Desert Suns – Self-Titled

Desert Suns band photo_RingMaster Review

Released in the Autumn of 2014, the self-titled debut album from San Diego quartet Desert Suns gets its deserved official worldwide re-release this January through a special collaboration between Ripple Music and HeviSike Records. For those missing that original limited run of 300 copies on vinyl through Birmingham-based HeviSike , its return is the chance to grab one highly flavoursome slab of stoner bred rock ‘n’ roll.

Formed late 2013, Desert Suns quickly drew attention with their first single Burning Temples which was released in the January of the following year. Seven months later and their six track debut album confirmed the initial potency of sound and imagination within that early single in a fiery and immersive blend of stoner and heavy metal, psyche and blues rock. The band’s sound, as at times their lyrics and song themes, demands attention without the heavy weight of it ever becoming invasively imposing, and within the Tony Reed (Mos Generator/Stone Axe) mastered album provides a powerful invitation to the listener, if without really wanting to take no for an answer.

DESERT-SUNS---DESERT-SUNS_RingMaster Review

Artwork-Jimmy Ovadia

Burning Temples starts things off, an initial sonic static the bed for heavier rumblings and clamorous energies before one hefty groove grows from within the low key tempest. It relaxes with an elegant shimmer to its lure and melodic spice to its touch as the dark bassline of David Russell aligns to his quickly alluring vocals though the forceful and agile beats of drummer Ben McDowell subsequently raises the intensity as the guitars of Woogie Maggard and Anthony Belluto twist and turn with magnetic grooves and riffs. As the track becomes a contagious blaze enslaving hips, ears, and imagination, it is easy to sense Black Sabbath and Deep Purple inspirations at play, the music masterfully and voraciously ebbing and flowing in energy whilst providing a continuous full-on sultry temptation.

After the incendiary climax of the first song has ignited ears and keen involvement further, the following Space Pussy shows it is even more ferociously enflamed with quick sonic and melodic intoxication. Raw and seductive flames soon live up to the suggested salacious exploits and skills of the song’s protagonist, their intensive heat casting a vociferous smoulder in sound and atmosphere which almost has the senses woozy, though sinew swung rhythms and a great gnarly bass tone provides a rapturous temper to that cosmic inebriety smothering ears.

The blues infested rock ‘n’ roll tempest of Passing Through gets ears excited all over again, its feisty swagger courting a virulent catchiness driven by tenacious rhythms and swinging grooves matched by the Ozzy-esque vocal temping of Russell. The track is irresistible, taking a great first impression of the album up another notch with its flirtatious enterprise and anthemic dexterity of music and craft. As across the album, there is something familiar to the Desert Suns sound but a hue only adding to the lure of its bordering on mischievous revelry.

A breath is allowed to be taken by the blues croon of Ten Feet Down as ears feast on a new twist in the landscape of the release. Blues and country rock merge to serenade as harmonica and guitar colour a salty portrait of suggestiveness around it, all colluding for a magnetic encounter before Memories of Home portentously pulsates into view and unfurls a lumbering beast of a stoner/heavy metal fuelled proposition. A scent of Fu Manchu meets Electric Wizard meets Kyuss looms up within the tantalising proposal, whilst mellow and soporific textures unite with the ravaging torrents stirred up by grooves and a hungry energy to create another hard to resist confrontation.

Run Through My Roots brings the album to a compelling close, its atmospheric soundscape and pungent rhythmic suggestiveness the prelude to another forceful and heavyweight enveloping of the senses. Once more romancing calms are seductive oases amidst increasingly volatile eruptions and predacious outbursts, their mesmeric caresses breaking ravenous outpourings of sound and emotion as the track offers a fascinating end to a thoroughly enthralling and enjoyable release.

Second time around, Desert Suns is not to be missed and already thoughts are eagerly turning to what comes next from the band, where they have imaginatively ventured since the creation of their album two years ago.

Desert Suns is out now through Ripple Music in North America on CD and Royal Blue vinyl and on Beer Brown vinyl in the UK through HeviSike Records with digital copies @ https://desertsuns.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/desertsunssd  http://www.desertsunsmusic.com/

Pete RingMaster 20/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Witch Charmer – The Great Depression

Witch Charmer

Raucously majestic and seductively intimidating, UK band Witch Charmer prove that not only was their previous acclaimed EP not a flash in the pan but that it was only the teaser to greater things with debut album The Great Depression. Five tracks which roar and hazily smoulder from a gripping fusion of doom, stoner, and heavy metal, the album is a riveting and scintillating incitement which musically stands out from the crowd but vocally sculpts a corner of its own to transfix from. Led by the magnetic vocal talent of Kate McKeown and assisted rather than backed by the grippingly individual tones of the band, it is an unpredictable and intriguing mix which only accentuates the raw and elegant extremes of the compelling sounds around them. This style of music is quite rich and thick in quality bands right now but the Sunderland quintet easily push themselves to the forefront of the masses with their exhilarating release.

Formed in 2012, the band consists of drummer/vocalist Dave McQuillan, guitarists/vocalists Len Lennox and Adam Clarke, and bassist Richard Maher alongside McKeown. Debut EP Euphoric Curse of last year drew in eager attention and acclaim with its stirring and intensive mesh of weighty rhythms and tantalising grooves aligned to pungent riffs and their compelling vocal mix. It proved irresistible to a great many but was just the base from which the Tony Reed (Mos Generator, Stone Axe) mixed and mastered The Great Depression has grown to greater heights for a heady captivation.

Themed around a “dark satirical view of this world gone mad”, album and band take little time in enslaving ears and imagination with opener Suffer. From its first breath it is spilling an enthralling groove which is soon surrounded by imposing rhythms and a sonic intensity which in turn sparks that initial lure to expel a greater flame to its potency. Just as swiftly the dramatic and impressive voice of McKeown joins the evolving narrative of the track, hot melodic designs alongside flirtatious grooves wrapping her rich tones. A brawling call from one of the band brings another thick texture to the song, his raw vocal squall the extreme opposite to the charm of McKeown but an impressing companion which seems to ignite another bout of virulent urgency and aggression in the sounds. Sharing the lead of the track for a fair portion, the two vocalists grab the attention but not enough to detract from the addictive enticement of the grooves and the sonic enterprise raging around them.

It is a mighty start but soon shown a clean pair of heels by the thrilling presence of The Cull. A more predatory gait is revealed by the track, its slow doom bred crawl an oppressive yet welcoming shadow through which McKeown’s voice WITCH CHARMER - COVERshines like a beacon. It is the vocal alliance which grips ears most of all though, certainly initially, the bruising growl heard in the first song returning with other allies bringing a punkish squall and a clean presentation to dual and flirt with the superb presence of the front lady. The track shows it is not just about that though, that like the release it stands out just as potently through its grooves and scorched atmospheres to create a riveting maelstrom of beauty and intimidation. Like a mix of Jess & the Ancient Ones and Electric Wizard with Triggerman, the track is a blistering provocation soaked in a smouldering blues haze and ferocious heavy psychedelic metal.

Both A Watching Of Wolves and …To Death (I’ll Drink) keep the temperature and might of the album ablaze and the passions aflame, the first arriving on a hypnotic stride of thumping rhythms within a humid tapestry of sonic invention. It takes little time to clad those lingering lures in a thick swamp of dark grooves and rapacious intensity which in turn is veined by melodic mystique enticing and infectious virulence. It is a merger of darkness and light, of brooding emotions and joyful revelry which is seamlessly entwined to create an incendiary incitement for thoughts and passions. Its successor is scintillating; the bass with a delicious bestial twang to its tone leading ears and thoughts into a haze of sonic expression and addictive rhythmic baiting. The song proceeds to lap the senses in waves of energy and seductive enticing, its potency never wavering in success and strength as grooves, riffs, and vocals weave and tease like an adulterous temptress with only eyes for its victim. The rhythmic imagination of McQuillan is inescapable as he frames and veins the track with unpredictable and engrossing bait matched by the delicious vocals.

The best track on the album it is soon rivalled by the closing Stare Into The Sun, a slow enticement which is even more of a salacious temptation than its predecessor in moves and grooves at times but ultimately is a persistently changing and evolving groove fest across a landscape of burning melodies and caustic riffs under a rhythmic thunder. It is a stunning end to a sensational release, though the album does have one final brief treat in hidden acoustic track Architects of our own Existence.

The Great Depression has everything fans of the likes of Black Sabbath and Goatsnake through to Electric Wizard and Blood Ceremony would devour in a second but also much more to bring a fresh air to doom and stoner flavoured heavy metal. Witch Charmer is a major force in the making and their album the first slab of irrepressible evidence.

The Great Depression is available from September 1st on Argonauta Records and at http://witchcharmer.bandcamp.com

www.facebook.com/witchcharmerband

9/10

RingMaster 01/09/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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BloodRedSky: A Cross To Bear & Hell To Harness

jonematilainen.photodesign

A real treat lies in store for all stoner rock fans with the release of A Cross To Bear & Hell To Harness, the thumping debut album from Finnish metallers BloodRedSky. The towering release is a record all fans of the genre and of storming rock n roll will devour with raging contentment, and though it arguably does not offer anything really new it is a riot they and stoner rock can be brazenly proud of.

A quintet from Pieksämäki in Eastern Finland founded in 2008, BloodRedSky have followed up their well-received self-titled promo release of 2009, with an album which leaves one breathless and exhilarated and probably shell shocked under its tumultuous energy and intent. A Cross To Bear & Hell To Harness released through Inverse Records, offers up ten hurricanes of intensity and invention which as mentioned do not try to break into new pastures but ignite existing recipes into boiling and impacting, not to mention refreshing, incendiary storms. The band have brewed a sound which is as heavy and abrasive as Mastodon, as shadowed and malevolent as Danzig, and veined with grooves and insatiable riffs borne of a Red Fang or Mos Generator, On top of that you have the snarl and attitude of Motorhead with the Kyuss stoner might to its charge. It all conspires for songs which grab you by the throat, sucks the air from your lings, and sends shards of rapture through the passions.

The album declares the tempest open immediately with the outstanding opener Locked ‘n Loaded and as expected with a title like that the song is an adrenaline driven onslaught of aggression and primed energy. The drums of Pasi Moilanen take no prisoners from the start, his thunderous rhythms and cafe fighter intensity a rewarding encounter with drives the caustic riffs into the ear perfectly. The growling bass of Jesse Muranen is a bear prowling the scene and once the equally ursine delivery of vocalist Riku Tarvonen enters, the track is into a stride which fires up the senses to their fullest limitations. It is a dirty tank of a song which ticks all the right boxes and though again it will not exactly satisfy searches for something truly unique who really cares when it sounds this good.

It is an impressive start easily equally by firstly Colours and then surpassed by the staggering song Purifier. The first is an abrasive maelstrom of riffs and sonic enterprise from guitarists Ville Kosunen and Antti Minkkinen which sear flesh and rupture bones whilst again the stunning bass presence of Muranen is a raptorial treat. There is so many great things to say about the album but probably he steals the top honour with his gnarly sounds and intimidating tones. The second of the two songs is a maelstrom of dynamic energies and inventive manipulations of sound and the senses. It twists like a bestial siren throwing serpentine grooves and ravenous riffs at its victims whilst chewing on the ear with the ever agreeable raw growls of Tarvonen. There is a slight hardcore edge to his squalling rage which makes the perfect contrast and compliment to the backing chants and insatiable assault elsewhere whilst all aspects together produce not only the best song on the album but one of the best this year.

The band does mix it up on A Cross To Bear & Hell To Harness with tracks like the slower classic toned A Hero to a Few with its smouldering keys, and the sludgier Goblin King, complete with a sensational and blistering solo, to name just two offering strong and pleasing variations to the otherwise unbridled bruising hunting down of the senses. For personal tastes when the band tries to rip out the heart of the listener they trigger the biggest ardour but every track is a mighty and eagerly welcomed companion and in the likes of The Dead, an adversary such the malevolent consumption spreading from the corrosive engagement. The track is a brilliant and glorious slab of aural black death, an intensive intrusion not to be denied or escaped from, its sonic doomed fingers permeating every cell and synapse for a thrillingly rewarding conclusion for the passions.

Further highlights come with the grizzly Stoneskin and the closing exhilarating instrumental Skulltower but as stated every track is an immense and formidable gem. If you are looking for true stoner metal with a full heart and the intentions of tearing your body asunder than look no further than the excellent A Cross To Bear & Hell To Harness from emerging giants  BloodRedSky.

http://bloodredsky.net/

RingMaster 26/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

C.F.A. : Managed By The Devil, Brought To You By The Grace Of God

A stormy mix of stoner, classic rock, and hardcore punk, Managed By The Devil, Brought To You By The Grace Of God the debut album from US stirrers C.F.A. is a more than decent riot to bruise and treat the senses to. It is an album which at times feels like it is unleashing something quite unique and in other moments is treading a well worn yet persistently pleasing path. Overall though it is a formidable slab of sixteen feisty and ultimately satisfying tracks.

C.F.A. (Cody Foster Army) consists of three musicians who combined their talents in 2008, a trio with plenty of experience in their wake. Creating a sound which has been tagged as stoner-core, the threesome of bass guitarist/vocalist Cody Foster (A.K.F., Toxic Shock, Miserable Bastards, Stump, Ash Bib, Poppa Wheelie), lead and rhythm guitarist/vocalist David Takata (Raw Meat , Inbreed, Daisy Love, Bonzort, Swelter, Argonaut, Goldteeth), and drummer David “Reno” Marseillan (Tribe, Nadir, Holokron, Crash Landing, Buckwildz, Mico De Noche, have not looked back in gaining an enthused reaction and following to their combative and abrasive sound. 2009 saw the band record their first album with engineer/producer Tony Reed of Mos Generator and Stone Axe, with its  release coming now via Ripple Records and one imagines certain to draw strong acclaim and responses its way.

The album is a storm of crucial and irresistible riffs from guitar and bass, starting with the infectious Never Free. The track is a magnetic weave which scours the ear through slamming rhythms, scraping vocals, and the gnarly bass tones of Foster whilst offering a melodic swagger which simply oozes contentment. It is a lure not to be denied, an opening temptation which leaves one enthused for what is to come.

Though the following burly Third Side and the crawling Chorus do not make the same heights they both stir up the emotions enough to leave one more than satisfied. In some ways the album is one of two halves with its later presence bringing a more impressive and appetizing collection of confrontations for personal tastes. This is not to say the earlier songs are lacking as Never Free and especially the excellent Shake Your Ass show, the latter a track which feeds on adrenaline and mischief whilst thrusting fiery melodic guitar strikes and pulse racing rhythms through the ear with teasing wantonness before passing onto the flaming stoner punk jab fest Lost Wisdom. This is another song to light the imagination with eagerness without leaving one particularly drooling in lust.

Songs such as the Bob Marley cover Iron Lion Zion, Sons of the Soil, and Kick Rocks deliver an easily agreeable energy driven rampancy but it is with the entrance of Shut Up Your Face that things suddenly find another incendiary level to light the passions. The song is high octane punk rampage which opens with a ska tinged smile before exploding into an air sizzling furnace of riffs and attitude. The bass of Foster funds an even more venomous growl to the song whilst the guitar of Takata moves from delivering insatiable riffs to being a malicious weapon which sizes up its victim before unleashing scythes of sonic venom.

Next up Built Up Knocked Down is a deliciously twisted brew of stoner and garage punk to fire up the heart whilst Red Wine Ride is a contagious rub of salty melodics and barging riffs driven by the fiery vocals. Another cover in the form of Creedence Clear Water track Fortunate Son is a decent enough song but pales against its predecessors and the following final two songs Magic Salad and Inhabit, both outstanding examples of hardcore punk for the first and stoner/sludge antagonism for the latter.

They impressively complete in Managed By The Devil, Brought To You By The Grace Of God an album which continually ticks all the right boxes even if it arguably does not hold the consistency to make it a classic.

http://www.cfa-codyfosterarmy.com/

RingMaster 22/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Stone Axe: Stone Axe II Deluxe Edition

Released a couple of years ago Stone Axe II is given another outing as a special deluxe addition on Ripple Music and is a vibrant treat for not only fans of the band Stone Axe but for rock music lovers in general. If you have not yet felt the majestic power and heart of Stone Axe and their sounds then this release of their second album complete with a second CD of fifteen tracks only previously available either upon their vinyl releases, as part of compilations, or are just rare tracks previously buried deep within their vault, is an essential for your ears. The package bulges with blues and classic rock fuelled rock n roll, the band dipping into the past and soul of the genres with flavours from the likes of Free, Deep Purple, Bad Company, The Faces, Thin Lizzy and Led Zeppelin the catalyst for their own absorbing sounds.

The band was formed in 2007 by multi-instrumentalist T. Dallas Reed in Bremerton, Washington who upon leaving previous band Mos Generator and its different direction to what the band was set up upon, worked swiftly to set up Stone Axe to continue his hearts calling, Seventies rock preservation. Alongside Reed in the studio there is vocalist Dru Brinkerhoff and live the pair is aided by bassist Mike DuPont and drummer Mykey Haslip. Since forming the band has become an important part of the current rock scene for an ever rising fan base with their impressive live shows and their two albums, as well as splits and EPs which show so sigh of slowing, constantly grabbing eager acclaim, attention and enthusiasm. The nostalgic music influences strike a firm partnership with the band invention to offer a fresh and powerful mix that has a versatility and variety to satisfy persistently.

The first CD as mentioned is the complete ten track second album of the band, a release that with an enthused attitude, heart, and energy combines the flavours of blues rock, stoner, and seventies rock into a stirring and fresh homage come reinvention of classic rock without losing its passion and soul. With songs like the hit Chasing Dragons and the excellent Thin Lizzy spiced Those Were The Golden Years where Brinkerhoff sounds like the reincarnation of Phil Lynott through to the Free inspired Ain’t Gonna Miss It and the stunning Procul Harem tinged Turned To Stone, Stone Axe II is an essential release for all old classic rock favouring fans.

Very often these types of packages offer very little for the passionate fan that has much of the output of a band already, the release riding on the desire of the fan to simply want everything a band releases for their collection. With this special edition those who already have the second album are more than provided for with the second CD and the wealth of tracks within, though if a truly ardent fan you may still have everything already of course. The disc includes a cover of the Cream song SWLABR, an early version of Black Widow, as well as a thrilling live cut of Taking Me Home to name just a trio of the excellent tracks within. With the majority of the cuts now unavailable the CD alone makes the release a virtually new one for most and a very rewarding package with more than just something for every rock fan.

Stone Axe has taken classic rock forward without losing the essence and purpose they and the genre strive by. From the excellently crafted sounds and lyrics through to the perfect and impassioned delivery the band and this release sparks up all the senses and emotions easily and impressively. Many bands are trying to create music with a soul and breath seeded from the early fires of rock, Stone Axe just do it better than most.

RingMaster 05/03/2012

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