Magnetic reflections: looking into Black Mirrors

We were aware of the buzz building up around Belgian band Black Mirrors so eagerly anticipated checking out their new EP release with Napalm Records. Fair to say that Funky Queen more than lived up to the praise gathering around its release, revelling in the myriad of flavours behind its bluesy rock ‘n’ roll. Offered the chance to find out more about band and release we fired questions at vocalist Marcella Di Troia and guitarist Pierre Lateur.

Hi guys and thanks for talking with us.

Firstly can you give us the background to Black Mirrors; its beginnings and how you all met?

, c Nanna Dis 2016

Marcella: During summer 2013, I wanted to create a female band. I found a drummer and a bass player but found it difficult to find a female guitar player. I was looking for someone who could play like Pierre the actual guitar player. I was fond of his sound. I couldn’t find a girl who could do that. So, I asked Pierre to join the band. After some jamming, we wanted to work harder and to start to write our own songs but the girls didn’t have time to invest in the project. So we forgot the idea to have an (almost) female band and invite two old friends, Gino and Edouard to join the band as bass player and drummer. We used to play with them in other bands before Black Mirrors.

We recorded our first EP and did our first gigs with this line up late 2013.

What inspired the band name?

Marcella: The name Black Mirrors came up with the TV show Black Mirror, a really cool English series which shows how technology is progressively changing our world. People are more distant to one another by being connected to the virtual world. We do not want to judge anybody, it’s just that we are witnesses of that change in our society and it touches us.

You sound is seemingly bred in garage rock but, as your new EP Funky Queen shows, flames with much broader rock ‘n’ roll diversity. What are the kinds of inspirations which have lit your musical imaginations most prominently?

Marcella: All the bands we are listening to were influenced prominently by blues masters such as Bessie Smith, Leadbelly, Robert Johnson, BB King, Muddy Waters, Blind Willie Johnson… So I would say the blues.

Pierre: Apart from the blues, we have a lot of different influences like the stoner scene, the late 60’s and early 70’s rock music like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zep, Janis Joplin and even the early Pink Floyd, the revival scene like The White stripes, Rival Sons and The Black Keys, some elements of soul/funk music and a bit of desert-blues like Tinariwen.

The Funky Queen EP has just been released through Napalm Records; how did that link-up come about?

Marcella: During summer 2015, we were invited to play in Germany at «Out and Loud» festival. Napalm was there as they opened the festival with a Napalm label night. Some of Napalm’s bands played there and they found us a slot to play. That was our first contact. We stayed in touch with them for a year and last summer we sent them our new songs. They liked it and Napalm offered us a deal.

It is being described as the band’s debut EP but am I right in thinking it has a self-titled predecessor released in 2014 which new fans to the band will want to know about?

Marcella: Yes, you’re completely right! Three years ago, we released our very first EP. We recorded it a couple of months after having started the band because we wanted to play live shows as soon as possible. This first EP is now sold out.

How would you say the Black Mirrors’ sound has evolved over its first handful of years?

Pierre: The basic sound didn’t change that much. Since the beginning, we wanted to create a music which will be a mix of all our influences. In 2013, our songs were already a mix of blues/rock, stoner and a bit of psychedelic music with a vintage approach.

But if we speak of the sound more specifically, the guitar sound became wilder with the years and our first drummer left the band. He was replaced by another one who came with his sensibility, approach and specific sound. So these two elements influenced a bit the final result.

With all artists, there is a specific intent fuelling their first steps. What was the driving force for Black Mirrors?

Pierre: Nothing more than being happy and thankful to play together. We are friends for such a long time and we’ve started the band to enjoy creating music together. We never had a big statement like « We want to play this kind of music, like very pure blues or a specific kind of stoner. » It was always about playing anything we had in mind without thinking too much. Maybe it’s the reason why there’re a lot of different influences in our music.

Listening to the EP there feels like there is a strong collaboration between the band in its songs birth and character. How does the band’s songwriting generally work?

c, c Nanna Dis 2016

Pierre: Most of the time I create basic ideas like a riff or two and show it to Marcella. We work together on a first version of the song, she composes her vocal part and we work on a basic structure. We show this draft to the band. With them we give the tune his final form. We often create new parts, remove others; jamming around the sound. Because of all this process, the song’s final version is sometimes totally different than the first idea.

Can you give the readers some insight to the background and themes to Funky Queen?

Funky Queen, which opens our EP, is about addiction. Funky Queen is the queen that confronts everyone with one’s own demons.

The second song is Kick Out The Jams, a MC5 cover. We wanted to put it on our first EP as it’s represent very well the general energy of our music.

The Mess is a song about messy feelings you get after you broke up a very bad love relationship. Sometimes, you’d rather not see things than to be destroyed for your entire life.

And finally, Canard Vengeur Masqué to end up…It is a song who talks about the missing of one of your parents after a divorce, the way you can feel forsaken in this situation as a child.

Funky Queen has a great cover to match its sounds. Who is behind the artwork and indeed the band’s excellent logo?

Pierre: It’s Sebastian Jerke, a German artist who worked with My Sleeping Karma and Colour Haze to name a few. We really like his job. We got in touch with him and he appeared to have several great ideas for the artwork.

Apart from the likes of Front 242, dEUS, Soulwax, Enthroned, Triggerfinger, Steak Number Eight, and the excellent King Hiss, I cannot say we know too much about the Belgian rock scene. It is a healthy place right now, especially in its underground?

Well, it depends if it is in the French speaking part of Belgium or the Flemish part. We think Flanders gives more chance to underground music. Just by seeing bands you named, most of them are from Flanders. We are coming from Wallonia where the rock scene is a bit shy. Unfortunately, you barely see a rock band as highlight on a festival poster in Wallonia.

What is next in the immediate future of Black Mirrors?

Going on tour with Horizont and ’77 and record our full length album.

Once again our big thanks for sharing your time with us.

Check out our review of Funky Queen @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/black-mirrors-funky-queen/

http://www.blackmirrorsmusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/blackmirrorsmusic   https://twitter.com/BlackMirrorsmus

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Black Mirrors – Funky Queen

 Black Mirrors Pic Nanna Dis 2016

BW, Black Mirrors, Belgium, Music, c Nanna Dis 2016

Every loud acclaim loaded whisper and incessant buzz needs something to back it up and that is exactly what Belgian rockers Black Mirrors do with their debut EP. The Brussels hailing quartet is one of the keenest new names on more and more keenly crowing lips and Funky Queen offers plenty of reasons why.

There is little we can give as background to the band but with their music doing all the talking on their Napalm Records released first EP, additional details can wait. The Black Mirrors sound is a myriad of flavours; at times it is bluesy and punky, in other moments a mix of grungy stoner and psych/heavy rock imagination, more often a blend and varying combination of all and more; a varying web easy to hear in just the four songs within Funky Queen alone. Imagine a boiling pot of essences from the likes of Queens Of The Stone Age, My Baby, Soundgarden, Janis Joplin, Jess and The Ancients Ones, and Led Zeppelin and you get a sense of the fevered sound seducing and rousing ears.

Funky Queen opens with its title track making first contact with gnarly riffs and controlled pounding beats contrasted by fuzz gifted harmonies. Swiftly a driving spine of swinging rhythms and grumbling grooves court the alluring tones of vocalist Marcella Di Troia, her magnetic presence and prowess matched by the infectious throes of the sounds around her. There is nothing to stop hips swerving and feet shuffling in league with the virulence, the track’s fusion of desert and blues rock almost tribal in its catchiness.

707_blackmirrors_cmyk_RingMasterReviewIt is a stunning track awakening ears and appetite with lusty zeal and setting them up for the garage rock and blues punk revelry of Kick Out The Jam. Winding around the dark bait of Gino Caponi’s bassline, the grooves and melodic flames from Pierre Lateur’s guitar sizzle as the sticks of drummer Nicolas Scalliet land with relish. Di Troia again stands vocally astride it all with commanding dexterity and vocal zeal, a union of enterprise in spirit raising rock ‘n’ roll providing a striking cover of the MC5 classic.

Actually it is four such escapades on offer, The Mess just as persuasive as it ventures on a slower more controlled stroll soaked in anthemic temptation and sultry melodic juices. Like a siren, the song draws ears and emotions in but the rewards are invigorating not dangerous, except to swinging hips quickly involved in the fiery seduction.

Canard Vengeur Masqué brings things to a invasively captivating close, the song also reserved in its gait but eager in its sonic and melodic tempting with Di Troia a seductress to sound and listener as rhythms twist and turn around glowing grooves and hooks keen to infest the psyche. There is a touch of the now demised British band Karn8 to the song and of the aforementioned My Baby too, but Black Mirrors for the fourth time in the EP stand individual and irresistible in ears and praise.

The Funky Queen EP is quite superb and will only accentuate the band’s already heady reputation while drawing a horde of newcomers to the bold seduction that is Black Mirrors.

Funky Queen is released March 3rd via Napalm Records across most stores.

Upcoming Live Dates:

07.03.2017 TU – Ankara / ODTÜ

06.04.2017 BE – Antwerp / Trix

w/ Horisont

16.03.17 DE – Hamburg / Logo

17.03.17 DE – Siegen / Vortex

18.03.17 DE – Düsseldorf / Pitcher

23.03.17 DE – Munich / Backstage

25.03.17 CH – Pratteln / Z7

26.03.17 AT – Vienna / Das Bach

27.03.17 AT – Salzburg / Rockhouse

28.03.17 DE – Mörlenbach-Weiher / Live Music Hall

29.03.17 DE – Lichtenfels / Paunchy Cats

30.03.17 DE – Berlin / Privatclub

http://www.blackmirrorsmusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/blackmirrorsmusic   https://twitter.com/BlackMirrorsmus

Pete RingMaster 03/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Devildriver – Trust No One

pic by ben hoffmann

pic by ben hoffmann

There is no mistaking Trust No One as a Devildriver incitement. From the recognisable throat scarring vocals squalls of Dez Fafara to the anthemic rhythmic antagonism of bassist Diego Ibarra and drummer Austin D’Amond, through the grooved and sonically caustic imagination of guitarists Mike Spreitzer and Neal Tiemann to the pure carnivorous roar of the groove metaller’s sound, the Californian’s seventh album is familiar Devildriver animosity. Yet there is something different to the beast; its body slimmer, almost stripped back to the core elements of the band’s sound whilst its contagion of venomous grooves has become even more creatively vocal and more virulently compelling. Whether Trust No One in this state is the band’s best proposal to date is under debate but it is fair to say that the album might just be the most physically and emotionally enjoyable encounter with Devildriver yet.

Linking up with producer Mark Lewis again at the Audio Hammer Studios, Devildriver show their intent from the first seconds of opener Testimony Of Truth, the want to savage the senses with hellacious rock ‘n’ roll. An inviting groove winds around the initial hefty jabs of D’Amond first with already the climate of the song a fiery challenge which only imposes further as the song evolves and Fafara’s raw tones further fire up the spirit of the song. It is prime Devildriver incitement but already devilish designs of melody and grooving is gripping the imagination, bringing individual character to each twist and turn here and in due course, to each subsequent proposal within Trust No One.

The thick and potent start is quickly surpassed by the barbarous exploits of Bad Deeds. The torrential assault of the invasive beats and the ear accosting rapping nature of the vocals aligns perfectly with a sultry melodic weave spun by the guitars within their own corrosive tide of predacious riffs. It is gripping stuff, irresistible hostility fuelled by a drama and imagination individual to that of the band’s previous outings. The track’s impressive success is soon matched by that of the even more grievous My Night Sky, though its own animus of emotion and intensity is tempered by the equally potent magnetism colouring the web of sonic invention and suggestiveness.

Devildriver_CMYK_RingMasterReviewThree tracks in and already the senses are numbing and energies breathless such the force and creative weight of the tempests. No respite is given though as This Deception, from a waspish coaxing round melancholic keys, tears into the listener with nostrils flared over a rabid rhythmically jagged ire spewing jaw and in turn, Above It All crawls all over the senses and into the psyche with what can be best described as a swarming surge of ravenous belligerence and aural irritability. Both tracks are not short on their own array of expectations defusing and imagination sparking essences either, the first through seductively flirtatious grooves and the latter with exotically hued strings and melodies which entice and bewitch even within the raging storm of the outstanding ravishment.

Daybreak spins some bluesy grooves into its maelstrom next, they colluding with addictively heavier cousins as riffs and vocals unite for some savaging with the backing of infectiously mercurial rhythms. Spreitzer and Tiemann simply shine throughout Trust No One, here especially as they conjure a landscape as unpredictable and fascinating as it is blistering, while in the album’s title track, they help shape a tempest as sonically elegant as it is uncomfortably threatening.

Arguably the nastiest and most uncomfortable track on the release is Feeling Ungodly, though it too is unafraid to spring some of the catchiest grooves and hooks across the whole of Trust No One while devouring the senses in body and emotion. Again, it is hard not to be swept up by the spiteful air and invasively infectious nature of the excellent track before Retribution grows from a melodically alluring proposal into one which nags and growls like a rabid dog infested with the inescapable irritancy of niggly grooves and the biting incessancy of beats and riffs. It is an irresistible incursion followed with equal ferocity and compelling adventure by For What Its Worth and an adversarial and merciless sonic malefaction which might not quite live up to many of its predecessors but leaves only a craving for more.

As we said at the start, whether Trust No One is Devildriver’s final hour we cannot say yet, even after a dozen listens, but it is hard to remember many encounters with them bringing as much raw enjoyment and the same kind of urge to go straight back into the turbulence as their new album.

Trust No One is out now via Napalm Records on CD @ http://devildrivertrustnoone.com/  and digitally @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/trust-no-one/id1091651702?app=music&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

http://www.devildriver.com/   https://www.facebook.com/devildriver

Pete Ringmaster 13/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com

OTEP – Generation Doom

photo credit: Paul Brown

photo credit: Paul Brown

There have been few furnaces in word, sound, and defiance as potent and irresistible to our ears over the past decade than Otep Shamaya and her band Otep. Across six albums she and co have crafted and crafted provocation, incitement, and incendiary metal invention like an artist with a palette of unquenchable suggestiveness. Now to ensure and show that the fires of art, imagination, and discontent burn as imposingly bright as ever, her band uncage Generation Doom. The seventh album from the LA hailing protagonists of noise and thought, body and spirit, is an inescapable predator within a kaleidoscope of metal fury woven from nu and industrial through to groove and poetic alchemy.

In the world we live today and the breed of bigotry and injustices that comes with it, there is an endless supply of fuel to the lyrical ire and challenges that escapes Otep Shamaya’s mind and pen. Fair to say though, that every inventive twist and emotional flame shaping Generation Doom has arguably the band’s fiercest venom and greatest animosity yet, but intimidation and rage aligning with some of the band’s most imaginative ideas and exploits. Certainly the album has everything you expect from an Otep proposition, a rare time when expectations are wonderfully fed to no displeasure, but every track, each moment of adventure, comes with new ingenuity and fearsomely imaginative craft to drool over. You do not have to know who created Generation Doom, ears can tell within the opening minutes. Otep is perpetually a proposition and artist out on their own which with their new album has unleashed a fresh pinnacle in their inspirational presence within music.

Generation Doom opens up its virulent warfare with Zero; global and intimate apathy as much in its sights as the ears and imagination of the listener. Within its first few breaths, the song is an uncompromising assault of barbarous rhythms and rapacious riffs ridden by the distinctive vocal presence and prowess of Shamaya. Grooves are soon dancing and flirting with tenacious enterprise alongside; throaty harmonics in turn regaling the air as her ever diverse and gripping tones spring vocal and lyrical traps as easy to get caught by as the maze of unpredictable sound igniting the senses.

The track is the sign of things to come, of the unexpected and ferociously striking explorations that infest release and appetite as in Feeding Frenzy. The second track is almost bull like in its initial steely pawing of the ground before prowling and grinding its punk metal hued rock ‘n’ roll into the greedily welcoming psyche. As the first, the track is swift addiction feeding an already Otep seeded appetite whilst weaving a voracious tapestry of diversely baited textures and confrontational trespasses that devour as a whole new creative scourge. The track is superb, an irresistible intrusion which drops out for one of the cinematic/ emotively visceral samples/pieces that Otep are and have been so great at conjuring over the years.

art_RingMasterReviewLords Of War follows with its haunting voice and descriptively evocative mystique. The sounds of invasive force and subjugation litter the disturbed ambience of the track, its portentous inevitability exploding in a tirade of riffs and merciless rhythms as vocals flirt with and dance on the assaultive intent. Gripping body and thoughts, the song epitomises the Otep ability to reflect the object of their lyrical attack in tone and sound whilst simultaneously placing it under attack by the same.

Already the variety of the album is a clear quality across early songs and broadened to enthralling success by Royals. A striking cover of the Lorde song, the band embraces the pop theatre of the original and weaves it in an aggressive growl and raw metal escapade drenched in Otep distinctiveness. Floating harmonies lurk in the background as melodies kiss and go across the emerging tempest of shadowed emotion and creative drama. Not for the first or last time, Shamaya confirms her stature and agility as a vocalist; clean and throat scarring tones as easy from her body and on the ear as the rap bred delivery which steers this compelling proposal. The vocalist has a voice which can charm the birds or spark the darkest demons, the former a bewitching flame across the melodic rock of In Cold Blood and its pyre of honest reflection brewing up into an almost animus like roar of noise and emotion, Throughout keys court the sonic rancor with poetic elegance, the track ruffling the feathers and stirring the imagination before the eastern hued Down intimidatingly seduces and hungrily bristles with its industrial infused kaleidoscopic and fractious emprise.

Religion and its source feels the full creative force of God Is A Gun next, the track an unbridled face melting gladiatorial challenge of volcanic metal and intensity, whilst the hip hop/electro scented Equal Rights, Equal Lefts has its eyes and aim on intolerance and bigotry easy to assume being as intimately as observationally inspired. Both tracks grip ears and thoughts with sublime efficiency and creative alchemy in sound and syllable, swiftly matched by the invasively infectious and forcibly fascinatingly melancholic No Color. That seductive sombreness also continues in Lie, a hypnotic blending of light and dark textures casting a snarl in its beauty and mesmerism in its tempestuousness across an ever evolving creative landscape reigned over by Shamaya’s expansive vocal presence and adventure.

The album’s title track goes for the jugular next, its irritable maelstrom of toxic grooves and cancerous riffs entwined in choleric industrial volatility and rhythmic antagonism. It is all bound together by another fluid bedlam of galvanic and corrosive vocal dexterity creating a savaging as delicious as it is destructive. The track leaves ears ringing and senses numb with pleasure in turn thick and set to overflow over the closing beauty of On The Shore. A rhythmic catchiness is matched in gait and vocal swing with Shamaya kissing ears with sunlit melodies and warm caresses as darker, angrier shadows lurk and subsequently crowd her dominant presence.

The track is a glorious end to a stunning album which, even with a definitely biased outset because of previous encounters, simply blew our expectations and hopes away.  For Otep fans, Generation Doom is new manna for the ears and for newcomers and those maybe yet to be convinced by the band’s sound, something to seriously consider exposing their intrigue to; the rewards are relentless.

Generation Doom is released via Napalm Records April 15th on iTunes and other stores.

http://otepsaves.me/   https://www.facebook.com/otepofficial/   https://twitter.com/otepofficial

Pete RingMaster 14/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

American Head Charge – Tango Umbrella

AHC_RingMasterReview

Like many others we are sure, there was a surge of excited anticipation when the new American Head Charge album was announced. It was the first since 2005 full-length The Feeding and the band disbanding two years later. Their return after six years subsequently brought the excellent Shoot EP, a release bristling with hints of a new bigger and even bolder adventure to the AHC sound. Now those clues are realised and reinforced with Tango Umbrella; a maelstrom of prime AHC moments, new imaginative adventures, and exploits seemingly inspired by some of their companions in the nu-metal/melodic metal scene first time around. The result is a riveting and galvanic tempest of sound and imagination which for the main hits the spot dead centre.

From the first breath of their first album for Napalm Records, AHC go straight for the senses and imagination with opener Let All The World Believe. Its entrance is calm and coaxing, electronic pulses and beats gathering within an increasingly sinister ambience before the doors burst open and predatory riffs and rhythms eagerly crowd and trespass ears. It is a forcibly enticing start only blossoming again as the band unleashes inventive industrial metal rabidity. The keys of Justin Fowler sizzle and incite with devilish enterprise whilst the intrusive beats of Chris Emery descend with uncompromising intent. All the while Cameron Heacock vocally prowls like an apocalyptic ringmaster; his expression and words scathing and confrontational and just as alluring as the thick mesh of sound around him. With touches of Fear Factory and Static X to it, the track is a glorious start; an anthemic death dance bursting with the dramatic sonic devilment of guitarists Karma Cheema and Ted Hallows.

Drowning Under Everything quickly follows with another industrial sculpted invitation, its initial clang soon immersed in a robust tide of riffs and grooves. The growling bass of Chad Hanks quickly steals a chunk of the attention, backed by the matching potent bait of guitars and vocal laced with a Manson-esque hue soon evolving into a richer melodic flame bred with the familiar AHC dexterity and invention. It too is a swiftly shifting and changing passage within the tantalising track, a moment soon becoming entangled with all the other textures in a muggy creative maze. Inescapably the track ignites ears and again an already awoken appetite before the more thunderous assault of Perfectionist flares up to place its virulent grip on attention too. Atmospherically suggestive and vocally provocative, the song merges grunge and nu-metal traits and flavours to infectious effect as essences of Korn, Mudvayne, and Alice In Chains spice its enthralling proposal. Epitomising the whole album though, for all spices and influences openly shown, the track is unmistakably American Head Charge through and through.

art_RingMasterReviewThe latter of those three references nudges thoughts again as the thick mesmeric and emotive embrace of Sacred takes over, the track crawling seductively over the senses as vocals, guitars, and keys charm and tantalise ears. With the bass grumbling and beats swinging in tandem, the track beguiles from its first second, before being followed and overshadowed by the quite irresistible I Will Have My Day, a fiercely rousing and relentless White Zombie incitement with again great AIC sounding harmonies and melodic caresses.

The emotion loaded A King Among Men comes next; the ballad a requiem of piano, voice, and harmonies likely inspired by the loss of previous band guitarist Bryan Ottoson in 2005 and more recently friends like Wayne Static but equally a sentiment for anyone losing someone. It is a potent piece leaving a lingering touch much like, but in whole different way, Suffer Elegantly. The call of the wild springs a charging, invasive surge of riffs and grooves driven by hellacious rhythms. There is no escaping a Ministry incited dynamic to the track or its savagely tenacious energy and sound but again AHC twist it into their own ravenous ideation and aggressive imagination. Many major favourites emerge from within Tango Umbrella, this right there on the frontline.

The twisting rapacious tone and grooves of Antidote enslaves ears and thoughts next, its flirtatious melodies and off-kilter slithers of sound rich pickings for the imagination whilst the Down like hostility which seeps from the track’s uncaging of raw intensity has the spirit as inflamed as the rest of the song has ears gripped. Increasingly more impressive and addictive with every listen, the song entices and snarls like a beast in heat much as the Trent Reznor like Prolific Catastrophe which sidles in with a devilish glint in its creative eye and a rousing fire in its sonic belly.

Completing the album is firstly the musically and lyrically antagonistic Down And Depraved, a grouchy and mercurial blaze of voice and sound, and finally the atmospherically cast When The Time Is Never Right. It is another which needed time to convince as heartily as previous tracks within Tango Umbrella but persistently has satisfaction and involvement fully engaged whilst bringing the album to a magnetic end.

It is fair to say that Tango Umbrella lives up to the promise of the band’s last EP and more. It is like a kaleidoscope of their highlights to date and inspirations picked up along the way, in turn almost like trip through the listener’s own nu/industrial metal inspired soundtrack but most of all, the album is one thoroughly thrilling, inventively fresh and varied slab of American Head Charge imagination re-establishing the sextet as one of our prize assets.

Tango Umbrella is released via Napalm Records on March 25th through most online stores.

http://www.headcharge.com/    https://www.facebook.com/AmericanHeadCharge   https://twitter.com/AHC_Official

Remaining dates on the AHC/Mushroomhead UK tour

26.03.16 UK – Bristol / The Marble Factory

27.03.16 UK – Plymouth / The Hub

29.03.16 UK – Cardiff / The Globe

30.03.16 UK – London / Electric Ballroom

31.03.16 UK – Brighton / Concorde 2

01.04.16 UK – Southampton / Engine Rooms

02.04.16 UK – Norwich / Waterfront

03.04.16 UK – Reading / Sub89

Pete RingMaster 24/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Blood and Crom: talking Conan with Jon Davis

conan2

January saw the unleashing of the new Conan album Revengeance, a leviathan in barbarous weight and corrosive intensity which outshone its equally punishing and exhilarating predecessor of 2014, Blood Eagle. Let off the leash via Napalm Records, Revengeance is a callous incitement making a big statement in the landscape of modern doom metal. Given the opportunity to get into the heart of the album, we probed guitarist Jon Davis to find out about its creation, the background of the band, the state of doom metal right now and more…

Hi Jon and many thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Before we dive into new album Revengeance, can you give us some background to the beginnings of Conan back in 2006?

We started as a two piece, fucked around for a while and then decided to make ourselves into a 3 piece.

Is the band still driven by the same intent and inspirations as when it started out or have they shifted over the past decade?

Yes of course. We’re just a band who likes to play as many shows as possible and get out on the road. We may play bigger stages but we still think the same way we did back when we started touring.

You have just released third album Revengeance, a beast of an infestation and rousing of the senses. Where do you see the band sound wise in comparison to debut full-length Monnos of four years ago and where has your music evolved most potently for you over releases?

I think our sound is still pretty much the same, a three piece of drums guitar and bass, but the songs themselves have become slightly more intricate; more interesting and heavier. We use dynamics to greater effect, and are able to do a little more than the simple ‘slow and low’ that we used to do. Over each release a band should get better at what they do and I think we are achieving that.

Obviously your songs often have seeds in the tales of the band’s namesake but otherwise do the same themes inspire your music now as back then or has that expanded as experiences have?

Our themes are pretty much the same; we don’t want to change our vibe at all as we move forward. Our songs might become more musically diverse but our themes will always be pretty much the same

636_Conan_RGB_RingMaster ReviewDid you go into the writing of Revengeance with any specific direction or premeditated exploration in mind?

Not really no, we wanted to write a better album than Blood Eagle and Monnos but aside from that we didn’t try and steer ourselves in any particular direction. We just got in the practice room and wrote songs as they came along, really naturally; it was cool.

As shown by the new album alone, there is a depth of diversity to your brutal doom propositions working away as potently as the carnivorous surface confrontation. Is there a fine balance you have to find to create that compelling union of callous intensity and groove infested rabidity?

I think we have always had a certain groove to our music. We have always mixed that with pretty simple brutal riffs and drums that carry the riff along in a slightly more ‘groovy’ (not 60’s) way.

Did you approach the actual recording of Revengeance the same way as its acclaimed predecessor Blood Eagle of 2014?

Yeah, exactly the same…Chris Fielding (now on bass / vocals) produced it at our studio (Skyhammer Studio) and we had a great time. This was the same set up as Blood Eagle, but of course Chris and Rich had joined in place of Phil and Paul.

Was it a release which continued to grow and develop at the recording stage or are you a band which likes to go into the studio with songs finished and ready to go?

We always get to the recording phase with the songs ‘almost’ ready. This was no different. There will always be a degree of change during the recording process and we kind of like that as we can go with the flow and maybe improvise a little bit during the writing process

There is a raw energy and that uncharitable intensity which feels like being physically there in the face of the Conan storm and assault; was the album set down with live takes and how does the writing process work within Conan?

The writing process usually consists of me working out some riffs and showing the guys. We will then all get together in the practice room and work through the song ideas and riffs and create the songs. The album was recorded the same way as usual really. Drums were done live with me playing a guide guitar track. Then guitars were recorded over the drum takes and the same with bass and then vocals at the end.

Do you test new songs out on the road first before committing them to record?

On this album we played Thunderhoof live a few times and that felt good, but the other tracks didn’t get played live before the recording.

When you played it, how did you gauge reactions? Obviously fans are more than likely to react positively to anything offered live so where do you look for key signs if something new is working?conan1_RingMaster Review

With Thunderhoof people seemed to like it but we noticed they really liked the songs like Horns for Teeth and Foehammer off Blood Eagle; I guess our writing style went in that direction once or twice on Revengeance.

There seems to be a new rich wave of emerging bands within the doom landscape, how are you seeing it from the inside as one of those increasingly driving the scene for the past decade?

Most of them aren’t ‘doom’…… You will see heavy bands, but why can’t they just call themselves ‘heavy metal’? We adopted up our own ‘Caveman Battle Doom’ thing as a joke after our first ever show called us that, but we don’t take that seriously. There are lots of great HEAVY bands out there though, but they aren’t necessarily doom…

The UK and European doom landscape is at its strongest to date though would you say?

I guess so. Those bands that are actually playing music that resembles doom do it very well – Serpent Venom, Coltsblood etc. There are lots of cool bands currently; it’s a good time to be alive.

What is next for Conan as 2016 develops? You have some live dates I believe coming up?

Yeah, we are touring the US in March and then the rest of 2016 we have lots of live shows and festivals. We love to tour.

Once more, our big thanks Jon for sharing your time with us. Any last thoughts you would like to add?

Cheers, thanks for reading.

And finally, give us an insight into the records and artists which could be claimed to have most inspired your own creative life.

Slomatics’ Flooding The Weir and everything that followed it.

http://www.hailconan.com/    https://www.facebook.com/conandoom/

Read our review of Revengeance @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/conan-revengeance/

RingMaster Review

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Mammoth Mammoth – Mammoth Bloody Mammoth

MammothMammoth_RingMaster Review

As the band unload their avalanche of ravenously heavy riffs across Europe on the on Up in Smoke Tour VOL VI! with My Sleeping Karma and Greenleaf, Australian rockers Mammoth Mammoth have seriously whetted the appetite again with their new four-track EP. Featuring two brand new predators as well as a re-worked older scavenger of the senses alongside a blazing cover, Mammoth Bloody Mammoth is a rousing thunder of everything it is so easy to get lustful over.

With last album Volume IV – Hammered still stirring up acclaiming attention after its release almost a year ago, the Melbourne quartet keep the juggernaut of invasive temptation rolling with more of the refreshing same in their latest incitement. The two new songs open up the release, the predatory crawl of Taste Your Blood invading ears first. Swiftly, as expected, the track hits a feisty swagger and mischievous determination as its fuzz infested rock ‘n’ roll gets dirtily flirtatious. The gravelly tones of vocalist Mikey Tucker becomes the ringleader in devilment, his inviting bait backed by the punchy swings of drummer Frank Trobbiani and the grouchy tones of Pete Bell’s bass with guitarist Ben Couzens penning them all in with a wall of anthemic riffs entwined in flaming grooves.

MammothMammoth art_RingMaster ReviewThe track is unashamed, balls showing rock ‘n’ roll quickly matched in kind and success by Drugs. Punk ‘n’ roll to get down and dirty with, the track swings and twists with an insatiable appetite to stir up trouble and bad habits. With its predecessor, the song has the body exhausted and pleasure overflowing and the treats only continue as firstly the band uncages an incendiary cover of MC5`s Kick Out the Jams which alone inflames an already greedy appetite. Within the punk soaked slab of feverish rock ‘n’ roll grooves and rhythms collide as in a mosh pit, the band leaving the listener physically wasted with similarly fevered emotions in tandem before closing off the EP with one final potent stomp.

A re-mastered version of Dead Sea completes the rampage. Instantly it is a rolling wave of portentous rhythms and stalking riffs within smog like intensity which smothers the senses; a dark trespassing hug veined by resonating suggestive hues and shimmering textures. Primal and mesmeric, shamanic and seductive, the track is an increasingly enthralling drama and as the EP, simply Mammoth Mammoth at their best.

Mammoth Bloody Mammoth is out now via Napalm Records.

https://www.facebook.com/mammothmammothband  http://www.mammothmammoth.com/

Pete RingMaster 20/02/2016

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For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/