Audio Poets – Make a Scene

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Such the almost scattergun diversity escaping Make a Scene there are times you wonder how it works with such coherent unity but it does and what is on offer is one gloriously rousing and dynamically imagination incitement for ears and emotions. The new album from US rockers Audio Poets, it is a thumping merger of pop punk, alternative rock, and unbridled rock ‘n’ roll, to try and slim it down, which leaves an increasingly greedy appetite breathless for more.

Formed in Dallas as 2014 made its goodbyes, Audio Poets quickly hit the live scene the following year, playing their first show in Buffalo with Rookie of the Year. Debut EP Colours had its successful release the following month before the quartet spent the spring of 2015 recording Make A Scene. The latter months of the year saw the album uncaged and the band relocate to Los Angeles, as well as hungrily hitting the live scene across the US. The UK and Mainland Europe are now in their live sights for 2016, the band ready to pounce on the already eager reactions to the galvanic sounds and the quickly impressing adventure of Make a Scene.

Recorded with producer Geoff Rockwell (Forever The Sickest Kids, Memphis May Fire, Crown The Empire), the band’s album swiftly hits a rousing plateau with opener The Anthem. A scuzz lined guitar makes the first invitation with its sultry hues, the lead vocals of guitarist Chris Durio quickly adding their punch to the attitude loaded proposal. As the track develops there is no escaping the potent and enjoyable Rage Against The Machine essence to the track, it coming bound in just as appealing stoner-esque grooves from the fiery guitar enterprise of Bru Whitley and Durio who create a magnetic web around the increasingly defiance loaded narrative and vocal tones.

It is a riveting and contagious start to the release but soon overshadowed by the outstanding Wake Up. Straight away that variety in sound and imagination is arousing ears and thoughts, the second song bounding around with pop punk energy and revelry whilst casting an aggressive CIV like snarl and melodic tempting. There is a touch of UK band Hawk Eyes to the romping escapade too, enslaving hooks aligned to rowdy but controlled dynamics colluding excitedly with the darker inviting prowess of bassist Mike Knight and the sinew swung beats of drummer Landon Jett.

Next up Not My Time is a triumph to match the last, this time the band exploring a My Chemical Romance meets Fall Out Boy like theatre of invention and creative mischief. Feet and hips are soon seriously involved with the more restrained, compared to its predecessors, yet feistily swinging canter of the spellbinding song and its unpredictable invention. There is a serious urge to dive right back into the track after its conclusion, though that is soon diverted by the punchy roar of Burn and after that, the album’s Marilyn Mansion scented title track. For the first, Durio mixes his strong clean tones with more rap bred vocal jabbing, though this time The Kennedy Soundtrack is a closer hint to the adventure of sound and voice on offer. As the song evolves between standing toe to toe with grouchy agitation and seducing with poetic melodic infectiousness, a touch of Lost Prophets slips into the captivation, that one more arguably familiar colour which, as within every song, simply helps flavour something openly unique. Next up Make A Scene flirts with and barges across ears with a virulence of craft and sound which again has the body and emotions subservient; electronic and industrial ingredients as powerfully persuasive as the punk infused rock ‘n’ roll at its heart.

Fiery interlude Space is more the doorway into a new turn to the album than a break, its cosmic air a progressively textured tempting for the imagination before Revolution stands tall and defiant in attitude and sound. Featuring Jay Miller of Texan band Drudge, the song is a brooding maelstrom of imposing rock ‘n ‘roll spiced with melodic hardcore imagination and an array of intriguing sonic colours and styles. It easily holds attention and enjoyment tight and leaves satisfaction full though it is maybe not as inventively bold and tenacious as earlier songs, a success found by the equally weighty emotive and tempestuous embrace of Wounded Eyes. Mixing a rich blend of varied metal infused rock flavours, the track is again an encounter fulfilling all wants and hopes if without quite breaching the same plateau the album set in place early on.

Do You Feel It (Now) brings a feistier and in some ways creatively livelier proposal with its tapestry of styles soon after, vocals and sounds from every corner of the band helping draw physical participation before closer Make It Through, escorts ears into a broader electronic landscape that sees the album go out on a potent high.

For personal tastes the album produces its richest and most ingenious mastery across the first five or so tracks, exploring more emotively shadowed and intensive depths to matching success thereafter, and from start to finish Make a Scene is one irresistible and rousing temptation from a band surely heading towards major attention.

Make a Scene is out now through most online stores.

Pete RingMaster 07/02/2016

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Astral Void – Blood from a Stone

astral-void-band2_RingMaster Review

The first thing which hits ears in the Blood from a Stone EP is the passion and at times fury driving the five boisterous tracks making up its body, that swiftly followed by the energy in the songwriting and music of UK rockers Astral Void. This is a band also unafraid to show echoes of some it’s inspirations in its strongly engaging sound; a proposition which could be described as Foo Fighters meets Sick Puppies meets Nirvana with a touch of Therapy? as a hint but one which invites attention as a fresh and thickly tenacious incitement.

From Norfolk, Astral Void’s seeds go back to 2007 and former Red Leaf front man Andy Martin who from performing solo wanted to put his ideas into a band format. After advertising online, Martin met and subsequently linked up with guitarist Chris Gedge (ex- Smoking Aces), the pair eventually finding further members to a band soon becoming a feature of the Norfolk and London live scene over the next couple of years before going on hiatus. That break ended in 2013, Martin and Gedge uniting again and pulling bassist Nathan Redgrave and drummer Liam Ramsker into the line-up. Soon new songs were forged as the band’s alternative/melodic rock fuelled enterprise began stirring things up again, the release of Blood from a Stone a potent poke on attention with its release a few weeks back.

The EP quickly entices ears and appetite with opener B.F.F, riffs almost stalking ears as rhythms rumble and grumble alongside. The harmonic vocals of Martin and Gedge soon after add an enticing temper to that confrontation, their presence in turn sparking fiery melodic enterprise from the guitar of Gedge; Martin’s craft on strings backing him as resourcefully as the former with his vocals for the latter. Emerging grooves have a Lost Prophets feel to their spiciness whilst the unpredictable twists and fluid changes within the landscape of the song simply captures the imagination to excite ears further.

It is a nature to the band’s songwriting which never misses a moment to impress, the following Bleed moving from an initial melodic caress accompanied by the great emotive tone in Martin’s voice and in turn warm harmonies, into a thicker proposal in sound and emotive weight as the band offer their bolder reflective essences. It never majorly breaks from its infectious croon, instead evolving it and giving it more fire in the belly with a touch of Jimmy Eat World coming to the fore. More of a grower than its predecessor, the song keeps a quickly bred appetite richly satisfied before the EP’s title track inflames it again with a similarly heated and angst lined proposal with a far more grungier heart, especially across its volatile chorus. The guitars border on flirtation throughout with their sonic craft and colour whilst rhythms make a moodier proposition matched by the instinctive snarl of Martin’s vocal delivery; all elements woven into an infectious canter and strain of temptation.

From one success to another as the excellent Dust soon establishes itself as a big favourite. Even from its first breath where a prowling bassline lures in discord equipped guitar teases and a vocal lure with a touch of the stalker to it too, the track has its claws into the passions, subsequently exploding into another grunge toned roar as its chorus demands full involvement. It’s galvanic success in turn seems to spark a feistier and more intensely energetic nature to the following verse and the gripping builds shaping the rest of the song’s contagion soaked blaze. Added joy within the tremendous encounter comes through the quirky slithers of guitar which get a major moment to shine just before the rousing finale, their Devo-esque revelry quite delicious.

There is no escaping the Nirvana like essence to the song either, a spice as enjoyable in closing track Pain for another big highlight of the release. A stirring blend of hard rock, grunge, and punk ‘n’ roll, the track reminds ears of fellow UK band Feud a little but is soon bawling at and stomping with the listener with its own raucousness, constantly inviting and receiving participation as shown by the office here.

It is a mighty end to a thoroughly satisfying and increasingly electrifying introduction to Astral Void. Having recently signed with Holier Than Thou Records, it is easy to expect good times in the future with a band that has all the attributes to impress and the imagination to be bigger and bolder ahead.

The Blood from a Stone EP is out now @

Pete RingMaster 14/12/2015

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Never Found – Sorrow And Cyanide

Never Found_RingMaster Review

It seems Welsh band Never Found has been thrilling fans for quite a while now, but that potent knock on the broadest attention and success has yet to be made. Until now anyway as the band’s debut EP Sorrow And Cyanide is the kind of persuasion to give the British rock scene a mighty nudge. A gripping fusion of punk, metal, and riotous rock ‘n’ roll, the four-track encounter is a warts and all incitement that easily grips ears. Comparisons to the likes of Bullet for My Valentine and Aiden have been already and frequently sent the way of Never Found, but as proven by the EP, that reference only tells part of a flavoursome tale.

The seeds of Never Found began with vocalist/guitarist Daniel Barnes and bassist James Sweeten, their vision of a band starting its first steps back in 2009, though it was three years later when things began to really escalate in purpose and sound. That was the year drummer Kieran Ivey joined up to give the band its missing heartbeat. Since then Never Found has become an eagerly followed live proposition, playing with bands such as Fearless Vampire Killers, Ashestoangels, and William Control amongst many along the way. With their line-up more recently completed by guitarist Sam Redmayne, they are now ready to make a big statement towards bigger spotlights; Sorrow And Cyanide the first potent line in that creative declaration.

Artwork_RingMaster Review   It opens with Just Like Hollywood, a track careering through ears from second one upon a charge of punk riffs and battering rhythms driven by the instantly strong tones of Barnes. As Clash/Sex Pistols like chords and ferociously lined punk roars erupt in sound and voice, the song quickly brews an aggressive virulence with its own line of contagious hook littered enterprise, and an adventure unafraid to embrace hardcore and harsher metallic spicery. Tenaciously and bruising, the track provides a gripping and thrilling start to the EP, but sound wise, it is just one shade to be discovered within Sorrow And Cyanide.

The following Choking Me stalks and rises up against the senses with a much more metal leaning, barbarous rhythms and acidic grooves entwining ears as Barnes vocally and enjoyably carries on employing a punk seeded incitement. With the bass of Sweeten a grouchy and bestial stalking at the heart of the growing infection too, the track springs a confrontation as antagonistically grouchy and spikily catchy blend of As I Lay Dying and Lost Prophets to entice and impress.

King Of Nothing follows a similar if less intensive pattern as its predecessor, and maybe loses some of its predecessor’s spark and potency because of it, but with more great vocal enticing and strong muscular enterprise walling in spicy adventure through the guitars, the track leaves satisfaction only full.

Fair to say it is swiftly outshone by Take Me Away though, the EP closer enticing hues of grunge cored rock ‘n’ roll into its volcanic landscape of metal voracity and punk rock rebelliousness. Almost like Green Day meets Gruntruck and Reuben, with the results stirred up by Skinlab, the track is a powerful and favourite dynamo to end the excellent EP.

Demandingly we are now expecting big things next time around from Never Found just because of the impressive introduction offered by Sorrow And Cyanide, but to be honest more of the same would not be a major disappointment either, as long as some of the promise oozing through this great release is intensified.

The Sorrow And Cyanide EP is out now @

Pete RingMaster 02/11/2015

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Manhattan Coast – This One’s For You

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    Self-released on February 17th, expectations and suspicions are ripe with only one thought, that the This One’s For You EP will be the trigger to a countrywide awakening and passion for UK alternative rock/pop band Manhattan Coast. The evidence is bouncy and vibrant through the five irrepressible slices of revelry making up the release, and though the Bridgend quartet is not exactly carving out brand new adventures they are casting an enticement which is potent and rigorously enjoyable. The EP is an encounter which easily catches the imagination and breath with its big contagious choruses and almost spitefully effective hooks, a release showing Manhattan Coast as another in the long line of satisfaction fattening bands from South Wales.

    Formed in 2011, Manhattan Coast has crafted a fine and impressive presence and reputation locally and across the UK, tours across Britain and the release of their first two EPs, Never Tell Me The Odds and Beg, Borrow and Steal, sparking eager interest amid a constantly growing fanbase. Equally shows with the likes of Kids In Glass Houses, Blitz Kids, and Straight Lines have brought further impressed focus upon the band. Now, supported by a European tour this month and UK dates with Forever After, This One’s For You is the next stirring declaration from Manhattan Coast and a tasty piece of excitable creative persuasion it is too.

     War On The Weekend opens things up and immediately has ears under the spell of an infectious hook and punchy rhythms. MC_EP_Cover_Sml_WebInto its potent stride with the excellent vocals of Nick Lane unveiling the lyrical narrative with smooth melodic tones, the track surrounds him with those continuing firm senses tagging rhythms and additionally teasing riffs whilst a web of inventive and resourceful guitar endeavour from Geraint Rees defeats expectations to inspire even greater adventure in the infection drenched song.

    The band has been compared to bands such as The Wonder Years, Taking Back Sunday, and Man Overboard over past releases and sounds but the one band which stands out as the closest reference, certainly in regard to the contagion and inspired potency of the torrent of hooks across the EP, is Lost Prophets. Rees has mastered the ability to cause addiction with his inventive and often short but razor sharp hooks, their efficiency and potency as irresistible and admittedly at times enjoyably similar to those which littered the other Welsh band’ compositions. Second song Monsoon Season In Machine City like its predecessor offers that prime Lost Prophets like virulence with its first breath. From there the band unleashes a dense brawl of rock ‘n’ roll intensity and pop punk voracity as the song seizes the imagination and appetite as tightly as the first. The band’s songs have that mischievous quality of recruiting the listener’s passions, limbs, and voice in their adrenaline fuelled choruses, not a pretty sight in some of our cases, and this blaze of melodic rioting is no exception.

    The opening pair provides the strongest bait into the release and band for newcomers, but are soon left in a sort of shade by the title track and the following Dreams Are For. The first of the two makes a reserved entrance, vocals and melodies stroking ears as the excellent bass tempting of Adam Jones adds just the right amount of intimidation to egg on the ever forceful yet respectful beats of drummer Dan Ryan. That Lost Prophets thought is probably at its strongest across these two songs but only adds to the admittedly familiar but refreshing stomp of passion and enterprise bursting from the songwriting and its presentation. The second of the two and best song on the release, is an epidemic of melodic toxicity and feverishly presented hooks within a pop punk riot of energy and ingenuity. Constantly unpredictable and swerving into new avenues throughout with Lane providing his most potent and impressive moment yet, though that applies to all members to be fair, the song is the most complete and original track on show and the most potent gateway into the artistic heart of the band.

     Carpe Diem finishes things off in equally immense and winning style, rhythms finding their biggest sinews and guitars their strongest snarling attitude though as always melodies and harmonies aligned to deep infectiousness is the order of the moment. It completes a persistently thrilling and magnetic encounter from a band you sense is on the verge of breaking it big, certainly the This One’s For You EP suggests so. With no real flaws and maybe only a surface similarity in sound to some songs a seeming minor niggle for some i, Manhattan Coast  is set to make 2014 their year.


13/02 – De Bliksem, Den Helder (NL)

14/02 – Carpe Diem, Hasselt (BE)

15/02 – De Duycker, Hoofddorp (NL)

16/02 – Blaues Haus, Mönchengladbach (GER)

21/02 – Hobos, Bridgend (UK) w/ Forever After

22/02 – Racehorse, Northampton (UK) w/ Forever After

23/02 – White Horse, Colchester (UK) w/ Forever After


RingMaster 12/02/2014

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Shouting Signals: Stand Your Ground EP

Shouting Signals Promo 2

    The Stand Your Ground EP from British post-hardcore band Shouting Signals is one of the more accomplished and fresh sounding releases to come out of the genre in recent times The debut five track feast is a blaze of fiery melodics, sturdy rhythms, and passionate vocals brought with honed craft and thoughtful enterprise, with only the fact it has not quite a distinct enough voice yet to rip the band wide apart from other genre related contenders as the only slight dent in its impressive armour.

The Essex quintet of vocalist Bertie Scott, guitarists Rikk Malice and Scott Baker, bassist Tom Clare, and Jay Wilding on drums, has been on a steady rise since forming in 2011. Constantly working on their sound, unrelentingly honing it and their craft, the band has inspired a growing loyal fanbase through their energetic live performances which has seen them gigging with a hunger around the south east and London. The band has been compared to the likes of You Me at Six, Architects, and 30 Seconds To Mars, and their first release certainly does nothing to dispel those potent references. Stand Your Ground is their first strike in to the larger national awareness, a release which easily reflects the time and effort which the band put into it to make sure every surface, note, and emotion it offers was of their finest imagination and skill.

Opener Never Run Away tells you all you need to know about the band, rich melodic guitars sounds with a sonic fire and Shouting Signals - Stand Your Ground EP Coverthumping rhythms taking mere seconds to persuade and entertain the ear with an urgent energy and feisty passion. Carrying a jangle to their touch and acute textures to their voice the guitars of Malice and Baker flame and snake around the senses with inventive imagination to secure strong attention, whilst the bass and rhythmic enticements of Clare and Wilding respectively cage and drive it with not exactly unbridled aggression but with a firm intent. The vocals of Scott though stand with their own rich stance, his tones and delivery openly impressive and a big factor which along with their instinctive ability to create invigorating sounds to see the band in a clear spotlight of their own in the future.

The following Breathe In, Breathe Out and One Forty continue the strong and engaging start, the first unveiling brazen melodic enticement and again, what is to be a constant across the release, fire to its passionate appetite to excite and provoke the listener in their emotions. The guitars and vocals dominate with quality and power with the rhythm section pulling it all together with excellent ability but production wise it would have been nice to have the bass especially finding a stronger clarity and presence in the mix. The second of the pair opens with its sinews rippling within bulging riffs and crisp punchy drum beats alongside more shards of guitar sonics, which niggle and agitate the ear enjoyably, and the now expected great vocals of Scott. Though neither song matches up to the strength of their predecessor, both further the brewing magnetised hunger for their creative encounters.

All My Answers is an excellent slice of acidic and inciting melodic rock with a strong whisper of Lost Prophets to its impacting presence, the choppy riffs and suggestive bass groan showing the depth of the invention within songwriting and how to wring every idea of its purest essences. The best track on the EP, it hustles and bustles the ear with a raucous breath and seemingly untamed energy all keenly sculpted by the skilled talents of the band.

Closing song The Penitence is another major highlight of the release, a song which shifts its stance constantly with a fluid and strikingly impressive mastery. With the bass finding its deepest growl and allowed to share it with more openness and great vocal harmonies employed alongside the rich expression of Scott, the track is a powerful and thrilling end to an equally enjoyable release.

Shouting Signals is a band to watch very closely and, as the Stand Your Ground EP proves, enjoy along every inch of their certain rise.


RingMaster 30/03/2013

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Guardians: Self Titled

Guardians Promo Shot

With the release of their self-titled mini-album, North West rock band Guardians has staked a strong persuasion in looking at them as strong candidates as the next big thing in British alternative rock. The seven track release is an impressive and thrilling release which captivates from start to finish whilst offering infectious melodic flourishes over highly energetic engagements and powerfully striking rock n roll throughout. A treat for the ear, senses, and heart, Guardians is a deeply pleasing encounter to help set British rock music off in the new year in fine style.

From Wallasey in Merseyside, the band formed in 2006 when the members were still at school. Since then they have moved from playing biker clubs at the age of 14 to sharing stages with the likes of Status Quo, The Blackout, The Automatic, and Twenty Twenty, as well as headlining the HUB Festival and finding strong media exposure. The new album is the next step in their increasing rise to wider recognition and one suspect the key to a big year for the band ahead.

After an intro track which makes for a warm melodic welcome the release starts with earnest with An Enemy Of My Enemy. Guardians Cover ArtworkImmediately a heavy senses skirting bass grabs attention alongside firm beats and feisty riffs. As the great vocals of lead guitarist Brad Doné step into view, his and the rhythm guitar of Craig Henderson initially step back before joining up for a catchy and enjoyable chorus section. Into its stride the track is an accomplished and engaging song if slightly underwhelming after reading the comparisons to the likes of Jimmy Eat World, Foo Fighters, and Lost Prophets for the band. It is an enjoyable start though and soon things take an elevated step with the following surge of tracks.

New World Order steps up next with beats bulging and slashing riffs before expanding into a full riot of sound and energy. The vocals of Doné find a coarser edge to their delivery which is fitting within the track and when the rest of the band add their vocals talents the reference to Lost Prophets is like a banner in the sky of the song. For these ears the Welsh band is the closest comparison throughout the release but without stealing from the originality of Guardians and their distinct sound. The bass of Sean McMinn-Davies and drums of Mike Priest again are exceptional within the storm of passionate and intense sound, and the song arguably the biggest of many highlights on the EP.

The rich heart and melodic wash of Follow Your Heart next makes for a captivating companion, a song which took its time to share all of its riches before emerging as an irresistible anthemic joy forged through contagious riffs and hooks alongside kisses of warm keys and emotive grandeur. At this point in the EP no more convincing of band and release is needed to ensure an enthused affection but just to make sure the deliciously grooved dance floor incitement offered by Make It Out Alive sparks further acclaim and ardour the way of the release.

After the short dramatic and emotive instrumental Interlude, the album closes with the mighty Red Eyes. Again heavily Lost Prophets tinged yet distinctively Guardians, the track is an immense slab of metallic sinew and expressive might which is as compelling as it is diverse and imaginative. Unpredictable but fluid in its passage, the song is the perfect parting for a fantastic release and the confirmed placing of the band as an emerging creative force.

Do yourself a big favour and check out Guardians now, though one suspects it will not be long before you will find their impressive sounds and presence everywhere you turn in the world of UK rock anyway.

RingMaster 03/01/2012

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7 Day Weekend: Self Titled EP

Coming on the back of their excellent snarling single Endless Doses, UK alternative rock band 7 Day Weekend nationally release their reworked self titled EP. The five track reboot is the portrait of a young, fresh and promising band with big things on their horizon. Accomplished in creating and using explosive melodies and emotive grandeur, the band is well on course to become a recognised sound country wide.

One of the exciting things about the band is the well crafted and mature sounds they already create at their seemingly young age, watch the videos and see if you are not thinking their mums must be there telling them it is time to come in for tea and not to forget to wash their hands first. It is fair to say they are still evolving and with the aforementioned single one assumes being a newer song compared to those on the EP, they are well on the way to bringing bulk and definition to their sound.

In its original form the EP was released in the fall of 2011, bringing them comparisons to You Me At Six and Young Guns. Already with a strong reputation from their live shows the band then recorded a four track acoustic EP which they gave away for free. Its fine sounds and musicianship led the band to the attention of Gavin Butler (The Blackout) and Neil Starr (Attack! Attack!), who invited the band to open the Manchester show on the Ghosts & Echoes Tour. This was followed by being hand-picked by Feeder to be the sole support on their April Tour. As well as also playing two self funded tours of the UK, the Warrington quintet of Clayton Leah (rhythm guitar), Tom Hancox (lead guitar), Calan Nickle (vocals), John Handy (drums), and Dan Hancox (bass), has pushed themselves to the edge of national exposure which the revisited debut EP as well as the latest single can only ensure is a done deal.

    7 Day Weekend pull inspiration from the likes of Kids In Glass Houses, Young Guns, and You Me At Six which are clear to hear from the first song on the release alone and makes those earlier mentioned comparisons understandable. Ghosts Of Me swaggers in on an eager drum roll and feisty guitars before settling into an energised stroll of sonic riffs, thumping rhythms, and melodic enterprise. The vocals of Nickle are immediately impressive with strong expression to transport the heart of the lyrics to the ear. The track is catchy with keen hooks without being overly infectious but it does linger after its close which is always a good sign. It also has a muscular core which arguably is lacking on the other songs though not to their detriment, making it a strong introduction to the release and band if new to the ear.

As the following Mistakes expands over the senses with its rippling beginning one expects more of the same as the first song but it relaxes into a more emotive piece of songwriting though it is not lacking in passion or keenness. By this point too, the heavy bass sounds of Hancox are starting to mesmerise, his lines growling, often with seeming contempt, to add real depth to the songs. Sharp guitar play and melodic imagination makes the track another very satisfying companion and though not as memorable as its predecessor after it takes its leave, it shows strength and diversity to the songwriting of the band.

Kingdoms is another emotionally driven slice of pleasure and though it takes its time emerges as one of the highlights on the release. It is a mellow track to seduce the senses but still with grit to its breath to make it an impactful treat.

After the Lost Prophets like Hide and the infectious Seasons Like These, again songs which capture the imagination though not as dramatically as those before, the song closes with a trio of acoustic tracks which only go to confirm the quality of band and music.

If one was to be overly picky there is a lack of fire in the belly of the EP at times, that spark of instinctive feistiness but as the current single Endless Doses has that in abundance, one can take it the band have that sorted too. The single is immense and hits all the right targets and heights in one powerful blow.

7 Day Weekend is a band with promise and impressive ability dripping from every sound they share and whether through this EP or the single, preferably both, it would be amiss for all not to accept their musical offerings.

RingMaster 15/09/2012

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Alaska Campus: When We Were Young EP

If indie pop has been feeling a little stale in recent months for you then checking out the new EP from UK band Alaska Campus is a must to rekindle the enthusiasm. The When We Were Young EP is an exciting and superbly crafted explosion of melodic might which equally caresses and warms the emotions or stirs them up with eager energy and enterprise across its five tracks.

Formed in 2011 by Ryan Potter (synth, rhythm guitar and lead vocals) and Daniel Dorney (synth, lead guitar and backing vocals) in college, Alaska Campus initially started out as a post-hardcore sounding project by the duo. Though the sound and band, with the addition of Liam O’Sullivan (drums, percussion and backing vocals) and Liam Fossey (bass, and backing vocals), has evolved to a more expansive and melodic proposition they have still retained an edge and abrasive tension within their music. August of the same year saw the release of their Keep Yourself Warm EP to strong acclaim. The Hertfordshire quartet now return with a release which elevates their sound and surely will their stature within the UK once it is released September 10th.

The band list their inspirations as bands like The Smiths, Death Cab For Cutie, and Bombay Bicycle Club, and as the tracks play these flavours are obvious to some extent though it is fair to say the band has a distinct spice of their own which leaves the strongest and brightest taste. The EP opens with You Me And The Sun, a song which enchants the ear immediately with its jangling porcelain guitar riffs and beckoning. Stepping back at first to let the emotive vocals of Potter approach the ear, the track is soon adding spots of rhythms and sonic lights to emphasise the passion within the words. With crashing crescendos and glorious vocal harmonies as it evolves the song becomes an irresistible anthemic lure, a rousing feast of energy and sound to get the heart pumping faster and pulse rate racing, not to mention to leave one breathless.

The following Roseanna opens with gentle caresses of guitar and vocals, similar to the opener in many ways but sounding distinctly different with its melodramatic atmosphere. Though it does not feel like it the song is building to another dynamic climax, the heated fire of passion unleashed a smouldering and senses singeing glory. The song ends by crying from its rooftops with soaring vocals and dramatic rhythms surrounded by an electrified energy and wired guitar invention. It is a fiery ending to a powerful track and the perfect lead into the best track on the release.

Mon Reve is aural addiction at its richest, a mesmeric and imaginative weave of enticing harmonies, sizzling guitar play, and stomping rhythms. At times it reminds of Lost Prophets, the band scorching the air with further impressive and energetic melodies. The quieter aside mid way initially stops one in full romp but is so well crafted and fluid going into and out that it only enhances an excellent song for the fullest pleasure.

The release is completed by The Story Of Alaska Pt. 1 and Control. The first has a slightly reticent entrance, its opening presence heartfelt yet haunting and speaking from the shadows of the song. Eventually it emerges into the light turning in to a stirring and slightly agitated pleasure, emotion dripping from every syllable and passion drenching every note. The closing Control is just a feisty little devil of a song, its contagion and energy irrepressible yet again dramatically powerful. It is a near perfect pop song, one to light up heavy hearts, shower any grey day with light, and to have one reaching beyond their dampened limits.

Alaska Campus is a band all should be aware of and with the release of When We Were Young more than likely will be. They are one of the bands destined to drive the future of indie music in the UK to greater pastures and heights, now is the time for all to climb on board with them.

RingMaster 30/08/2012

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Take The Seven – Lots of Trouble, Usually Serious

From their debut mini-album alone one can tell that UK alternative rock band Take The Seven have all the ingredients to make more than a big impression on rock music. From robust rhythms and riffs, scorching melodies, and smooth harmonies that engage and induce full attention the Chesterfield quintet eagerly show on Lots of Trouble, Usually Serious why they have garnered a strong and enthused support though only being a band for twelve months.

There has been an impressive array of great debut releases and bands appearing this past year, the months blessed with some inspiring and exciting sounds but there has not been many as rounded and virtually complete as Take The Seven. In their few months together the band has toured the UK extensively and played shows with the likes of Senses Fail, Glamour Of The Kill, Failsafe, and My Passion to great acclaim and success. Their sound is big, expansive, and refreshingly contagious, even in their quieter moments and an easy fit within the ear. The songs invite and entertain like old friends, their creativity and melodies a warm and stirring caress, which leads to the only criticism one can place upon the band. They bring songs that sound close to other bands of the same intent only these five accomplished musicians do it better. Criticism is maybe too strong a word as it is more a case of the band yet to find their own truly unique and distinct sound but with an album that is this enjoyable and music that is mesmeric and exciting even if familiar, Take The Seven are not only ones to watch but to put a wager on to find big success. 

From opener track ‘Welcome to My Town’ and its deliberate thumping riff over an inviting melodic guitar hook you know you are in for something powerful even with the subtle intro. The firmly guiding drums of Gaz Oldale frame a blaze of galloping guitar riffs from Si Redfern and James Hall that offer glowing meandering almost classic rock like asides. The bass of Joe Kitson prowls with an almost menacing surety and uniting all is the excellent clean vocals of Dan Molloy. This guy can sing, not once here or on the rest of the album is there a hint of him straining or struggling to make the emotive tones and clear melodic notes he produces, and backed by Hall and Kitson the harmonies are spot on. This is just the start and more and better is to come.

Through The Crossfire’ is a gem and arguably the best track, its slower pace and incisive melodies keeping heavier tendencies in check though they are always seemingly there waiting to break free. As with all the songs you find yourselves singing along quite early even upon the first listen, that familiarity again but to be honest it makes each track more of an event and an instant connection. ‘Duchess’ drops the pace even further though still its heartfelt emotion comes with a good vitality and ability to get the senses involved and Molloy gives more keen evidence of his talent to touch more than a few hearts ones suspects.

Throughout Lots of Trouble, Usually Serious everyone is on their game from the creative and infectious melodies and inventiveness of the guitars to the pulsating basslines and powerful and controlled drums. ‘Ships And Sails’ is semi anthemic and you can visualise live the crowd moving as one to this and ‘Burnout’ another slower paced but emotionally powerful song, both adding quality to a thrilling release. Completed by the epic sounding ‘History Is Written By The Victors’ and the acoustic ‘The Artist’ the album is immense and for a debut gives a flowing anticipation for what is ahead for Take The Seven, watch out 2012.

If you are looking for quality melodic rock to start your New Year than Lots of Trouble, Usually Serious is a must upon its release on January 9th. It carries touches of the likes of We Are the Ocean, Funeral For A Friend, Sick Puppies and Three Days Grace even a little Lost Prophets and it is a gem. Pass Take The Seven by and it is your loss, this is a wonderful album and any band that cites Reuben as a like has to be checked out, it the law.

RingMaster 14/12/2011 Registered & Protected


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