Monte Pittman – The Power of Three

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    It has to be admitted that approaching The Power of Three, the new album from Monte Pittman there was more uncertainty and doubting expectations than intrigue nudging thoughts. Not having heard his previous solo albums but well aware of his work as long time guitarist for Madonna, encroaching fears wrongly but still with strong whispering made their suspicions known. The fact that the release was on Metal Blade Records allayed some of the dubiety but as always the proof is in the pudding and what a towering feast of adventure and heavyweight metal the release emerged to be. Unleashing obviously hearty and instinctive metallic tendencies aligned to a creative passion, the album is a storming blaze of multi-flavoured sinew driven rock, a magnificent triumph which employs the artist’s musical exploits in numerous styles into one enthused and rigorous explosive treat.

     Hailing from Longview, Texas Pittman’s career can be said to have started its upward ascent once he left a local music store was working in after moving to Los Angeles to begin teaching guitar, though the band Myra Mains he was part of before leaving had already seen some success with their shows and two albums. His third student was British filmmaker Guy Ritchie who wanted lessons after receiving a guitar from then girlfriend Madonna. This led to the musician giving lessons to the lady too which was followed by an invitation to join her on stage at the David Letterman Show to promote her album, Music. Since then Pittman has played guitar on all of Madonna’s live tours, the first being the 2001 Drowned World Tour, and her albums as well as sharing writing credits on some of her songs. Adding to that the guitarist has also played with and co-wrote many songs on the Scorpio Rising and Power of the Damager albums from metallers Prong, as well as on their 100% Live release. Additionally working with the likes of Adam Lambert, Melanie C, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor it has to be said that Pittman has had a rather eclectic background leading up to the new album. In that time he also released two solo albums, acoustic solo The Deepest Dark of 2009 and acclaimed rock album Pain, Love & Destiny two years later, a Kickstarter funded release which raised $65,500 making him the top rock musician raising the most money on the crowd-funding platform at that time. Late 2012 saw the appearance of M.P.3: The Power Of Three, Pt. 1, an acoustic EP which marked the first union of a new working relationship with Danish producer Flemming Rasmussen (Master Of Puppets). Last year Pittman with drummer Kane Ritchotte and bassist Max Whipple travelled to Copenhagen to record the new album with Rasmussen producing, a record which now leaves passions lit and imagination ignited.

     As soon as the opening song, A Dark Horse emerges from a strongly coaxing acoustic guitar lure within a crackling ambience, Monte Pittman - The Power of Threeany previous concerns are sent flying. Rampaging riffs and equally rapacious rhythms are soon flying through the ear with adrenaline spewing from every note. Soon settling into a slightly calmer surge the excellent clean vocals of Pittman adds another dimension to the rampant heavy rock offering whilst a grunge air lays over the more restrained elements of the track, an Alice In Chains lilt soaking the melodic rock enterprise which seduces with every twist and sonic turn. Though arguably the track is not setting a ground-breaking endeavour it leaves senses and emotions breathless with a craft and enthralling energy which simply scintillates from start to finish.

     The following Delusions of Grandeur takes intensity and heat up a few notches with a much more predatory and inciting air to its invasive and riveting breath. Bass and drums rap and snarl respectively with a near bestial rabidity but it is tempered by the impressive vocals and sonic seduction going on around their jaws. The band forge a contagious union of the dark and carnivorous tones of the song’s intent with its melodic beauty and creative flaming, the guitar play of Pittman as impressive and mouthwatering as the raptorial enterprise provided by his colleagues.

    The immense start is easily met by firstly the addiction sculpting Everything’s Undone and the following Blood Hungry Thirst. The first of the two is a rock pop gem, a potent anthemic enticement which reaps the best essences of the Foo Fighters and QOTSA into its own fiery wind of invention and majesty. There is still a growl and sturdiness which intimidates and badgers welcomingly within the lighter yet heated master-class though helping to provide rock pop alchemy at its best and setting a new bar for the album which its successor sniffs at and rampages over with a heavier raptorial urgency and weight whilst simultaneously matching the impressive melodic infectiousness and invention of its predecessor.

    Riding a delicious moody bassline, vocals and nagging riffs bring On My Mind to vibrant life, the song another virulently contagious slab of rock ‘n’ roll. In many ways the song and some of the album reminds of nineties UK rock band Skyscraper, both able to lay a web of hooks and melodic allurements which simply grip and linger with pure imagination. The song makes way for Away from Here, a track where returning almost carnal riffs and basslines gnaw away at the senses whilst melodic resourcefulness alongside thrilling toxic grooves and hooks reap even stronger allegiance to their calls.

    After such a towering run maybe it was to be expected that a slight dip would ensue and despite moments of bordering on brutal riffery and corrosive bass snarling Before the Mourning Son with its dominate melodic croon does fail to ignite like the previous songs. It is still a track though which you can only welcome and constantly return to with its exploratory enterprise and stunning craft.  End of the World which follows is the same, a melodically smouldering song which seduces and invites an emotive reflection through its warm embrace and though like the previous one is impressive and wholly persuasive it just had too tall an order to match up to.

After the again AIC sounding and richly satisfying Missing, the album closes with the thirteen minute All Is Fair in Love and War, an extensive and creatively intensive track with seemingly as many styles employed as the number of fingers working in a four man bobsleigh team. The song is an unrelenting landscape of unpredictability and absorbing emprise but a track which arguably offers too much never allowing the senses and imagination to settle in and fully absorb all of its mastery. At times the track is majestic but too often in its debatably over long length the switches and turns of the song do not flow or sit as comfortably alongside each other as you would wish, the guttural stretch of vocals which break lose mid-away an example and definitely a no-no for personal tastes.

      The Power of Three is quite simply an extraordinary storm of imagination and artistic adventure which throws assumptions forcibly back in the face to provide one of the early rock pinnacles of the year.

http://montepittman.com

9/10

Ringmaster 21/01/2014

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Emerging Canvas: an interview with artist Anja Tvrtkovic

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For every album, single, book, or DVD there is a cover or accompanying piece of art to portray what is within and tempt the emotions into the heart of the host. Always looking out for emerging independent artists The RingMaster Review had the pleasure to come across a young artist from Serbia, Anja Tvrtkovic, whose work has already grabbed thoughts and attention. Such the potency of the few things seen we felt the need to find out more about the lady and her work.

Hello Anja and thank you for talking with us.

Hello, and thank you for the interview!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a person that likes to  do too many things interested in art and music. I am a student of University of Applied Arts studying Animation. In my free time I work art designs for bands, t-shirt designs and illustrations for younger children. I am playing bass and back vocals in an all-female band called Plump (named after a song played by Hole). Two months back I ended up in a band called Jailbait (an all-girl band that is a tribute to the Runaways and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts)! And I don’t know what else to say and not end up sounding like an egoistic person  haha :))

When did art first catch your imagination and who were your early influences?

When I was a kid, it was my passion, so most of the time I was watching Flight of Dragons, The Last Unicorn, The Railway Dragon and many more cartoons in that style of drawing! Of course those were the times of VHS so I would record a lot of cartoons and watch them over and over. I can’t say who would be my influence as a person. I was more in my world at the time, with an idea of dragons and dinosaurs in my head.

How would you describe your style of art?

My style? Hmmmm, I always wanted to look badass with my drawings and make people go into “WOAH!” effect, but I would always end up drawing something cute and attractive to a child’s eye. But there are the times when I get into my more serious state, but I never published it.

Is there any particular medium you prefer or find better for your ideas?

Digital art. Definitely. I am too clumsy to work traditional and would always end up all in colours and not satisfied.

artwork2What inspires your work and ideas predominantly?

Other people, friends, but mostly artists all over the world. Internet is a great tool in meeting other styles and techniques.

Music is obviously also an important thing in your life?

Oh yes, very! My bass and love for singing also helps and inspires!! Music is a big part of my life, the thing that gets me going. Every time I stay up late, working for my University, I crank up some good old grunge and metal so I could get through.

What bands and genres are your favourites?

There are too many but, there are some times when I am into grunge, rock, sometimes punk, sometimes I end up in heavy, death and some older thrash. Few of the favourite bands would be: Gojira, System of a Down, Black Sabbath, Offspring, Nirvana, Queen, Deep Purple, Slayer, Kultur Shock, Babes in Toyland Hole, L7, Guano Apes….
I have many local bands that I love and support so I would include them too: NoYz?, Hatred, Uneven, Fandango, Seljačka Buna, Cannot and many more!

When and how did the two mediums come together with you designing art work and posters for bands?

When I was in high school. Because it was a school of Design, a lot of projects were designing CD covers and posters. I was always glared down by my teachers because of doing a design for Opeth, System of a Down and a few more local bands haha.

If given just one choice would you choose working in music or illustrating for children’s books etc?

I would probably find myself more in illustrating then in music. Drawing is more my thing, I would leave music making to more talented people 🙂

I believe you are creating the artwork for the forthcoming album from Serbian band Noyz?

Yes! I am doing the cover and booklet for upcoming album. It is a lot of work, but that is a dream of every artist. To work with a band that  you love, and gets you easily inspired. So I am the lucky one 🙂

Can you give any insight as to what it will be like?

Well, Sharkey(frontman and guitarist) and I had a long talk about the album, and I know very well all the songs (yeah I am a big fan), so there is going to be greyish, a little bit dark, but with symbolic elements. I will try to keep the grunge spirit that Noyz have!

What other artists have you worked with or are looking at in the future?artwork1

I haven’t had a chance to work with other artists, but I hope I will! I like collaborations! But if you think for music artists I worked with tons!

You create music yourself so what do you feel is the biggest similarity between creating pieces of art and making music?

I literally did just one part of a song in collaboration with my friend and Sharkey, as a gift to one dear friend. I  always have a blockade in my head when I am starting to do something. Even for this song I had a blockade, I had to make the melody and lyrics and couldn’t do it. Few days later it just hit me, out of nowhere! That is the same process I am having with my art. So yeah there is a big similarity 🙂

Have you an aim or ambition for your art ahead?

I can’t say there is an aim. I am still in the shell, I don’t have goal in my life, maybe dreams, but those are still far away!

Where can people see your works of art?

For now, I don’t have an online portfolio, and my deviant art page is old and hasn’t been updated in a long time, but I am hoping in making a site as soon as possible! Some of my really old stuff can be seen here: http://njanjadesign.daportfolio.com/

Once again many thanks for talking with us.
It was my pleasure! The questions were fun! 🙂

Would you like to end with three of your favourite works of art and three favourite albums?

I would end up with: From Mars to Sirus – Gojira; Bleach – Nirvana;  Diabolus in Musica – Slayer.

The RingMaster Review 06/04/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com