Antigone Project – Stellar Machine

Last year French outfit Antigone Project not only took their sound to a more accomplished plateau with the From Its Room EP but hinted it was just the beginning of a whole new soundscape to their already easily engaging sound. It was a clue now realised by the band’s debut album, Stellar Machine a journey through spatial clouds of invention and diversity but as universes lead into new universes, equally feels like an adventure leading to many more bold journeys.

The creation of Frédéric Benmussa, a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer and no doubt much more, Antigone Project has grown from a solo project in 2002 to be one of France’s most engaging electronic rock/metal proposals. With the talented prowess of bassist Manu Ventre and drummer Fred Monaco alongside Benmussa, the band had its hands on attention with the release of a self-titled first EP in 2015. It was the debut clue to the expansive and expanding sound growing within the outfit, a suggestion taken further by From Its Room a year later and now truly unfurled within Stellar Machine.

Inspirations to the band’s sound and certainly new album range from Soundgarden to Deftones and Nine Inch Nails on to the likes of Depeche Mode, Jean Michelle Jarre, and Devin Townsend. That is enough to suggest the kaleidoscope of flavours making up the band’s album; they all involved with an even richer vein of Muse meets Radiohead like drama. Do not think you have a handle on Stellar Machine just yet though as ears will soon find a far thicker and greater carousel of the band’s own individual invention across its unpredictable body, one placing the listener into “the skin and shoes of a futuristic cosmonaut following the adventures of outer space travellers on a “stellar machine”.”

Climbing on board, ears are fastened into their seats by the powerful creative straps of opener Poison, its electronic/industrial lift off instantly swarming around the imagination. In turn, it leads to the virulent rock ‘n’ roll heart of the starter where riffs and rhythms are swiftly harrying and enslaving body and instincts, the calmer almost floating tones of Benmussa glazing the infectious exploits with a plaintive Matt Bellamy scented delivery. A compelling groove reinforces the song’s hold, the lively beats of Monaco dancing tenacious across the senses as keys bring cosmic scenery to bear on the imagination. Even in its calmer drifts, the song is forcibly infectious, the trio painting their creative canvas with an array of textures within skilfully woven enterprise.

The following Schizopolis needs mere seconds to have the body moving with its heated funk lures and enveloping synth pop enticement. A few seconds more brings a steelier tone and intensive edge to things, Ventre’s bass a darker brooding incitement which continues to lure and court the twisting infectious exploits of the song. Imagine The The meets Nine Inch Nails and the second track feeds expectations before taking them into deeper richer realms, leaving ears and appetite on a high ready for the moodier, crepuscular skies of III. The song’s air is as enticing as its predecessors, but within its emotional and atmospheric twilight a smouldering seduction matched in energy by the similarly calm vocals and keys.

Another fresh climate is brought by Mantra Nebulae, a dirtier rugged rock/metal contemplation over which vocals and melodies glide while Raphe Nuclei surrounds ears with an almost glacially reflective electronic embrace. Neither track quite lit up ears here as those before them but with the snarling dexterity of the first and the emotionally intensive vocals of Benmussa crawling the second, both tracks enthral and increasingly ignite the imagination over time.

In contrast The Black Widow instantly ensnared instincts and the passions, its intrigue ridden, noir coated web of dramatic coaxing as threatening as alluring. Hooks and grooves collude in seduction, vocals prowling with infectious devilry as bass and beats just flirt; a mix addiction was intended for. There is a touch of Fad Gadget to the song, eighties electronic/new wave essences as readily embraced as other more rapacious textures by the band and the increasingly volatile moments of the outstanding proposition.  The song is superb, a major highlight of Stellar Machine which Pretty Pain straight after easily backs up with its Mike Oldfield/ Devin Townsend nurtured symphony. As all tracks, every passing minute is unique to the last yet a continuation of their revealing cosmic travelogue and emotional revelation.

Cardio Machine is simply raw temptation, a fusion of predatory rock ‘n’ roll and synth pop virulence which has a firm restraint on both yet employs their attributes along another highly addictive body of enterprise. There is something enjoyably familiar about the song but nothing which can be pinned down, just simply and greedily enjoyed with every listen.

The album’s title track is eleven minutes of sample built introduction within senses stroking atmospherics, moving into electronic painting and progressive weaving where every minute adds to a flight feeling far shorter than its actual length such the beauty and captivation on offer. The song alone captures the mood and adventure of the theme; playing like a recap but of another past or future heroic planetary flight.

The album concludes with the atmospheric grace and beauty of Sun’n’rain; a rhythmically bold, melodically heated serenade beneath earthly pleasures. Drawing on the strongest Muse like flavours yet, the track with its almost Bond like theatrical lining brings the album to a powerful and more importantly thrilling close.

Stellar Machine confirms that Antigone Project just go from strength to strength, from bolder adventure to adventure yet still you get the feeling we have not come close to their most monumental exploit yet. Another must investigation for you all.

 Stellar Machine is out now through Lazy Freddy Records via most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/antigoneproject    https://twitter.com/projectantigone

Pete RingMaster 18/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Token Joker – Just Part of the System

Photo courtesy of Meg Hope Photography

If you are looking for a tasty slab of rock ‘n’ roll to take around with you in the heat of summer this year, then lock in your mp3 players, grab the Just Part of the System EP from UK rockers Token Joker, and unite the two. The four track encounter is a magnetic and invigorating slice of sonic enterprise to while away the day with whilst revealing exactly why the Devon quintet is beginning to create a stir in the UK rock scene.

Not much more than a year since the band emerged, Token Joker has been on a determined course and potent rise reaching a first pinnacle with the forthcoming release of their debut EP. Before its creation though, the Dawlish hailing band has grabbed plenty of attention for the melody rich, hook loaded songs of lead vocalist Leon Welsh and rhythm guitarist/vocalist Matt Coleman. Within weeks of stepping from the shadows, the band found itself courted by a London promotion company which led to their playing the O2 Academy Islington. This was followed by shows with bands such as of The Tricks, The Others, and The Beaches as well as appearances at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton, Teignmouth Carnival, and the Oxjam Exeter Takeover. It was a busy and successful 2014 for the band, global radio play another emerging success, and it has continued into this year. Recorded with producer Paul Reeve (Muse, Razorlight, Supergrass) this past March and mastered by Simon Heyworth (Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells), the eagerly anticipated Just Part of the System is now set to awaken a new spotlight on the band, a focus sure to be reinforced by the excellent song Ride the Train which is taken from the EP and firing up radio shows and stations through Token Joker linking up with renowned UK radio plugging company Pluggin’ Baby.

11096726_932257790127827_9070900460185589201_nThe EP opens with 10,000 Angels, a short atmospheric instrumental which sparks the imagination if not the ears to the same degree. It does lure in an attentive intrigue though, the piece like a dawning of bigger things, which turn out to be arriving in the shape of Green. The first track evolves seamlessly into its successor; tendrils of spicy coaxing from the guitar emerging from the previous sonic haze as thumping rhythms also add their invitation. That flavoursome enterprise turns into fiery grooves and hearty riffs from Chris Dearing and Matt Coleman respectively soon after, whilst the rhythmic side of the song gains greater weight and voice through the muscular swings of drummer Rupert Waldron and throaty basslines of Michael Jackson. It is an aggressive yet respectful enticing enhanced by the expressive vocals of Leon Welsh. Cross its length the song continues to endear itself to ears and thoughts, never quite exploding as it hints at, but feeding an awakening appetite to sparkling hooks and feisty textures.

Things kick up another gear with Rookie, a great busy stomp of dirt clad rock ‘n’ roll with an almost volatile character to its persuasion and a combative energy to its gait and persuasion. Within this formidable tempting, blues lined melodies colour the dramatic landscape, adding even more alluring hues to the gripping roar of the increasingly impressive song.

The EP is completed by the outstanding Ride the Train, a track swiftly taking ears and emotions on a feisty and heady course of provocative grooves and fiery melodies. Alongside this, hooks almost leap at ears as rhythms jab and flirt simultaneously with the senses whilst the voice of Welsh again creates an attention grabbing roar with range and diversity. An incendiary stomp to light up any mood, it is no wonder that the song alone is raising keen awareness upon the band and now supported by the rest of the EP, sure to be a leading lure across the year.

The band has already found the support of Matt Bellamy of Muse on their side, with many more soon to join the fold once Just Part of the System is unleashed on the nation. The bluesy, heat enriched summer of rock starts here.

The Just Part of the System EP will be released on April 27th digitally via iTunes and on CD.

http://www.tokenjoker.com   https://www.facebook.com/TokenJoker1

RingMaster 16/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Tokyo Chaos City – Nothing Is Happening

 

It is a crime when a band goes unnoticed, a sin that when they have so much quality to give and do so constantly, it is without any awareness they exist by  the world outside their city or at best homeland. This applies to Japanese band Tokyo Chaos City, a band that oozes powerful and emotive sounds created and delivered with great craft and passion. To be fair from the outside it feels like the band likes their ‘solitude’ with any search for information on them a big void even on their own site to some extent but that will change the more they are heard.

Last year saw three EP’s from the band starting in January with Losers Bruise, followed in May by In My Deathbed. The third Nothing Is Happening has just been released and is a masterful and powerful statement lyrically and musically. The band consisting of Aki (vocals, guitars, bass, drum programming) and Ken (guitars), have as with their previous releases worked with a theme within the new EP. Losers Bruise was made up of songs fuelled by emptiness and loneliness whilst In My Deathbed exposed a feeling that things were desperate and pathetic. Nothing Is Happening deals with the sense of powerlessness and anger and as with the other two is emotively strong and incisive.

The sound of Tokyo Chaos City has changed across the EP’s, not in the songwriting or core sound of the band but with what it is made. Losers Bruise flowed with creative and uplifting keyboard sounds now a duo from the first EP’s line-up of three; the same effective and soaring sounds come without synths and the like to give a different edge to the music though as across all the releases there is still a clever mix of dark and light, aggression and subtlety.

Dumbfucks’ opens up the new EP with a Dead Kennedys like dark grumbling bass line and aggressive guitars interspersed with sorrowful melodies and break. Inspired by the Fukushima nuclear power plant failure and its handling the sense of disdain and disgust wrapped in intense and melodic sounds is impressive. Vocally Aki sounds very much like Matt Bellamy bringing the lyrics emotion through with his voice, harmoniously and delightfully smooth he has a voice to savour and delivery to admire.

Second track ‘Desperate Cries’ is a softer flowing song coming from feelings inspired by the Tsunami that followed the earthquake and it is impossible to not feel something deeper beyond the ear as it graces the senses. This is followed by ‘When I Kiss The Earth’ to complete the trilogy of stunning tracks. The song leaps into view with playful guitars that dance eagerly over a driving and incessant rhythm. The song bringing a tale of a broken heart and feelings of hopelessness and incompetence in this world against a background of engaging and inviting sounds and varied interplay is the perfect ending to a truly glorious EP.

With a sound that sounds like it comes from a mix of Muse, Radiohead, and a splash of Foo Fighters, Tokyo Chaos City are sadly one of the best kept secrets in music and with Nothing Is Happening it is sorely hoped that will change as there has certainly not been this year a release as glorious and wonderfully engaging as this, well apart from the band’s other EP’s of course. http://www.tokyochaoscity.com/

RingMaster 07/10/2011

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