The Simpletone – Angels’ Share

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There are some releases which just demand success. Whether they get it in the increasingly fickle attention of the modern music fan is never a given but Angels’ Share, the new album from British rockers The Simpletone, does all the right things to make that commanding statement.

There is little we can share about the 2010 formed band other than its line-up is made up of John Davison, Craig Seymour, Glenn Eastoe, and Tom Cahill, it hails from St Neots in Cambridgshire, and has previously released the albums, Rampenny in 2012 and Dark Matter two years later, both seemingly well-received propositions. A UK tour with New Model Army in 2014 has been one of many live highlights for the band built on their stirring fusion of heavy and melodic rock with grunge, stoner and numerous other essences. It is a mix of flavours making for a striking proposition and imaginative proposal in Angels’ Share and songs which just roar with anthemic majesty and fiery enterprise.

The first of the ten cuts gripping ears and an early appetite for the band’s invigorating rock ‘n’ roll is Outta Control. Instantly a spicy groove winds around ears, leaning in closer as tenacious rhythms and riffs join its opening bait. Effect coated vocals equally lures keen ears as the song swaggers along with steady but rapacious grooves and a suggestive melody. The restraint stopping the track from exploding as it hints it might throughout is an inspired move, the song teasing and almost taunting along its enterprise shaped body. The heavier throb of bass and flames of harmonies only add to the lure of the song with guitar craft similarly as magnetic.

The following Love Street (Modern Mystery) keeps the rich enticement going with its punk folk lined stroll, simple but potent riffs colluding with swinging beats as vocals paint a suggestive picture. Its catchiness is a swift persuasion rapidly backed by the boisterous antics of the guitars as the track carries on the great variety already showing in the band’s sound, diversity more than confirmed by their mighty new single Storm Chaser. At over eleven minutes it is an epic persuasion which serenades the senses with melodic and harmonic caresses initially before building a bolder energy amidst an addictive rhythmic prowess. Weaving strands of space and progressive rock among other textures into its ever evolving adventure, the song is a kaleidoscope of melody heavy rock drawing on an array of decades while creating its own fresh, individual, and ever changing landscape of imagination. Like a mix of Skyscraper (the nineties UK band), Life of Agony, and Voyager, the track barely feels like its length and relentlessly has the listener compelled.

angels-share-cover_RingMasterReviewThe fact that next up Black Box still manages to eclipse it slightly shows the quality of its own exceptional design. A spirit stoking beast from its first touch, the song canters with muscular tenacity and fiery invention bred to virulent proportions as its mix of hard and heavy rock consumes ears and imagination. The track is exceptional, as punk in many ways as it is feisty rock ‘n’ roll with a drama of character and craft that demands attention and involvement.

Fire in the Sky steps up next with a growl in its basslines and a contagious swing in its rhythms, guitars and vocals dancing within their addictive tempting as soulful blues lined grooves bring an incendiary heat to the proposal. Like a seventies inspired union of Therapy? and Reuben, to try and offer a comparison, the song forcibly hits the spot before making way for the slower stoner-esque prowl of Nehemiah, an incitement pulling sludgy textures into its increasingly exotic and suggestive theatre. It is seriously compelling stuff, another song blossoming through an array of twists and flavours as it grows in ears.

The melodic charm of Day by Day is a similarly riveting proposition, the graceful yet sinewy instrumental finding a place between XTC and Tool as it seduces the imagination, setting it up for electrified air and nature of As Above so Below. Courting ears with a rapaciously formidable core in its raw riffs and bold rhythmic, the track wraps it in a melodic spiciness and mellower harmonic seducing which echoes elements of bands like Bush, Alice In Chains, and Sick Puppies yet sounds little like any.

If we tell you that Easy Come lacks the same galvanic sparks of its predecessors do not mistake it for a weak link within Angels’ Share; the song a highly persuasive slice of rock ‘n’ roll with guitar craft which shines like a beacon as the bass uncages a funk inspired personality. The fact the track is outshone by others is down to their might, a strength revelled in again by album closer Hunters. Whether by coincidence or design, there is a Horslips feel to the song certainly early on, and of fellow Brits KingBathmat but as across the album, things are soon woven into an addiction of sound and creative hooks roaring The Simpletone.

It is a glorious end to one treat of a release which deserves all the praise and attention it should and surely will get. Angels’ Share is another rousing encounter to add to our lustful favourites of 2016 list and no keener a recommendation we can offer.

Angels’ Share is out now across most online stores and on iTunes @ https://itunes.apple.com/album/id1169473074?ls=1&app=itunes

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Pete RingMaster 16/11/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Headsticks – Feather and Flame

Headsticks_RingMasterReview

Whichever angle you come at Feather and Flame, the new album from UK quartet Headsticks, it is a seriously rousing incitement. Offering eleven diverse and eventful slices bred in the band’s fusion of folk and punk rock, the release gets the body bouncing, thoughts sparking, and the spirit racing. The breeding of serious pleasure is not low on successes triggered either as Feather and Flame not only reinforces the reputation already earned by the band but confirms Headsticks as one of Britain’s most irresistible and essential punk ‘n’ roll adventures.

Formed late 2012 by former members of bands like Tower Struck Down, Jugopunch, and The Clay Faces, the Stoke on Trent hailing Headsticks quickly whipped up potent interest in their sound with a debut three-track E.P in 2013. Their live presence was just as rapid in stirring up of support and fans, the band over time playing shows across the UK as well as numerous festivals whilst sharing stages with a host of well-regarded names in both the folk and punk/alternative genres. The summer of 2014 saw the release of first album Muster, a proposition highly acclaimed by fan and media alike and again backed by the band’s persistent live hunger. Now it is Feather and Flame seriously stirring up ears and attention with its socially and politically charged and challenging songs fuelled by a delicious diversity of sound and dramatic adventure.

The album hits the ground running from its first second, jangling chords and beef rhythms grabbing ears as opener What Do You Want leaps into view. Vocalist Andrew Tranter quickly has the imagination hooked as he lyrically opens up an insight into the lives of the working man and the importance of and habit for things that possibly warrant neither. It is a provocative and swiftly contagious encounter, at times a thumping canter of sound and energy with moments of sweltering funk spice which only adds to its virulent drama.

featherandflame_RingMasterReviewThe thrilling anthemic start gets swiftly matched by the evocatively aired Cold Grey English Skies. Here the rhythms of bassist Nick Bayes and drummer Tom Carter hold a touch more reserve in their framing of a similarly reined urgency shared by Steven Dunn’s guitar, but all easily cast a catchiness which has hips swaying to their movement and the descriptive prowess of Tranter. With a gloriously melodic and addictive chorus, the song has a rich hint of Flogging Molly meets Violent Femmes meets Fatima Mansions to it, further flavouring to seduce ears and appetite before Go Move Shift uncages its own individual virulence. Straight away the song infuses country-esque revelry to its quickly tenacious folk honed rock ‘n’ roll, this time around thoughts picking out Midnight Oil as a hint to the hues working away within another forcibly persuasive track. The flavouring is just another example of the great variety within the album already showing its bold face across the first trio of treats.

The excellent Old Folk Songs has feet and voice soon involved with its punchy mix of folk and punk; a blending of sound around honest appraisal in some ways carrying a scent of Paranoid Visions to it whilst its successor Foxford Town brings a Pogues like lilt to its just as inescapable infectiousness and enthralling drama. Again an array of rock strains collude to create an emotive weave of sound around similarly nurtured syllables and once more Headsticks sculpt a chorus which demands eager participation. Tranter’s harmonica charms bring further colour to the proposal as they do in the traditional folk seeded Mississippi’s Burning where, as you might expect, bodies are induced to bounce and voices inspired to call out along with the band’s rousing croon.

Pay the Price matches it in persuasion and core sound, and subsequently success whilst Tomorrow’s History offers a more rugged affair with its anthemic arousal. The first of the two is an easy coaxing with its successor adding more boisterous attitude and energy to a shared quality of temptation, it bringing a tinge of bands like The Tossers into play before the compelling Every Single Day flirts with fifties rock ‘n’ roll for its power pop/folk punk romp. All three tracks leave the breath short and an appetite for more, greedier; that want more than fed by the outstanding Burn the Sun which follows. Creating a shuffle soaked in sultry seventies funk devilry and seventies new wave devilry, the track swings and flirts like a unique mix of King Trigger and New Model Army.

The album closes with the acoustic tempting and open heart of Falling Out of Love Song, a final folk caress to hungrily embrace before pressing play on Feather and Flame all over again. The album has that addictive quality, one listen leads to another or more almost every time whilst Headsticks is a band for punks, folksters, and rock ‘n’ rollers alike; for anyone who likes being aroused and provoked in equal measure by music that just gets under the skin.

Feather and Flame is out now across most online stores and @ http://www.headsticks.co.uk/shop.html

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Pete RingMaster 11/04/2016

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Paradigm – Realize EP

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Offering four tracks which either hit the ground running with ears and imagination or simply blossom into just as potent propositions over subsequent listens, it is fair to say that the Realize EP is one attention commanding debut. The first EP from London trio Paradigm, it is a striking introduction to a UK rock band already stirring up strong words of acclaim.

With its initial seeds sown when vocalist/guitarist Alex Blake met drummer Angel D at school where they exchanged a Nirvana album and instantly became best friends, Paradigm truly stepped forward with a line-up completed by bassist/pianist Giulio Granchelli. Honing their sound whilst earning swift and potent reputation for their live presence, the band eventually hit the studio where producers John Cornfield (Muse, Oasis, Robert Plant, New Model Army, Supergrass) and Paul Corkett (The Cure, Bjork, Placebo, Nick Cave), after recording the EP with the band, announced that “This is one of the most fresh and exciting modern rock bands we‘ve produced!”

Realize opens with the instantly impressing Desire, a track which has the listener’s physical and emotional involvement on broad with little time or effort. Riffs and rhythms create a united coaxing further enhanced by spicy grooves and the quickly compelling and throaty bassline cast by Granchelli. As melodies add sultry temptation, the dark tones of Blake steal their big portion of attention, his presence already being described as Nick Cave-esque, and understandably so listening to the opener.  It is an enthralling persuasion catching further alight with its rousing chorus and volatile emotive energy. Every twist brings a new spice to enjoy, keys pulsating with an enterprise as resourceful and magnetic as the drama fuelled hooks and collusion of vocals cast across the band.

Paradigm Cover Artwork _RingMasterReviewThe stunning start is closely matched by Your Darker Side. It is a less intensive affair but just as rich in melodic tempting and creative imagination. Many bands have been offered up as an attempt to describe Paradigm’s individual sound; Muse, 30 Seconds to Mars, U2 among them but we suspect everyone will find out their own unique comparisons, as here the song reminds these ears of The Fatima Mansions and Teardrop Explodes as much as anyone else, a Julian Cope air also seemingly lacing Blake’s again impressing tones and delivery. The thrilling and highly infectious song itself proceeds to build crescendos of energy and intensity, each erupting seamlessly into anthemic roars and gentler hugs of expressive sound.

To reveal another shade to their songwriting and sound, the sombre yet fiery Strangers has a Walker Brothers air to it at times, going on to unveil a grungier presence leading up to and for its tempestuous chorus. Pete Wylie also comes to mind across the song, but as suggested each will hear their own references such the thickness and depth of the Paradigm sound and invention. Fusing various strains of rock, past and present, the song fascinates as much as its catchy qualities seduce, and though it does not leap on the passion as swiftly as its predecessors, Strangers has them just as greedily hooked in time

The same with closing track The Miracle. Its theatre of sound and emotion sees the poetic hues of a piano aligning with almost orchestral like drama, an imaginative blend needing longer to explore and get into but emerging as another easy to embrace proposal if admittedly not quite to the same strength as the previous three on personal tastes. Nevertheless the band only impresses individually and as a single thick flirtation of the senses.

Paradigm have announced their presence in big, bold, and at times breath-taking style with Realize so expect to hear much more from and of this potential bulging band.

The Realize EP is released April 8th through Sumind Records across all stores.

http://www.paradigmofficial.com/    https://www.facebook.com/Paradigmcomprock    https://twitter.com/paradigmrealize

Pete RingMaster 06/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Exploring the roar of The Erkonauts with Ales Campanelli

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With their recent signing with Kaotoxin Records, those of us who missed it first time around had the very welcome chance to grab the debut album from Geneva’s The Erkonauts. Quickly devoured on its first self-released outing, the world-wide re-release of I Did Something Bad has allowed those slow to the presence and roar of the band to explore their ferociously diverse and increasingly fascinating tempest of genre varied flavours and sound. The album was a rousing and invasive slab of voracious, the kind of incitement that “heavy duty recommendations swarm to.” As the quartet prepares to create their already highly anticipated follow-up, we eagerly grabbed the chance to talk with bassist/vocalist and ex-Sybreed, Ales Campanelli about the band and their first album whilst looking for clues and spoilers about their next offering.

Hello Ales and thanks for talking with us.

Before we get on to your recently re-released and rather tasty debut album, can you tell us about the beginnings of the band; its seeds and birth etc.

We started really existing in early 2014, so there isn’t much history yet. We come from different bands in Geneva, and the timing was right for us to meet around this project. Everything was very organic. The Erkonauts are a natural free flowing occurrence.

Did you have any specific intent and ideas with band and sound at the start?

I think so yeah. We really wanted this Metal blend with a punkish progish touch. Mostly, we wanted to have fun. And tour. You gotta have tours.

The Erkonauts_RingMasterReviewIt is fair to say that your sound fears no boundaries and hungrily embraces a multitude of flavours. For newcomers how would you best describe it?

Well thank you very much! I like to describe what we do as Progressive Punk. But I guess it can be confusing because we wander in the Metal genre, and all these words have various meaning in the mind of people. We have been placed in so many different categories that we lost track of it. So in the end, full circle…I go back to Progressive Punk, for the oxymoron.

As I mentioned, recently your debut album I Did Something Bad was unleashed again, this time via the outstanding Kaotoxin label. Originally released in 2014 in limited amounts, it is probably fair to say that there has been a horde of appetites waiting to get their hands upon it too. Did you sense this and was it one of the main reasons for its re-release?

We released a second batch in 2015, and this one also sold out, which is fantastic. We were convinced that the album still has a lot to offer, and would benefit greatly from a worldwide exposure, which it did. We discussed it with the indeed outstanding Kaotoxin and they agreed to insert it in their catalogue. In the long run, it keeps the album easily available, and it gives it an “official” touch. It is part of the band history as an official release instead of deluxe demo. So it’s all good things and we are truly grateful.

Tell us about its creation and the premise behind its themes.

We felt the urge to release some no bullshit rock n roll. Without going in too many details, some of our previous musical endeavours became more about complicated and uninteresting stuff than about music. It was boring and hurtful. I Did something Bad is all about tension release. It’s pure freedom. Sincere and heartfelt. The themes are mostly urban, and revolve in many occasions about the need to compare ourselves to others, to reach standards we don’t care for and to live in envy. Of course this isn’t true for all the songs. 9 is better than 8 is about nine being better than eight for instance.

Were songs and ideas all fresh since the formation of The Erkonauts or were there some things going further back which have been lying in wait within the imagination and subsequently woven into the band’s invention for I Did Something Bad?

That’s a very relevant question. The vast majority of the content was new, and created specifically for this album. There is however here and there the occasional riff that I had for a long time without finding a proper use for it. I can recall that it is the case in the beginning of Gog.

You are working on its successor I believe also to be released via Kaotoxin? How far along is the album?

You are very correct! We are currently in the writing process, which should be over soon. The recording will start around the end of spring and will take about two months. We’re going back to the Downtone studio in Geneva, since the last experience was such a pleasant one.

Any spoilers you can offer to whet the appetite further?

Well we don’t have much to say right now. We intend to keep a video journal of the recording and share the whole process. There will most likely be a music video further along the way. Of course the spirit of the band will remain unchanged.

Have you approached the album any differently to its predecessor in the writing or recording?art_RingMaster Review

I don’t think so. We have the habit of working almost every day on the songs. Rethinking and rearranging them constantly, until… we’re too late and have to record them. I joke, but we like to take time for the arrangements to shape the song in a comfortable way. So the process is, at least at the moment, the same.

How would you say your sound has evolved between those first songs and those on the forthcoming release?

I kinda think it’s too soon to tell for that. We’re too involved in it to see that clearly right now. Maybe we’ll know a lot more about that when the rehearsals will start.

What did you learn with the first album which you have employed or pushed further for the new encounter?

We know that we will record in a safe environment which will allow us the possibility to experiment on a few things and even do some last minute arrangements. This is a pure treasure to us.

Can you give any clue of a possible release date?

It’s going to be in 2017, not much else is set in stone I’m afraid.

Other than working on the album what else has The Erkonauts got in store for 2016?

Well the making of the album and rehearsals will probably take most of our summer, but after that, it’s all about touring. We have plans to travel in Europe and Russia in fall, something in Asia seems to be shaping up. And of course, we’d love to visit the US again!

My thanks to you again for sparing time to talk with us. Any last thoughts you would like to add?

Well thank you very much for the interview and the sweet sweet review!

The Erkonauts2_RingMasterReviewAnd finally, give us an insight into the records and artists which could be claimed to have most inspired your own creative life.

Well I can’t talk for the whole band on that matter. We each have our own distinct tastes. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s definitely going to be bands from the 70s. On the top of my head I can think of Uriah Heep or Queen. The album In Trance from the Scorpions is one I consider a timeless masterpiece.  On more recent acts, Suicidal Tendencies, Primus, Faith No More, New Model Army… There are so many. And of course, a Swiss, it is our sworn duty to mention Coroner and Samael 🙂 which both had a huge impact on my childhood.

Read our review of the Kaotoxin Records released I Did Something Bad @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/the-erkonauts-i-did-something-bad/

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Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 25/03/2016

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Stoneghost – Faceless Ghost

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As Faceless Ghost, the new single from UK metallers Stoneghost furiously and creatively bellows in the ears, there is no escaping offering a hearty thank goodness. The reason being that the song and album it comes from, was written at a moment it is fair to say which was pointing to the demise of the band. This had come about because, in the words of vocalist Jason Smith; “I was having a kid and I couldn’t cope with it, I didn’t think I would be able to carry on with the band too, I wasn’t in a good place.” Deciding to go out with a bang and show the world the most potent essence and fury of what was Stoneghost, the South East London quartet created debut album New Age of Old Ways. Thankfully the band’s sound and new offerings found their way to the attention of the Mascot Label Group (Black Label Society, Volbeat, Gojira, Joe Bonamassa), and here we now are with the album scheduled for release in April, its lead single poised to stir up the European metal scene, and Stoneghost seemingly back on compelling course.

The Bromley band began in 2007 and swiftly made a potent impression on the London live scene. Forging a ferocious blaze of rock ‘n’ roll bred from varying strains of metal and a hardcore voracity, the foursome of Cris Finniss (drums), Jamie Nash (bass), Andrew Matthews (guitar), and Smith continued to grip attention and increasingly so across the UK, making highly successful appearances at Bloodstock in 2009 and 2010 with equally impressive performances at the Wacken Open Air festival and Metal Hammer’s Hammerfest IV in their wake over the next couple of years. It was 2013 when the band’s frontman had his ‘crisis’ and turmoil reached the band. Fighting through it though to subsequently record New Age of Old Ways with Russ Russell (Napalm Death, Evile, Dimmu Borgir, Sikth, New Model Army), Stoneghost is now ready to take their place at the forth of British metal and again we can only give thanks.

As the majority of songs gracing the album, Faceless Ghost was bred in that troubled time for band and Smith, the singer talking about the song recently saying, “It’s about my daughter, she was on the way, I was feeling apprehensive and scared about the responsibility and seeing a therapist at the time, I was having some really low points, but because I had a daughter on the way it gave me the reason to sort myself out.” There is a definite personal angst and passion behind the song which echoes that moment, an intimacy to its tempest which rages as potently as the ravenous sounds.

The song opens with a dazzling weave of guitar enterprise, a spicy melodic colour which captivates from around just as swiftly established and equally compelling rhythmic predation. Things only intensify and grip tighter as Smith’s punkish roar spills emotion across the thrash toned canvas. Grooves and hooks add different and fascinating flavours and textures to the song next, the proposition already transcending various metal subgenres whilst brawling with its own aggressive individuality.

Matthews’s superb sonic and melodic designs continue to ignite the imagination as does the lyrical force of the song, whilst bass and drums are predators within the magnetically spiced triumph. Across track there are glimpses of bands like Pantera, Bloodsimple, and Overkill, but only whispers in a sound which leaps out like a beast and incites body and emotions with tempestuous majesty.

Roll on New Age of Old Ways

Faceless Ghost is available from March 2nd and New Age of Old Ways on April 27th via Mascot

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RingMaster 02/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Monster Jaw – Losing All My Friends EP

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The end of 2013 brought forth Get A Tattoo, the debut EP from UK rockers Monster Jaw and a release which we found to be ‘Drenched in promise and an intriguing raw pleasure’. It was release which frequently lured our ears back into its potential fuelled grasp from thereon in and inspired a broader wave of national appetite for it with a reboot earlier this year through Cobra Kitten Records. Now the band returns with its successor and not only realises some of that brewing potency but has thickened it further, to again captivate, excite, and raise expectations that the Bradford/Leeds based trio will evolve into a pungent rock ‘n’ roll protagonist.

The Losing All My Friends EP bulges with a clutch of songs which manage to snarl whilst they seduce, each combining a mellow smouldering with heavy and hungry intensity. The tracks grip and spark full involvement from imagination and attention yet also they feel like a little bit of a missed opportunity in not going for the jugular creatively and aggressively. Nevertheless the release is a sizeable persuasion and a thoroughly enjoyable encounter which increases the stock and stature of one of Britain’s more fascinating emerging bands.

Formed in the earlier moments of last year by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Mik Davis (ex-New York Alcoholic Anxiety Attack), bassist Neil Short (ex- Down the Machine), and drummer John Bradford (ex-Utopian Love Revival), Monster Jaw was soon sculpting striking songs bred from the inspiration of their surroundings and life experiences. Narratives of such baiting as love, sex, drugs, and dystopian futures swiftly gripped as the band’s sound and live presence brewed up a buzz , something Get A Tattoo soon fuelled further. Shows and support slots on tours for the likes of Stiff Little Fingers and New Model Army only accelerated their emergence and it is easy to see Losing All My Friends, produced as its predecessor by Wes Maybe (The Libertines, Roger Waters, Robert Plant), giving it all another healthy thrust.losingallmyfriendscover

The title track opens things up and takes little time in cupping ears with melodic enticing and rhythmic incitement. Once relaxing into its fiery stroll, with the strangely low key yet highly alluring vocals of Davis spicing up the growing sonic blaze, the track unleashes an infectiousness which is more a slow invasion than a virulent infestation but finds the same irresistible results. The shadowed basslines of Short temper and compliment the scorched temptation of guitar whilst Bradford jabs and probes ears with a reserved but punchy tempting, everything merging for a feisty and compelling mix of garage rock and punk with just a whiff of Jesus and Mary Chain tangy acidity.

The impressing start is followed by the catchy stomp of Low and the punkish psychedelic alluring of Lidocaine. The first of the two songs ebbs and flows in force, melodic caresses building to raw and energetic crescendos which hit the sweet spot. Though that changing of attack is emulated a little in success, the track is a bruising seduction which emerges as another potent slice of nostrils flaring alternative rock persuasion flavoured with a blend of Birdland and My Bloody Valentine essences twisted into something distinctly Monster Jaw. Its successor is a sultry furnace of hazy atmosphere and flaming sounds which again grip most addictively in its explosive eruptions which descend from slower suggestive build-ups. As its predecessor, the song is one where it walks a fine line between calm and aggression and maybe might have found a new gear choosing one over the other. It has to be said though but both, and especially Lidocaine linger and flirt with thoughts and emotions long after their departure so maybe the band has it right after all.

The release is completed by two bonus tracks, first up being a studio version of fan favourite Do It Gay, Do It Straight. It is a ridiculously compelling and anthemic slab of rock ‘n’ roll for feet, voice, and passions, and so easy to see why it ignites audiences. Completed by an extended version of the title track, Losing All My Friends is an increasingly impressing proposition. It gets bigger and better with every listen and though yes it does feel like the band missed a potent trick with it, the EP shows a more imaginative, creatively mature, and adventurous Monster Jaw, and that works for us.

The Losing All My Friends EP is available via Cobra Kitten Records now @ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Losing-All-Friends-Monster-Jaw/dp/B00N953ZK0/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1414436807&sr=1-1&keywords=monster+jaw

http://www.monsterjaw.co.uk

RingMaster 27/10/2014

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New Model Army – Between Wine and Blood

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New Model Army has never been slow in impressing and stirring up thoughts and passions since forming back in 1980 with their uncompromising and inventive sound, lyrical confrontation, and inspiring stage presence but it is fair to say that the Bradford band hit a new pinnacle with last year’s Between Dog and Wolf album. It showed as if fans needed reminding, that the band has become more impressive and essential with age, the rigorously acclaimed release being rewarded with being the UK band’s fastest selling offering and charting top 30 in UK and Germany. Now the band unleash the similarly outstanding and eventful 2 CD encounter Between Wine and Blood. Made up of six brand new songs on one disc and eleven live cuts of tracks from the previous album on a second, it is an invigorating continuation of the riveting creative plateau set out upon Between Dog and Wolf.

Following the potent release of the last album, NMA set out on the Between Dog and Wolf Tour to equal praise and success. Part two of the tour was scheduled for the spring of 2014 but due to drummer Michael Dean being diagnosed with blood clots in his leg and advised not to play shows, the tour was postponed until this autumn. The break enabled the band to hit the studio and to record 6 brand new songs for the mini studio album accompanying the live CD. The songs are bred from and continue the weighty impressive presence of Between Dog and Wolf, pushing and exploring further its creatively imposing and thrilling emprise. The tracks make for a compelling and enthralling companion to the live portion of the release. Recorded from the first part of the aforementioned tour at venues in London, Nottingham, Cambridge, Cologne, and Amsterdam, the CD sublimely reinforces and the power and impressive stature of the last full-length and the band live, easily capturing the raw and emotive energy which marks their songs and stage presence. Combined the two sides of the proposition makes for one of this year’s most enjoyable and striking incitements from a band as mentioned earlier just get better and better.

The new tracks start off with According To You and needs little time to consume ears in a slow yet heavy and throaty embrace of bass and guitar. It swiftly slips into a pungent stroll of predacious riffs and sonic enticement from the guitars of Justin Sullivan and Marshall Gill, whilst vocally Sullivan imposes himself with the distinctively confrontational yet expressive calm which has always marked his delivery. The grouchy tone of Ceri Monger’s bass brings another breath of drama to the prowl of the track whilst its flowing chorus is unafraid to dabble in rock pop without defusing the intensity and weight of the impressive opener. It is a stirring encounter, but emerging in hindsight as just the tasty appetiser for greater things to come starting straight away with Angry Planet.

The second track has barely time to coax the imagination before raw riffs incite a rampant stroll of anthemic beats from Dean, which in turn are caressed by a gentle but vocal melody and the ever riveting lure of the bass. Exploratory electronic breezes from Dean White enhance the dramatic evocation cast by the song for a stunning challenge where lyrics and vocals work on thoughts as magnetically as rhythms enslave limbs and the inventive sonic weave steals the imagination. Sure to be a crowd favourite ahead, the song builds and boils into a climactic finale driven by the discontent and unrest theming its narrative, ultimately cementing itself as a show and album stopper.

Guessing is equally anthemic in its individual stomp, beats and riffs an irresistible incitement over which melodies and sonic designs twist with flirtatious hues as vocals and the increasingly impressive bass endeavour of Monger, nestle 46f67d33-e5e6-4afa-b8eb-68050a268a25perfectly between the song’s antagonistic rhythmic drive and seducing creative enticement. Another to chalk up as a classic NMA proposition, the song is rivalled by the bewitching Happy To Be Here. An emotive folk embrace wraps ears as a sultry melodic temptation and ambience provides a mesmeric colour to the vocal draw of Sullivan and a courting acoustic beauty. An energetic bounce to the track just as rapidly emerges but is never allowed fully off its leash, the band instead simply breeding it into an infectious swing driving the provocative and intimate adventure.

The new material is completed by firstly the stunning Devil’s Bargain, again a tribal seeded bait opening up the track as keys build a haunting yet engaging atmosphere. It is an instant trap in which feet are unable to stay motionless as the body subsequently succumbs to the baiting. Thoughts and emotions are not far behind in their submission either, keys and vocals leading the resourceful and radiant temptation. As all the songs, there is a potent unpredictability and intrigue to every twist and shift of ideation in the track but skilfully explored with seamless ingenuity and passion. The closing Sunrise, the band’s new single, is a punk folk treat if it can be tagged as anything, which simply oozes irresistible melodies and spellbinding harmonies across a sinew sculpted spine. To be honest it is not the standout song on the release but still an easy choice to lead people into the album.

The live side of Between Wine and Blood just as tightly and swiftly grips passions and appetite, from the fist pumping thrills of the opening Stormclouds through to the closing contagion of Horsemen, band and CD steal total interest in ears and attention. The opening track sets the tone, pulling the listener into the middle of the tempestuous glory of song and occasion, skin almost tingling as ears are immersed in the passion and energy of the night it was recorded.

With every track a roar of intensity and passion delivered with the craft and snarl which has always been NMA, there is no point in the album where you wish to be anywhere else but certainly tracks like March In September with its fiery provocation, the impossibly addictive and brilliant Did You Make It Safe?, and especially the voraciously transfixing I Need More Time take the biggest plaudits. They are rivalled by the excitingly hostile shuffle of Between Dog and Wolf, a classic track and imperious live version in anyone’s book. As said though every song is a transport right into the heat of their recording and the evidence that there cannot be many finer bands live than New Model Army right now.

Mixed by Joe Barresi (QOTSA, Soundgarden, Tool and Hole), Between Wine and Blood is a must for fans and all with a yearning for impassioned and powerfully inventive rock ‘n’ roll, whether from the studio or stage. NMA also have a voice which never shirks taking on the world’s injustices and social wrongs and that as shown by this outstanding release, is just as masterfully engrossing.

Between Wine and Blood is available now on the band’s own Attack Attack label in various packages @ http://shop.newmodelarmy.org/ and https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/between-wine-and-blood/id907118636

Check out New Model Army’s current tour dates and more @ http://newmodelarmy.org/

RingMaster 02/10/2014

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