Vovkulaka – Self Titled

Having recently devoured an EP featuring four of their fan’s favourite tracks, there could only be one next port of call and that was the self-titled debut album from Ukrainian metallers Vovkulaka. If that introduction to the band impressed and excited then we can only say that this twelve track release had us lusting for the striking sounds and rousing songs it held.

Emerging in 20914, Vovkulaka (Ukrainian for werewolf) is primarily the solo project of Odessa based vocalist/drummer/songwriter VolK but an adventure also featuring members from Bulgaria and the United States with Stone of metallers Contortion providing guitar and its stage line-up up completed by dancers and percussionists Naya G and JuleZ, and guitarist Ivan Manoloff. Vovkulaka creates a voracious sound bred in the heart of industrial and nu metal but one embracing a host of other flavours such as gothic metal and dubstep. Like a fusion of Fear Factory, Korn, Slipknot, Society 1, Type O Negative and Rob Zombie it grips attention but with an individuality which ensures it boldly stands out from anything else. Lyrically VolK’s inspiration and invention finds its seeds in his passion for ghost hunting and the paranormal experiences found as well as more personal issues; shadows and darkness sought and embraced to immerse the listener in the most compelling encounters.

Produced by Darian Rundall (Pennywise, Suicidal Tendencies, Yellowcard), the album immediately had the senses and psyche hooked with its opener, Summon The Demon. The brief track is a rhythmic calling, VolK revealing his percussive skill and manipulation as carnivorously haunting beats conjure an atmosphere from darker realms. It may barely be a bidding escaping a minute but proves an irresistible invitation leading to the equally ravening haunting of Cemetery Voices. Crawling over ears and senses, the track is a heavy but compelling trespass but one already a lively threat through the skittish percussion of VolK around his rapaciously slow vocal drawl. The similarly sinister lures of guitar and electronics only add to the captivation quickly bred, the track a sign if mere hint of things to come.

Darkness Calling follows with again a rhythmic tempting which burrowed under the skin. Electronic fingering and the sonic courting of guitar brings shadows and ears together, the Korn-esque flames of the latter lighting up the earthier but no less infectious declaration from VolK’s voice. The track is superb, its senses grinding grooves and dubstep throbbing swift addiction and quickly matched in potency by the even more esurient intent and drama of My Devil. Keys gently entice with a crepuscular sheen before the track erupts in another ravenous incitement, again psyche burrowing grooves leading the way as raptorial rhythms pounce. The contrast of crystalline electronics and musical predation simply gripped attention, all the while rhythms jabbing and stalking with manipulative animation as gut bred vocals magnetically nagged; a dubstep solo from DJ Gigantor from the band Evol Intent extra creative flesh to feast upon.

Emerging from a calm if again minatory caress Defy enslaved ears in its tenebrous realm; defiance and decay embroiled at the heart of its visceral grumble as it wormed deeper and deeper under the skin through raw-boned but rich grooves and provocatively niggling rhythms. With Volk’s cadaverous vocals ever enthralling, the track easily gripped and inspired the imagination before Priest Hole unleashed its own addictive fall from grace. VolK’s rhythms alone ruptured attention, their deeply probing bait aligned to scurrilous but rousing grooves and the illuminated eeriness of keys. The track quickly made a stake for best track acclaim though quickly challenged by the decayed and vicious malevolence of Death Ground. Nefarious grooves wind around ears as corrupt rhythms surround sinful vocals, the result one glorious ungodly delight.

The band’s acclaimed first single is next, Glory To The Heroes a track breaching ears and keen support across the globe with its release in 2018. Featuring Keith Lynch (Bill Ward Band, Ozzy Osbourne) on guitar and dedicated to Ukrainian soldier Nadiya Savchenko who was jailed in Russia but released in May 2016, the track quickly revealed why it made such a strong impact before, savage riffs and punishing rhythms perfectly set against light shimmering keys and melodic seduction as Fear Factory meets Pitchshifter like industrial discontent corrupts the air.

As the contagious venom and dexterity of Whispered Lies seduced as it invaded and Purple Door writhed and crawled into body and psyche with flesh-eating grooves across bone resonating percussion, the album shared further aspects to the Vovkulaka darkness and sound. The latter is something akin to Korn being violated by Godflesh as angels caress the carcass while The Dark Empty chews on the listener’s emotional flesh with rabid jaws coaxed by feral grooves and maniacal rhythms as VolK’s vocals again direct the rich pleasure.

The album closes with a metal version of the Ukrainian National Anthem though the CD also offers a couple of bonus tracks in a drum solo enhanced Darkness Calling and an instrumental version of Defy.

Vovkulaka is a band which should, if any of the references we suggested to their unique presence appeals, no must, be checked out but be warned such their debut album’s dark triumph there will be no turning back.

The Vovkulaka album is available now across most online stores.

https://vovkulaka.com/   https://www.facebook.com/VovkulakaFanPage   https://twitter.com/VovkulakaMusic

Pete RingMaster 15/03/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Bang Bang Firecracker – Welcome To The Slaughterhouse

With a title like Welcome To The Slaughterhouse we were bound to be naturally drawn to the debut album from UK metallers Bang Bang Firecracker, being a sucker from blood promising drama, and it was an instinct quickly rewarded by a collection of tracks which grabbed ears and attention with ease.

Bang Bang Firecracker is the solo project of guitarist/vocalist Kieron “K” Berry, a musician who previously has added to the successes of bands like Razorwire, Pain Control, Extreme O.D, and Enemo-J. On leaving the latter Berry took time to recharge, though it proved a brief break once he answered an advert for a ‘Musician Wanted’, which led him to support one of his guitar heroes in Chris Holmes (W.A.S.P.). This inspired Berry to write and make music again, recruiting old friends in Marcus Wrench and Russ Gwynne to provide bass and drums respectively to a sound nurtured in the rich essences of metal, classic and modern rock. With Charlie Cooper now behind the swinging sticks, Welcome To The Slaughterhouse is the first encounter with Bang Bang Firecracker and provides all the reasons and ingredients to find an appetite for the prowess and potential of the band.

The album’s opening title track is like a contemplative dawn, the lone intimation of piano provided by guest Shaun Lowe an evocative coaxing leading to the fiery eruption of metal tenacity. Berry hollers as his guitar casts a web of rapacious riffs and sonic dexterity, all the while rhythms giving the blaze a darkly predacious and compelling imposition. With inspirations ranging from AC/DC and Ozzy Osbourne through to Slayer and Guns N’ Roses, there is openly something familiar to Berry’s sound across the album but it swiftly shows itself a fresh and individual incitement.

The great start is followed by The Non Believers, a song instantly prowling the senses with Wrench’s bass a great growling scowl within its barbarous air. It is a disposition just as potent in Berry’s vocals and makes for a great contrast to the melodic prowess of his guitar, a craft and agility which gets the following All Thriller No Filler off to a captivating start. Again the bass provides a great dark alter-ego to the melodic caresses and flames of the excellent track though it too has an instinctive coaxing rather than irritability to its presence; a mix which continues across the evolving and gripping lure of one of the album’s major highlights.

Devil Dolls is pure drama from its first breath, the initial swipes of Cooper’s beats addictive corruption matched by another delicious bass grumble. Soon bound in the sonic and acidic melodic strands of Berry’s guitar, the song echoes the success of its predecessor in its own individual manner before Immortalized swaggers in with its voracious classic meets groove meets thrash metal tinted holler. It is that fusion of flavours which gives the band’s such its familiar yet freshly adventurous lure and the song its rousing impact.

Through the rapacious bordering on grievous but keenly contagious stroll of Witch Proof and the even more carnivorous antics of Tasting Hatred, the album continued to hold its grip on ears. Both tracks for all their feral instincts equally cast a manipulative melodic enterprise and inescapable infectiousness, traits just as potent within next up Hellbent For Pleasure; a track with Gwynne providing drums, unapologetically embracing classic hues from the styles it weaves its confrontation from.

Ending on a gang baiting call, Welcome To The Slaughterhouse hit the spot with ease. Originality is maybe a breath more than a wind at times but that earlier mentioned freshness fuels every current and an appetite soon found for the Bang Bang Firecracker uproar.

Welcome To The Slaughterhouse is out February 22nd.

https://www.facebook.com/Kieron.Berry.Guitar/

Pete RingMaster 22/02/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Suicidal Tendencies – World Gone Mad

 

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Many elements make up the success of legendary punk/thrashers Suicidal Tendencies, an array of qualities which has gripped and thrilled across three and a half decades and eleven previous studio albums. One potent trait is, within a sound which roars Suicidal Tendencies from its first breath, unpredictability; an essence which in varying degrees has made all of the band’s offerings memorable and easy to devour. New proposal World Gone Mad is no exception; a seriously rousing and thunderous affair of crossover ferocity inescapably Suicidal Tendencies which twists through new adventures while flirting with the imagination.

The successor to the well-received 13 of three years ago, World Gone Mad is a tempest of infectiously aggressive and creatively imaginative escapades equally drawing on the kind of punk fuelled exploits which marked out the band from its early days as one of metal and punks most vital propositions.  The new album also sees the band’s newest line-up in place with founder and vocalist Mike Muir and guitarist Dean Pleasants (ex-Infectious Grooves) linking up with guitarist Jeff Pogan, bassist Ra Diaz, and master drummer Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Phantomas, GripInc, Dead Cross). It is a unit which across the board has forged a new aspect to the Suicidal Tendencies personality without losing its prime character and appeal. Produced by Muir alongside Paul Northfield (Rush, Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, Ozzy Osbourne, Hole, Marilyn Manson) who also engineered and mixed the record, World Gone Mad snarls and stomps, providing an incitement as bruising and confrontational as it is a riotous funk grooved infestation of ears and body.

Latest single Clap Like Ozzy sets things off; its fuse and explosion prime Suicidal Tendencies. Lombardo’s catchy beats first catch ears, a grumbling bassline quickly adding to the thick coaxing as guitars send sonic scythes across the lure. Swiftly the song uncages a venomous yet ridiculously catchy assault, wiry grooves and rhythmic tenacity an anthemic roar of punk ‘n’ thrash virulence ridden by the unmistakable presence and tones of Muir. As hooks collude with the flirtatious antics of the bass, Pleasants winds trails of melodic lava around it all, his strings a heated siren within an already irresistible calling.

The New Degeneration takes over finding even more irritability in its tone and individual elements. Riffs and rhythms almost stalk the senses as Muir leads the defiance; group calls a great backing to his instigation. An undercurrent of animosity brews throughout the attack, eventually igniting as Lombardo flicks the switch to a full-out ravaging of ears with his magnetic swipes. Again the track is ‘typical’ Suicidal Tendencies but rippling with fresh twists and turns to leave satisfaction rich and full before Living For Life appears to eclipse its success. Unsurprisingly moments of Infectious Grooves like juiciness appear within World Gone Mad, the third track unapologetically embracing their funk metal swing for its initial flirtation before crashing ferociously upon the senses with its punk scented epidemic of ravenous riffs and on rushing rhythms again led by the twisted beat alchemy of Lombardo. The track is glorious everything you could wish from a Suicidal Tendencies encounter and more as it seduces and inspires body and spirit

suicidal_tendencies_-_world_gone_madSuicidal Tendencies - World Gone MadThe gentle melodic opening of Get Your Fight On! is a suggestive pull next which intrigues more than ignites the imagination but soon leads into the waiting rhythmic prowess of Lombardo and the sonic enterprise of Pleasants and Pogan. It too works its way from a relatively calm tempting to an incendiary blaze where it really grabs the appetite and passions as heavy metal flames unite with punk and thrash dexterity for an anthem which might not hold all the sparks of its predecessors but leaves only an eager want to delve into its cauldron all over again.

The album’s title track is another which takes its time to convince to the same level as the opening tracks, showing itself a slow burner which by the fifth or sixth lessons is one of the moments of the album which lingers the longest. A perpetual prowl which ignites onto a consuming fire of sound and aggression, the song has a touch of Insane Clown Posse to its most intense fire and Red Hot Chili Peppers to its relentless groove but as expected roars with nothing other than the voice of its creators.

The excellent Happy Never After fingers lustful reactions next, its gait also a prowling incitement crossed with sonic tendrils and pushed by steely riffs courting militant beats. Muir is the ringmaster to its determined intent and nature, whipping up the heart and imagination of track and listener alike as the rest of the band spins a riveting and increasingly addictive web.

From one major highlight to another as One Finger Salute stands bold and aggressive with punk rock insatiability and thrash driven intensity straight after to create a deliciously imposing and hungry proposal. Diaz’s bass is a treat of a bestial lure, its resonating flirtation aligned to the jumping beats of Lombardo, both enslaving attention soon bound in the sonic potency of the guitars.

Straight after Damage Control is a threatening infestation of wonderfully toxic and gripping grooves as rhythms again take on a preying animalistic potency whilst Muir and riffs stir with their punk ‘n’ roll cattiness. The outstanding track keeps the album’s pinnacle point going in feverish style, bass and drums especially irresistible though all parts of the incitement leaves a new hunger installed in ears and appetite for the release.

The sonic metal tapestry of The Struggle Is Real equally sparks a zeal for song and album, its punk call and rhythmic swagger a captivating irritant on peace and clam while successor Still Dying To Live sees the quintet embarking on a smouldering melodic venture equipped with alluring throaty bass tempting and psych rock shimmers around the warm coaxing of a kaleidoscope of magnetic hooks and surprises. At over seven minutes, the track is a masterfully invasive seduction romancing ears and imagination and a compelling finale to World Gone Mad capped by the stripped down magnificence of This World and its evolution and continuation of the closing track of the same name upon 13.

The track is a fine end epitomising the growth and riveting blossoming of sound and imagination between the two albums seeing World Gone Mad a powerful and thrilling new turn in the band’s history.  Whether it will be considered the band’s best release will down to the individual but without doubt the album is destined to be right there as a true favourite.

World Gone Mad is out now across most online stores through Suicidal Records.

http://www.suicidaltendencies.eu/   https://www.facebook.com/suicidaltendencies   https://twitter.com/OFFICIALSTIG

Pete RingMaster 15/11/2106

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Black Tide – Chasing Shadows

blacktidepic_RingMaster Review

Miami trio Black Tide this month follow-up their well-received second album Post Mortem with Chasing Shadows, for their fans a long overdue successor which they will find makes the wait endured more than worth it. An accomplished blaze of craft and adventure, the release without starting major fires of uniqueness is Black Tide doing what they do best, unleashing rousing roars of highly flavoursome and varied heavy rock /melodic metal enterprise.

Formed in 2003 by vocalist/bassist Gabriel Garcia with drummer brother Raul, Black Tide went through subsequent line-up changes, drums included, before releasing debut album Light from Above on Interscope in 2008, with Garcia only fifteen at this point. Recorded with Johnny K (Disturbed, Machine Head, Soil), the album’s recording was the trigger to quickly bigger things including the band playing alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Lamb of God, and Static-X on the main stage at OZZfest 2007, and post release, an appearance on the inaugural Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival alongside Slipknot and Disturbed as well as playing the main stage of 2008’s Download festival. Post Mortem appeared in 2011 to continuing acclaim and success for Black Tide, its release followed by the band’s hunger to play live and tour filling subsequent years. Now guitarist/vocalist Austin Diaz and drummer Cody Paige alongside Garcia are poised to awaken new keen appetites and their album’s storming body of fierce rock ‘n’ roll, to which expectations of more success coming the way of the band easy.

btamend_RingMaster Review     From an engagingly melodic Intro which emulates the opening to many metal releases today in its own imagination sparking way, the album erupts to full life with Guidelines. A hefty punch of drum sticks is the spark to weaving tendrils of enterprise from Diaz before a darkly strolling bassline and crisp rhythms join the already open vocal prowess of Garcia backed as potently by Diaz. Soon striding resourcefully with a My Chemical Romance meets Avenged Sevenfold like drama to its increasingly magnetic weave of diverse metal bred styles, the song provides an impressive full start to the album, quickly getting ears and thoughts fully involved and eager to know more about at the same time.

Recently released single Angel In The Dark steps forward next, its captivating body similarly designed and textured but with its own host of sonic swagger and fiery hooks against again powerful vocals. Major surprises are scarce yet a freshness and energetic passion to the song ensures satisfaction is as ripe as the sounds flowing through its skilfully sculpted and presented proposal. An acoustic aside adds to the richness of the song, adventure never low on the agenda of band and album, as shown again by the pair of Predator (Animal) and Burn. The first of the two rides in on baying wolves, quickly spinning a spicy web of guitar lined with tangy meandering grooves. Without making the same kind of immediate impact as the previous two tracks, the song still firmly and increasingly captures the imagination with an enticing blend of grooved and stringed blessed rock ‘n’ roll, eventually outshining its successor, a mellower melodic caress with pungent rhythms and a gripping central Bond like hook entwined in orchestral and harmonic tempting.

At times, and often, the song spellbinds but does lack the same overall spark as found in those before it. The same applies to the album’s title track though its classic metal meets modern rock canter ensures enjoyment still remains high especially as it increasingly swings with energy and technical flair. To be fair, both tracks become more compelling with each play, maybe providing food for expectations but leaving pleasure in their wake which the likes of Before We Form and Sex Is Angry revel in and prolong with their individual collusion of rock and metal honed with infectious imagination and emotion.

That catchy virulence which flows through Chasing Shadows finds a rich vehicle in Welcome To Misery, the song a sing-a-long anthem which quickly has its way with the listener’s ears and involvement. Seemingly simple in its lure, such its infectiousness, the song almost belies the layers and textures aligning to drive its persuasion, a craft in songwriting and sound more open in the alluring croon of Heaven and its warm ballad of emotive vocal and tender musical craft. Melancholic, tangy, and classically lined with great strings and orchestration, the song is an endearing and lingering offering which finally has to make way for the closing stomp of Promised Land, a song which though different in character, ends the album the way it started, with a raucously tenacious slice of Avenged Sevenfold scented, Bullet for My Valentine fuelled enterprise.

As suggested, Black Tide has not returned with a game changer for them or metal but Chasing Shadows will leave few heavy/melodic metal fans dissatisfied or lacking a spring in their step after facing its roar.

Chasing Shadows is out via Pavement Entertainment on October 16th with pre-orders still @ http://www.pavementmusic.com/product/black-tide-chasing-shadows-cd-pre-order/

https://www.facebook.com/blacktide/

Pete RingMaster 15/10/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Sinister Realm – World of Evil

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With an air of doom to its open classic heavy metal heart, World of Evil the new album from US metallers Sinister Realm is one of those releases which just grabs you by the emotions and thrusts you into a world of muscular anthemic temptation and fiery melodic enterprise. It is an exciting and pulse racing encounter which leaves senses and appetite alert and hungry for more, something you can argue few bands in the heavy metal genre has achieved in recent times. The Allentown, Pennsylvania quartet has no problem in recruiting the passions and hunger though, certainly on this their third full length release, and without necessarily breaking down existing walls they offer something refreshingly different.

The eight track album has an imagination and depth which also takes in the essences of rich flavours outside of its core sound, this fusion rising to songs that use open influences from the likes of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, and Mercyful Fate in a shadows clad intensive union that sparks off of essences from bands such as Candlemass and Memento Mori. Formed in 2008 by ex-Pale Divine member John Gaffney (bass, guitar, backing vocals) and Darin McCloskey (Pale Divine, Falcon), Sinister Realm followed up a four-song demo with the well-received self-titled album in 2009, followed two years later to good acclaim its successor The Crystal Eye. Released through Shadow Kingdom Records, World of Evil takes the band to another plateau of accomplishment and one suspects acclaim, the quartet of Gaffney, vocalist Alex Kristof, guitarists John Kantner and John Risko, and drummer Chris Metzger, raising not only their own bar but that on modern classically sculpted heavy metal.

The first thing to say as we delve into the release is how impressive and deliciously imposing and creative the bass work of Gaffney is, 611-228x228throughout the release its throaty steely tone revolving through seductive  to carnivorous but perpetually darkening the shadows, breath, and creative presence of songs wonderfully. It is a bestial predator which gives an intimidation and menace to every second of the release taking the listener into hidden dangers tempering the melodic flames which equally enhance and fire up the release.

Opener Dark Angel of Fate escapes from a stark threatening ambience, exploding into an eagerly paced romp of crisp rhythms and that instantly calling bass sound. Riffs too grip attention with their unspectacular but directly invitational attack whilst the excellent vocals of Kristof parade the song’s tale with expression and strength. As becomes apparent across the whole album, the anthemic lure of the song is dramatic and potent, a power metal like charge fuelling the imaginative engine for the melodic invention to flare off from. It is an excellent start soon backed up by the following pair of Bell Strikes Fear and the title track, even if they fail to quite live up to the impressive welcome of the album. The first of the two holds more of the expectations you would assume from a classic metal song but with good backing vocal shouts and the excellent guitar play not forgetting the bass threat expanding its presence, the track is a rewarding encounter equalled by  its slower intensive successor, the song a more than decent companion to thoughts and imagination.

The grooved enticement of The Ghosts of Nevermore with its familiar yet undefined touch marks the epically breathing song as another major highlight. As guitars coax the appetite with those acidic grooves the bass unveils its own predatory but simultaneously beckoning lure, the union bringing greed into play towards the rich weave of the song. Hunger for it is accelerated by the fine craft of the guitars and the rising symphonic atmosphere infusing the air. The captivating track is just the start of a scintillating passage within the album, Prophets of War stepping up with its confrontational rhythmic sinews and antagonistic riffs next to lead the listener and thoughts into a battlefield of climactic emotion and riveting endeavour. The bass again steals the biggest share of the passions, but every aspect of the track recruits full eagerness and instinctive subservience to its towering inventive declaration, the melodic and adventurous exploration of the initial dark premise as it moves towards its climax especially enthralling.

The pulsating and deviously addictive Cyber Villain has blood surging around veins with irresistible ease, the song a thumping example of choice heavy metal whilst the instrumental The Forest of Souls calms down emotions and energies with enchantingly creative poise before evolving into the vibrant key for final track Four Black Witches to unlock its brooding malevolence and doom like gothic presence. Approaching nine minutes of classic genre fare it is a captivating if slightly overlong conclusion to an excellent release.

World of Evil is a thrilling fascination brought by a band in Sinister Realm which is giving an arguably well-worn genre a new kick of creative adrenaline.

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8.5/10

RingMaster 06/08/2013

 

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