Infrared – Back To The Warehouse

Pic By Gord Weber

The Back To The Warehouse EP sees Canadian thrashers Infrared releasing in their words “… the last of the old songs that we felt should see the light of day.” It comes as the band prepares to record a new album for an anticipated 2020 release and we can only agree that its 4 originals and one cover of an Iron Maiden song are certainly deserving of this rather enjoyable outing.

Ottawa hailing Infrared originally rose up back in the mid-eighties as the likes of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax were shaping the attention on thrash metal. Embracing that Bay Area inspiration, Infrared released the R.I.P. EP in 1988 before going on an extended hiatus the following year. 27 years on the band united with original members in vocalist/guitarist Armin Kamal, guitarist Kirk Gidley, and drummer Alain Groulx recruiting bassist Mike Forbes to replace the other band founder, Shawn Thompson who had since those early days moved to Miami. A debut album in No Peace soon followed with its successor, Saviours, released last year.

Back To The Warehouse echoes that time when the Big 4 were driving thrash, the likes of Testament, Exodus, and SOD equally making an open inspiration to the tracks within it yet it has a freshness to its particularly individual nostalgia which is not out of place with anything new being cast by current thrashers.

The EP opens up with Meet My Standards and instantly hits its stride and groove as riffs and rhythms cast a familiar thrash incitement upon the senses. Its voracious swing just as urgently got under the skin, setting up body and appetite for the subsequent trespass of familiar yet as suggested freshly animated thrash enterprise. As arousing as its assault is there is also a predatory essence which particularly stalks the listener in certain moments before One Mouth Two Faces brings its own rapacious canter and character to the fore. Forbes’ bass particularly grabbed the appetite but no more than the insurgent riffs and intrepid wires of the guitars and Kamal’s potent tones, it all resulting in a track which easily splattered the spot.

Hate Today, Despise Tomorrow launches on another great rhythmic incitement from Groulx, his tenacious and galvanic dynamics sparking similar exploits in the exploits of Gidley and Kamal as the song expanded its infectious character and enterprise. With a Skids like tinge to its hooks and real individuality to the craft of the guitars, the song takes favourite track honours though it is soon seriously harassed for the title by the just as outstanding Animated Realities. With a punk-esque strain to its hooks and manic edge to its unpredictable nature, the song simply stirred the passions and a greed for more.

Infrared’s cover of Maiden’s Wrathchild is a sure and enjoyable proposition which fans of the latter will embrace with ease but against the prowess of the previous four songs just did not light the fires here. Even so it makes an alluring end to a great EP.

We admit Back To The Warehouse is our introduction to Infrared and we cannot help feeling that we have seriously missed out if the EP’s songs are the last of their arsenal deserving release.  As for the next Infrared album, it cannot come soon enough.

Back To The Warehouse is out now.

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Pete RingMaster 21/06/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

All the means TO AN END

With a persistent taste for Australian metal in any guise we recently had the pleasure to check out Melbourne outfit To An End, talking with guitarist Matt Turner and vocalist Al Gammie about the band’s origins, their current album, opportunities and much more…

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to the beginnings of the band?

(Matt)To An End comprises Al on vocals, myself on guitar, Yiorgs on bass and Shane on drums. The band initially began as a project where myself (Matt) and Al wrote all of the songs and completed a full album studio recording. Then, it was easier to find band members once the album was completed and we could show people exactly what we were all about.

Were you involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now?

Each member has been in various bands over the years but we really feel like this is the band we have been waiting for. We can’t wait to get our songs out as far and wide as possible! This band has elements familiar to each member, but is quite different if compared to our previous bands side by side.

What inspired the band name?

The name was one of many for consideration at the time. It was quite difficult to find something that firstly, wasn’t already taken and secondly, sounded good and was decent as a logo. We think ‘To An End’ ticks the boxes!

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band in regard to what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

As the band started out as a project it was really a matter of just starting the recording process and seeing where it would all end up. There was room for genre jumping and just having fun with it. Once the album was done, we were absolutely certain we needed to be an active band playing frequently…and here we are!

Do the same things still drive the band from when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

Given we all have a history of playing in other bands and we aren’t too ‘fresh-faced’ anymore ha-ha, the band is definitely serving our passions and we are driven to make sure it’s fun for us and our fans. Anyone who comes to see us live will see all of that translate on stage!

Since those first days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

We just released our debut album in November 2018 so we are still promoting that. In the background we are writing and doing demos for another album which we are excited about. There will be evolution and only time will tell to see where it all ends up.

It is an organic exploration within the band sound wise or you setting out to try new ideas etc.?

We are flexible musicians, so I think we’ll always have a mix of melody/heavy and soft/loud over the course of an album. There will definitely be some more evolution and experimentation for the next album.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

Our individual music tastes range from Journey, Pantera, Glassjaw, Faith No More, Tool, Slayer, Meshuggah to 80’s rock to death/black metal. As a band, we feel we’ve been influenced by heavy music with melody so there are elements of Metallica, Killswitch Engage, Stone Sour, Sevendust and Disturbed. Personally, I’ve always gravitated towards song writers and great riffs so my heroes are Metallica, Pantera, Lamb of God, Alice In Chains, Tool. Way too many to mention though!

Do you have a particular process to your songwriting?

The songs will usually start as a completed demo and then we let the song evolve naturally in the rehearsal room with all of the individual personalities and play styles shining through.

Please give us some background to your first album?

We think we have a great collection of songs on the debut album Redefine and there is certainly something there for everyone whether you are into rock and/or metal. We have some heavy songs like our single Wasteland, plus Hear No Evil which features a killer guitar solo from Christopher Amott (formerly of Arch Enemy) to more rocking songs like Fracture and Left Untold. There is also a piano/acoustic song as well that closes out the album.

…And an insight to its themes?

(Al) The instrumentation and feel of the song really dictates to me where I need to go lyrically and I feel we covered a lot of different ground on the album. There are songs like Fracture and Wasteland – the world is becoming more and more confusing, turbulent and extreme – I wanted to remind people that they have a voice and need not conform. There’s the horror film-inspired Out Of My Hands which touches on violent imagery, although is tongue-in-cheek also. Of course there’s plenty of pent up aggression to express throughout, and the personal moments like From Grace Until Demise and Collide are where I can get deeper and more sombre rather than just yelling in key!

You talked about demos in the songwriting process, so you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty with their character set or prefer to let it develop as you record?

(Matt) We’ll go into the studio fully prepared and ready to go. I think being well rehearsed is key, given studio time is costly. Plus the more efficient you are in the studio, the more chance you have trying a few ideas on the fly.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably a favourite aspect of the band?

With our live show, we aim to be tight and on point musically but not at the expense being too clinical in our playing and not enjoying ourselves. We hope that the crowd enjoys our music as much as we love playing it. That back and forth energy is contagious.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

Whilst the heavy music scene in Australia would be considered to be small in relation to the US and Europe, there are super dedicated fans who are enthusiastic about the scene and music in general. I think it is hard for a new band to make a mark no matter what, but we are fortunate to be located in Melbourne where there is a thriving live music scene and plenty of opportunities to play in front of new people. We also love playing regionally and interstate where there are always people willing to come out and support local music. Every band was local at one point, so we are more than happy to get out as much as possible and we are fortunate to team up with other amazing bands to put on local shows.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date also? Do you see it as something negative or positive overall?

The internet and social media has allowed a low barrier to entry to get music out to people however, the challenge is navigating through such a crowded space. It is difficult to break through it all however I think the positives outweigh the negatives. As a new band we are able to share our videos, live clips, our album, photos, interviews, reviews etc. at the click of a button which allows us to connect with fans really easily. I would say determining a bands worth through how many Likes they have and dismissing a band just based on a particular number next to a thumbs up icon is unfair….but it is a reality. We think that the connection to the fans is the most important thing and we’ll just concentrate on being the best band we can be within our control. Hopefully when people hear our music we’ll get inundated with all those Likes ha-ha!

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

We just want to say thanks for the support and opportunity for chatting with us and hope your readers will check us out on all digital platforms (Spotify, iTunes, Google etc.) just search To An End Redefine. Also, you can check out the video to our debut single here: https://youtu.be/KodUFu2shKw

More details available at our Facebook page and https://toanend.com/

Questions Pete RingMaster 04/05/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Leatherjacks – The Lost Arks Of Rock And Roll + singles

As the band get to work on its successor, we take a look back at the Leatherjacks debut album as well as subsequent singles as an introduction to their inventive rock ‘n’ roll. From São Paulo, Brazil and formed in 2016, Leatherjacks is the creation of singer, songwriter, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist Mauro Cordeiro and it was through his personal introduction that we were guided to the band’s first album, a flavoursome slab of heavy metal infused hard rock which has raised an eager anticipation for its upcoming successor.

With the inspiration of bands such as Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Thin Lizzy, George Benson, and Stray Cats among many others shaping his own musical imagination, The Lost Arks Of Rock And Roll was pretty much a solo project for Cordeiro despite attempting to find like-minded musicians to realise his intent. For the second album he has realised his hopes for a full band line-up with the addition of bassist Marcos Brandão and guitarist Rapha Gusto; a drummer still being sought as we write.

The Lost Arks Of Rock And Roll opens up with People (We’re Chosen Ones) and instantly had ears keenly attentive with its swinging groove and fiery touch. Riffs and rhythms simultaneously launch an infectious lure, the vocals of Cordeiro adding to the swift captivation. Certainly the song is not over ripe in uniqueness but quickly blossomed with fresh and imaginative enterprise through the open craft of its creator; that blending of classic and heavy metal with rousing hard rock providing a highly flavoured proposition which easily caught the appetite.

Next up Crocodile’s Heart has a more controlled gait and sonic calm though its simmer bubbled rapaciously throughout. An eighties metal spicing brings a catchy hue to the song which though it did not ignite ears as forcibly as its predecessor, left its pleasurable mark especially through Cordeiro’s guitar enterprise before Burning Wire grabbed attention with its web of wiry grooves and rousing rhythms honed into a manipulative slice of heavy rock ‘n’ roll with a deft melodic touch. Cordeiro has a passion for rockabilly among other sounds, a hue definitely behind the track’s tenacious and quickly addictive stomp.

Taking best track honours it is followed by the muscular roar of the track LeatherJacks. Once more heavy metal and imposing hard rock are blended for a proposal which almost preys on ears as it pleasures them; its tone as predacious as it is arousing before Emotions On Sale explores a more tender, ballad like side to the Leatherjacks invention. It still comes with a fire in its belly though; one which inflames its voice and intensity throughout a magnetic presence to forge another high point in the album’s already compelling body.

The Slammer was a song which did not quite hook up with personal tastes yet Cordeiro has a style and touch to his guitar play and songwriting which easily tempts as proven not for the first or last time by Do You Fucking Pay My Bills?, a raucous but defined rock ‘n’ roll assault riff armed and melody inflamed with attitude oozing every note and syllable.

The following instrumental MotoCross is a delicious metal ‘n’ roll incitement, craft and adrenaline fuelling its addictive antics before the album concludes on its title track. The final song was another which did not quite ignite the juices as those before but again bouncing to its contagion and returning to its fire for more was never in doubt.

The Lost Arks Of Rock And Roll is a highly enjoyable and accomplished release with really impressive moments which have only been built upon by subsequent singles; tracks hinting of bigger and bolder things to come with its successor. The end of 2017 saw Leatherjacks release I Hate To Fall In Love. A melodic romance with that ever present fire in its heart and lining, the song has a freshness to it which inescapably entices. It is a song written decades earlier but stands the test of time and with its new enterprise firmly pleasures though not as majorly as Persona Non Grata. A track presumably set to appear on the second album, which we believe will be called Songs For The Strangest Ones, it is superb. Immediately it reveals its infectious swagger, guitars and rhythms uniting in a flirtatious canter as vocals melodically share the song’s heart. Again familiarity and fresh endeavour do collude yet a union which invades ears and imagination with eager intent and adventure. The track is accompanied by the song Spells and Zombies Through the Night, an even bolder, more raucous offering which suggests that this new album once realised will eclipse all before.

The Lost Arks Of Rock And Roll and those singles are all available via iTunes.

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 Pete RingMaster 12/06/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Infrared – Saviours

Pic By Gord Weber

Recent times have seen a growing wealth of eighties bred metal bands rising from their assumed demise or slumber. Thrash metal especially seems to have that power of resurrection. Some of those bands are venturing into new areas, some simply continuing what they did best back in the day which lured potent attention, success and reputation. Infrared sits in the second camp, their love and hunger for classic thrash openly inspired by contemporarys like the Big 4 as well as the influence of Sabbath, Maiden and the likes. As old school thrash never dates or tires in our ears, a resourcefully woven and imaginatively delivered encounter of said genre has a welcoming place and the new album from the Canadians is that and more.

Hailing from Ottawa, Infrared grew from local legends to stirring real attention within the national metal scene. Their sound was and is rooted in 70s and early 80s metal, bands such as Accept, Scorpions, and Judas Priest alongside those already mentioned inspirations on the quartet. Their rise came to a halt as life took members down different paths until 2014 saw three of the original four reuniting; vocalist/guitarist Armin Kamal, guitarist Kirk Gidley, and drummer Alain Groulx coming together again. Original bassist Shawn Thompson had since relocated to Miami so Mike Forbes was brought in to complete the line-up. The foursome then released debut album No Peace which featured songs written all those years ago. Now successor Saviours brings eight brand new tracks to ears, songs which swiftly grabbed ours as themes of “demagogues, dictators, and religious leaders professing to be the saviours of the world but instead inflict the most brutal attacks on humanity imaginable” roared.

Saviours erupts into life with Project Karma its opening magnetic yet portentous lure, one becoming even predacious as it prowls the senses. A delicious groove spears it’s stalking, a swinging proposal aflame with sonic enterprise and rhythmic incitement. Its initial lengthy instrumental is irresistible and only accentuated once the warrior tones of Kamal backed by the band head the song’s even fuller assault. Familiar and fresh hues collude in its web, imagination blossoming across its fiery body as a tremendous start to Saviours is set.

That predatory air retains its presence within The Demagogue, the following song also a court of threat and contagion which almost swaggers around ears as the guitars spin their sonic threads and rhythms pounce. Like a fusion of bands like Testament and Slayer, it hits the spot; increasing its temptation as calmer climes are ventured and melodic intimation embraced. It’s subsequent rising heat and intensity brings it back to its original sonic inference before Saviour explores an even darker trespass of menace and seduction. As we suggested, Infrared is not set on reinventing the wheel of thrash metal or even their core sound but there is a bold lining of adventure and imagination which makes their music and especially this track stand out.

Through the melodic and melancholic elegance to tempestuous roar of The Fallen and the voracious charge of All In Favour the album just hit the spot. Across both tracks the vocals of Kamal added more incitement to an appetite already happily feasting on the individual prowess and enterprise of the band, Forbes’ bass especially dark liquor stirring our taste buds. They are all attributes just as persuasive within the predatory They Kill For Gods and Father of Lies with its intensive atmosphere over increasingly manic and ferocious entrapment around demonic character. The most adventurous of all the tracks it simply enthralled.

The album finishes off with Genocide Convention, a trash dervish of sound and aggression with spiralling sonic wires and senses blistering turbulence. Our favourite track it brings the thoroughly and increasingly enjoyable release to a mighty close.

Uniqueness might be a rarity compared to familiarity within Saviours but from an already established base it breeds fresh adventure and captivation. The album lit our pleasure from start to finish and Infrared is further proof that very good things can only get better with age.

Saviours is out now through iTunes and other stores as well as @ https://infraredmetal.bandcamp.com

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Pete RingMaster 27/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Animosity Kills – Severance

Pic: Tom Robert Wold

Well over two years ago, Norwegian outfit Animosity Kills stole attention with their first EP, Manipulative. It offered up a rousing mix of heavy and thrash metal, a fusion nurtured in the influence of bands such as Metallica, Iron Maiden, Pantera, and Testament but as fresh and bold as it was familiar. It was fuelled by inescapable potential and suggestion of bigger, bolder, and more individual things to come; a suggestion more than partly realised by the band’s debut album, Severance.

It is probably fair to say that the Bergen hailing quintet still has some way to go to find their truly unique sound and character but with releases like Severance there will be no irritation at the wait. The eight track release is a magnetic beast of a roar with songs which just glue to the memory as greedily as they do ears. Formed in 2013, Animosity Kills boasts a three-pronged guitar attack all geared to stir up the listener in body and spirit; an intent as forcibly and inventively matched by the band’s rhythmic enterprise. Manipulative was an ear catching introduction to Animosity Kills; Severance evidence of a band destined to be further widely embraced.

The album opens with Black Death, gently luring in the listener with an opening melody. It is soon backed by a towering wall of riff and rhythm, one still controlled but swiftly springing a ravenous charge of raw riffs and rhythmic biting. Its thrash instincts are to the fore, driving through ears as eagerly as the swinging incitement of drummer Eirik Nilsen and the brooding tone of lead vocalist Erik Lindelid’s bass. With an underlying rabidity to its charge and a predacious restraint to the invasive bait of guitarists Stephan Høgtun, Rupert Notøy Rødland, and Mats Bruland, the song tempts and teases in between ravaging the senses, promising more ferocity than it unleashes but benefitting in that manipulative suggestion.

It is a potent and enticing start Dead On Arrival continues with its bristling and irritable but fiercely infectious attack. Leading up to its virulent chorus, the song commands eager attention but grabs it like a puppeteer with a focal point which has neck muscles and fists as involved as vocal chords. Around that beast of a chorus, the guitars weave a web of enticement as rhythms again prowl and pounce with anthemic prowess, the track real evidence of the band’s growing and evolving sound whilst stirring up the senses and attitude with prime thrash volatility.

The following Lord Of Darkness looms over ears from its first breath, riffs and grooves colluding in thick enticement as rhythms firmly rap the senses beside Lindelid’s vocal growl. As it grows, the song twists and turns, the guitars weaving individual and united resourcefulness with almost lusty appetite as beats and bass continue to bring threat and intensity to the inescapably catchy challenge.

Its success is swiftly matched and eclipsed by that of Thermic Vision, a track which instantly gripped personal appetites with its snarling opening riffs and a gnarly carnivorous bassline to drool over. Captivating grooves entwine the dark intent and temptation, the rapacious edge to Lindelid’s vocals adding to the alluring menace of the song. Its thick thrash nurtured riffs are an equally predatory incursion aided by the thick slaps of Nilsen’s beats, it all together creating a track as sonically stylish as it is barbarously intrusive around a volatile heart.

The album’s title track is next, instantly pulling ears into its torrents of compelling riffery and pummelling rhythms with an addictive touch which seeps into the following Pantera scented prowl of voice and song. It is a predacious trespass broken by Metallica-esque twists and flames of metal varied rock ‘n’ roll, groove and alternative traits among many. With a mouth-watering hook which infests the psyche, the song grabs a thick urge of participation before Revolutionary Suicide saunters in with a feisty and imposing swagger. From its first breath it swings as it harries the senses, its contagious instincts complimented by a more composed but just as tempting exploration which leads to a mercurial passage of melodic and progressively scented enterprise.

The mighty Ballistic was a major treat on the band’s first EP and again hits the spot with its grooved entangled rock ‘n’ roll. With something of Grumpynators to its virulent swagger and ravenous swing, the track is a quickly addictive incitement which only escalates its individual lures and united contagion by the groove, rhythmic swipe, and vocal snarl.

Invictus completes the release, its opening riffs preying on ears and appetite with a predatory intent before taking it into its blossoming prowl of thrash discontent and heavy metal fire which in turn expands into melodically cast suggestion amid bolder adventure. Though the song did not grab as vigorously as others, its enjoyable individual endeavour suggests a sound already evolving with an imagination to really anticipate ahead.

Certainly Animosity Kills has a sound which is not the most unique but as Severance declares in a roar which leaves ears richly pleasured, it has freshness and potential which is only heading in one direction.

Severance is available now @ https://animositykills.bandcamp.com/album/severance

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Pete RingMaster 08/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Whirling hearts and joyous uprisings: exploring the world of Swirl

Photo by Neil Zlozower

There is an increasingly mighty roar coming out of California and it goes by the name of Swirl. This is a band really beginning to make a vocal name for themselves with their multi-flavoured, hard rock fuelled fusion of rock and metal. Welcomingly given the opportunity to get to the heart of the band with Swirl creator and guitarist Duane “DT” Jones, we talked beginnings, songwriting, successes and plenty more….

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Hello to you too. This is ‘DT” guitarist and founder of the band Swirl out of Southern California. Thank you for your interest in Swirl! We are always grateful to anyone taking an interest in what we do.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?

I started the band in the Pacific Northwest in a town called Mukilteo, Washington. I had 3 other members than the current line-up; we rehearsed, wrote songs and made plans to record our debut in Santa Monica, CA. About a week before we were to leave I got a call from the drummer saying he wasn`t going to make the trip. I called my brother, Brian “Bam Bam” Jones who was playing in a band in Arizona at the time and asked him to come out to California, learn the songs and track drums to which he was all too happy to help out. That version of Swirl toured the US and Japan on a full length release titled Out Of Nowhere that was produced by former Quiet Riot and now RATT guitarist, Carlos Cavazo with former Rough Cutt bassist Matt Thorr engineering or producing tracks as well.

After those tour dates finished the band parted ways with the original singer and touring bassist. By then Brian had moved to California so I joined him there. I was introduced to current Swirl singer Alfred Ramirez and bassist Shane Carlson by former Dio keyboard player Claude Schnell who was looking to produce a demo for a band they had, however they had parted ways with their guitar player and Claude asked me to write with them so he and I could get into a studio together. After a few writing sessions we decided to go play the songs live and it was there that a friend pointed out to me that Alfred would sound really good singing Swirl songs so I asked him to go into a studio with Cinderella drummer Fred Coury and I. The end result of those sessions were the two songs Mad Disease and Time To Fly with the latter being particularly well received so tour offers followed. The natural choice was then Shane Carlson and we have been together ever since. 2018 will mark the 10 year anniversary of this line-up for Swirl.

Have you been or are involved in other bands?

My only involvement with other bands was the above mentioned writing project that introduced me to Alfred and Shane as well as one other band in California that hired me as one of their touring guitarist for a self-produced disc. That was actually my first ever “bus tour”. Actually it was a converted mobile home, but still I got the rock star treatment on that tour. It was fun, but the band broke up. As that band had already recorded their disc when I joined and there were no writing opportunities I can`t say it had any influence on my writing direction, but it was a great series of lessons on things to not do when running a band.

What inspired the band name?

Usually one look at a picture of the band is all it takes to answer that question, but it goes deeper in that we all have different nationalities and personalities that come to together to create the Swirl music.

Photo by Neil Zlozower

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

No particular theme to starting the band. I just wanted to play in a rock band that wrote songs good enough to share stages with my idols. Some of those goals have been accomplished!

And that same intent drives the band?

Absolutely! At the end of the day we enjoy what we are doing and are hell bent on capitalizing on the success Swirl has had to date. We are not where we want to be, but clearly we are on our way. The crowds are getting bigger, the stages are getting bigger and the bands we have opportunities to work with are larger, more well know bands as well.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

While I am an 80s metal head guitarist at heart I have adapted my playing to a more modern approach when it comes to writing and guitar tones. I guess the best way to think of it is “what if you took a band like Shinedown, Seether, or FFDP and put a guitarist like Jake E Lee, Warren DeMartini or George Lynch in it.

As for the reason for the evolving sound?…The credit for that goes to Brian who wanted to push the music in a more modern direction, but knew I was still going to be me on guitar and have those moments. Our first attempts at this proved very successful with a self- produced EP titled SWIRL that wound up with 3 songs being featured in a full length, 2 time award winning film called Ditch Day. Those songs are Rise Up, Spell, and We Are Alive. That movie is now out in 6 countries with more to follow. Another indicator that Swirl made a smart move in terms of musical direction is the incredible social media success we have enjoyed while being an independent band. We have a very strong online presence.

Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

The change was very deliberate and I had to do my homework in listening to bands that normally I would not have given the time of day to, just to get a feel for what was going on with the guitar playing and production. I fought it at first, but in the end decided it couldn`t hurt to try. I am so glad I was open to the idea.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

Well I already touched on my 3 biggest influences on guitar and yes all four of us have very different influences that we bring to Swirl. Shane is the most “metal” of us all with his influences being bands like Korn and Metallica while Alfred cites David Bowie or Billy Idol as biggest influences for him. For Brian and I we started off as KISS fans, but he went in the direction of Rush and various jazz drummers.

For myself when producing Swirl music I lean a lot on Shinedown or Seether for production and “ear candy” ideas, but since I am not the only one working to produce/ mix the songs I am sure the other guys have their influences well represented in the final product that you hear from Swirl.

Is there a particular process to your songwriting?

Normally we start with a guitar idea that is almost a complete song then I get together with Brian to work on the arrangement before presenting it to Shane and Alfred who then add their influences to the arrangement and of course the vocals. Alfred creates them almost exclusively.

Where do you, more often than not, draw inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

I would like to start by saying that when I write lyrics it’s usually tied to a personal experience of mine or one that I have witnessed in the world we live in. I also feel what’s most import is not so much what my lyrics mean to me, but more importantly what my lyrics mean to the listener. I want the listener find their own story within the lyrics. To me that means the listener can interpret and apply them in any way they choose.”- Alfred Ramirez

Give us some background to your latest release.

The Lift is a departure in some ways from the typical writing pattern for Swirl songs and given the new heights of success we are having with it this may become the way we do things going forward. Again I had the basic structure and worked on the arrangement with Brian, before bringing it to Alfred and Shane. However Alfred and I had a separate writing session to make changes to the verse and bounce other ideas off each other. Then we got back together as a band and went from there.

During the final mix sessions Shane Carlson made some more brilliant suggestions to improve the song to let it become what you hear from us now.

Here is the lyric video for The Lifthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaBMGg0ACYo

As Alfred is the songwriter he sets the tone for the theme of the songs. If there is one constant I have noticed when I look at the reviews we get it is that the bands “message” is a positive one. A lot of life affirming, motivational and inspirational themes go into his work and I am very happy about that. I am pretty positive person most days!

Here are some samples of reviews we have received whether they are for The Lift single…

“…everything possesses a joyous, downright celebratory spirit…the track positively teems with life”- Skope Magazine

or the SWIRL EP

“An uplifting vibe…” The Happy Headbanger

“After listening to Swirl in its entirety it has lifted me up mood wise!!”- Metal Temple

“…if you are looking for a really sweet hard rockin’ melodic band that will have you humming along and singing with the CD in just a few listens than make this new SWIRL release yours. 9/10 Stars”- The Examiner

Here is a link to our reviews- https://www.reverbnation.com/socalswirl/press/

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

What The Lift means to me is that we all need help sometimes, be it an emotional lift or a physical lift. We shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help when we need it. We also shouldn’t be afraid to offer to help when were able to. We are all on this planet together and we are all connected, so let’s help one another.

My personal Lift was given to me by “The Minor Goddess” who lifted me out of a depressed and stressed out anxious time in my life. Thank you MG! “Your words will always stay with me “. – Alfred Ramirez

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

We like to have the song pretty much done by the time we go into the studio so we can be more efficient with the recording process, but of course we leave room for those “happy accidents” that happen when tracking that are unique to a session.

One of the unique things about the sessions for The Lift is the process we used to get into the studio. We were introduced to producer Emad Alaeddin at Granted Records by Ditch Day producer Megan Waters. He suggested the band use “crowd funding” to cover the cost of the sessions. This was a first for the band and it was very successful. As an unsigned band who happens to be self- managed as well as our own booking agents we wear many hats to make Swirl the known name that is it becoming. Our fans are our record label and they decide how often we make new music and release videos or tour. We weren`t sure what to expect, but with this first attempt and the success of the campaign (we had enough money donated to book our first session in just 48 hours of activating the page at https://www.gofundme.com/launch-new-music-by-swirl-the-band ). The page will remain active. To be clear we are not opposed to record labels, management or booking agencies….we just refuse to wait on one to discover the band when we can get our music and band out to the people who support us!

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

We are a band that thrives on stage! We love being out there. Swirl is a high energy show with emphasis on the word “show”. There is always “someone doing something”. It`s actually the only way the band “fights”….we fight for the attention of the audience and are quick to let the others know who won the night after our set. It`s all in good fun and ultimately the audience is the winner.. We have been able to tour with established bands like RATT, Cinderella, Extreme, Red Dragon Cartel, LA Guns, Lynch Mob, and Slaughter just to name a few. We also headline shows in Southern California. In fact the first stop on “The Lift” tour will be in Hollywood, CA at the Whisky A Go Go on Saturday February 3, 2018.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

We firmly believe that you create your own luck so yes you can make your mark. The real question is how bad do you want it? We are, have been and remain hungry to succeed! We were recently listed by Gerry Gittleson, a writer for Metal Sludge in Los Angeles as one of three local bands that actually draw a crowd when we play.

Another way Swirl has separated itself to a degree is getting involved in licensing our music into movies and television. For example Swirl has 3 songs in the 2 time award winning Ditch Day movie that stars Emmy award winner Bill Oberst Jr. The songs are Spell, We Are Alive and Rise Up (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_RhbgL5Cv0&t=11s ).  So far that film is available in 6 counties. We are working on more licensing deals for our music from the SWIRL EP as well as The Lift.

 How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

I have no complaints about social media! Swirl is doing very well with it. We also spend quite a bit of time and effort marketing our band globally. Again it`s a how bad do you want it situation. We didn`t wake up knowing what we know and have made mistakes along the way, but we learn, we grow and we apply lessons to the next venture for the band whether its online, in the studio or on stage.

We have been able to reach people that would otherwise have had very little chance of discovering our music so we are very grateful for social media. It is a big part of the music business now and I don`t see that changing any time soon.

See for yourself here-

SWIRL website- http://www.swirltheband.com/

SWIRL Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/swirltheband/

SWIRL Twitter- https://twitter.com/Swirltheband

SWIRL Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/swirltheband

SWIRL Soundcloud- https://soundcloud.com/swirl-dt

SWIRL YouTube- https://www.youtube.com/swirlgtr

SWIRL Reverbnation- http://www.reverbnation.com/socalswirl

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Thank you for your time and interest in Swirl. Look for the band to be on tour in and out of the United States in every country where the music making an impact on radio or through movies released that feature Swirl music.

Pete RingMaster 17/02/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Promethium – Faces Of War

There is nothing better than hearing, release by release, the growth of a band in craft and sound especially when their potential is realised step by step whilst offering plenty more promise to be anticipated. Such has been the case with British metallers Promethium, a band who has openly blossomed record by record and now breaches a whole new plateau with Faces Of War.

Creating a sound merging old school with modern rapacious flavours, Lancaster hailing Promethium formed in 2007. Inspirations to the quintet included the likes of Black Sabbath, Metallica, Megadeth, and Pantera, essences still colouring a sound today which is as individual to its creators as you would wish. Quickly releasing their first EP, The Revenge, it was in 2009 and with debut album, Welcome to the Institution, that the band grabbed our, as so many others, attention. It was a raw yet accomplished introduction rich with that earlier mentioned potential brought to some fruition in its successor Origins four years later. As it built upon its predecessor’s strengths, so Faces Of War builds upon the second album but with a far more dramatic impact in songwriting to imagination to craft.

A concept album with each song offering a different perspective to war, the album launches at the senses with opener Enemies of Fate. A portentous sonic tone lures a march of riffs and rhythms into view with grooved armoury in its midst as vocalist Steve Graham swiftly joins the attack. It is a composed assault though, the band almost sizing up the listener rather than going at them full charge, providing a healthy mix of intrigue and predacious intimation. In no time guitarists Dan Lovett-Horn and Rossi are weaving a transfixing tapestry which is more than matched by the great vocal backing unity between Rossi and bassist Henry Greenwood; just two aspects in the inescapable maturity and growth in the band’s sound already being unveiled.

The outstanding start is followed by the similarly impressive Declaration. From its initial grooved trespass and Graham’s earnest calls, the track just wormed its way under the skin. The swinging strikes of drummer Kev Yates potently stir the senses, their rapacious incitement aligned to the groaning contagion of Greenwood’s bass as again a great maze of sonic enterprise is cast by the guitars with Curran Murphy guesting with a flavoursome solo. Drops in intensity brings spoken words from Nev Jones as Graham croons, a fluid twist which subsequently sparks a roaring finale before the outstanding P.O.W steps forward with its own dark clouds and intent. Grooves and rhythms instantly collude around vocals as an irritability fuels the nature of the track, essences of those aforementioned influences to the band spicing the volatile air of the track.

A shadowed calm is brought in by next up Shell Shock, its atmosphere as claustrophobic as it is seductive. That reflection rich restraint intermittently erupts in a cauldron of turbulence and emotive turmoil yet all the time guitars continue to weave a suggestive web of melody and predation. It is another gem and though only four songs in fair to say Faces Of War had us firmly hooked; a grip only tightened by 20,21,15 and its wirily grooved stroll. With Barry Mills sharing vocals with Graham across the song it boils with sonic dexterity while rumbling with rhythmic manipulation.

Such the massive heights of the first half of the album maybe it is inevitable that the task of living up to what came before slips up meaning personal tastes are not always stoked up as rigorously yet everything about Turncoat, from its vocal mix and rousing rhythms to sonic invention, is an ear grabbing proposition. It just misses some of the major sparks of its really striking predecessors.

As soon as the grooved webbing of Stolen Valour wraps ears straight after appetite was back to greedy, guitars and rhythms almost dancing on the senses with their snarling and badgering enterprise as again a vocal blend simultaneously entices and harries. With every passing minute the track simply blossoms as it evolves, harmony loaded vocals and creative unpredictability fuelling its compelling arsenal of invention. Another candidate for best track it is swiftly followed in matching captivation by Final Solution, itself an almost deceptive proposal being as intimidating and predatory as it is invasively infectious.

Featuring one of our favourite guitarists in Jay Parmar, Kill on Demand is one of those rousing anthems which have thoughts and spirit as eagerly active as the body. Led by the crunching beats of Yates and the brooding tones of Greenwood’s bass, the track is a magnetic fusion of old school and current ferocious metal shaped by the ever imaginative work of Lovett-Horn and Rossi and capped by the stylish raft of Parmar.

The album closes with its title track, another rigorously catchy and aggressive creative raid warlike in its tone and galvanic in its character. Epitomising the fresh strength and guile not forgetting that real maturity in the band’s sound, the track is a masterful conclusion to one mighty fine release.

Promethium and their sound just go from strength to strength, in turn so too pleasure. Yet there is still the feeling that they are yet to hit their full potential which considering the sheer unrelenting  quality of Faces Of War is something to keenly anticipate.

Faces Of War is available now @ https://www.promethiumband.com/product-page/faces-of-war

https://www.promethiumband.com/    https://www.facebook.com/Promethiumband/    https://twitter.com/promethiumband

Pete RingMaster 12/02/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright