Ace Mafia – Self Titled EP

Without doubt for The RR one of the year’s surprises and exciting events has been the return of UK rockers Ace Mafia from a six year hiatus. Unexpected, it instantly raised anticipation, eager questions, and intrigue now fed by the release of a new self-titled EP. Offering up four slices of the band’s rousing hard/melodic rock, the release took us back to the days when we first discovered the London hailing band as if they had never been away.

Emerging in 2007, the beginnings of Ace Mafia were pretty much sown when Argentinian born bassist Geos Letona relocated to the UK and subsequently met guitarist Richie Faulkner. Writing and recording demos together, the pair in time enlisted drummer/producer Bruno Agra and vocalist/rhythm guitarist Kay Ghibli. With the line-up in place, Ace Mafia was officially uncaged and soon luring praise and attention with 2009 debut album Vicious Circle. Faulkner was already a well sought after guitarist and due to touring commitments with Lauren Harris stepped back leading to the band bringing in Ben Lundy. Faulkner’s eventual return brought the band to a quintet with the emigration the following year of Agra seeing drummer Jerry Sadowski added to the line-up. Even with their reputation ever growing though, the band eventually went on a temporary hiatus after Faulkner was recruited by Judas Priest.

Now Ace Mafia is back, a quartet of Letona, Lundy, Ghibli, and Sadowski though the new EP also features the craft and invention of Faulkner on lead and rhythm guitar. It took mere seconds to find the band rocking as boldly and enterprisingly as ever, the EP opening up with new single Snakes ‘nʼ Ladders. Its first breath unleashes a trespass of predacious riffs and intrusively imposing rhythms yet with a contagiousness which is only escalated by the distinctive tones of Ghibli. A great Stone Temple Pilots hue adds to the track’s instinctive and flavoursome hard rock nature, it’s harrying of ears and appetite very easy to swiftly succumb to with guitar imagination icing on the captivating and arousing proposition.

With its tracks seemingly written before the band went away it is maybe no surprise that the EP feels like a continuation of previous releases but as the opener and the following Face To Face alone show there is also a distinct fresh adventure revealed. The second track opens with the gentle but earnest invitation of keys, melancholy lining their charm before its main body rises up. Settling into its weighty but controlled saunter, the song smoulders with emotive and physical intensity; its heat erupting with fiery flames and guitar spun tendrils as emotional intimacy springs its own captivation.

The instantly infectious Stop Loss is a mix of the predatory and contagious, the spring in its grooves and riffs tempered by the formidable swipe of Sadowski’s beats and the brooding bassline of Letona. Grungy in its hard rock exploits, animated in its compelling exploits, the track quickly had ears hooked especially when Faulkner’s web of temptation caught light.

Closing track Breathlessness also has an ominous prowl to its magnetic seduction, instinctively tempting grooves and melodic enterprise matched by vocal and rhythmic prowess. A bouncing body and eager participation was the quick outcome to its eager suggestiveness, the song rivalling the EP’s other book end for best track honours.

Not so much more of the same but certainly more of what Ace Mafia does best their new EP is a welcome joy as is their return. There are also hints of new adventures to come which are just as compelling but just having the band back roaring is one of the year’s major pluses.

The Ace Mafia EP is out September 15th.

https://www.acemafiarock.com/   https://www.facebook.com/acemafiarock   https://twitter.com/AceMafiaBand

Pete RingMaster 14/09/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Survival Code – Hopelessness Of People

Checking out recent single Crawl combined with the potency of previous releases, we declared The Survival Code a band it is so hard for us not to be excited about. That track was the second teaser for the London based outfit’s new album; an intimation alongside its predecessor of something to truly anticipate. Having feverishly devoured the full-length we can announce that Hopelessness Of People not only lives up to the promise offered by its singles but has emerged as one of the year’s major gems.

Formed by Dubliner Gary McGuinness, The Survival Code has bred and earned a rich reputation since emerging late 2011, each release seeing their imaginative rock bred sound openly growing and evolving backed by a live presence which has constantly proven itself a rousing experience. Though numerous musicians have been alongside lead vocalist guitarist McGuinness, it has been his long term link up with drummer/backing vocalist Tom Cook which has been the heart and power of the band. A trio for their acclaimed Matt Hyde (Trivium, Slipknot, Ash) produced 2015 debut album, MMXV, and the subsequently just as striking Broken Strings EP two years later, The Survival Code has slimmed down to just the core duo upon Hopelessness Of People and the band has never sounded more powerful, dynamically bold, and rousing.

With Hyde again producing, Hopelessness Of People takes mere seconds to entice and thrill ears with opener Same Skin. Its initial guitar shared lure is a calm intrigue ridden coaxing which soon flares up with rapacious energy as Cook’s beats court their own infectious trespass of a swing. McGuinness’ vocals are just as captivating, like the sounds a blend of melodic composure with underlying aggression and volatility. Embracing rock in its various shades alongside a twinge of punk irritability and metal bred ferocity, the track and band’s sound soon establishes its inescapable identity though with its tenacious almost stalking hooks and hungry grooves there is a certain Sick Puppies hue to the excellent encounter, a spicing which enjoyable lingers across the whole release in varying degrees.

Crawl is next to snare thick attention, immediately imposing with its senses harrying riffs and formidable rhythmic swing. From its already infectious threat, appetite wrapping grooves and imagination stoking twists combine for a web of contagious enterprise matched by the equally compelling vocals of McGuinness in turn backed by Cook’s potent tones. There is a touch of Coheed & Cambria to the track, a pinch of Adelitas Way too as well as the aforementioned Australians but the song rises to be all The Survival Code. As a single it got us lustful to hear Hopelessness Of People and still does each and every time roaring from within its midst.

A calmer entrance by the following Take It As It Is only brings a mutually eventful slice of melody rich and highly catchy hook loaded alternative nurtured rock where rhythms swing with muscular intent and emotion fuels vocal expression while Anything Goes These Days strolls with emotive tempestuousness in its heart and raw power in its snarly breath. In their individual ways, both songs had the body and imagination bouncing, the first especially with its keenly crafted unpredictability.

One of the album’s early tasters is next, Along The Way a single earlier this year which effortlessly hits the spot whilst leaving a lingering breath which again just draws intrigue and attention the way of the album. Though the track does not have the incendiary dynamics of Crawl, it is a virulent persuasion which again has the body dancing to its whims before Self Medicate wraps thoughts in its emotive balladry and the imagination in a tapestry of creative and vocal intimation. A slow burner compared to its companions within the album, the song just grew by the listen enticing purposeful contributions from hips and vocal chords.

In so many ways the track epitomises the almost deceitful virulence of Hopelessness Of People, quietly nagging away yet openly seducing with its resourceful breeding; a template just as successful behind the decisive enterprise of Not Working. It is another which seems to be a touch subdued compared to other tracks but the truth is clear when from nowhere we found ourselves repeating melodies and a chorus which had burned itself into the memory.

Damn these Survival Code boys are devious and at it again within the smouldering and increasingly fiery and just a bit funky This Time Around. McGuinness and Cook unite to weave a contagion of hooks and melodic grooving as tenacious as the expectations devouring exploits of the song, repeating the feat with new imagination for the quite outstanding and devilishly tempting Too Late and in turn Next Step. Another major favourite here, the second of the two borders on the feral, its metal seeded antics spring grooves which demand subservience and riffs which harass to the point of addiction. Around them, melodic flames and vocal angst roar to add to the undiluted captivation.

The final pair of Integrity and Goodbye proves there is truly no moment within the album which is lightweight in presence and enjoyment. The first has a vocal calm which rests perfectly within the more unevenly tempered air of the song though McGuinness’ delivery has a hint of prickliness to it too while the closing offering is a slice of magnetic rock ‘n’ roll which too mixes hushed aggression with volatile energy whilst casting an infectious wind of melody woven turbulence and emotive exclamation.

Quite simply releases like Hopelessness Of People are the reason our hunger to devour new music is more lustful than ever. It is an appetite which has been rewarded so many times this year alone but few as relentlessly and powerfully as by The Survival Code.

Hopelessness Of People is released Friday 31st August, through Good Deeds Music Ltd.

 https://www.thesurvivalcode.co.uk/    https://www.facebook.com/thesurvivalcode    https://twitter.com/thesurvivalcode

Pete RingMaster 30/08/2018Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Vie Jester – All In Jest

It was around two years ago that L.A. trio Vie Jester grabbed ears and impressed with the Etches In Aether EP, a collection of multi-flavoured and imaginatively sculpted melodic/alternative rock bred songs. Recently drummer Cliff Conway got in touch to introduce the band’s latest offering, All In Jest, to our ears. Another EP sized clutch of songs, it was gratefully received especially once discovering the new adventure and maturity shaping the band’s sound and even more striking new offering.

As much as it left a greedy appetite for the Vie Jester sound, Etches In Aether is forcibly eclipsed by the exploits of All In Jest. Everything about the band has grown and matured with its five songs giving dramatic evidence within their skilfully woven episodes of enterprise and imagination. Magnetically melodic but with a snarl which may ebb and flow but always lurks to add greater depth, All In Jest is an inventive roar unafraid to lyrically take a bite at intimate and social issues.

It opens up with new single Please and one of the best starts to any release this year. The track is immense, rising from a calm but portentous melodic yawn into a muscular yet inviting spire of sonic nagging. The guitar of vocalist Kyle Guerrero needs mere seconds to tempt, his powerful vocal prowess just as swift in persuasion once gracing a song already revealing an unpredictable and adventurous body. Vocally backed by both Conway and bassist Jaime Salas with matching potency, Guerrero’s niggly citric tendrils addictively persist though stepping back nicely at times as the track blossoms from one twist and idea to another with increasing magnetism.

It is a magnificent start which hints at bands like Voyager, Tool, and Karnivool in its own individual adventure; a blend echoed in the equally creative Sunburn & Moonshine. A gentle melody wraps its suggestion around ears first, harmonic whispers adding their elegance before Guerrero’s expressive tones join the already bubbling adventure brewing within the catchy encounter. Embracing an engaging intimacy as it brews up emotive crescendos, the track just seduces ears and attention. It does lack the tempestuousness of its predecessor but replaces it with melodic flames and warm infectious tenacity for similar if not quite as spectacular success.

Enigmata follows quickly catching expectations unaware with its electronic tempting as vocals gather. The same essences continue as they are joined by the imaginative enterprise of guitar, rhythms, and vocals; the song evolving with every passing note and idea with enticing endeavour. Its relative calm and boisterous expulsions are similarly gripping whilst the array of flavours and textures within its body only captivate. It has the boldness guiding the whole release to the fore but with its richest invention in play as the song explores it simply demands plaudits.

The release is concluded by firstly The Punchline, an ethereal caress with volcanic tendencies, and lastly through the rousing endeavours of Colourblind. Both tracks keep pleasure and ears intensely involved with the second of the two especially gripping with its stylish touch and creative tapestry framed by Conway’s rhythmic prowess. It is probably fair to say that neither quite lights the major fires in personal passions as those before them but both inflame an already installed appetite for the Vie Jester invention whilst pushing the new craft and imagination shaping their sound.

Vie Jester has always deserved greater attention and they should get it with All In Jest; certainly they and it warrant a moment of your concentrated time.

All In Jest is available now @ https://viejester.com/album/548219/all-in-jest

http://www.viejester.com/     https://www.facebook.com/viejester    https://www.instagram.com/viejester/    https://twitter.com/viejester

Pete RingMaster 07/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Orestea – Elements

Already embracing a fair wash of attention and acclaim through previous EP This is An Overture and a spirit sparking live presence, UK outfit Orestea have pushed their creative bar on again with their striking new album Elements.  Bringing rich essences of melodic rock and alternative metal together in collusion with what can only be described as pop virility, the Guildford hailing band weave a seriously infectious proposition which boils time and time again within an album which has body and imagination bouncing.

Cored around the energy and craft of guitarist Lloyd Wilson, bassist Mike Quinn, and the vocal magnetism of Lisa Avon, a line-up completed by guitarist Johno Madgwick since recording the album, Orestea irrepressibly build on a potent reputation earned through songs and performances alongside the likes of alongside Ashestoangels, Forever Never, ESO, and Wednesday 13 as well as plaudit drawing sets at festivals such as Bloodstock, Download and Guildfest, in swift time upon Elements. As soon as opener Welcome to Surviville comes forth, there is a sense of fresh adventure and assured maturity in songwriting and sound at work. Drama accompanies the approaching sound just as harmony soaks the vocal invitation of Avon whilst imagination instantly infests every twist and turn as the song settles into its rock pop temptation. Driven by the rhythmic web cast by drummer Jack Slade across the release, the song simultaneously rumbles upon and serenades the senses, that adventurousness continuing to fuel guitars, keys, and the heart of an excellent opener setting the creative template and heart of things to come.

The following Here’s The Plan immediately saunters in with a vibrant air, melodies and metallic riffs uniting around Avon’s increasingly potent tones. Her voice is an instinctive roar, as much a seductive flame as it is a steely incitement and as virulent as the sounds around her. Though maybe not quite finding the boldness of its predecessor, the track keeps attention and pleasure burning bright before the album’s title track sizzles on ears. The dancing enterprise of the guitars brings its own raw edge to match the biting and dark temptations of drums and bass, the latter’s grumble especially magnetic in the heated contagious blaze of the song.

References to the likes of Paramore and Don Broco seem to crop up more often than not and it is easy to hear why but as fourth track Ghost of Letting Go steps forward, Orestea only establish their own individual character upon thought and sound. The song is a fiery ballad built on the metallic strains of Quinn’s bass; a song with irritability in its roar and harmonic grace in its calm which only captivates before Alive or Just Existing shows the band is just as adept at kicking up a storm though that attack is unsurprisingly bound in an infectiousness which has the body bouncing and energies rising. It is pure pop rock ‘n’ metal mastery and another pinnacle upon the already praise stamped proposition.

Through the reflective beauty of Getaway, Avon sheer radiance within its warm atmospheric contemplation, and the rowdier stroll of Eggshells, ears are treated to further invention and an enjoyably inescapable persuasion which The Wreckage continues as it burns in ears with emotion and sonic flames like a drama woven sunset. All three leave pleasure and thoughts enamoured before Got Your Back echoes their persuasions with its own enticement if one not quite matching their heights of those but only due to personal preference.

The album is completed by the emotive sigh of Burning Bridges, Avon and music a release of emotive intensity which caps a fine album with a melodic passion hard to not get wrapped up in. It is a fine conclusion to a release which confirms Orestea as one stirring proposition with still the potential of even greater adventures ahead. If being over fussy, there are times within Elements when the band might have pursued its imagination and invention with even braver boldness but it is just a greedy quibble upon something which excites from beginning to end.

Elements is out now @ http://shop.orestea.com/product/elements-album

https://www.facebook.com/oresteaband/    https://twitter.com/orestea

Pete RingMaster 26/09/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Lonely The Brave – Diamond Days EP

A handful of weeks short of its acclaim luring release a year ago, UK outfit Lonely The Brave follow their chart topping album with another new ear hugging EP. Featuring Diamond Days from the acclaimed Things Will Matter, the Cambridge quartet’s latest offering also provides two brand new songs and a haunting cover of a long time band favourite. Together they seduce the senses and spark the imagination, offering further reasons as to why people are suggesting that Lonely The Brave could be Britain’s, if not the world’s, future big thing.

Last year saw, beside the album’s triumphant release, the band play a sell-out headline tour and support Biffy Clyro on their travels across Europe. With the band currently in the midst of a UK tour supporting fellow city bred outfit Mallory Knox alongside Glasgow trio, Fatherson, Lonely The Brave with Diamond Days build on the similarly potent encounter of last Autumn’s EP, Dust & Bones; both releases not only feeding an appetite for the band’s ever brewing growth in sound and songwriting but re-energising attention on Things Will Matter with their lead tracks.

Diamond Days, song and EP swiftly captures devoted attention as a lone melody unfurls its gentle caress around ears. Soon beats add their rhythmic shuffle as vocalist David Jakes shares his distinctive and emotively honed tones. Quickly magnetic, the track only increases its potency as harmonies and further melodic enterprise from guitarist Ross Smithwick unites with the similarly potent touch of Andrew Bushen’s bass, together casting a suggestive web of temptation. Floating over the senses like a melancholic yet elegant cloud, the song haunts and bewitches in equal measure, brooding keys adding to its evocative air.

With the beats of Gavin Edgeley just as striking and lively, Two Heads follows, bringing a greater energy in gait and instinctive but controlled aggression. It is more a forcefulness than attack at the heart of the EPs second offering, but an anthemic trespass which gives greater urgency to the tapestry of infectious melodies and hungry riffs persuading an already keen appetite for the band’s sound to find a touch more greed.

Collider is a blend of the previous pair, initiating its presence with another blustery air but slowly creeping into the psyche with meandering melodies and vocal resourcefulness. Overall the song is more of a slow burner than its predecessors, its angular hooks and blossoming catchiness reserved and subtle yet ultimately the song leaves just as rich a pleasure behind as those before it eventually leaving in a blaze of emotive intensity.

As they have shown before, Lonely The Brave makes any track they cover their own, and The Rat is no exception. The Walkmen song is an emotionally exposed encounter, a haunting and haunted proposition floating solemnly across ears and thoughts as shadows brew in its lining. Their injection of drama builds into a rousing tide of emotive density ridden by Jakes’ continually impressing delivery and the melodic weaving of Smithwick. The track is superb, matching the heights of its companions if not stealing their thunder just a little as it too builds to a thrilling crescendo.

For those with the album already in their hearts, the Diamond Days EP is a new and compelling treat and for newcomers also a reason to further embrace a band and sound which is indeed evolving into something rather special.

The Diamond Days EP is out now through Hassle Records across most online stores digitally and on Ltd Ed Mint coloured vinyl; all links @ http://smarturl.it/DiamondDays_Order

Upcoming Mallory Knox/Lonely The Brave Tour Dates:

31/03/17 – Newcastle – University SU

01/04/17 – Liverpool – O2 Academy

02/04/17 – Portsmouth – Pyramids

04/04/17 – Oxford – O2 Academy

05/04/17 – London – Koko

06/04/17 – London – Koko

http://lonelythebrave.com/    https://www.facebook.com/LonelyTheBrave   https://twitter.com/lonelythebrave

Pete RingMaster 27/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Son of Skooshny – Confection

cover_RingMasterReview

Three years on from releasing the Mid Cent Mod EP, US band Son of Skooshny returns with its successor Confection and another collection of melodic rock/pop tracks simply warranting attention.  Admittedly, three of the songs making up the encounter were released as singles along the way but it is as part of Confection that they really blossom, each adding a magnetic aspect to its engaging whole.

Son of Skooshny is the creation of vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Mark Breyer, a project evolving out of acclaimed seventies band Skooshny who despite eventually breaking up found their releases still becoming collector items around Europe. Reforming in the nineties, they soon released a new EP with an album and compilation following, the latter in 2004. Six years later Son of Skooshny stepped forward, Breyer uniting with producer/collaborator Steve Refling, before unveiling debut album Lovers Leap of Faith. Its magnetic melodic pop sound further evolved within the 2013 Mid Cent Mod EP, a mellower blossom of imagination with a country/folk rock twist now pushed on again, while embracing the band’s pop instincts, by Confection.

The EP opens with Just a Test, a track swiftly seducing ears and attention with its tangy melodies and gently nagging stride. Equally a sixties pop air nuzzles song and imagination as Breyer’s expressive tones and suggestive melodies spread through the heart and body of the richly enticing encounter. As catchy as it is sultry, the song continues to coax body and appetite, its sound not a major leap from the last EP but richer in the weave of flavours and seductive prowess it bears.

That mentioned country scent spices the following No Ho, a slower gaited song which saunters with creative confidence as suggestive keys wrap Breyer’s words and the sonic romancing of the guitars. A melodic shimmer also lines the song replacing the snappier touch of its predecessor with its alluring presence and though it does not quite spark the appetite as forcibly, the track grows into a similarly potent proposal over time.

A similar design of flavours and textures shape the melodic caress of Cloud Cover straight after, a soft slice of catchy mellow pop deceptively low key as tempting harmonies cuddle and melodies conjure. Within this tranquil serenading though, an orchestral scented theatre rises within the song’s multi-layered landscape which only draws the imagination deeper into its beauty.

Half of the World is next, a melodic rock ‘n’ pop croon with its own adventure in catchiness draped in sixties inspired melodic flames and vocal smooching, before The Subtle Eye closes up the release with its smouldering country twanged caress. Both tracks have a XTC Oranges & Lemons / Elvis Costello Almost Blue like fusion to them, a flavouring adding to the sixties and melodic pop invention Son of Skooshny persistently show themselves so adept at casting.

Released earlier this year on Bandcamp but now being given a broad release through CD Baby on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and other stores by the band itself, Confection is a warm melodic snug with Son of Skooshny deserving of greater attention.

The Confection EP is out now across most stores and @ https://sonofskooshny.bandcamp.com/album/confection

http://www.skooshny.com/

Pete RingMaster 13/12/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Scott Swain – Oil!

scott-swain_RingMasterReview

By his own words, “This track is what you get when you cross the film There Will Be Blood with Johnny Cash“. That description sums up Oil!, the new single from Scott Swain perfectly; its flavouring and emotive atmosphere encapsulated in those few words and living up to hopes equally raised by such a suggestion. The song is a swarthy slice of melodic rock within a country/mariachi spiced cinematic climate of suggestiveness which swiftly captures attention and imagination.

Having played in bands for almost a decade, supporting Biffy Clyro among the highlights, Swain decided to explore his solo side when his main bands, How to Dress a Monster and Fire at Night, took breathers earlier this year. Drawing on inspirations ranging from Elliot Smith and Mark Lanagan to cult cinema, he soon ventured onto the live scene with just his voice and acoustic guitar. As Oil! shows, in the studio Swain expands his sound and emotive adventure with the help of others but without losing that organic raw character and texture luring increasing praise.

Inspired by There Will be Blood, with Swain lyrically examining “the relationship between wanting to be ambitious and the things which can be sacrificed in the process”, Oil! is a natural seduction of ears and thought. From its first melodic strum and metronomic lure of beats it has ears gripped, ambling in with purpose before hitting an even eager stride as guitars and bass unite around warm harmonies. The country kissed twang of guitar and melodies hold a myriad of pictures for the imagination to conjure while feet and hips are employed by the gentle but keen swagger of the infection loaded song and its lively gait.

Managing to smoulder in emotion and atmosphere while providing a tenacious canter to get involved in, the song is pure magnetism which lingers long after taking its leave and increasingly impresses with subsequent listens.

Oil! is out now via iTunes, Spotify etc.

Upcoming Live Dates:

06.12.2016 Apples and Pear Bar, Brick Lane. London

14.12.2016 Fu Manchu Bar, Clapham. London.

22.12.2016 The Bricklayers, Hitchin.

http://scottswainmusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/scottswainmusic

https://twitter.com/scottswainmusic

Check out the video for Hitman from Scott Swain @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/video-selector/

Pete RingMaster 29/11/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright