Sick N’ Beautiful – Element of Sex

pic by Stefano Mastronicola

There are some bands which instinctively allure attention and it is fair to say that Sick N’ Beautiful is one such persuasion as their recent headlining UK tour proved. Their new album Element of Sex swiftly and increasingly shows why they made a potent impact through those shows alone, a release which whilst lacking the visual theatrical drama of their live presence uncages ten virulent slices of devilish rock ‘n’ roll.

“A gang of rockin’ freakshow pirates from outer space”, Sick N’ Beautiful is a quintet creating an industrial hard rock web of intrigue and sonic animation awash with creative drama. Brewed with sci-fi and cyberpunk visuals whilst embracing inspirations from a kaleidoscope of artists including Rob Zombie, Nine Inch Nails, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and No Doubt, the “intergalactic refugee’s” music is a cascade of flavours and enterprise within its hard rock nurtured imagination. In boldness and drama there is something of The Tubes to the band’s presence too which only adds to its magnetism live and now within Element of Sex.

Familiarity and inventive uniqueness collude from the first breath of the album with opener Fire True, an orchestral coaxing the first lure quickly infested with wiry tendrils of guitar which in turn entice the instantly rich ear grabbing vocals of Herma. Within seconds the track is an imposing wall of thick infectious sound speared by the scything swings of drummer Evey. Pop catchy and metal aggressive the track imposes and seduces in equal measure with the organic drama of the band’s imagination in every syllable, note, and twist.

It is an infectious tempest of an encounter instantly backed and eclipsed by next up Megalomaniacal. Straight away it has more urgency and greater flexibility in its attack; snarling, biting, and dancing with the senses like a carnal celebration behind the fiercely magnetic prowess of Hermes. Big Daddy Ray’s bass has a great rockabilly swing to its growl at times whilst guitarists Rev C2 and Lobo spring a trap of enterprise so easy to relish especially when the song takes a breath from its boisterous invasion.

The calmer All Wanna Go To Heaven through its initial less energetic entrance, compared to its predecessors, only leads into a snare of boldly catchy and melodically enticing temptation. The voice of Hermes once more stands tall and captivating within the song, a given proven track by track as the sounds around her cast their creative theatres. Pop, rock, and metal strands all go into its ear wrapping weave before the contagion of Hellawake continues the diversity bred within the Sick N’ Beautiful’s sound with its electro pop meets industrial punk shuffle.

Through the tempestuous roar and character of Slam! and the salacious sonic exploits of Hexxx (The Element Of Sex), the album just gets more hectic and fun, both songs a spark for ears and body with their extremely danceable antics, the outstanding second of the two especially manipulative as it grabs limbs like a puppeteer.

Cryptid similarly just opens up the throttle from its first gasp; rhythms and imposing incitement within the scuzzy tides of guitars wired with melodic and hook laced tempting. It is another where certain moments unite with ears like an old friend whilst bringing wholly new propositions alongside for a compelling mix exploited just as ably by New Witch 666 (The Rising). Its EBM-esque opening is a deceit for the dark shadows and intent lurking closely behind and a continuing enticement as those textures take rein of the devilish affair. Though its rabidity is under control for the main it is there festering in the track’s meaty body and demonic intent.

The skilfully woven Heart December (Gates II) with its dark drama and gothic rock grandeur was a slow burner for our ears, a track which never quite ignited as those before it but continues to be a compelling intrigue on ears and imagination even against the album closing blaze of C*Mmunion. Aggressive and at times musically grouchy but as greedily catchy as you could wish, it brings the album and the torrent of fun to a rousing conclusion.

And that pretty much sums up Element of Sex as a whole; insatiably infectious, relentlessly rousing, and unapologetically fun. Maybe Sick N’ Beautiful is a proposition which is at its very best live when all of its elements come together musically, visually and indeed dramatically but their new offering shows their songs make for very potent propositions all on their own.

Element of Sex is out now on the band’s own Rosary Lane Records; available @ https://www.sicknbeautiful.com/store and other stores.

https://www.sicknbeautiful.com/   https://www.facebook.com/sicknbeautifulband/   https://twitter.com/sicknb

Pete RingMaster 10/07/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Electro waltzes and deviancy: the Mr. Strange Interview.

 

Mr. Strange 2015 _RingMaster Review

Some know Mr. Strange as the former frontman of the brilliant circus rock steampunks The Shanklin Freak Show, others more some from their solo exploits and especially outstanding 2014 album Wonderful World Of Weird. What is beginning to be recognised is that the sound conjuror of musical deviancy from the Isle of Wight is one of the UK’s most imaginative and unique songwriters. Proof to that has come with their fiercely tremendous new album The Bible of Electric Pornography, the first offering since the rebirth of the persona and sound of Mr. Strange over past months. The just released album is a “sacrilegious assault of electro-influenced filth”; a thrilling incitement of electronic and rock ‘n’ roll alchemy with the unique Mr. Strange imagination. A certain album of the year contender for a great many, we grab time with its creator and took a look onto the defiant invention of The Bible of Electric Pornography.

Hello Mr. Strange, thanks for letting us peer into the heart of your new album.

Before we do though, you are already known for your tapestry of sound and flavours. What are the major inspirations which have most coloured your ideas, songwriting, and approach to making music?

Historically, the culprits in the inspiration department are; Marilyn Manson, Insane Clown Posse, Dr. Steel, Alice Cooper, Gary Numan, etc., anything theatrical, weird, and dark that I can “escape” into. Musical ability has never been that important to me, the atmosphere and/or uniqueness in music has always been more appealing, personally.

I’ve always wanted to create “worlds” for listeners to get lost in; you can see this in each Mr. Strange album, no matter what changes musically the escapism is always there.

Inspirations for this new album are a little different though; Krizz Kaliko, Prince, Peaches, Nine Inch Nails, Lady Gaga, Perturbator, Die Antwoord, The Prodigy, Marilyn Manson’s Mechanical Animals, Dead Or Alive, Dirty Sanchez (the electroclash band), Electric Six and Gary Numan have all played a part. Anton LaVey’s ‘Satanic Bible’ has been an influence, also.

Being primarily an electronic composer I’ve always worked using software, so no Mr. Strange song (or earlier Shanklin Freak Show) song have ever come from a traditional “jam” – all songs are created in a methodical, multi-layered, jigsaw-like way. I imagine this approach, while not in any way unique, has had an effect creating the Mr. Strange “sound” over the years.

As with any artist, everything influences me in some way or another, a lot of it subconsciously. The quirkiness of video game music has always been a large influence, especially pre-2001, before games started trying to ape films so much.

Mr. Strange 2015 pic 5_RingMaster Review

You have just released your new album The Bible of Electric Pornography. Can you give us some idea to the evolution of your craft and music shown in previous propositions and has culminated in the new incitement of ears and emotions?

This album’s been on the cards since about 2005. Originally it was just an idea to make a sleazy electro-rock album called ‘Sleaze Pit’; a few demo songs were written, only one of which survived and made the album. The ‘Sleaze Pit’ idea has always been there, all this time, but there has always been something else I wanted to try when it came to the “next record”. That was until Wonderful World Of Weird came out, then it was a toss-up between doing a metal album or this Sleaze Pit album. My guitar amp broke so I went with Sleaze Pit’!

It was only supposed to take 6 months but took 2 years… It evolved in to a monster.

Ideas kept coming, both musically and thematically. It tied in with a pivotal moment in my life, so I could pour a lot more of myself into it without it feeling at odds with the albums themes; I am the albums themes. There’s a sincerity and “realness” behind the theatricality now which may not have been there before. I hope it comes across to people listening to the record.

In my opinion, this is easily the best album I’ve worked on. I’ve never been very confident or overly pleased with any albums up until now. There’s always been time constraints forcing me to rush to completion, or a loss of interest in the project that has hampered its potential. This is the most personal, well-realised and accessible album I’ve ever done. I’ll be happy if this is the last album I ever do.

Some may mourn the loss of the old Mr. Strange quirky goofiness, but I needed to try something else for this album. I’m sure it’ll be back, though.

Mr. Strange EP album cover _RingMaster Review

You mentioned the time it has taken The Bible of Electric Pornography to grow and emerge etc., can you give us more insight into its writing and recording; also were there any collaborations also involved thus time around?

It was a bit more of a solo effort than Wonderful World of Weird, which was a very collaborative effort between me and Mr. Stench (guitarist). This is mainly due to how electronic the music is, so there wasn’t as much for a guitarist or live drummer to do. It was only meant to take 6 months; I didn’t mean to leave my band mates twiddling their thumbs for so long! But we have written a lot of music together though, it’s just not on this record…

The collaboration with Global Citizen (on the track D/s) came about very naturally. I co-produce their music, so have access to their track “stems” and decided to play about with one of their songs one day. I did a remix/remake, of sorts. It sounded great and fitted with the new album perfectly, so I asked Global Citizen if I could use it on the record, they said yes! I thought it’d be cool to have them sing on it too, their brand of lyrical filth seemed a natural fit.

Mr. Strange 2015 pic 3_RingMaster Review

 

Tell us about the lyrical themes and sparks for some of the tracks within The Bible of Electric Pornography.

There are two main themes running throughout Electric Pornography; Satanism and sexuality. For hundreds of years, religions have led people to believe the two are as one. This has led to an extremely repressed society, ashamed by default, born sinners. Christianity has had such a huge impact on the mentality of the western world over its 2000-odd years; its grip is loosening, but very slowly. The ingrained shame still exists in the western subconscious; some can overcome it easily, for others it can emotionally cripple.

I wanted to make a liberating album; I’m tired of hearing and feeling that I should be ashamed. I want to be the antithesis of that kind of thinking, the adversary of it. Seeing as so much repression, shaming, and bigotry stems from religion, I thought I’d side with one of their classic adversaries, metaphorically. If I’m a deviant abomination in their eyes, so be it, I’ll just embrace it. It’s a middle finger, really. Calling the album a ‘Bible’ is a cheeky slap in the face to the Jesus freaks; it also holds just as much relevance as their Bible, which is none. That’s a positive statement I wanted to make for people who might find this album and who may have to deal with religious bigotry on a daily basis. If it helps just one person feel a little better about themselves, then I’ll call that mission accomplished.

The sexuality in this album is very over-the-top, dark and nasty. This isn’t so much how I view sex and sexuality, but more of a symbolic revelling in the so-called “sinful” debauchery of it all. If I feel a certain way about something, I always take that to the extreme in my music – I blow it up so it’s ten times bigger and more exaggerated than it really is. People who already know my music and “get” it see past the pomp of it all and appreciated the real sentiments behind the overblown way I present them, but I can imagine that to the uninitiated I may seem like a self-obsessed sociopath or something!

Mr. Strange 2015 pic 4_RingMaster Review

Is there one core message within all those aspects it looks at and explores, and specifically that within the album’s finale, The Last Song?

It’s unapologetic and unashamed, and hopefully it will make people feel that way when listening to it.

The finale has two meanings.

The first: the end of a beautiful relationship. A mutual parting of ways that is sometimes necessary and unavoidable.

The second: a farewell to people who may not wish to follow me anymore. I look different and I sound different, I AM different, and that doesn’t always go down well with music fans. The first line sums it up perfectly for me:

 

“I know this isn’t what you wanted,

You wanted more of the same,

But that’s a game I cannot play”

The future for Mr Strange

The future is electric!

Mr. Strange 2015 pic 6_RingMaster Review

Read our review of The Bible of Electric Pornography @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/mr-strange-the-bible-of-electric-pornography/

http://www.mrstrangemedia.com  https://www.facebook.com/Official.Mr.Strange   https://twitter.com/MrStrangeMedia

Pete RingMaster 30/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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BlackDivision – Daze & Delusion (Not-So-Special-Edition)

PROMO

Though it has been out a little while, the Daze & Delusion EP from Croatia band BlackDivision is a release which whether a few months or years old should be given attention such the impressive and richly satisfying offerings. Consisting of four striking songs and two additional covers on this the Not-So-Special-Edition, the release introduces a band that with an already strong reputation in the local underground scene is poised to strike out further afield and with luck plus hope it will trigger the same hungry reactions found at home.

Merging many styles into their metal forged sound, the Vukovar quartet of vocalist/guitarist Alex Pierce, bassist Justin Case, drummer Sasha Grey, and Andrean Daine on electronics, and guitars, shape their first demo release with a wash of electronic temptation latched onto sinew clad melodic and death metal whilst further flames of sonic endeavour adding extra temptation to the release. Daze & Delusion is not without flaws but for an entrance in to the wider world and as evidence of what BlackDivison has to offer it is a captivating and accomplished, very promising encounter.

The title track starts things off and immediately has attention dancing in the aisles with early hunger for the bulging electronic sounds Front Coverand ear rifling riffs. Once set the song charges along with a feisty mix of sinew wrapped bass and drum enslavement framing the strong vocals and guitar play of Pierce whilst Daine wraps an immersive and riveting narrative of keys and electronic ambience around it all. The blend is intriguing and at times mesmeric leaving song and band entrenched in thought and satisfaction.

The striking start is soon accompanied by the equally compelling Stardust, the song retaining the dramatic poise and impressive mix of textures and sound to flavour an also exciting presence. Arguably at times the track is walking a too similar a line to its predecessor but such the call and enterprise on show it is a welcome rather than a displeasing aspect. The vocals of Pierce find a good mix between a raw but clean and a raucously aggressive delivery, his tones matching in many ways the imaginative conflict between keys and guitars, as well as bass, which sculpts the song and release. The track continues the adventurous start to leave a now sure appetite for BlackDivision.

Both Losing My Course and My First Division provide interesting and entertaining propositions even if they pale against the previous two. The first of the pair has a gothic metal breath accompanied by a slight glam/horror rock air which engages easily but with the production for the first time on the release showing its demo stance more potently it does flounder somewhat. There is plenty to grip hold of and find good promise in the song though whilst its companion unleashes a heavier classic and power metal like core twisted into an industrial/thrash urgent collision of rhythms and riffs to also raise a nosey focus. There is plenty going on within its appealing exploits more than a mouthful of flavoursome spices to devour keenly, though also it lacks the strength and guile of the opening songs.

The EP is completed by firstly a cover of the Lady Gaga track Bad Romance, a song which is treated to a sturdy make-over without lighting any fires and a great version of Crno Je Sve, a track of legendary Serbian punks Ritam Nereda. That final song retains the fire and growl of the original and fires it up with the great keys of Daine, the union a less vicious but equally potent rub on the ear compared to the original. Truly it is hard to match anything the great Serb band offers but BlackDivision make an impressive and riveting attempt leaving the listener as awake to and eager for the band as when the release first started.

Daze & Delusion (Not-So-Special-Edition) is an accomplished and dexterous invitation to a band new to most of us and as BlackDivision show their promise and already established skill and invention with the release, suspicions that they will not be the quietest secret for much longer is a lingering thought.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/BlackDivision/118869238170748

7/10

RingMaster 08/08/2103

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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