Bleeding Raven Interview

BLEEDING RAVEN is the aggrotech/dark tek project from Dean Mason of Gnostic Gorilla. Recently he released its debut album via Cleopatra Records. We had the pleasure to chat with Dean about the album, his latest project, a career and life changing set back and much more…  

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

The pleasure is all mine man.

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

In a land…far far away…hahahahaha…Ok, but seriously… I first got the ‘itch’ to record music when I was a teen-ager in high school. Some buddies and I went into a little studio and recorded two songs for a single release. (Dark Hallway/Golgotha) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p05YqqTOS_M  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=047Pk2GhPnY

Thanks to my lovely parents I released a vinyl 45 rpm as just “Dean Mason” with “Lonely Ghost Productions” as the name of the makeshift indie label. I got ‘itchy’ again in 2001 and began looking at music again, but did very little. In 2012, I got right into recording electronic music of a dark bent and scent and thus was born “Gnostic Gorilla” eventually. (I released stuff as The Lonely Ghost Project initially but changed the name to “Gnostic Gorilla”) In 2018, Cleopatra Records released “St. Basil’s Asylum”. (Gnostic Gorilla) In May of this past year, after releasing quite a few albums on different labels (KL Dark Records, Nowhere Now Records, Throne of Bael Records and LGP-ONE) I wanted to pursue something more ‘aggrotech’ in style. That’s when I initiated the “Bleeding Raven” project. Cleopatra released “Darkness Consumed” in October of this year.

How have those earlier impacted on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

As I mentioned earlier, I started off as just “Dean Mason” as a lad. In 2012, the Lonely Ghost Project was launched (so to speak) and then “Gnostic Gorilla” and from that evolved what we are talking about today…that is…the Bleeding Raven Project. My early music in these other projects was a mix of ‘Goth/Dark Wave/Dark Tek/Industrial’. I really wanted to do something more bizarre and almost literally more noisy and that’s when I initiated “Bleeding Raven”. It’s more aggrotech, but I also call it… “dungeon trash”…hahahahahahahahahaha I even have a shirt with that on it.   https://www.dizzyjam.com/products/157830/ 

The image or character of the ‘raven’ is common in First Nations lore and even spirituality. The raven can either be a trickster or mischievous little critter or it can be sort of a symbol of the soul preparing for death of being taken back to the Great Creator. Different nations/tribes have different ideas and stories about the raven. The ‘bleeding’ part more or less speaks of suffering, of hurt etc. So, like my lyrics however, even with the image, I allow people to have their own interpretations. That said, I think always…DAILY…of my many sisters and brothers in the First Nations communities who suffer immensely because of a racist attitude towards them. There are many…MANY young Native women/girls who have gone missing and the effort to find them hasn’t always been fervent. As well, the suicide rate among First Nation teens is extremely high.

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

Well, in the Spring of 2019, I had to be on the road a bit and for some long drives, I acquired on my iTunes a few albums of a more industrial bent. That includes a couple of compilations of various bands. I discovered acts like Die Sektor and Psyclon Nine and I felt very inspired to go in this direction. I sort of started to go in that direction as “Gnostic Gorilla” but I wanted a new project that was mostly aggrotech in style. I came up with the ‘dungeon trash’ (LOL) I released in October and I am very proud of it!

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

Definitely evolved over time. So, when I first started off, I was more into a Gothic sound or industrial. And I still love a lot of that stuff. Always will. St. Basil’s Asylum is a classic and I’m just so sad that it’s still not discovered by many yet. But anyway, yeah…things do evolve. That said, I don’t like the idea of being in a ‘genre house arrest’ and being narrow minded in your approach to music. But either way, it’s all over for me in music anyway so…I’ve done what I could.

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

Well, from the really early days, that is from the days of the Dark Hallway release, things really evolved dramatically. First of all, that 45 was like a mish mash of metal/punk pre-grunge I guess. I was heavily influenced by Gary Numan and yet, try as I did my vocal style was markedly different than his. It’s later that I appreciated that. But, see…I love ALL sorts of music. I mean, sometimes I’m just knee deep  into The Doors and more psychedelic shit and other days I’m into Dio and Sabbath and Type O Negative and Ministry and Rammstein. Other days it’s The Cure or Smashing Pumpkins or of course, classic Numan and Japan or Bauhaus. So, a lot of what I do depends on where I’m at and I guess when it comes to music, I’m moody as hell. hahahahahaha

Do you find the changes have been more of an organic movement of sound or you deliberately wanting to try new things?

I’d say the latter, yeah.

Presumably , and you have touched on them already, there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on your music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

So, I make a distinction between that which has inspired and that which has influenced more directly my own style. The artists/bands that have been inspirations are many. Gary Numan, KISS, Type O Negative, Black Sabbath, Rammstein, Japan (David Sylvian) Ozzy, Manson, Korn, Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, Bauhaus, Zardonic, Fear Incorporated, Frost Like Ashes, CRIX IIX and the list is endless. As for those who have been influences, while they include some of the names listed already, I’d say Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Psyclon Nine, Die Sektor. As I always do in any interview, the band that will forever be my absolute favourite is The Doors. The Doors and Gary Numan are both at the top of my own personal ‘chart’.

I also want to give a shout out to Tim Muddiman and NOT because of his connection to Gary Numan. Tim has ventured into more graphic arts in recent years and he is doing some amazing work. THAT very much inspires me…or better yet…I honour the man as an artist in every sense of the word…as a true artist.

Is there a process to your songwriting which generally guides the birth of songs?

Yeah, mostly I start off with a vague idea of want kind of song I want to do, Then I begin with beats and drum patterns and bass lines or even synth lines. (it depends) I get a general idea of the direction I want to go in before going far into the track. So, I begin to choose the different sounds and samples/loops that I want as well to give it a mood. More often than not, I manipulate these and distort or whatever to make them unique. Then as the song evolves, there’s the question of whether or not I want a traditional chorus (often not because that’s too pop) and I allow the track to sort of dictate to me where it’s going. Sort of like a First Nations wood carver who allows the ‘wood’ to speak to them as they say. Then when I have a rough demo, I begin writing lyrics and then record vocals. That’s the tough part for many reasons. Lots of hit and miss with that process. I’ve written an entire set of lyrics for a song only to discover that something else would work better and I have to (at times) chop out some of the lyrics. Hard to explain.  Also, sometimes I record the vocals and it sounds like shit. I mean, there is a need for a different ‘style’ all together. After all the vocals are recorded, I go back and add more …sometimes a sample here or an FX noise there or whatever. I’m quite ADD so if there are any sort of ‘blank stare’ moments in a song…that’s unacceptable. It has to be busy. I’m told my music is VERY busy. Then there is the final mix which is a real pain in the ass. Sometimes even at that stage you decide… “nah…this is total shit”! It’s a bit of a drag when that happens though man because you’ve come all the way to a full song and you realize it isn’t happening.

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

First off, good for you for asking that because lyrics are important for me… I realize it’s not what the listener first becomes aware of…but for me, the lyrics are important. Anyway, so…I don’t write any lyrics with any sort of ‘agenda’. In other words, I don’t preach or dictate anything. I like a very poetic approach to the lyrics with lots of imagery. Now, that said, there are certain subjects that inspire me. I often write about religious themes or philosophical themes and often touch upon injustice and hypocrisy and hate and injustice for example. But I do so in veiled/poetic language. I want the listener to decide for themselves what it could mean.

Give us some background to your latest release.

 “Darkness Consumed” touches upon a few subjects…again in veiled language. One of the tracks is called “Pontiff’s Nightmare” which is actually about St. Francis. He more or less spooked the Pope at the time with his authentically radical life style and that Pope had a dream about Francis. Francis challenged the corruption of the time by the way he lived. “Salem Vigil” is sort of… but not completely about the Salem witch trials. The song actually addresses the unfortunate phenomenon of ‘religious people’ oppressing and persecuting people who don’t fit their narrow definition of what it means to be ‘good’ or ‘decent’ and ‘righteous’.  In the end, these arrogant and often ignorant people of so called ‘faith’ are the ones who are truly evil because of the harm they inflict on many borne out of their hatred and unenlightened worldview.  

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

So, “Darkness Consumed”…that very title isn’t a nod to evil or the promotion of ‘darkness’. It’s actually about the fact that somehow, ‘TRUTH’ (light) will ‘consume the darkness’ and overcome it. That’s sort of the idea in brief. As I said, I want people to decide for themselves however what something can mean for them.

Do you go into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

Going back to the very first single “Dark Hallway”…I had everything figured out (with lyrics) when I presented the tracks to the band. I wrote the lyrics in English class (Dark Hallway) while under the influence of benzodiazepines. Hahahahahahaha We were reading “Death of a Salesman” in that class and it was, to say the least, a rather dark story. hahahahahaha

Tell us about the live side to Bleeding Raven.

I have lost the hearing in the left ear completely and totally. It happened in October…Very traumatic actually. I have to protect the little hearing I have left in the right ear which is at half capacity. I want to be able to hear the voices of the ones I love and the more natural sounds in life. For all intents and purposes…I’m deaf. Music is no longer an option. Especially live music, even if I wanted to do something live with a band. Music has been such an important part of my life obviously…but that’s over. That’s the future.

It is not easy for any new artist/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?

You’re correct. It’s very difficult to ‘break through’ in this day and age. There’s just too much out there. I mean, everyone and their cat is putting stuff out. There are so many genres today and so many…MANY indie folks (like me) who have stuff out there and are competing with the ‘big boys and gals’. You have to be creative to get known because sadly, younger people are not interested in new music aside from what they become aware of through video games or TV/Movies. I mean, I’m seriously over generalizing perhaps but it is true that, young people today don’t appreciate music the way people did in the past. They don’t grasp the concept of music as ‘art’ anymore. That’s not their fault. But because of the technology that we have today and with social media platforms…there is too much out there and for younger people, music is just “there for the taking” the way fruit on trees is there to pluck. So, you have to be creative in how you get people to notice you today. It’s not easy.

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?

So, this is sort of a continuation of the previous question. Here’s the thing, the internet and social media and digital music etc. is here and it’s here to stay. We are still trying to adapt to this I suppose. Now, you could lament and dream of the “good old days” but that’s all it will ever be…a ‘dream’. Musicians/artists have to adapt. In many ways, it has been a blessing. Many artists would have never been able to put their stuff out there so to speak were it not for the kind of technology we have today. See, I picked up music again in 2012 but only as a hobby. I then, almost jokingly put some of my stuff out there as an indie/unsigned act and I eventually got a label deal with Cleopatra Records, which for me is phenomenal. I will have three releases with Cleopatra Records by end of 2020. (the last one is another Gnostic Gorilla album) I also have releases with three other labels. So, none of that would have happened were it not for the technology we have at our disposal. I guess it’s sort of what you make of it, like anything else.

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

Thanks again to you for the great (and extensive) interview. Reveal?

Ok…I’m  B A T M A N.  Hahahahahahaha  No but, seriously, I thank the many people who have been supportive of me in one way or another…be it family or friends and certainly Benny at Cleopatra Records. As I said earlier, because of the extreme hearing loss (actually deaf completely in one ear and the other is severely compromised) …I have to pack it in with regards to music. I will promote what I have and will have out soon (already recorded obviously) and perhaps a book of lyrics and that’s it. Cheers.

Dean

https://bleedingraven.bandcamp.com/   https://www.facebook.com/bleedingravenofficial/   http://www.bleedingraven.com

Pete RingMaster 17/01/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Crawling and romancing the shadows with Gnostic Gorilla

Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Gnostic Gorilla is a dark electronic project which wears unpredictability as easily as imagination in its ear gripping sound. Recently we had the chance and pleasure to talk about the solo project with creator Dean Mason, exploring its origins and music amongst many things as well as picking at Dean’s thoughts about music in general.

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

Thank you. My pleasure!

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

Sure. As a teenager, I began exploring the idea of recording music. I was of course a major day tripper…I mean…day dreamer. Hahahahaha! So I ventured out to record two songs, Dark Hallway and Golgotha for a single. I had some excellent musicians join me in the studio (Dave Davidson, Tony Bourdeau, Shaun Saunders and Chris Byrnes) and with the help of my parents I released the 45 rpm under the so called label name “Lonely Ghost Productions”. That was my first experiment with recording music. I left it at that and went to school to find some sort of career. In 2012, I returned to recording, as a hobby and recorded exclusively electronic music with a dark bent. (Gothic/Dark Wave/Industrial) I released a few singles on iTunes etc. and then in 2015 I released the first album (St. Basil’s Asylum) using the project name “Gnostic Gorilla”. Before that I was using the project name “The Lonely Ghost Project” but that changed once I learnt there was an American band called “The Lonely Ghost Parade”. I wanted to avoid confusion. So that’s a brief history of “Gnostic Gorilla”.

What inspired the name “Gnostic Gorilla”?

As I mentioned earlier, initially my project was called “The Lonely Ghost Project” but I changed it to “Gnostic Gorilla”. I had a song called Gnostic Gorilla (now renamed Eye for a Lie) and I decided to use that name for the project. The idea behind the name is a sort of convergence of two world views: the religious ‘creation’ story and Darwin’s theory of evolution. “Gnostic” means “knowledge” or “to know”. That is a reference to the “tree of knowledge”. Obviously, “Gorilla” is in reference to the idea that we evolved from some sort of ‘ape’ species (not specifically the Gorilla of course) and here we are. “Gnostic Gorilla” is not about Gnosticism as some may think.

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

In many ways a lot of it was allowing the creative process to dictate where I wanted the project to go and how I wanted to sound. I started off doing simply instrumental/soundtrack type recordings. Then I decided to try and do a complete song with lyrics/vocals. The first song I did as part of this new electronic music pursuit was a song called Requiem for the Prophet of Doom which was a tribute to Peter Steele of Type O Negative who passed away in 2010. There were two versions of that track. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEnSgqaI3JA & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0N7Uxzg7ac

That was released under the name “Dean Mason of The Lonely Ghost Project”, as singles. Soon after this, I began to really become more interested in a sound that was more industrial and Gothic or Dark Wave and eventually after a few more singles I recorded St. Basil’s Asylum which is now rereleased by Cleopatra Records. Most of my music has been industrial or Gothic since then.

Do the same sparks still drive the project or have they evolved over time and equally since your early days, how would you say your sound has specifically evolved?

Sort of continuing on from the previous question…yeah…there was definitely an ‘evolution’ of sorts. I look back on what I did in 2012 and some of it doesn’t send me far, with the exception of Nietzsche’s Cyborg. I will always be proud of that song. It was a game changer. It’s on St. Basil’s Asylum even though it was recorded in the fall of 2012 and St. Basil’s Asylum was released in 2015 and then rereleased by Cleopatra Records in 2018. But back on track here, I guess for me, I became more interested in an abrasive and weird industrial sound. (Psalm for the Lost was actually more of a retro Goth/New Wave type deal though) My latest album, Freak’s Mind is in my opinion one of my strongest in many ways. The next album to be released by Cleopatra Records (Shaman Rave) will blow your socks off! Promise!

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

A bit of both… I don’t want to be boxed into a specific genre to be honest. So, I go through phases where I really like menacing and weird industrial and then other times I prefer a more velvety Goth or Doom Psychedelic type mood in my music. I have been inspired not only by other artists but also by some soundtracks like, the soundtrack for Sinister which is absolutely mind numbing! So sometimes I watch a movie like that or like Queen of the Damned and it gives me inspiration. So, yeah, there is an evolution of sorts but I never deviate too far from being a dark electronic act.

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

Well, one of my first inspirations would be Gary Numan. I mean, I was a huge KISS fan when I was still in diapers hahaha …but Numan was the one that inspired me to consider doing my own thing in music. That said, I don’t write and record in the style of Numan. I owe more to Ministry, Skinny Puppy and Rammstein as far as recording style goes. I also am very much inspired by Peter Steele of Type O Negative and Jim Morrison of The Doors, especially for their unique lyrical style. Did you know that the first time the term ‘Goth or Gothic’ was used in reference to a rock band was when someone did a review of The Doors, the day after (or close anyway) that Morrison had met Andy Warhol? Anyway…I owe a lot of gratitude to Nash The Slash for being an inspiration as an indie artist as well.

Is there a certain process to your songwriting?

I usually begin a track with a general idea of the kind of mood/style I want to pursue. Then, usually, the song ends up being something totally different than want I first imagined. I usually start with either synth riffs/loops and/or beats/drum patterns and build from there. Kind of difficult to explain how a song evolves and usually I look back and think, “how did I even come up with this”?

… And where do you draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Many of my songs address the human struggle. I never write ‘love’ songs or ‘sex in the corvette’ songs…there are ample of those so …why compete right? I usually write in sort of ‘mystical’ story form. I use a lot of imagery and I allow the listener/reader (of lyrics) to decide for themselves what it means to them, even though I may have a specific idea in mind. I often use religious imagery and also imagery of ‘battles’ or ‘war’ but not in the sense that they are LITERALLY about armed combat. The imagery of ‘battle’ is more of an emotional/psychological journey of that inner struggle. I use a lot of religious imagery, but I don’t push ANY sort of religious point of view…for or against. Again, I let people decide for themselves what any song could mean. I address the issue of mental illness and depression and even the tendency for despair. I don’t encourage ‘despair’ but that experience of wondering where there is hope is quite universal. As well, I often, in veiled language, address the ‘tribalism’ that we humans seem to cling to. I have a real personal distaste for hatred of any kind and the world is full of that. Religious people bashing and rejecting others for being ‘different’ or of the ‘wrong tribe’ and all the bigotry and racism and all the phobias that still exist in a so called ‘evolved’ modern world. That ‘tribalism’ isn’t just from those of a religious persuasion but it also exists among ,many ‘atheists’ and ‘secularists’ who can be just as hateful towards those of the ‘other tribe’. We just don’t know how to leave each other be do we?! Hatred of any kind is for the birds. Wait…not even the birds want it!

Give us some background to your latest release.

The latest release is Freak’s Mind. It’s very abrasive and weird and even at times ‘gothadelic’ (a term coined by Peter Steele by the way). That album is the album that wasn’t supposed to be. I never really wanted to record anything new but one song at a time, and I ended up recording an album’s worth of dark wave/industrial/Gothic madness and I’m really proud of this album. It touches on all those subjects I mentioned earlier. Womb To The Tomb is one of my favourites on that album. It’s a strange combo of wild 60’s psychedelic with raging industrial sounds. Veil is a powerful song, which was recorded in 2013 actually. It’s a good album and I’m not the type that easily says things like that about my own music.

Could you give us some insight to the themes behind it and its songs?

Womb to The Tomb is about the cycle of life more or less, but also looks at the life of a corrupt village and all its citizens, including the powerful who take advantage and the victims who are taken advantage of. It’s kind of inspired by modern day events, without being specific. Chaos Frankenstein is sort of a ‘mystical’ telling of conflict and chaos and suffering and deception. Finally, (I won’t dissect every song) Freak’s Mind, the title track, is more or less about someone struggling with some sort of psychological or emotional turmoil.

Tell us about the live side to the band?

At present, Gnostic Gorilla is not planning on any live shows. I’d need to lasso a bunch of musicians to do that and I don’t see it happening. I don’t think so anyway…Maybe a one off someday.

It is not easy for any new act/artist 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/artists?

You’re so right. It’s not easy. I mean, as far as having an impact is concerned. It’s a different world… a different industry and there are many factors that make it very difficult to make a dent anywhere, even locally…especially if you’re in a bigger city. Technology and the age of communication (social media) make it so that anyone can set themselves up and do music and even videos and put it out there. It makes for a VERY clogged reality in cyberspace. There is SO much out there. Everyone wants to be considered the next big thing…Fair game. But here’s the thing, it’s all been done. After KISS and Sabbath, and Manson and Depeche Mode and Numan and NIN, Slipknot, Cradle of Filth, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Ice T, Eminem, Shaggy, Run DMC etc. …how does one come up with a unique style? I don’t want to be a pessimist but let’s be realistic. It’s VERY difficult to make a dent because it’s almost impossible to snap people out of an oversaturated “yawn…I’ve seen it all before” mindset. You can’t impress people easily. You can barely shock people unless you are involved in some sort of controversy or are pretty like a Barbie/Ken doll. Legends/pioneers are no longer being made and I know that would piss a lot of people off to hear that, but it’s true. As for my own situation, I must confess that as I proud Canadian, I am very unimpressed with the way I’ve been treated by the reps/labels in Canada. I have a label deal with Cleopatra Records (LA) for two albums, a deal with KL-Dark Records in Germany and Nowhere Now Records in Australia and have never even received a reply from the Canadian labels I sent music to. Kind of disappointing but I guess they’re all waiting for the second coming or RUSH or Justin Bieber or Gordon Lightfoot.

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

As I said before, the world has changed dramatically in more ways than one. The internet and social media have forever changed MANY things, not just music. Look at what it’s done to the world of politics! (not always for the better) Even the Pope has a presence on social media. Hahahaha. But more specifically related to the music industry…it’s a mixed bag I suppose. It’s great to promote one’s music/art but also you’re not the only one doing it. Millions are doing it. With regards to the reality of ‘streaming’ though, as an example…that too is a combination of blessing and curse. What’s happening is people don’t feel like buying music is even a concept. It’s not their fault. It’s the way things evolved. (There’s that word again…hahahaha) Younger people grew up knowing nothing else and so, even the concept of music as art is kind of challenged. It’s rarely seen as ‘art’ and just part of the regular noise and scenery of cyberspace all mixed in with the latest ‘app’. It’s like music is there for the taking the way fruit on trees is there for the taking…it’s just a part of the way life goes. It’s all there to snatch and rarely pay much more than a standard monthly fee or something and have unlimited music. Hey, I do it myself, so I’m not criticizing. Also, it needs to be said, with reference to struggling artists: there are also different organizations that promise ‘hi-fi mega stardom’ for a fee! Some of these take advantage of artists, even some of the big labels have jumped on that bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong, there are some decent, honest organizations that genuinely want to assist struggling artists, but there are also a lot of vultures out there cashing in on Wendy and Charlie’s dreams of “making it”. I guess in the end, like anything else, it’s what you do with it right? Maybe it’s just another challenge for artists to be creative, even with regards to promoting and marketing.

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

It is I who thank you! All I can say is that if you are a struggling artist…be true to the art, to being creative. I know that sounds like hippie bullshit, but it’s true. As soon as your goal is to become a ‘celebrity’ you’re setting yourself up for deception. Don’t dream about being a ‘star’. Instead, be creative and express yourself and be true to yourself…regardless of who does and who doesn’t approve. The rest will follow because in the end, authenticity speaks louder than the need to be ‘worshipped’. That’s what I believe.

Explore Gnostic Gorilla further @ https://www.facebook.com/gnosticgorilla/

Also grab your copy of the Various Artists Compilation album, Nowhere Now Volume 2 on Nowhere Now Records @ https://nowherenowrecords.bandcamp.com/album/nowhere-now-volume-2    featuring Last Call (Heed The Drones) by Gnostic Gorilla

Pete RingMaster 12/04/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Rosen – Self Titled

With a sound bound to draw comparisons to the likes of Korn and Limp Bizkit but quickly revealing its own individual drama and character, UK outfit Rosen are poised to release their self-titled debut EP. Offering six slices of the London band’s fusion of hip-hop, punk, and nu metal, the encounter is an attention grabbing proposal sparking ears with its enterprise and the imagination with its politically triggered lyrics.

Emerging last year, the quintet takes inspiration from bands such as Hacktivist, Rage Against The Machine and the previously mentioned pair of artists. The release of the first single High Tech Low Life and successor Riot triggered acclaim and support from fans and media alike, nurturing anticipation for something larger which the EP boisterously rewards.

It opens up with Sticks & Stones, the song rising up through the theatre of piano intimation with Frhetoric jabbing vocals leading jousting riffs and teasing rhythms. The guitar of Matt Ress becomes more irritable as a chorus forms, the track swiftly settling back down to repeat its creative cycle. Cole Sław’s keys continue to lure and suggest as the punchy touch of Frisco beats impose; a mix of the familiar and boldly fresh courting the appetite like a mix of The Kennedy Soundtrack and Papa Roach tinted by an industrial/darkwave hue something akin to Pink Turns Blue.

High Tech Low Life follows and almost immediately flirts with wiry grooves and a controlled but salacious swing encouraged by the throbbing bass of Kam Ikaze. As with its predecessor, there is an inherent contagiousness to the song, one elevated in its chorus around equally captivating vocals but just as manipulative throughout as the song strolls through ears. From beginning to end, the track is superb, enticing body and vocal chords as well as thoughts in an instant before Pushing Raw simmers and bubbles into view. Rap and synth rock entangle as the track quickly got under the skin, a rich Tech N9ne spicing adding to its organic magnetism and adventurous enterprise.

It proved so hard to choose a favourite track within the EP, the first trio all firmly lingering in thoughts and pleasure as too next up Hallelujah. The likes of Clawfinger, Fuckshovel, and B Movie all came to mind as the song calmly and effortlessly infested ears and imagination. Again lyrics and their delivery left as potent an imprint as the sounds around them, a rich trait echoed in Reverie straight after. Probably the song did not stir the passions as boisterously as its companions yet its atmospheric tone and melodic web only enhanced and enriched the already impressing release.

Riot brings things to a close, its electro punk scented entrance soon a blend of antagonism and seduction, again Clawfinger reminded of as well as very early Ministry though as for all songs, it’s individually is overriding. More volatile by the chord and vocal dexterity, the track is a web of temptation which never really unleashes its animosity but certainly snarls as it arouses.

Very good things have been said about Rosen and the EP has all the evidence as to why. Simultaneously it attacks and scythes through injustices and society’s waywardness while inflaming the senses with its insistently compelling, at times enjoyably tempestuous sound. The beginnings of great things for them and us we suggest.

The Rosen EP is released July 27th.

http://rosenofficial.com/   https://www.facebook.com/RosenOfficialUK/

Pete RingMaster 23/07/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Sparks and passions: Calling All Astronauts 2018

Calling All Astronauts have been no strangers to attention and acclaim for their multi-flavoured and adventurously eclectic electro punk nurtured sound; albums and singles sparking eager ears and support with persistent success. They have inflamed the senses and zealous praise yet again with new EP, Influences; the London trio sharing some of their keenest inspirations in their own inimitable way. Thinking it was high time we caught back up with the band to talk about the EP, a new album and plenty more, we had the pleasure of grabbing some of vocalist David Bury’s time….

Hi and welcome back to The RingMaster Review.

It has been almost two years since we last talked with you, around the release of your album Anti-Social Network. Could you bring us up to date with all things CAA?

We released loads of singles from Anti-Social Network, all of them were really well received, as per usually we did loads of remixes and our ubiquitous low budget videos. We actually wanted to release every track as a single, but in the end didn’t want to be accused of flogging a dead horse, so there are still some absolute gems, that only people who bought the album will know

You have just released the Influences EP made up of a quartet of covers. What was the spark to its idea?

We started writing our next album early last year, however, my wife and I (David) had our first baby in August, so time was kind of against me, but we really wanted to release something new, so we thought it would be a good idea to record versions of four tracks, this then evolved into the idea that we’d make it a “Quadruple A-Sided” single, so we made videos for all four tracks, and had them staggered two weeks apart on the streaming sites and YouTube, having to send promo out on four releases two weeks apart has been crazy, and really not something I would recommend to anyone J

Would you talk a little about each track for those yet to hear the release?

First of all is a drum and bass meets metal version of Gary Numan’s (Tubeway Army) Are ‘Friends’ Electric?, we managed to get synth sounds that are quite similar to the original, but it’s now at 176PBM, with noisy guitars all over it, next is a stripped down version of T-Rex’s Metal Guru, we’ve really slowed it down, to an atmospheric post-industrial type sound, thirdly we’ve taken on the legend that is David Bowie, and put own stamp on his song Scary Monsters; far be it from me to say our version rocks more than the maestro’s original, but you can if you want J, and last but definitely not least, we’ve absolutely brought Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water screaming into the 21st Century, it’s like Skinny Puppy, Rammstein, Ministry all rolled into one, according to the reviews; I’m not sure it is, but I’m happy if that’s what people are saying.

Many bands play covers but most just seem to approach them in the same way the original artists did and maybe hope their own sound comes across. You seem to have gone far deeper into the songs and taken the CAA imagination to certain aspects; the result tracks which are as much yours as their creators. How did you approach each track and decide what way to go with them?

We approached them exactly like we do when we are writing our songs; we kind of got an idea of how we wanted to do them, started off with drum patterns and then layered everything on top of the drums, we didn’t really have any trouble with any of them, the fill before the verse on Scary Monsters was a bit of a challenge, but I came up with that kind of dubstep drop and it all came together nicely.

Obviously the theme to the EP is in its title but in its case is it the songs which were primarily the influences or the artists, and if the latter why these particular tracks from their arsenal of persuasion?

I think it was a bit of both; they are four artists that we liked as kids, and still as adults, in fact Gary Numan’s two most recent albums are awesome, I can’t recommend them strongly enough. I was a big T-Rex fan as a kid and regularly drive past the spot where Marc died; there are so many of his songs to choose from, we wanted to pick songs that we liked but were not too obscure, you know. If we’d done Fad Gadget, Cabaret Voltaire, Japan and Psychedelic Furs tunes, they would still have sounded like us, but only people of a certain age would know the originals, so we picked four tunes, we felt had been significant to us that other people would know.

For us it was a brave move to take on four not only well-known but legendary tracks which virtually everybody knows and so many reveres. It has obviously proved a great move as fan and critical praise has quickly gathered but did you have any doubts at any point in taking on such classics?

We did obviously worry that we could face a backlash, or just get dismissed as, “another rock band doing covers” but after finishing them, we felt that we had, as they say on TV talent shows, made them our own, however unlike TV talent shows, I don’t think we have ruined any of them, I hope we have given a modern flavour to them, that will hopefully make some of our listeners revisit or even visit for the first time the artists that original wrote and recorded these songs.

Has the buzz, support, and acclaim for the EP surprised you in its swiftness and richness?

It’s truly been astonishing, we have honestly never done so many interviews before on any release, I’m feeling there isn’t the stigma associated with covers that there used to be (The Dickies excepted); people seem to have embraced it in the spirit that it’s intended, and for that we are very grateful.

Was there any specific intent in unveiling the four tracks within Influences one by one over a handful of weeks rather than as a single entity?

The original idea was to just release it as an EP, but when we got them back from Max, our mastering engineer, we were like, these are just too good to promo as a group; tracks are going to get lost. We thought it would be a shame if that happened, so we came up with the idea of 5 different release dates, 1 for each single and a final one for the EP as a whole, I’m glad we did it this way, because different DJs have had different favourites, so we’ve ended up getting an amazing amount of radio play

Tell us about the videos accompanying each song.

Here we are, confession time, as you know we have very small budgets, so we commissioned two of the video’s on Fiverr, the Scary Monsters lyric one and the Smoke On The Water one; for Scary Monsters, we just sent her the lyrics, told her we’d like it to be scary, paid her $12 and that’s what she came up with. The SOTW one, cost a little more, $30 I think, we gave the director carte blanche to do what he wanted and what he came back with, though quite surreal, works perfectly. Are ‘Friends’ Electric? was a little different. We have a friend called Stevie Mac, he makes animations for video games. He had a short story of around 90 seconds that he’d done, that wasn’t owned by any of his employers. He kindly said we could use it, so I cut it together with royalty free footage that Paul found online. Metal Guru is a whole other story. A Twitter friend of ours in Texas offered to make us one for Metal Guru, he was making a stop animation video for us but as release date loomed it became obvious he wasn’t going to get it done in time, so he came up with this one. He did go back and re-edit it as there where a few scenes towards the end that were quite disturbing, but all in all to come up with four videos for less than fifty quid, is a right result J

Was there anything about recording the EP which was more difficult than creating your own music?

I wish I could say there was something, but Paul and J are such accomplished musicians, they got their parts down really quickly and everything just fit into place. The mixing is always the hardest part for us, because we always have bass, kick drum, sub bass and bass synth sitting in the same part of the audio spectrum, so a lot of use of lo-pass and hi-pass filters is always needed.

Is there a possibility of an Influences Part 2 in the future?

Without a shred of a doubt, we will revisit this; we’ve just had so much fun with it. Don’t ask me when, there’s album three to finish first

Any hints to songs or bands which might be considered, I know you guys have eclectic tastes and inspirations.

We have tried a lot of other songs; we did Adele’s Someone Like You [but] my vocal was so out of tune, I cried with laughter’ I’d like to cover some things that nobody would ever expect us to, maybe The Shirelles’ Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? or The MVPs Turning Your Heartbeat Up. Who knows, we will just have to wait and see.

As you mentioned, the band is working on their third album. How is that actually coming along and have you a timescale to its release?

We have 16 songs so far in various stages. It’s sounding enormous, and as eclectic as you would expect from us; it goes from drop D metal circa Lamb Of God to expensive anthems almost reminiscent of early Simple Minds. The 16 songs we have so far will probably not all end up on the album; we will undoubtedly write some more, amalgamate some of them, and probably save some for singles B-Sides

I also heard there could be a release for a previously unreleased album from J’s previous band Caffeine on your label, Supersonic Media; could you tell us more?

They had a couple of albums which are now on Supersonic from when they were touring with the likes of The Offspring, AFI, New Found Glory etc. Alain their original single left and the recruited Scott who is now in the Candle Thieves, they recorded an album with Andy Hawkins from Midget producing. It’s a fantastic album that never got released; it’s quite reminiscent of Jimmy Eat World or Alkaline Trio. For fear of sounding like Trump, it really is fantastic, super, terrific, maybe it’ll do well in Mexico J

Our big thanks David for taking time out to come chat with us; anything you would like to add?

Thank you for having us.

People can check out every aspect of our new EP at http://smarturl.it/Influences-EP

Explore Calling All Astronauts further at:

http://www.callingallastronauts.com/    https://www.facebook.com/callingallastronauts   https://twitter.com/CAA_Official

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 06/04/2018

 

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Powerman 5000 – New Wave

Since first album The Blood-Splat Rating System was uncaged in 1995, it has been so easy to form a soft spot for the metal exploits of Powerman 5000 and all the reasons why are there blazing away in new album New Wave. Across nine studio full-lengths, the band has aroused and stirred the imagination in varyingly successful degrees but always left a potent impact on personal pleasure, their new offering hitting that mark with ease once again. Whether New Wave is their best proposition to date or indeed their most unique we will leave others to debate; as to whether it is one of their most exhilarating and addictive incitements there is nothing to question.

Though metal bred, Powerman 5000 has always felt as much punk rock in tone and attitude as any more recognisable punk ‘n’ roll proposals; an air which is at its most vocal within New Wave. The album opens with Footsteps and Voices, its electro instincts teasing and tempting as rhythms and vocal chants gather in the industrial background. In no time though, the track is strolling along with a muscular swagger, vocalist Spider One the ringmaster ready to share his spirit rousing rap as the rhythmic shuffle of drummer DJ Rattan and bassist Murv Douglas flirt with the electronic revelry. Like a fusion of Marilyn Manson and Hed (PE) but uniquely Powerman 5000, the track has the body bouncing and vocal chords hollering; its rock ‘n’ roll inescapable bait.

The following Hostage is just as manipulative, again bringing all its virulent aspects together before leaping into a contagious canter with biting beats aligned to compelling grooves and riffs cast by the guitars of Ty Oliver and Ryan Hernandez. Submission and involvement with its epidemic of enterprise and incitement is unavoidable and liberating as the track’s punk fervour takes hold before exhaustion soaked pleasure is passed onto and emulated by the band’s latest single. The warped love affair of Sid Vicious in a Dress lives up to its theme in sound, a psyche twisting infestation only leading to addiction as heavy grooves and rapacious riffery unites with the rapier swings of Rattan and Douglas’ bass grumble. As its predecessor, the song’s catchiness and ear arousing antics are viral, a toxic sonic trespass leading to dependency from which escape is not an option. There are plenty of familiar aspects to the track and all adding to its forceful persuasion upon body and spirit.

 The electro waltz of David F**king Bowie is no mean spirit in stirring ears or appetite either, its gait and energy a calmer but lively instigator swiftly tempting forceful participation from vocal chords. Its celestial meanders allow a breath to be taken though equally it leads to a hankering to be back romping which the song subsequently provides before Spider stands centre stage to call on ears and his flock with Cult Leader. An anthemic hard rock meets glam punk roar again very difficult not to get caught up in it does lacks some of the unique sparks of its predecessors but leaves the listener wanting little.

The alluring balladry of No White Flags settles the charge of the album but not the rich attention it continues to earn; the song a tantalising mix of melodic alternative metal and heavy rock while Thank God is a gloriously irritable slab of nu-metal lined punk metal as raw and antagonistic as it is uncontrollably contagious. One minute plus of primal temptation it sets yet another lofty marker in the landscape of New Wave, one teased if not hit by successor Die on Your Feet, a song of typical yet openly individual Powerman 5000 enterprise carrying all their established traits in its scuzzy rock ‘n’ roll blaze.

Get a Life steals the passion next with its prowling Dope/Rob Zombie-esque taunting. The track hints at and flirts with an instinctive tempest but keeps it restrained to only further seduce. That volcanic eruption never does not really escape even as the song expels a more tempestuous energy and aggression in its riveting stalking, again though this only adding to its show stealing majesty.

The album concludes with Run for Your Life, an electro rock nurtured, groove swinging slice of infection which in no time has hips swaying as feet and spirit dance. At times there is whiff of Ministry before Al Jourgensen turned his synth pop industrial metal to the song which potently colours up the Powerman 5000 creative theatre working away on the imagination. As it departs with a clunky abruptness you wonder if the song was a late addition or originally meant as a hidden treat, or indeed maybe a clue from the band of things to come, but it is a welcome and thoroughly enjoyable addition which lingers as much as any other gem within New Wave, an album which declares Powerman 5000 as essential as they have ever been.

New Wave is out now via Pavement Music across most online stores.

http://www.powerman5000.com    https://www.facebook.com/officialpowerman5000/

Pete RingMaster 08/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Pig – Prey & Obey

If there is a more potent manipulator of body, imagination, and spirit than Raymond Watts it is hard to think of them especially as the latest <PÎG> EP is infesting the psyche with virulent ease. The mastermind behind <PÎG> and a founding member of KMFDM, Watts has infested the senses and passions with frequent regularity since the eighties whether in his projects or in collusion with numerous others, a long list we will leave you to explore, the Prey & Obey EP now adding to that tide of irresistible industrial rock bred temptations and trespasses.

Consisting of three new psyche trespassing incitements with drama fuelled remixes of each backing them up, Prey & Obey embeds itself in ears and appetite straight away with its title track. Guitars instantly rub themselves upon the senses, their raw intensive strokes almost flirtatious as thicker brooding textures come with rhythms and vocals. With Marc Heal and Phil Barry of Cubanate in league with Watts, the track prowls and preys on the senses, Watts like a dark conjuror as hooks and grooves crowd and litter washes of industrial toxicity. It is a glorious web of intrigue and danger, subservience coaxed and demanded by the track’s rampant rhythmic muscle as well as its virulent sonic and electronic dexterity.

The robustly stirring encounter is followed by The Revelation, an even more imposingly catchy enticement body and vocal chords alone fall before in swift time. Co-written with Ben Christo, long-serving guitarist with The Sisters of Mercy, the track roams with a predacious intent, its creative indoctrination built on waves of persistence honed into thought provoking, body twisting primal seduction. With an additional Ministry-esque nagging around glimpses of cinematic theatre, the song is pure devil spawn scheming, Watts the insidious engineer.

The Cult of Chaos ventures across a calmer landscape of persuasion though the song written with former Combichrist member Z.Marr shares its own individual and challenging shadows. Their dark edges court the mellower presence of vocals and melodic suggestion, the song’s infection carrying eighties industrial flavourings merging with harsher textures reflecting the world today. Transfixing in its throbbing repetition, magnetic in its harmonic and melodic tapestry, the track beguiles and intrudes with equal ingenuity; addiction the guaranteed response.

Completing the release is firstly a psychotic remix of the track Prey & Obey by Leaether Strip, the track given a make-over resembling the bastard result of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers meeting Celldweller. Its inescapable stomp is followed by the Z.Marr Revelectrix Mix of The Revelation; a version which simultaneously feel heroic and serial killer like in its tone and physical intent.

Completed by the En Esch Remix of the opener, a subdued but enticing take, the Prey & Obey EP is pure industrial corruption bred with the finest creative toxins. Each of its three tracks is a rabidly tempting and resonating anthem backed by highly evocative alternative aspects; what more would you want?

Prey & Obey is out now through Metropolis Records @ https://metropolisrecords.bandcamp.com/album/prey-obey

https://pigindustries.com/    https://www.facebook.com/pigindustries/    https://twitter.com/raymondwatts

Pete RingMaster 18/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Estetica Noir – Purity

EN_RingMasterReview

There is no need of any written text to realise the inspirations to the sound of Italian band Estetica Noir, strong flavours which openly line each song within their debut album Purity. They weave haunting and atmospheric, frequently addictively infectious, proposals which court the imagination as easily as ears; all eighties new/dark wave influenced encounters as familiar as they are refreshingly fuelled by twenty first century imagination. The result is a sound which demands attention and a thoroughly enjoyable first album.

Hailing from Torino, Estetica Noir was formed by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Silvio Oreste and bassist Rik Guido in 2013. Their self-titled first EP came out in 2014 with a re-mastered re-release coming two years later, its body showing more of the electronic spicing which now adds to the tapestry of sound shaping Purity. With their track I Will Kill You making a potent addition to the For The Bats compilation and another in Beautiful Absence part of the third instalment of the series, the songs nesting between offerings from the likes of The March Violets, The Eden House, and The Danse Society, Estetica Noir have only lured increasing interest and support to match a praise drawing live presence seeing the quartet share stages with bands such as Christian Death and The Chameleons. Last year, Estetica Noir linked up with Italian label Red Cat for the release of Purity, both sure to come under greater spotlights due to the album’s captivating presence and character.

With its line-up completed by guitarist/backing vocalist Guido Pancani and drummer Paolo Accossato, Purity swiftly grabs ears with opener Hallow’s Trick. An initial electric shimmer of guitar is the spark for a great crystalline melodic hook within a fuzzy keys bred seducing around a swinging rhythmic coaxing. It is an instantly successful persuasion increased by the expressive tones of Oreste. Like Thomas Dolby meets the synth pop version of Ministry, the track strolls magnetically into the imagination, its virulent chorus inescapable bait for participation as it makes a powerful introduction to the release.

art_RingMasterReviewNext up Plastic Noosphere is no less a tempting; its own instinctive catchiness immediately grabbing body and appetite as guitars and keys conjure individually descriptive enterprise for a B-Movie meets She Wants Revenge like offering with a nagging rhythmic persistence from Guido and Accossato recalling the likes of Leitmotiv. As its predecessor, the song has ears in the palm of its creative hand before In Heaven provides a fiery romancing of ears with its steely guitar bred melodies, melancholic yet inviting bassline, and fuzzy keys. A thicker intensity and drama does little to lessen an inbred infectiousness in the Estetica Noir sound, rather showing the variety and imagination nurturing it, echoed again in the likes of Suicide Walk and I Hate.

The first of the two creeps around ears like atmospheric fog, almost prowling with its instrumental suggestiveness as a melodic radiance glows at its heart while the second straight away flirts with the senses through bold but controlled and imagination serenading melodies. It is just the opening shadow to another rampantly catchy escapade with lively beats and a just as tenacious brooding bassline calling from inside a web of feisty electronic and guitar spun temptation.

The outstanding Polarized brings its electro pop spiced exploit next, complete with another irresistible hook and smouldering keys in something akin to Nine Inch Nails meets Blancmange while Deluxe Lies Edition reveals the strength of inspiration the band find in The Cure, its dark climate and emotive shadows as inspired by Robert Smith and co as Oreste’s vocals. Both tracks captivate and inspire ears and imagination respectively, the adventure in the Estetica Noir creativity here and across Purity compelling.

Hypnagogia is a second instrumental which like its earlier companion is a provocative piece, its piano cored emotional shadow intriguing before the band gives its own touch to the Pet Shop Boys written, Eight Wonder track I’m Not Scared. It is another easy to embrace offering but lacks something the band’s own penned songs have, as emphasized by A Dangerous Perfection which follows. Laying somewhere between Modern English and again The Cure and early Ministry, the track throbs with rhythmic and melodic theatre as an epidemic of creative infection swarms through ears.

Completed by the melancholy haunted You Make Life Better, an imaginatively twisting and turning track as fascinating and persuasive as anything on the album, Purity leaves nothing but lingering pleasure in its wake. As mentioned, its influences are a strong texture in its body and songs but it is a ‘lack of uniqueness’ which matters little in the unbridled enjoyment found. If any of those influences mentioned hit the spot, checking out Estetica Noir is a must.

Purity is out now via Red Cat Records through most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/esteticanoir   https://twitter.com/esteticanoir   https://esteticanoir.wordpress.com/

Pete RingMaster 31/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright