Thy Fallen Kingdom – Fear The Hunter

Band Photo

Wearing its old school inspirations proudly on its sleeve, Singapore thrashers Thy Fallen Kingdom unleash debut album Fear The Hunter, an encounter swift to fire up ears and neck muscles. The nine track aggressor is not a proposition to change the shape of thrash metal or bring it anything particularly new but for passion and thoroughly enjoyable enterprise, it is an album to eagerly embrace repeatedly. The band lists major influences as bands such as Exodus, Slayer, Megadeth, Testament, Destruction, King Diamond, and Mercyful Fate, no real surprise as you listen to their raw and highly flavoursome encounter, but to be honest this familiarity only adds to the lure of their sound and makes Fear The Hunter like an old friend in the ear and a seriously irresistible stomp for the body.

Formed in 2005, Thy Fallen Kingdom has uncaged a trio of releases leading up to the new album. From the five-track All That Is Left EP in 2009, the quintet has aroused local attention and passions as well as creating interest in the metal underground generally. The following UnDemocratic Society a year later and Army Of One EP in 2012, only added to their emerging presence ensuring there was plenty of anticipation for the band’s first full-length. After numerous line-up changes, the more settled line-up of original member and rhythm guitarist Akhbar, lead guitarist Christian, bassist Bryan, drummer Aip, and vocalist Aidil (though since the album’s recording he has left the band to be replaced by Rajuna), has crafted the band’s finest moment to date, an album to ignite body and appetite with ease.

Adrenaline and energy spurts voraciously from the speakers from the first seconds of the second track, never relenting until the album’s final offering, but it is the short alluring instrumental Mental Oppression starting things off. An evocative melody drifts from the strings of a guitar, its elegant expression and caress a potent coaxing but courted by a sinister sonic squall which offers shadows and portentous suggestiveness, a threat soon realised in Army Of 1. The song lays down a rub of nagging bait before rampaging with nostrils flared and rhythms slapping ears with their mighty swings. In full stride the track is a thunderous provocateur loaded with torrents of abrasing riffs and great tangy grooves, all punctuated by heavy fisted beats. Vocalist Aidil stands in the midst of the incitement, his delivery scowling with serpentine hostility for a great caustic hue to the tempestuous yet melodically fuelled sounds around him. The song as a whole only increases its lure as the blend of every element beds in the senses as grooves drip with temptation.

My Murderous Childhood keeps the great start to the album in full swing, charging and pounding through ears with broad sinews and acidic invention. Vocal variety across the band adds to Thy-Fallen-Kingdom-Fear-the-Hunter-e1415715183881the contagion of the track but it is the virulent riffing alongside spicy grooves and hooks which turns recognisable seeds into a masterfully magnetic proposition. The track leaves appetite and ears that little hungrier, an increasing greed the title track is only too please to satisfy. From a sonic drama a delicious throaty bassline steps forward, skirted by a rhythmic shuffle of beats. It is a bait impossible to resist, even more so when a tangy solo sears its addictive web. In full flight, the song does not quite live up to its opening or predecessor but still lays down an anthemic and contagious provocation to devour, especially with the addition of a bluesy colouring and subsequently furious animosity.

The anthems keep coming thick and fast, the next up Imperious Regime a vocal roar over a contagious sonic turbulence whilst its successor Psychosis provides an inescapable addiction. The first of the pair teases with a Suicidal Tendencies like predation, especially in the vocals, to provide an exhausting and rigorously thrilling incitement, though it is swiftly left in the shade by its successor. From its opening swagger and grouchy bassline, the track is in full control of attention and emotions. A Pantera-like swing to grooves is pure infectiousness which persistently lingers even as the song spills the rawest corrosive essences for a cantankerous canter of sound and attitude. That is enough to make it a formidable encounter but with a slip into a pasture of radiant melodies and harmonies with an air of Motherjane to them, the track has its sights on best on album honours.

The salaciously grooved Operation B.E.A.S.T. has its say on that straight after though, its rugged terrain a barbarous temptation bound in infection soaked grooves and vocal persuasion. The result is another epidemic of tenacious thrash enterprise which with plenty of creative hues and craft from the guitars and potent invention throughout sculpts its own peak in proceedings. That success is matched by the outstanding Unchallenged, another relentless assault with additional punkish textures to the surge of voice and riffs. There is no getting away from the fact that Thy Fallen Kingdom enclose themselves in their open inspirations without seemingly trying to break into bold originality, but here and across the whole of Fear The Hunter, it does not prevent the album from being one of the most pleasing and fun genre releases this year.

Closing with Possessors Of Absolute Power, one more creative cage of vicious rhythms and inventively spicy grooves roared on by torrential riffery, Fear The Hunter is thrash metal at its most furiously compelling. It may be bred on a diet of classic influences which the band is unafraid to share in their sound, but it is a familiarity which Thy Fallen Kingdom uses in their own attention grabbing way for a proposal all thrash fans should take up.

The self-released Fear The Hunter is available now.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thy-Fallen-Kingdom/108260834542?fref=ts

RingMaster 09/12/2014

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Casting reflections and dispersing shadows: talking Johnny Wore Black with band founder Jay

jwbnew3-hires

  2014 has been a big and flavoursome year for British melodic and alternative rock, and in no small part thanks to UK band Johnny Wore Black. The brainchild of London based songwriter/producer and stuntman (Les Miserables, The Dark Knight Rises, Fast and Furious 6, Fury ) Jay, the project on the back of a host of attention grabbing singles and videos over the past eighteen months or so, has released two acclaimed and enthralling albums this year. Walking Underwater Pt 1 and 2, the second released barely two week ago, encounters which and immerses ears and imagination in an evocative embrace, thought provoking propositions which infuse passionate creative roars with poetic melodies and fiery textures. Both albums reinforce the emerging stature and recognition of Johnny Wore Black as one of Europe’s most exciting and innovative songwriters and rock artists. With the kind sharing of Jay’s time, we delved into the heart of the man, band, and particularly the fresh majesty of Walking Underwater Pt 2.

Hi Jay, thanks for sharing time to speak with us.

My pleasure…thank you for listening.

You have just released second album, Walking Underwater Pt 2; how were feelings as the unveiling swiftly approached?

It’s always a strange time around release, in a way exciting and in a way a test of patience as in reality it’s about waiting to see how the product is received. As an artist, the reviews are important to gauge how good a job you have done!

Are there different emotions and expectations this time around after the acclaim and success of Walking Underwater Pt 1 earlier this year?

Walking Underwater Pt.1 was an opening, a beginning if you like so it will be interesting to see how Walking Underwater Pt.2 is received and how the journey develops in other people’s jwbnew1-hires2eyes and ears. It’s important to make music for yourself first and yet in reality, once released its journey becomes a public experience. My expectations are for people to enjoy it and find the right environment to use the music.

How should people look at the two releases, as two parts of one whole entity or the new release as an evolution and unique exploration from the themes and narrative fuelling the first album?

It is a new release of course, and yet a journey too. Honestly people will make of it what they want. Personally there is a journey there, a cleansing and an exorcism of past demons…to make way for new ones maybe?!

Before we look deeper in to the new album, can we ask about your history musically and other aspects before Johnny Wore Black?

Childhood poems then set to music when learning to play the Spanish guitar, pretending it was electric! Onwards, days in studios as birthday presents from my dad when I was fifteen and sixteen. Johnny Wore Black is the conclusion of life experience, being a singer songwriter, being in bands, and generally loving music.

What was the spark bringing the band to life?

The spark was a need to express my songs in a new way, to attempt to get closer to the music that turns me on and lights my fire!

The band name inescapably brings thoughts of Johnny Cash, is there a meaning behind the title?

I like the analogy of why Johnny Cash wore black, to identify with those less fortunate than himself. My dad called me Johnny and my grandmother Evelyn bought me a black suit, which I wore at my Dads funeral when I was seventeen. So, you see, life and all its shards of dark and light.

What would you say are your major inspirations?

A Perfect Circle, Karnivool, Tool, Depeche Mode, Metallica, Stone Sour, Johnny Cash…to name but a few.

jwb walkingunderwaterpt2Because of the success and potency of your first album anticipation and expectations of Part 2 are probably over demanding. Has this added any pressure for its creation?

In a way yes, but to be honest most of the pressure is self-inflicted. My goal is to make great music, who can say when that has happened? Really, I see it as a never ending journey.

With the close proximity to the release of the two albums, it is easy to assume both sets of songs or certainly many over both albums have been bred from around the same time. What is the time frame in that area and if they were written around the same period how did you decide which song went on which release?

I tried to put together songs that felt good together in order to create the story. There are songs here spanning a ten year period, hence why they needed to be cleared in order to move on.

Did you learn anything on Part 1 which you took into its successor to help its emergence or give it something different recording wise?

The process included working with guitarist James Coppolaro and drummer Simon Hutchby whilst David Ellefson and I also collaborated in more depth than before so that was a rewarding experience.

Listening to Part 2 we felt there was even greater personal intimacy to certain tracks than on the last; how close are the seeds of your songs to your life and experiences?

Some songs are closer personally than others but it’s interesting which songs individuals feel are intimate.

The album as you mentioned again sees you collaborating with David Ellefson, of course of Megadeth, in writing and playing. How did you guys meet and when did the link up musically begin?

We met backstage at Download in the UK some years ago. We started chatting music and immediately kind of bonded. I then began sending David songs in progress and he agreed to play on the first Johnny Wore Black single, All The Rage.

When you come to songwriting together, is it an even contribution or does David look towards the rhythmic side more?

It does vary per track. So far, on some David has sent riff ideas, like Firefly and on Gift of Desperation he sent a lyric, which I then developed. Writing is a very fluid process with no rules.jwbnew2-3-lo-res

There often seems to be a different kind of spark to songs you too have created together, not bigger or lesser than on other tracks, just strikingly different. What would you put that down to?

I suppose that’s just two minds rather than being the dominant decision maker however I’d be interested to ask you that question back and see what you feel is strikingly different about those tunes?

Tell us about the new album; is there a specific underlying theme to its lyrical explorations?

Each track has a different theme so really would need to answer this on a track-by-track basis. My lyrics explore people, the world and our continued need to understand.

How did the recording go; was it an all meet up situation or more technology driven coming together of the band for the album?

Some of the album was musicians in a studio, old skool style, and some via Skype and Dropbox. This was an international project via the USA, UK, Canada and Croatia.

Walking Underwater Pt 2 also features Croatian singer Sara Renar on the track Shine On and Loretta Heywood on a cover of her own track Winter in July. How did those guest appearances come about, especially with Loretta. Was she instantly open to you taking on her song?

Sara and I met on the set of Game of Thrones in Croatia some years back. We stayed in touch and I have followed her musical career. She has a unique quality to her voice I felt complimented Shine On, on the album. She was happy to contribute once she heard the song, and recorded her parts in a studio in Split, Croatia.

Now Walking Underwater Pt 2 is out there wooing the world, what is next in store for Johnny Wore Black, alter ego ha-ha, and band?

There is work to do, releasing singles and creating more music videos. We are having discussions about hitting the stage and seeking to break the back of the USA. Oh and by the way, another album is due next year, totally new material and bigger than Texas!

jwbnew2-hiresA big thank you for chatting with us again, any last thoughts you would like to share?

Just that I am truly grateful for your time and interest in Johnny Wore Black and thank you for providing a platform to help spread the gospel according to Johnny Wore Black.

And lastly I cannot go without asking about the film samples which graced the first album. Can you tell us about them and why you did not use them for the new release too?

The first ones were from a documentary my late father directed back in 1967 called The London Nobody Knows. The samples fitted the music, the songs and were a tribute to him. I will say, we are currently in discussion about producing The London Nobody Knows Revisited to mark its anniversary. I liked the idea of samples a-la-Floyd to be part of Walking Underwater Pt2 but decided to just focus on the songs.

Read the review of Walking Underwater Pt2 @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/johnny-wore-black-walking-underwater-pt-2/

http://www.johnnyworeblack.com

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 05/12/2014

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Johnny Wore Black – Walking Underwater Pt 2

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Anticipation for the second part of his absorbing album has been as excited as it has been impatient, but Johnny Wore Black has rewarded the wait with another proposition which stops you in your tracks and immerses ears and imagination in an evocative embrace. The hunger for Walking Underwater Pt 2 comes from the strikingly impressive Part 1, an emotional canvas drenched in poetic melodies and fiery textures. Its release came in March of this year but such the appetite it bred the months between seemed like years. Its successor is here now, released on November 26th, and with even closer intimacy and impassioned imagination re-confirms the band as one of the UK’s premier melodic rock provocateurs.

Johnny Wore Black is the brainchild of London based songwriter/producer and stuntman (Les Miserables, The Dark Knight Rises, Fast and Furious 6, Fury ) who prefers to just be known as Jay. As renowned for his collaborations as well as his own work, Jay released a host of attention grabbing and riveting singles as the band before the first part of this debut album. Many of the songs were bred from a gripping collaboration with Megadeth bassist David Ellefson, and as on Part 1, the pair has linked up again on Walking Underwater Pt 2 with Ellefson co-writing a trio of tracks for it and playing bass across the bulk of the release. The band line-up is completed by drummer Simon Hutchby alongside guitarists Pete Mathers and James Coppolaro, the latter mixing much of the album with other tracks mixed by Grammy Award winning producer David Bottrill. Produced by Jay, the release takes little time in re-igniting the pleasure and emotions which were stoked by its predecessor, leading them into rich emotion fuelled reflections and sonically coloured atmospheres.

Opener Firefly sets things in motion and from the first electro influenced moment has the imagination engaged and then fired up as rich hooks and rugged riffs embrace ears. There is an immediate infectiousness which transfers to the potent vocals of Jay and the crisp rhythmic persuasion which guides the inventively spicy song. The song’s delicious throaty bassline aligns to sonic scythes and persistent grooves from the guitars as the song expands whilst the vocals smoulder harmonically and expressively as they colour the provocative narrative of the song. It all combines to provide a thick and potent stroll of anthemic rock ‘n’ roll coated in creative drama and emotive intrigue.

It is a potent and impressive start continued by recent single A Cut Above. From a charming melodic coaxing the song unveils its rhythmic muscles and raw riff led provocation. It is an walkingunderwaterpt2imposing presence tempered though by the increasingly mesmeric tones of Jay and the weave of sonic enterprise which wraps the brewing unrest in the belly of the song. Again Ellefson lures a heavily shadowed voice from his bass to menace and enthral whilst elsewhere everything merges in a portentous tempest which threatens more than assaults but leaves thoughts rampant and satisfaction basking. Again the track is an anthem, not one which charges with nostrils flared but an incitement which rouses the passions as it explores dark intense scenery.

Both Comfy Slippers and Fallen Angel explore different shades and depths, the album just as the previous full-length, a web of distinctly unique and imaginative explorations in sound and premise. The first of the two swiftly presents a pungent almost stadium rock texture to its emerging temptation, beats and hooks thick yet rapier like in the less condensed climate of the song. There is a warm radiance to the rock pop spawned encounter too which transfixes as it envelops and helps spark further hunger in an already greedy appetite for the album. The song pulsates in its melodic glow before making way for the scintillating drama of its successor. Every note and syllable has a sinister air and touch here, a haunted feel which is simultaneously sultry and alluring. As already proven Jay has the knack and skill at making dark and intense situations musically and lyrically seduce like a unashamedly flirtatious temptress, at making loud and subtle extreme collude for an inescapable web of aural theatre and no example any finer than right here.

Gift of Desperation steps up next and takes little time in absorbing ears and thoughts with its pulsing electronic courting which itself is soon wrapped in emotive resonance as vocals and slender but striking melodies entwine the sinew sculpted heart of the song. It has a dark and imposing presence which never drifts too far away from predacious heaviness and a destructive emotional theming, but it also expels blazes of sonic and harmonic passion courted by tempestuous tenacity and intensity. The outstanding track is unrelenting as it flares and traps the passions with stormy beauty, creating a consuming shadowed majesty which I Do Dissolve has to follow. It does in fine style, its vivaciously shimmering electro flooded entrance equipped with another irresistible vocal bassline and the grippingly expressive tones of Jay. It is just the initial lure though as a funky swagger infests the song to inspire a sturdy bounce which in turn seems to ignite the richness and theatrical elements of all corners of the song. For some reason the track at times reminds of Ugly Kid Joe, though it is a fleeting thought in the expansive enterprise of the fun.

The brilliant Noise carves another pinnacle, of which admittedly there are many, in the album, again dramatic suggestiveness coating every sway of notes and swing of strings. Challenging modern social habits online and beyond, the song is virtually smooching with ears and emotions from its first melancholic kiss and caress. To this tempting, crescendos of raw expression and ferocious sonic endeavour bursts in, hooks and riffs as antagonistic as the melodic heart of the track is tenacious. Seriously anthemic and the heaviest encounter on the album, the track is rock at its most instinctive and incendiary.

Featuring Croatian singer Sara Renar alongside Jay, Shine On glides in next to cup ears in enchanting melody seducing balladry. As expected there is still a dark edge to the song, a shadow which watches as the beauty colours senses and imagination. Though a slow burning persuasion in relation to other tracks, it soars into the emotions and memory with ease, its sonic flair and emotive tempting a lingering affair even after making way for the outstanding Whose Children. This is another song where hooks and grooves entrench in the listener with swift efficiency before flavoursome diversity in voice and sonic invention tango together in a compelling and ingenious design of suasion.

From that highlight the album leaves on another in the engrossing shape of Winter in July. A cover of the Loretta Heywood song, it also features the soul singer alongside Jay and as it soars and glides over the senses with a haunting elegance and harmonic grace, there will be few duets as powerful and thrilling as the album’s final track.

There were obviously high hopes and expectations for Walking Underwater Pt 2 because of its predecessor but also a wonder and maybe doubt whether lightning can strike twice in the same place in such a short time. Not only can it but it proves to be with greater scintillating success. The UK has numerous potential soaked melodic rock bands emerging, but with their promise realised and pushed on again, Johnny Wore Black is leading the way.

Walking Underwater Pt 2 is available digitally and on CD from November 26th via Dark Cherry.

For more info check out http://www.johnnyworeblack.com

RingMaster 13/11/2014

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Lost Gravity – Self Titled

Lost Gravity Online Promo Shot

Though it would be wrong to claim that the self-titled debut album from UK based Lost Gravity set a fire in ears straight away, it certainly left a smouldering lure and attraction which over time has inspired a very healthy appetite for the band’s brand of heavy melodic rock. Consisting of ten skilfully accomplished and contagious tracks which make up for what they lack in originality with passion, the release is a potential fuelled introduction to a highly enjoyable proposition in the London based band.

Lost Gravity was formed in 2007 by Brazilian born vocalist/guitarist Breno Val. Taking influences from the likes of AC/DC, Megadeth, Ramones, Chroma Key, Metallica, Alice in Chains and more into their songwriting and sound, the band started out as a quartet but with a flux of line-up changes eventually emerged as a trio in 2012 with drummer Giuliano Kolling joining the band around the same time. Completed live by bassist Chris K, but not involved with the album, Lost Gravity now makes a powerful play for attention with their first full- length. It follows a trio of earlier well-received EPs in Anywhere But Home (2008), Selfish (2009), and Lost Gravity III (2012), all released as the album on Val’s own label Priston Records. The new release is a bold encounter openly wearing its inspirations which arguably defuses its originality, but for heart bred rock ‘n’ roll, the pair of Val and Kolling has unleashed a thoroughly satisfying incitement.

The album opens on the bulging presence and might of What Goes Around Comes Around, a melodic lure leading ears into a wall of vivacious riffs and thumping rhythms. It is an instantly potent persuasion of grunge and hard rock PromoImagewith spicy grooves and strong vocals combining to swiftly wake the imagination and appetite up for the rest of the album. The gnarly tone of the bass adds to the impressive bait of the song, as does the sonic enterprise of Val’s guitar which is as flavoursome in straight rock ‘n’ roll riffery as it is in sonic endeavour. It all adds up for an anthemic and magnetic start to the release soon matched by the bluesy laced Changes. There is not quite the striking touch and unique flame to the second song in comparison to the first, but again the duo provide a skilled and easily accessible slice of heavy melodic rock to convince body and emotions. An excellent relaxation into mellower scenery adds a welcome twist to the song too as Lost Gravity reveals more fluidity and invention to their songwriting.

Both Back Where You Belong and Alone keeps the thick lures and persuasion coming, the first a grooved flame of sonic and melodic intensity which seems bred in the fire of an Audioslave or Stone Temple Pilots. It is a song which evolves across its length, entwining stoner-esque grooves and alternative metal seeded ingenuity within a sultry climate. It is a riveting encounter, one of the peaks of the album which its successor does not quite rival in impact but with its sinew crafted balladry afloat with evocative melodies and vocal expression it is an endearing offering which grows in stature with every listen.

Anywhere But Home comes next and opens on a delicious transfixing hook which is arguably never matched in success by the rest of the song, though it pleasingly bristles and roars with fresh creativity not previously explored by the album. That initial lure is never far from the surface of the song either but somewhere there is a missing spark to push a certainly great song into sensational realms. To be fair though, it is hard to tear away from the track as you almost urge it to greater success and it certainly enslaves a hungry appetite over time.

The infectious swagger and flirtation of Friendly Fire sets up feet and ears for a sizeable pleasure next, its Foo Fighters like tenacity flirting with rock pop vivacity before the more heavyweight and moody presence of Selfish takes over to ignite the senses with sonic spicery and melodic intrigue. The track is structured similarly to Anywhere But Home, and also breeds an enthralling presence with a potential not quite realised. This applies to the whole of the album really, so many great things exploring and playing across its appealing body but not quite finding the missing piece to truly catch alight. Song and release though does breed real anticipation for when the band make that transition at some point ahead.

All the Same looks at an alternative/punk pop infused landscape for the placing of its skilled and bracing temptation whilst the following Venom In Vial parades a raw antagonistic breath and attitude in its muscular confrontation. The pair are further sides to the sound and invention of the band, each a firmly pleasing offering before the might of the closing Walk On. With a blues tinge to the opening groove and a ferociously rumbling torrent of rhythms, the track makes a dramatic and thrilling entrance which it subsequently accentuates with a punk rock agitation to its blues kissed charge of dirty rock ‘n’ roll. It is an impressive end to an attention grabbing encounter, an album which makes a hefty persuasion to the promise and skills of Lost Gravity and a feisty suggestion of even bigger and better things ahead.

Lost Gravity is available now digitally and on CD via Priston Records @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/lost-gravity/id901847667

http://www.lostgravity.co.uk/

RingMaster 13/10/2014

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Nonpoint – The Return

byKatieHovland_01

byKatieHovland

It is hard to say that anything really surprised upon The Return, US metallers Nonpoint’s new album but it does come with a fresh aggression and intensity, as well as resourcefully crafted and presented songs, which will ensure their fans will devour it greedily. The album is prime Nonpoint, melodically flaming with the muscular energy and framing which has kept the band from being lost in the wealth of similarly toned bands these past seventeen years since forming. It does not leave ears awestruck or passions aflame but the album does provide a tasty slab of Nonpoint potency stoked with a strong contagious enterprise missing from many of their previous albums.

Backing up the success of their previous self-titled album of 2012, the Florida quintet spent most of last year touring in its support but swiftly set to writing its successor once they could relax. This past February Nonpoint hit the Groovemaster Studios with Grammy Award-nominated producer Johnny K [Disturbed, Staind, Megadeth] and engineer Daniel Salcidoto, subsequently giving birth to The Return.

It is a proposition which is definitely one of the band’s most consistently captivating encounters with each song an individual and gripping narrative in its own right, something their earlier full-lengths could not always achieve for us. The Return still maybe feeds expectations more than wrong-foots them across its total provocation, but with flavoursome sonic endeavour and melodic toxicity aligned to an at times new hostility to the sound, the album provides a constant intrigue and satisfaction which never diminishes.

Opener Pins and Needles gives a clear sign of intent from its first breath, thunderously thumping beats punctuating fiercely fiery riffs from the off before settling into a formidable canter ridden by the distinctive and potent tones of vocalist Elias Soriano. The guitars of Rasheed Thomas and B.C. Kochmit relentlessly spin a toxic web around ears and the song’s imposing spine sculpted by drummer Robb Rivera and the throaty weight of Adam Woloszyn’s bass for a riveting mix and design. It is an offering unleashing that new intensity to the band’s sound with relish whilst adding some sublime individual invention, especially in a gripping guitar solo.

It is not a devastating start to the album but definitely a rigorously anthemic one which is backed up by latest single Breaking Skin. The song is a sinew driven portrait of the familiar Nonpoint sound but with a volatile air to its energy Coverand impassioned intent to its rich melodic hues. There is no denying the craft of the band members either, the track a blistering showcase of their individual qualities and skills as well as their musical brotherhood. The fact that the most striking aspect of the song is its brevity and enjoyable acute ending does tell of a missed opportunity though which in some ways sums up the album.

Bullet With A Name from Nonpoint’s 2005 album To The Pain is an all-time favourite track here and it is fair to say it is not matched by any song on The Return but the next up Razors is a near miss. It says anthem from first note to last, ruggedly winding grooves and riffs enslaving senses and appetite from the start before relaxing into a melodic embrace which comes alive through the exceptional vocal design carrying it. Soriano as expected croons with an inviting growl but it is the stretched almost warped harmonies accompanying him which help turn a great song into an album topper. There is also a muggy intensity and atmosphere to the track which tenaciously simmers and boils at certain points, again flicking a dramatic switch within the excellent encounter.

Both Misery and the album’s title track keep ears and enthusiasm for the album high and concentrated, though neither can quite match their predecessor. The first of the pair carries another imposing roar in sound and presence which again suggests that the band has chosen a direction in which they can really flourish ahead whilst its successor confronts and seduces the senses like a mix of Stone Sour and Poets of the Fall. The stalking beats of Rivera make a sizeable intimidation and lure around which the song brews a flaming bluster of sonic enterprise and temptation. It is a song where there is plenty going on, more than can be taken in through one listen which in itself is another new side which can be argued has been absent previously in their music, and gives another major highlight to the release.

It is hard not to get a soft spot for the inventive bass proposals of Woloszyn across The Return, his gripping lead into Take Apart This World a prime example where he triggers a lick of the lips for his baiting enterprise in the compelling track.

From this point though the album loses some of its grip on thoughts and passions even though tracks like Forcing Hands and Goodbye Letters are highly pleasing offerings. They slip into that expected and appreciated but unsurprising Nonpoint feel bred over so many potent years, and even though there are definitely enticing and exciting twists and moves within the, to be fair, enjoyable tracks they are unable to seize ears as tightly as the earlier songs on the release.

Never Ending Hole is another similarly missing a trick, especially as it shows like on most tracks, the band’s new adventurous and skilled appetite to suddenly switch and twist the direction and ideation of sounds and vocals. It is a fine and engrossing offering but ultimately hints more than it delivers in that experimentation and originality before making way for the emotive and melodically seducing power balladry of Widowmaker and the ferocious intensity and urgency of Never Cared Before. The second of the two roars and brawls with ears as it treats them to a virulent fury of riffs and rhythms spiced by sonic venom. It is another gripping assault which if anything is again not quite bold enough in its violent invention.

The album closes with firstly the anthemic animosity of F**K’D, a track which is an easy protagonist on ears and to engage with, though lyrically it seems to take the easy option and go straight for the primitive instincts of us all. It is still a rousing incitement which leaves the likeable if uninspiring Know Myself to bring the album to an end.

In some ways The Return is an album of two halves, the first a stirring and thrilling encounter which maybe does not quite go far enough in its new adventure and the second just what you would expect and admittedly want from Nonpoint, superbly crafted and structured sounds which bless ears but this time without setting them ablaze. To be truthful the more you listen to the album the more it impresses so it is hard to be too hard on it but the wish that it surprised with greater tenacity and simply threw some truly unexpected curveballs is never absent.

The Return is available now via Metal Blade Records @ http://nonpoint.merchnow.com/ and http://www.emp.de/nonpoint-the-return-cd/art_288636/

http://www.nonpoint.com/

RingMaster 02/10/2014

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Johnny Wore Black – A Cut Above

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Earlier this year, UK band Johnny Wore Black released the exceptional album Walking Underwater Pt. 1, a fiery slab of melodic rock drawing on numerous other vital musical essences to present a thoroughly provocative and thrilling adventure. With second album Walking Underwater Pt. 2 on the near horizon, the solo project of London based songwriter/producer Johnny Jay has chosen September 1st to unveil the first single and teaser from the upcoming encounter. A Cut Above is another compelling exploration of sound and emotive textures by the former Hollywood stuntman, one easily suggesting that the new album will be more than a match for its predecessor and another irresistibly exciting proposition for us all. A-Cut-Above-temp

     A Cut Above sees Jay recruit the bass skills and creative presence of Megadeth bassist David Ellefson once again whilst the song, as the previous album and other releases, is produced by Grammy Award winning producer David Bottrill. There is a certain emotive intensity which seems to brew when the three come together, as shown of the first part of Walking Underwater and the new single is no different. Themed by and taking thoughts into ‘an internal war torn journey of lost love and betrayal’, the single embraces the imagination as potently as it does ears to provide a rigorously captivating incitement.

The song opens with an emotive melody as a guitar gently entices attention to its instantly intriguing narrative. Around it a climate of unrest and intensity is brewing which in league with the equally growing richness of the opening coaxing, leads into an incendiary eruption of almost predatory riffs and punchy beats courted by the throaty weight and texture of Ellefson’s bass. Swiftly joined by the melodic tones of Jay’s always impressive vocals and developing a contagious stride to its persuasion, the song is a dramatic tempest of anthemic resourcefulness around the constant impassioned emotion and angst of the track. As evidenced by previous singles and songs, Jay has a skilled prowess in merging rousing riffs and hooks with intense and dramatic landscapes musically and atmospherically. A Cut Above is another stirring example and arguably his most potent fusion yet, the track from its first immersive note right to its evocative last, an emotionally dark yet vivacious emprise.

If the single is an example of what to expect from Walking Underwater Pt. 2, then it cannot come soon enough and British melodic rock is in for another stirring shot in the arm.

A Cut Above is available on September 1st

For more info hit the Johnny Wore Black official website @ http://www.johnnyworeblack.com/

9/10

RingMaster 29/08/2014

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Guilty As Charged – Leap of Faith

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On the evidence of their debut album Leap of Faith, Belgian metallers Guilty As Charged create a brew of thrash fuelled heavy metal which without stretching originality too far provides a rather tasty and invigorating proposition. The band’s new album is a fiery and creatively gripping encounter which surges and rampages with all the right moves to ignite ears and passions as its ferocious enterprise works away on the imagination. A game changer it is not but for riotous pleasure and honest satisfaction not many albums have surpassed Leap of Faith so far this year.

Formed in 2008, Guilty As Charged soon made a good impression with their live shows and the following year through the demo Boxed In. That was followed by the quartet sharing stages with the likes of Pro-Pain, UDO, and Stormrider as well as festival appearances at events such as the Alcatraz Metal Festival in 2011 with Helloween and Death Angel, and Masters @ Rock 2012 with Soulfly & Channel Zero. Recorded last year, Leap of Faith is poised to push the foursome of vocalist/ rhythm guitar Jan De Vuyssere, lead guitarist Dempsey Derous, bassist Hannes De Caluwe, and drummer Matthew Vandenberghe into a wider and more intensive spotlight, one certainly deserved by the storming presence and exciting escapades within the release.

Opening track Preach to the Masses instantly seizes ears and attention with its swipe of melodic coaxing which is soon over run with thumping rhythms alongside keen and feisty riffs. It is an easy bait to find an appetite for, one growing Albumcover Leap Of Faithinto a magnetic stroll of roving beats and a senses entwining sonic enticement. The raw and grizzled vocal roar of De Vuyssere only accentuates the impressive and incendiary start, sparking off an even richer strain of guitar endeavour to snake across the song’s climate. In full muscular flight, the track badgers and intimidates with resourceful enterprise and a great rapacious groove which flirts perfectly with the throaty basslines and the melodic scorching of heavy metal incitement. It is a riveting entrance by the album, not one to leave jaws slack in awe but one to fire up body and emotions for a greedy anticipation for the subsequent tracks.

Those expectations are soon fed a tasty morsel with Last Chance, a track which does not quite match the opening plateau but still sets its own thrilling level with predatory riffs and similarly gaited rhythms and vocals. There is an underlying hostility to the song but it is tempered by the blaze of melodic enticement and skilled sonic suggestiveness. The vocals like the music mix up their textures and attacks to add their own depth and intrigue to the rampant confrontation. Its triumph is soon rivalled by the outstanding title track which from its funky lead in expels waves of sonic intrigue to which the ever impressing vocals add their expressive narrative. The dark hearted tones of the bass and ridges of riffs only add to the rigorously contagious encounter whilst Derous lays a web of ingenious bait which is as insatiable as it is addictive. There is also a punk edge to the track which offers hints of Suicidal Tendencies and Biohazard to the flavoursome and impressing mix.

Both the Metallica like I’ll Never and the enthralling Lonewolf bring diversity and potency to the release, the first prowling and gnawing on ears with sinister expression and predatory invention which sparks the imagination into new adventures. Its successor again has that fierce attitude and breath with an air of the likes of Megadeth and Testament to it yet with its exploratory sonic designs equally provides something individual to the band. Both tracks incite the listener to join their potently anthemic calls before the melodic caress of Elysium wraps its elegance around ears. With rising sultry flames of guitar and emotive hues, the instrumental makes for an evocative engagement before making way for the bruising presence of Lack Of Control. With a caustic scent to its rapacious intensity and attitude, the track boils and bellows with passion and antagonistic purpose whilst veining its roar with acidic shards of sonic invention and colour which as much as the song intimidates equally seduces.

The album is closed by Down, maybe the least eventful and striking track on the release but a song bringing Leap Of Faith to a mighty close with its Pantera-esque swinging groove and simply ravenous intensity. As suggested Guilty As Charged do not change the face of heavy and thrash metal with their first album but certainly they have given it a thrilling and explosively enterprising new proposition and who cannot be up for that?

The self-released Leap of Faith is available now.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Guilty-As-Charged/73401643876

8.5/10

RingMaster 05/08/2014

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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