The Open Eyed Dreamer – Free Your Own Mind

free your own mind_RingMasterReview

The Open Eyed Dreamer is the solo project of Bracknell hailing Steve Fearon, the former frontman of the strongly missed British industrial rockers Ghost In the Static. The Free Your Own Mind is the debut EP from that project which was in many ways an idea and presence predating Fearon’s previous band. In the words of the man himself though, “For a long time, The Open Eyed Dreamer was nothing more than a persona, a mask worn on stage, someone sung about in Ghost In the Static Songs.” With the striking Free Your Own Mind the first ‘words’, The Open Eyed Dreamer is now Fearon’s voice against a world where “power is misused and misappropriated by those who hold all the card.”, and a release for his inner anger.

Fusing electronic incitements with raw rock and melodic pop textures, Fearon’s sound and EP is an attention grabbing blend of extremes and differing textures. It roars in defiance, snarls with antagonism, both lyrically and musically, but equally seduces while inflaming body and imagination with vibrant melodies and tenaciously infectious hooks. The heart and thoughts of Fearon and songs are unmistakable, their bite and contempt at the injustices running and ruining the world forceful but bound in music and imagination which forcibly but contagiously suggests and highlights without ever breaking into the realms of preaching.

Free Your Own Mind opens up with Press Enter To Continue and the line, “This is a bed time story but not for the innocent; you know what you’ve done and what it meant.” As big portentous beats accentuate the moment and the gentle but open inescapable challenge of that simple line, synths begin to rise and bring their intimidating sizzle to the brewing provocative drama of the brief opener.

The attention and imagination seizing start leads to the magnetic lures of Simple People where instantly it too is wrapped in dark shadows and an oppressively evocative ambience. Simultaneously Fearon’s vocals unveil the track’s narrative and emotion with rich expression and the enjoyably familiar style that helped make his previous band a potent proposition. Warm flowing melodies align to catchy beats as hooks just as magnetically blossom within the darker climate of the song, all seducing and igniting body and spirit as firmly as its tone and words spark the imagination and emotions.

Inspirations drawn upon by Fearon include, among many, the likes of The Prodigy, Gary Numan, NIN, Cease2exist, KMFDM, Infected Mushroom, and Combichrist. They are essences which in varying degrees you can sense across Free Your Own Mind. Third track Waiting though, has a hint of fellow UK band MiXE1 to it, something after investigation unsurprising when learning the song, the only one not solely written by Fearon, was created with Michael Evans of MiXE1 and Defeat’s Gary Walker. The pair also physically feature in the song; Evans’ vocals easy to spot within moments as they provide an excellent companion and foil to the equally impressing and darker tones of Fearon. The song is superb, a swiftly captivating persuasion with also a touch of the Walker Brothers to its melodic and emotional atmosphere. Synths paint a just as potent and dramatic picture as the vocals and lyrics, a combination which infests and lingers in appetite and memory.

It surely has to be the lead track to draw newcomers into the project, though The Last Revolution provides a just as commanding and gripping proposal next. Its shadows are far darker than its predecessor and in some way, especially rhythmically, its drama even bigger and bolder as the song envelopes ears and thoughts. There is also a great predacious nature to a track which at times feels like it is stalking the senses; nudging and imposing on them as an instinctive volatility inspires scything strikes of beats and keys for another resonating incitement.

The EP is brought to a close by The Final Photograph, a smouldering electronic caress with sonically blistered skin veined by melodic and vocal coaxing. The gentler wash of synths and sonic suggestiveness also has an inbred irritability which subsequently erupts and fuels the track’s volcanic and galvanic climax.

It is a fine end to a great, I guess, introduction to The Open Eyed Dreamer. Fearon calls Free Your Own Mind his “call to arms” and indeed it is an arousing of the listener in many irresistible ways.

The Free Your Own Mind is out now @

Pete RingMaster 12/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Defeat – You Know What You Are EP

Defeat pic

And so it continues, the emotion twisting sounds of Defeat have returned to voraciously crawl through ears and into the psyche. The UK duo have already increasingly trespassed into and seduced the senses through their previous encounters, each bringing evolution to their music and breaching new creative plateaus whilst suggesting there is more to come. The band’s new EP, You Know What You Are, is the realisation of much of this promise yet in turn it gives the feeling that they have still come nowhere to exhausting their potential, even though it sets the loftiest marker yet for the band in sound and invention.

Hertfordshire hailing union consists of vocalist Anthony Matthews and the master of synthetics Gary Walker, two school friends who have continually played together through previous guises from those days onwards. Each exploit has been a stepping stone to Defeat, and the breeding of a sound inspired by the likes of Nitzer Ebb, Depeche Mode, NIN, Front 242, Front Line Assembly, and Skinny Puppy. As Defeat, the pair swiftly lit attention with the release of their Outbursts! EP in 2012. Its emergence around a year after Matthews and Walker were truly able to concentrate on Defeat, lured an increasingly number of eager ears and appetites, backed by a subsequent remix EP entitled simply Defeat Remixed. It was debut album [Seek Help] in 2013 that pushed the band most forcibly onto the European EBM/ electro-industrial map though with its raw and magnetic atmospheres around angst soaked explorations. It was challenging and infectious, a fusion of dark climates and virulent electro pop digging now taken to even more experimental and striking depths with You Know What You Are. There is still that expected and inescapable catchiness, each track whipping up vivacious energies and anthemic temptation but equally they devour the most imposing and darkest corners of emotion and life.

YKWYA_cover     The EP opens with Want and instantly has ears intrigued and hungry as pulsating bassy electronics rap on the senses before being joined by a fiery melodic coaxing, It is a restrained but pungent start, rhythms quickly building up a head of intent and steam leading to a purposeful stride where the always expressive tones of Matthews invite and provoke. His delivery is part monotone, part dour, and all thick persuasion, the perfect temper and compliment to the bubbling electronic tenacity and haunting shadows respectively. As with previous encounters, the band’s sound stirs up welcome thoughts of Fad Gadget, the fusion of light and dark, invasive tempting and compelling contagion similar as Defeat sculpt their own unique incitement of dark pop.

The following Twist is just as dynamically gripping and texture entwining. Theatrical, gothic kissed keys spark the imagination first, the lure never relinquishing attention as a more caustic electro breeze joins the play. In no time the song is sauntering along with thickly jabbing beats, fizzy electronic tempting, and the narrative shaping delivery of Matthews. Things only blossom further as Walker infuses a great blistering of guitar, its presence adding to the sinister ambience evoked and fuelling the encounter. As its predecessor, there are moments of clear pop within the hazy almost portentous embrace of the track, those enticements boldly seeded in the eighties electro/synth pop which has also been a ripe influence on the band’s sound and songwriting.

Resist comes next and dares you to comply with its title, but to no avail as a Numan-esque smog wraps ears first before volatile electro sounds and rhythms rigorously simmer in an expanding provocative landscape of sour melodic tension and vocal prowling. There is always drama to the sound and narratives of Defeat, but possibly this song is their most incendiary on ears and imagination yet, thoughts especially running with its rich persuasion to create their own dark exploits alongside that of the song. It is a transfixing proposition matched by the outstanding Attention Seeker. This is a predator of a track, every beat carrying menace and each syllable a spiteful leer whilst synths cast a web of diverse colour and enterprise; even its addictive swing and spicy melodies seem to have a carnivorous grin to their tenacity.

The song is an invigorating and intoxicating anthem contrasted impressively by the next up Care For Me, a track uniquely individual but a match in magnetism and invention. Whereas Attention Seeker was open in its antagonistic charm, its successor embroils itself in another intriguing imposing caress of sound and reflective exploration. Spatial melodies seep from keys whilst guitars bring a raw fiery texture to the immersive croon, and within it all Matthews slowly releases deep rooted angst and emotional torment in the dark intimate tale.

The industrial air of Goodbye is an early hook which only thickens its bait as the song and vocals create an aural dystopia within an increasingly more rugged and inflammatory infection soaked stomp. It forces its dance upon feet and emotions, chaining their submissive enlistment into its ferocious staging of riveting sound and menacing intent. The track is a pulsating gem, at its heart pure slice of rock ‘n’ roll and in its increasingly psychotic character, pure inventive, belligerent devilry.

You Know What You Are is completed by a quartet of mixes, Ruinizer bringing the Bye Motherfucker Bye Mix of Goodbye, Paresis offering the Blackened Mix of Want, and Cease2Xist casting their Self Loathing Mix of How Pathetic, a track from the band’s Outbursts! EP. The cream of an enjoyable quartet though is the Shaken Not Stirred Mix by X-KiN of Twist, which features the exceptional vocals of Veronick. It is a gloriously fresh slant on the song with the lady’s voice enthralling as it takes centre stage.

Defeat have returned with yet another impressive step in their songwriting and sound whilst, as suggested earlier, implying that there is plenty more still to be unearthed in their imaginations and creativity. So whilst enjoyment boils over with You Know What You Are, anticipation is already on the rise again.

The You Know What You Are EP is available now digitally and on CD @

RingMaster 23/05/2015

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Spookshow Inc. – Visions of the blinded world (pt.1)



A furiously agitated entrapment of industrial, metal, and electro rock, Visions of the blinded world (pt.1) is a fiery embrace to colour the way to an impending apocalypse. Its contagion is bred from the darkest corners of arcane themes taking in elements such as ‘time travel, dreams, out of body experiences and death’, but also there is a rich expression of human failings and frailties, all sculpted with striking imagination and clad in virulently varied sounds cast by Norwegian band Spookshow Inc. Imagine the world cast in imposing ravenous shadows feeding on the psyche and emotional turmoil to a soundtrack bred from a merger of Nine Inch Nails, Apollo 440, The Prodigy, and Skinny Puppy, though this is still a slim-line representation of the adventure abounding the release, and you have the rigorously compelling Visions of the blinded world (pt.1).

Just as enthrallingly veined with middle-eastern sounds too, the album is the result of a journey taking around seven years. The origins of Spookshow Inc. though go back to 2003 when Lucky Spook (guitar, programming, songwriting, producer) and Soltex (vocals) united and began honing a sound described as a mixture of Pink Floyd, Prodigy and Paradise Lost and increasingly influenced by bands such as Rob Zombie, KMFDM, Die Krupps, Skinny Puppy, NIN, Chemical Brothers, and those middle east sounds. Initially a duo hiring in additional musicians for their live shows, the band garnered strong praise as they played numerous festivals and supported The Legendary Pink Dots in 2005 on a leg of their European tour. The pair began working on Visions Of The Blinded World (pt.1) in 2006, being joined by instrumentalist Sharaz on bass and synth for the last songs recorded. Released on the bands own label Thunder Of The Distant World, the album makes a riveting introduction with a gripping invention and originality which is simply an inescapable temptation. Having grown in size with the inclusion of Seba to the line-up, Spookshow Inc. is poised to make a striking mark on electro/industrial rock; that is if anyone is brave enough to share their aural dystopian visions.

A simple resonating clang of twanging guitar is the potent coaxing bringing the imagination and album together, opener Games Of Delusion (art and religion) setting the exploration in motion. Its tone is soon swallowed by portentous caresses of haunting synths and percussive stalking, everything under a heavy air and slowly invasive atmosphere. This in turn is permeated with vocal samples and a warm and patiently waiting blaze of techno revelry. Its fire is given further freedom though still with a rein on its energy as jazz sparks flirt with ears and raw dance rapacity entwines the sturdy spine and enticingly rumbling belly of the song. It is a potent and gripping start, not one which ever explodes as it constantly hints it might but a track setting up a hungry appetite for more, a greed soon fed by New World Crash.

The second song instantly has a darker and more aggressive countenance, sinews driving beats whilst Soltex’s vocals carry a menacing snarl to his melodic persuasion. The sounds conjured by Lucky equally growl and sizzle with hostile coverpredation and electro static, yet as the first track they never quite escape their binds to go for the jugular. It is a hold which works a treat, especially with the Trent Reznor like exploration which searches the darkest corners and elegance of the track. Provocative Middle Eastern spicery adds to the drama and invention of the outstanding proposition before it makes way for the even greater temptation of Scary Dream. Like a collision between KMFDM, Ghost In the Static, and The Prodigy, yet discovering its own identity ultimately, the track is an exhausting and ravenous tempest of energy and imagination, its electro rock tenacity and enslaving infectiousness the making of addictions.

Female hailing whispers and harmonious wails within another Eastern flavoured breeze opens up Falling Down pt.2, darker tones from Soltex swiftly adding encroaching shadows to the mesmeric tempting. It is not long before he turns them into passionate roars to compliment the increasingly evolving and portentous yet radiant landscape of the song. It is a fascinating track, one which has you fully involved and immersed in its spicy energy and adventure but then drifts away to make you feel there is unfinished business. Again it is a twist which actually elevates the song rather than defuses its potency, it seemingly revelling in the adage of ‘leave them wanting more’.

Things taking a chilling turn with Requiem For a Vision, where sinister air colludes with menacing vocal variety for another creative twist to the album. A progressively fuelled slice of intrigue and sonic unpredictability, the song is a slow burning prowl, a thick and sultry seduction which takes longer to get a grip on than other songs but emerges as a web of imagination and sonic trespass before the muscular stomp of Dead Shot Baby unveils its rugged charm and intensive rock ‘n’ roll. As much industrial as it is funky, equally as electronically powered as it is ferociously antagonistic, the track is a swift grudge of a treat before the psychedelically seeded beauty of My Secret Plan. Featuring Matangi Shakti, the song is a feisty shuffle of melodic elegance, Middle Eastern magnetism, and shadowed noir kissed enterprise. It is an imagination firing adventure where drama and bracing emotional espionage flirts relentlessly from every second of the album’s best moment.

The similarly thought exploring Cyberage keeps the creative theatre and engrossing bait of the album at its most incendiary, the song a caustically abrasing and infectiously binding suasion, whilst the next up Map Of The World glides through dank caverns and stark climates in its provocative crawl across the senses. The track is a croon from the darkest nightmares, reminding strongly of Fad Gadget with the gothic predation of Paradise Lost.

The album closes with the evocatively and sonically picturesque Other Side Of Time (Vision Of The Blinded World), flavours and sounds from a global tapestry merging for a tantalising sinister waltz. It is a menacing and thrilling conclusion to an album which gets better and reveals more with every listen. Visions of the blinded world (pt.1) is a labour of love from the band and an increasingly rewarding adventure for the listener, whilst Spookshow Inc. is a potential clad protagonist ready to help see out the end of the world with the embrace of their inimitable invention, an apocalypse sure to get only more colourful with the band’s second instalment of their journey due next year.

Visions of the blinded world (pt.1) is available now digitally and as a Limited edition cd digipak via and

RingMaster 07/11/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Akb’al – …Of Darkness and Light

Akbal Online promo shot

    …Of Darkness and Light is one of those encounters which makes a striking initial impression but over time and subsequent journeys unveils and expands into a constantly rewarding and riveting adventure. The creation of Welsh progressive metallers Akb’al, the seven track album soon shows it is much more than that tag suggests, the band exploring and employing resources across a multitude of styles to produce one thoroughly absorbing and provocative experience. The release is not without minor issues, and they are minor but with craft and hunger to seduce and savage across its formidable presence, the band’s debut is an impressive adventure to grow from.

     The seeds of the band began back in 2006 with Michael Young-Temple (vocals, bass, tablas, djembe, didgeridoo and the kaossilator!) who coming to the end of travelling around the world began fusing his experiences and world percussion instrumentation into a more stoner/prog rock and metal bred songwriting. Linking up with Thoby Davis (vocals, guitar, violins) and Rob Miles (guitar, backing vocals, synths), the trio began evolving and expanding Young-Temple’s early ideas. The band was eventually completed with drummer Michael Hourihan, also of Onslaught, and from 2010 set about building a live presence. The Cardiff quartet took little time in making a mark locally and with shows alongside bands such as Ten Cent Toy, Thorun, Chaos Trigger, and Fell on Black Days was soon an established and eagerly followed proposition around their region. Next came a venture into the studio to set about working on…Of Darkness and Light; the result a tempest of imagination and invention and one of the more exciting and compelling entrances so far this year.

     The band bring influences from the likes of Tool, The Doors, and Porcupine Tree through to Kyuss, NIN, Alice in Chains, and Akbal Cover ArtworkCoheed And Cambria into their sound though again certainly they are spices heard but only a slight flavour of what …Of Darkness and Light feeds the senses within. The title track opens up an imaginative and intimidating flight, the track a venture through the dark side of the release’s theme, an exploration of the darkness and light in human reality and state of the mind. Opening female torment within a cloud of pestilential breath coaxes in a shadow drenched bass and guitar incitement, the former heavy and respectfully imposing and the latter a melodic tender heat wrapped in spoken whispers. It is an intriguing and imagination probing invitation which flows into an aggressive and tempestuous oppression of noise and intensity. Merging mellower caresses with menacing sonic rapaciousness the song weaves and entrances the senses with a blend of progressive, nu, and psyche metal for a potent and riveting start.

     The Ride takes over with the same fluidity and mix of dark and light evocations, voracious and magnetic textures easily lying in each other’s arms as the song develops a melodic metal temptation. Again nothing settles into a singular persuasion or attack, bursts of primal agitation vocally and rhythmically punctuating the transfixing melodic wash of the song and great clean vocals. Sonically the track equally ebbs and flows with intimidation and temptation, both fuel to the open invention and craft consuming the ears.

    From the very strong start the album switches up another creative and impacting gear with Totally Recalled and the following Equilibrium.  A muscular rock essence which at times flirts with a Metallica like tempting guides the heavyweight stoner persuasion of the first song, an exhaustive metallic predation united with an infection clad groove just as irresistible and virulent in its ignition of the passions. As with many of the tracks there is a slight familiarity to certain moments but never anything to deter thoughts and emotions from falling greedily into the scintillating feast of sound and enterprise on offer. The track’s successor and new video single from the band is pure magnetism, simply nine minutes of smouldering wanton seduction from its opening melodic notes. Thumping rhythms and a bass snarl is soon stalking the senses whilst another strong and impressive swarm of clean vocal harmonies soak the ears with the equally pleasing lyrical narrative. The song is an unbridled addiction, unveiling a mouthwatering range of grooves and hooks within a flowing evocative soundscape which never relinquishes its hold and immense stature across its epic expanse. Like a mix of KingBathmat and Tricore with a healthy touch of Mishkin to its ingenuity at times, the song is a masterful triumph and the obvious doorway into Akb’al.

     Restless And Waiting is bred from the same bloom of ideas and inventive sculpting as it predecessor but returning the ears to the scavenging causticity of coarse vocals and sonic predation within the melody rich adventure. The song provides a subtler though no less captivating addictiveness with its squalling charms. It imposingly completes a trio of major peaks in the range of lofty highs with the sultry suasion of Pacha Mama stepping up next to take its share of the imagination. A gentler and progressively crafted soar through melody enriched and expression cast sky, the song is a mesmeric and evocative exploration bringing diversity and further acclaim upon the release.

    …Of Darkness and Light closes on the extensive instrumental Light, a lingering invention driven travelogue of emotional reflection and expressive scenery taking in twelve minutes of tantalising continent travelling endeavour. Admittedly like a couple of songs it is a little too long to keep attention as enraptured as it deserves but as mentioned earlier the issue is a minor quibble against the pleasure and enthrallment surrounding the senses. It completes an outstanding encounter from a band in Akb’al, who you can be sure we will hear much more of and in even greater circumstances ahead.


RingMaster 10/02/2014

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The new AKB’AL album,’…Of Darkness and Light’, uncaged on 10th February

Akbal Online promo shot
With an extensive cluster of intriguing influences spanning from Tool, The Doors and Porcupine tree, to Kyuss, NIN, Alice in Chains and Coheed And Cambria, Akb’al have served up a genuinely exhilarating piece of progressive rock that tips its hat to experimental metal in passing. Akb’al release “…Of Darkness And Light…” on Monday 10th February 2014 through all national outlets.
Akb’al began as a concept back in 2006 when Michael Young-Temple (Vocals, Bass, Tablas, Djembe, Didgeridoo and the Kaossilator!) was coming to the end of a long spell travelling around the world. Initially, his songwriting focussed on the key elements of stoner/prog rock and metal; however due to his experiences from his extensive exploration, he soon introduced world percussion instrumentation into the equation. Michael took these songs to his musical contemporaries, Thoby Davis (Vocals, Guitar, Violins) and Rob Miles (Guitar, Backing Vocals, Synths), and together the trio further sculptured and elaborated on Michael’s early ideas. The band soon recruited long-time friend and current Onslaught tub-thumper Michael Hourihan to play drums, who added extra power and depth to the band’s already established sound.
After further tweaking their sound Akb’al hit the stage in 2010, and since then, the wide-reaching four-piece have extensively played throughout Wales, racking up shows with Ten Cent Toy, Thorun, Chaos Trigger and Fell on Black Days along the way. After firmly establishing themselves regionally, the band headed into the studio to work on their debut album “…Of Darkness and Light…”. The quartet came out of the studio armed with a killer album. Packing seven stunning cuts, the record showcases experimental ambient texturing and engaging soundscapes underpinned by cutting hard rock and thoughtful metal undertones, all bonded together to take you on a progressive journey that will truly inspire and ignite. The album is set loose this February; look for the new video single ‘Equilibrium’ out soon. Also, head on over to the band’s Facebook page for show updates.
Akbal Cover Artwork

The February Coma – Light It Up EP

The February Coma

Hailing from Flint, Michigan and consisting of vocalist/guitarist Jim Miller and drummer Jason Rood, alternative rock duo The February Coma is a bit of a mystery other than that, Their bio, apart from listing the likes of Alkaline Trio, Billy Talent, The Black Keys, QOTSA, NIN, Silverchair, and Jack White as artists the pair have a liking for, gives little away outside of the basics. Their new EP Light It Up is another matter, the three track release revealing a band which is soaked in potential and imagination. The EP like the band’s sound is definitely work in progress and comes with a few limitations but the promise and satisfaction produced by the accomplished release only goes to awaken a certain appetite for the band.

Released via Honyock Records, the Light It Up EP opens with its title track and instantly through the gritty riffs and punchy rhythms steals attention its way. There is a riveting groove to the song which wraps keenly around the ear whilst a heavy bass tone unleashes a deeper coaxing. It is a strong start which is tested slightly by the vocals of Miller, his punkish tones not always holding notes and fluency as tightly as you would wish or as engagingly as the song needs. Nevertheless the track rumbles along with 67401potent musical lures and heavy rock tempting which though it holds no major surprises provides plenty of bait to get the imagination into and emotions stoked by.

The following Red also opens with a strongly appealing beckoning of guitar, it’s almost grinding riffery an immediate captivation complimented by the tempered rhythms of Rood and a better balance of vocals. As the first song it does not quite explode into action as expected but does leave another healthy enticement of sonic endeavour and melodic enterprise, offering plenty to suspect a robust future for the band as they and their sound evolves into a more individual presence. The strongest track on the EP, it captivates from start to finish with a blues kissed guitar craft and infectious riffery which impresses throughout.

The closing Shed A Tear slips into a slower gait though punctuates its roaming with bursts of sonic flame and emotive energy. Again there is seemingly a spark missing which prevents it greedily rampaging in the passions but equally with excellent guitar play from Miller it grips a level of attention and satisfaction which sculpts a big impression in thoughts.

As stated earlier band and sound is definitely still emerging as a presence and identity with arguably a fair way yet to go but Light It Up shows that the band is undoubtedly on the right course and armed with all that is needed to provide a wealth of greater encounters in the future. With attention to the vocals needed, whether from Miller or with all respect to the musician by the addition of a third member in that department, The February Coma with their latest release sets themselves up as a proposition well worth keeping a keen eye on; definitely expect to hear more good things from them ahead.


RingMaster 30/12/2013

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Vajra: Pleroma

Having already been captured by Vajra through their track Inside The Flame which was featured on The Bone Orchard Radio Show, there was a lot of biting at the bit hoping to have the chance to hear and review their debut album Pleroma. From that song alone our anticipation and expectations were probably unjustly high not that it was a problem as the album simply blew everything imagined away. It is aural majesty, a beautifully crafted and emotively driven piece of wonder. Admittedly the list for album of the year candidates is longer than the waiting list at an NHS hospital but Vajra are there at the fore with their stunning introduction to the world.

The seeds of Vajra began with its founder composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist, Annamaria Pinna during her self-imposed exile in India. The daughter of a former monk and school teacher, Annamaria was encouraged to look at, learn about, and question assumptions about the world including her own, her creativity and music borne from and continuing that premise. She also has a neurological condition called synesthesia, which results in one sensory stimulation opening a secondary involuntary experience, in the case of Annamaria she attaches colour and shapes to sound.  How it impacts on her songwriting one cannot imagine but certainly her music is nothing less than enlightened imagination and melodic mastery.

With sell out gigs including shows at The Bowery Ballroom, The Mercury Lounge and The Bowery Electric in NYC, licensing deals with The Discovery Network, MTV, Showtime and Bravo, and their music being played across 200 radio stations nationwide in the US and of course across the internet, Vajra is on an unrelenting rise. Alongside Annamaria bringing her vision and music to realisation upon Pleroma, there are the skills and talent of drummer Blake Fleming (ex-The Mars Volta), bassist Doug Wright (The Dirty Pearls), and guitarist Will Dahl (ex-Harley’s War), together the quartet exploring and expanding the passions of progressive rock and welcoming hearts.

The theme of Pleroma is an exploration in paradoxes (east vs. west, soft vs. pummelling, female vs. male), with songs which are enveloping and inciteful suns of melodic rock woven with Eastern Indian themes and sounds. Grammy-award winner, Sylvia Massy (Tool, System of A Down, Prince, Johnny Cash) co-produced and mixed the tracks whilst mastering was handled by Tom Baker (NIN, Foo Fighters, Ministry, Prince), the resulting understanding and clarity as important as the invention within.

The album opens with the wonderful Inside The Flame, a song which wraps its tender arms around the senses with melodic beauty whilst squeezing throughout with anthemic intensity to increase the wanton pleasure. It opens on a brewing atmosphere, slightly haunting but soon with shadows lit by bobbing bass tones, fiery guitar play, and the stunning voice of Annamaria. Her voice is that of an angel and devil combined, her tones warm caresses or heated squalls forged with feisty and forceful power. The song itself rises and ebbs throughout, always with a sirenesque call no matter if consuming the heart with subtle whispers or blood surging sonic anthem. The bass of Wright is glorious, a moody and prowling presence whilst the rhythms of Fleming ignite all primal and instinctive urges and passions.

As mentioned the song was a deeply rooted fever before the album so a fall was a possibility from then on in but no chance. The following Almost One slowly treads its way through the ear with shimmering keys behind the provoking bass and precise guitar touches. Once more the vocals lead to drifting thoughts and imagination as the lyrical content is unveiled with heart and expertise. Though not as dramatic as the first track the song is an absorbing melodic summer which heats and thrills evenly across the senses.

The darkly ambient instrumental India makes way for the immense Blind, a song which prowls with layers of rippling muscle and explosive sonic heat. It is a towering piece of vision and creativity, its heart a pulsating living passion driven with brooding rhythms, evolving flaming guitar juice from Dahl, and showers of golden vocal harmonies and feeling. It is irresistible, a sunspot of aural wonder veined with spires of intensity.

Pleroma just moves from one slice of majesty to another, every track a perfect combination of ingenuity, sounds, thought, and heart. The likes of the evocative Intuition with its hypnotic heartbeat, the smouldering 3.14, and See Through, a song which sways and glistens with crystalline delight within its firm breath, lead one down further diverse roads of sound and thought to the same result, total joy.

Closing on the magnetic lure of The Apple, a shifting storm of building emotion and energy, Pleroma is quite glorious. Its soundscape is a perpetual emotion generating journey of expression, reflection, and investigation. At times it is a shadowed meditation and in others a towering fire of spiritual might which flames with burning passion. It is extraordinary and wholly delicious. The last line of their bio states ‘Vajra’s music will leave you spellbound’. Hell Yeah!

RingMaster 17/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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