Steve Blower – Back in Hell

Having impressed with their new tracks within the EP, The Abyss Vol. 1, last year, it the first of a planned trilogy of releases building towards their new album, UK metallers Hamerex was put on hold by its members. From that decision vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Steve Blower quickly took the opportunity to begin working on his own solo project. The following November saw the Facilis Descensus Averno EP released, its presence evolving to first album Back in Hell, a release sure to arouse the instincts of any heavy metal fan.

As mentioned, Back in Hell has grown from the seeds of that first EP, better recording equipment and fan funding allowing its songs to grow and be improved and join a host of new tracks within Blower’s debut full-length. With eleven slabs of heavy metal bred, classic metal spiced proposals, the album was initially planned for release late last year but with severe wrist injuries preventing Wakefield hailing Blower, who is truly a one man project playing all instruments and creating its art, working on the drums Back in Hell was put back by five months or so. Co-mixed by Blower with Andy Firth, who also did the mastering, it is now poised to uncage its roar.

The album’s title track is the first to grip ears and attention, the opener immediately a surge of riffs and hungry rhythms as infectious as they are rapacious. Familiar classic hues are openly embraced within its lively canter, Blower’s vocals equally unapologetic in their old school metal/nwobhm influence yet quickly the song establishes its own character and that in the overall sound of the album.

The great start is only matched by The Whisperer and its equally tenacious exploits. As with the first song, there was no escaping the persuasive presence and incitement of riffs, the guitar a boisterous yet fierce conjuror alongside another lively vocal cajoling from Blower with subsequent hooks and melodic flames only adding to the track’s easy success on ears and appetite.

 What’s Left of Me has an eighties metal breath to its opening holler which is soon immersed in the more voracious traits of the song but is never quite devoured to add further flavour to the traditional breeding of the encounter. Though not quite hitting the heights of its predecessors for personal tastes it is a magnetic affair from start to finish before being fully eclipsed by The Prophet. The following track immediately had the imagination engaged as its shadow thick crawl into view comes rich in intimation. The slowly revolving groove at its heart is pure melodic liquor, continuing to intoxicate as the track weaves its temptation and Blower unveils his guitar craft and enterprise to its fullest depths. The song is superb and quickly takes favourite track honours never relinquishing that spot to its following companions.

Certainly it is tested at times though and swiftly as Arabian Nights shares its swarthy, darkly lit instrumental adventure. It has a heroic breath to its drama and emprise shaped by guitar intrigue, its cosmopolitan theatre of suggestion manna to this imagination while the similarly instrumental Out of this World and after that, The Midas Touch only kept ears, thoughts, and pleasure as enjoyable busy. The first of the two has a Celtic whisper to its melodic narrative, a whiff of Horslips at play early on though soon just a thread it is evocative and multi-flavoured landscape whilst its successor starts with a voraciously heavy trespass from rhythms and riffs but again a welcomingly contagious one even as melodic and sonic intimation paints a deeper palette of sound for the imagination to relish.

Together the four tracks provide the pinnacle of the album for us but in a landscape never sliding too far away in strength as the likes of Twisted Evolution, with its compelling lowly slung heavy grumble and conspiracy of sonic suspicion, and the eventful The Slain / Ties that Bind easily prove. The second of the pair coaxes keen attention as an evocative melodic tempting in voice and guitar takes little time to escalate in intensity, urgency and diversity; riffs and rhythms colluding with a brooding bass and the hearty lungs of Blower. There is volatility to it which if never quite erupting gives the song a great edge in tone and theatre and helps a track which maybe again struggled to match its predecessor do nothing less than enthral and please.

The final pair of the seriously compelling Haunting Misery with almost predatory riffing shaping its warrior like presence and the fiery classic metal powerhouse that is the Maiden-esque The World is Ablaze bring the album to a rousing close. Both tracks sparked eager participation in spirit and body and alone left a lingering lure to dive swiftly back into Back in Hell.

How long we will have to wait for the next instalment of Hamerex adventure time will tell but Steve Blower will ensure the wait is not going to be a fruitless time and that the band is going to have to go some to match the qualities and pleasure of his first album.

Back in Hell is scheduled for release on 25th October 2019 with a Special Edition which includes the Facilis Descensus Averno disc also available; pre-ordering available now @ https://steveblower.bandcamp.com/album/back-in-hell

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Pete RingMaster 03/10/2019

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Nightblade – Crisis has no Prejudice

Nightblade - Band pic (1)

Formed in 2010, it is fair to say that UK‘s Nightblade has been a pungent force of muscular hard rock and NWOBHM inspired tenacity which with its increasingly potent evolution in sound, has been a presence locally and increasingly further afield, commanding keen notice. The tail end of last year saw their finest offering yet in the shape of magnetic EP Crisis Has No Prejudice. Consisting of three tracks that impressively fed an ever broadening spotlight on the band, it is now being reinforced by the release of its title track on February 9th.

The emergence of the Kidderminster hailing Nightblade has been ripe with successful shows alongside the likes of Snakecharmer, Diamond Head, Graham Bonnet(ex-Rainbow, Iron Butterfly), and Uli Jon Roth(ex-Scorpions) amongst many. Alongside that, the quartet has unleashed a clutch of highly persuasive encounters, from debut album Servant To Your Lair in 2011, through its successor Closer To The Threshold two years later to their current temptation Crisis has no Prejudice. All have found an eager welcome not only at home but across the metal world, as well as with its media. The latest EP is another step forward in their ascent and its new single, a big lure into their accomplished and stirring sound.

The track immediately has ears bound in a tangy grooved and crisp rhythmic persuasion, one courted by a just as potent and sturdy bassline. Within a few breaths, a melodic web is adding its thick tempting as the equally magnetic vocals almost prowl with the song’s narrative. There is a great rawness to the certainly melodic tone of the vocals; an edge which matches the predacious stride of Crisis has no Prejudice and its anthemic but stalking presence. It is fair to say the song, and in many ways the band’s sound is not worrying the boundaries of originality, clasping faithfully the essences of their inspirations, but with a fresh breath and creative adventure of classic metal enterprise, sits enjoyably apart from much of the crowd offering similarly sculpted bait.

2015 has the potential to be another big year for the quartet of vocalist Mark Crosby, guitarist Dave Parish, bassist Bill Fitzsimmons, and drummer Eddie Neale; it has certainly got off to a powerful start with Crisis Has No Prejudice.

Crisis Has No Prejudice is released on Feb 9th 2015 via the usual digital outlets with a physical copy of the EP also available @ http://www.nightblade.co.uk/music.php

http://www.nightblade.co.uk

RingMaster 07/02/2015

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Tracings of time and reflections: an interview with Black Space Riders

Black Space Riders 1

German heavy rockers Black Space Riders is a band which has persistently drawn acclaim and attention with their unique and ravenously adventurous sounds but it is fair to say that new album D:REI is their finest moment. A journey of progressively sculpted metal and psychedelically forged rock through a dramatic narrative, the bands third full-length is a compelling incitement for the imaginations and passions. We grabbed the chance to find out more with JE and Seb from the band, touching on origins, albums, and much more…

Hello and thanks for talking with us.

Hello and thank YOU, here are JE (vocals, guitars) and SEB (vocals) from Black Space Riders

For newcomers to the band, please tell us about its beginnings.

JE: Black Space Riders were born in the deepest winter of 2008/09. C.RIP (drums) and I wanted to play Heavy Rock again after some years of making decent songwriter-stuff. I contacted SLI (guitar), an old friend from the schoolyard, we had been doing a NWOBHM-fanzine together when we were teens around 79/80. He brought in SAQ (bass) and we started jamming in an old mouldered bowling alley. It was great from the start. Fantastic musical and social chemistry! We created 4 songs in 2 rehearsals. We recorded our debut in 2010 and played shows while writing material for album No.2, “Light is the new black”, which was released in 2012.

SEB: In 2012 I came across and joined Black Space Riders first as an additional and background singer, then as the 5th member. But I already had known these guys years before.

JE: Now there are 5 Riders, 5 friends, just been releasing album No.3 called D:REI.

What are the musical histories of the band members before Black Space Riders?

JE: All of us have been playing in many bands or projects before. SLI played in Heavy-, Punk- and Indie-Bands since the Eighties. SAQ had a couple of Punk Rock bands before but also played in Indie-Rock-Bands, SEB used to sing in Metal bands but also has a great experience in playing accordion and singing weird, folkloristic Chanson-Stuff together with C.RIP who played and plays every imaginable musical style from Jazz over Metal to Ska. I also played in a lot of bands since 1980. Metal, Rock, Wave, Punk, Indie, Folk, Jazz … I played and sung for a long time in a Crossover band with C.RIP, which gained a decent regional/national awareness in the Nineties.

What was the spark or initial intent within the band when you started out?Black Space Riders 3

JE: As said, to create something loud and wild after years of “decent” music and to take up the Heavy stuff that we all are loving since our youth. The idea was to jam around and to create a hypnotic wall of sound … there were no ideas of releasing albums in the beginning

The band’s name stands out and suggests a space ranger like almost comic book appeal. What inspired the band name?

JE: Exactly what you have read in the name. 60ies and 70ies Sci-Fi had a very strong influence on me. I read a lot of those books when I was a child, my uncle had hundreds of them. We were looking for a name which can instantly create cartoonish, dark, hypnotic, psychedelic and cool images.

How would you say your sound has evolved since the early days and your self-titled debut album to what we thrillingly hear on new release D:REI?

JE: This time when we entered the recording studio we knew even better what we wanted and what we did NOT want. As for the sound of the recording itself: we wanted to retain the warmth, the organic live-feeling and the bottom of the first two albums but wanted to add additional freshness, transparency and openness to our existing drive. So – for example – we have been discussing a lot about the amount of “attack” in the drum sound or about guitar amps  and how to record the guitars with our friend and engineer Role (“die Tonmeisterei”) before entering the studio. Stylistically we allowed ourselves to integrate more elements and accepted the eclectic result of our songwriting without sorting out parts, grooves or ideas that sounded a little bit far out in the beginning.

As you said earlier D:REI is your third album; for us an exceptional progressively sculpted metal and rock adventure which can seduce and prey on the senses at any given moment. Did the album end up exactly how you envisaged it or did it have some surprises in store for even you guys as it evolved and emerged?

SEB: There are, in fact, some positive surprises for us. Partial tiny, audiophile little things – but also relevant structural changes we have made during the recordings.

JE: There are always surprises in the studio. The songs and arrangements are final before entering the studio, but then you begin experimenting with sounds or somebody within the band or let´s say our engineer Role has a charming “new” idea and – oooops –you find yourself changing the master plan. We are a live-recording band, old-school, five friends and all their instruments and amps in ONE room … but sometimes  we are adding some decent flavours later … experimenting with dozens of effect-pedals and creating some “space” can be so inspiring almost addictive! We are also experimenting with our vocal expression while recording, encouraging and coaching each other.

1545083_10151894936042963_1727001018_nThe album is split into ‘chapters’ exploring a…actually could you tell and expand on the theme behind the album for us please?

SEB: A new life in a new world? The depths and abysses of the human soul? Find out for yourself !

JE: On the first look a post-apocalyptic plot of destruction, escape, voyage and looking back. But maybe it´s all just in your head and it´s all about inner liberation and freedom?! The listener is defining the meaning of the story. My advice: Take a look at the story and the lyrics (you will find them here: www.blackspaceriders.com/d-rei), then put on your headphones, lights out, volume up and find it out!

Did the lyrical aspect or idea of the album come first or the music?

SEB: We had framework for about the half of the songs when JE delighted us with his concept of “Total destruction as the root of a new beginning and the Journey as a transformation”. From this point concept and music were evolved in parallel.

JE: Music first, basic concept next, lyrics last.

How does the writing process work within Black Space Riders?

SEB: On the way from our debut album Black Space Riders to D:REI we have expanded  the common songwriting.

JE: The process of songwriting has changed over the years. In the beginning I brought in almost finished songs and structures. Today it´s “just“ a riff or some harmonies, somebody picks it up, we start jamming and then we love it or we don´t. At one point SEB and me are starting to hum or sing. We are recording every rehearsal, every jam and are listening to it before the next rehearsal. We then discuss about it and try out different grooves, tempi, atmospheres, sounds. Our drummer C.RIP is playing a big part in arranging songs and developing structures…So the “song” as you know it from the album, is a common work of several band members.

Being a concept album did you approach the writing of D:REI any differently to say previous album Light Is The New Black?

JE: Not really. Light is the new black was considered by many to be a concept album as well. But D:REI seems to be so perfectly balanced and cohering, both musically and lyrically. To be honest: that is a happy ending and not a result of a worked out master plan. We have changed the sequence of the songs several times to find the perfect flow through the whole album … so we had to fiddle around with song titles and lyrics in the last moment during the recordings.

What did you take into the recording of D:REI in particular which you learnt on previous releases to enhance or ease its emergence in the studio?

JE: As said above … a clearer vision about the desired sound, recording techniques, approach and modus operandi. Additionally a greater open-mindedness, a grown faith, trust and friendship within the band and with our engineer/producer … relaxation and a strong belief that this album was going to become something special.

With a concept album is there a more demanding and intensive focus needed to link music and the expanding lyrical story of the narrative or does it pretty much come together as any other album?

SEB: I find it even a little easier because I had a specific movie in my head since the said date.

And is another concept album a possibility for future releases or maybe with the next will you return to individual standalone songs?

SEB: Anything can be, nothing must be.

JE: … all is possible. No plans, no expectations, no disappointments 😉

Have you shows/tour in the works to support D:REI, and if so will you be rampaging around Europe, the UK maybe?Black Space Riders 2

JE: Yes we have played some release-shows in some of the bigger German cities and are working on more shows and festival-slots in 2014. We are doing all this on our own. We have a distro and some professional help in the background, but in order to keep our independency and all rights… no label-contract! So most of the work, organization and booking is up to us. Additionally we all have families and jobs. It seems as though our new album, D:REI, will be received very well, so with that kind of “tailwind” we are starting now to book more shows for 2014 and will hopefully be able to play some festivals in the summer as well. Would love to play some shows in the UK, but we don´t have an “official” distro or label in the UK … so I guess we have to wait for some nice offers to play the UK.

Rightly or wrongly I have the assumption that you are a band which never stops writing or working on ideas, if correct how far are you into writing album 4? 😉

SEB: Honestly we have just a few ideas or fragments, because we were very busy with the preparation of our release-shows. But the prickling is already there and I’m looking forward to the upcoming rehearsals.

 Once again many thanks for sharing time with us, any last thoughts to leave us with?

JE: If you like what we are doing … tell the world about it! Spread the word! May the force be with you!

And lastly what are our biggest inspirations not so much for Black Space Riders but just as musicians?

JE: Of course each of us has different inspirations that is why we sound like we sound. On the other hand we have a lot of common preferences – and again – that is why we sound like we sound. Band-favourites are e.g. Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, NWOBHM, The Chameleons, Motorhead, Monster Magnet, Alice in Chains, Massive Attack … many more. For me personally on top of those: Psychedelia like on the early Pink Floyd –Albums. 80ies Dark Wave like Bauhaus or Joy Division and the BIG three: David Bowie, Tom Waits and Johnny Cash.

Read the D:REI review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/black-space-riders-drei/

http://www.blackspaceriders.com

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 12/02/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

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Night Demon – Self Titled EP

NDBandPic

Hailing from California and breathing the sounds of NWOBHM, Night Demon is a trio beginning to make a ripple across the world of metal. Well beginning is not quite right as not long after formation in 2011 the band was drawing attention amongst fans of their chosen genre, especially online where through Bandcamp especially, their success and appearance led to the organizers of Germany’s Keep It True Festival offering Night Demon a place on the fest’s 2014 line-up. Their debut self-titled EP brings four teases influenced by the likes of Diamond Head, Angel Witch, Tygers of Pan Tang, and Iron Maiden to a wider platform brought with the snarl and fuel of modern confrontation.

Released via Shadow Kingdom Records, the EP opens with the track Night Demon. It is an instant appealing riot of riffs and crisp rhythmsuntitled ridden by melodic flames from the guitar and strong clean vocals. Consisting of Jarvis Leatherby, Brent Woodward, and John Crerar, the latter pair also in The Fucking Wrath, Night Demon envelops the ear in old school metal and fresh energy. It is not a sound breaking down barriers, nor even stretching them, but for passionate and intense heavy rock ‘n’ roll strapped to insatiable melodic metal, song and release provide a rich encounter to lose oneself within.

The strong start is built upon by The Chalice, the track entering on the back of an excellent bass beckoning soon joined by roaming riffs and sonic temptation. The thumping rhythms equally make a compelling invitation and frame the accomplished sonically coloured heart of the song as the vocals again make an expressive hue which only enhances the aural narrative. It is easy to see as the song wraps its well-crafted charms around the ear why the band has drawn an eager following and attention, it an easily accessible and welcoming blaze of modern nostalgia and enterprise.

Ancient Evil chugs along like an express train from its opening seconds but with a gait that is in no rush to miss the sights. The guitars sculpt a scenic route for song and ears whilst the bass treads the sinew clad road provided by the drums with a heavy and eager intensity. As with all songs on the EP, there is a familiarity which arguably deflects it from developing the strongest impact, but the call of all tracks is easy to respond to and join in league with, even if they do not offer a lingering persuasion that remains without their company.

The closing Ritual ensures the release ends on a high whilst reinforcing the promise and stance of the band. Its groove littered flight of incendiary melodic craft and pressing riffs an appetising suasion whilst the muscular prowl of bass and prompting drums cages it all with a firm and determined hand. The best song on the EP, it completes a very pleasing and invigorating introduction to a band we are destined to hear much more of and from. Night Demon has risen and one suspects will have claws in a legion of passionate followers quite soon.

www.nightdemon.net

8/10

RingMaster 06/08/2013

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Satan – Life Sentence

Band-Satan

We must come clean and say that heavy metallers Satan escaped our attention when they came around the first time in the early eighties. They were a less noticeable entrant at the time when the explosion of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal erupted in the UK, a period which lit no fire or thrill personally it has to be said so understandable our miss, and it is only over the years since that their position and importance to fans of the era has been recognised. Now they return with new album Life Sentence and such its impressive and rich invitation a retrospective investigation of the band might well be in order if still not finding a hunger to embrace the movement they frequented back then. The album of all new material is certainly not breaking free anything not heard before or re-inventing aspects of heavy metal but boy is it fun and enjoyable.

As said the Newcastle quintet made their mark at the beginning of the eighties after forming in 1979. Debut album Court In The Act in 1983 made an impact, if reserved compared to the heavyweights at the time, which helped inspire the considered thought over the years since that the band was influential for following bands with their a form of proto-thrash metal. Still relatively obscure though the band went through many line-up changes and band names, Satan becoming Blind Fury and then Pariah for subsequent releases up to 1990 when Pariah disbanded. A one off gig at Germany’s Wacken Open Air in 2004 brought Satan back together before the original line-up of vocalist Brian Ross, guitarists Steve Ramsey and Russ Tippins, bassist Graeme English, and drummer Sean Taylor came together for the 2011 Keep It True festival. In the period from Pariah and the reunion of Satan, Ramsey and English had formed folk metal band Skyclad whilst Ross had reformed his original band Blitzkrieg as well as starting new project Metalizer. From their return at the second festival though Satan performed at several  other festivals across Europe in 2011 and 2012 and now on the 30th anniversary of Court In The Act they unveil their brand new and it has to be said thoroughly enjoyable album.

Time to Die opens up the new release and instantly lures in attention with a waspish sonic beckoning from the guitar before cover_lstretching sinews and energy in to a rampant excitable stomp of crisp rhythms and badgering riffs. It is an immediately infectious declaration enhanced by the clean vocals of Ross. To be honest a desire for more snarl to the vocal attack does rear its head across the album but there is nothing you can give as valid reason to dismiss the great tone and delivery of the man and their impact on the rigorously tempting songs. With impressive guitar invention veining the track it is a pleasing start to the album soon backed up by the following slices of rock n roll.

     Twenty Twenty Five with its shadowed lyrics and pressing intensity wrapping melodic enterprise and evocative basslines continues the strong start whilst the likes of Cenotaph with its muscular hooks and contagious rhythmic inducement and the fiery insatiable energy driven Siege Mentality ignite an even stronger persuasion. Both songs are impossibly addictive and a refreshing adventure in the current metal aggression coursed scene, which applies to Life Sentence as a whole. It is an album which demands nothing and threatens even less for an easy ride but creatively and inventively its gives any current/new heavy and classic metal band or release a course on how to make instinctive and irresistible classic metal.

Songs like Incantations and Tears Of Blood offer up their distinct temptations to push on the appeal of the album with further pinnacles coming with the outstanding title track and closing song Another Universe. The first is a riot of sonic riffing and barbed rhythms with an anthemic chorus and breath, whilst the final song is an intriguing mix of ideas which evolve from a slow melodic temperance to a feisty stomp of incendiary guitar and smouldering vocals veined with precise invention.

Putting doubting expectations in their place with a sure command, the Listenable Records released Life Sentence is a richly satisfying and thrilling release which goes against all personal tastes for its genre seeds to leave a very welcome pleasure in their place. We cannot say if Satan has returned better than ever until exploring their first coming but they certainly have brought a new treat for the year.

http://www.satanmusic.com/

8/10

RingMaster 22/05/2013

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Monument: Rock The Night EP

Heavy metal especially the old school classic kind and The RR has never really seen eye to eye, the likes of Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, and Saxon igniting more discontent than pleasure. It is personal taste of course and as open to all as we are it is makes it rare for the genre to offer something up for us to find appetizing. One of those rarities comes in the shape of the Rock The Night EP from British classic heavy metal rockers Monument, a little treat which without any chance of making our end of year best of lists left more than a pleasing impression and satisfaction behind it.

Formed by vocalist Peter Ellis (ex- White Wizzard, The More I See), the London based quintet do not hide their influences and inspirations, combining all into a riotous and compulsive sound of their own. Their new release does not break into new avenues or rip up the rule book but simply brings the feistiest heavy metal party you can wish for right to your door. Completed by guitarists Lewis Stephens and David del Cid, bassist Jim Ramses, and Matt C on drums, the band seem intent on giving a new life and freshness to the near corpse like state of NWOBHM, something which would normally give nothing but chills this way but Rock The Night EP actually manages to make it almost seem an appealing prospect.

The title track erupts in the ear with an immediate intent to excite and fire up the senses, soaring screams and raging riffs instantly taking over the ear. The song is an insatiable charge of energy and metal passion which leaves no pore or synapse devoid of melodic enterprise and charging intensity. The guitars reign on the track leaving one glowing from their fiery display of forceful riffs and enticing invention whilst the solos leave one drooling, which maybe is not surprising as the song features a guest spot from Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner. The vocals are as expected from Ellis, expansive and highly charged with strong group harmonies adding their enthusiast companionship. Arguably the song offers nothing new except fully energising sounds which have not been this enthusiastic in the genre in a long time, then again not being fans we may have missed plenty of similar moments?

Whereas the opener leaves only hi octane energy and enthusiasm in its wake the following Carry On is a more expected composition. It is hard to call it predictable as again the guitars and vocals are nothing less than impressive whilst the rhythms of Matt C take instant charge of the ear with their powerful and commanding tight grip, but it fails to excite quite as openly. With surging riffs and plenty of chugging ready to link the scorching melodic play, the song is enjoyable without stoking too many fires something which cannot be said about Midnight Queen.

Best song on the EP, the track is addictive from first note to last, the Ozzie like vocals playing well amongst the brew of sinister melodic enterprise and menacing sprawling energy. From the vocal and additional harmonies through to the expressive guitar work the song captivates but it is the bass of Ramses which steals the thunder. Steely with the hunger of a predator it brings a dark shadow and breath all of its own, surely a pact with the devil at play which spoils over in the following Fatal Attack. There is a plethora of good things on the release but his presence is the highlight.

As said the bass continues to ignite greater heights on Fatal Attack, it is as if Ramses has been unleashed and he is making every moment count but the song as a whole is nothing less than thoroughly pleasing. It has a snarl and bite which is distinct from the other songs on the release to make it alongside its predecessor and the title track. One of the strongest moments on Rock The Night.

The closing Blood Red Sky continues the strong and gratifying pleasure surprisingly incited from the release and though it slips a little against the previous duo of songs still holds the imagination and ear with ease.

     Monument with the Rock The Night EP laid waste to expectations to replace them with surprised pleasure. If this is the new state of heavy metal maybe there is a home here for it after all.

Facebook – www.facebook.com/monumentuk

RingMaster 16/08/2012

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The Morning After – Legacy

Before second and new album Legacy, UK Rock band The Morning After had already excited and drawn enthused acclaim and a fervent following from fans to the media, but with this release they will surely take classic rock/AOR to new heights amongst rock listening audiences. With sure exuberance, blatant teasing showmanship, and a definite confidence that their sounds will light up anyone’s day, the band and their album have rounded off a strong year of rock in distinctly fine style.

Fusing classic 80’s metal, melodic hard rock, and NWOBHM with shards of harsher metal and pop the Essex quartet create a sound that is buoyant, energetic and intriguing to any ear. For rock fans Legacy will be manna from heaven and even for the blacker more violently veined tastes as here there is more than enough substantial quality and dark veins running through much of the album to ensure solid attention and satisfaction.

Since their debut album of 2009 You Can’t Hurt Steel, the band has demanded and received impressive attention and support from the UK to even more immediate adulation in Japan. The UK was slower but in determined fashion caught on to the band too thanks to the release and the band’s explosive performances on tours and shows with the likes of Viking Skull and Blessed By A Broken Heart throughout the UK and Europe, plus a scorching performance at Download in 2010. Legacy released via Rising Records will thrust the band even further into the hearts of fans new and old as they take the melodic rock sounds that they have become known for and matured them with songwriting that is intelligent, engaging and captivating. 

The brief title track leads in the album with a glorious and immediately mesmerising harmony of voices before handing over to ‘Into The Fire’ and its vibrant classic rock/hair metal sounds. Addictive choruses, lively melodies and irrepressible energy thrust the song happily into the ear and though the song is not bursting with anything particularly unexpected the stabs of metal/hardcore intensity and coarse supporting vocals add substance that lifts the track. ‘Limit’ carries on in the same mould though stays firmly on the side of melodies with scorching guitar play and solo from Phil Maher and Sam Ryder. Vocally the blend of voices from the guitarists and bassist Gary Stone are a seamless union with the lead vocals of Ryder never less than impressive and of high quality.

The single from the album ‘America’ is another straight forward slice of melodic rock and though understandable why it is the lead track to draw people in it is probably the weakest and most predictable song on the Legacy. It certainly is not bad just a little dull, especially when in the context of the album against the likes of ‘The Witch Is In My Back’ with its creative variety and wonderful additional strings, the meaty and aggressive ‘Rest In Pieces’ and ‘These Hills Have Eyes’, plus by far the album’s best song ‘Stream Of Stars’. The last of these is worth checking out the album for alone, it being easily one of if not the best song to arise this year from anyone. Incisive guitars, probing basslines from Stone, and with drummer Jake Booth skilfully directing the affair this ten minute epic glory of metal and hypnotic melodies reveals there is so much more to the band creatively and in their ability to write stunning songs. In some ways it leaves a little taste of disappointment for the other songs on Legacy, in that though they are all fine and impressive creations they could have been much more on the evidence of ‘Stream Of Stars’.

Legacy is a joyful first rate album with a proud unbridled desire to bring rampant, verging on overblown, controlled glorious melodic rock to the senses. Even ears that crave intrusive pummelling will fall into its charms. The Morning After have created a masterpiece for classic/melodic rock fans that will have them drooling, and for the rest of us they have given one of the more agreeable and intriguing albums this year.

RingMaster 08/12/2011

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