6:33 – Deadly Scenes

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Entwining an extensive mix of styles and psyche exploring sounds is a carnival of fun in the hands of the most inventive and accomplished bands but loaded with the uniquely flavoursome imagination that is 6:33, that bold daring becomes pure musical alchemy. The French avant-garde metallers had us hooked with their Giggles, Garlands & Gallows EP of 2012, an introduction to our subsequently feverish ears backed up a year later by their formidable second album The Stench from the Swelling (A True Story), both featuring CinC/Carnival In Coal/ We All Die (Laughing) vocalist Arno Strobl. Now the Paris quintet have turned up the lust with new album Deadly Scenes, a tempest of invention and sheer aural ingenuity which sees the band at its loftiest pinnacle of creativity yet and surely the most exciting incitement in music today.

The Kaotoxin Records released stomp consists of nine tracks romping down dark avenues of psyche igniting drama and heavy, almost vaudeville like creative emprises. It dives into ravenous shadows, through blood strewn scenery, and across the darkest corners of mind and soul, leaving smiles and bruises as a token of its salacious esteem. Like an anarchic tempest of sound grown from the creative sap of Faith No more, Pryapisme, Polkadot Cadaver, and Mr Bungle, the perfectly formed and fluidly sculpted Deadly Scenes is a tapestry of intrigue and unpredictability casting unbridled pleasure. It carries a lyrical derangement and musical maelstrom across every one of its truly individual offerings, each sublimely and voraciously igniting every cell of those drawn into its inventive hex.

The album starts it’s ridiculously compelling spell with the ‘gospel’ of Hellalujah, certainly it starts that way with a richly resounding choir announcing “Lord Jesus!” It is a great wrong-footing coaxing, even for 6:33, which is soon opening up its invention through a building crescendo of flavours which unite in a sturdy footed stride. It is a bedlamic revelry of sound with a show tune essence to its invention, but as is the norm for the band a mere moment in the travel of a song. Bursting into a ruggedly flirtatious and body swerving blaze of swing and melodic rioting, the song is afire with hooks and metallic lures, all courted by the drama of the keys and the show-pop tenacity of voices and similarly inflamed sound.

Ego fandango comes in next, soaring keys and preacher bred samples the bed for the subsequent muscular and antagonistic stroll of the song. In many ways a Mike Patton essence is never 760137674726_TOX043_6-33_Artwork_480x480far from the band’s music, here helping flavour the rampant vocal and inventive swagger flirting with an Oingo Boingo like vivacity and enterprise. Female vocals, as in the first song, provide a magnetic companion to the ever striking and gripping delivery of Rorschach whilst spices of Queen and Five Star Prison Cell bring further strains of sonic colour to the ever evolving terrain of the brilliant encounter.

A tribal and shamanic rhythmic canvas provides the landscape for the following brilliance of The walking fed, its hypnotic bait a constant persuasion as a low key Yello like electro and vocal beckoning lures ears into a sinister weave of progressive metal and funk infused exploration. The dark bass conjuring of S.A.D. works masterfully with the beats to cage the fiery endeavour within their walls but leaves his strongest most potent tempting for the closing stretch of the song where he unveils an addictive steely web as medicine man chants dance with the keys.

The furious intensity of I’m a nerd escapes another choral welcome straight after, its hellacious rage of metal an imposing roar before everything moves into a country kissed pop ramble with 12 Stone Toddler like pop ingenuity and Kontrust spiced mischief. To be honest as with every song, words can only give a hint of the depth and invention of the superbly blended flavours and ideas escaping the heart of the sonic incitement, and even listening in person, further twists only reveal their lures over numerous plays.

Through the theatrical noir of Modus operandi and the psychotic stalking of Black widow, 6:33 continue to paint new provocative pictures of musical drama and virulence, the first a kaleidoscope of again Faith No More ferocity with the worldly rock essences of Les Negresses Vertes, but as expected honed into something mouth-watering and unique to the band. Its successor is a furnace of creative and rhythmic fury sculpted into a virulent dance of sonic mayhem and deliciously cultured harmonic beauty; a Mr Bungle meets Toumaï seduction for want of a better clue. Their brilliance and exhaustive presence is followed by the gentle acoustic caress of Last bullet for a gold rattle, a country seeded night around a crackling campfire evolving into a melodic shuffle of Cajun/Latin sultriness.

The smouldering Lazy boy croons and bawls impressively over the senses next, it’s raging fury and warm lingering seductions a battlefield of gripping unpredictability. The song is as contagious and as vicious as any song you are likely to hear this year, but there will few which fuse the extremes as imperiously as this. Its sensational bellow brings the listener to the epic title track. Deadly scenes has a theatre all of its own as it narrates, soundtracks, and relishes a clutch of dark tales and spoiled souls. Atmospherically pungent and musically deranged, the track as the album blows ears and imagination away, leaving the passions exultant. Imagine every sound and musical spice you would wish in a soundtrack to your day and it will probably be in the enthralling and feet manipulating track.

     Deadly Scenes is another stunning triumph from 6:33. With every release we ask how they will top their new pinnacle but they do as evidenced by this front runner for most exhilarating if not important releases in 2015.

6:33 Deadly Scenes is available via Kaotoxin Records from 12th January as a limited edition (1,000 copies) DigiSleeve, bundled with a free 26-track label sampler, a special cassette version limited to 100 copies @ http://www.kaotoxin.com/product-category/kaotoxin-releases/ and digitally @ http://listen.kaotoxin.com/album/deadly-scenes

http://www.633theband.com/

https://www.facebook.com/6h33official

RingMaster 12/01/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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ssSHEENSss – Strapping Stallions

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It might be hard to be convinced by the band name but there is no such issue with the new album from Finnish heavy rockers ssSHEENSss. The band’s second full-length, Strapping Stallions is a compelling beast of a proposition, riffs and rhythms as cantankerous as they are aggressive yet there is an eclectic devilry across the release which aligns itself to a gripping inventive craft, it all resulting in an album which is resourcefully unpredictable, mischievous, and most of all great fun.

Formed in 2011, the Hamina sextet set to work on their self-titled but album at the tail end of 2012 with producer Billy Anderson (Eyehategod, Mr. Bungle, Melvins, Neurosis), before unleashing it on the world to eager reception in the February of last year on guitarist Harri Pikka’s own label Stabbing Records. It was an attention grabbing stomp and sound but one which between albums has evolved into an even more muscular and ferocious tempest of stoner bred sinew sculpted rock ‘n’ roll. Early this year the line-up of vocalist Mikko Kiri, bassist Edu Lethal, drummer Juho Harjula, and the triple strike of guitarists made up of Pikka, Porkka and Muhli, hit the studio with a new horde of songs. Mixed by Tomas Skogsberg (The Hellacopters, Dismember) and mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, Corrosion of Conformity, Beastmilk), what emerged was the riveting and virulently contagious Strapping Stallions.

The accompanying press release announces that the album and its sound is something fans of Turbonegro, The Hellacopters, and ZZ Top will want to devour, something easy to agree with though that is only one shade of the diverse flavouring of the encounter. Opening track Adios, Fucker! for example pungently reminds of Troublegum era Therapy?, and as the nine tracks come and flirt with ears and imagination plenty other references come to mind, though they cannot defuse the potency of originality also spewing from ssSHEENSss. The opener is an instant wall of thumping rhythms and predacious riffs, all sides of the song converging on ears with an irritable tenacity. Employing essences of punk and metal to its keen and voracious, the stormy treat as mentioned easily reminds of the aforementioned Northern Ireland trio but also with its melodic sultry swagger hints at the likes of Mondo Generator. It is a riveting and thrilling start to the release, honest rock ‘n’ roll with little need to add over the top flourishes but allowing guitars and rhythms to craft a compelling web of highly infectious baiting.

The excellent opening is not matched by a cover of ZZ Top track Concrete And Steel, though to be fair ssSHEENSss twist it into an individual incitement of their own with resourceful imagination. It is a more than decent encounter but ssSHEENSss_strappingstallions_800x800px_weblacks the spark and in the face potency of its predecessor, something the next up You And Your Daughters is more capable of. Bluesy grooves entwine ears straight away as beats jab powerfully across their fiery coaxing. With vocals and riffs joining the swift temptation on feet and emotions, it is a rigorously inviting opening accentuated by sonic flames searing the magnetic spine of the song. There is also a seventies hard rock breath to the caustic sound fuelling the proposition, a lure which easily secures full attention and appetite but it is the mid-way twist into a bordering on bedlamic post punk/garage rock venture reminding of The Three Johns, where a great track becomes an outstanding one.

The equally stunning Voice Distortion Call with its heady and weighty intimidation of air and power sparks another lustful wave of hunger for the release, its Queens Of The Stone Age like devilry a sonic toxicity impossible to resist. With grooves and a sonic colouring you can almost physically taste such its spicy twang, the song is a gripping slab of stoner bred ferocity; a track as volatile as it is creatively composed. Another lofty highlight of the release, it is followed by the more classic metal toned Wolf Street Blues where that earlier Turbonegro comparison comes in handy. It is an easy going and undemanding proposition but keenly contagious and enjoyable providing another flavoursome turn in the diversity of Strapping Stallions.

Shadow Animals with its anthemic rhythmic thumping and corrosive riffery sets the fires in the passions burning bright again, its virulent hooks and Kiri’s vocal prowess irresistible amongst nothing but inescapable enticements. Imagine Mastodon meets again QOTSA and you get a sense of the adventurous climate and canvas of the song explored and set ablaze by the band. Its successor Let’s Explode does not quite match its triumph but still provides a lively smoulder of stalking riffs and classic rock soaked sonic endeavour to eagerly embrace. With at times a southern lilt to chords and heated harmonies from vocals, it is an enthralling offering, though it and its predecessor come nowhere close to the brilliance of the next track.

It is rare to call a cover the best track in a seriously impressive release but the band’s version of Love Will Tear Us Apart is sensational. Easily the best version of the track since Joy Division’s own unleashing, the band turns it into a new depressive seduction giving riffs a more carnivorous growl and beats antagonistic agility which lies perfectly with the pulsating throat of the bass and the melodic toxins which seep from every chord and twist of guitar. Even the vocals make a dramatic statement, Kiri managing to hold onto the cold emotion of Ian Curtis’ unique delivery whilst adding further expressive twists. It is pure dark majesty leaving Saigon the unenviable task of following and closing up the album, which it does successfully with its own anthemic rhythmic lures and melodic rabidity creating a song which whispers Eagles of Death Metal and Kyuss meets Melvins.

It is a great end to an exciting release which in some ways might even have missed a trick or two to become a modern classic. Nevertheless Strapping Stallions is another firm treat for the year and ssSHEENSss a band with a dodgy name and a natural ability to create exceptional rock ‘n’ roll.

Strapping Stallions is available via Soulseller Records on 3rd October

www.sssheensss.com

RingMaster 03/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Halfling’s Leaf – Westover

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After the irresistible bait put down by their excellent previous EPs, UK band Halfling’s Leaf has returned with not only a confirmation of their creative bedlam but a declaration of its new maturity and expansive schizophrenic ingenuity. The Stockport quartet has honed their distinctive and diversely imaginative sonic lunacy into a more concentrated yet no less boldly inventive proposition whilst turning up the aggressive rapaciousness which flirted with their earlier releases. The evidence is open and loud within Westover, the band’s new compelling and deliciously magnetic EP. Over six tracks, Halfling’s Leaf romp and stomp with propositions as ever impossible to pin down or label but fuelled with an even stronger inventive tenacity which sweeps greedily through their wide web of progressive avant garde punk ‘n’ funk devilry.

Formed in 2011, the foursome of vocalist Matt Franklin, guitarist/vocalist Mayo, bassist/vocalist Chid Seisay, and drummer/vocalist Andy Preece, soon grabbed attention with the Ain’t No Candy EP and gripped it tighter through the following High Times. Both EPs set the band apart from the rest, with especially the second release a potent lure to the media and radio shows like our own podcasts. The Daniel Buxton/ Halfling’s Leaf produced Westover is a whole new proposition though, a release which takes the seeds of the past and blossoms them into a startling and riotously captivating maelstrom of adventure and enterprise to surely push the band into a greater spotlight with that slice of fortune all bands need and here definitely deserves. Six more songs to fuel the imagination and incite the passions, Westover is a blistering warped dance to give insanity another shot of adrenaline.

Opener Sket launches itself at ears in a cacophony of bedlamic sound and vocal mayhem, instantly awakening senses and attention before a3462398769_2settling into a muscular stride with roving rhythms and sturdy riffs. That premise is immediately twisted with a sultry funk swagger within the forceful beats whilst vocals are equally steamy and fiery to match the metal and hard rock essences teasing the mix. The track continues to swerve and writhe with unpredictable endeavour before discovering a chorus which is pure toxic virulence. Essences of Mr Bungle and Red Hot Chili Peppers spice up the indefinable temptation but only to ensure thoughts are further away from finding a valid description to the sound and triumphant moment. A jazz bred psyche kissed diversion ignites the imagination next, before the bass restores some kind of order with its throaty composure, yet it is just the spark for even more delicious bewitchment as the band transforms into a mix of Oingo Boingo and the Cardiacs for a simply bewildering and seductive devilry. The track is a brilliant start but just the beginning of something quite special.

The following Faces immediately has its devil sculpted hips twisting like a dervish; the first maniacally flirtatious moments courted by jagged riffs and vocal stabs within agitated beats. The song is soon slipping into something more comfortable, a noir lit smouldering glide of melodic shimmering and harmonic crooning which envelops and seduces the senses naughtily whilst in its background rhythms and insanity collude in a caustic tango of predacious tenacity. Like a bastard son of Melvins and The Fat Dukes Of Fuck, the moment seizes feet and passions like a maniacal puppeteer, leading body and heart into another raucous exploit to scare the bland and ignite the deranged.

Smiler reunites thoughts with hints of Rage Against The Machine, which marked the last release, and also a bluesy heat which sears the senses with an absorbing stoner-esque flame within a cage of rhythmic intrigue. The track is more straight forward than its predecessors, but still hold a thick air of unpredictable mischief and contagious tempting which again has feet and thoughts dancing to its tune. It shows yet another side and quality to the band, a sinew honed might which is a challenge for any heavy rock band but equipped with a psyche spawned invention to wrong foot and spark true originality.

An unhinged relish soaks the next up Stop the Clock, the track a busy frenetic web of At The Drive In like abrasion and Fall Of Troy sounding squalling charm but filtered into an incendiary furnace of Halfling’s Leaf uniqueness and rhythmic examination. The bass nags and snarls away across the smouldering fire of sound relentlessly to light up another lustful reaction but it is the loco lure of the guitar and vocals which leaves the spiciest irresistible suasion before the glorious aural stew makes way for the similarly feverish Fair Play. The band is back in full warped funk mode here but of course with flames of melodic voraciousness and disorientated rhythms shooting from the punk infested core. Again it is hard to avoid sending hints of RATM to thoughts but also impossible to disguise the unique experimental hysteria which skilfully entwines and excitingly perverts things with unhinged majesty.

The release is completed by the exotically delirious Party Piece, a squirming orgy of sonic salaciousness and rhythmic taunting ridden by uncontrollable invention and a vocal bustle. It is one final chaotic rampage which shows more scenic detours and alluring landscapes than a mystery tour. A riveting joy to end another wonderfully unsettling and mouthwatering masterpiece from Halfling’s Leaf, it confirms why Westover belongs to the devil as well as providing the frightening realisation that as staggering as it is this band can only get better meaning our souls are certainly lost to their alchemy.

Westover is available now @ http://halflingsleaf.bandcamp.com/album/westover

https://www.facebook.com/halflingsleaf

10/10

RingMaster 25/06/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Destrage – Are You Kidding Me? No.

 

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     Destrage is a force which confronts and seduces the imagination with such an exhaustive vivacity of sound and adventure that it becomes a proposition which has you simultaneously confused, bewildered, and thrillingly basking in a maelstrom of sonic alchemy. Hailing from Italy, the band has forged an impressive and unforgettable once bitten presence which is ascending into more fevered attention release by release, but it is the release of new album Are You Kidding Me? No. which feels like the trigger into worldwide recognition and ardour with its Metal Blade Records release. With more flavours, styles, and imagination than a carnival in Rio, the release turns a band which was still waiting to explode around the globe into an exhilarating infection of the psyche and passions with that target in its sights. With words like unpredictable and intriguing the weakest descriptions of the inventive anarchy teasing and ravishing the senses, Destrage is a ten-legged groove machine with just as many schizophrenic characters posing as songs within its latest temptation.

     Formed in 2005, the Milan quintet has been on a charge of persuading and recruiting hearts at home and further afield since their first days, the current line-up in place since 2007 especially stoking those the fires. From their first demo Self Id Generator, Destrage has continued to evolve into a aurally spectacular provocation, the albums Urban Being of 2009 and The King Is Fat’n’Old the following year potent bait greedily devoured by more and more willing souls, though you suspect it will be nothing compared to the awakening sparked by Are You Kidding Me? No. Live too the band has left wasted bodies and hungry bodies in their wake, the undertaking of tours across Europe, Japan, and numerous festivals and shows where they have shared spaces with the likes of Every Time I Die, Parkway Drive, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Parkway Drive, Hatebreed, Unearth, Municipal Waste, Sick Of It All, Freak Kitchen, Monuments, Jeff Loomis, Penny Wise, After the Burial, Puddle of Mudd, August Burns Red, Enter Shikari, Caliban, Lordi, Moonspell and many more, increasing their stock. The new album though feels and sounds like their time to lead the pack has now come and it is not a moment too soon.

     You may be wondering what the band sound like, which we will endeavour to reveal song by song, but suffice to say it is Coverwonderfully something quite impossible to label. Opener Destroy Create Transform Sublimate tells you all you need to know about Destrage and whether to unreservedly embrace or stand scratching your head over their voracious experimentation and invention. The track opens with a spiral of sonic enterprise courted by aggressive riffs and combative rhythms, the mix alluring and intimidating in equal measure. It is not long before the song is throwing off any restraint to stomp with entwining essences of groove and funk veining a still voracious assault of technical and carnivorous metal. The impressive vocals of Paolo Colavolpe are just as eager to tempt and savage as the music with a delivery as wide as the range of sounds around him. The song aggressively dances like a fusion of Jane’s Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers, American Head Charge, and French band Mucho Tapioca, but even with its gait it switches and shuffles its suasion without notice or care.

   With a climactic finale which simply thrills and enthrals, dub and techno added to the spice cupboard of the song, the towering opener is swiftly matched in quality and psyche twisting grandeur by Purania. From a charged entrance of rapacious riffing and similarly hungry rhythms, the song settles into a melodic bordering mellow stroll which lasts just the length of the impatience the band has to light the touch paper to another maze of eclectic sonic fascination. Imagine a hybrid of Mr. Bungle, Dillinger Escape Plan, 6:33, and System Of A Down and you get a glimpse of the beauty and schizophrenic glory of the song, a triumph within which the guitars of Matteo Di Gioia and Ralph Salati craft a narrative and web which bewitches and challenges, their hypnotic mix of creative frenzy and skilful acidic elegance spellbinding within the predatory frame built by bassist Gabriel Pignata and drummer Federico Paulovich.

    My Green Neighbour rifles ears next, its first breath a frantic tsunami of beats and riffs courting a bedlamic mind-set. Forcing its agitated psyche and attack into a smoother flowing blaze of heavy and melodic metal, the song takes little effort in replicating the temptation of its predecessors, merging varied flames of sound and persistently captivating detours into a brawling riot of invention and insatiable metal manipulation. The stunning tempest then has to step aside for the more primal bordering bestial presence of Hosts, Rifles & Coke, its heavy throated savagery magnetic and even more tantalising when it shares time with a contagion of melodic prowess and mouth-wateringly catchy choruses, all seared by a scotching solo to top things off.

    Both the discordant and masterful mayhem of G.O.D. and the smoother voiced mesmeric Where the Things Have No Colour unveil new scenic aspects of the Destrage’s songwriting and imagination; the first a riot of Faith No More meets Ugly Kid Joe voraciousness aligned to a mind tripping sensibility and the second a progressively honed melodic venture through rapturous harmonies and exotic melodies within an irresistible toxin of craft and infectiousness. Arguably the track is the band at its most restrained artistically but certainly no less potent and imaginative as well as exciting.

     Waterpark Bachelorette has the band squalling and rioting over the senses, grooves and lethal rhythms a blistering endeavour matched by the predacious expulsions of vocals and sound which litter the rampant torrent of rock ‘n’ roll. Guitar doodling veins the song for only the most satisfying results whilst the addictive anthemic call of vocals and hooks make a lingering bait which seeps into the breather of melodic caresses and sonic entanglement. Its excellence is soon equalled by firstly the dramatically textured Before, After and All Around and the almost hysterical invention of – (Obedience), the track verging on maniacal with its avant-garde/melodic metal ants nest of busy yet ordered chaos.

    To prove that the song is still not the deranged imagination of the band exhausted the closing title track takes all honours on the Are You Kidding Me? No. Featuring a guest appearance by Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns’N’Roses), the track is an inventive meshuga but one which knows exactly what it is doing. Fusing experimentation, jazz, funk, and pure dementia into its unrelenting crazed waltz, the track is a triumph of insanity which disorientates and seduces with perfect touch and irreverence. Ending on a sensational emotive stomp of gypsy punk with swing desires and reminding very much of Kontrust and another French band Toumai, the track is a magnificent concluding revelry to a quite brilliant and monumental release.  Quite simply Destrage has provided your probable album of the year.

www.facebook.com/destrage

10/10

Ringmaster 06/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Toumaï – Sapiens Demens

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Creating what they term psyche-fonk metal, French band Toumaï is one of those encounters which send tingles down the spine as it teases and ignites the imagination. Unleashing a majestic psyche twisting bedlam in the tasty shape of debut album Sapiens Demens, the quintet from the south of France bewitch and tantalise with each psychotic note and every maniacal rhythm. Their album is a tempest of ideas and cracked invention presenting an adventure like no other and a pleasure which only turns lustful over time.

What little we can tell you about Toumaï is that the band formed in 2006 and consists of vocalist Antoine Flaven Hude, guitarist Julien Mahoudeau, bassist Christophe Applanat, drummer Clement Mahoudeau, and Célia  on keys and trumpet. That is about it, apart from the fact that their first album is irresistible and uncontrollably insatiable with imagination, mischief, and inventive hunger. The five-piece bring influences from the likes of Psykup, Infectious Groove, Primus, Gojira, Mr. Bungle, Primus Band, Rage Against The Machine, Tool, and Red Hot Chili Peppers into their fusion of funk, rock, and metal, but it is only one shade of the whole picture; the release a musical canvas which only the ears can truly represent not our simple words, though we will give it a go of course.

The opening track is Little Psycho, a title so apt for song and album. From an initial percussive tease the drums lay down a riveting frame around which the bass roams and leans on the senses with a menacing glee whilst the keys dance with energy and mischievousness over the ears as vocals explore their narrative with quality and equally enterprising rascality. The swagger of the song is a delicious bait alone within its ever changing gait and presence of the song whilst bursts of aggression make the perfect suitor to the elegant beauty which coats the keys and their melodic caresses. There is a similarity to fellow Frenchmen Mucho Tapioca at times as the song climbs and soars through its persistently shifting glory but also of System Of A Down in its latter moments and Faith No More across its stirring flanks.

The impressive start is immediately left in the wake of next up Madness in Mind, the best track on the album with ease. Vocal croons wrap the ears right away as the guitar and keys stroke attention to its fullest height, before the song settles into a ska kissed, reggae bred stroll within metallic walls which get their turn to intimidatingly press upon and please the senses. With its funk hips swaying leading to the raucous chorus, the track is like King Prawn meets Korn though when it slips into a beauteous wash of ever engaging keys and vocal harmonies punctuated by another striking bass line and rhythmic probing, the band takes the listener down a more alternative rock avenue. This is only halfway in though and the track only accelerates to greater potency and persuasion once it lifts its knees to romp into an infection soaked waltz of enterprise fusing the loco folk/pop of Mano Negra with the contagious unhinged temptation of Kontrust before thrusting it all through a Skindred bred causticity. It is crazy and completely enthralling, not forgetting simply sensational.

The following Petit Punk en Ut#m is no slouch in tripping the switch to the strongest satisfaction either, its more noise seeded rock and disorientating psyche funk tempting another feast of unpredictability and hunger breeding invention. Scavenging the senses for the weakest spot, the song flares over the opportunity with punk belligerence and metal sculpted antagonism as it works towards its climax, not before having seduced with dazzles of psychotic indie melody seeded teasing. Another highlight, the song is backed in strength by the less crazed Anachron, a track which admittedly does not quite reach those earlier set heights but still magnetises attention and appetite with its funk stepping vibrancy and contagious melodic smile.

Both Bankster and Wiki Puppies keep the listener on their toes physically and mentally, the first and extensive expanse of craft and imagination which lays down a pulsating quickstep of reggae spawned pop. This is then wrung through voracious cantankerous crescendos at certain moments which burst from the song’s wonderfully exhausting enticement which builds towards a dramatically powerful and aurally traumatic brilliant closing declaration. Its successor pounces and leaps over the imagination as if its notes and ideas are crossing hot coals. It is a tempestuous mix of jazz, rock, psyche, and avant-garde devilry placed in a maelstrom which seamlessly forges an addiction spawning triumph from it all, rhythmically, melodically, and vocally.

The two parts of the title track almost come as a shock, the first especially subdued and restrained in its cinematic atmosphere and noir clad shadows and spoken vocals in comparison to the rest of the album, though the second part is soon climbing up the walls with scorching grooves and twisting melodic flames igniting the air around the again excellent vocal presentation. A relatively, and we say that with tongue slightly in cheek, straight forward heavy rock infused slice of metal with those continually entrancing keys of Celia enticing the emotions, the track is a deeply pleasing venture setting up the appetite for the closing mastery of  Prey of Birds.

The final song enjoyably plagues the ears with a kaleidoscope of sounds and challenging invention shuffled to an inch of its cohesive life, but as on all tracks it casts a proposition which is fully coherent and wholly. Sapiens Demens is a thrilling testament to endeavour and outside the box thinking but crafted with a knowledge nestling within Toumaï of how far to go and where to link everything for an innovative and breath-taking whirlpool of sound. Another to add to the must have list.

http://www.toumai-music.net/

10/10

RingMaster 07/01/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Follow the rabbit into the weird: an interview with Mr. Strange

Mr. Strange

Fans of UK musical mutants The Shanklin Freak Show have already been touched, inspired, and seduced by the creativity and psyche teasing craft of the band’s former frontman Mr. Strange whilst his solo work has equally gripped the imagination of a great many. Now though the songwriter/producer/vocalist/musician has taken it all to a new level with the release of this exceptional new album The Wonderful World Of Weird. A release walking the realms of insanity and artistic rapaciousness, it is a diverse and riveting exploration of sounds, invention, and dice into the weird persona that is Mr. Strange. Greedily wanting to find out more we had the joy and adventure to talk to the man himself with the adding pleasure of his artistic cohort Stench on top also sharing thoughts and time with us. Investigating The Wonderful World Of Weird, we talked origins, The Shanklin Freak Show, Marilyn Manson, the bright lights and much more…

Greetings Mr. Strange and thank you for taking time out to let us delve into your world of weird.

Mr. Strange: Greetings! Thank you, sir, I’m glad to be here. Smells funny though!

You are well known amongst fans for your founding and leading of The Shanklin Freak Show (TSFS) until recently but maybe less know about your solo exploits before and running alongside the band; could you give some background to those?

Mr. Strange: Before I started The Shanklin Freak Show in March 2003, I began learning my craft as a programmer / producer way back in 1998. I bought a basic music creation game for the original PlayStation simply called ‘Music’ and became completely obsessed with it! As laughable as it sounds, it was actually quite a competent music tool, and a great introduction to music programming. Before I made the upgrade to professional (real) music software, I made a whole album using just this game and my PlayStation. This album was completed in February 2003, although I did add some vocals and guitars to the final version of the album using my current studio set-up. The final version of the album was eventually released in late 2011 as Sounds From The Asylum, which is an apt title methinks! Anyway, back to 2003. As soon as Sounds From The Asylum was finished I went full-throttle into The Shanklin Freak Show project, greatly helped by the fact I could finally record guitars and vocals with my swanky new production software – which I could not do before 2003. The Shanklin Freak Show project pretty much had my full attention until late 2011. The only exceptions to this were my collaborations with Global Citizen acting as co-producer on two albums – those being Master Stroke and Nil By Mouth – as well as the Mr. Strange album The Fall which I made in late 2007.. But for the most part, my solo exploits only resumed once I stepped down from the forefront of The Shanklin Freak Show in November 2011. Now my Mr. Strange projects are my primary focus… and my cats.

From all the music and projects you have been involved with it is clear to see that your sounds and tastes are rather eclectic, what are some of the major inspirations which have spiced your own ideas over the years?

Mr. Strange: Well, being a rather flamboyant chap, nearly all of my musical influences fall in to the “theatrical” category. Bands and artists who present themselves in a very theatrical way tend to make more outlandish music, and that’s definitely what floats my boat, as it were! I’ll try to keep it snappy, so here’s a shortlist of some of my most influential artists: Danny Elfman, David Bowie, Mushroomhead, Dr. Steel, The Sisters Of Mercy,  Alice Cooper, Mortiis (only the ‘Smell Of Rain’ album), Krizz Kaliko, The Duke Of Stratosphere, Twiztid, Marilyn Manson, The Prodigy, ICP, Mr. Bungle (or almost anything from the mind of Mike Patton), Gary Numan, Tech N9ne, White Zombie / Rob Zombie, and Babylon Zoo. That last one’s not a joke by the way! Stop laughing.

Tell us about creating TSFS and its own unique and dark world?TSFS with Mr. Strange

Mr. Strange: I started The Shanklin Freak Show in early 2003, the first ever Freak Show song was written and recorded in March I believe, a little random fact for those who may be interested. The whole concept was meant as a home, a form of escapism, for those who felt rejected by the world. Basically the kind of outlandish, Tim Burton-esque world I wanted to escape to myself at that time. My failure at finding a place to belong in the world led me to try and make my own, both for myself and others who felt the same. The basic concept is articulated best in the song ‘Twisted Family,’ check it out if you want to get your noggin around what the whole Freak Show thang is about. Musically, it was born out of my love of some of the earlier Insane Clown Posse records and my disappointment with (the then newly released) Marilyn Manson album The Golden Age Of Grotesque – I was expecting a deeply engrossing, dark, twisted, circus-style cabaret show of an album, my dream record, but what arrived was an album of fairly standard industrial pop songs. I imagined it to sound far more intriguing and I found the idea behind the record a lot better than the end product, so I went about trying to create the album I imagined. That’s it really. It seemed like a good idea at the time…

Before we concentrate on your new album, you are still involved with TSFS but just not as the vocalist now? Why the decision to step down from that role?

Mr. Strange: Indeed, I’m still involved with the band, but just on the side-lines at the moment. I have to admit that my input has been very minimal since my departure, although that was not a conscious decision, that’s just how it’s played out up until this point. I may play a more active role in the band next year, songwriting and maybe doing the odd live shows here and there, but that’s all dependant on working it around what I’ll be doing with my own projects. There were many different factors contributing to me stepping down as the vocalist and retreating from the forefront of the Shanklin Freak Show, although the main factor was simply that I find performing live extremely nerve-wracking and didn’t want to do it anymore, at least not for a few years. I suppose the other main factor was that I was feeling burnt out with the project and my heart wasn’t really in it, at least not enough to knuckle down, overcome my nerves and keep playing live shows. I started the Freak Show in 2003, so I spent a full 8 years solely focused on that one project and to be honest, I think I just wanted to try new things, things that might not have worked within the context of The Shanklin Freak Show, if that makes sense?

You have just released the brilliant album The Wonderful World Of Weird, our favourite and one of the best if not THE best album this year, how long has it been in the making?

Mr. Strange: Firstly, thank you very much! Secondly, too damn long! I started the album in October 2011 and finished it in October 2013. The reason for this overly long development process was due to uncertainty as to where I wanted to go after the Shanklin Freak Show. I had loads of ideas, but for my first release after TSFS I wanted to make a record that would be fresh and also slightly familiar, that’s a very specific sound to try and go for, and one that was tricky to find balance for. I’d write a few songs, then over analyse them and come to the conclusion that I wasn’t heading in the right direction, so they’d gather dust for a few months while I procrastinate, then I’d become enthused with the Wonderful World of Weird project again and get a couple of more songs done, then doubt myself again. This process happened a few times, probably half of the two year development cycle was either spent doing nothing or writing material separate from the WWoW project! I’m currently working on developing and finishing those other ideas for my next record, needless to say it already sounds incredibly different to the Wonderful World of Weird and is even more of a departure from The Shanklin Freak Show sound.

StenchYou co-wrote many of the tracks and recorded it with TSFS’s guitarist Stench (Gary Mason to his mum); how easy was it to fit this in as I know the band is recording their own album too; are you to blame for the delay in the finishing of their album??? 😉

Mr. Strange: Having Stench work on the album with me has had no bearing on the speed of The Shanklin Freak Show’s musical output, don’t blame me! Haha.

STENCH:  I don’t think Mr Strange is to blame in the slightest. The delay has been down to a few factors. The Last Show mixing process has been troublesome and we were never completely happy with it and didn’t want to release something that would make us cringe, knowing that we could’ve done better. Obviously, we had the addition of Kronik on Bass, rehearsals, gigs, festivals and the continual cycle of writing and recording. Plus, we’ve had the steep learning curve of being responsible for our own production. We have lots of songs that we’re working on and which are at various states of creation/completion. Plus, very recently, Mr Foul became a Daddy again. All in all, I think we’ve done pretty well, considering.

Mr. Strange: Thanks for backing me up there, Master Stench! I’ll slip you a fiver later.

How did the song writing work for the album and at what point did Stench get to add his explorations to your ideas?

Mr. Strange: We began working together full-time in late 2012 (we’d done bits and bobs together for the album before then, but it was an intermittent thing) almost exactly a year after I began work on the record. At that time I probably had roughly half the album that you can hear today, albeit in a very rough state and with very little guitar work on it. I think ‘White Rabbit’ is the only song that I play all of the guitars on, the rest of the album is pure Stench! With regards to songwriting, it kind of varies as to the approach we took. A lot of the songs were already half written, so Stench worked his magic over what was already there, but a few songs were written in a much more free-form manner. The songs Psycho Surfing A Go-Go‘ and Metropolis 2984 were the result of me and Stench just jamming and coming up with crazy stuff, which I’d never done before, so that was a great experience! Sadly a lot of our random jam songs didn’t make the cut for the album, but they’ll appear eventually. A lot of the tracks we wrote were simply too damn off the wall for the Wonderful World of Weird!

How much did Stench evolve and twist your ideas into new sparks within songs or did you go all dictator on him in this area? 😉 (We at The RR know he likes to be dominated…)

Mr. Strange: While there was indeed a fair bit of dictating going on, Stench’s guitar wizardry certainly evolved a lot of songs in many ways. Even songs which were mostly finished by my lonesome have changed in tone and texture considerably since Stench shot his load over them! Songs which may have been dead ends from my point of view (as in not worth finishing) were saved by Stench taking the tune in a new direction with his magical, distorted, electrically-powered stringed instrument. The addition of guitar solos to a few songs has also altered the structure of some of the arrangements, giving the whole album a more free-flowing and natural feel, a definite departure to the more rigid electro-industrial pounding of some of my earlier songs with TSFS.

The guitar work provides a bait of hooks and grooves across the release which seems to breed from the other exotic or should that be erotic melodies and lures at large; did these come after the heart of the songs were exposed or in their initial breeding?

Mr. Strange: Wow, that’s one very eloquently worded question! I want some of what you’re smoking, sir! Haha. Methinks I’ll pass this one over to Stench.

STENCH:  I have to say, Mr Strange is always a pleasure to work with and we seem to be able to communicate very easily musically. So, I suppose that both cases are true as regards to the creation of the tunes. Sometimes, Mr Strange will have an idea of what he wants beforehand and I’ll just add my guitar parts under his strict instruction. Thankfully, I no longer have to wear the gimp mask. Other times, we start completely from scratch. Either way, it’s always fun and inspiring.

The Wonderful World Of Weird is a roller coaster of styles and flavours including industrial, steampunk, surf rock, 555928_584429381594861_1695733989_npsychedelic and gothic rock and much more all merged into the narrative of the album. This is a true reflection of both your musical tastes and the way your creative imaginations works, or predominantly Mr S’s (Saul); the album truly a landscape of your ideas and musical psyche?

STENCH:  I think we both have very eclectic musical influences and appreciate each other’s tastes. This makes it much easier to work together and helps with communicating ideas. But, yes, the album is predominantly Saul’s genius and I add either the cherry on top or the fly in the ointment, whichever is required at the time.

It is fair Mr. Strange to say the album is very different from your earlier songs as on The Fall and those written across all your projects as collated in the Freakshow album, both of 2011. I will admit this was a little bit of a surprise considering your major input and dramatic style within TSFS, so has this been a natural progression or have you had to consciously veer away from anything sounding like the band?

Mr. Strange: Yes, it was definitely a conscious decision to try and move away from the sound of the Shanklin Freak Show. The more complex song arrangements, featuring less prominent/heavy guitars, changing the tone and pitch of my vocals somewhat, being more daring with mixing varying genres on one album, all of it was done with the sole intention of trying to not sound like a new Freak Show album. I’d done 8 years of the Freak Show; I wanted to see if I could create something a little different. With all that said, I also tried to not move too far away from the Freak Show sound as to completely alienate people who may be following me after hearing the Freak Show. You can hear echoes of TSFS on songs like ‘Fire’, ‘White Rabbit’ and on ‘Exile’.

As the album is lyrically and musically a journey through the mind of Mr. Strange did you have a definite step by step guide to the order of songs and their effect on the album in mind before everything was recorded etc.?

Mr. Strange: I did indeed! However, what I planned out and what ended up being the Wonderful World of Weird album are two very different things. The narrative you hear on the finished record was re-written to fit the finished songs only a few months before the album’s release. I originally planned something far grander and more complex, but it was sounding so overblown, silly and pretentious that the scope for the record was scaled back considerably. It’s far more personal now; I think that works in its favour.

We described the opening title track to The Wonderful World Of Weird as Dr. Jekyll meets ICP as early Marilyn Mansion helps Victor Frankenstein create aural life for them to toy with upon a set designed by Willy Wonka, a description which in varying ways applies to the whole album; how would you describe the album to newcomers?

Mr. Strange: Tim Burton and Danny Elfman taking an absinth-fuelled journey through a variety of pop and rock’s more outlandish genres.

I imagine this album might appeal to people who like quirky / alternative pop. I was inspired by lots of the 80’s goth bands and loads of steampunk artists while making this record, so perhaps folks with similar tastes would enjoy it, too.

Tell us about our favourite track out of a great many on the album, Psycho Surfing-A-Go-Go.

STENCH:  Now this song is an example of how suddenly things happen organically. I think this was the fastest tune that we’ve ever written together. The major bones came together in an evening and the riffs were written on an old 1960’s Burns bass. Suddenly, it began writing itself. It was great fun to play as it has a tongue in cheek feel to the guitar lines. Also, it was nice to get outside of the box and let rip on some retro sounds. Mr. Strange knew from the off what he wanted to do vocal-wise and before we knew it, job done.

Mr. Strange 4Can we get a brief glimpse of the man behind Mr. Strange, we get the impression he is a shy retiring type… a tea drinker 😉

Mr. Strange: Of course I like tea, and no, you can’t get a glimpse! Aha! Although your impression could be considered strangely accurate…

You both hail from The Isle Of Wight which seems like a small hotbed of talent right now, covering numerous styles?

STENCH:  Absolutely, the music scene here is great and vast. It would take up another couple of pages to name every great musician or band based here. Of course, we have our favourites and it would be rude not to give them a shout. *Deep breath* Pleasurade, Hentai Babies, When Prophecy Fails, Becoming The Leviathan, Born Ina Barn, Silencing The Voiceless, Puritan Slain, Kingz Of Vocals, Counsil Estate Supermodels, The Ohmz, Hollowdrone and Nately’s Whore to name but a few. So you have your Alt-Pop, Progressive Metal, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Grunge and Punk. But, as with any music scene, anywhere, it needs support.

You have not been tempted by the bright lights of the mainland for musical reasons?

Mr. Strange: Career wise? Yes, but many factors prevented that from happening. I haven’t thought about it for years. I’m happy where I am right now, so I have no plans to move closer to the action, there’s more than enough in my trousers to keep me entertained, although the career opportunities are limited.

What is next for Mr. Strange, you do not seem like an artist to sit back and take a rest.

Mr. Strange: Indeed, you know me too well, sir! Were we lovers at some point? I have two projects / albums planned for next year. The first album (which I’m writing at this very moment) is progressing extremely fast, possibly dropping in April 2014. I’d wager no one will see this one coming; it’s so completely different to anything I’ve done before. Once that album is out and people adjust to the new strangeness, I’ll begin work on the next album, the one that will usher in my return to live music and my inevitable conquest of planet Earth! I hope to have that second record ready by the end of 2014, possibly with live touring to follow in 2015. Don’t hold me to those dates though, I’m just speculating at this point. Both albums will have completely different musical styles and theatrical imagery to match, but I shall say no more.

Where can people treat themselves to all things Mr. Strange and especially The Wonderful World Of Weird?

Mr. Strange: I think it would be very spiritually rewarding for people to go to my website and gasp in ecstasy at pictures of my devilishly handsome face! Links to all of my music and whatnot are located there, but my sexy pictures are where it’s at.

www.mrstrangemedia.comMr. Strange 3

If folks are into the social media thang, I’m on most of the popular sites, too:

www.facebook.com/Official.Mr.Strange

www.youtube.com/user/MrStrangeMedia

www.twitter.com/MrStrangeMedia

Once more thank you and of course to Stench for leaving your bedlam to talk with us, any thoughts to leave us with?

Mr. Strange: Expect the unexpected!

…and lastly please give us five records which shaped Mr. Strange.

1. Marilyn Manson – Portrait Of An American Family

2. Dukes Of Stratosphere – Chips From The Chocolate Fireball

3. Insane Clown Posse – The Great Milenko

4. Dr. Steel – Read-Along Album

5. Danny Elfman – Nightmare Before Christmas OST

Read The Wonderful World Of Weird review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/mr-strange-the-wonderful-world-of-weird/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 23/12/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Deathcrush – Skool’s In

deathcrush pic

As instantly impacting as a right hook to the jaw, Skool’s In from Norwegian band Deathcrush easily shows what the buzz covering the band right now is all about and proves it is more than justified. A seamless collage of sounds and invention brought with a primal growl and uncompromising hunger, the 12” debut from the Oslo trio is a scintillating and passion gripping tour-de-force, and one you only feel is scratching the surface of the band’s depths and future.

Released on the back of their limited flexi disc release within a double poster magazine, Skool’s In is a four track vinyl temptress which is devilishly seductive and mercilessly addictive, and again that is only the tip of the sonically and rhythmically carnivorous bewitchment. Since forming the threesome of vocalist/guitarist Linn Nystadnes, bassist/vocalist Åse Røyset, and vocalist/drummer Vidar Evensen has garnered potent acclaim and fanbase through their live performances across Norway, Europe and beyond with their thick and magnetic noise rock originality. Recording a bundle of songs with Billy Anderson (Swans, Melvins, Mr. Bungle) and Jørgen Træen (Datarock, Annie, Sondre Lerche), the band is with Skool’s In starting off a much anticipated series of singles, this first a mighty scintillating beginning.

Opening track Lesson #3 for Gina Kikoine / You Now takes no time to unleash a bass snarl which preys on the ear whilst the drums stalk a1169124254_2with their own teasing design. Across it the vocals of Nystadnes and Åse Røyset either alone or together enchant with charm and menace whilst the guitar splits and sculpts the air with flesh singing sonic narrative. It is a powerful insidiously sirenesque persuasion which brews an intensity and smothering embrace which defies escape and breeds addiction whilst the electronic teases and taunts only excite the senses further into greater lustful submission. Like a mix of Melt Banana, Spinnerette, and 4 Non Blondes, but not, the track is a blistering almost disorientating sabre swipe of noise rock with acidic pop infectiousness and an exceptional start to the EP.

The immediate pinnacle is soon followed and matched by Lesson #4 for Wharton Tiers / Strauss, a track which explores even darker intensive shadows and the sonic creative destructive depths of the band and their craft. The first soundscape of the song is an apocalyptic like burning corrosive flight which takes a breather for the vocal almost childlike kisses to sooth and strap the passions in before making another fall through a synapse scraping imagination poking tempest. Nor as easily accessible as its predecessor but completely equal in impacting strength, aggressive persuasion, and unbridled excellence, the song leaves no doubt to the extensive intent and expanse of the band’s sound and ideas. It helps pile on the rabid anticipation for future singles and releases, something which is just as easily fed by the next up track.

     Lesson #13 for Nanker Phelge / Fire was the song which featured on the flexi-disc and within such immense company stands as potent and unique as before whilst increasing further the band’s reputation and stature. A track which from the start stalks and prowls the senses providing ammunition for heart and mind whilst feeding the senses and emotions with a slow romp of ridiculously contagious sound and imagination, the track just traps and enslaves with its ear bracing synapse eroding guitar and bass crawl within a rhythmic herding of the passions. There is a post punk charm and punk voracity to the song which reminds a little of the Au Pairs and The Raincoats whilst the noise slicing of the atmosphere is Pixies/ Valentiine like, yet again these are slight references  to something unique to Deathcrush.

The outstanding release is completed by the Fire remix of the third song by James Njie. It is a pop /dancefloor igniting electro stomp with a breath of J-Pop to its mesmeric and irresistible dance. Still managing to retain an element of the carnivorous side of Deathcrush the track is a crystalline treat which makes us almost reassess our thoughts on the point of remixes.

Released via Norway Rat Records, Skool’s In is just magnificent, a raptor of brilliance within a noise and mental examination, and the undeniable debut of a band which is going to coax and command our attentions and passions for horizons to come.

http://www.deathcrush.no

10/10

RingMaster 07/10/2013

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