Curse of the North – Curse of the North: I

COTN8_RingMaster Review

There are some releases where it is difficult to imagine anyone not being gripped by their proposals and such a triumph is the new self-titled album from US metallers Curse of the North. It is a beast of instinctive and addictive virulence that blends the ripest essences of heavy and classic metal with the muscular invention of modern rock ‘n’ roll. It is an encounter which seems to hone in on personal tastes, taps into the psyche to discover its deepest pleasures and then unleashes them across eight rigorously rousing encounters. Quite simply it is one of the most invigorating albums this year to set ears and passions alight.

Born in Seattle, Curse of the North currently consists of vocalist/guitarist Christiaan Morris, former 3 Inches of Blood member Nick Cates on bass, and Burke Thomas of McKagan’s Loaded and Vendetta Red on drums. Formed in 2010, the band has toured and shared stages with the likes of Red Fang, The Sword, Eyehategod, Destruction, Death Angel, Lord Dying, Valient Thorr, Kadavar, The Shrine, and Gypsyhawk whilst 2011 saw the release of their Matt Bayles (Mastodon, The Sword, Botch) produced first EP Revelations. A few line-up shuffles have also been part of the band’s growth which now unleashes Curse of the North: I. Produced by Morris and mixed by Kurt Ballou (Converge, High on Fire, Toxic Holocaust), with mastering undertaken by Ed Brooke, the album leaps on the listener from its first moment, the opening and every subsequent breath a roar of thick temptation.

Sleep While You Can is the first slab of persuasion, its start alone pure magnetism as Thomas creates a web of rhythmic arousal to set things in motion. Flames of guitar cross the compelling drum bait as the vocals of Morris spring their own enticing, a Glenn Danzig flavouring lining his tones and equally the shadows within the emerging tenacious metal canter of the track. Classic metal hues dance on ears too as a modern fusion of riffs and hook laded enterprise courts the imagination, the result being one terrific groove veined stomp.

COTN cover_RingMaster Review   It is a mighty start taken another level by Wheel of Swords, another track with an irresistible start to its creative alchemy. A great nagging from riffs as rhythms tumble vivaciously coaxes ears first, their lure replicated in varying tones as sterner grooves and muscular predation swiftly looms up with the again potent vocals of Morris at their helm. Like Black Tusk meets Baroness with a spicing of Sabbath and Clutch to it, the song has energy and pleasure in its hands with quick ease, handing over an exhausted and rapturous body to the following Into The Trees and its mellow climate around melodic prowess. Keys emotively caress as the guitars strokes the senses with elegant suggestiveness to match the melancholic voice of Morris. The first half of the song is wrapped in this mesmeric beauty, its second a rugged landscape of again incendiary rhythms amidst tangy classic metal/rock endeavour and striking vocals.

As good as everything is to this point, the best song on the album in The Tower eclipses it. Building up its intensity and hunger through early scythes of sound, the track quickly releases its handbrake and charges through ears like Therapy? on steroids. Its torrent of riffs and ravenous hooks storms the barricades like a transatlantic cousin to anything on Troublegum from the Northern Ireland trio, its contagiousness and vocal furor similar whilst creating its own uniquely irresistible tempest. The song is breath-taking, seemingly knowing where the personal sweet spot is and hitting it relentlessly, even when slipping into a dark theatre of sinister gothic intrigue.

Thomas is rhythmically imperious on the track, as everywhere to be fair, continuing his enslaving web of craft in The Electric Wall and especially the outstanding Blessed Burning. Morris and Cates are an equal incendiary match though as the first of the two tracks sees the band creating a High on Fire/Kyuss like mountain of creative tenacity and heavy rock ‘n’ roll seduction whilst its successor, from another hypnotic rampant rhythmic trap, strolls across Queens Of The Stone Age/ Mastodon toned terrain of sonic and vocal passion. The references given across all songs are mere colours in something distinctly Curse of the North, especially emphasized when as here the guitars spin a bluesy imagination as an intimate atmosphere soaks the song.

Oceans Rise lowers the intensity if not the emotive temperature next, well certainly for its opening moments as soon it too is a cauldron of thickly jabbing beats and sonic ferocity. Along its riveting length, the assaults and aggression ebbs and flows to fluid and powerful effect, the song an undulating roller coaster of a confrontation which, as the album, just gets richer and more imposingly enjoyable over time.

The album comes to an end through the sultry blues/surf rock seducing of Faceless Killers, a sonic and melodic bewitchment which too only blossoms to greater heights with every partaking of its sweltering, increasingly volcanic landscape. It is a stunning end to simply one of the major treats of 2015; a leviathan of rock ‘n’ roll to get seriously lustful over.

Curse of the North: I is out October 23rd via Static Tension Recordings.

Pete RingMaster 22/10/2015

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Deepshade – Everything Popular Is Wrong

Deepshade Promo Colour Picture_RingMaster Review

Highly anticipated by many and set to excite a whole new crowd of hungry appetites for the band’s sound, UK band Deepshade release debut album Everything Popular Is Wrong. It is a masterful and magnetic fusion of alternative and psych rock with grungy tendencies and thick streams of imagination across ten exciting slices of sonic fascination. Imagine The Doors meets Queens Of The Stone Age with the occasional rich tonic of anarchic energy from Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster or Engerica, and you get a whiff of the magnificence lying in wait within Everything Popular Is Wrong.

Wigan bred Deepshade was formed in 2013 by vocalist/guitarist David Rybka, bassist Tom Doherty, and drummer Paul Barlow. Little time passed before the trio enticed a potent and loyal local following and began being featured on the likes of BBC Introducing and numerous shows and alternative radio stations within Britain, Europe, and the USA; The Guardian newspaper announcing Deepshade around the same time one of the ‘Hot Top Ten Unsigned British Bands To Check Out’. Their presence and reputation continues to grow and now with the band recently signing with Ambicon Music Group, the national release of Everything Popular Is Wrong allows the country and beyond to hear why.

Deepshade Cover Artwork_RingMaster ReviewRecorded with producer John Kettle (Merry Hell, Moko, Tansads) and mastered by Fran Ashcroft (Spin Jupiter Spin, Gorillaz), Everything Popular is Wrong opens with the tantalising shuffle of Time and an immediate lure of spicy grooves and just as vibrant riffs and rhythms. Seventies spice colludes with nineties fuzziness straight away, whilst an underlying snarl carries an alternative/punk snarl to echo the description given a few lines earlier. The string invention of Rybka matches his vocal prowess whilst the dark lines of Doherty and firm swings of Barlow cast hefty shadows and a driving energy to devour swiftly.

It is a great start but soon put in the shade a touch by its successor and increasingly so by the following pair of songs. The Line is next up and quickly leaps into a bluesy revelry with again irresistible tangy grooves and thumping beats courted by a growling bassline. Feet and hips are soon taken for a feisty ride by the track, its bracing energy as lively and infectious as the fiery nuances toning every subsequent melody and sonic temptation.

Out Of Hand steps up next to raise the bar again, its slower warm stroll hypnotically coaxing sonically entwined ears, subsequently leading them into a web of virulent hooks and melodic incitement. Again there is a raw air and scuzzy hue to it all which only adds to the addictive drama and the gripping tension which seems to breed within the track as it explores its invention and the imagination. As outstanding as it is, Tattoo shows it a clean pair of heels. Released as a free download earlier this year and understandably being part of the reason why so many were hungry for Everything Popular Is Wrong, the song prowls with a flirty if predatory gait and an open creative devilry similar to The Dropper’s Neck, slipping into fierce and fiery expulsions of noisy enticement from time to time too. Quite simply the track is like a lap dance for ears, swinging slim rhythmic hips wrapped in sonic curves with temperatures rising accordingly.

A southern breeze joins the melodic caress of the following Haven’t Said A Word, it a Kyuss like tempting which feeds the dirtily textured crescendos of intensity and emotions which erupt throughout the mesmeric and increasingly evolving croon whilst Bring The Axe Down straight after, twists a rockabilly like riff into a virulent seduction equipped with off-kilter imaginations of sound and theatre. The song is sensational, something akin to Josh Homme and Guy McKnight redesigning Powersolo and ridiculously more addictive with every listen; stealing the show each and every time.

Lowlights arguably carries the thickest grunge hues within the album in its creative body, its Alice in Chains/ QOTSA serenade a rousing proposal often as bruising as it is melancholically reflective whereas The Mud, The Blood, and The Tears (written as The Blood, The Mud, and The Tears on the album cover so take your pick) casts an enthralling bewitchment drawing on essences of Jim Morrison and co, The Walker Brothers, and Pearl Jam, and turning them into something unique and spellbinding to Deepshade.

The final two songs upon Everything Popular Is Wrong ensure the album continues to excite from a great height; Chairman first to spring a gentle yet agitated swing within sultry melodies across atmospheric skies as vocal harmonies captivate and the bass of Tom Doherty devilishly entices against the masterful skittish adventure of Barlow’s swings. Sad Sun has the pleasure of closing up the release and does so in riveting style. It brings all the nastier, scuzzy qualities of the band’s sound out in appealing style but equally the richness of its charmed melodies and smouldering ambiences, all qualities of every song on the release. Here though they all seem to be given full rein to vent or seduce but within a tapestry of craft and invention which ensures it unites perfectly to perpetually beguile and thrill.

Without doubt Everything Popular Is Wrong is one of our favourite incitements of 2015 and hard to imagine it will not be yours too. There is of course only one way to know, so we suggest you go get some Deepshade down you.

Everything Popular Is Wrong is available digitally and on CD from September 25th via Ambicon Records through most online stores.

Pete RingMaster 24/09/2015

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Luna Sol – Blood Moon

Pic_Colin Farrell

Pic_Colin Farrell

Vocalist/guitarist David Angstrom has been part of and behind a few potent propositions, Hermano, Supafuzz, and Asylum On The Hill included, but he might have just outdone them all with Luna Sol, certainly if their debut album is a taste of things to come. Blood Moon is a glorious roar of backwoods bred stoner rock, bulging with voracious riffs and intoxicating grooves as well as a blues spicing to have you woozy. It is also one of the most contagiously virulent slabs of dark rock ‘n’ roll to hit the senses in recent months, nay years.

It was 2012 when Angstrom moved to the mountains just north of Denver and began being inspired by the local news and folklore, and you might suggest the “we don’t like strangers” mind-set that small out of the way communities can develop. With songs in his creative pocket, Angstrom formed Luna Sol with local musicians in the creative shape of guitarist/ vocalist Shanda Kolberg (The Swanks), bassist /vocalist Shannon Fahnestock (The Swindlers), and drummer Pat Gill (The Feds, ’76 Pinto). Recorded at Sierra Estates in Colorado, Blood Moon is the first aural moonshine from the band, a collection of songs easy to get a greedy taste for alongside a rabid addiction too.

Musically there is no escaping offering references to the likes of Kyuss and early Queens Of The Stone Age, but they are colours to a tapestry hard to suggest is anything but Luna Sol like. Quick evidence comes with album opener Bridges. Percussion and guitar make an immediate lure which soon expands in a haze of sonic electricity and spicy enterprise as the vocal roar of Angstrom hits ears and appetite as forcibly as the sounds around him. It is soon evident that vocals are shared in varying ways across the band which only adds to the diversity and theatre of song and creative release. The album also features several guests, here Dean Smith (Supafuzz) adding bass growls within the fiery web of guitars.

Lunasol_Blood Moon_Cover_RingMaster Review   The excellent enslaving start continues with Death Mountain, the skills of bassist Dandy Brown (Hermano, Orquestra del Desierto) and slide guitarist Greg Martin (Kentucky Headhunters) adding to the crawling seduction on offer. Almost from its first breath, ‘drunken’ grooves are winding their meandering charm around the imagination whilst the bass is a grouchy but compelling protagonist against the potent twin vocal delivery. Like a primal seductress the track entices and crawls over the listener, intimidating as it lures until the infection flooded chorus warms the soul as the prowess of Martin bewitches.

The pair of December and Leadville keep ears and appetite just as engrossed next, the first of the two with its dirtier air and more predatory attitude backed by the additional magnetic tones of John Garcia (Vista Chino, Hermano, Kyuss). The track has the weight and muscle of a beast and the sonic toxicity of neat liquor as well as the melodic beauty of a mountain vista, whilst its successor unleashes an addiction forging swing any rock band would salaciously solicit for. Its swagger is irresistible and sonic air bracing with the peak of pleasure arriving with the slips into the relative calm of banjo plucks and vocal repetition courted by a juicy dark bass tempting.

Pretty Rotten keeps that slightly bestial tone going in its compelling stroll lined with the barracuda like tones of the bass provided by Nick Oliveri (Vista Chino, Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age). As with the previous pair of tracks there is also an essence of what is basically rock pop catchiness which plays like a mix of 12 Stone Toddler and Eagle of Death Metal and has ears and emotions fired up as greedily as the tonic of blues flames scorches the whole thrilling affair.

Thicker classic rock hues join stoner instincts for Operator, a song which took longer to warm to in the same way the others inspired but almost creeps up on the passions as by half way realisation sets in that body sways and vocal participation have joined the call before thoughts. The track is hypnotic, another hazily crawling tempting which eventually and fully has its way before passing over ears to Standley Lake for an infestation of the imagination and psyche with its rhythmic spell and scorching winey grooves. It too is a slow burn on the passions in a way but a highly resourceful and successful one easily involving hips and throat by the time Your Way steps forward with its rich blues and psych rock smoulder aided by the Hammond prowess of Dizzy Reed (Guns N’ Roses). Immersive and atmospherically ablaze, the track leaves lips licked in satisfaction before leaving the darkly haunted In the Shadows to being the album comes to a close. Jason Groves (Supafuzz, Asylum on the Hill) offers the bass bait in this mouth-watering caliginous proposal, musically and narratively the song aural drama of noir soaked hidden deeds and dark souls, and thoroughly riveting.

It is a mighty end to one thoroughly exhilarating release; the last card in a deck of spellbinding persuasion which from start to finish enrols the listener in an adventure of strange melancholy and curious endeavours. It is also a swamp of rock ‘n’ roll which just rouses the spirit impossibly the best heavy rock album this year, certainly the favourite.

Blood Moon is available from September 11th across UK/Europe via Cargo Records.

Pete Ringmaster 11/09/2015

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Madre De Dios – Self Titled


It is hard to get enough of out and out heavy booted rock ‘n’ roll, especially when it comes in the kind of shape of the self-titled debut album from Italian rockers Madre De Dios. Consisting of eleven tracks which blaze away with all the instinctive and prime essentials any thumping rock song needs, the quartet’s introduction is a stomp of impassioned energy. The band is not interested in break down walls of originality it is probably fair to say but in bringing a release which anyone can give their bodies and pleasure to, the band has an undoubted success on their hands.

Hailing from Bari, Madre De Dios was formed in 2010 by guitarist Stefano Pomponio aka S.P. Jesus (Natron). The band’s first line-up was completed by bassist Gigi D’Angella (Anuseye), vocalist/guitarist Gianpaolo di Stasi (Stainer), and drummer Marco Ninni (Swedish Death Candy), a foursome who’s live presence was soon luring in increasing masses of devoted fans. Over time a more stoner-esque character emerged in their heavy rock ‘n’ roll propositions, their sound continuing to evolve as a shuffle in personnel saw vocalist Frank Bizarre (The Missing, Cafè Bizarre) and drummer Vince Floro (Stainer) replace di Stasi and Ninni respectively; the latter joining the band after his predecessor had recorded the album in 2013, and a year’s break for the band soon after. As the album, swiftly shows, the band’s sound draws in numerous spices from varying decades to create something familiar yet fresh and compelling. With shows with bands like Bud Spencer Blues Explosion also on their CV, 2015 is looking like turning into a potent and break-through year for Madre De Dios, especially as their album grips many more appetites like ours week by week.

The albums gripping devilry opens with The Evil Guide, a song exploding from a crotchety riff into a full on assault of bracing grooves and pungent rhythms within a blaze of melodic enterprise and tenacity. There is an immediate snarl to the song but equally a captivating infectiousness, every element an anthemic lure in the rigorous persuasion of the excellent incitement of feet and appetite. Just as swiftly the craft and creative attitude of the band is an open temptation too, every swing of the sticks, casting of tangy grooves, and vocal expression drenched in a stirring energy driven by personal adventure.

The same applies to the following High Living in the Sunshine, well every song on the album to be truthful, the track making a more deliberately controlled entrance but loaded with thick MoftheRspicy grooves which make slavery of ears and imagination right away. Exploring a potent mix of hard and classic rock, the song is soon leading the listener in a sing-a-long chorus and head nodding participation for the slower but catchy stroll of its surrounding verses. Not as dramatically persuasive as its predecessor maybe, the song is still soon a masterful treat, and even more so once bluesy stoner bred temptation begins to colour the song’s increasingly appealing canvas.

That blues tang is just as ripe in Flamingos! which comes next, its rich spicery again merging with a more classic roar of rock as jabbing beats keep an antagonistic edge to the rhythmic side of the infectious encounter. This virulence is exploited further in the similarly sculpted Big Head. Coming straight out of the previous track there is an unmissable similarity to certainly the riffs and grooves of the song, though that is tempered by the excellent grizzly growl of D’Angella’s bass and the ever engaging dusty vocals of Bizarre, not forgetting a grunge meets stoner air which at times has a slight feel of Kyuss and Gruntruck to it.

I Crashed Your Car opens up our favourite part of the album, its rhythmic agitation and fiery melodies an exciting and inventive embrace for the magnetic vocals and creative majesty of Jesus’ solos. The throaty bassline also adds further irresistible bait for ears, its dark presence contrasting and complementing the increasingly imaginative weave of raw and spellbinding melodic ingenuity. As great as it is though, the song is just the appetiser for the delicious exciting meals of Shake it Baby and Mad City. The first as so many, just slips out of the song before with seamless and natural ease, and straight away unleashes an enthralling and invigorating rock ‘n’ roll dance. Like a sonic epidemic, the track is soon infesting ears and psyche, not to mention body and soul, as riffs and beats unite in a merciless temptation whilst grooves and vocals toy with the passions. Hooks are spilled left right and centre across the adventure whilst the bass has lips licking in excitement even just thinking about its lures. The brilliant proposition is matched by the just as insatiable tempting instrumental which follows, Mad City a foot to the metal juggernaut of toxic riffs and just as venomous grooves within a tempest of rhythmic and sonic charging. If you are aware of the equally addictive Buzzcocks track Late for the Train from Love Bites, you will understand the unrelenting potency of the track.

A mischievous nature adds to the raucous bellow of Ordinary Man next, the song another creatively stormy and exhaustingly fun rock ‘n’ roll romp matched by the excellent cover of The Beatles’ Helter Skelter, renamed Mater Skelter here. The Siouxsie and The Banshees version still holds the heart but Madre De Dios’ cover definitely gives it a run for its money at times, the band not twisting it around too much but still giving it their own spirited slant.

The album is completed by the stoner blues breathing Merry Go Round Song, a song which seems part Pearl Jam and part The Black Crowes, with a scent of Clutch but again finding something more to stand out, and lastly by the spatial adventure of Orbit. The final track seems to draw on all the flavours permeating album and sound so far, casting them all into its own individual escapade of eighties, nineties, and modern day rock ‘n’ roll. Like the album as a whole, it makes no demands and makes accessibility and enjoyment a done deal within the first handful of seconds, but as on all tracks it offers plenty of imagination and enterprise to be an intriguing and thrilling proposal at every turn.

If you want ground-breaking stuff, want to have your boundaries pushed into new realms, Madre De Dios will please to a certain extent but if you want rock music to leave you bloated on undiluted pleasure and fun then band and album is a must.

Madre De Dios is available on most digital music platforms and CD through Red Cat Promotion.

RingMaster 27/02/2015

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Kayleth – Space Muffin


Everything about Space Muffin, the new album from Italian rockers Kayleth is a spatial adventure; from the eye catching cover and lyrical exploration to the space rock coloured climate gathered over a stoner rock sculpted landscape, it is a flight through other worldly explorations. Equally that stoner and metal induced breeding gives songs and release a contrasting grounding which makes it as intensely imposing as it is celestially fascinating. Space Muffin, a fluffy name offering a slight deterrent before a note is heard, and Kayleth draw on recognisable influences it is fair to say, Kyuss and Orange Goblin for example. It is an open spice though which the Verona quintet entwine with again familiar space/psych rock seeded imagination to conjure something seriously compelling. The album might not be the one to really challenge your expectations but definitely it is a proposition to turn pleasure and a hunger for more up to the highest setting.

Formed in 2008, Kayleth has persistently lured an increasingly potent attention their way through their releases which started with Not Yet in 2006. Initially their sound was rigorously stoner-esque, with In the Womb of Time and Rusty Gold of 2008 and 2010 respectively, thick enticements of the broadening emergence of the band. Their sound has been on a constant evolution even from those early releases, but it was after The Survivor was released in 2012 and through the addition of keyboard player Michele Montanari that the band went on a new exploration into space/psych rock territories, investigation taken without leaving behind the stoner canvas which had already garnered the band increasing acclaim. The band and songs within Space Muffin seem to revel in this new horizon of imagination in their songwriting and sound, discovering like its premise, a new world to play in.

The heady heights and atmosphere of Mountains opens up the release, its muscular presentation an immediate wall of rugged riffs and pungent rhythms within a web of spicy grooves. Behind it the keys of Montanari seduce away, not making a major declaration yet but coaxing behind the scenes as the excellent grainy vocals of Enrico Gastaldo join the widening scenery of the song. Guitarist Massimo Dalla Valle matches the increasing lure of the keys with tangy grooves and acidic melodies, both aspects uniting in rich warmth as the bass of Alessandro Zanetti rumbles within their midst. Completed by the feisty and imaginative beats of Daniele Pedrollo, the song stomps and swerves with irresistible contagion; turning as the keys bring their interstellar KAYLETH_coversuggestiveness into an exotic temptress.

The excellent start is continued by Secret Place, a track loaded with an energetic stride driven by virulent grooves, rampant rhythms, and the potent vocals of Gastaldo. That Orange Goblin essence is a busty flavouring here but equally you can easily suggest a touch of Eagles of Death Metal to the vivacious appetite and energy of the song. It is ablaze from its first second and even with some clever twists and teasing from keys thereafter, never loses its lustful voracity. Imagination sparking invention is just as evident too and even more dramatic in the following Spacewalk. With samples and an on-going narrative offering a space flight with almost Robinson Crusoe like undertones, the track takes to the air with a magnetic shimmer and gentle melodic seducing. Thrusts of intensity led by caustic riffs and heavily swung drums pierce the beauty of the ambience drifting across the track, the burst bringing intermittent and eventually sustained tempestuousness to the bewitching encounter.

Both the intimidatingly sturdy Bare Knuckle with its mouth-watering rhythmic shuffle and sonic flaming against the charming ambience of the keys, and the soulful Born To Suffer have ears and imagination wrapped up in their designs and melodic colours. The first from a contagious ruggedness slips across sultry climes of sonic and provocative textures whilst the second with a blues toned melodic croon smoulders and entices with captivating charm before sparking with classic metal seeded enterprise. Neither quite matches their predecessors, though Bare Knuckle makes a thick challenge, but both leaves senses and thoughts riveted before Lies Of Mind flexes its striking musical and inventive muscles for a bruising and infectious slab of space rock toned rock ‘n’ roll. As most songs there are plenty of twists and unpredictable surprises employed, without going overboard, leaving ears and emotions greedy and equally a quite inescapable anthemic tendency.

   Try To Save The Appearances also has a broader rock ‘n’ roll character to its heavy persuasion, stoner and psych rock colluding in a tempestuous and wholly tempting charge which at times, as elsewhere on the album, has hints of Monsterworks to it as well as that of Karma To Burn. It is a glorious incitement leaving just the instrumental elegance and heated soundscape of NGC 2244 to bring the album’s flight to a tantalising close.

Space Muffin might have a weak title but within its walls it is one thoroughly enjoyable and invigorating adventure. Kayleth’s album does not truly surprise too often but leaves ears blissful and satisfaction over flowing, thus a release to heartily recommend.

Space Muffin is available via Argonauta Records now @

RingMaster 03/02/2015

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Spider Kitten – Behold Mountain. Hail Sea. Venerate Sky. Bow Before

Spider Kitten

Claimed as an album which was never supposed to exist, Behold Mountain. Hail Sea. Venerate Sky. Bow Before definitely belies the spontaneous and undetermined emergence that the statement suggests. The three track release from UK doomsters Spider Kitten, in their words “was always meant as a filler for themselves and the ‘fans’ before the next full album.” What they have created is a masterful captivation of sound and invention which pushes their horizons and suggests that ultimately its birth was not as laid back as assumed, though equally it holds a freedom and flow to it which is organically spontaneous. It is a gripping and unpredictable slab of stoner flamed doom exploration, something which the Welsh band excels in, which for newcomers and fans alike reinforces the stature of Spider Kitten and more.

Formed in 2001, the Newport band is centred round vocalist/guitarist Chi Lameo and bassist/vocalist Alex White. Emerging as a duo, the band as years and releases came and went, has been a full septet and as now, an imagination sparking quartet featuring drummer/vocalist Chris West and guitarist Rob Davies alongside the founding pair. The band has numerous impressive releases under their belt but strangely and almost inexplicably Spider Kitten is still a treat within the shadows when it comes to breaching the fullest spotlight within British rock. Maybe the new encounter will be the catalyst to broader attention and recognition, time will tell but it is certainly a striking and exciting incitement from the band which is sure to whip up a storm of acclaim somewhere.SKDigiPromoCover

Lyrically and musically inspired by Norse Sagas and Eddas, the release also features guests in the shape of guitarist Stuart ‘O.F.D.’ O’Hara (Acrimony, Iron Monkey, Blackeyeriot, Sigiriya) on opener Lindisfarena, and Charlotte Nichols (ex – Crippled Black Phoenix) who provides the heavy provocation of cello gracing final song Gore Swan. The first track launches on a gripping parade of predatory rhythms swiftly smothered in sonic causticity as guitars spray their endeavour. It is a tribal call to arms which instantly enslaves ears and imagination before suddenly relaxing into a just as tempestuous terrain of thick stoner enterprise and doom loaded predation. Vocals add their raw persuasion and colour next as the track spreads with almost toxic infectiousness across the senses, Lindisfarena insatiably swallowing thoughts and emotions with its riveting expanse of bass intimidation and sonic tenacity. Slow and lumbering but nimble on its feet in certain aggressive and inventive moments, the track is seven minutes plus of enthralling, bordering on visceral exploration.

The following Bearded Axe consumes ears with lowly slung grooves and stalking rhythms as vocal harmonies converge on the song’s corrosive ambience. It is a mesmeric assault, the track a ponderous beauty of bestial intensity and weight aligned to perversely radiant colour and temptation. For three minutes or so the track prowls and intimidates to fine effect but it is once sonic scythes split the body of the track, to be matched by carnivorous beats, that it grips an even greater plateau. Thick Kyuss like essences seduce in its maelstrom before a gentle caress of folkish charm leads the track towards the closing epic of Gore Swan. It is a transfixing bruising enticement which is surpassed by the journey, musically and lyrically, coming in the three parts of the last track. With ‘chapters’ Of the Land, Of the Sea, and Of the Sky uniting, the song is an evolving landscape of melodic scenery, ferocious confrontation, and imposing intensity. It never rests too long in one particular climate, each movement no matter its length a restless and fascinating tapestry of textures and sonically fuelled imagination. There is something of KingBathmat to the encounter, especially in its weave of evocative sounds and almost devilish ingenuity. The cello of Nichols is gorgeous as it crafts melancholic and bewitching shadowed tones as backdrop to hostile and calmer twists in the tale.

The track alone makes the album a must investigation, and locked in union with its companions helps provide another sensational proposition from Spider Kitten, a band which surely will eventually stand to the fore of doom bred, progressive caressed, sludge rich adventure.

Behold Mountain. Hail Sea. Venerate Sky. Bow Before is available now via Undergroove Records

RingMaster 28/10/2014

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Possessor – Electric Hell


Hailing from London with a penchant for occult metal and with already the Wings of Fire EP under their belt this year, UK metallers Possessor have unleashed a rather tasty and impressive debut album in the stormy form of Electric Hell. There is not much more we can tell you about the band except that if you like a cocktail of sludge and stoner metal with thrash and varied metal rapacity, then this is an ear rioting album to whip up the juices. Consisting of nine tracks which simply flirt with the imagination whilst rigorously fondling the passions, Electric Hell is a treat for all fans of bands such as Black Sabbath, Slayer, and Fu Manchu through to Black Tusk, Gruntruck, and Kyuss with plenty more on offer. There is one band though which came to mind again and again as the release set to work on ears, and that is early Therapy?, the album vocally and in its predatory sounds holding a highly agreeable and uncanny essence of the Irish trio about them.

Unique in its own presence too, the album is a gloriously raw and irresistibly cantankerous encounter which makes an immediate and appetite igniting impression through the first rugged swipes of opener Chasms of Malice alone. From the first breath, sinew clad strikes of guitar courted by the bestial throaty charm of bass crowd ears to spark swift attention, the imagination following suit as an acidic groove and caustic riffing emerges to consume the senses. There is a punk vitality to the track too, especially once the effect surfaced vocals join the now rampaging stride of guitars and the punchy rhythms. It is a glorious enticement with the snarling bass stealing the limelight, but only just from the toxic groove and insatiable swagger of the song.

Its striking start is swiftly followed and matched by Invisible Face, again riffs setting down predatory bait which is coloured by stoner-esque hues and infectious grooves. With a haunted tone to the vocals and grumbling voracity to both bass and drums, the track bulges with rabid riffs and spiky hooks to inflame an already greed bitten appetite. It is a hunger soon fed a tasty morsel by Limb from Limb and spoilt by the outstanding Castle of Bastards. The first of the two is a more slowly intensive proposition, its acidic binding of sonic enterprise as restrained and flavoursome as the gentler expression of the vocals. It is deceptive though as at its core, the song is primed and driven by an incessant nagging of riffs and the ever incendiary bass sound. It is an underbelly which is fuelled with rabidity, a lure as potently predacious as the sounds around it are magnetically reserved. It is a fine encounter but soon left looking up at the might of its successor. Like most tracks on the album it is driven by thrash bred tenacity and muscular urgency which makes for a familiar and easily digestible spine, upon which the rest of the song expands and brings its creative devilry. Castle of Bastards is no exception but to this insatiable bait it unleashes a bestial breath and inventive sonic unpredictability which simply bewitches. The track is where that reference to Therapy? is first bred, though earlier tracks hint at it at times too. Far too short at less than two minutes long, the song is pure hostile drama and quite magnificent.

The sultry stoner grooving of Strange Summoning over a garage punk and heavy metal blended canvas makes its own sturdy claim for top track honours. Again brief in presence but rich on irrepressible adventure with riffs and grooves the prime addiction, it soon makes way for the Sabbath-esque Heavy Dreams. It is a song intensive in weight and primal structuring yet veined with a sonic intrigue and melodic causticity which would not be out of place in a Torche or Melvins treat. It is followed by the virulent contagion of the instrumental Skeletal Form, a corrosive dance of scathing riffs and inhospitable rhythms with an impossibly addictive groove, one again related to anything the previously mention Irish band uncaged on the Shortsharpshock EP or the Troublegum album. Equipped with sludge oppressiveness and acute stoner seeded sonic enticements, the piece is a deliciously enslaving encounter which reinforces the depth and devilish character of the band’s exhilarating sound.

The album is concluded by firstly the sonic grazing of Face the Possessor, a track which fails to find the same eagerness of reactions as its predecessors but still with intimidating jagged riffery and entrancing guitar endeavour leaves ears richly satisfied and the imagination enticed. The final song of the album is its title track, a hypnotic and unrelenting persuasion of doom spawned pressure and bordering on insidious temptation. It is a demonic slice of instrumental alchemy which shows that if ever their frontman lost his voice the band would not disappoint on stage thanks to their absorbing and spellbinding, not forgetting ingenious sonic adventure.

As Electric Hell seduces time and time again, it is hard to imagine that Possessor will go unnoticed for long by fans, media, or even label interest. Now is the time to submit to their diablerie we say, this raw and unpolished gem of an album a thrilling ticket to the start of their inevitable ascending ride.

Electric Hell is available now @


RingMaster 10/08/2014

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