Voice Of Addiction – The Lost Art of Empathy

This started out as a piece on one track from their new album, an introduction for us sent by Voice Of Addiction which was so persuasive the whole album had to instead be the focus of attention. A multi-flavoured punk rock roar from the Chicago based band, The Lost Art of Empathy is one rousing confrontation which has the body bouncing and spirit leaping with its boisterous escapades from start to finish.

Becoming a potent part of the Chicago punk scene through their explosive live shows, Voice Of Addiction have been stirring up ears and venues since 2004, with a handful of releases and a host of compilation appearances marking their way. At their centre is vocalist/bassist Ian “JohnnyX “ Tomele joined upon the latest Voice Of Addiction stomp by drummer Dennis Tynan, guitarist/backing vocalist Jake Smith, and backing vocalist Luke Ostojic. Listening to the treat that is The Lost Art of Empathy, it seems impossible that the band is not a more widely recognised proposition within the global punk scene; a prospect their new album just might trigger.

With politically and socially challenging lyrics matched by a sound which bites however it comes across it’s twelve tracks, The Lost Art of Empathy opens up with that first song heard here. Rustbelt instantly coaxes ears with a spicy hook which is soon joined by a grouchy bassline and jabbing beats. Together they surge at the senses, developing an infectious urgency as Tomele’s vocals with equally potent backing swiftly capture the imagination. In no time the romp is igniting ears and appetite, its drive towards one irresistible chorus just as manipulative as everything from hardcore, pop and classic punk seems to get involved.

The following Dead By Dawn has a rawer manner in tone and touch but is equally as contagious with athletic beats and the grumbling bass shaping the assault from within which a collage of vocals and the clang of guitar entice. Smith spins a web of sonic endeavour as unpredictable as his riffs are rabid before Unity brings its own belligerent defiance to the party. Tomele’s bass again whips up the appetite, its magnetic prowess matched by another potent mix of vocals across the band.

Petty Schemes swaggers in next with a knowing mischief before bounding into a snarling and keenly eventful melodic punk blaze while the soulful Corporate Pariah evolves into a ska punk canter before which feet and hips are leaping as thoughts are provoked by the tracks incisive words. Both songs hit the spot, the second especially persuasive before Lockwood uncages its sonic spiral and subsequent punk contagion to eclipse both. Across the album bands such as NOFX, Bad Religion, and Angelic Upstarts come to mind, this track especially hinting but there is no denying that Voice Of Addiction embrace all into their own individual furor.

The street punk fuelled I Can’t Breathe invitingly brawls with the listener next, the band merging US and seventies UK punk for its tenacious attack and triumph; a success matched by the visceral punk holler of Everything Must Go. It too is a collusion of styles within the punk banner; alternative and math rock flirting with hardcore tendencies to enthral and arouse.

Through the caustic yet melodically hued tear up of Ad Nauseum and the equally uncompromising and enticing Eviction Notice, the album continues to grip attention even if the songs do not hit the same level as those before them; a plateau Alcorn Queen definitely flirts with straight after with its Mars Volta meets Converge like adventure and animosity. The track is superb, stealing best track honours at the death though there is still time for the acoustic brilliance of Are We Even Human Anymore to shine with Tomele vocally luring ears like moths to a flame.

The Lost Art of Empathy is a moment in time not to be missed; indeed all punks should make it their cause to share its compelling sound as too the presence of Voice Of Addiction. America is catching on, now it is our turn around the world.

The Lost Art of Empathy is available now @ https://voiceofaddiction.bandcamp.com/album/the-lost-art-of-empathy-2

https://voiceofaddiction.com/    https://www.facebook.com/voarockers/    https://twitter.com/VoArockers

Pete RingMaster 09/08/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Cauls – Recherché

It has been five years since UK alternative/progressive rockers Cauls delighted and impressed with their EP simply called 2. It turns out it has been a time which almost saw the band call it a day just as it was beginning to make a major impact on the UK music scene. Thankfully they pulled out of the nose dive and after a line-up change found the energy and inspiration to go again. That thankfulness even more pronounced now with the release of their debut album Recherché.

An atmospheric, provocative, and continually rousing blend of alternative/progressive and post rock with earthier post hardcore intensity, the band’s sound and release has evolved into a fire of imagination and enterprise. You would expect and hope each release outshines the last and pushes things on again, something which does not always happen as we all know, but Cauls have taken a big leap in building on the success of that last EP. Recherché is a compelling web of sound and suggestion fuelled by melodic and harmonic elegance and driven by a climate of rousing and often aggressive atmospheric imagination.

From the short instrumental flight of opener De Novo Quincunx, the quintet of Michael Marwood, Chris McManus, Graham Morris, Douglas Redfern, and Kye Walker entice and involve ears and imagination with increasing creative drama. That first piece is a slow developing mist of sonic calm and darker intrigue, guitars gently entangling as darker hues occasionally moan; it all leading to the instantly kinetic presence of Peace Paean. Around the ever impressing vocals of Marwood, a relative calm while engaging guitar woven tendrils smoulders and builds into a more boisterous roar. Descriptive melodies continue to entice and flame in the rousing breakouts, adding to the bolder fire of the song and its captivating Mars Volta meets Muse like landscape.

The track is pure captivation, sparking a keen intrigue and appetite for what is to follow; that adventure soon in full flight through firstly Radio Johanne / Said Molineux. From its initial low key peace with an alluring tingle of melody, the track also simmers and grows in presence and intensity, building into an unpredictable web of sonic and melodic imagination punctured by the adventurous jabs of McManus’ beats. With at times a resemblance to the raw tenacity of At the Drive In, the song consumes ears with fiery charm and rousing energy before the first part of the three-track Wide Opus Abyss awakens in ears.

Amusia is a secret smog full of suggestive essences and evocative sounds as it blossoms into the corporeal body of Vapours. Rhythms quickly provide a bold spine for its harmonic and sonic flames to erupt and unite around the striking draw of Marwood’s voice and the combined prowess of Redfern and Walker alongside the poetic finesse of Morris’ guitar. It is a resourceful blaze which eventually becomes Tide and Bye, an even more agitated yet controlled melodic clamour sharing Radiohead/ Far like spices in its eventful recipe.

The technical sprightliness of COQ8 dances eagerly in ears before mellowing into a reflective serenade. It is a plaintive cry though carrying its own instinctive tempest, a highly strung excitement bringing fiery exchanges of textures and band around the thoughtful vocal led calms. Its second part, Retentive Anamnesis adds greater volatility to that scorching heart, providing a fibrous sonic weave to its wired atmosphere and pleasure for ears and thoughts.

Épée brings things to a close, strolling in with bass and guitars merging dark and surf rock like hues in its tranquil swing before things bubble and boil around ear captivating vocals. Jazzy and sultry yet melancholic, romancing and seducing with a boldness exploring a diversity of rigour, the track is just mesmeric and another fresh detour in the album’s diverse soundscape.

Cauls are back with a whole new heart to create and a sound which grabs that intent with adventure and beauty, Recherché offering surprises and provocative enticements at every turn. We can only sigh with relief that the band did not buckle to that feeling of bringing things to an end.

Recherché is out now @ https://cauls.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Caulsband/

Pete RingMaster 09/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Astral Cloud Ashes – Too Close to the Noise Floor

Album Art_RingMasterReview

With three attention grabbing and imagination sparking singles under the belt, Astral Cloud Ashes unveil debut album Too Close to the Noise Floor. It is a collection of songs which arouse and serenade the senses, often simultaneously as the project’s mesmeric songwriting and emotive melodic elegance seduces.

Astral Cloud Ashes is the new project of Jersey bred songwriter/musician Antony Walker, previously better known as one half of the Channel Islands hailing Select All Delete Save As. Having already created music under the name ALPA, amongst other monikers, Walker quickly sparked attention to his latest project last year with first single Too Close To The Noise Floor, the now title track to the new album. Primarily a solo project but with backing vocalist Jason Neil a permanent fixture in the band, Astral Cloud Ashes draws on inspirations ranging from The Cure, Bloc Party, Interpol, At the Drive In, Mars Volta, and Say Anything as well as flavours bred in indie and alternative rock/pop. Equally though, the album shows bold ventures into more progressive and post rock pastures without losing the instinctive catchiness and melodic romancing found in those earlier propositions.

Mixed across its tracks by Gareth [The Fold], Edd HartwellPaul Miles, Daniel Szanto,  and Walker himself, with the mastering undertaken by Tim Turan, Too Close to the Noise Floor opens with The Man I Had To Become. Instantly a temptation of bubbling guitar captures ears, the coaxing quickly joined by a wave of rhythmic jabbing and a thicker weave of melodic guitar and harmonious vocals. It is a gentle yet boisterous affair easily whipping up the imagination and spirit with Walker’s distinctive tones the mellow flame within a more combustible web of enterprise. It is a great mix which marked those early singles but already seems to have blossomed within the album into a more adventurous and confident entangling of the listener.

The great start is followed by the album’s title track, Too Close to the Noise Floor showing a rawer, more imposing energy as it takes the imagination into the intimacy and adventure of cosmonautics but equally involves “family values and unwanted first-world paranoia” in its energetically hugged theme. Punching its rhythmic and contagious essences home, it also carries a hazy climate to its atmosphere with the bass a deliciously throaty lure amongst nothing but virulent temptation. Embracing a XTC feel and Melvins like revelry, the track has body and appetite eagerly involved in swift time.

Grateful for the Ghost In Our House steps forward next and as the last track showed a more formidable presence to its predecessor, this song reveals a fiercer predation to its opening and subsequent invention within another wash of suggestive melodies and smouldering dynamics. Though not in the actual sound, it is easy to see where an influence of The Cure comes into play, Walker creating an emotional and musical drama which has the senses riding a roller coaster.

Recent single Get Real follows, strolling along with the ever present catchiness which Walker conjures with seeming ease across every track. Guitars pop and bubble throughout the song as rhythmic tenacity creating an anthemic frame to the vocal and melodic ingenuity before Flashback takes over. A calmer and mellower engagement but even more emotively forceful, the song caresses ears with a lone guitar melody before being joined by a heavily shadowed bassline aligned to a broader floating melodic enterprise. Vocally, Walker provides an introspective narrative as provocative as the poetic almost volcanic fuzziness of his guitar. Adding another individual shade and hue to the album, the track shows the broader landscape of Walker’s songwriting and an intimacy, whether personal or observational, which fuels his words.

With drummer Max Saidi guesting, Avant Blah! strolls boldly in next, its lo-fi pop ‘n’ roll blending Weezer infection with Pavement-esque invention while its successor Lites almost lumbers into view in comparison with the brooding bass and irritable riffs to the fore. In all songs there is a great repetitious quality brewed by Walker, here almost coming over drone like to great effect around the solemn melody and the similarly melancholic vocals. As it expands though, a wave of rich textures and rousing energies flood the song, returning throughout the low-key yet thickly enjoyable, almost imposing encounter.

The excellent This Once Great Place has an air of The Cure again with its atmospheric landscape, reminding of the A Forest/Pornography era of the trio across its own captivating journey before the equally impressive Housing in a Bubble makes a grab for best track with its more punkish/grungy roar of sound. Everything about it has a snarl not heard on the album previously; revealing more of the diversity the release carries whilst stirring up a fresh greed in ears and pleasure.

Our Holiday brings Too Close to the Noise Floor to a sombre and enthralling close, the track initially a dark sigh but soon building its own catchy canter loaded with spiky hooks and spicy melodies around another slightly foreboding and compelling bassline. Once more thoughts of Robert Smith and co are sparked but again as a flavour in something individual to Astral Cloud Ashes. It is a riveting end to a striking and increasingly impressive first album from Walker.

The clues to the project’s potential were there in its first trio of singles, and now confirmed and partly realised by Too Close to the Noise Floor. The feeling is that there is plenty more to come and to be explored within that promise, and going by the strength of this thoroughly enjoyable offering, we are all in for many treats ahead.

Too Close to the Noise Floor is released July 11th @ http://apple.co/1RFvoL8

https://www.facebook.com/astralcloudashes   https://astralcloudashes.bandcamp.com/   https://twitter.com/AstralCloudAsh

Pete RingMaster 08/07/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Astral Cloud Ashes – Flashback

Flashback (artwork)_RingMasterReview

Having made a strong and captivating introduction to itself with the single Too Close To The Noise Floor, the Channel Islands hailing Astral Cloud Ashes are about to follow up that success with Flashback. Providing another potent teaser to a forthcoming debut album, the new single also reveals another dynamic and colour to the project’s songwriting and sound. Whereas its predecessor was a lively stroll of infectious enterprise and energy, Flashback is a calmer and mellower emotive engagement and just as magnetic.

Astral Cloud Ashes is the new project from Antony Walker, one half of the duo Select All Delete Save As which especially earned deserved acclaimed with their album Ultra Cultura in 2014. Walker has been exploring his own solo creativity for a while, often under the name ALPA, amongst other monikers, but as quickly suggested by his first single as Astral Cloud Ashes, this new venture is one with the potential to match and even eclipse the previously mentioned ‘day job’ band. Sound wise Walker draws on inspirations from the likes of The Cure, Bloc Party, Interpol, At the Drive In, Mars Volta, and Say Anything for an indie/pop/rock persuasion, presumably self-tagged, as future-core.

Flashback caresses ears with a lone melody initially before the guitar is swiftly joined by a heavily shadowed bassline and floating melodic enterprise. At the same time, Walker provides an introspective narrative as gently provocative and ear pleasing as the harmonic embrace of sound around it. Guitar jangles, crisp beats, and emotive toning subsequently add to the web of alluring textures building the captivating proposal; a song wearing varying shades of The Lightning Seeds, Pavement, and Dinosaur Jr. to its melodic and evocative charm.

The track is a warm and fascinating encounter showing, as suggested earlier, another aspect to the band and offering another reason to keep an eager ear open for the first Astral Cloud Ashes album later this year.

Flashback is released May 4th across all major online distributors.

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Pete RingMaster 29/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Hot Moth – Small Fires EP

hot moth_RingMasterReview

Just passing their first year as band, UK rockers Hot Moth have just released debut EP Small Fires. It is an introduction which simply demands attention, three slices of alternative rock woven with just as potent essences of math and punk rock. A further progressive intent does songs and release no harm either, another vibrant texture in a sound which is yet to find its true individuality but has little problem, on the evidence of Small Fires, in making a memorable impression on ears and enjoyment.

Hailing from Brighton, Hot Moth is made up of vocalist/bassist Matt Sparkes also of The Farrah Joy Quartet, guitarist Matt Metcalfe, and drummer Freddie Hills who also hits the skins for another great band from the town, The Slytones. Formed March 2015, Hot Moth has drawn comparisons to the likes of Biffy Clyro, Oceansize, Reuben, and Mars Volta, which listening to Small Fires is often easily understandable. Creating captivating roars equipped with hungry riffs, anthemic rhythms, and strong vocal enticement, the band also has a subtlety to their sound which sees them able to almost serenade the imagination one moment and creatively bully it in the next.

cover_RingMasterReviewThe release opens with Rhino and an initial scaly lure of riffs which soon opens up into a formidable but inviting collusion of rowdy rhythms and sonic enterprise. The entrance of Sparkes’ excellent vocals and expression brings a momentary mellowing which quickly builds again into the same feisty proposal the song leaped in on. Ebbs and flows in intensity skilfully continue as the track provokes and entices with increasing prowess. There is a touch of Freeze the Atlantic to the song, a grittier snarl which works well with the melodically fiery textures that combine with Hills’ dynamic and addictive rhythms.

The impressive start continues with I Miss The Missed, a slightly less energetic proposal in many ways yet makes up for it with the emotive suggestiveness of vocals and melodies. There are plenty of dynamic crescendos involved in the track’s landscape though, evocative eruptions around the tenacious and agile enterprise of Hills and the melancholic tone of Sparkes’ bass. As with the first, there is an instinctive catchiness which permeates everything from the growly swing of the bass to the crisp beats and the potent weave of imagination shared by Metcalfe’s strings. Closing on a boisterous finale, the excellent track leaves a want for more as it makes way for EP closer Levelling The Tales.

A funk infested slice of metal aggravation and melodic infectiousness, the final track is a fiercely beguiling adventure playing like a blend of Reuben and I Plead Irony with the progressive touch of Porcupine Tree. Once more contagion soaks every unpredictable twist and rousing turn with a tapestry of flavours and energies in tow. It is a union of imagination and resourcefulness creating the EP’s best track as it completes a thrilling first listen to a band with the potential to make great strides within the UK rock scene. Available as a name your price download, Small Fires is one extremely easy proposition to recommend.

The Small Fires EP is out now @ https://hotmothmusic.bandcamp.com/album/small-fires-ep

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Pete RingMaster 13/04/2016

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Like Animals – Feral EP

Photo Credit: Travis Tiernay

Photo Credit: Travis Tiernay

Taking our introduction to Canadian trio Like Animals through new EP Feral, it did not take long for their sound to show it matched up to the release’s title; each of its five tracks an untamed slice of noisy revelry and warped imagination and all leaving the licking of lips and a taste for more.

Hailing from Orillia in Ontario, the trio of guitarist/lead vocalist Jamie Haffenden, drummer/backing vocalist Will Tennant, and bassist/backing vocalist Myke Caouette create what is declared in regard to the EP as deviant melodic math metal. Equally though, it has paws in progressive technical metal, noise rock, and hardcore ferocity we would suggest, all flavours amongst others spicing up the increasingly impressing Feral. Following previous EPs from Sweet Whispers, Plagued Ears to The Undertoad and The Wild, the latest encounter is another animal themed exploit challenging and unsettling the senses and gripping the imagination with its unbroken raw spirit and fierce exploration.

EP Cover - Like Animals - Feral_RingMaster ReviewThe EP opens with its title track and initially a low key, melancholically toned guitar coaxing which is quickly joined by Haffenden’s voice. A few moments more and Tennant and Caouette bring a bulkier incitement with their rhythms, each carrying raucous intent to their catchy nature; William English meets At The Drive-In coming to mind through it all. Subsequent jazz lined weaves of guitar and moody bass shuffles only divert the creative adventure to new thrilling detours though they never meander too far from the driving compelling core of the encounter.

Perpetually unpredictable and magnetic, the track is a gripping start to proceedings instantly backed by the Fall of Troy meets Red Hot Chili Peppers like discordance of The Lions Share. Everything from vocals to sonic tempting has an off-kilter edge and mania to it yet things never lose structure or captivation even as hardcore ferocity succumbs to advent-grade devilry, and in turn it to a punk fuelled uproar. Again expectations are left lifeless as the track continues to creatively twist and turn like a dervish before Lounge Lizard relaxes things with its unconventional balladry and skittish canvas of ear bait and invention. Every Time I Die in league with early Postcard Records era bands like Orange Juice or Josef K comes to mind at times, not for clear reasons the latter pair but close enough to suggest the ingenuity at play as the song seduces at times whilst on its way to a more volatile and explosively dynamic trespass of ears and passions.

The indie punk/technical rock discord juiced eccentricity of Caterwaul ignites ears and appetite next, bordering on frenzied reactions admittedly whipped up by its tempestuous landscape of bullish ideation and exhausting noise aligned to seductive asides and mellow trespasses. As creatively busy as it is though, The Jungle Book of Love provides an even more feverish incitement whilst bringing the heated confusion and clamorous beauty of its namesake to bear on ears and thoughts. Dipping into spices of Mars Volta and The Dillinger Escape Plan, the track is a tapestry of wilding craft and sonic, maybe slightly deranged, adventure.

That description easily applies to Like Animals as a creative force too, a thought cemented as Feral for the umpteenth time sets our passions boiling whilst words are written.

The Feral EP is released January 22nd @ http://likeanimals1.bandcamp.com

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Pete RingMaster 22/01/2016

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Cold Night For Alligators – Course Of Events

Bandphoto_RingMaster Review

Course Of Events has been a highly anticipated debut album for a great many fans and followers of Danish metallers Cold Night For Alligators, a release off the back of an impressive live presence and reputation which no doubt was also facing a lot of expectations. A mighty slab of inventive sound to get teeth and the imagination into, it is easy to suspect that those awaiting its arrival will now be basking in thick pleasure whilst newcomers to the Copenhagen quintet, well we will be eagerly exploring with intensive attention.

The Cold Night For Alligators is described as a fusion of progressive death metal with brutal technical hardcore. That is apt enough to some extent but ultimately does not come to close to really covering the rich adventure and thick diversity fuelling the album’s tracks. The release is a creative kaleidoscope of fierce and seductive textures aligned to fluid unpredictable twists and flavours as much seeded in djent animosity and atmospheric ventures as they are in that initial description and the broad expanse of melody honed progressive metal. At times the album simply ignites in an open inventive blaze and in other moments entices with a fascinating tapestry of sound and thought which benefits further from even closer attention, but from start to end it only lures ears into wanting more of the album’s striking exploration.

Artwork__RingMaster Review     Starting with Considering Catastrophy, the Daniel Braunstein [Volumes, Fall in Archaea] produced album swiftly entangles the senses in a web of djent spiked riffs and melodic psychosis, this surrounding the forceful and potent roar of the vocals. Straight away there is a heart fuelled mania to that vocal delivery which, whether clean, harsh, or gutturally spawned, comes as an outpouring of raw emotion. Musically the song lurches and flies at the senses or comes in an ambling coaxing with just as strong enterprise to it as metal and rock strains unite in an invigorating and intensely fascinating proposal. As becomes apparent across the rest of the album, a mere listen or two only deprives ears of the underlying depths and imagination building up the layers of the song, that intensive attention mentioned earlier only breeding potent rewards.

There is a familiarity to the album just as there is something uniquely fresh about it; the likes of Periphery and Opeth springing out at times and there is no escaping a Meshuggah spice or two nor moments of Mars Volta meets The Dillinger Escape Plan. As shown by latest single Followers though, Cold Night For Alligators weave it all into their own distinct design. The second track is a formidable blend of sonic contagion and vicious aural antagonism, evolving from one compelling beast into another exciting unforgiving brute veined with psyche invading grooves and avant-garde seeded imagination. The track scars and exhilarates the senses, igniting body and imagination with each raw and inventive moment before the just as thrilling Calculated Accident provides its own animus of metallic hardcore built sound infused with melodic enterprise.

That earlier mentioned vocal mania is emulated in sound across Course Of Events, each track a raging roar but able to skilfully slip into just as emotively fiery but mellower confrontations at will. Inconsistent is easy evidence, its opening hug of jazzy spiced guitar invention and harmonic vocals an engaging but volatile seducing which increasingly brews rousing animosity and fire to lead the song into just as magnetic new directions, subsequently fusing all its roads into a one drama of sound and persuasion.

Both Art and Retrogress keep ears and appetite greedy, the first with its skittish djent lined, progressively psychotic emprise and the second through a more barbarous and volatile bellow of emotion and sound led by the ever impressing array of vocals. Both tracks grow in the ear, each making a strong first impression but blossoming further over time, again something applying to the album as a whole and to be taken on board when checking out Course Of Events.

From the strong caress of short instrumental Eunoia, more flavours are woven into the proposition through Querencia where vocals are especially potent as melodic tendrils invade the body of uncompromising intensity and at times almost rancorous fury which steers the encounter. With exotic flirtations and jazzy smiles, the song is an enthralling and again increasingly powerful and enjoyable offering matched by the infectious rabidity of the exhausting Daydream; another creative maelstrom to bravely sink into.

Completed by Brother and its alluring and rousing emotion, Course Of Events is a powerful and so often beguiling encounter. It is unique yet recognisable, inventively ravenous but similarly melodically endearing, and when given time to make its persuasion helps get the metal year off to a great start.

Course Of Events is released January 11th through Prime Collective.

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Pete RingMaster 11/01/2016

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