Magnetic reflections: looking into Black Mirrors

We were aware of the buzz building up around Belgian band Black Mirrors so eagerly anticipated checking out their new EP release with Napalm Records. Fair to say that Funky Queen more than lived up to the praise gathering around its release, revelling in the myriad of flavours behind its bluesy rock ‘n’ roll. Offered the chance to find out more about band and release we fired questions at vocalist Marcella Di Troia and guitarist Pierre Lateur.

Hi guys and thanks for talking with us.

Firstly can you give us the background to Black Mirrors; its beginnings and how you all met?

, c Nanna Dis 2016

Marcella: During summer 2013, I wanted to create a female band. I found a drummer and a bass player but found it difficult to find a female guitar player. I was looking for someone who could play like Pierre the actual guitar player. I was fond of his sound. I couldn’t find a girl who could do that. So, I asked Pierre to join the band. After some jamming, we wanted to work harder and to start to write our own songs but the girls didn’t have time to invest in the project. So we forgot the idea to have an (almost) female band and invite two old friends, Gino and Edouard to join the band as bass player and drummer. We used to play with them in other bands before Black Mirrors.

We recorded our first EP and did our first gigs with this line up late 2013.

What inspired the band name?

Marcella: The name Black Mirrors came up with the TV show Black Mirror, a really cool English series which shows how technology is progressively changing our world. People are more distant to one another by being connected to the virtual world. We do not want to judge anybody, it’s just that we are witnesses of that change in our society and it touches us.

You sound is seemingly bred in garage rock but, as your new EP Funky Queen shows, flames with much broader rock ‘n’ roll diversity. What are the kinds of inspirations which have lit your musical imaginations most prominently?

Marcella: All the bands we are listening to were influenced prominently by blues masters such as Bessie Smith, Leadbelly, Robert Johnson, BB King, Muddy Waters, Blind Willie Johnson… So I would say the blues.

Pierre: Apart from the blues, we have a lot of different influences like the stoner scene, the late 60’s and early 70’s rock music like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zep, Janis Joplin and even the early Pink Floyd, the revival scene like The White stripes, Rival Sons and The Black Keys, some elements of soul/funk music and a bit of desert-blues like Tinariwen.

The Funky Queen EP has just been released through Napalm Records; how did that link-up come about?

Marcella: During summer 2015, we were invited to play in Germany at «Out and Loud» festival. Napalm was there as they opened the festival with a Napalm label night. Some of Napalm’s bands played there and they found us a slot to play. That was our first contact. We stayed in touch with them for a year and last summer we sent them our new songs. They liked it and Napalm offered us a deal.

It is being described as the band’s debut EP but am I right in thinking it has a self-titled predecessor released in 2014 which new fans to the band will want to know about?

Marcella: Yes, you’re completely right! Three years ago, we released our very first EP. We recorded it a couple of months after having started the band because we wanted to play live shows as soon as possible. This first EP is now sold out.

How would you say the Black Mirrors’ sound has evolved over its first handful of years?

Pierre: The basic sound didn’t change that much. Since the beginning, we wanted to create a music which will be a mix of all our influences. In 2013, our songs were already a mix of blues/rock, stoner and a bit of psychedelic music with a vintage approach.

But if we speak of the sound more specifically, the guitar sound became wilder with the years and our first drummer left the band. He was replaced by another one who came with his sensibility, approach and specific sound. So these two elements influenced a bit the final result.

With all artists, there is a specific intent fuelling their first steps. What was the driving force for Black Mirrors?

Pierre: Nothing more than being happy and thankful to play together. We are friends for such a long time and we’ve started the band to enjoy creating music together. We never had a big statement like « We want to play this kind of music, like very pure blues or a specific kind of stoner. » It was always about playing anything we had in mind without thinking too much. Maybe it’s the reason why there’re a lot of different influences in our music.

Listening to the EP there feels like there is a strong collaboration between the band in its songs birth and character. How does the band’s songwriting generally work?

c, c Nanna Dis 2016

Pierre: Most of the time I create basic ideas like a riff or two and show it to Marcella. We work together on a first version of the song, she composes her vocal part and we work on a basic structure. We show this draft to the band. With them we give the tune his final form. We often create new parts, remove others; jamming around the sound. Because of all this process, the song’s final version is sometimes totally different than the first idea.

Can you give the readers some insight to the background and themes to Funky Queen?

Funky Queen, which opens our EP, is about addiction. Funky Queen is the queen that confronts everyone with one’s own demons.

The second song is Kick Out The Jams, a MC5 cover. We wanted to put it on our first EP as it’s represent very well the general energy of our music.

The Mess is a song about messy feelings you get after you broke up a very bad love relationship. Sometimes, you’d rather not see things than to be destroyed for your entire life.

And finally, Canard Vengeur Masqué to end up…It is a song who talks about the missing of one of your parents after a divorce, the way you can feel forsaken in this situation as a child.

Funky Queen has a great cover to match its sounds. Who is behind the artwork and indeed the band’s excellent logo?

Pierre: It’s Sebastian Jerke, a German artist who worked with My Sleeping Karma and Colour Haze to name a few. We really like his job. We got in touch with him and he appeared to have several great ideas for the artwork.

Apart from the likes of Front 242, dEUS, Soulwax, Enthroned, Triggerfinger, Steak Number Eight, and the excellent King Hiss, I cannot say we know too much about the Belgian rock scene. It is a healthy place right now, especially in its underground?

Well, it depends if it is in the French speaking part of Belgium or the Flemish part. We think Flanders gives more chance to underground music. Just by seeing bands you named, most of them are from Flanders. We are coming from Wallonia where the rock scene is a bit shy. Unfortunately, you barely see a rock band as highlight on a festival poster in Wallonia.

What is next in the immediate future of Black Mirrors?

Going on tour with Horizont and ’77 and record our full length album.

Once again our big thanks for sharing your time with us.

Check out our review of Funky Queen @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/black-mirrors-funky-queen/

http://www.blackmirrorsmusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/blackmirrorsmusic   https://twitter.com/BlackMirrorsmus

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Black Mirrors – Funky Queen

 Black Mirrors Pic Nanna Dis 2016

BW, Black Mirrors, Belgium, Music, c Nanna Dis 2016

Every loud acclaim loaded whisper and incessant buzz needs something to back it up and that is exactly what Belgian rockers Black Mirrors do with their debut EP. The Brussels hailing quartet is one of the keenest new names on more and more keenly crowing lips and Funky Queen offers plenty of reasons why.

There is little we can give as background to the band but with their music doing all the talking on their Napalm Records released first EP, additional details can wait. The Black Mirrors sound is a myriad of flavours; at times it is bluesy and punky, in other moments a mix of grungy stoner and psych/heavy rock imagination, more often a blend and varying combination of all and more; a varying web easy to hear in just the four songs within Funky Queen alone. Imagine a boiling pot of essences from the likes of Queens Of The Stone Age, My Baby, Soundgarden, Janis Joplin, Jess and The Ancients Ones, and Led Zeppelin and you get a sense of the fevered sound seducing and rousing ears.

Funky Queen opens with its title track making first contact with gnarly riffs and controlled pounding beats contrasted by fuzz gifted harmonies. Swiftly a driving spine of swinging rhythms and grumbling grooves court the alluring tones of vocalist Marcella Di Troia, her magnetic presence and prowess matched by the infectious throes of the sounds around her. There is nothing to stop hips swerving and feet shuffling in league with the virulence, the track’s fusion of desert and blues rock almost tribal in its catchiness.

707_blackmirrors_cmyk_RingMasterReviewIt is a stunning track awakening ears and appetite with lusty zeal and setting them up for the garage rock and blues punk revelry of Kick Out The Jam. Winding around the dark bait of Gino Caponi’s bassline, the grooves and melodic flames from Pierre Lateur’s guitar sizzle as the sticks of drummer Nicolas Scalliet land with relish. Di Troia again stands vocally astride it all with commanding dexterity and vocal zeal, a union of enterprise in spirit raising rock ‘n’ roll providing a striking cover of the MC5 classic.

Actually it is four such escapades on offer, The Mess just as persuasive as it ventures on a slower more controlled stroll soaked in anthemic temptation and sultry melodic juices. Like a siren, the song draws ears and emotions in but the rewards are invigorating not dangerous, except to swinging hips quickly involved in the fiery seduction.

Canard Vengeur Masqué brings things to a invasively captivating close, the song also reserved in its gait but eager in its sonic and melodic tempting with Di Troia a seductress to sound and listener as rhythms twist and turn around glowing grooves and hooks keen to infest the psyche. There is a touch of the now demised British band Karn8 to the song and of the aforementioned My Baby too, but Black Mirrors for the fourth time in the EP stand individual and irresistible in ears and praise.

The Funky Queen EP is quite superb and will only accentuate the band’s already heady reputation while drawing a horde of newcomers to the bold seduction that is Black Mirrors.

Funky Queen is released March 3rd via Napalm Records across most stores.

Upcoming Live Dates:

07.03.2017 TU – Ankara / ODTÜ

06.04.2017 BE – Antwerp / Trix

w/ Horisont

16.03.17 DE – Hamburg / Logo

17.03.17 DE – Siegen / Vortex

18.03.17 DE – Düsseldorf / Pitcher

23.03.17 DE – Munich / Backstage

25.03.17 CH – Pratteln / Z7

26.03.17 AT – Vienna / Das Bach

27.03.17 AT – Salzburg / Rockhouse

28.03.17 DE – Mörlenbach-Weiher / Live Music Hall

29.03.17 DE – Lichtenfels / Paunchy Cats

30.03.17 DE – Berlin / Privatclub

http://www.blackmirrorsmusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/blackmirrorsmusic   https://twitter.com/BlackMirrorsmus

Pete RingMaster 03/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Renegade Twelve – Self Titled

renegade-twelve-promo-shot_RingMasterReview

With a character which refuses to be pigeonholed yet openly embraces every flavour of melodic metal and heavy rock you care to mention, the self-titled debut from Renegade Twelve is oh so easy to like. Offering ten rousing slices of rock ‘n’ roll as inventive as they are seemingly familiar, the release is a formidable and increasingly captivating introduction to the British outfit.

Hailing from Suffolk, Renegade Twelve emerged in 2014, formed by long-time friends in lead guitarists Jacob Mayes and Dan Potter, bassist Josh Barnard, and drummer Jack Mcsloy. It was with the addition of vocalist Sam Robson that the jigsaw of talent was finally complete, a union driving the band through over 100 gigs in 2016 alone in support and preparation for the release of their first album.

Recording it with producer Rupert Matthews who has collaborated with the likes of Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Eagles, and Black Sabbath, Renegade Twelve quickly unleash their individual and united enterprise with opener Mad Max. It opens from afar, sonic melodies and fiery energy brewing up their engines at a distance until ready to stand toe to toe with the listener. Once in place it is an imposing yet not overtly aggressive proposition, Robson soon leading the surge of adventure with his quickly impressive tones as guitars weave their sonic tapestry around the swinging rhythms of Barnard and Mcsloy. A definite Avenged Sevenfold colouring coats the song but it also offers plenty more to get the teeth into.

Vanity follows with its own blistering weave of melodic and heavy metal, its instinctive roar equally brewed on an array of textures from alternative and groove metal to classic rock. With ease, as its predecessor, it sparks the spirit and energies before Heroes Of Mine embraces ears with its melody rich, almost folk metal spiced enterprise before settling into its muscular melodically persuasive rock ‘n’ roll canter. Though the track is eclipsed by those around it, there is no lessening of appetite and enjoyment already bred by the album especially as the technical imagination of the guitarists dance evocatively on ears.

A carnivorously toned bass growl is just one ingredient in the thickly riveting success of Bipolar, anthemic vocals and raw virulence another as it energetically and at times venomously prowls the senses. It too just misses out on matching earlier heights yet has attention solely in its inventive hands especially when the organic animosity of its heart erupts and fuels a great passage of irritability.

renegade-twelve-cover-artwork_RingMasterReviewThrough the predatory landscape and infection clad swing of the outstanding This Town the album hits a new plateau, the track a boisterous funk lined stomp with a defiant snarl on every corner. Its individual nature adds to the already open variety within release and Renegade Twelve sound, a diversity further stretched by the power balladry/classic metal blaze of War Plane and in turn the epic yet intimate bellow of Somme. The first of the two leaves nothing to be dissatisfied with but is overshadowed by its surrounding companions with the sensational second of the two pure creative theatre with no signs of indulgence or wasteful seconds.

Yeah Boi swaggers in straight after, grouchy basslines and punchy beats joining cantankerous riffs in an irresistibly compelling instrumental unafraid to reveal a Pantera inspired swing bound in spicily toxic grooves. It sets ears and pleasure up perfectly for the fiercely catchy antics of MFC, a blistering sonic ravaging of ears, and straight after the melodic hug of closing track Bill & Chief. From its gentle, acoustically nurtured start, the song catches ablaze with melodic and emotive flames to bring the album to a conclusion as impressive as its start.

Renegade Twelve is a stunning debut sure to appeal to fans of most flavours within the metal realm such its richness of styles. The fact that the band still finds a pretty distinct sound even with its familiar essences is testament to the imaginative writing and unmissable skills of its individuals.

Renegade Twelve is out 27th January.

http://renegadetwelve.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/Renegade-Twelve-1393405887586971/   https://twitter.com/renegadetwelve

Pete RingMaster 25/02/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Norquay – Animal

norquay-artwork-squared_RingMasterReview

You may have missed it in the Xmas turmoil and festivities but Animal is one single ears and attention should still seek out as the New Year relaxes into place. The latest track from Norquay (pronounced Nork Way); the song is a boisterous and rousing slice of rock ‘n’ roll marking the next step in is creator’s budding music career.

Norquay is the solo project of Aberdeenshire hailing songwriter/musician Andrew Norquay, an artist who returns from a three year hiatus from music due to his commitments as a commercial diver with a bang in the shape of his new single and the equally striking Vices EP from which it comes. Drawing on inspirations from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Muse, Radiohead, and Oasis, Norquay creates a sound which wears familiar essences on its sleeve yet weaves them into slices of fresh anthemically honed imagination. The five-track Vices EP confirms that suggestion; Animal reinforcing the claim with its snarling riff driven, melody spiced virulence.

Casting a character somewhere between Queens Of The Stone Age and Johnny Wears Black, Animal roars from its first break of guitar casting a hook which just grips the imagination. Rhythms and keys are soon additionally engaged in the raw and tenacious enterprise crowding around the potent tones of Norquay, all uniting in a thickly infectious and magnetic persuasion.

With a stoner-esque scent to its alternative rock endeavour, the song swiftly and imposingly involves the listener physically and emotionally; a quality the best rock ‘n’ roll always carries.

Animal and the Vices EP are out now through iTunes and Amazon.

https://www.facebook.com/Norquayuk   https://twitter.com/norquaymusic

Pete RingMaster 04/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Eastern Swell – One Day, A Flood

the-eastern-swell_RingMasterReview

If one word had to be used to describe One Day, A Flood, the debut album from Scottish quartet The Eastern Swell, it has to be spellbinding. From the first listen the tapestry of genres which shape its songs catches the imagination but it is with subsequent listens that the real bewitchment blossoms. Inspired by and weaving together essences from the likes of progressive folk, experimental rock, and neo-psychedelia among numerous other flavours, The Eastern Swell combines poetic storytelling and melodic suggestiveness in one impressive captivation.

Edinburgh formed, The Eastern Swell emerged in 2014; the Anglo-Scottish foursome of guitarist/vocalist Chris Reeve, vocalist Lainie Urquhart, bassist/vocalist Neil Collman, and drummer Andy Glover first going by the name of Lainie & The Crows. With a well-received EP, name change, and the signing with excellent Scottish label Stereogram Recordings under their belts, the band set about creating their debut album with producer Pete Harvey (Modern Studies, Meursault, and King Creosote) in his own Pumpkinfield Studios. Themed by tales of “about vulnerability and the frailties of being human”, One Day, A Flood casts individual reflections linked by the underlying premise and a fluid movement from one song to another. Enjoyably working individually, the album’s tracks also impressively create a single experience which is just as potent, maybe even more so, taken in one listen. With self-admitted inspirations to the band, when creating One Day, A Flood, including the likes of Syd Barrett, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Fairport Convention, King Crimson, Pixies, Thee Oh Sees, Cat Power, and Gillian Welch, it is fair to say that the album is a rich collusion of styles and flavours honed into one kaleidoscope of imagination.

The album opens with the outstanding Rattling Bones, a track drenched in drama and emotive intensity. A sonic mist first encases ears, this quickly followed by a gloriously evocative riff soon joined by an equivalent lure from the bass. A sudden drop into a sombre air of melancholy with a dour but tempting melody, as the warm tones of Urquhart caresses ears and thoughts, then enjoyably wrong foots. Soon though, the track develops a lively stroll to its gait, marked by the bold roll of rhythms as provocative strings from guest Pete Harvey further toy with the imagination. The song is superb, a seamless patchwork of enterprise and creative hues setting the scene and character of the album.

the-eastern-swell-one-day-a-flood_RingMasterReviewWhat’s Done Is Done is next up; sharing the dark throated riffs and bass tone of its predecessor as essences of psychedelia and late sixties/early seventies melodic rock merge and the great blend of harmonies across Urquhart, Reeve, and Collman embrace. It oozes a seductive touch with every exotic sigh, warm surges and electric impulses uniting in a gentle but dynamic rousing of ears and spirit. The excellent proposition is followed and matched in temptation by 1000 Yard Stare where the vocal mix again grabs attention as they immediately cradle ears while psych and folk pop streams of enterprise kiss the imagination. Crescendos of lo fi intensity contrast and work perfectly with this golden glow of voice and melody, the compelling encounter almost tempestuous at times in its Wicker Man like climate and emotion.

The acoustic grace and warm melancholy of Temples is next, Urquhart’s voice uniting with the evocative strains of the cello before brighter guitar melodies and quaintly lit keys dance in ears. Its captivating low key proposal is echoed in the individually bold serenade of Muckish Mountain straight after before Too Little, Too Late reveals its own swing of rhythmic hips and melodic gaiety. Once more the fine and contrasting blend of male and female vocals seduces, a match emulated in the dark throes of the rhythms and radiant smile of guitars and keys. With a subsequent hook to lust after, the song is an intimate yet all-embracing festival of sound and energy providing another major highlight to One Day, A Flood.

The fuzzier air of Quick As A Whip makes a swift engaging between song and ears, harmonies and warm textures only reinforcing its potency before the album’s best moment arrives in the shape of Dancing Zombie Blues. Like a devilish concoction bred from The Dead Weather, Bird Blobs, and Old House Playground, the song rattles and rolls with gothic folk majesty, coming to an abrupt end from which a sonic wash brews and develops into closing enticement Run Down Country Palace. Its nature is of similar breeding though once its raw climate is set, the track’s electric veil parts for the reflective charms of vocals, strings, and a folk honed melodic appraisal. As all tracks though, things are never straight forward, The Eastern Swell creating tapestries that perpetually move and evolve.

Another reward provide is that One Day, A Flood never seems to stop growing in ears and imagination listen by listen, creating an adventure very easy to recommend from a band in The Eastern Swell that we will surely be hearing much more of ahead.

One Day, A Flood is out September 16th via Stereogram Recordings.

 http://www.stereogramrecordings.co.uk/artists/the-eastern-swell  https://www.facebook.com/theeasternswell/   http://www.theeasternswell.com/

Pete RingMaster 15/09/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

John Thayer – Face To Face EP

JT_RingMasterReview

Recently singer songwriter John Thayer released new EP Face To Face, a handful of songs which instinctively captivate as warm and suggestive melodies unite with emotion fuelled lyrics and vocals. There is also an intimate drama to each song which often blossoms to broader heights even as Thayer keeps it personal with his introspective exploration and reflections. The result is a release which captures ears with swift success and only lights the imagination further with subsequent listens.

The brother of Tommy Thayer, the lead guitarist in Kiss, John creates a sound inspired by the likes of Yes, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Steely Dan, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and The Who and based, as suggested by his latest offering, around ear seducing melodies. 2013 saw his indie/pop rock sound quickly grab ears and support through debut album Laurel Street, released as the new EP on EON Records.

Already stirring up eager attention, latest record Face to Face was co-produced by John and singer/songwriter producer Rob Daiker (Meredith Brooks, The Fame Riot) at Commune Studios in Portland Oregon and mixed by Greg Collins (U2, Matchbox Twenty, No Doubt). Straight away it seizes ears and imagination with its title track, the opener caressing both with gentle keys and ethereal harmonies initially. That earlier mentioned drama is just as swift in working its charm, coating the emerging orchestral bred keys and vocal expression of Thayer. Equally there is an instinctive catchiness which arises through the song, riffs and hooks mellow but potent as they add inescapable infectiousness to an affair which takes little time to seduce and involve the listener while providing an impressive start to the EP.

art_RingMasterReviewNot Afraid follows and quickly eclipses its predecessor as a thick wall of dramatic rhythmic and sonic energy hits ears. The song soon relaxes as Thayer’s vocals begin sharing melodic sighs and expression though the bass continues to bring dark shadows while prowling the calmer waters, lurking and waiting to join the frequent expulsions of that initial energy with erupt. It is gripping stuff reminding of British artist Johnny Wore Black, and with great unpredictability to its twists and dark hues to its emotion easily takes best song honours upon the EP.

In many ways the song sets a plateau the release never reaches again but enjoyment and creative imagination is still a potent proposal as firstly the melancholic stroll of Really Doesn’t Matter warms the senses to be followed by the evocative serenade of Angel. As the heart bred and felt tones of Thayer slip enjoyable through ears both songs are a flame of melodic enterprise within that ever dramatic air to richly satisfy.

The EP closes with Lonely Eyes and a tapestry of string bred shadows and guitar shaped intensity entangled with suggestive vocals and poetic melodies. There is something cinematic about the song too even as again Thayer ventures into the deepest emotions of the song’s heart. With a flame of a solo and the perpetual majesty of orchestral temptation, the track provides a striking end to an increasingly captivating release.

The Face To Face EP is our first moment shared with the songwriting and sound of John Thayer and like so many others we are sure, it will not be our last.

The Face To Face EP is out now via EON Records through most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/johnthayermusic

http://www.johnthayermusic.com

Pete RingMaster 02/09/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Righteous Reprobates – Scarlet Sky

Righteous Reprobates_RingMasterReview

Scarlet Sky is the new single from UK indie rockers Righteous Reprobates, a song which infectiously shimmers and lingeringly jangles from its first touch.

Based in London and Kent, Righteous Reprobates draw on inspirations from the likes of Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Nirvana, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin. Openly a nineties Brit Pop flavour escapes their sound, the quartet using it, on the evidence of Scarlet Sky, to spice up an instinctive ability to create an infectious proposal. Certainly the song wears its influences openly; a familiar character to its sound hard to escape but similarly the new single shows all the attributes and invention which has seen the band draw strong attention and radio play since emerging.

From the first breath Scarlet Sky grips ears in its glowing lure of sound, its steely texture and smouldering melodies encasing warm vocals and harmonies as rhythms frame it all with a web of catchiness. The vocals of guitarists Rob White and Jack Griffiths emerge to unite perfectly across the inviting landscape of the track, their fingers equally casting a weave of angular and melodically spicy enterprise with just a touch of the 80’s more mod inspired bands such as Purple Hearts and The Chords to it.

With bassist Jack Collier offering a pulsating stroll through his strings as drummer Charlie Kenny drives proceedings with captivating beats, it all adds up to a highly enjoyable and tasty insight into the anthemic sound and growing imagination of Righteous Reprobates.

http://www.righteousreprobates.com   https://www.facebook.com/righteousreprobates

Pete RingMaster 25/08/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright