Villains – Self Titled

villains

     Showing a heart as big as its melodic invention and with energy as attention grabbing as its enterprise, the self-titled debut album from UK band Villains easily shows why there has been a richly brewing fuss about the Essex quintet. Eleven songs which stomp, infect, and croon though not necessarily in that order, the album is a vibrant and appealing slab of alternative rock from a band the country is destined to embrace. At times it scintillates with an imagination which has you catching your breath and in others simply pleases without reserve, but always the release provides a satisfaction which is lingering and full.

     Villains rose from the ‘ashes’ of Chelmsford band Never Means Maybe in 2012, an outfit with acclaimed releases and appearances at events such as Download, Sonisphere, T In The Park, and the Hevy Festival, as well as shows with the likes of Bury Tomorrow, Mallory Knox, and Enter Shikari under its belt. The five members reinvented name and sound to emerge as Villains and last year released debut single Come Out And Play, a track which was soon recruiting eager attention and praise from fans and media alike. It inspired a certain anticipation for the band’s first full-length, a hunger which is undeniably fed across the body of the album with plenty of additional flavour and quality to impress and surprise. The release is not necessarily one to really knock the passions off their feet, its sound arguably seeded in some recognisable beds, but it is an encounter to certainly leave them hungry for more.

     The band gets things off to the strongest start with The Ways I Tell Them, romping rhythms from drummer Drew Steane Cover-(500x500)stirring up the senses as the guitars of Tom McCarthy and Matt Steane have a potent strike at the air. Settling into a pacey stride with rhythms continuing to incite and the bass of Bert Forster adding its individual virulent temptation, the song is in no time working on imagination and emotions as the expressive tones of Renz Byrne glide over the sinews and melodies parading their enticements. With rigorously rousing choruses and energy to lift crowds, the track is a masterful start, the excellent backing and assisting vocals of Forster and Steane only adding to the bait.

     The following Wicked Ways makes a less striking start though is no less dramatic, the smooth voice of Byrne stroking the ears whilst guitars caress his presence. A darker bass groan adds shadows to the emotive endeavour whilst guitars and keys dazzle and evoke thoughts with a craft and adventure that accentuates the passion of the song. Though not as instantly gripping as the first, it eventually unleashes a charge of rhythms and intensity for its own anthemic tempting which soon seals the deal with the emotions. Its fine offering is matched and surpassed by the next track, The Fall. The vocal combination takes little time in charming the appetite as the emotive texture and drive of the song builds into a crescendo of passionate melody drenched heat. As already shown on the previous songs, Villains is never afraid to evolve and twist its invention as here ensuring predictability and expectations go hungry.

     We Have Capture continues the pull of the album if without matching earlier heights, its smouldering melodic embrace graceful and welcoming but veined by a muscular intent which brings again a riveting drama, whilst the following Bleed offers not for the first or last time, a Manic Street Preachers essence to its contagious hook and anthem spawning intensity. Provocative and deceptively melancholic, the song easily engages and excites before the emotive part ballad/part anthem The Light Out Lives The Star next croons and seduces the imagination. Verging on a stadium rock grandeur but honed to be just as effectively intimate, the song is a slow burner which over time climbs to stand on equal levels to the more vivaciously delivered tracks, though none really match its passion.

     The best track on the album is without doubt the previously mentioned single. Come Out And Play is simply irresistible, guitars and the grouchy bass making the first potent lure before joining the feisty drums and charging riffs to converge on the passions with a fiery and infectious gait. The singular and dual vocal delivery is outstanding and only seems to incite the sound to greater urgency and voraciousness, again the use of the word anthemic unavoidable in the face of the track’s glorious romp and persuasion. The only problem which arises is it leaves an inevitable shadow over the very potent efforts of Visions and Sinners such its triumph. To be fair the enthralling enterprise and almost antagonistic breath of the first of this pair is exceptional and stands aside its predecessor, if maybe one step back, to help forge the strongest part of the release whilst the second is coated in melody rich sonic flames around that grizzled bass tone and again compelling vocals to raise temperature and emotional concentration. Like the album as a whole, the song is a skilful draw and for personal tastes the perfect end to the album. That position though is taken by The Hardest Part, a mellow ballad breeding heart driven fire as it proceeds. It does not light similar flames in the passions but with Byrne again showing the depth and power of his voice and the song enjoyably showing the accomplished craft of the band, it is still a rich and full suasion.

   Villains, band and album is an undeniable force in the making, one already creating a deserved spotlight which you suspect will only intensify over time, especially if the band can go even further with the excellent potency of this release.

https://www.facebook.com/villainsofficial

8.5/10

RingMaster 24/02/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Stuntman Mike – Triangles

stuntman mike pic

UK alternative rock band Stuntman Mike has brewed a potent rising reputation for their vibrant sound since forming around three years ago, a certain trigger coming with the release of debut song Triangles. Following on from the keen promise of the single Blackout Revolvers released at the tail of last year, the trio from Glasgow now unleash their debut album, also called Triangles, to make a strong and enjoyable statement about a band finding their creative and enterprising feet. The release offers a collection of accomplished and passionate songs which leaves an eager appetite for their persuasion in place. The album it is fair to say is not one stretching the boundaries of uniqueness for the genre but certainly adds a fresh and heart bred spice.

Taking inspiration from the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Black Sabbath, Kasabian, The Police, and Queen into their ideas and organic sound, the trio of vocalist Scott Hetherington, guitarist Billy Mulholland, and drummer/backing vocalist Affy Ahmad have earned an impressive reputation live which has included shows alongside the likes of Kassidy, The Dykeenies, The Damned Things, Gun, Barry Hyde (The Futureheads) and the Virgin Marys. Their previous self-released singles have also garnered great support and acclaim with the song Secret Forces winning Rock Recording of the Year at the Scottish New Music Awards. Continuing to be passionately DIY, the band is primed to brand a deeper mark with the album, an evocatively fuelled release recorded with famed Scottish producer Stuart McRedie (The Fratellis, Pete Doherty, The Dykeenies, Codeine Velvet Club).

Coming in new to the band, it has to be said their name is not the most inviting for some reason but that is soon forgotten as the 1098022_623813610973427_2105731101_nalbum’s opening track Buffalo confidently strolls up to the ear. Crisp beats and fiery melodic guitar teases immediately draw in attention whilst the brewing intensity and excellent vocals add further potent persuasion. It is not long before a Manic Street Preachers feel emerges from within the song, a flavour which with the band’s own invention makes for a sizzling and impressive invitation. Hooks continue to scythe a deep lure in the imagination whilst sonic hues stand side by side with the delivery of Hetherington to incur greater temptation upon the passions. New ground is not being laid with the song but satisfaction is undoubtedly thick in its presence.

The following Great Exploitations with its fizzing electronic spices and vocal harmonics finds a Muse tint to its magnetic temptation. The stomping core of the song leads the emotions on a heady venture beneath the continually shifting and exploring melodic weave and anthemic breath to forge an encounter which like its predecessor just lifts and ignites the appetite and passions. It continues the impressive start which is not quite matched by next up Modern Glory and Promise, both songs lacking the spark which marked the first pair. Neither lack craft and imagination though, the first having a Mind Museum like emotive energy to its narrative and the second an infectious if not quite tightly griping call to its encroaching cloud of sonic intensity and provocative adventure. Taken alone the tracks leave a lingering impression but on the album pale against the surrounding opening twosome and next up We Say Fire. This song is a sinew sculpted confrontation with a feisty swagger to match. Not neglecting the melodic flames and skill the band already unveils on the album, the track is a storm of rapaciousness and restraint, the extremes brought in a seamless and compelling alignment.

Through the likes of Cartel with its broody guitar and bass probing and the tantalising Roses and Razors, the band continue to hold thoughts and attention in their direction but into its second half the album loses that fire which earlier songs seduced with. Again though these and tracks like Ashes and Champagne Wolves are never less than pleasing and enjoyable in their company, just not lingering once departed.

Closing with the enterprising romp of Kingdom to provide a strong finish to its enjoyable presentation, Triangles marks out Stuntman Mike as a band to keep an eye on. The album does not reach the peaks found by some of its tracks consistently enough across its length to fire up the passions intensely but with all songs soaked in promise and adventure it makes a healthy base for the band to spring from.

http://www.stuntmanmike.co.uk

7.5/10

RingMaster 29/09/2013

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Jacob’s Mouse: The Dot EP / No Fish Shop Parking

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    Jacob’s Mouse was a band in the early nineties which stretched creative limits and ventured into unexplored sonic shadows but also escaped the deserved success and recognition less worthy ear friendly bands received. The trio brewed an instinctive and intrusive blend of indie rock, post punk, and various incisions of inciting noise and aural storms, a sound which explored the listener as much as its own corners and boundaries. Now for the first time two of their releases have a digital release, their debut EP The Dot and first album No Fish Shop Parking, and a long overdue treat for noise fans they truly are.

From Bury St Edmunds, the 1988 formed Jacob’s Mouse consisted of identical twin brothers Hugo and Jebb Boothby on guitar and bass respectively, and vocalist/ drummer Sam Marsh. Taking reported influences from the likes of Fugazi, Minor Threat, Big Black, Pixies, and Hüsker Dü, the band released by the vinyl-only The Dot EP through Liverish Records in 1990. The release grabbed critical acclaim and led the way to support slots with the likes of Nirvana, Suede, Th’ Faith Healers, and Manic Street Preachers, as well as enthused support from John Peel and Kurt Cobain. The following year saw the release of No Fish Shop Parking on Blithering Idiot, an imprint label of the band and continued the strong responses and acclamation surrounding the trio. As the nineties bred and flocked to the Brit-pop phenomenon, Jacob’s Mouse was found itself left out of the focus of an indie scene which was drooling over Oasis, Blur, and similar flavoured presences with a seeming tunnel vision. The threesome reacted in their own way by becoming even more experimental and creatively wilful, their following albums I’m Scared in 1993 and Rubber Room of 1995, released via Wiiija Records (home to Cornershop, Therapy? and BiS), testing and pushing their invention and craft to continually unappreciated responses. The year of their third and last album also saw the band call it a day to leave behind a legacy of unique and inspiring releases and songs which now finally have the chance to cast their magnetic sonic incitement once again.

Both releases come through Sturm Und Drang Recordings and make just as impressive an impact as they did first time around. TheJacobs Mouse Dot EP sleeve Dot EP musically is easy to describe though what you consequently imagine barely glances the reality of the sounds created. Like a searing fire of World Domination Enterprises, The Fire Engines, and Hüsker Dü, the five track release teases and taunts whilst creating its own eclectic character and originality. Opening track Signs initially plays with the ear with an inviting sonic groove before vocal squalls assault with abrasive passion. Unveiling up a web of mischievous delicious hooks and addictive discord driven melodies, the song is the strongest persuasion possible ably coaxed deeper into ardour by the wantonness of the basslines.

The following garage punk caustic brawl of Enterprise leads into the mesmeric Hey Dip Sugar with its dub infused charms and exhausting sonic adventure. Both tracks leave passions ablaze whilst Ho-Hum ignites the senses with insidious repetition lyrically and sonically for a full capture of the imagination and a grazing of their sensibilities. Closing on Microflesh with its blistered atmospheric radiance and gloriously acidic melodies, The Dot was and is an irresistible and deeply compelling introduction to the band and it is no surprise that the releases garnered such plaudits.

Jacobs Mouse - No Fish Shop Parking - front cover      No Fish Shop Parking shows the evolution in the ideas and sound of the band at the time. It still has the essences which made the EP so refreshing but expands to explore and extend the innovative design of the imagination reaped. Opening track Tumbleswan envelopes the ear in a sonic blaze veined with evocative spoken vocals, provocative bass taunts, and more defined melodies than found on the EP. There is a Gang Of Four breath to the track which opens up the attraction further whilst immediately standing as a step forward from their debut release. The following tracks Twist, She Is Dead, and A Place to Go to, entrap the passions further with their distinct stances, the first another Gang Of Four like provocation whilst the other pair search through garage rock seeds to breed their own senses confronting glories.

From the dub blossomed Carfish, a track which has a touch of Ruts about it, the best track not only on the album but arguably one of the best from the band ever sends one into orbit. Caphony is simply sensational, a psychobilly rhythm and simmering tease loaded into a hungry and devilish groove and energy. Though the song predates Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers they are a fair reference with slithers of Screaming Blue Messiahs adding extra spice. Justice and The Vase complete the exceedingly magnificent album with further unique enterprise, the whole release an inspiring sculpted maelstrom of invention and noise.

As more and more noise rock bands emerge you can hear the sounds and inspirations of Jacob’s Mouse within much of their creativity, whether they realise it or not and with this twin release maybe the band will now get the full recognition and awareness it so surely deserves.

www.facebook.com/jacobsmouse

The Dot 9/10 No Fish Shop Parking 9/10

RingMaster 12/03/2013

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Broken Links: Disasters: Ways To Leave A Scene

There has been a little bit of a stir brewing around UK rock band Broken Links and after hearing their debut album Disasters: Ways To Leave A Scene a few times it is easy to see why. To be fair it only took a couple of engagements with the vibrant and compelling release to be convinced but such its magnetic and powerful pull the resistance to returning time and time again was weaker than a paper boat in a tempest.

Since forming around four years ago, the trio from Southampton has seen a slow but very solid rise with their potent mix of post punk, rock, and industrial rock with strong whispers of new wave, winning over hearts consistently along the way. Certainly locally they are one of the most talked about bands and with the release of a trio of well received EPs have built a fan base which is loyal and feisty whilst moving farther afield. Influences come from the likes of Joy Division, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Manic Street Preachers and Bush, flavours which Broken Links evolved into their own unique sound. The result is songs which trigger all the keen responses and taste buds their inspirations ignited, whilst opening up new depths of pleasure for themselves. Their eclectic sound also makes the band an easy and effective fit with many genres which their sharing of stages alongside bands such as British Sea Power, The Boxer Rebellion, InMe, My Vitriol, 22, Official Secrets Act, Fighting with Wire, and The Xcerts shows.

Disasters: Ways To Leave A Scene brings many of the tracks which featured on those early self released EPs with a couple of new ones to create a stirring and towering expanse of emotive and melodic invention. Even though the release strikes a match to open a full magnetism towards its sounds from the start, the more impressive it becomes with time spent in its striking aural arms. Evocative and impactful, the album leaves one breathless and invigorated whilst fully charged to dive into its shadows and immense soundscapes again and again.

The release opens on the sonic simmering of Electrik, though the track soon explodes into a sonically burning sunrise of mesmeric charms.  It is impossible not to be rocked back on ones heels by the mighty vocals of guitarist Mark Lawrence and the electronic blistering which ignites the atmosphere of the song like a cascade of hot golden rain. The rhythms of drummer Phil Boulter form a magnetic frame whilst bassist Lewis Betteridge is a prowling and imaginative shadow to the synths and expressive guitar of Lawrence. The track itself is a ravenous mix of Depeche Mode, My Preserver, and Muse, though the one band which did come to mind during the song was Ultravox, the early version before John Foxx and guitars became redundant.

Within Isolation and What Are You Waiting For? Raise the temperature even higher with their thumping urgency and inventive craft. The first is a sinewy romp of energetic vocals and riffs wrapped in riotous intent and acidic sonic manipulation, a barnstormer of an affair whilst the second explores darker corners of the sound with a smouldering heavy post punk resonance and metallic sonic licking of the senses. A Joy Divison starkness combines with  barbed Comsat Angels like hooks to leave one drooling and when the atmospheric grandeur of Modern English wraps its emotive muscular arms around the song nothing but passion is apace. It is a track which reaps the riches of the eighties yet still is of the now, the band nurturing and evolving those seeds once again into something quite irresistible and distinct to themselves.

Great tracks come thick and fast, each song without fail leaving deep pleasure and ardour behind their accomplished ingenious lures. Tracks such as the brilliant electro rock/pop  triumph We’re All Paranoid, the two part grandeur that is Choice/Decay, with Part I a chilled ambient and slightly disturbing build into the stunning crescendo of Part II, and the swaggering Shelter Your Loss, just captivate and evoke more and more heated enthusiasm.

Hitting even greater pinnacles with the snarling Therapy Sessions In The Dark and potently contagious Cherno, not forgetting the gloriously inciting What Are You Addicted to?, the album expertly and skilfully explores across styles and emotions. Melancholic and reflective, warm and oozing positivity, Disasters: Ways To Leave A Scene is a true giant of a release and surely the first massive and impressive step to wide recognition for Broken Links.

http://www.brokenlinksmusic.co.uk

RingMaster 16/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Evanstar: I Won’t Regret

   I Won’t Regret is the stunning debut release from UK alternative rock band Evanstar, a single which despite the band being together barely long enough to raise a whisper let alone the riot of compulsive sound within their first introduction, is a strikingly impressive and enthralling feast of creative pleasure.

Only formed in September of this year, the Leicester based quartet of vocalist and rhythms guitarist Stuart James, lead guitarist Gary Yeates, bassist Mikey Yeates, and drummer Dan Farnell, instantly captivate thoughts and musical appetite with their rich and vibrant sounds. It is music which evokes emotions and passion, the band showing a refined craft to their blending of passion driven and boisterous energies with emotive and tender melodic imagination. Their influences are cited as the likes of Young Guns, You Me At Six, Deaf Havana, Foo Fighters, Alter Bridge, Stone Sour and more, that eclectic mix certainly offering a flavour of the sound the band bring but it is merely an expanse of spices which  the quartet merge into their own unique recipe.

I Won’t Regret announces itself with a glowing electronic sun, its crystalline radiance soaking the ear from the warm dazzling keys. As it soaks the senses the guitars begin to shape the song with scythes of riffs and sonic caresses. The initial gentle touch evolves into a stirring incitement as the beats become a forceful confrontation and the bass of Mikey brings a snarl to proceedings. Into the thick of its intensity the impressive vocals of Gary are expressive as the strong and passionate lyrics find a voice to share their heart. The thumping rhythms of Dan hold the senses tightly with their hypnotic strength whilst the guitars fire up the heart with a passion which is as unmistakable and invigorating as the energy and lyrical core of the song. As the track unleashes more of its smouldering emotive grandeur the track offers a mix of the inciting invention of Manic Street Preachers and the melodic washes of My Passion with the intense emotive depth of Mind Museum. It is a masterful and fiery experience which leaves one glowing in satisfaction and pleasure.

The single is completed by Living Nightmares, a song which shows Evan star can be just as mightily aggressive and direct as they were masterful in weaving skilful and impressive melodic sensations in the first track. Not that the track is lacking in provocative and heightened colourful harmonies and enflaming melodies, the song as heated and explosive in instinctive emotive force as in its predecessor, but here the raw and charged intensity with enslaves the appetite is a muscular and impacting show of the diversity within the band. It may only be two songs but already you feel Evanstar has much yet inside to unleash and great heights to rise to from an opening base which is immense and irresistible.

With I Won’t Regret, Evanstar has brought one of the most stunning debuts and introductions to ignite 2012, and for us their next release cannot come quick enough.

https://www.facebook.com/evanstaruk

RingMaster 09/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dark Stares: Tell Your Friends EP

Dark Stares is one of those great bands which draw multiple comparisons to a wide array of bands but really do not sound like any of them. They may at times come up with a sound or riff which echoes another band but they are mere colourful strokes within a storm of individual creativity. The quartet from St Albans in the UK, has had the likes of The Killers, Muse, Manic Street Preachers and even The Mars Volta to name a few, offered as references in varying degrees to their music. To that you could just as easily add others like Faith No More and Green Day at certain moments of individual songs, but though still a band evolving their sound and distinctiveness, Dark Stares have a sound which has its own flavour.

Tell Your Friends is the debut EP from the band and what a stunner it is a release which unleashes rock n roll at its best, energetic, towering, and with a spine of powerful riffs alongside veins of irresistible grooves. Formed in 2011, the band consists of three brothers, Miles Kristian, Brett Harland and Taylor Howell (vocals and guitar, bass, and drums respectively) alongside guitarist Harry Collins. As their first year neared its end the band found themselves with high profiles gigs under their belt including supports slots for Enter Shikari and The Darkness. 2012 has seen the band go from strength to strength and with the release of Tell Your Friends on September 10th announce their full arrival in fine style.

Dark Stares open up with the stirring Whisky which immediately has feet and senses in league with its stomping rhythms and melodically guided riffs. Its energy is raw and slightly abrasive to ignite the fullest attention which the addictive grooves and heated hooks feed with relish. Not quite a storm, the track is a powerful stomp through the ear which with its multi faceted flavouring, lights multiple fires with. The guitar play is striking and fills the skies with delicious sonic sinders whilst the melodic craft around it comes from hard rock at its best.

It is an impressive start soon surpassed by the mighty Long Live The King. The song takes no time in giving suggestions as to why bands like Muse, Manics and Queens Of The Stone Age have been mentioned in the same breath as their sounds, its presence again a flurry of elements combined for an inferno of excellence. As all the songs show, Dark Stares gets the job done without over blown theatrics, the drums and bass unleashing instinctive hard and dangerous edges whilst the guitars and fine vocals explore and light up all their shadows. It is the perfect union for an outstanding and deeply satisfying result. On this song they simply leave other rock bands in their dust, the infectiousness and addition it offers taken to illegal levels.

Third track We Are The Kings Tonight wraps around the ear with a less intense eagerness though with equal strength and skill. It offers a mid pace drive which paves the way for sharp and inciteful play amidst melodic caresses which draw sighs, manly ones of course. The vocals of MK Howell are exceptional and across the whole release he shows he is a versatile and controlled power to match and ignite the music and songs, as they do his emotive delivery.

     Invaders ends the EP on another rampage of contagion, its grooves and riffs instantly your best friend and its heart a boisterous yet passionate embrace. Anthemic and with a mischievous swagger at times the song is an immense end to the release and completes one of those rare times where every song ends up as the favourite.

Dark Stares will be like their EP, immense. They still have much to discover within their creativity and music which with the strength of Tell Your Friends makes for one exciting thought.

http://www.darkstares.com/

RingMaster 30/08/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Sound Of Guns: Antarctica/Killing Moon

Following up their acclaimed and impressive album Angels & Enemies released this past March UK alternative rockers Sound Of Guns release new single taken from it, the powerfully lunged and anthemic Antarctica. With an air of grandeur and an immense sound to justify it, the single is pure heart food, an impassioned feast of emotive power and energy.

Produced by Dave Eringa (Manic Street Preachers, Ocean Colour Scene) at The Distillery in Bath, the single heats up the atmosphere from June 18th through Distiller Records and is already feeling eager attention with the track having been used as the leading song on Sky Sport’s 2012 Champions League coverage. It is no surprise that it was chosen, the enveloping and epic sound of the song as well as the anthem fuelled heart within its frame the perfect soundtrack for any passionate and consuming endeavour.

Within seconds of the opening chimes and majestic symphonic sounds the song lifts the heart to heights most songs have never imagined whilst offering an infectious melodic caress, inciteful rhythms, and the expected excellent vocals from Andy Metcalfe. The track feels like an old friend, its sturdy arms and powerful energy the lift and invitation to push oneself whether physically or emotionally. Like the best songs of this character it leaves one breathless but fully enthused, its impressive songwriting and outstanding realisation an incendiary for and to ignite emotions.

Antarctica is accompanied by a cover version of the Distiller Records classic Killing Moon, and to be honest there was a groan when it came to attention here. Some songs should not be touched their original greatness impossible to emulate and can only be scarred, Killing Moon is such a song.

Well Sound of Guns never read the script and went and produced a version which is truly magnificent. No, it does not match the original nothing could but it comes pretty close and as all covers should be treated they have interpreted the song with their own unique version and not merely copied as most covers seem to do. The track like an early morning mist envelopes the ear with a graceful and emotive atmosphere vocally and musically, Metcalfe finding a similar touching emotion to that of Ian McCulloch. Throughout its first half the song teases with a suggestion it will ignite into something larger but it continues to tenderly weave around the ear as the band light little fires of melodic sparks around the vocals. It is haunting and dare one say finds a more intrusive breath than the original. When the song does expand its musical arms the band simply intensifies the already irresistible enchantment. It really is an excellent version and puts the doubters, yes holding hands up, in their place.

As the band make the UK their playground with a tour with The View throughout the month and into July and festival appearances ahead, Sound Of Guns are at the point where they will surely soon be the name on all indie rock fans lips, Antarctica another mighty step on route.

http://www.soundofguns.com

RingMaster 15/06/2012

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Metal Scent: Homemade

Listening to the new album from Israeli metal band Metal Scent one question kept offering itself up to be answered and that was why had we not heard of this fine band before. On the evidence of Homemade they are a band which is just a few steps away from worldwide recognition, something the album will surely accelerate. The release is accomplished and bursting with songs fuelled by classic rock and metal but veined with varied and flavoursome ideas and craft. Homemade engages and excites from the first to last note of its fifteen song length and offers absorbing and impressive sounds for all rock and metal fans.

Metal  Scent  formed in 2005, are  well known in their homeland, the band going through changes in directions and line-ups over the years but consistently strengthening their reputation and following. Homemade is the third album from the band and the first all original Metal Scent release. Their debut album of 2005 consisted of Middle Eastern hit songs, rearranged and recomposed into Metal versions, whilst the follow up did the same to American hit songs from the sixties.  This second release also carried five original tracks at the insistence of Crash Music who released it. Presumably this and its success inspired the band to produce a wholly original album, and an inspired move it has turned out to be. The album is deeply impressive and though now knowing how its predecessors were made up one can understand their limited recognition outside Israel to this point there seems no other destination than wider acknowledgement after Homemade strolls through the world.

So many things strike the ear as soon as opening song Never Too Late confidently pounces. Firstly there is the driving and well formed guitar play of Dror Yakar and Yaniv Aboudy which spins around the senses masterfully either dazzling them with bright and eager melodies or is strongly insistent on attention through stirring riffs and heavyweight intensity. The rhythms of Ronen Ziony give a firm spanking with formidable but restrained force whilst the bass of Shahar Cohen prowls and stares from behind the energy with a darker delicious intent. Completing the great sound is the excellent vocals of Rami Salmon. The man has some epic tubes that can deliver a diverse and full sound for whatever each song needs, and with a style that is never indulgent and has a restraint that is admirable he offers plenty of magnificent moments within the release.

The opening song is strong and a great invite to the album but is rather traditional  which is shown up by the following glories starting with Hold On and Men Of War. The first is infectiously catchy , quite familiar whilst the second is a thunderous assault with combative riffs and a darkened muscular sound. As everywhere the harmonies and melodies are never kept tethered, their flowing warmth sauntering around the throbbing energy taking the song deep beyond the ear.

As it progresses the album simply gets better and better. Through songs like the excellent Silks Of White and the amazing emotive Inner Light, the senses are treated to an ascent that is deeply satisfying. Both tracks, though distinctly different  sound like they have had a dose of Manic Street Preachers  added to their mix and it is wonderful. It gets better though when the best song on show appears to dazzle and exhilarate. Desires is one of the best songs heard in a while, and once its passion grabs firmly and takes the listener to its pulsating breast there is no option but to fall in to its anthemic charms.

The other songs on Homemade are equally as invigorating and enjoyable, the band rifling the spices from varied rock and metal sources  to Middle Eastern influences to bring them together with their own creativity to produce a release that leaves one grinning inside and out. Metal Scent maybe not be well known yet but it is just a matter of time. Save time yourselves and make the first move by checking out one of the best rock albums in recent months.

Ringmaster 15/03/2012

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Axis Mundi -Chapel Perilous

Axis Mundi is a band which has you smirking, open mouthed, scratching your head, and wondering what just hit you. Most of all the quartet from Hinckley, UK have you rocking like a bird on an electrified fence, vibrating, busting moves, and a shell shocked wreck by the end of the experience. Becoming well renowned for their live shows their debut album Chapel Perilous is the impressive result of the transfer of their live energy and mischief to the studio. The album romps all over the senses and pumps up the ear with eight vibrant violations headed up by an opening Disclaimer to cover their wicked little hearts.

Formed in late 2008 Axis Mundi have excited, enthralled, and surprised every step of the way. The year after starting, the band was rated as one of the top upcoming bands in the UK from a group of over 12,000 other strong candidates and they left venues like Indigo2 in London a hollow reflection of themselves with their riotous shows as their stock grew. 2010 saw them working closely with best-selling science author and New Scientist writer Michael Brooks during his election campaign against Hinckley and Bosworth MP David Tredinnick, the politics of the band striking a stance as strong as their irrepressible sounds, and there was the little matter of a 4 track EP Find the Others making waves too. Since its release in the twilight weeks of last year Chapel Perilous has thrust the band into brighter headlights as more fall under its stomping presence and unpredictable manipulations.

The album ‘a 9 track story of a series of real life legal and illegal experiments conducted into consciousness and perception’ hits the senses with unbridled mischief from the off, the Axis Mundi freakish blend of unrelenting acid house build ups and ear slamming rock riffs and vocals clashing in an irresistible cacophony of sonic blaze. Classed as psychedelic raverock the band tease and mislead the senses whilst mistreating and molesting them at the same time. They come at you from every direction with the misdirection of maniacal hysterical magicians, the ensuing maelstrom of sound across the album an unsettling pleasure and sheer fun. Imagine a cauldron of Pop Will Eat Itself, Manic Street Preachers, and Rage Against The Machine flushed through a vat of The Browning and infected with a healthy dose of acid house mayhem and you have Axis Mundi.

Goat Boy opens up the chaos, its provocative riffs stroking the ear roughly as guitarist/vocalist Gary Frewin sets the stage for the rampage ahead. His voice plays like a cross between James Dean Bradfield and Zack de la Rocha and adds a perfect edge to the all enveloping sounds surrounding him. As bassist James Midgley thumps in pulse energising riffs the synths swarm and slap with a loving hand. The song is infectious and heart pumping stuff closely matched by the following eager to engage Rich And Famous. With scrambling riffs and dazzling bubbling waves of synth lapping the ear the song reaches deep with a less frenetic intrusion than its predecessor.

Chapel Perilous has a strength across its length which many bands would yearn for but with two tracks the band out shine even themselves. First there is the romping stomp of Tales from the Galapagos, an early Faith No More flavoured feast of energy and siren spawn sounds. It sways and teases with a cocksure confidence that you cannot resist its charms as it investigates and ventures up and down varied rock and electro avenues. Alongside the opener it is the best song on the album, one of a trio as the pair are joined by Eden Alive! in jostling and flaring up the heart. With soft expressive vocals and thought invoking guitar and synth melodies the song immediately captivates, then when it explodes into full on electro bedlam with a chest beating fist pumping energised aggression it spawns sonic rapture. Like a mini rock opera the song encapsulates everything you need to know about Axis Mundi and their fine imagination and ingenuity.

With further great songs like The Limitations Of Thinking Things Are Real with a stroll and attitude as mischievous as a gang of drunk school boys, the metal fuelled The Fool, and the schizophrenic Blue Cunt, Axis Mundi have produced an album that attacks and lights up every pore with fast flowing and mesmeric invention. First time you listen you grin, the second you find the glories within, and the third you are infected for life, enjoy!

RingMaster 06/03/2012

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Always The Quiet Ones: Freak Show

If there was ever a release to epitomise the term a grower than it is the new EP from Liverpool rock band Always The Quiet Ones. The first couple of listens to Freak Show and one hears a strong and well crafted trio of songs which engage instantly if not distinctly. What it does not immediately reveal is how infectious that same music is and how once one gives it more attention it will return to mind often and far away from the disc itself. Though not a perfect release subsequent plays place Freak Show deeper and firmer into the heart with especially two of the songs within its expressive walls, lifting the spirit and emotions to lofty levels.

Formed in the later part of 2010, the quintet of Blas Barragan Jr. (vocals), Joe Danher (guitar), Adam Lucas (guitar), Chris Nicholls (bass) and James Lorenzo (drums), hit the ground running with lively and ear catching live shows supporting the likes of Deaf Havana, Mojo Fury, Axis Of and Turbogeist. With a show as impressive and unforgettable as their sounds the band soon gained strong attention from fans and undergrounds media alike. With the release of Freak Show the band are surely about to stir up the UK and accelerate the enthusiasm already gaining momentum to an even greater height.

The EP opens with Sign Of The Times and no reticence in spicing up the ear with commanding rhythms, wanton riffs and melodies to tease and mesmerise. The track twists and turns with great imagination and diversity. The inventive beats of Lorenzo lead the track up and down distinct avenues whilst the bass lines of Nicholls cajole the ear to jump on board the heartily driven express train of sound. Whilst the guitars of Lucas and Danher rage and intrigue to equal measure and often at the same time vocalist Barragan Jr. rides the sound with an expressive hard rock type delivery which grabs and sets off the imagination. The song sets a stunning start to the release which leaves a formidable challenge for the next track to follow.

Valentina sadly fails to rise up to the question. The song is actually very good but with the band taking a more straight forward approach with it there is not the inspirational and originality to it as so apparent on the opener. The melodies within it are graceful and the vocals once more dripping emotive skill. Musically the band is impressive and really there is not anything wrong with the song at all, but there is something missing from it which lit up Sign Of The Times and returns with full force in the closing song on the EP. With a chorus that digs deep and guitars which scorch the senses the song is certainly one that is not easily forgotten once it lays down its last note though.

Title track Freak Show completes the trio and is the best song offered. From a momentously striking mouth watering melodic crawl the song evolves into a muscular beast that ripples attitude and might within a chorus and crescendo of sound that envelopes the ear like a tempest. Switching back to the mellower tone and intent it feels like one is in the eye of the storm soon to be buffeted again by the delicious intrusion of heavy riffs, caustic melodies and driving rhythms. The song growls and snarls at times and in others offers a mischievous but inviting smile, all intended to lead you into the maelstrom of creativity, madness, and wonderfully unpredictable sounds within.

Many seem to cite early Biffy Clyro and the likes of A Perfect Circle and Tool as influences in the sound of Always The Quiet Ones and one can see that especially with the darker elements of the latter but the one band that seems to lurk within the songs, especially the addictive and expressive side was Manic Street Preachers, throughout the way the melodies and songs attached themselves with an eager and irresistible grip echoed the Welsh band.

Freak Show is quite simply excellent and a sure doorway into the heart and vast invention of Always The Quiet Ones. With already a double-A sided single planned for just a mere few weeks ahead, 2012 could and should be the year the band twists us all to their way of thinking.

RingMaster 02/03/2012

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