Boudain – Way of the Hoof

BOUDAIN_SPACELAB

For those with a lust for the groove and the fattiest slabs of heavy rock ‘n’ roll flavoured meat, the checking out of US stoners Boudain might just be the best order of the day. The quartet has just unleashed debut album Way of the Hoof,  a ravenous swamp of stoner and sludge infested waters  which preys on the psyche whilst feeding the appetite for dirty and fiery rock ‘n’ roll. Influences to the band include the likes of Sleep, Melvins, Kyuss, and Fu Manchu which their album does not shy away from bringing to the party in flavour across its eight thumping trespasses, especially the last of the four. To that though, Boudain add their own meaty sauce for something which mighty not be breaking the banks of originality but certainly feeds the soul and appetite for imposing metal and invasive rock.

Consisting of bassist/vocalist Chris Porter, guitarists Brian Lenard and David Karakash, and drummer Stephen Jester, Boudain released their first EP in 2013. The self-titled six-track offering caught the ears and attention of a great many which Way of the Hoof is now poised to escalate, to easily assumed, broader heights. Opener Sleazy Feats swiftly has ears wrapped in almost salacious grooves as rhythms badger and bear down on the senses with a hefty hand. Riffs and vocal swipes only add to the highly agreeable introduction, a potency which continues as the song swings with zeal and enterprise across its fiery body. Surprises are not an open proposal though a freshness to the familiar landscape is, and increasingly so as Lenard and Karakash incite their grooves and toxic melodies to breed an even stronger strain of temptation.

Boudain art _RingMasterReviewSome might suggest that the album is a touch muddy but as the opener and following Neptune alone show, it is a thick smothering which adds to the swampy, at times almost delta blues like, intensity and richness of songs and release. The second track brings a bit of punk to its contagious confrontation too, clashing percussion uniting with the predation of the rhythms as the song simultaneously swings and prowls. Quickly it eclipses the impressive strength of its predecessor, continuing to impress and inflame ears with its thickening web of grooves and sonic acidity before allowing CODA to share its own imposing wares. Whereas the first pair flew at the jugular and senses, this track prowls, almost stalks the listener as its tar thick sludge breeding consumes ears. Porter’s vocals, or Lenard’s as the two apparently share duties across the release, again provide a great mix of growl and dirt encrusted infectiousness as they match the textures of the sound around them.

A cosmic ambience lines the sweltering lure of guitar as 3 Man steps up next; that sultry invitation and suggestiveness lying upon a great rhythmic rumble led by the swinging throaty infectiousness of the bass. The song soon slips into a more expected stoner blaze though drums and bass continue to cast their rhythmic hex on ears and appetite as the guitars weave an intoxicating tapestry; a knit which continues right to the end even as the song becomes more aggressively volatile.

First Class rips into ears next, it taking the listener back to the more hellacious type of assault the album opened with as tangy grooves and scything beats take their share of attention along with the brooding bass and attitude soaked vocals. Once more, a recognisable air to the track is rife but only within that welcoming Boudain character that ensures nothing is as simple as being a copy of those earlier mentioned influences or others.

Through The Mighty Turn Around and its sonically spatial exploration, and the rawer bruising stroll of Disco Jimmy, ears and album continue to be bound together. The first of the two has some of the most mouth-watering bait in its grooves and psyche infesting rock ‘n’ roll whilst its successor is a psych rock igniting of the imagination which lights the flames of thorough enjoyment if not the major excitement some of its earlier companions provoked. Nevertheless both leave ears more than content with the closing cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s Godzilla adding its enjoyable feed; the band treating the track to its prowling strain of sludge and stoner predation.

It is a fine end to an album which might have provided its major moments in its first half but from start to finish only inspires a real want for more and the idea that Boudain have the potential to sculpt major temptations luring equal attention ahead. They have plenty to get a little lustful over right now too which Way Of The Hoof offers with relish.

 Way Of The Hoof is out now @ http://boudain.bandcamp.com/

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Pete RingMaster 21/04/2016

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Iron Jawed Guru – Mata Hari

iron jawed guru_RingMaster Review

With all the curvaceous moves and intrigue fuelled exploits its title suggests, Mata Hari is an encounter which simply and irresistibly entices ears as it infests the psyche. The new album from West Virginian instrumental groove rockers Iron Jawed Guru, it is creative espionage of the most rewarding order offering seven songs bursting with grooves that writhe like seductive snakes and a rhythmic intimidation as imposing as it is dynamically compelling. Without reserve, Mata Hari is a delicious incitement that the more you struggle to resist and move on, the deeper you get entangled up in it.

Iron Jawed Guru is the pairing of multi-instrumentalist Mike Lorenzen and drummer Roy Brewer; a Morgantown hailing project which emerged in 2013, though both members first met nine years earlier. Originally a trio with Eric Clutter, who later went on to join Karma To Burn, Lorenzen and Brewer continued as a duo from his departure evolving their fiery and rapacious psych/stoner rock sound. It is a proposition which singes the senses as it flirts with the body, its heavy yet salaciously inviting weave of grooves and riffs aligning with rousing rhythms to create the fiercely captivating and anthemic blaze that is Mata Hari.

cover_RingMaster ReviewFirst up on the album is Quake and straight away its impacting rhythms and dusty grooves echo the ferocity and agitation suggested by the name. As a sonic, almost smog like, embrace is cast, Brewer not for the last time swiftly has the senses on edge and energies ignited with his dynamic presence whilst Lorenzen only expands the flame of sultry grooves and intrusive hooks to increase the virulence of the song. An explosive yet controlled incitement, the song is more than matched by the heated aftermath of Aftershock. Toxic and flirtatious, the track is a maelstrom of contrasting and supporting textures again built on the commanding beats of Brewer and shaped by the tenaciously creative fire of Lorenzen. Bands such as Clutch and Kyuss have often been mentioned as a reference for Iron Jawed Guru, and it is easy to see why from this alone.

The deceptively wiry and full-bodied intoxication of the album’s title track is next, it expelling a sinister and tempestuous air around the undisguised salaciousness that ignites every swinging groove and deeply rooting hook. The song is a devious temptress, a predatory romance stealing breath and soul before Gemini and its mercurial saunter lays bold hands on the imagination. With sinews again flexed in every rhythmic swipe and jab as dark volatility lines the sultry climate of sonic suggestiveness, the track has thoughts leaning towards serial killer like imagery rather than astrological based tales such its rich spiral of dark and intensive adventure.

Navajo brings the hues of the dust hugged West next with its smouldering heatwave of melody inflamed enterprise amidst a web of senses scorching grooves whilst Tremors rumbles and grumbles as it descends ravenously on ears with a horde of robustly explosive rhythms matched with equally abrasive riffs. Both tracks in their individual ways are increasingly veined and bound in the ever forceful invention and irresponsible grooves of Lorenzen; they reckless because there is no doubt that hips will never be the same after indulging in the thick devilry of Mata Hari.

Unsurprisingly Vesuvius is a volcanic prowl of sound with lava-esque drama from the guitars and the expected and enterprising bone shuddering swings from Brewer. Its sizzles upon and burns the senses whilst igniting the passions from start to finish; its gripping and increasingly rabid rock ‘n’ roll the perfect exhausting finale to one increasingly thrilling release.

Mata Hari is pure manna for anyone with a groove fetish; for anyone who loves to be flirted with by swinging strains of guitar and rebellious rhythms whilst Iron Jawed Guru is a band surely on the way to recruiting a rampage of hungry appetites and spotlights.

Mata Hari is available now digitally and on CD via Grimoire Records @ https://grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com/album/mata-hari

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Pete RingMaster 09/02/2016

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Desert Suns – Self-Titled

Desert Suns band photo_RingMaster Review

Released in the Autumn of 2014, the self-titled debut album from San Diego quartet Desert Suns gets its deserved official worldwide re-release this January through a special collaboration between Ripple Music and HeviSike Records. For those missing that original limited run of 300 copies on vinyl through Birmingham-based HeviSike , its return is the chance to grab one highly flavoursome slab of stoner bred rock ‘n’ roll.

Formed late 2013, Desert Suns quickly drew attention with their first single Burning Temples which was released in the January of the following year. Seven months later and their six track debut album confirmed the initial potency of sound and imagination within that early single in a fiery and immersive blend of stoner and heavy metal, psyche and blues rock. The band’s sound, as at times their lyrics and song themes, demands attention without the heavy weight of it ever becoming invasively imposing, and within the Tony Reed (Mos Generator/Stone Axe) mastered album provides a powerful invitation to the listener, if without really wanting to take no for an answer.

DESERT-SUNS---DESERT-SUNS_RingMaster Review

Artwork-Jimmy Ovadia

Burning Temples starts things off, an initial sonic static the bed for heavier rumblings and clamorous energies before one hefty groove grows from within the low key tempest. It relaxes with an elegant shimmer to its lure and melodic spice to its touch as the dark bassline of David Russell aligns to his quickly alluring vocals though the forceful and agile beats of drummer Ben McDowell subsequently raises the intensity as the guitars of Woogie Maggard and Anthony Belluto twist and turn with magnetic grooves and riffs. As the track becomes a contagious blaze enslaving hips, ears, and imagination, it is easy to sense Black Sabbath and Deep Purple inspirations at play, the music masterfully and voraciously ebbing and flowing in energy whilst providing a continuous full-on sultry temptation.

After the incendiary climax of the first song has ignited ears and keen involvement further, the following Space Pussy shows it is even more ferociously enflamed with quick sonic and melodic intoxication. Raw and seductive flames soon live up to the suggested salacious exploits and skills of the song’s protagonist, their intensive heat casting a vociferous smoulder in sound and atmosphere which almost has the senses woozy, though sinew swung rhythms and a great gnarly bass tone provides a rapturous temper to that cosmic inebriety smothering ears.

The blues infested rock ‘n’ roll tempest of Passing Through gets ears excited all over again, its feisty swagger courting a virulent catchiness driven by tenacious rhythms and swinging grooves matched by the Ozzy-esque vocal temping of Russell. The track is irresistible, taking a great first impression of the album up another notch with its flirtatious enterprise and anthemic dexterity of music and craft. As across the album, there is something familiar to the Desert Suns sound but a hue only adding to the lure of its bordering on mischievous revelry.

A breath is allowed to be taken by the blues croon of Ten Feet Down as ears feast on a new twist in the landscape of the release. Blues and country rock merge to serenade as harmonica and guitar colour a salty portrait of suggestiveness around it, all colluding for a magnetic encounter before Memories of Home portentously pulsates into view and unfurls a lumbering beast of a stoner/heavy metal fuelled proposition. A scent of Fu Manchu meets Electric Wizard meets Kyuss looms up within the tantalising proposal, whilst mellow and soporific textures unite with the ravaging torrents stirred up by grooves and a hungry energy to create another hard to resist confrontation.

Run Through My Roots brings the album to a compelling close, its atmospheric soundscape and pungent rhythmic suggestiveness the prelude to another forceful and heavyweight enveloping of the senses. Once more romancing calms are seductive oases amidst increasingly volatile eruptions and predacious outbursts, their mesmeric caresses breaking ravenous outpourings of sound and emotion as the track offers a fascinating end to a thoroughly enthralling and enjoyable release.

Second time around, Desert Suns is not to be missed and already thoughts are eagerly turning to what comes next from the band, where they have imaginatively ventured since the creation of their album two years ago.

Desert Suns is out now through Ripple Music in North America on CD and Royal Blue vinyl and on Beer Brown vinyl in the UK through HeviSike Records with digital copies @ https://desertsuns.bandcamp.com/

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Pete RingMaster 20/01/2016

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Dog Days – Heat

Pic_Christophe Dutoit

Pic_Christophe Dutoit

From its first inflamed note, the debut album from Swiss stoners Dog Days is a sonic mutt in season; a furiously rocking body of insatiable intent sculpted with sexily invasive grooves and a collusion of heavy boned riffs and rhythms. Consisting of eight instrumentally fertile slices of rock ‘n’ roll, Heat is also loaded with severely addictive hooks and immersive textures ensuring, in our experience, that a mating between release and the passions is inevitable.

Heat swiftly stirs up body and emotions from the off, quickly showing why the Fribourg trio of bassist Marie Riley, guitarist Vincent Yerly, and drummer Julien Vonlanthen are kicking up a potent buzz around themselves. Recorded with Sacha Ruffieux over two sessions of 5 days each at the Studio de la Fonderie, the band’s first album comes fuelled by the band’s intent “…to create an instrumental stoner album that shows our love for the sound we can generate with our instrument.

It begins with Saluki which instantly soaks ears in the thick fuzz of guitar and bass whilst a spicy groove nags and rhythms punch. As a sign of things to come, the air is seriously muggy which just adds to the swift drama lacing the virulence of dirty riffs and splintered grooves sculpted with repetitious persuasion. In no time though, the song is really swinging with fully fledged, intoxicating grooves escaping the stomping rock ‘n’ roll incitement. Fair to say, the imagination and appetite are hastily involved and as greedy as ears as the song from start to finish unloads a rich catchy tempest with a hungry swagger.

Heat Cover_RingMaster ReviewThe excellent start is superbly continued by Shiba and its heavily bruising and similarly contagious intensive boogie. There are no escaping essences of bands like Kyuss and Queens Of The Stone Age as a flirtatiously salty scything of guitar streaks through the brooding invasion of cantankerous bass and swiping beats, but with its gripping atmospheric theatre and ravenous intensity the track is uniquely a Dog Days beast.

Malamute wraps ears in sultry and evocatively sonic tendrils next, that persistently dramatic lure soon joined by the dark rumble of beats and a gorgeously carnivorous bass tone; it all springing a punk infused splatter of temptation as much post punk and noise rock as it is heavy punk ‘n’ roll upon ears. The track is instant slavery, a magnetic fusion of gnarly and sweltering contrast with one thing in mine, to seduce the senses whilst twisting them inside out. The pinnacle of the album, it is closely matched by the dark tempestuous trespass of Broholmer. Straight away, its invasive challenge prowls with leaden grooves and abrasing riffs tempered by the stirring up of a thickly and imaginatively layered lava-esque swamp like temptation leaving the body breathless and enamoured before Hovawart sonically shudders into view with pungent beats for company. There is tribal scented enterprise to the new track’s rhythms which continues to blossom and grip as the guitar caustically resonates and the bass links its own slightly bestial bait to the brewing storm of raw and mercurial suggestiveness.

Throughout new breeds of sound and invention are explored within the volcanic stoner genus of the album, Lancashire Heeler an incendiary groove train with creative rabidity to its infectious fire and thunderous trespass whilst Kyi Apso raps keen attention with its opening rally from Vonlanthen before Yerly and Riley nets that perpetually incitement in their webs of roasting and feral prowess respectively. As all songs within Heat, it is pure rock ‘n’ roll caked in tar like energy, set afire with sonic acidity, and given an off the meter voltage of raw aural electricity.

The album is concluded by the almost eight minute flirtation of Komondor featuring guest guitarist Sacha Love. The song is an uncontrollably bewitching proposal merging mesmeric surf rock with rich intoxicating melodic smoulders and sultry grooves; an exhilarating end to a release destined to be one of the year’s big highlights. Heat is one of those jaw dropping treats which are unexpected but quickly rapaciously devoured. The Dog Days bio calls the band’s sound “Stoner with a boner”; that tells you all you need to know.

Heat is released January 15th on vinyl and as a name your price download @ https://dogdaysband.bandcamp.com/releases

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Pete RingMaster 15/01/2016

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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.

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Pete RingMaster 22/10/2015

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Deepshade – Everything Popular Is Wrong

Deepshade Promo Colour Picture_RingMaster Review

Copyright Ashley Hardman Photography

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 in possibly 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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