The Ugly Kings – Darkness Is My Home

Towards the tail of last year Australian blues rockers The Ugly Kings left a rather fertile and extremely tasty teaser for their debut album in the shape of two-track single Promised Land. Now we can reveal that all the hints and intimation offered then of something special coming ahead have been forcibly realised with the band’s first full-length, Darkness Is My Home. The release is a powder keg of muscular rock ‘n’ roll, a cauldron of suggestion and haunting darkness, and most of all simply one of the most powerful creative roars heard in a long time.

From the coarse grain of the delicious bass sound to the suggestive clang of the guitars and from the lyrical atmospherics to their vocal realisation, Darkness Is My Home is pure uncompromising temptation, one as dynamic as it is seductive and as cinematic as it is intimately haunting. In fact it is so much more than that outstanding first single implied, and still offering more after a multitude of listens.

Formed in 2011, the Melbourne quartet soon stirred local and subsequently national attention through their live presence and in turn 2015 mini album Of Sons. The past two years has seen the band share the stage with Rival Sons in Melbourne (2016), support Airbourne on their successful sold out 2017 east coast Australia tour and this year open for Papa Roach on their two shows in The Ugly Kings home city. Darkness Is My Home can only open bigger doors and opportunities, the album thrusting the band into the realm of the big boys without even a knock on the door.

The album opens with the outstanding Promised Land and instantly hooks ears with its initial lure of sultry guitar and vocal expression. Frontman Rusty Clark has a voice which commands attention, a musical orator you just want to listen to and backed by just as compelling sound throughout song and release. The smouldering brooding of the song is transfixing, only escalating its lure as resonating beats and the first of a tide of irresistible basslines across Darkness Is My Home breaks. Igniting into a robust stroll with a searing groove, the track is pure captivation and increasingly so as it repeats its cycle with greater lust and vigour. Rock ‘n’ roll does not come much better as this imposingly infectious and skilfully manipulative encounter though it is undoubtedly matched throughout the album.

The following Black Widow also makes an instant impact with the beats of Andy Alkemade sending ripples of resonance across the senses with every impact before Christos Athanasias’ guitar begins its prowl alongside Clark’s vocal incitement. The earthy growl of Nick Dumont’s bass is just as riveting, the four conjuring a predatory yet seductive dark romance with threat in every note and suggestion in every syllable. Influences to the band include the likes of The Doors, Jack White, Black Sabbath, and Royal Blood, flavours you can sense but as in the first and those to come the track is as unique to The Ugly Kings as you could wish.

The fiery rock ‘n’ roll of Raging Bull has a more animated gait though it comes in an ebb and flow which stabs at the senses with purpose and mischief before being uncaged in a rich blaze of melodic lava while Killing Time borders on the carnivorous with its gorgeously gnarly bassline and romantic with its melodic and vocal reflection. The uniting of contrasting textures is masterful and Dumont’s bass manna for personal tastes whilst the song’s croon is just impossible to resist. Both songs light up ears and imagination, fire up the passions though we can say that about every track within Darkness Is My Home.

Love Enemy with its slow swagger of a stroll brings calm after the clamour of its predecessor but one lined with dark provocative shadows and magnetism as sinister as it is infectious. Its catchiness is inescapable, swaying hips and over worked neck muscles our evidence with the imagination just as involved as words and tendrils of sonic enterprise entangle before You And Me brings is boozier intoxication to bear on ears. The band’s passion for the blues is a constant roar in their skilfully eclectic sound, The Ugly Kings infusing it into their own power fuelled designs, each individual to the next as proven by the volcanic heat and earnest swing of yet another gem.

Another great trait of the album is that every song feels like old friends within a couple of listens, Lazarus drawing vocal chords into play even before it finishes its first influential roar, the ballad a pyre of power and individual intensity.

The album is brought to a just as rich close by firstly Little Birdy Told Me; a cauldron of senses singed grooves and ever welcomed rhythmic trespasses aligned to the striking prowess of vocals and unpredictability, and lastly The Fire. The closer has the heat its title suggests but before it reaches that intensity, simmers and smoulders around vocal melancholy and defiance. When it catches, the track is a furnace of sound and intensity but just as powerful when it’s sonic and atmospheric kindling is just glowing.

Darkness Is My Home is quite simply glorious, a rousing beacon among already a host of great and powerful heavy rock releases. The Ugly Kings better get their passports in order because we get the feeling the world is going to want them blazing away in their backyards hereon in.

Darkness Is My Home is out now via Kozmik Artifactz; available @ https://theuglykings.bandcamp.com/ and http://smarturl.it/DarknessIsMyHome

https://www.facebook.com/TheUglyKings/   https://twitter.com/theuglykings   https://theuglykings.bandcamp.com/

Pete RingMaster 25/04/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dirt, spices, and rock ‘n’ roll: getting a taste of The Sourheads

If you ever have thoughts that real rock ‘n roll is on the wane a quick listen to the new album from British rockers The Sourheads will soon make you think again. Care Plan For The Soul is a nine-track debut full-length, a skilfully and passionately woven roar of classic and fresh rock diversity which snarls as it seduces, thrills as it trespasses ears and imagination. Through our friend Garry at SaN, we had the chance to dig deeper into The Sourheads with guitarist MIK CRONE, exploring the band’s origins, digging into the heart of Care Plan For The Soul, The Sourheads live and more….

Hi Mik and big thanks for taking time to chat with us.

Can you, for those yet to be invaded by your rock ‘n’ roll, first introduce the band?

Jake on vocals, Mik on Guitar, Ben on Bass and Lamb on Drums.

We are The Sourheads and we come from Wakefield West Yorkshire. We are a rock band who take influence from the greats and add our own twist. We like to think of ourselves of somewhat multi-genre and we don’t want to be seen as just one specific style of music. A career band like The Stones or The Who dip into different things but still stay true to who they are…So yea we are a rock band who give it our all live.

The band is said to have emerged in 2016 but does its seeds go further back?

The version of The Sourheads now is the result of many years building. Like Oasis the original version was Jake [Coxon]our singer and his brother Sid who played guitar. They had a string of musicians throughout a short period of time. I first came into the picture as a producer for the band. I had been working with various bands and the early version of the band struck me as a very different but awesome set of musicians. I felt with direction the band could be massive.  Around this time I was asked to join as a second guitarist and a month later Sid left. So at this point we upped our game and decided to focus on a solid tight band and work on the debut album. The Sourheads you see now emerged in 2016.

Is The Sourheads your first ventures in a band or do you all bring various previous experiences and explored styles of music to the mix?

Everyone in The Sourheads has been in other bands before and we are all have different musical influences. This has proved a major asset in creating the sound and style of The Sourheads.. I had a small amount of success with a metal band I was in. Lamb [Chris Lambert] our drummer was in a relatively successful Indi band. Ben [Taylor] has a more Pearl Jam grunge influence and has played bass forever and grew up jamming with his brother Simon (Inme) and Jake has always been a creative person singing and painting and  as I, is more 70s inspired through bands such as The Doors, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple. The combination of these different influences creates the originality of our band. We are what we are.

What inspired the band name?

A Sourhead can be interpreted a number of ways. Bitter and twisted, hungover. There is no deep meaning behind the name.

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

As a band we feel that it is easy to be stereotyped into a genre. We don’t necessarily want that as we are all influenced by different styles of music. What we want to do is wear our hearts on our sleeves and be 100% true to what we are. Our image and sound isn’t contrived, it is pure. Our front man is a character and is like that 24/7.

As a band we have evolved over time and we are now as sharp as a razor. In the last few months we have really tweaked everything so that it is the best we can offer. Little things like changing guitar sounds or what bass amp we use. We are always trying to give the best live performances we can. Through time you learn how to fine tune every aspect of the band.

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

Before I joined the band the sound was more indie influenced. When I joined we rocked it up considerably. The band used to jam and have beers and chill out more. Since we started writing the debut album and got the record deal we became more focused. It is important to be professional at rehearsals. As a result we worked on emphasising certain parts of songs, making them tighter and adding dynamics.

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

We have always tried different styles of music when we write. Some songs sound like the Rolling Stones others sound like Black Sabbath. It depends on who comes up with the first ideas, riffs etc at some point we will bring the Synths and organ back out. Everything we do usually comes from a groove, guitar riff etc

You have just released your debut album, Care Plan For The Soul. From its first breath it shares a multi-flavoured, refreshingly dirty and just a little salacious roar of sound and intent; a mix which suggests a varied range of inspirations to the band and individual members. Who particularly stands out as having an impact on your approach to making music?

We take our inspiration from different places. Jake is a massive Doors fan, Lamb is into his classic British Indi music; Ben is also a fan of different styles of music. I look up to any band that has strong songs. Stone Temple Pilots are a massive influence for me. Deftones, Queens of the Stone Age, The Cult, Shed Seven, Oasis, Clutch. We use many colours to create our art.

How would you describe your sound to newcomers?

Iggy and the Stooges mixed with the Sex Pistols thrown into a blender with The Stereophonics and Nirvana.

Classic Rock with an edge.

It feels like it just follows its nose, always prepared to embrace fresh and unpredictable flavours. Is this something you deliberately set out to purposefully develop or a sound and direction which just grew and evolved organically?

We are what we are. People either get it or don’t. One review says we are original and have rewritten the rule book of what a rock band should be. The other will say they don’t get us. Why do we look like we do and why does the artwork not match the music. Well the answer is we are totally focussed and we are 100% us. Everything is totally focused and this is what we do, our sound and direction develop naturally. Luckily our label saw this and our friends like Red Spektor saw this. So it’s better to have a loyal friendship and business partnership and have loyal listeners than to be fake and try to jump on a scene.

How long was Care Plan For The Soul in the making?

We had a lot of time rehearsing and making sure we could play the songs. We could play without vocals, with vocals, without bass or without guitar and obviously all of us together…Probably 3 months of pre-production and a week to record.

It has an instinctive snarl to its air and open rawness to its energy; at times feeling like it may have been recorded live. How did you approach its creation in the studio?

We decided early on that the band has a live energy that needed to be captured so we decided to record live and then delete the guide vocal and do a main vocal later. I also overdubbed a second guitar rhythm track to fatten the overall mix. We also added congas and cello in the overdub stage.

Can you give us an insight into the trials and pleasing surprises you found when recording the album?

We worked with a wonderful producer called Matt Knee and we used an old 70’s BBC mixing desk, this gave us a warmth that we were pleasantly surprised by. We wanted initially to record full analogue but as we wanted to play live we decided it’s may be better to do it digitally but through old analogue gear. This was due to the fact that digital is instant and we knew we had to keep in budget for our business plan to be effective. We needed to make sure everyone was comfortable and the atmosphere was good. We had incense burning and lava lamps. Pretty laid back.

It was subsequently mastered by Pete Maher (The Rolling Stones, Depeche Mode, U2) and released through German Label Kozmik Artifactz. How did those link ups come about?

Pete Maher has worked with everyone and we liked the fact that he worked within multiple genres. Katy Perry, Pink Floyd, Linkin Park are a few of his varied clientele and he had just finished mastering the LA LA Land soundtrack. We knew that attracting a big name would gain us attention and Pete does great deals for up and coming bands. It seemed like a great idea and he did an amazing job. Around this time we became close friends with Red Spektor and their manager Simon. They were saying good things about us in interviews and we were starting to get noticed. I sent a private link of the album to a number of labels and pretty much instantly Kai at Kozmik Artifactz messaged back saying ‘We don’t usually release this style but we think you would fit our sister label Oak Island perfectly so we did the deal and we are honoured to be part of the Kozmik Artifactz Oak Island family. The label is having great success with bands like Church of the Cozmic Skull and of course our brothers Red Spektor.

Can you give us the inspiration for the album title and some of the themes within its body?

We felt that the title had to reflect the song content. Our drummer Lamb came up with it. The songs are pretty intense in parts and cover lots of topics such as Demonic Possession, Marriage Breakdowns, War veterans, soul stealing creatures. When you take this into consideration and then see the album cover is a lone figure stood in the middle of the beach with his dog it’s kind of like that is the care plan for his soul. He is escaping the turmoil.

Is there a particular songwriting process within the band?

Pretty much straight forward…Ben or me write a riff or two. Lamb plays a beat. We arrange the song, record it on a phone then Jake writes the lyrics.

Apart from obvious pride and satisfaction in Care Plan For The Soul is there a particular moment within it which gives you a specific personal flush of inner pleasure?

The whole thing is a major flush of inner pleasure. We set out with a goal and we achieved it on budget and we didn’t move away from our art and vision one bit. This is amazing to us. To have a vinyl copy of the album in my hands and look at the finished product gives me goosebumps. The fact that the digital streaming numbers are good too also feels good. We want to get out to as many people as possible. From the actual recording there are a few moments I like. I think some of the vocal delivery is the best Jake has ever been.  The rush created when he shouts I am the Lotus! That’s a fan favourite moment.

Give us an insight into the live side of the band?

We are told we are extremely good live. Jake is a bare chested beast of a frontman, live truly something that has to be seen and heard. We are very tight and play as close to the album as we can get. I like the idea that we are four individual characters and that as a member of the audience you can get what you are looking for from us. We put a lot into it. I’m swinging my arm in the air and running around; Jake is in the crowd or rolling around on the floor. Ben is grooving away and lam is bashing the living daylights out of the kit.  We are an old fashioned rock band. We put on a show.

Obviously the album is in its early days inviting attention but what is next on the horizon of The Sourheads?

We are hoping to tour throughout 2018 and play some festivals. Do a couple of music videos and keep writing. We have 3 songs written for the next album already. We have also experimented with slightly different sounds. Some old school style Stones vibe.

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?

The most important thing to do is gig swap with other bands throughout the country. There are so many bands who are hometown heroes. That’s all very good if it is a hobby but not so if you want to leave a lasting impression and have your legacy respected. What we have found is the more we play the small festivals, the more the promoters share the information. There is a really healthy underground rock scene in the UK at the moment and everybody seems to be looking out for everybody else.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date; is a battle which has to be waged or a constant weapon for success?

Social media is great if the people already know about you. In the last few years the pay to get hits and advertise your band has really hurt the artist. The idea that you pay £50 to get 300 likes in Indonesia isn’t helping anybody. We have had musical instrument companies say you need so many likes on Facebook for us to consider you. This along with people not actually going on bands websites anymore means companies like Facebook and Instagram pretty much have the Monopoly on online presence. Bandcamp seems to work and I would encourage other bands to check it out if they haven’t already. Webzines like yours also help a great deal. I would say use social media but don’t let it be the basis of promoting your band.

Again many thanks for sharing your time; any last words you would like to add?

Thank you for showing interest in the band. We truly appreciate every website, magazine radio station that helps us spread our message and music. We are fans of music and do this because we love playing and creating our art. People like you keep the musical torch burning bright. There is a buzz and new found enthusiasm for rock music and we want to embrace this whole heartedly.

Check out The Sourheads further @ https://www.thesourheads.com/    https://www.facebook.com/thesourheads    https://thesourheads2.bandcamp.com/

Pete RingMaster 13/12/2017

The RingMaster Review

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Devil Electric – Self Titled

Looking for some new dark and heavy rock ‘n’ roll, especially some with flames of lava-esque blues within encroaching doom bred shadows? Then there is a good chance that the debut album from Australian heavy rockers Devil Electric will have the senses buzzing. Offering nine predacious slabs of seventies inspired heavy goodness with a virulent catchiness in its grooves alone, the release declares a new mouth-watering force in town.

Hailing from Melbourne in the midst of 2015, Devil Electric swiftly began honing a potent reputation for their sound and live presence, the latter seeing the quartet play alongside the likes of Truckfighters, The Sword, Kadaver, and Endless Boogie over time. Last year saw the well-received, highly praised release of their first EP, The Gods Below, which saw the band subsequently lured by and signing with German label Kozmik Artifactz for the release of their swiftly gripping self-titled album.

It opens up with Monologue (Where You Once Walked), quickly raising intrigue and appetite for spicy portentous rock ‘n’ roll with its opening prowl. Entangled in juicy grooves and driven by raptorial riffs and rhythms, the track soon steps into a seriously contagious stroll, thumping beats and intrusively pulsating bass lures a bestial temptation and grooves a fiery vining of the senses. In the midst of the instinctive seduction the richly magnetic tones of vocalist Pierina O’Brien roar; her voice another irresistible focal point among so many in the song fair to say.

The starter is glorious, almost reason alone to check out the album but quickly matched by the equally compelling exploits of Shadowman. As quickly as the first grips ears and imagination, its successor swings on them with irresistible dexterity and endeavour, grooves again winding around the appetite as rhythms belligerently unload their intent. Marching through ears with an antagonistically commanding air, the track proceeds to spread fiery fingers, guitarist Christos Athanasias spinning a web of flirtation as the blended trespass of bassist Tom Hulse and drummer Mark Van De Beek court and invade the senses.

The sultry flirtations of Lady Velvet wind their charms around the listener next, O’Brien leading the heated vines of the guitar with her beckoning tones. Alongside her Hulse’s voice makes a potent backing, always understated in the mix but a firm texture which works perfectly with O’ Brien’s. Ultimately the song maybe does not have the same thrust as its predecessors, preferring more of a smouldering attack but it too is created from a tapestry of sonic imagination and rhythmic enticement this time with just a sense of physical rabidity involved.

Acidic Fire similarly has a fire borne climate and siren like call to its body, O’Brien the central protagonist but more than matched by the sonic weaving of Athanasias. In many ways the song crawls over the body and psyche, enjoyably searing the senses before the bestial gait and muscle of Monolith brings its own instrumental sludge thick crawl to bear. After its softening up of defences, the mercurial air of The Dove And The Serpent immerses ears, its climate soaked in danger and seduction as it dances in ears like a sonic equivalent of festivities bred from a mix of venomous isolation a la The Wicker Man and The Witches.

Both The Sacred Machine and Lilith with their individual trespasses keep the rich temptation flowing, the first with its invasive yet bewitching blaze of sound and intensity, the second with its haunting atmosphere and exotic mystique. The latter is an instrument which swiftly has the imagination conjuring whilst seeming to set up the atmosphere of the equally enticing and occasionally salaciously moody Hypnotica. The closing track and the band’s new single, the song is six minutes plus of flaming ambiences, emotive intensity, and sonic webbing; all primed to seduce and enslave the senses and in turn the imagination.

It is a mouth-watering end to a striking at times ear withering but persistently thrilling first full outing with Devil Electric; a band seemingly drawing on the inspirations of bands such as Black Sabbath, Graveyard, The Dead Weather, Jess and the Ancient Ones, and Blood Ceremony but forging their own individual incantations.

The Devil Electric album is available now via Kozmik Artifactz @ https://devilelectric.bandcamp.com/album/devil-electric

http://www.devilelectric.com/    https://www.facebook.com/devilelectric    https://twitter.com/_devilelectric_

Pete RingMaster 02/10/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright