessions is an excellent release to not only ignite the senses and quicken up the pulse rate but also to firmly put a band already noted for being an extremely fine rock band up amongst the big boys, and a place well deserved. Lifescreen might still be an unknown to you but do yourselves a favour and go check out this impressive and wonderful EP, and it is a free download so no excuses.

RingMaster 12/12/2011 Registered & Protected


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Interview with Joey Eppard from 3

 This year has seen a strong amount of outstanding albums thrilling and deeply satisfying the ear, a feast of varied and imaginative creativity from a diverse array of flavoured metal releases. One of the most impressive and stunning albums was The Ghost You Gave Me from New York based quartet 3. Expressive and inspired with pulsating veins of intense sounds and glorious melodic progressive rock/metal tracks the album is one of the year’s biggest highlights. The Ringmaster Review had the pleasure to have time with vocalist/guitarist Joey Eppard to ask him about the album and 3 themselves.

Hello and welcome to The RingMaster Review, thank you for talking time to talk to us.

Would you like to introduce the band members and tell us about the origins of 3?

Joey Eppard: Lead Vocals, Guitar
Chris “Gartdrumm” Gartmann: Drums, Backing Vocals
Billy Riker: Guitar
Daniel Grimsland: Bass
I actually started this band as a sophomore in high-school. I wanted to start a band with no boundaries that was still song based yet experimental. I was mostly interested in doing something completely different than the death metal band I was in previous to 3. We have a long and storied history of near fame but never quite getting there. We played the main stage at Woodstock ’94 along with Metallica, Nine Inch Nails and King’s X just to name a few. We were managed by Michael Lang and were the sub-plot of a movie that was ultimately a bust. We were signed to Universal Records in ’98 but it didn’t work out. We finally started releasing albums at the turn of the century. 2004’s Wake Pig garnered the attention of Brian Slagel at Metal Blade and we’ve been there ever since.

What was the trigger to make you participate in a band rather than simply being a fan and listener?

I think it’s a genetic trigger, almost all the males in my family are performing musicians. I don’t remember making a conscious choice, performing music is just as natural as breathing to me. Of course I’m a big fan of a lot of different music, but the more I take in my output becomes that much more.

Since starting as a band has the influences and inspirations for your sound changed or been added to in any distinct way?

Our inspiration is always evolving, so we chase it and see where it goes. That’s all part of the fun and what keeps us coming back to make more records. That’s why each record is very unique and also why we’re harder to pin down stylistically than most other bands.

You have just released the deeply impression album The Ghost You Gave To Me, which element within it are you the most proud of? 

Probably the lyrics, they actually took the most time. I’m very particular about the language in our songs. The imagery has to really flow out of the soundscape.

This is your sixth album, how has the creating process of the album differed over the years from when you first venturing into studios?

Well it used to be we’d write and rehearse and then go in and record. But now we write, record, and rehearse as we go because we have our own gear for recording. We can actually demo everything first and it helps to evolve the production to higher levels. When we’re really ready, we’ll go into a nice room (like Applehead) and cut some drums there.

Could you tell us about the writing of the songs and the changes to them if any once recording started?

Songs happen in different ways. The first few seeds began as little riffs I recorded in my living room after returning home from Progressive Nation ’08.  We’d beat them into shape at rehearsals and really make compositions out of them. They eventually became “Sparrow” and “The Ghost You Gave To Me.” Some of the other tunes were truly group efforts.  When we were writing “Numbers,” Gartdrumm laid down the beat, I wrote a Primus-ish little groove to it (that seems to be mistaken for bass by a lot of people), Daniel wrote the Chorus riff and Billy came up with the ending. The working title was “oh shit” for the longest time because on the demo that’s what we all simultaneously shouted when the bass kicked in against the drumbeat. It remained instrumental until the final days of mixing when I was forced to come up with the lyrics and melody before we ran out of time.  It gives them a raw vitality that I really dig.  The intro, “Sirenum Scopuli,” was actually the first thing I recorded when the time came to really make the record. It led directly into “React” which was one of those songs that just appeared clear as day in my mind one evening as a complete verse and chorus. In that situation I usually just run with the inspiration and try to figure out what the vocal wants in terms of guitar, and other instrumentation. Other songs like “Only Child” were born out of hours of Gartdrumm and me jamming. I would then go through everything and sort of piece together a sketch of what the song could be and we’d relearn it like that. The rest of the instruments and vocals would follow after that.  On “One With the Sun” I had written and recorded the vocals and acoustic guitar first and then everything else followed. It was the same for “Afterglow” as well as “The Barrier.”

Things are constantly changing because we demo songs and sometimes demos evolve into keepers, sometimes they don’t.  For example Afterglow’s demo originally had mellower vocals up front, but I decided to throw more of a rock element in to the mix and add a higher octave full voice singing the first verse.

Do you have a tried and tested way to write your songs?

My attitude is to be open to all the possibilities of how a song can come into being. Essentially… Stay out of your own way. Sometimes its melody and lyrics first, sometimes they come last. The main thing is to really listen and let your heart tell you what to do.

Has The Ghost You Gave To Me exceeded your hopes and expectations going into the studio with its impressive depth and creative energy or ended up as your envisaged all along?

I’ve learned to expect the unexpected; you never know how things will turn out in the end. There are moments that exceeded expectations, and those were basically the songs that were left to be finished at the last minute vocally and lyrically. I guess I do some of my better work under pressure.

Is there a particular track on the album that you feel really has all the essences of the band shining brightest?

I think “Numbers” is a great example of a real balance of all our musical personalities. We each added vital elements to the music, and the end result is very exciting I think. Also “Only Child” is a great example of a song that is a journey in and of itself and shows many sides of our band.

You recorded the album at Applehead Studios, what is it that this place offers that suits the band most?

Applehead has a great live room for drums. My dad actually designed and built it, so that made it extra special to record there. The head engineer there is Chris Bittner, who is really great to work with. We were also really excited to have Chris and Mike Birnbaum to mix the record once we’d finished recording.

With each album bringing more acclaim and support your way do you find you put more pressure upon yourselves for the next?

To a certain degree. We always want to make a better record than the last. The main thing though is to make a record that reflects our passion for what we do and the spirit of musical exploration that drives us forward.

You have just started a tour with Cynic around North America, what can fans expect especially from 3 on stage?

We play our hearts out no matter what. “3” live is a pretty intense experience and we win a lot of our fans on the road because of it. Sometimes seeing the music being created right there in front of you can really take it to the next level and I feel that is especially true for us. We also work hard to write sets that are entertaining and dynamic.

Any plans beyond the tour for the band?

There are several irons in the fire but we’ll have to wait to make any official announcements. We expect to be on the road quite a bit once the snow subsides.

For more info on the album and the band check out

Read album review @

RingMaster 08/12/2011 Registered & Protected


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