The Lotus Interview

The Lotus is a rock band with its roots in Italy but is currently based in Manchester, UK. It is also a creative adventure which embraces an array of flavours and styles in “a visionary and characterful musical journey”. With a new album in the works, we threw a host of questions at the band to discover its beginnings, latest release, what fuels their creativity and more…

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

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

Hi everyone and thank you for interviewing The Lotus. The band started in 2004 when first Rox met Luca: we initially began playing some covers as many kids do but we immediately realised we wanted more and we immediately started working on some ideas and riffs.

That’s how it started really: in 2008 Kristal and Marco joined the band and that was the real start of a professional band as we decided to record and release our first album, which eventually came out in 2011.

Have you been or are involved in other bands? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now?

Apart from Luca, actually all of us are still playing with many other bands! Mostly metal and rock bands though and I think that always influenced our music in same way.

Rox is playing with Italian prog rockers InnerShine and UK progressive metal band Prospekt, and also with pop folk singer and songwriter named Sukh. Marco is the drummer of two of the most famous Italian metal and rock bands, which are Elvenking and Hell In The Club, and Kristal is the lead singer of melodic death metal band called Lost Resonance Found.

What inspired the band name?

The band’s name was chosen randomly by our first guitarist who was in love with R.E.M.’s song Lotus. We liked it and we realised then, that it was the perfect name for us. A few months later we also found out its meaning of purity and rebirth and we realised that was the name we really wanted.

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

As we said before, as soon as we got confident in playing together we immediately started to feel the need of composing our own songs and being rock stars! LOL

Regarding the sound, well, that’s a tricky one: we have never had an established sound or a path we wanted to follow, we just write songs we like and lyrics from experience and feelings we have during our own life.

If you listen to our songs you can really understand there’s something that binds everything which is not the genre.

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

We would say we’ve evolved as musicians and composers rather than our music’s evolved. We’re still writing what we want, without any boundary and we love what we’re doing: we’re just better in what and how we play and write!

Has the growth within the band in music, experiment etc. been an organic process or more the band deliberately setting out to try new things?

We always wanted to try new things so actually nothing’s changed since 2004 from this side: probably being mature musicians affected our way to play and compose music and you can probably hear that on our latest releases.

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

We grew up with completely different music backgrounds and this colourful music palette brought the unique sound we have today. We are big fans of Queen and Muse, as you might have already understood :), but also Pink Floyd, Metallica, System Of A Down, U2, Depeche Mode, or even some heavier stuff like Slipknot.

Is there a particular process to the songwriting within the band?

Normally Rox brings the main ideas and Luca some lyrics inspiration: back to our earlier days we used to mainly compose our songs in the rehearsal room but now, thanks to technology we often produce full demos on the computer.

We actually have to do this way also because Marco and Kristal are living in Italy and rehearsing would be definitely not very much affordable. 🙂

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

Lyrics are mostly inspired by our everyday experiences and translated into a more poetic and hermetic way.

We talk about love and death, and human life: as we do for our music, we don’t have any limit in our lyrics’ themes as well!

Could you give us some background to your latest release?

We’ve released our latest EP in June 2015 just before we moved to the UK. Its name is Awakening and is actually a mini concept album. It’s an ambient Prog Rock opera which will delve into your inner core.

We are currently producing our new album with Muse early producer Paul Reeve (Showbiz), and we have already released three new singles: Mars-X, Perfect Love and Five Days To Shine. They are very different from our past works, simpler song structures, more melodic but still very ‘creative’. Someone said: ‘If Muse and Deftones met in a pub and had a cheeky couple of Sambucca’s and hit the town and ended the night with a ride on a spaceship, that’s exactly what this song sounds like.’

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

Our latest song, Five Days To Shine, is very personal and we think the more you listen to it (or watch the video) the more you understand that. It basically talks about a man who waits for five days to know his fate with his girl. He thinks that’ll be alright but he knows the future isn’t bright.

We made the video representing this man as a kind of ‘creator’, who’s trying everything to restore what he’s lost but eventually he gives up. We filmed it in a stunning place in Manchester called Hulme Hyppodrome.

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

We used to go into the studio with rough demos and we’ve always struggled to work with limited time. That’s why now we tend to basically go to record with all the songs pretty much finished, so that we can concentrate on instruments’ sound and performances.

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

We’d define our live shows as heavy metal. Even though our music is mainly rock, The Lotus as a live act is more energetic, more aggressive. I think that’s one of our main strengths. We have played more than 120 shows in our career but we’re definitely looking for doubling it within the next few years!

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods?

We are coming from a different background which is in Italy, so we’ve definitely found a more fertile place to keep on growing our seeds.

However, these days it seems more and more difficult to have a solid fan base which follows you everywhere ‘physically’ and not only on social media.

If you’re not convinced on what you’re doing it’s better you choose another job!

Talking of social media, how has the internet 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?

We think internet and social media are both good and bad thing.

They really give anyone the opportunity to get out from the anonymity and be the star you always wanted to be, but the problem starts when music is not enough anymore. You really need to let everyone come into your life. Everyone must know who you are, what you are doing, when you are doing it. Even all the pretty small things you want to keep secret; just let them go and share them with everyone. We find this a bit scary but that’s what it is now, so you have to get used to it. And we are getting used to it!

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

2018 will bring a lot of new things: we will go back to the studio to finish recording the album between March and April. Then we are expecting to release the fourth single as soon as we have everything in its place and the album immediately after that. If you want to be updated on what we’re doing you can visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thelotusofficial  or our website www.the-lotus.com . Thank you!

Pete RingMaster 08/02/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

Slipping through the Plastic Barricades

Just recently we had the fun of exploring Mechanics of Life, the new album from London alt indie trio Plastic Barricades, finding it a ‘collection of melody spun songs which entice with craft and warmth’. Offered the chance to get to the core of album and band we had the pleasure of quizzing Dan Kert, the Plastic Barricades vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist and one of the band’s founders, exploring the heart of their writing, sound, and album amongst many things…

Hi Dan, can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?

I had several different line-ups under Plastic Barricades moniker over the good part of the last decade, the current line up with Daniele Borgato on bass and Frazer James Webster on drums is active for 4 years. We’ve met through mutual friends at the ICMP (Institute of Contemporary Music Performance) in North-West London and dived straight into gigging and recording.

Have you been or are involved in other bands before? If so has how has that impacted on what you are doing now?

We’ve all played in different bands before, still mainly rock music. All those experiences definitely find their way into our current sounds, helping us to explore new territories.

What inspired the band name?

We’ve once built a fort out of plastic cups in the studio, the rest is history….

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

[The] Desperate need to write, record, and perform music. You cannot really do it on your own, unless you are called Ed.

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

Pretty much…We are in a band because we always wanted to be in a band. But we’ve learned a lot of life lessons along the way and try to find fresh angles to approach certain things, like tour booking, recording or songwriting, for example.

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

This is very hard for us to judge. But if you go to our website (http://www.plasticbarricades.eu/ ) you can hear everything we’ve ever released over the last 10 years, there is a lot of diversity in there.

Would you say your sound organically grows and evolves or moves more because the band deliberately goes out to try new things?

I would say it’s both. We all tend to get bored very quickly, so we do like to experiment. At the same time we are growing as musicians and people, so that reflects in the music for sure.

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

Kurt Cobain and his sincerity definitely had a big impact on me personally and on PB as a band. But also the staggering emotional intent of The Shins, Death Cab for Cutie, Razorlight, Coldplay, Muse, Biffy Clyro and others.

How does the songwriting process work within the band?

There are two main approaches…record the jam, then edit the bits we like and rework them into a song. This is how several songs on Mechanics of Life LP were conceived. But most of the time it is a chord progression and a vocal melody with lyrics. The song has a title and the meaning well before it is finished musically.

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

The world around us has so many inspiring and thought-provoking stories, that all you have to do is just let them in, absorb and breathe them into songs. But some songs of the Mechanics of Life album have been inspired by the genius of Hemingway, Orwell, Huxley, Murakami and others.

Could you give us some background to your new album?

Mechanics of Life, released digitally worldwide on the 14th of September, is a culmination of about 3 years of work in our backyard Shed Studio. It is a collection of 11 stories that take the listeners through the world we live in today, gently poke them and ask them to step up their game, go out and make a difference. Like our dear Dani (bass guitar) once said – “Humans didn’t come with a manual, so we came up with one“.

How about a closer insight to the themes behind it and its songs?

The album starts with the song we usually end our gigs with called How Goldfish Grow. It is based on a simple fact that if you take a goldfish and you find a big tank for it – it will grow BIG! The environment affects the size of the goldfish, the same way as our environment affect our own growth. There is a funny animated music video for this song on our YouTube channel. Then we sing about artificial intelligence helping humans get their s**** together (Singularity-2045), being able to reinvent yourselves again and again (Our Favourite Delusions), caring about the environment and throwing all the mindless consumerism away (Be the Change), looking back and overthinking it instead of moving forward (Around the Sun), searching for meaning (Needles in Haystacks), shining a light to show others the way (Shine!), finding the one intended for you (Half of your Soul), Big pharma conspiracy (Medicine Man) and mental illness (Voices). The last song of the LP – Masterminds – kind of summarises the whole experience, reminding everyone that they are the ones responsible for the things happening around them – and they can take back control!

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

We usually have basic parts in place (guitars, bass, drums, vocals) but we do add textures and layers on the go, depending on what the actual song needs. It is interesting how different the same song can sound live vs. recorded. We try to work with the recording, giving the song everything it deserves. Sometimes it is pretty hard to figure those things out, so this arrangement process can take months.

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

We try to gig as much as we can, playing shows all around the country. I believe that any band needs to go through a lot of Level 1 gigs before they will be capable of playing bigger stages and appreciating the unique opportunities they are getting. It is like building a structurally solid house from the ground up – you can only start working on interior design when the rest is in place. Unlike so many other bands, each gig we tell stories, because we want our audience to think about certain things, then come home, go to sleep and wake up with this brilliant idea, maybe a purpose, maybe just a promise to oneself. Our gigs are less about drinking and jumping around and more about the inner dialogue.

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

I do believe that nothing worth doing in life is ever easy. Music needs to come from the heart. You also need people around you with big hearts and bright shining eyes. Then even if you are lost in the dark, they will illuminate the way. It is not easy at all – but it is still the best job in the world!

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something key to increasing success with those which fail to make it work are simply lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage or is it ultimately more of a curse?

Knowledge is key obviously. My friend was recently talking to me about SEO (Search engine optimization). For years I thought that is all about putting the right keywords to the right articles. It is so so so much more than that. Internet is a vice and a virtue, and it all depends on whether a band can accept that all that social media work is part of the deal. You can write brilliant songs and even record them nicely, but if you need to share them with the world – you have to work very hard for it.

A big thanks Dan for sharing your time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

It is a very special time in Plastic Barricades camp. Our Mechanics of Life album finally came out and we will be touring UK on and off till the end of October. We will be very happy to see you guys there! Meanwhile, here are all the links:

And here is how a goldfish can conquer the world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYpBYXMzwOg

Mechanics of Life album OUT on iTunes and Spotify on the 14th of September!

You can hear the album here: https://open.spotify.com/album/71tNyY0qX5fNgTsoXD0r3t

You can download our full press-kit with 320kbit mp3s, artwork, lyrics and HQ pictures at https://goo.gl/ogBdjm

Tour dates: http://www.plasticbarricades.eu/index.php/live

http://plasticbarricades.co.uk    https://www.instagram.com/plasticbarricades/

https://facebook.com/plasticbarricades    https://soundcloud.com/plasticbarricades

Check out our Plastic Barricades album review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2017/09/26/plastic-barricades-mechanics-of-life/

Pete RingMaster 28/09/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Plastic Barricades – Mechanics of Life

Plastic Barricades is an alternative indie rock band from the UK which has just released their new album Mechanics of Life. It is a collection of melody spun songs which entice with craft and warmth whilst strolling through a landscape of emotions embracing the beauty of romance, hope, melancholy and more.  Musically its venture is just as welcoming of varied flavours as country, rock, and indie bred essences unite in ear pleasing enterprise.

London based, Plastic Barricades consists of vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Dan Kert, bassist Daniele Borgato, and drummer Frazer Webster. Its beginnings though came in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia in 2007. Their well-received Tree of Ideas EP of 2012 was followed by Kert and original bassist, Jan Laan, relocating to the UK. A few additional members came and went before Laan left to be replaced by Italian Borgato in 2013. It was also a year which sadly saw the band’s Rome bred drummer Matteo Ippolito passed away bringing things to a standstill. In time a replacement was sought and found in Webster and the band pushed again to build on their already rising success. Numerous award nominations and successes have come with the increasing reputation of the outfit and a sound embracing the inspirations of artists such as Radiohead, Oasis, Coldplay, Muse, Keane, Razorlight, and Nirvana. Mechanics of Life is their next step in luring attention and a tempting easy to see those with an appetite for gentle yet emotionally stirring massages of melody will find very palatable.

How Goldfish Grow gets things rolling, its eager stroll and boisterous jangle instantly catchy and tempting. The song continues to tease before relaxing to cradle Kert’s vocals, though soon its lively heart jumps to its feet again with each following cycle becoming increasingly infectious. Melodies shimmer across the darker tones of the bass whilst Kert’s sonic flames add to the track’s controlled but open drama. It is a great start well backed by the slightly sturdier body of Singularity 2045 though it too is woven from warm melodies and electrified tendrils across spirited rhythms. As with its predecessor feet are a willing involvement just as ears are to the imaginative air of the song which at times has a XTC like essence.

The summery caress of Our Favourite Delusions is next, its warm simmer welcoming blues lined flames throughout; heat which matches the lyrical punches before Be the Change entices with its own radiant charm and social nurtured melancholy. It is a song which comes alive when energy and intensity erupts in voice and sound but certainly more than satisfies from its first reflective touch with the enterprise of Kert’s guitar a potent spice in it all.

As the individual melodic weaves of Around the Sun and Needles in Haystacks intrigue and award ears with their proposals, Mechanics of Life keeps unwavering attention in its hands, the pair if without quite matching the persuasive levels of those before only pleasing that focus. It is a success Shine! builds upon with its sultry climate and melodic glaze over a understated but firmly catchy gait and personality while Half of Your Soul straight after features the bewitching sigh of female vocals alongside Kert which only adds to its fascination; a lure with also just a hint of country warmth in its infectiousness.

The album finishes off with firstly the highly enjoyable and bubbly rock ‘n’ roll of Medicine Man, a boisterous canter of sound and creative drama which is followed by the similarly engaging and tempting Voices. Together both tracks establish the pinnacle of the release, the second taking favourite song honours before leaving Masterminds to close things up with its catchy folkish sortie through ears wrapped in blues kissed guitar and melody smiling keys.

There are times when there is a wish Plastic Barricades were a touch bolder in their imaginative adventures and put more of a bite into their arousing eruptions but there is no denying that Mechanics of Life more than delivers on enjoyment and enterprise.

Mechanics of Life is out now on iTunes and Spotify.

http://www.plasticbarricades.eu/    https://www.facebook.com/plasticbarricades/

Pete RingMaster 26/09/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Numb – Self Titled

September is proving this year’s most productive month for striking releases and to support the claim allow us to introduce the debut album from British outfit Numb. The self-titled introduction offers up eight slices of rousing multi-flavoured rock littered with imagination spearing hooks and ear thrilling grooves. The band is also no lightweight in casting fiery seductive melodies and a rhythmic incitement which has feet and hips as submissive as the senses to the combined temptation.

Formed in 2015, Numb was the rekindling of an already established long term musical collaboration between guitarist songwriter Darren Caven-Quantrill and multi-instrumentalist composer Barney Byron (The Calling, Audioeinstein) which quickly enlisted lyricist and vocalist Lee Rayner. With its line-up subsequently completed by drummer Damo Falkowski (Deadeye), the Northampton band took their time writing and honing the sound now lighting up their debut like a beacon.

The album instantly has ears seriously attentive with the initial groove of Common Love, the lure a riveting enticement soon supported by rhythmic tenacity and a wave of infectious riffs. Establishing a stirring surge of rock ‘’n roll, the track continues to build its body and alternative nurtured temptation. The vocals of Rayner similarly grab the appetite, his tone and words bouncing on the web of guitars and bass as a great blues spicing lines the grooving and urgency guides riffs and beats but with a control and invention which enhances the instinctive infectiousness of it all.

It is an outstanding start swiftly eclipsed by the following Love Of The Cartel (Part 2). Instantly a Latin melody hugs grooves as the track seduces with a great Breed 77 like air, indeed there is a feel of the band’s frontman, Paul Isola, to Rayner’s tone. Swinging with eager and muscular dexterity, the song is pure temptation grabbing body and spirit with swift success. Not for the last time in a Numb song there is a feel of rockabilly spiced rock ‘n’ roll at work within the tapestry of metal and heavy rock and that catchiness which again simply infests the psyche.

Everyman Deserves The Right To Choose His Own Path To Hell comes next, it too sharing a spicing of the aforementioned Gibraltar band within its more composed gait. Riffs jab as beats stab, melodic flames surrounding the potent vocals of Rayner as it heads to another contagion loaded chorus so easy to get wrapped up in. There is a great theatre to the song which is only enhanced by the Muse-esque venture of the guitar towards its tantalising finale, a spirit sparking climax perfectly setting up the appetite for the compelling enterprise of Time. The stringed temptation of the guitars is instant seduction and only accentuated by the rampaging thick tide of riffs and the tone gurning bass. The song relaxes into a stable energy as vocals enter the affair but eventually everything becomes turned on and hits top gear with mouth-watering imagination. The song is glorious, never settling down into any sense of predictability with each cycle a new and fresh adventure.

There is an industrial hue to certainly the opening bait of The Tears You Cry, its cosmopolitan suggestion aligned to thought teasing melody before it all evolves into a raptorial rock ‘n’ roll prowl led by Rayner’s expressive presence. The bolder invention of its predecessor is more subdued in the track but not absent and it does not stop it grabbing tightly ears and a by now greedy appetite for the release and increasing the pleasure. That extra strain of imagination is saved instead for successor Love Of The Cartel (Part 1). Why part 1 is after 2 we cannot say but the track is a journey of sound and emotion in its own extensive right. Caressing melodies court Rayner’s emotive voice, the bass a melancholic yet vibrant companion as the song reveals its creative and emotional drama. Like a growing battlefield within which sabre like hooks flash and fly as riffs and running grooves entwine and rhythms badger the senses, the track is sheer magnetism. In time volatility hits voice and heart, antagonism fuelling emotional outbursts before it is all pulled back into the surging infection of the thrilling encounter.

The release is concluded by the final pair of War and Burn. The first carries a steely antagonism in its riffs and rhythms, a defiant attitude which shapes the song’s physical and vocal character as well as its melodic reflection, while the second rumbles and grumbles with a Danzig like hue, twisting with irritability and turning with complimenting temptation. Both tracks leave greed for band and sound further intense and with us an already impatient anticipation for what comes next from Numb.

There are numerous times when as a reviewer you feel really blessed to have the opportunity to cover new music and there are other times when you feel truly honoured; this is one of the latter moments.

The Numb album is available now through Attic Records @ http://atticrecordsuk.bigcartel.com/product/numb

https://www.facebook.com/NUMB.co.uk/    https://twitter.com/Numbsters

Pete RingMaster 15/09/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Antigone Project – Stellar Machine

Last year French outfit Antigone Project not only took their sound to a more accomplished plateau with the From Its Room EP but hinted it was just the beginning of a whole new soundscape to their already easily engaging sound. It was a clue now realised by the band’s debut album, Stellar Machine a journey through spatial clouds of invention and diversity but as universes lead into new universes, equally feels like an adventure leading to many more bold journeys.

The creation of Frédéric Benmussa, a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer and no doubt much more, Antigone Project has grown from a solo project in 2002 to be one of France’s most engaging electronic rock/metal proposals. With the talented prowess of bassist Manu Ventre and drummer Fred Monaco alongside Benmussa, the band had its hands on attention with the release of a self-titled first EP in 2015. It was the debut clue to the expansive and expanding sound growing within the outfit, a suggestion taken further by From Its Room a year later and now truly unfurled within Stellar Machine.

Inspirations to the band’s sound and certainly new album range from Soundgarden to Deftones and Nine Inch Nails on to the likes of Depeche Mode, Jean Michelle Jarre, and Devin Townsend. That is enough to suggest the kaleidoscope of flavours making up the band’s album; they all involved with an even richer vein of Muse meets Radiohead like drama. Do not think you have a handle on Stellar Machine just yet though as ears will soon find a far thicker and greater carousel of the band’s own individual invention across its unpredictable body, one placing the listener into “the skin and shoes of a futuristic cosmonaut following the adventures of outer space travellers on a “stellar machine”.”

Climbing on board, ears are fastened into their seats by the powerful creative straps of opener Poison, its electronic/industrial lift off instantly swarming around the imagination. In turn, it leads to the virulent rock ‘n’ roll heart of the starter where riffs and rhythms are swiftly harrying and enslaving body and instincts, the calmer almost floating tones of Benmussa glazing the infectious exploits with a plaintive Matt Bellamy scented delivery. A compelling groove reinforces the song’s hold, the lively beats of Monaco dancing tenacious across the senses as keys bring cosmic scenery to bear on the imagination. Even in its calmer drifts, the song is forcibly infectious, the trio painting their creative canvas with an array of textures within skilfully woven enterprise.

The following Schizopolis needs mere seconds to have the body moving with its heated funk lures and enveloping synth pop enticement. A few seconds more brings a steelier tone and intensive edge to things, Ventre’s bass a darker brooding incitement which continues to lure and court the twisting infectious exploits of the song. Imagine The The meets Nine Inch Nails and the second track feeds expectations before taking them into deeper richer realms, leaving ears and appetite on a high ready for the moodier, crepuscular skies of III. The song’s air is as enticing as its predecessors, but within its emotional and atmospheric twilight a smouldering seduction matched in energy by the similarly calm vocals and keys.

Another fresh climate is brought by Mantra Nebulae, a dirtier rugged rock/metal contemplation over which vocals and melodies glide while Raphe Nuclei surrounds ears with an almost glacially reflective electronic embrace. Neither track quite lit up ears here as those before them but with the snarling dexterity of the first and the emotionally intensive vocals of Benmussa crawling the second, both tracks enthral and increasingly ignite the imagination over time.

In contrast The Black Widow instantly ensnared instincts and the passions, its intrigue ridden, noir coated web of dramatic coaxing as threatening as alluring. Hooks and grooves collude in seduction, vocals prowling with infectious devilry as bass and beats just flirt; a mix addiction was intended for. There is a touch of Fad Gadget to the song, eighties electronic/new wave essences as readily embraced as other more rapacious textures by the band and the increasingly volatile moments of the outstanding proposition.  The song is superb, a major highlight of Stellar Machine which Pretty Pain straight after easily backs up with its Mike Oldfield/ Devin Townsend nurtured symphony. As all tracks, every passing minute is unique to the last yet a continuation of their revealing cosmic travelogue and emotional revelation.

Cardio Machine is simply raw temptation, a fusion of predatory rock ‘n’ roll and synth pop virulence which has a firm restraint on both yet employs their attributes along another highly addictive body of enterprise. There is something enjoyably familiar about the song but nothing which can be pinned down, just simply and greedily enjoyed with every listen.

The album’s title track is eleven minutes of sample built introduction within senses stroking atmospherics, moving into electronic painting and progressive weaving where every minute adds to a flight feeling far shorter than its actual length such the beauty and captivation on offer. The song alone captures the mood and adventure of the theme; playing like a recap but of another past or future heroic planetary flight.

The album concludes with the atmospheric grace and beauty of Sun’n’rain; a rhythmically bold, melodically heated serenade beneath earthly pleasures. Drawing on the strongest Muse like flavours yet, the track with its almost Bond like theatrical lining brings the album to a powerful and more importantly thrilling close.

Stellar Machine confirms that Antigone Project just go from strength to strength, from bolder adventure to adventure yet still you get the feeling we have not come close to their most monumental exploit yet. Another must investigation for you all.

 Stellar Machine is out now through Lazy Freddy Records via most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/antigoneproject    https://twitter.com/projectantigone

Pete RingMaster 18/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Cauls – Recherché

It has been five years since UK alternative/progressive rockers Cauls delighted and impressed with their EP simply called 2. It turns out it has been a time which almost saw the band call it a day just as it was beginning to make a major impact on the UK music scene. Thankfully they pulled out of the nose dive and after a line-up change found the energy and inspiration to go again. That thankfulness even more pronounced now with the release of their debut album Recherché.

An atmospheric, provocative, and continually rousing blend of alternative/progressive and post rock with earthier post hardcore intensity, the band’s sound and release has evolved into a fire of imagination and enterprise. You would expect and hope each release outshines the last and pushes things on again, something which does not always happen as we all know, but Cauls have taken a big leap in building on the success of that last EP. Recherché is a compelling web of sound and suggestion fuelled by melodic and harmonic elegance and driven by a climate of rousing and often aggressive atmospheric imagination.

From the short instrumental flight of opener De Novo Quincunx, the quintet of Michael Marwood, Chris McManus, Graham Morris, Douglas Redfern, and Kye Walker entice and involve ears and imagination with increasing creative drama. That first piece is a slow developing mist of sonic calm and darker intrigue, guitars gently entangling as darker hues occasionally moan; it all leading to the instantly kinetic presence of Peace Paean. Around the ever impressing vocals of Marwood, a relative calm while engaging guitar woven tendrils smoulders and builds into a more boisterous roar. Descriptive melodies continue to entice and flame in the rousing breakouts, adding to the bolder fire of the song and its captivating Mars Volta meets Muse like landscape.

The track is pure captivation, sparking a keen intrigue and appetite for what is to follow; that adventure soon in full flight through firstly Radio Johanne / Said Molineux. From its initial low key peace with an alluring tingle of melody, the track also simmers and grows in presence and intensity, building into an unpredictable web of sonic and melodic imagination punctured by the adventurous jabs of McManus’ beats. With at times a resemblance to the raw tenacity of At the Drive In, the song consumes ears with fiery charm and rousing energy before the first part of the three-track Wide Opus Abyss awakens in ears.

Amusia is a secret smog full of suggestive essences and evocative sounds as it blossoms into the corporeal body of Vapours. Rhythms quickly provide a bold spine for its harmonic and sonic flames to erupt and unite around the striking draw of Marwood’s voice and the combined prowess of Redfern and Walker alongside the poetic finesse of Morris’ guitar. It is a resourceful blaze which eventually becomes Tide and Bye, an even more agitated yet controlled melodic clamour sharing Radiohead/ Far like spices in its eventful recipe.

The technical sprightliness of COQ8 dances eagerly in ears before mellowing into a reflective serenade. It is a plaintive cry though carrying its own instinctive tempest, a highly strung excitement bringing fiery exchanges of textures and band around the thoughtful vocal led calms. Its second part, Retentive Anamnesis adds greater volatility to that scorching heart, providing a fibrous sonic weave to its wired atmosphere and pleasure for ears and thoughts.

Épée brings things to a close, strolling in with bass and guitars merging dark and surf rock like hues in its tranquil swing before things bubble and boil around ear captivating vocals. Jazzy and sultry yet melancholic, romancing and seducing with a boldness exploring a diversity of rigour, the track is just mesmeric and another fresh detour in the album’s diverse soundscape.

Cauls are back with a whole new heart to create and a sound which grabs that intent with adventure and beauty, Recherché offering surprises and provocative enticements at every turn. We can only sigh with relief that the band did not buckle to that feeling of bringing things to an end.

Recherché is out now @ https://cauls.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Caulsband/

Pete RingMaster 09/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

All Ears Avow – Edge Of This

As voices and words gain momentum in offering attention and praise to All Ears Avow, the UK rockers add fuel to the rising fire with their new EP Edge Of This. Six tracks of melody wrapped, riff driven alternative rock, the release is a fresh and appetising slice of rock ‘n’ roll sure to reinforce if not give new impetus to their growing reputation.

Since emerging in 2013, the Swindon quartet has released a pair of increasingly well-received EPs, in the shape of Home (2013) and Reach (2016), and nurtured an eager following and praise for a live presence taking in shows with the likes of Decade, The Computers, Empire, Verses, Jonah Matranga (Far), and Milk Teeth among many, as well as successful slots at festivals such as Wychwood and Gloucester Guildhall’s Underground Festival amidst their own successful UK tours. Edge Of This points to the band being ready to attract even keener and bigger spotlights whilst carrying the potential of even bolder and unique exploits ahead.

The band has drawn comparisons to the likes of Muse, Don Broco, and Biffy Clyro with their sound, references easy to understand as EP opener Caged instantly demands and commands attention; Lower Than Atlantis coming to mind too. As a blurred background assembles, a wiry hook taunts; its intriguing bait soon joined by the potent tones of vocalist/guitarist Claire Sutton. In no time it all comes to a focus driven by the fiercely punchy beats of Sean Ivens. That initial hook still makes a rich lure, even as just as tasty riffs and chords between Sutton and fellow guitarist Jake Willcock collude. By this time Sutton’s voice is seizing a fair share of attention, her tones swiftly impressive alongside that lingering and still deliciously grouchy hook. The track is superb, a mighty way to kick things off and for personal tastes never equalled across the remainder of the highly enjoyable release.

The song is pure hungry rock ‘n’ roll setting a lofty bar which next up Gone certainly has a keen go at rivalling. With its angular but warm melody, the song is a much mellower proposal carrying steel in its presence and attitude rather than the kind of snarl fuelling its predecessor. The dark basslines of Joe Bishop add a great contrast to the lighter but thickly emotive aspects whilst Iven’s swings again have an imposing weight even if showing more restraint than before. With Sutton again pure enticement as melodic flames are ignited by the guitars, the track has ears and imagination hooked before new single Hurricane saunters in with a confident smile to its character and an infectious swagger to its swinging grooving. With unbridled catchiness shaping its rousing chorus and indeed instrumental asides, the song hits the spot dead centre.

Earlier single Just For Me comes next, showing with its muscular body and dark shadows why it alone sparked strong anticipation for the EP. Almost nagging ears with its array of hooks and temptation, the song provides a meaty piece of emotion soaked pop ‘n’ roll with a good spicing of electronic goodness while the following EP title track delves even deeper into the band’s pop natured creativity. The song still has a heavy essence and stubbornness to its physical skeleton but within a melody woven balladry with its own catchy captivation.

Completed by the similarly emotional power ballad of The Middle, a song like the last needing a touch more time to spark the same level of pleasure as those before but undoubtedly getting there with ease, Edge Of This is a potent next step in the ascent of All Ears Avow. As suggested, it does feel like a step in the way to something bigger and finer from the foursome whilst offering a relentlessly enjoyable outing easily outshining a great many similar genre based releases heard this year so far; suggesting there are big times ahead for All Ears Avow.

Edge Of This is out now and available through http://www.allearsavow.bigcartel.com/ and https://allearsavow.bandcamp.com/

http://www.allearsavow.com/    https://www.facebook.com/allearsavowband    https://twitter.com/AEAOfficial

Pete RingMaster 03/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright