Jonestown – Aokigahara

Jonestown_RingMasterReview

Beauty and paradise can turn to pain and hell with seeming ease within the hands of mankind; the utopian vision of the charismatic and disturbed central figure in the inspiration to the band’s name a prime example. UK metallers Jonestown seed their sound and lyrical confrontations in such personal and worldly tempests; to borrow words from their bio, “The name Jonestown encapsulates the fragility of our state in nature and in society. We’re oblivious to how fragile we are and how quickly life can turn to death.” Musically, the Brighton band starts in hellish landscapes of sound and emotion too which, as shown by new album, Aokigahara, is then taken to fiercer debilitating states whilst subjecting the listener to one seriously thrilling incitement.

Formed March 2014, Jonestown took little time to impress and lure thick attention. They won the Metal 2 The Masses competition that same year with their first ever gig together being the initial round of the event which they also won. From there they have played with the likes of Soulfly, Monuments, No Consequence, and Black Dahlia Murder , toured with Prolong the Agony, and drew acclaim with performances at festivals such as Bloodstock Open Air in 2014 and in 2015, both Leofest  and Mammothfest. 2016 is going the same successful way as its recent predecessors for the band, starting with the recent release of their stunning debut album Aokighara. Named after the forest at the base of Mount Fuji known as ‘the Suicide Forest’, the release is cauldron of raw and varied metal ferociousness fuelled with a hardcore laced antipathy in sound and tone. It is a creative animus, a web of inventive rabidity and ravenous imagination, and quite irresistible.

Jonestown Artwork_RingMasterReviewIt opens up with Deliverance, a track taking its time to come into view from within a haunting cold ambience. Chilling winds wash provocatively over the senses as a melancholic melody sighs in the background. Soon an imposing wall of intimidating chords and raw intensity looms up though, it in turn erupting into an onslaught of corrosive sonic and rhythmic animosity led by the vocals squalls of Harley Anderson. It takes little time for the technical prowess and unpredictable enterprise of the band to show its impressing nature with guitarist Craig Radford spinning a web of grooves and melodic temptation as a suggestive wrap to his and bassist’s Tony Hardwick predatory riffs and lines, this all without defusing the unbridled rancor of tone and touch of the song.

It is a striking start to the album quickly matched by Cenodoxus and Borderline. The first of the pair is equally as bitter and uncompromising as its predecessor, the senses bruising swings of drummer Rich Owen as virulent as they are punishing. It also pushes the imagination further with a great Korn-esque twist within its Black Dahlia Murder meets Meshuggah meets Murdock like ravishing of ears and emotions. Its successor has its own creative vendetta to share; grooves an infestation as toxic as they are seductive, simultaneously tempering and accentuating the impressive and varied strains of Anderson’s vocal enmity and the carnivorous voice and exploit of the bass.

Mass Extinction Six is a merciless knot of emotional tension and sonic jaundice next, again an assault brought and veined with some richly flavoursome and appetite inciting invention, whilst the album’s title track breeds an emotionally corrupted atmosphere around a whirlpool of virulent riffs and grooves. Without quite matching the earlier pinnacles of Aokigahara, both leave ears resonating and pleasure thick before Aprés Moi shares its own caustic drama. As with all tracks, it is an unrelenting predator, never giving ears a moment’s breath or the imagination time to settle before another raging and contagious outburst of invention and breath-taking hostility erupts to steal attention.

With the mouth-watering emotional discord and physical bedlam of The 33rd Parallel and the sonic terrorism and mesmeric beauty of the equally outstanding Deadweight bringing Aokigahara to a riveting and ferocious close, the album stands as one of the best metal debuts this year and back. At times it almost proves too brutal and invasive to take in one go, but every track brings such a fresh adventure of conflict and emotional friction that tearing away from the album’s grudge proves impossible. Bottom-line is that this is a treat no one should ignore.

Aokigahara is out now @ http://Jonestownbrighton.bandcamp.com

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Pete RingMaster 28/04/2016

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Bailer – Shaped By The Landscape

BAILER_RingMasterReview

There is a new bruiser in town, a creative bully as at ease turning the senses and ears to mush as it is breeding a dervish like reactions in the body. That uncompromising assailant is Irish quartet Bailer and its choice of irresistible weapon, debut EP, Shaped By The Landscape. The band’s striking introduction is a fiercely irritable groove fest of demands and rewards; a caustic fusion of groove metal and hardcore which leaves body and soul wasted and spirit and emotions ignited.

Formed in the January of 2015, Bailer has been a welcome scourge through its local and Irish underground scene, sharing stages with the likes of Red Enemy, Novelists, The Colour Line, Shields and more as well as playing main support to Murdock on tour. Aidan Cunningham from that fellow Irish band recorded, mixed, and mastered the Shaped By The Landscape, and fair to say if describing the distinct Bailer sound, Murdock would be used as a kind of reference as well as maybe Gacys Threads and The Dillinger Escape Plan. There is no escaping the sonic and vocal, let alone emotional, animosity fuelling and shaping the band’s first poke at the broadest attention, or that it is one of the most punishingly thrilling debuts in the hardcore scene for quite a while.

Artwork_RingMasterReviewThe EP opens with Failsafe and immediately has ears enticed with its spicy guitar coaxing and then under siege by a wall of hungry riffs and barbarous rhythms. It is all conducted by the ferocious tones of vocalist Alex O’Leary, his searing squalls almost visibly scarring his throat as they enjoyably abrase ears. There is equally a swing to his delivery, a devilish catchiness which is even stronger in the web of fiery grooves that entangle ears and appetite amidst the rampant aggression of Paul Cashman’s rhythmic swings. The carnivorous growl of David Cleere’s bass is simply delicious in the mix as too the wonderfully nagging tapestry of metal and punk grooves and riffs cast by guitarist Chris Harte. The track is a glorious start to the release, and maybe the most virulently infectious slab of abuse heard in a long time.

It is not a one off though, being swiftly matched by The Binding. It starts off in the same vein as its predecessor but soon reveals its own nefarious twists and turns as O’Leary again shares rancor with the air. Everything about the song is also ridiculously catchy; the body and imagination is soon caught up in its hostile groove almost unaware of being battered and bruised, sonically and emotionally tossed around. Its sensational onslaught is followed by Anti-Venom and its own animus of spite and infectiousness. Grooves squirm with the tempest of noise and irritability, the snarling lure of the bass as seductive as ever whilst vocals rage and almost gloat over the victim, in the shape of the senses, crippled by the rhythmic battering alone. Not that the listener realises when being manipulated by an infestation of grooves and stirring hooks shared with similar zeal and power.

The Benefit Of Doubt is an even darker and more predatory proposal; venom toning every rhythmic strike and scything flash of guitar while all the time the bass adds a grouchy nag linking it all up. Maybe the least openly catchy song on the EP, though not by much, the track is as bold and majestic in craft and invention as it is in highly persuasive animosity. It is a formidable and stirring end to what is simply a killer and monumental debut from Bailer.

The CD version of Shaped By The Landscape actually comes with bonus tracks Call Of The Unknown and Animosity, and the cause of the only issue with the release; the fact that we were not sent those songs to cover too, though it is easy to assume they will live up to the other quartet. Already we are greedy for the Bailer incitement and it is hard to imagine we will be on our own once it is out there playing havoc with ears and the passions.

The self-released Shaped By The Landscape EP is released 29th April digitally and on CD @ https://bailerofficial.bandcamp.com/

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Pete RingMaster 27/04/2016

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Searching the creative dance of warfare with Chris Emery of American Head Charge

ahc chris_RingMasterReview

We have not been alone in declaring Tango Umbrella, the new album from American Head Charge, as not only one of the band’s most thrilling and potent offerings but one of metal’s most exhilarating incitements in recent times. Following the successful Shoot EP, the album confirmed after a hiatus that the band has returned creatively bigger and bolder than ever. With the offer to find out more laid before us, we quickly seized the opportunity to quiz drummer Chris Emery about not only Tango Umbrella but also on that six year absence, the kinship within the band, and much more…

Hello Chris and great thanks for sharing some of your time with us.

I think most metal fans know something about the beginning of American Head Charge and certainly your albums, The War Of Art and The Feeding. But the reasons for the hiatus we realised we were definitely in the dark. Before looking at the mighty treat that is Tango Umbrella, can you explain why the break and more so what sparked the band’s return?

Certainly Pete, I wouldn’t mind shining some light on that spot of AHC history for you. Basically the hiatus was Chad Hanks, co-founder and man with the plan, closing up the A.H.C. shop. Continually not being able to make contact with Cameron (Heacock) for song collaboration purposes and anything band related, he naturally called it quits. He tried to get in touch with him but they weren’t able to get together. As far as we knew at the time the break was permanent. Then one day, out of the clear blue, Cameron emails Chad new demos. No “hi, how you /this is what’s going on.” After Chad heard Cameron’s voice he knew that he was healthy and writing amazing work. I received the same demos. Some of them were songs that Justin and Chad were working on in addition to the brilliant work coming from Cameron. We were all just so happy to know that he was alright and in a happy creative frame of mind.

And the songs were exciting to boot so that was a plus and the spark that supplied all the energy this collaborative shared dream needed to gain lift and begin to take shape. The whole year leading up to Chad sending me songs and asking if I was down to play again; I was setting off sparks every day in my own mind. I would sit and daydream about playing with them again. Mentally preparing myself for the day that spark caught fire and set in motion the series of events leading us here. The spark was the music. As soon as I heard the demos for Let All The World Believe and Perfectionist, I just knew in my heart that these songs were a pre-production process away from being an incredible record. We knew it was going to take every ounce of energy and clout we could gather to make it happen. The fans were a huge spark. When we did the indigo campaign and it was a huge success it became real. We began pinching each other on a daily basis.

ahc4_RingMasterReviewI often wonder when a band stops or goes on a hiatus and then returns sometimes years later, how much is feeling like there is unfinished business, how much is working through issues and then members coming to a mutual kinship again, and how much is simply as a music fan being inspired by other’s great releases to go again or to show some how it should be done…any apply to AHC?

All of it applies. There were loads of new songs to work on together as a band. There was much work to be done and everyone was eager to get started. The mutual kinship came naturally. You get us together, and no matter what we’ve endured in the past, we squash it and move forward. We grew while apart, and I witnessed grown men with love in their hearts say and do everything needed to honestly come together. As we got sincere, the music grew tight. You could see it in our eyes and in our actions and behavior. We were on a mission to make an honest comeback that contained all the essential ingredients; overcoming hurdles, timeless music, support from fans, excitement from a record label, and the entire group giving 100%. Even when we had to overcome obstacles, we supported each other and never lost sight of why we decided to do this in the first place. Nothing great comes easy.

As we mentioned, you have just released the excellent Tango Umbrella, an album which for us is as much a kaleidoscope of your creative highlights to date and indeed inspirations as it is a wholly fresh and stirring AHC proposal. Did you have any particular intention in the writing of the album and the character of its sound to re-connect with the past or was it something which organically emerged?

It emerged and evolved organically. A lot of our tried and true methods of writing become helpful when working with new songs. Remember, this is coming from a self-taught drummer that doesn’t write lyrics or music. When we got together and played what they originally wrote it evolved into the finished songs. Sometimes changing a little, other times remaining much closer to the original song idea. On this and past records I contributed a few ideas. Mostly from what I witness and hear when watching my brother’s work, some kind of magical muse takes over. We do our best to get our egos out of the way and let it guide us. Sometimes it’s as simple as doing the part that was written and let the original attraction of the music have its voice heard through the live recording process. I would complicate simple parts at times. It would take direction from everyone to keep me focused. And sometimes it flowed naturally with less effort. We just did our best to create the structure for the song that fit the music perfectly. Sometimes on the spot creativity and experimentation guided the production along. Those were exciting moments.

I can assume the songs within the album are all new propositions or were there older thoughts and previously unused ideas also brought back into the open?

There were a few songs in pre-production that didn’t make the record. Because there was such a large selection of songs and ideas, it was a mixed bag for a while. It had to be carefully sifted through to come up with the perfect selection of tunes, a process helped by having Dave Fortman use his production expertise to help guide us. Most of the songs were new. I did hear a few ideas that were reshaped into ground-breaking AHC effort.

How in general do you hear your sound’s evolution over especially your albums to this point?

I hear more dynamics in the music and lyrically. Cameron is stretching out, coming up with mind blowing ideas. Justin’s involvement in song writing and growth has been amazing. I’m just trying to keep up with all of it and get better as their songwriting evolves.

How did the band approach the creation of Tango Umbrella in the writing and its recording? Was it majorly different to how you went into making The Feeding for example?

I wouldn’t say majorly different in music writing and lyrics. Justin wrote lyrics. That was different. The fans paid for it. That was a major difference art_RingMasterReviewand help. It was recorded in beautiful Richmond, Kentucky. The backdrop of lush green pasture with miles of fences was much softer than the LA concrete. Especially when walking the dog. When we did pre-production for The Feeding we were at Cole Rehearsal studios. LA had more distractions but the studio was bigger. I was fresh out of treatment during The Feeding; recorded it stone sober.

You have touched on this in regard to the new album but generally how do songs come together within the band? Is there a specific method or more regular way by which tracks come about?

Most of the time, Chad and Cameron write songs then bring them to us. The regular is we learn the tunes then we all pre-produce them. There are so many ways they can come together. Starting with riffs, lyrics, samples, loops triggered manually keeping time.

How long had Tango Umbrella been in the making?

From when we started recording it took longer than originally planned. But we had to pay as we went; the way I see it, since The Feeding was finished.

Were its seeds and direction already planted in thoughts in the early moments of the band’s return and the Shoot EP, which I would say in hindsight, gives a definite hint or two about what was to come ?

Yes that is a fairly accurate statement. Shoot was more of a snapshot of where we were musically at the time. It was tracked quickly while on tour. With Tango Umbrella we had more of an opportunity to let songs evolve more before recording.

As you touched on earlier, the band went down the crowd funding route for Tango Umbrella. Do you think this is the way for bands to go now; the future of being able to make music once a band hits a certain fan base level?

It worked well for us. You can do a lot with several thousand dollars. You can also do much these days with less. So depending on how much the band could raise. It does look like a great option for bands today.

ahc3Can you tell us about the themes running through Tango Umbrella and certain songs?

I could but right now Christopher is going to pass. It’s a great question.

How about the emotion loaded A King Among Men? We got the feeling it was inspired by the loss of AHC guitarist Bryan Ottoson in 2005 but also may be by more recent losses like Wayne Static and of course Lemmy. What are its origins?

Not sure exactly, but it makes me think of Bryan and my brother Tim. The song gives me cold chills.

Who came up with the excellent art work and photography for Tango Umbrella?

Forgot sorry, I’d have to ask Chad; it’s getting super early I’m so sleepy

Once more many thanks for chatting with us. Anything you would like to add?

I could use a nap😉

Check out our review of Tango Umbrella @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/03/24/american-head-charge-tango-umbrella/

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Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 14/04/2016

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OTEP – Generation Doom

photo credit: Paul Brown

photo credit: Paul Brown

There have been few furnaces in word, sound, and defiance as potent and irresistible to our ears over the past decade than Otep Shamaya and her band Otep. Across six albums she and co have crafted and crafted provocation, incitement, and incendiary metal invention like an artist with a palette of unquenchable suggestiveness. Now to ensure and show that the fires of art, imagination, and discontent burn as imposingly bright as ever, her band uncage Generation Doom. The seventh album from the LA hailing protagonists of noise and thought, body and spirit, is an inescapable predator within a kaleidoscope of metal fury woven from nu and industrial through to groove and poetic alchemy.

In the world we live today and the breed of bigotry and injustices that comes with it, there is an endless supply of fuel to the lyrical ire and challenges that escapes Otep Shamaya’s mind and pen. Fair to say though, that every inventive twist and emotional flame shaping Generation Doom has arguably the band’s fiercest venom and greatest animosity yet, but intimidation and rage aligning with some of the band’s most imaginative ideas and exploits. Certainly the album has everything you expect from an Otep proposition, a rare time when expectations are wonderfully fed to no displeasure, but every track, each moment of adventure, comes with new ingenuity and fearsomely imaginative craft to drool over. You do not have to know who created Generation Doom, ears can tell within the opening minutes. Otep is perpetually a proposition and artist out on their own which with their new album has unleashed a fresh pinnacle in their inspirational presence within music.

Generation Doom opens up its virulent warfare with Zero; global and intimate apathy as much in its sights as the ears and imagination of the listener. Within its first few breaths, the song is an uncompromising assault of barbarous rhythms and rapacious riffs ridden by the distinctive vocal presence and prowess of Shamaya. Grooves are soon dancing and flirting with tenacious enterprise alongside; throaty harmonics in turn regaling the air as her ever diverse and gripping tones spring vocal and lyrical traps as easy to get caught by as the maze of unpredictable sound igniting the senses.

The track is the sign of things to come, of the unexpected and ferociously striking explorations that infest release and appetite as in Feeding Frenzy. The second track is almost bull like in its initial steely pawing of the ground before prowling and grinding its punk metal hued rock ‘n’ roll into the greedily welcoming psyche. As the first, the track is swift addiction feeding an already Otep seeded appetite whilst weaving a voracious tapestry of diversely baited textures and confrontational trespasses that devour as a whole new creative scourge. The track is superb, an irresistible intrusion which drops out for one of the cinematic/ emotively visceral samples/pieces that Otep are and have been so great at conjuring over the years.

art_RingMasterReviewLords Of War follows with its haunting voice and descriptively evocative mystique. The sounds of invasive force and subjugation litter the disturbed ambience of the track, its portentous inevitability exploding in a tirade of riffs and merciless rhythms as vocals flirt with and dance on the assaultive intent. Gripping body and thoughts, the song epitomises the Otep ability to reflect the object of their lyrical attack in tone and sound whilst simultaneously placing it under attack by the same.

Already the variety of the album is a clear quality across early songs and broadened to enthralling success by Royals. A striking cover of the Lorde song, the band embraces the pop theatre of the original and weaves it in an aggressive growl and raw metal escapade drenched in Otep distinctiveness. Floating harmonies lurk in the background as melodies kiss and go across the emerging tempest of shadowed emotion and creative drama. Not for the first or last time, Shamaya confirms her stature and agility as a vocalist; clean and throat scarring tones as easy from her body and on the ear as the rap bred delivery which steers this compelling proposal. The vocalist has a voice which can charm the birds or spark the darkest demons, the former a bewitching flame across the melodic rock of In Cold Blood and its pyre of honest reflection brewing up into an almost animus like roar of noise and emotion, Throughout keys court the sonic rancor with poetic elegance, the track ruffling the feathers and stirring the imagination before the eastern hued Down intimidatingly seduces and hungrily bristles with its industrial infused kaleidoscopic and fractious emprise.

Religion and its source feels the full creative force of God Is A Gun next, the track an unbridled face melting gladiatorial challenge of volcanic metal and intensity, whilst the hip hop/electro scented Equal Rights, Equal Lefts has its eyes and aim on intolerance and bigotry easy to assume being as intimately as observationally inspired. Both tracks grip ears and thoughts with sublime efficiency and creative alchemy in sound and syllable, swiftly matched by the invasively infectious and forcibly fascinatingly melancholic No Color. That seductive sombreness also continues in Lie, a hypnotic blending of light and dark textures casting a snarl in its beauty and mesmerism in its tempestuousness across an ever evolving creative landscape reigned over by Shamaya’s expansive vocal presence and adventure.

The album’s title track goes for the jugular next, its irritable maelstrom of toxic grooves and cancerous riffs entwined in choleric industrial volatility and rhythmic antagonism. It is all bound together by another fluid bedlam of galvanic and corrosive vocal dexterity creating a savaging as delicious as it is destructive. The track leaves ears ringing and senses numb with pleasure in turn thick and set to overflow over the closing beauty of On The Shore. A rhythmic catchiness is matched in gait and vocal swing with Shamaya kissing ears with sunlit melodies and warm caresses as darker, angrier shadows lurk and subsequently crowd her dominant presence.

The track is a glorious end to a stunning album which, even with a definitely biased outset because of previous encounters, simply blew our expectations and hopes away.  For Otep fans, Generation Doom is new manna for the ears and for newcomers and those maybe yet to be convinced by the band’s sound, something to seriously consider exposing their intrigue to; the rewards are relentless.

Generation Doom is released via Napalm Records April 15th on iTunes and other stores.

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Pete RingMaster 14/04/2016

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I Plead Irony – The Solution Is The Problem

IPI_RingMasterReview

Just a handful of months short of three years ago, UK trio I Plead Irony uncaged one of the most rousing and creatively imaginative rock ‘n’ roll albums heard that year and to be honest since. This Statement Is False was compellingly equipped with ferocious and virulently contagious alternative and punk rock roars which, though frequently acclaimed, never quite got the rich attention it and the band deserved. Fair to say though, the Farnborough hailing band was certainly recognised as one of the UK’s most exciting emerging bands by a great many. Now the biggest spotlights are under serious tempting once again with the release of the band’s second album The Solution Is The Problem, it another creatively raucous and energetically incendiary slab of sound and invention to get lustful over.

In many ways, The Solution Is The Problem takes over from where its predecessor left off; imagination stirring and inventively mischievous songs to the fore but swiftly it reveals the broader landscape of creative tenacity and imagination now colouring the fresh maturity in songwriting and sound. Managing to provide more of the riveting same whilst unleashing a whole new character of insatiable adventure, the album is an inescapable arousing of spirit, imagination, and greedily devouring ears.

Formed in the early days of 2011, I Plead Irony was a growing force on the south eastern live scene from its first steps. Sharing time with its members’ other projects such as Ipanema, The Fins, Atomic Garden, and Welcome The Howling Tones, the band released This Statement Is False in 2013, their debut mixed by French producer Guillaume Doussaud. It awoke a new wave of national ears and appetites to the presence of the band and in turn a new host of fans to excite with their renowned live prowess. Now The Solution Is The Problem is the bait to really stir things up; an enticement which has all the qualities and potential to make the threesome of vocalist/bassist Rauf Jordan, guitarist/backing vocalist Paul McDonald, and drummer/backing vocalist Lawrence Arnold, the name on eagerly sharing lips and recommendations.

The album impressively opens with Tiny Violin which enters on a rusty cinematic coaxing. Soon after, a wiry guitar invitation winds around ears, hefty rhythmic swipes and a brooding atmosphere soon in close attention. In no time, the track is strolling with eager intent through ears, the excellent vocal presence of Jordan leading a thick mix of textures and flavours busying themselves within the song. There is a touch of Hundred Reasons meets Japanese Fighting Fish to the track, a spice within a sound which is swiftly and increasingly recognised as prime I Plead Irony. It is simply superb, a rousing and dramatic proposal thick in emotion and intensity entangled in strands of inventive endeavour.

art_RingMasterReviewThe potent expanse of diversity within the album is soon beginning to reveal itself with What If. From vocals to sound, it carries a rockabilly meets melodic rock ingenuity which simply seduces as the track, with the bass on the front foot, prowls ears. Hooks litter every lure of the song’s invitation whilst a virulence of emotive and creative dexterity infests the imagination and psyche. As its predecessor, the track is aural gold and an unstoppable manipulation of the body and listener participation, much as Not The Face which follows straight after. It too is quickly in command, its buoyant infectiousness aligned to imposing aggression and anthemic tenacity with a Billy Talent like resourcefulness to it all.

Already the album is an addiction in the throes of success and strongly backed by the feisty persuasion of Sisyphus and even more so its successor Just A Machine. The first of the two is a relatively reserved and reined proposal but with the bracing edge and slightly cantankerous nature that frequents the I Plead Irony sound. If without sparking the same lusty response as those before it, the sonically fiery song has ears and pleasure full before the second of the two steals the limelight with its Foo Fighters toned incitement. From the delicious crankiness of the bass and the lung roaring vocals of Jordan through to the maze of off-kilter dynamics and ever evolving energy, the track is an anthem to stir the passions and a tapestry of unpredictable invention to ignite the imagination.

What’s Best For You bounces along next with a Jimmy Eat World infectiousness and agitation though yet again any references offered are mere hues in a thick slice of I Plead Irony originality, as evidenced by the rumbling rock ‘n’ roll of Unsung Champions straight after. Jordan and Arnold needs little time to create a web of rhythmic seduction and intimidation which McDonald binds in melodic and sonic enterprise as the vocalist’s vocals shine with narrative and expression. There is nothing about the song not to greedily like; every chord and rhythmic roll the prelude to a theatre of discord lined imagination and spirit inflaming flirtation, it all honed into rock ‘n’ roll alchemy.

The body is soon lost to the addictive shuffle and contagion of Prove Me Wrong; its imposing catchiness wonderfully aligned to a metal inspired trespass as magnetic as the track’s virulence is epidemic like. The song is also another reflection of the bigger and bolder landscape to the band’s writing and invention, an aspect pushed further by the equally intrusive and dynamic Divide[…]Collide. A tenacious snarl is never far from the surface, even as a melodic saunter works with the darker tone of voice and emotion , but similarly the band’s striking imagination is consistently there leaning in on every unexpected twist and resourceful turn of the excellent encounter.

The Solution Is The Problem is brought to a thrilling close by firstly the web of intrigue and galvanic textures making up the Kill The Crow and finally Tragedy Debut, a glorious slice of punk ‘n’ roll which sends the listener this way and that whilst having them, like a puppeteer, physically and emotionally dance. Both tracks hit the sweet spot with the closer especially exhilarating with its invasive and memorable theatre of blues, punk, and muscular alternative rock.

Such the might of This Statement Is False, it was never going to be easy to follow it up but The Solution Is The Problem makes light work of the challenge with its bigger and bolder, not forgetting thrilling plateau of invention and persuasion

The Solution Is The Problem is out now via Rose Coloured Records @ https://ipleadirony.bandcamp.com/

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Pete RingMaster 12/04/2016

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Boss Keloid – Herb Your Enthusiasm

Boss Keloid_RingMasterReview

Big praise drenched words and claims have been shared in the build up to the release of the new album from British heavy rockers Boss Keloid, and we can quite eagerly say that Herb Your Enthusiasm more than lives up to every syllable of acclaim offered. The Wigan hailing quartet’s second album is simply superb, inescapably irresistible, and a ravenous incitement entangling the finest ravenous textures of sludge, doom, stoner, progressive rock and much more. For ten tracks it turns ears and imagination inside out with unpredictability and ferocious adventure that catches the breath as equally as the heavy predacious sounds and rabidly dark ideation terrorises the senses. The release is spellbindingly fascinating and destined to stalk the top places of end of year best album lists.

As in debut album The Calming Influence of Teeth of 2013, riffs carry a furious rabidity as rhythms probe and punish within Herb Your Enthusiasm. That alone provides a proposal demanding attention with the seduction of low-slung grooves only increasing the senses intimidating, imagination courting prowess at work. To this masterful palette of raw intensity and barbarous persuasion the band layers further temptations of melodic dissonance and glamour, progressive drama, and at times an avant-garde psychosis which just puts hex on album and listener. The result is a release which blows its impressive predecessor out of the water and announces Boss Keloid as a big creative predator in a large devouring pond.

Recorded and mixed by Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studios and mastered by James Plotkin, Herb Your Enthusiasm opens up with Lung Mountain, a track swiftly providing the template for the heart of the album. Riffs badger and pounce on ears as the hefty swings of drummer Ste Arands resonate on the senses. It takes little time though for band and album to slip in something more sultrily comfortable as guitarist Paul Swarbrick shares flirtatious melodies cross a calmer landscape where the already rousing roar of vocalist Alex Hurst mellows into a more enticing growl. With Jon Davis of Conan guest and adding to the vocal web, the bass of Adam Swarbrick is all the while a predator, stalking the song and imagination with its swaying animus for a perfect temper to the kinder climate and the spark for more ravenous intent elsewhere. As shown time and time again, there is so much going on in songs only physically embracing them can reveal all with every listen perpetually revealing a new twist or texture to get hooked on.

Boss Keloid_HYE_Front_Artwork_RingMasterReviewThe progressive ingenuity in the latter stages of the song only adds to a theatre of sound and craft which continues in the imagination fuelled emprise of Haarlem Struggle. An exotic acoustic opening is soon a tempestuous wall of lumbering confrontation, though that early spicing still flavours the bracing proposal of primal intensity aflame with senses enveloping harmonies. Strains of death and groove metal among other bold spices are equally glimpsed in the brewing maelstrom, teasing and thrilling ears though not as much as the subsequent spiral into experimental adventure towards the track’s rear where Boss Keloid conjure an alchemy best described as a bedlam of Faith No More, Trepalium, 6:33, and Destrage.

Giving a final crushing of ears as it leaves, the excellent track makes way for the equally compelling Escapegoat where grunge/stoner toxicity quickly grips and excites whilst vocals and rhythms collude with more tenebrific riffs within an atmospheric trespass. There is no let-up of thick pressure and corrosive intensity across the song, its invigorating voracious intent single minded as its heads into the doom spawned jaws of Cone. Amongst resonating bass bait and dark fibrous grooves, Alex Hurst flirts with a Mike Patton like devilry for his early presence though he and song need little prompting to raise their antagonistic side as heavy rock and thunderous rhythms align for an invasive tsunami of sound and intent. For every assault offered there comes a flirtatious groove or virulent infectiousness that has the body and passions swinging, here it revealing a great Alice In Chains like hue to its tempting.

Axis of Green keeps the release and enjoyment on the same striking plateau, the rhythmic agility of Ste Arands and Adam Swarbrick catching ears in swift time as Paul Swarbrick’s sonic strands and venomous grooves weave in and out. Increasingly more eventful as it progresses, ending with a progressively tenacious and again expectations destroying climax, the song is followed by Highatus, a brief and fiery slice of instrumental sludge suggestiveness which is far more straight forward than the tracks around it but similarly enjoyable before being seriously outshone by Lung Valley. With psych rock keys and the increasingly impressing vocal variety and quality of Alex Hurst instantly sparking further lustful reactions, the track creates a tapestry of grouchily invasive textures and inviting grooves. Every element is as welcoming as they are imposing, and ultimately all addictively persuasive.

The fierce blaze and climactic toning of Elegant Odyssey enslaves next, every groove and slither of ingenuity infesting the psyche as the senses are bruised and body physically nagged by the track’s weight and aggressively shared intent. With its mercurial and spellbinding character, the track is simply outstanding, a ravenous triumph to bear and lustfully embrace, much as the final pairing of songs on the album. Chabal steps forward first, Davis again featuring as another array of textures and rock ‘n’ roll strains entangle and unite as the band forcibly push their songwriting and imagination whilst similarly imposing on the listener, trapping them in a web of contagious exploits and instinctively quarrelsome incitement.

Hot Priest closes up Herb Your Enthusiasm and is as exceptional as its two predecessors. Immediately it flirts with ears in an avant-garde rock shuffle with keys and rhythms sharing off-kilter imagination and enterprise too. Of course in no time, Boss Keloid has uncaged the pugnacious side of their invention with combative riffs and beats led by snarling vocals descending on the senses. From there the two contrasting sides continue to switch within and share the track’s glorious presence.

We have only hinted at the heart, body, and character of Herb Your Enthusiasm such its rich depths and imagination. Your job is to explore it, embrace, it, and be mercilessly buffeted and seduced by something surely few will manage to better this year.

Herb Your Enthusiasm is released April 8th via Black Bow Records and @ https://bosskeloid.bandcamp.com/album/herb-your-enthusiasm

https://www.facebook.com/bosskeloidband

Pete RingMaster 07/o4/2016

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