White Noise Radio – Cosmos

Offering an eagerly tenacious union of hungry riffs and resourceful grooves, Cosmos is the second EP from UK outfit White Noise Radio. The band’s ear catching alternative rock owes plenty to inspirations ranging from Porcupine Tree and Karnivool to Incubus and Opeth but proven across four eventful tracks to carry a host of distinctive and potential carrying attributes likely to set the Bristol quintet a couple of steps  aside from the crowd.

Formed in 2014, White Noise Radio has forged a potent reputation and stature across the South-West, pushing broader awareness with their self-titled debut EP last year. Recorded at the legendary Sawmills Studio in Cornwall, Cosmos is poised to draw greater attention the way of the band with its captivating tapestry of melodic and sonic enterprise around a clutch of choruses which simply demand involvement.

The EP opens with the excellent Siren, a song instantly baiting ears with a fine percussive lure, their clipping touch an inviting dance to which melodies and the dark throb of Mark Detre’s bass add even greater potency. Soon the song opens up a teasing web cast by the guitars of Antoine Maas and Ben Lampard, a draw intensifying in weight and trespass before the lead vocals of Lampard grace a mellow breath coming forth within the encounter. There is still a dark edge to the song, the rhythms of drummer James Gill and Detre almost as portentous as they are progressively funky. It is a bold and compelling mix, only increasing its snarl and draw as the song blossoms across a more tempestuous yet controlled and always evolving landscape, with adventure in its creative hills.

Without knowing their influences it is not too difficult to guess the touch of bands like Karnivool and Incubus but similarly that individual character of the White Noise Radio sound is apparent and just as vocal within the equally striking Gone Inside. The wiry riffs of its entrance again make for a richly appetising lure, the guitars and bass seductive and sinister as they continue their invitation whilst subsequent mystique lined grooves flirt alongside before a heavier breath sweeps through it all. As its predecessor, the track twists and turns through a revolving spiral of aggression and intensity, each bringing new textures and drama to easily embrace as the five-piece technically and creatively weave with increasing dexterity.

Latest single, Dawning is next, the song a calmer proposal with a celestial tone to its melodies and bouncy energy to its rhythmic enticement. Vocally Lampard again swiftly impresses, his guitar play also engaging alongside the suggestive flare of Maas. A mellower encounter in comparison to the first pair, it too has a fire in its belly which erupts in sonic bursts and though for personal tastes lacking the final bite and boldness of the first two songs, the encounter has ears and appetite bound in no time.

Wires bring things to a similarly collected close, its Tool-esque tranquillity almost deceitful of the emotional and fiery energy waiting to break at certain times. Throughout there is a dark almost predacious edge to the bass and riffs, a fine tempering to the spiralling sonic lights of the guitar and the ever harmonious and inviting tones of Lampard just as magnetically backed by Maas. With a Bush like scent also seeping from the song, it makes for a fiercely gripping conclusion to a firmly pleasing release.

White Noise Radio has not quite found their unique voice yet but Cosmos suggests it is coming whilst offering songs which quickly get their highly enjoyable hooks into the psyche. The fact the EP only gets stronger and more impressive over listens just adds to the fun.

The Cosmos EP is out now and available @ https://whitenoiseradio.bandcamp.com/album/cosmos

https://www.facebook.com/WhiteNoiseRadioRocks/    http://whitenoiseradio.rocks/

Pete RingMaster 18/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Voyager – Ghost Mile

There is no denying the eager grin which broke upon faces here when the new Voyager album was sent through, having been seriously tempted by the band since their second album uniVers in 2007 and lustfully hooked through their fourth and fifth in the acclaimed shapes of The Meaning of I and V. The later in 2014 set a plateau it was easy to wonder if the Australian band could eclipse thereon in. Hopes and a quiet confidence have just been realised with the release of Ghost Mile, an album which brings a truly fresh breath to progressive metal as instinctively catchy and virulent as it is technically and inventively imaginative.

The success of the Perth quintet’s last album saw the band invited to perform at major festivals such as ProgPower USA, Euroblast Festival in Germany, and the ProgPower Europe Festival in The Netherlands as well as sharing stages with the likes of Deftones, Opeth, Leprous, Protest The Hero, Nightwish, Epica, Oceans of Slumber, and Coheed and Cambria. Voyager ended last year touring Australia with Deftones and Karnivool and being further invitations to play Euroblast and Progpower EU this year, the latter as headliners. Now with Ghost Mile driving things, it is hard to imagine 2017 being anything other than a really busy adventure, one no doubt littered with praise lured by their stunning new album alone.

Mixed by Matthew Templeman and mastered by Simon Strutters, Ghost Mile opens up with Ascension. A golden melody kisses ears first with the warmth and intrigue of a dawn sun, its suggestive air tempting the imagination before bolder rhythms add their bait. Djent teased enterprise is soon joining the blossoming affair, their steely tenacity paving the way for another caress of elegance around the radiant tones of Danny Estrin. As magnetic as ever, his presence is swiftly joined by sturdier textures whilst being the ringleader to an irresistible infectiousness soon fuelling the chorus and body of the evolving encounter. With the suggestive heat of his keytar matched in craft and magnetism by the guitars of Scott Kay and Simone Dow, the song is pure captivation, only increasing its potency as breaks of predacious intent and aggression escape.

The quite stunning start is quickly continued by the equally outstanding Misery Is Only Company. From the off, it has a harder core to its presence, a latent but open intensity which lines jagged riffs and the brooding air of Alex Canion’s bass. There is no containing the instinctive catchiness within songwriting and imagination though, the swinging beats of Ashley Doodkorte inciting similar boisterousness in the resourceful and technical enterprise across the band. Deftones’ Chino Moreno recently likened Estrin’s voice to Duran Duran’s Simon LeBon, something at times easy to agree with and indeed at times the song has something of the British outfit to its pop sensibilities, infectiousness aligning with more predatory essences to masterful effect.

Next up Lifeline initially lays another sunny shimmer on the senses, its progressive aptitude soon courting metallic rapacity though as melodies radiate and vocals warmly croon. Relaxing into a gentle stroll, there is still a constant snarl to the guitars and bass which breeds alluring unpredictability and waiting volatility, the latter never truly having its moment but keeping the calm honest whilst giving the progressive/ pop rock adventuring a threat. As with its predecessors, physically involving the listener is a quick given and with increasingly lust.

The provocative nature of Fragile Serene seduces next, its climate a mix of melancholy and joy with one addictive hook at the heart of a fusion of rich temptations which almost swarm over the senses into the imagination before To The Riverside carries the same fantasy off in its evocative piano led flight towards the waiting more capricious embrace of the album’s title track. From the first second, Ghost Mile has an agitated eagerness which infects body and spirit, the carnivorously laced bass growling beautifully within the fiery but composed roar of the track. Like sonic and melodic alchemy, the song turns four minutes or so into a cauldron of heavy and light, dark and luminous adventure; contrasts uniting rather than battling for the album’s pinnacle.

What A Wonderful Day pretty much sums up the feeling during its three minutes plus, its pop nurtured rock ‘n’ roll as contagious, additive, and arresting as anything heard this year so far. Its warm dance though does have predacious overtones lurking in its shadows, their semi-vocal presence more realised in the tenebrous texture of the following Disconnected, though it is never devoid of the light and vibrancy instinctive to the Voyager imagination. With industrial breath seeping into the track’s progressively nurtured and invasive metal challenge, there is nothing to deter a quick and full submission to its rousing and often caustic incitement.

The enchanting fascinating of This Gentle Earth simply beguiles next, the union of piano and vocals alone sheer seduction and only escalated as rhythms probe and drama floods every rising texture and tendril of contagion sharing sound; an infectiousness belying the emotional reflection of disconnection.

The album finishes with the fiercely charismatic As The City Takes The Night, a track growing from an absorbing tango into a blaze of heart and intensity which smoulders, simmers, and boils across its eventful reflection without ever seemingly taking the same route twice. As the album, the song is a fascination giving more and more with every listen, rewards including pure pleasure.

Expectations of Voyager are always high because of previous triumphs but again left short by an album which will take some shifting from being one major contender for this year’s greatest moment.

Ghost Mile is out now via Nova Distribution across most stores.

http://voyager-australia.com/   https://www.facebook.com/voyageraustralia   https://twitter.com/voyagerau

Pete RingMaster 17/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Pigeon Lake – Barriers Fall

Three years after the release of their striking and quickly acclaimed debut album, Tales of a Madman, Norwegian quartet Pigeon Lake return with its successor in Barriers Fall. The time between has seen changes within the band and a reassessment of the way forward; a shift sparking an evolution in sound too which is actually hard to pin down but openly inflaming the Oslo outfit’s new offering and release which like its predecessor at the time, will make a definite rival to those around it for one of the most essential investigations of the year.

Since emerging in the opening smiles of 2012, Pigeon Lake has grown to be one of the most compelling propositions on the melodic rock/metal landscape. Founded by vocalist/guitarist Christopher Schackt and completed by childhood friend and drummer Andreas Prestby and bassist Kenneth Stiansen, the band instantly sparked attention and praise with the I: Mindrape EP later in that first year. Its themes of domestic violence, sexual assault, and mental health were as striking as the raw sounds inciting ears. The three became four with the addition of lead guitarist Magnus Engemoen soon after while the following year saw Stiansen replaced by Anders Børresen. As their sound moved towards a flavouring more akin to the likes of Katatonia, Stone Sour, and The Ocean, the band’s live presence escalated before they got down to work creating Tales of a Madman, its release coming in the Autumn of 2014 and followed by the band heavily hitting the road again including taking their first steps touring Europe.

Linking up with Wormholedeath Records in recent times provided the spark for that previously mentioned re-assessment and the resulting highly amicable departure of Børresen and Prestby which was soon followed by the joining of bassist Håkon Bechholm and drummer Jonas Rønningen. Now the new line-up has unveiled Barriers Fall, an encounter feeling darker and rawer than that first album yet their most melodically seductive and inventively mature adventure yet.

The album opens with Ragnarok, grooves instantly wrapping ears with shadow lined radiance. There is a portentous edge to them though, nothing imposing but clearly there as rhythms jab and riffs collude around them. Magnetic straight away, the track settles down into a heavy prowl where all those imposing elements erupt for a few rapacious seconds before Schackt’s cleaner tones steer the tempest into kinder waters. Abrasive growls remain alongside him though as the song merges predatory and seductive sides, luring the imagination into a provocative squall of emotion and intensity.

It is a striking start soon eclipsed by the just as tempestuous roar of Lyra. Nagging riffs align with Schackt’s distinctive tones initially, the bass prowling around them before the incendiary heart of the track erupts with fiery melodies and antagonistic tendencies. Harmonies and melodic tempting bewitch as the song subsequently shares its evolving soundscape, contrasting textures blending their potencies in one beguiling encounter. There is definitely something of the aforementioned Katatonia to the song and indeed album but equally the likes of Opeth and Swallow The Sun come to mind though in all honesty Pigeon Lake here and across Barriers Fall only reveal their own character of sound and imagination.

The album’s title track is next, seducing with a mesmerising poetic melody and calm vocal reflection before Rønningen’s beats add increasing threat. In time, as things increasingly simmer with greater intensity, everything comes to a head, vocals spilling their psychosis as a sonic causticity descends. A relative relief in the storm comes with the closing breaths of the excellent track before the more mercurial presence of The Futility of You takes the listener into a controlled yet seemingly unstable emotional embrace. Again the music is a web of trespass and radiance, vocals matching the changeable mood with suggestive prowess as wiry hooks and almost toxic melodies tempt and trap the imagination. Epitomising the album as a whole, the track only reveals new layers and textures with every listen, each time within it seeing growing attraction and the blossoming of image painting thoughts.

Hide and Seek runs a fine line of control and lawlessness, its cauldron of corrosive energy restrained and held back by the harmonic and melodic beauty hugging the senses though it is never more than a breath from breaking free while within Sunder it shapes the predatory nature of a track which equally is as much an oasis of elegance and gentle repose as a turbulent tempest; a beauty and beast of inner and worldly turmoil.

Senses harrying riffs brings A Familiar Problem to bear on ears next, delicious bait opening up into a just as enticing fusion of roaming grooves and brooding rhythms around feral toned vocals. That previously mentioned raw element of the release has its head with the harsh throated presence of Schackt adding to the psychotic edge of the track with clean and melody woven radiancy just as powerful before Perfect Place casts its variable cyclone on the passions. Irresistible within its first moments and only stealing greater lust thereon in, the track breeds an addiction as rich as its unpredictability to provide if not the pinnacle, one of many.

Closing track Let’s Pretend takes the listener into one final embrace of emotional restlessness and creative anxiety, the song as the album whilst being intricately woven and layered is almost anarchic in its nature and heart. It is a fine end to another encounter with Pigeon Lake which simply blossoms and further impresses with every listen.  To be fussy, personal tastes would see Schackt’s throat scarring vocal side reduced to allow his excellent clean and emotionally suggestive tones to have an even larger say but it is a mere passing thought in a release which stirs every part of body and mind.

Barriers Fall is available now through Wormholedeath Records across most online stores.

http://www.pigeonlake.no/    https://www.facebook.com/PigeonLakeMusic/   https://twitter.com/PigeonLakeMusic

Pete RingMaster 17/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Chronos – Pallid Reflection

chronos-pic duncan everton

chronos-pic duncan everton

Coming from the combined areas of Bath and Bristol, UK metallers Chronos recently released their debut album Pallid Reflection. It is a seriously intriguing encounter unleashing an imaginative blend of death and progressive metal with plenty more flavours, many inspired by influences such as Metallica, Trivium, Opeth, Iron Maiden, and In Flames, embroiled in its imposing and resourceful challenge.

Formed in 2014, the quartet of vocalist/guitarist James Rideout, guitarist Joshua Boniface, bassist Tom Chapman, and drummer Jack Camp swiftly made a potent impact on their local and the south of England metal scene. First EP Hour Atonement was released in 2015 to eager reactions, whilst live the band soon found itself playing with the likes of Biohazard and Abhorrent Decimation. Pallid Reflection is the next step in the band’s emergence within the national metal landscape, an encounter which will certainly put their name on the map.

Produced and mixed by Ben Turner and mastered by Joe Caithness, the album opens up with Blood River and a sonic strand of guitar luring ears into the waiting predacious jaws of the track. In no time sturdy rhythms and hungry riffs collude before the quickly impressing skills of the band’s guitarists weave a captivating web of melodic enterprise. It is a feature which lights up the album throughout, as too the contrasts of clean and guttural vocals which give further colour and temptation to the song, especially the former. Though uniqueness is less open there is a great unpredictability to the track which just grips and impresses.

It is a strong and increasingly potent start to the release soon outshone by the following Sea Of Guilt, a hungry tempest of nagging grooves and rapier like rhythms in between passages of stalking riffs bound in restrained energy as clean vocals paint the creative canvas of the song. Again moments of unexpected imagination thrill, helping turn a great song into something even more striking and enjoyable, all offered with instinctively flowing coherency.

art_RingMasterReviewThe epic Thuribles Veil Part 1 is next, ten minutes of carnivorous riffs and grooves courted by just as predacious rhythms as throat raw vocals merge with harmonic beauty and melodic suggestiveness. The track is a cauldron of perpetual intensity, mercurial aggression, and compelling imagination, a playground for ears and thoughts even without the direction of lyric and voice. To be honest, that pretty much sums up the whole of Pallid Reflection and though familiar elements still emerge it would be fair to say they  are treated with an invention and flair which defuses familiarity.

Through the snarling ravenously nagging exploits of Lobotomised and the glorious melodically haunting Shiver, the album continues its trend of each track building on its predecessor and impressing just that little bit more while Awake displaces the elegance of the last track with a bestial swamp of waspish grooves and irritable riffs around more of the predatory rhythms which Chapman and Camp so effortlessly engineer. Arguably the least adventurous track of the album it still leaves the appetite greedy and ensures praise is easily given before Emerald Soul cradles the senses in its melodic arms, they additionally caressed by Rideout’s clean delivery and accompanying harmonies. There is a feel of KingBathmat to the outstanding track, its progressive nature given a clear climate to entrance within.

Crossover is a brutally feral encounter but again one prone to melodic radiance within its primal trespass, superbly crafted switches within a perpetually volatile atmosphere and grievous sonic intent shared with an ability and invention that constantly rises throughout Pallid Reflection and the calmer but no less sonically carnal of the song’s resourceful successor Shadow Of The Sun.

The album is concluded by almost twelve minutes of creative drama and volcanic ferocity courtesy of Thuribles Veil Part 2, a stormy incitement equipped with fiery melodies and scorching grooves around pungent contrasts musically and vocally. It is a fine rousing end to a release which reveals and offers more to greedily devour with every listen. Pallid Reflection is a mighty first step by Chronos and one of the best debuts heard this year with the potential and suggestion in its imagination of bigger and bolder things to come.

Pallid Reflection is out now though https://chronos1.bandcamp.com/releases or http://chronosofficial.bigcartel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ChronosOfficial   https://twitter.com/OfficialChronos

Pete RingMaster 14/12/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Tardive Dyskinesia – Harmonic Confusion

td_2_RingMasterReview

With the suggestion that it and its sound sits “somewhere between Meshuggah and The Ocean”, Harmonic Confusion the new album from Greek tech/prog metallers Tardive Dyskinesia instantly has a reputation to live up to. It is a tall order which band and release certainly live up to. The successor to critically acclaimed predecessor Static Apathy in Fast Forward, the fiercely fascinating and creatively imposing Harmonic Confusion has to be considered as Tardive Dyskinesia’s finest moment to date.

Since forming in 2003, the Athens hailing quintet has honed and evolved their sound across three previous albums with Static Apathy in Fast Forward a pinnacle in their rise when released in 2012. The years have also seen the band open for the likes of Mastodon and Meshuggah and play prog-metal festival Euroblast, it all leading to now and the release of Harmonic Confusion. Mastered by Jens Bogren (Opeth, The Ocean, Leprous) and produced by Tardive Dyskinesia themselves, the album is the band’s sound at its most rounded, accomplished, and adventurous; often a raw roar to numb and disorientate the senses but equally a melodic and technical maze of craft and imagination to enthral and excite.

The album opens with the instrumental Insertion, a piece as welcoming as it is technically eventful. It shows a potent restraint though, the band holding its boldest exploits for subsequent tracks while setting the scene and tempestuous atmosphere for the album to come beginning with Fire Red Glass Heart which leaps from its predecessor’s sonic lure. Immediately the winding tendrils of sonic enterprise springs from guitarists Petros Nikiforakis, Steve Lado, and Manthos Stergiou, the latter soon unveiling his clean and alluring vocals too backed by the harmonic tones of Lado. As the song slightly intensifies, a rawer gruffness appears in Stergiou’s delivery, the contrast of his vocals merging perfectly as the song twists and turns through its theatre of enterprise and melody fuelled expression.

The track captivates from its first note to last, a tempest like climate brewing without quite erupting saving itself for the outstanding turbulence of The Electric Sun. Wiry strands of guitar soon collude with ravenous riffs and the heftily swung beats of drummer Nick Argiropoulos; again contrasting textures and extremes of energy aligning in a fluid and clarity graced challenge to captivate ears and imagination alike. That rawness is there again to enhance sound and vocals as well as the song’s eventful atmosphere, offering a dirtier trespass to the technical prowess which intensifies alongside the nagging riffery and scything rhythmic persistence on offer.

coverresize_RingMasterReviewThrough the turbulent and at times almost spatial landscape of Self Destructive Haze and the mazy multi-textured Thread Of Life attention is tightly gripped, the second of the two a real seduction of ears with its invasive storm cored by melodic beauty, and latterly, dark stringed seducing while the exceptional Concentric Waves, with the ever compelling bass exploits of Kornelius Kiriakidis especially magnetic, mesmerises as it aggressively and technically swings to and fro.

As impressive as its first touch and listens are, Harmonic Confusion simply grows in strength and stature over time, tracks like Triangulation Through Impasse and Savior Complex laying highly persuasive seeds straight away which seem to blossom over time. The first of the pair twists and turns with increasing relish and grievance across its length whilst still bringing a variety of tones to vocals and intensity to its body. Another favourite and major highlight of the album it is matched and over shadowed by the mellower yet no less dramatic and dynamic exploits of its successor. As across the album, there are elements which maybe are less than unique than others but Tardive Dyskinesia embrace it in their own imaginative and technically riveting designs to fine and here mouth-watering effect with the noir lit call of the sax icing on the dramatic cake of the album’s greatest moment.

The album is completed by the infectious and hungrily resourceful Εchoes 213, its hooks and melodies alone as biting as they are romancing, and lastly the instrumental journey of Chronicity, a captivating epilogue to all before.

Harmonic Confusion is without doubt one of the year’s tech/prog metal treats and yet there is still a feeling that there is more to come from and creatively discover within Tardive Dyskinesia; a thought to add extra spice to one fine release.

Harmonic Confusion is out now on Playfalse Records and @ http://tardivedyskinesia.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/tardivedyskinesiaband

Pete RingMaster 22/09/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Ciconia – Winterize

Ciconia_RingMasterReview

One complete movement or song split into ten standalone chapters, Winterize is one riveting adventure for ears and imagination. The new encounter from Spanish instrumentalists Ciconia, the concept album is a bold and fascinating merger of progressive rock and metal with post rock attributes aligned to a whole array of other flavours and styles from stoner to folkish enterprise. Winterize is quite superb, a mesmeric and invigorating incitement leaving pleasure and spirit eagerly aroused.

Hailing from Valladolid and drawing on inspirations from the likes of Opeth, Anathema, Distance Calling, Toundra, Mogwai, Liquid Tension Experiment, and Porcupine Tree, the 2013 formed Ciconia soon grabbed attention with debut album The Moon Sessions the following year. Its impressive body drew the band to the attention of the Independent Music Awards in Spain last year, that recognition backed by The “Z” Sessions EP, which featured a trio of tracks from the album re-mastered and remixed by Roy Z and was unveiled as the band hungrily took their live presence around Europe; the likes of France, Italy, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary taken in as well as extensive shows across the band’s homeland.

Now it is Winterize set to awaken new spotlights; an aim easy to see succeeding such the beauty and impressive melodic character of the album alone. The trio of bassist Jorge Fraguas, guitarist Javier Altonaga, and drummer Aleix Zoreda open the album and creative narrative up with Snowfields. From wintery winds and a solitude suggesting ambience, a single melody flickers into life and begins seducing ears and imagination. Like a flame in the cold air, it dances on the senses, painting provocative imagery in thoughts before the band cast an alluring mix of classical and Spanish like guitar. With the theme of the release from artwork to aural suggestion, expectations were that the album would provide cold and imposing soundscapes to ponder. The pure warmth and elegance revealed by track and album throughout was not predicted but swiftly devoured as it added to the inventive palette presenting the imagination with plenty to work with.

cover_RingMasterReviewThe gentle flight of the first track is replaced with the busy and bullish tenacity and energy of Eloina´s Inn. Strands of varied metal and heavy rock enterprise entangle as they descend feverishly on the senses, the track like a celebration and boisterous oasis out of the starker air of surrounding creative scenery. Rhythms are virulently dynamic and guitars a blaze of flirtatious and descriptive adventure whilst the skills of the individual members are as open and gripping as their combined endeavour.

There is no way words can present all that is going on in songs and album or of the diverse flavours lured into each dramatic piece of composing and invention but as the volatile soar of Limbus and the snarling confrontation of Scarsman proves, Ciconia create music which does not need to offer or receive any hints or clues to help the listener invest in their own adventures.  The first of the two takes thoughts through spatial hues whereas its successor creates a flesh marked protagonist in another mentally sculpted exploit which you would might be wary of yet reassured of their involvement.

As each track passes it offers a theatre of sound and rousing ingenuity; the epic serenade of The Forgotten casting a melancholic embrace and tempestuous fire of attitude and emotional turmoil all in one whilst A wolf never comes alone is as predatory as it is anthemically irresistible. A tempest of ear lashing beats and carnivorous riffs at its core, the piece is also a maze of classic rock acidity amidst antagonistic turbulence and quite thrilling. Its darker moonlit secrets and dangers midway only add to the bewitching drama of a song which leaves ears and emotions alive and ready to be ignited further by the outstanding Reel of Trevinca. Spanish folk rock meets Celtic spicery, the song has a great essence of Horslips about it at times as it whips up a jig and romp to get physically involved in.

The very brief melodic stroll of Forestwalk beside the crystal beauty of running water leads thoughts into the classical, almost vaudevillian exploits of Fiadeiro. Extreme metal textures collude with the radiance of classically spun melodies, further growling textures emerging with each twist of the song’s adventure and the sonic enterprise which colours the scene painting imagination shaping it.

The album is completed by the sixteen minute plus Towards the Valley, an emprise of craft and unpredictable incitement that seamlessly and beautifully moves though peaceful scenery into shadow drenched and in turn danger spawning challenges. Continuing to revolve and evolve through various shades of each across its long but seemingly quick in the ear such the eventful nature of its passage, the track is a striking end to a sensational release.

With Winterize, Ciconia have pushed themselves to the fore of instrumental and progressive rock; more importantly though they have given ears and the imagination one truly exciting and irresistible collection of aural pigments to go conjure with and inevitable richly enjoy.

Winterize is out now @ https://ciconia.bandcamp.com/ and http://www.ciconia.bigcartel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ciconia666   https://twitter.com/ciconiaband

Pete Ringmaster 19/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Symphonies in sound and imagination: exploring Sahona with Charly Sahona

Charly Sahona_RingMasterReview

2016 received one of its early treats just a few weeks back with the release of the self-titled Sahona album. It was the debut release from the new melodic rock project of vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Charly Sahona of progressive metallers Venturia. It is a release which is, in our own words “a rousing drama of sound and imagination.” Offered the chance to find out more with Charly, we grabbed a hefty chunk of his time to explore the creation of the band and its first album, and simply the creative heart of the man…

Hi Charly, many thanks for sharing time with us. How are things in the Sahona area of the world?

Hello, thanks for the invitation. Well, things are fine here. The album is out and so far, reviews have been very positive about it . We’re about to release a new music video and shoot a new one. I’m working like crazy in order to perform these songs live as soon as possible . So, I can say I have a good life .

Before we look at your excellent debut album, would you tell us about the first days of Sahona. It was originally meant as a solo project for you?

Oh thanks, I’m glad you like it !!! Sure, you’re right , at first, the album was meant to be a solo project and more precisely, the follow-up of Naked thoughts from a silent chaos released in 2010 but the songs are quite different and so are the musical arrangements and the line-up. So, the first days of Sahona as a full band are recent but the writing of the songs began in 2013. Oh It actually took a lot of time before we recorded and released it .

What sparked the creation of the project; what was it you wanted to explore different to your music in progressive metallers Venturia

I really wanted to do something different with this one. I like my musical-making to be in a constant motion. At the same time It’s necessary to stand back with the last thing you released and start something new with fresh ideas and enthusiasm. For this project, I wanted to write something without any heavy riff played on a 7-string and focus on different musical textures, guitar sounds and new grooves.

You touched on it earlier, so you had a collection of ideas and songs already in the works before you invited fellow musicians to help out?

Yes, after I finished the first 4 demo-songs, things were clear in my mind and I knew who I wanted to work with. I like to make music with talented people of course but it’s always better when you do it with your friends. So I first asked drummer Stéphane Cavanez to join me , I’ve known him for a long time, he’s a brilliant musician, very enthusiastic about things. After hearing the demo version of On this winter night , he said he would agree to play on all the songs . Same thing with my long-time friends Fabien Paraillac and Cédric Artaxet; I don’t remember exactly if I sent them the first four demos before asking them to join me but anyway, both of them agreed. I was very glad and happy they all said yes to join me for this project. I knew they would sound great together and that my songs would have been transcended thanks to them .

sahona_RingMasterReviewSo what was the catalyst to changing the idea of guest musicians to a full band?

It was something I had in mind for a while , as the songs have a different sound compared to the things I did before. As we were recording, there was an obvious musical chemistry going on and it reinforced me to think about having a band name for this project. So I talked about it with Chris from Dooweet agency and to my buddies. We all thought that the idea of the band was obvious and as the name Sahona sounds cool for a band too, the choice was done, easy to make and I didn’t have to scratch my head during days in order to find a new name . The other thing is: as the musicians are my friends, the idea of having a band together was something natural. More, I really like to immortalize music with talented friends.

Was it an easy to decision to ‘share’ your songs with I am guessing musicians with their own adventurous ideas when creating music?

Sure, it was very easy as we’re all professional musicians . There was no ego thing that could have been hard to deal with . I wanted a more organic sound and a sophisticated modern rock approach and I knew what my band mates were able to do .

For example, the drums I programmed were done in a prog-metal style and Stéphane brought a more refined  rock groove, I let him do his stuff as everything was matching .

As I’m the lead singer and as there are many guitar layers on these songs it was obvious to ask for help and some back-up . I couldn’t imagine another guy than Fabien to play the guitar with me on this album.  We have the same guitar approach but he’s more rock than me.

We recorded a lot of different guitar takes and during the mix, we chose what was best for the song no matter if it was him or me playing….

He did an amazing job on the mix too. Just like his guitar sound, all the songs sound powerful and organic.

Regarding the bass, there was a couple of things I asked Cédric to play the exact same way I did on the demos. But as my bass programming was voluntary basic most of the time, he added his own personality and groove that matched perfectly Stéphane’s drumming . He even changed some root notes that at first surprised me, and the more I listened to it, the more I liked it.

In the end, everything felt easy and natural.

Did their input mean your songs changed or evolved from their original characters once the band was a full involvement of all?

No, not really but I guess things will evolve when we’ll perform live. It’s a natural process and it’s important for us to make slightly different things when we play the same songs over and over.

When writing songs, do you come at them from different angles or have a general way of bringing them to life from idea to sound?Album cover_RingMasterReview

I usually have a precise idea of how the album or a song will sound like even though the root of all songs is based on a guitar or keyboard chords progression and a simple hummed melody . Then, I’ll program a midi file of what I just did. If the melody sounds good with a bad flute midi sound and a midi bass line, I keep the idea and will have a clearer vision of how it will sound like with all the instruments. Then I’m thinking about what kind of drum beat, bass line, guitar riff, and keyboards texture would fit with the idea of the song and at this moment, the creative process is growing fast. Or, not that fast actually because getting the right keyboard sounds or guitar effects takes me a while very often. When I’m programming , I have in mind how my band mates would play it and that’s the reason why I’m never really surprised (although I’m always amazed) when they bring the songs to life with their style and their sound. It sounds obvious to my ears and at the same time I’m so excited to hear what they bring to a song and to discover how it takes the song to a higher level.

Tell us about the lyrical themes behind the album.

Sure ! I decided to do something I never really done in the past.  I wrote about the most widely expected subject in the world: Love !!! But not the way girls like it though (no offence intended girls, I’m just kidding !!!) .

Reading and writing romantic and soppy stuff are not my thing at all as I’m a cynical and rational guy . So the majority of these lyrics are about love and its frustrations and turbulences . It’s way more interesting, true and realistic in my opinion. But when I say “love”, It doesn’t only mean the feelings you have for your girlfriend or your boyfriend,  I use it for the passion you have for your art or whatever that excites you too, it can be painting, sport, your beliefs and then we’re slightly get into the spiritual aspect and themes I like to write about as well.

Most of my lyrics are not explicit, this way people can identify with them and make their own story.

I usually prefer to describe impressions than reality.

What about the recording of your self-titled debut? How long was it in the making?

It’s funny because it took a long time to finish it (something like two years !!!) but the writing and the recording were actually very fast and easy to do. As we’re used to record in studio, we know how it works and we’re getting more and more efficient and good at it. But as we didn’t have any deadline or expectations,  we took our time to record it. The rule was to get together when we were able to do it only. It was: job, touring with cover bands, tasks and family priorities first. This way, we were in a very relaxed state of mind and every time we forgathered, it was for fun.

Ok, the album was supposed to be released in late 2015 but for commercial and administrative reasons it got more delayed .

Did you approach its recording differently to creating releases with your other projects?

Yes and no … As it’s the 5th album I’m producing , I’ve learned through the years with amazing people and  I’ve also learned from my mistakes. Today, I know the importance for everybody of being prepared and how to record the best way possible taking into consideration the people you work with as every musician has his own preferences and personality. And that’s how a recording session can be different from the ones you experienced in the past: it depends on your line-up as well. So I asked my band mates about the way they wanted to record and I just let them do it their way as it’s extremely important for artists to work the more relaxed and efficient way possible.

But the thing that changed a lot for me was to share the guitar parts with Fabien but it was so exciting to hear him play with a different strumming and sound than mine and then mixing our guitar tracks together. I really enjoyed it .

Oh, and there was another great thing : My vocal takes were recorded home with a very cool equipment a friend of mine lend me.

This way, I took my time…I was recording one full song a day and the day after, if something was not exactly the way I wanted to be, I just had to press the « rec » button again and it was done. I don’t like the feeling of recording in a studio with time passing, all the money you know you’ll have to spend, the people around you even if it’s your friends. I did it many times in the past and I can tell you how relieved I am to work and to record alone at home, it gives me so more freedom and offers you more possibilities.

sahona_RingMasterReviewHave you found there has been an instinctive urge to do things with Sahona and the album differently to your other ventures elsewhere, just out of the want to try different things?

Yes, as I told you, I wanted to have a different musical approach, a different sound, a different line-up. But on the top of that I really wanted to express myself to another level, and the best way possible as a singer and I’ve been working hard to achieve that. Maybe, being the singer of your own songs reinforces the introspection aspect of the creation. This is not to say that this album sounds more like “me” than the previous ones I did with another lead singer, it’s just different . But as you give more of yourself as a performer, it makes the thing more introspective and maybe more intense and that’s what I wanted to achieve too.

I always imagine a debut album breeds new ideas and opportunities to try and explore further in its successors. Elements not imagined and expected when composing that first encounter. Were there any which arose for you in the making of Sahona’s debut?

I’m always excited to explore new territories, new sounds, new chords progression, new ways of making music. Having a more or less precise idea will always push you to go further in order to create something new and interesting. Listening to different music, going to the theatres, reading books, talking with people, playing with musicians…All this things are inspiring and maybe it if it’s not always a conscious thing, it will incite you to evolve as a human being and inexorably in your art and in your life indeed. This is something I like to be aware of and thankful to.

What comes next for Sahona and its individuals?

We have to play live as soon as possible and we have to work hard for that. We intend to begin a tour in our country in September. Then we will focus on the next album as we’re all really happy about this debut one.

My thanks again Charly for talking with us; Anything you would like to add?

Thanks for having me !!! Congrats to the readers for reading this interview so far and thank you Pete for spreading the word about the music you like whether it’s mainstream or underground .

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

Oh my god, they are so many . But let’s try to do it fast. I’ve always been a fan of classical music but the one from the early 1900 with composers like Ravel, Bartok, Debussy, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff. As a guitar player I’m a huge fan of guitar heroes like Steve Vaï, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, John Petrucci. I’ve always been into progressive music with bands like Genesis, Rush, Yes, Dream Theater, Frost, Opeth and I’m really into their contemporaries with the young prog underground scene like Destiny Potato, Disperse and especially with the metal djent scenes with bands like Periphery, Tesseract, Monuments who took progressive music to a new level. I like rock and pop music too with bands like Muse, Radiohead, Keane, Dead Letter Circus.

All these bands and musicians have inspired me in many ways indeed.

Check out our review of the Sahona album @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/sahona-self-titled/

https://www.facebook.com/sahonamusic/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 21/03/2016

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