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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Fall – The Insatiable Weakness

Fall_RingMaster Review

Busier than a swarm of flies on a carcass but far more thrilling and rewarding, The Insatiable Weakness is a seriously explosive and dramatic introduction to Texan band Fall. The album is a cauldron of styles and flavours within a progressive/melodic death metal landscape which never gives ears and the imagination a moments rest whilst creating a gripping incitement as creatively tempestuous as it is coherently fascinating.

Taking inspirations from Scandinavian metal and bands such as Opeth, At the Gates, and Soilwork to their sound, the Portland based quartet emerged as 2010 took its early breaths. It was not too long before they were a notable presence on the live scene, going on to share stages with bands such as Helstar, Periphery, The Human Abstract, The Contortionist, Textures, Fallujah, and Aegaeon as their presence and reputation grew. A self-titled EP was released in 2012, an encounter featuring guest vocals from Soilworks’s Bjorn Strid which soon awakened not only more of the US to the band’s emerging potency and force but ears and attention further afield too. Now the band’s self-released debut album is set to stir up plenty more with its inescapable adventure and invasive imagination.

Consisting of vocalist/keyboardist Jessie Santos, guitarist Daniel Benavides, and bassist David Gutierrez alongside, for the album, the ever irrepressible rhythmic craft of Soilworks’ drummer Dirk Verbeuren, Fall swiftly encase ears in a cloud of sonic and rhythmic incitement as opener From Ashes rises threateningly to spawn a maelstrom of cutting riffs and intensive rhythms. In its air harmonies also break out with an atmospheric tempting, both getting their moment to descend poetically on the senses within the storm with Santos revealing pleasing variety and strength to his vocal delivery, raw and clean. Given potent hint of what is to come, the song continues to evolve its forceful and evocative tapestry with strands of progressive invention and rousing enterprise, all amidst intrusive turbulence led by Verbeuren’s renowned prowess.

Cover artwork by Niklas Sundin

Cover artwork by Niklas Sundin

Not of the Sky continues the attention catching start; the vocals again one focal point in a cascade of many, with their slight discord, whether intentionally or not, adding greater character to the emerging bedlamic and creative tirade of the song. Furiously unpredictable and fluidly aligned, melodic enticing and colliding flavours breaks through as each twist grips ears, softening and working them up into an eager appetite for the also tempestuously toned and adventurously woven Ever Hollow. Bellowing and tempting, the track is a magnetic fury veined by seductive magnetism, extreme and progressive metal uniting in something intimidatingly hellacious, sonically psychotic, and at times rousingly catchy.

Through both Harvester and Cinis, band and album continue to infest and corrupt the senses, though the former is just as potent in its infectious glaze of pop metal. Featuring guest vocals of Jessie Frye, it is another bundle of contrasts and clever contradictions creating a track which mesmerises as strongly as it bruises. Arguably it is the most accessible offering on the album but is as inventive and volatile as any of the more challenging and invigorating proposals within The Insatiable Weakness. Its successor is a much more voracious proposition, as swiftly shown by Strands of Night vocalist Asa Dubberly, who guests on the tempest, and the carnivorous tone of the bass which builds on the darker menacing tone it offered the previous song. Around them, and the bracing roar of Santos in its different strains, guitars stir up a nest of sonic vipers and melodic resourcefulness, the track painting a turbulent and tenaciously diverse canvas of raw and alluring flavours.

Ears and appetite are only drawn in tighter as the celestial hued and aggressively bracing Desolation and the predatory thrash seeded, death fuelled torrent of provocation posing as Soul Ignition thickly satisfies whilst …to dust lights ignites another fuse to lustful reactions with its unbridled ferocity and cantankerous attitude lined with infection soaked exploits. Providing one more major highlight amongst only heftily persuasive successes, its rich tempting is emulated in kind by the uniquely different Empty where, arguably for the first time, keys stretch their ever present atmospheric and ambience casting prowess into being a leading protagonist.

The album closes up with firstly Gods of Ruin and its landslide of unforgiving rhythms within an exhaustive infestation of expansive metal voracity and finally You were but a Shade, it an invasive and virulent episode of unpredictability, absorbing imagination, and explosive individual craft from all concerned. A seduction that tears strips off the senses, the song is an immense end to a similarly impressing release.

Only a weighty amount of listens does The Insatiable Weakness true justice, but every venture reveals new striking layers, previously undiscovered twists, and a bigger hunger for more as reward. As a name, Fall does not make a particular impact but rest assured from their first moments, sound and album more than make up for it.

The Insatiable Weakness is out now @ http://fall1.bandcamp.com/album/the-insatiable-weakness

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Pete RingMaster 28/01/2016

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Cold Night For Alligators – Course Of Events

Bandphoto_RingMaster Review

Course Of Events has been a highly anticipated debut album for a great many fans and followers of Danish metallers Cold Night For Alligators, a release off the back of an impressive live presence and reputation which no doubt was also facing a lot of expectations. A mighty slab of inventive sound to get teeth and the imagination into, it is easy to suspect that those awaiting its arrival will now be basking in thick pleasure whilst newcomers to the Copenhagen quintet, well we will be eagerly exploring with intensive attention.

The Cold Night For Alligators is described as a fusion of progressive death metal with brutal technical hardcore. That is apt enough to some extent but ultimately does not come to close to really covering the rich adventure and thick diversity fuelling the album’s tracks. The release is a creative kaleidoscope of fierce and seductive textures aligned to fluid unpredictable twists and flavours as much seeded in djent animosity and atmospheric ventures as they are in that initial description and the broad expanse of melody honed progressive metal. At times the album simply ignites in an open inventive blaze and in other moments entices with a fascinating tapestry of sound and thought which benefits further from even closer attention, but from start to end it only lures ears into wanting more of the album’s striking exploration.

Artwork__RingMaster Review     Starting with Considering Catastrophy, the Daniel Braunstein [Volumes, Fall in Archaea] produced album swiftly entangles the senses in a web of djent spiked riffs and melodic psychosis, this surrounding the forceful and potent roar of the vocals. Straight away there is a heart fuelled mania to that vocal delivery which, whether clean, harsh, or gutturally spawned, comes as an outpouring of raw emotion. Musically the song lurches and flies at the senses or comes in an ambling coaxing with just as strong enterprise to it as metal and rock strains unite in an invigorating and intensely fascinating proposal. As becomes apparent across the rest of the album, a mere listen or two only deprives ears of the underlying depths and imagination building up the layers of the song, that intensive attention mentioned earlier only breeding potent rewards.

There is a familiarity to the album just as there is something uniquely fresh about it; the likes of Periphery and Opeth springing out at times and there is no escaping a Meshuggah spice or two nor moments of Mars Volta meets The Dillinger Escape Plan. As shown by latest single Followers though, Cold Night For Alligators weave it all into their own distinct design. The second track is a formidable blend of sonic contagion and vicious aural antagonism, evolving from one compelling beast into another exciting unforgiving brute veined with psyche invading grooves and avant-garde seeded imagination. The track scars and exhilarates the senses, igniting body and imagination with each raw and inventive moment before the just as thrilling Calculated Accident provides its own animus of metallic hardcore built sound infused with melodic enterprise.

That earlier mentioned vocal mania is emulated in sound across Course Of Events, each track a raging roar but able to skilfully slip into just as emotively fiery but mellower confrontations at will. Inconsistent is easy evidence, its opening hug of jazzy spiced guitar invention and harmonic vocals an engaging but volatile seducing which increasingly brews rousing animosity and fire to lead the song into just as magnetic new directions, subsequently fusing all its roads into a one drama of sound and persuasion.

Both Art and Retrogress keep ears and appetite greedy, the first with its skittish djent lined, progressively psychotic emprise and the second through a more barbarous and volatile bellow of emotion and sound led by the ever impressing array of vocals. Both tracks grow in the ear, each making a strong first impression but blossoming further over time, again something applying to the album as a whole and to be taken on board when checking out Course Of Events.

From the strong caress of short instrumental Eunoia, more flavours are woven into the proposition through Querencia where vocals are especially potent as melodic tendrils invade the body of uncompromising intensity and at times almost rancorous fury which steers the encounter. With exotic flirtations and jazzy smiles, the song is an enthralling and again increasingly powerful and enjoyable offering matched by the infectious rabidity of the exhausting Daydream; another creative maelstrom to bravely sink into.

Completed by Brother and its alluring and rousing emotion, Course Of Events is a powerful and so often beguiling encounter. It is unique yet recognisable, inventively ravenous but similarly melodically endearing, and when given time to make its persuasion helps get the metal year off to a great start.

Course Of Events is released January 11th through Prime Collective.

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Pete RingMaster 11/01/2016

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Lithium Dawn – Tearing Back The Veil I: Ascension

LithiumDawn1_RingMaster Review

Whether people describe Lithium Dawn as progressive rock or progressive metal, the Californian band’s sound somewhere in between, neither suitably describes the sonic kaleidoscope that turns new album Tearing Back The Veil I: Ascension into one of the year’s major treats. Creating an emprise of aural imagination built upon a vast array of styles and flavours, band and album fascinate and enthral throughout their second full-length. The album’s canvas is certainly seeded in progressive adventure but from there it blossoms into an evolving adventure sure to excite fans of anyone from Karnivool and Tool to TesseracT and Opeth to Circles and Voyager, and that still barely covers all of the lures laid by the outstanding Tearing Back The Veil I: Ascension.

The successor to debut album AION of 2012, Tearing Back The Veil I: Ascension is the result of new growth and bolder invention fuelling the Lithium Dawn sound. Formed by multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Ondrej Tvarozek and drummer/programmer Matt Benoit, a pair who first met way back in 2004 on an online message board, the band released their first album to eager praise, it recorded with the help of new member bassist/guitarist Jens Marcelis. It was a potent start from which the band has impressively blossomed further, all the thick evidence there within their stunning new release.

The album opens with the track Tearing Back the Veil and instantly wraps ears in djent inspired predation aligned to flowing and suggestive keys spun by Aaron Gage. There is immediate drama to the start which never abates even as the track’s atmosphere becomes mellower yet cloudier and its air more sultry and exotic around the impressing tones of Tvarozek. That theatre also comes with a classic rock toning, a scent colluding with Porcupine Tree like elegance and Periphery like technical ferocity as the track evolves within the ears.

LD DIGI COVER FULL_RingMaster Review   It is an enthralling and gripping opening to the album matched by the tantalising majesty of Ascension. Emerging straight out of the alluring breath of its predecessor, the song is quickly weaving into its creative agenda reggae spiced melodic and rhythmic temptation with pulsating echoes of dub ingenuity. Potently backed by the voice of Gage, Tvarozek quickly has ears bending the way of his inviting delivery whilst the senses become enveloped by the intimately haunting yet celestial ambience of keys and guitars. The track is an engrossing endeavour with creative snarls making another seriously enticing aspect to the crystalline character of the track.

The individual craft of the band is as stirring and impressive as the sonic poetry they cast and welcoming to additional enterprise like that of guest guitarist Sithu Aye who brings a gripping solo to Point of No Return. The song twists and turns as it seduces ears and imagination, the great volatility of its jagged scenery and imposing attitude perfectly merged with its harmonic heart and melodic tempting. Confrontational and seductively immersive in equal measure, the track is a tapestry of creative imagination and emotive exploration spun in a web of diverse flavours and tones. At times it is jazzy, in other moments an emotive croon, and at times even an aggressively imposing incitement, but from start to finish it simply beguiles.

An already happy appetite for the release is made greedier still by the following Decimator, a primal but majestic involvement of the senses which flows seamlessly through again contrasts in texture and sonic attitude to entice and thrill. Throughout it can be as bestial as a Meshuggah offering and as warmly seductive as an instrumental flight with Heights, and with another guest in Plini providing a potent solo, it powerfully intrigues and pleases before making way for the darker shadows and emotion of Selfcollapse. Immediately a hue of turbulence lines its opening tempting, gaining thicker persuasion as guitars and bass sculpt a tempestuous canvas for vocal flames and the mesmeric lure of keys to share the track’s evocative narrative upon. Again there is the sense of a predator to the nature and tone of the outstanding track, prowling and urging with invasive bait as a melodic haunting permeates thoughts and emotions.

The pair of Synchronicity, with its otherworldly serenade, and the lively lapping of the senses that is Tidal keep ears and pleasure full with their unique natures and imaginative portraits in sound whilst Spires cradles the listener in melodic arms and inviting melancholic strings within another multi-coloured immersion of sound and ethereal temptation. All three absorb and transfix, successes matched by the mazy entangling of contrasting yet fluidly aligning textures and sonic colours that is Labyrinthian and after that by the mystique charged, sonically fiery B’ak’tun, which is set up firstly by the shamanic coaxing of short piece Incantation. As proven here and time and time again across the album, words only give a glimpse of the richness in sound and invention making up the tracks within Tearing Back The Veil I: Ascension, and as shown by B’ak’tun too, just when you think you have it all, another listen unveils a little more to the alchemy conjuring such intensively immersive incitements.

The album is brought to a close by the gentle romance on ears of Horizon and finally the brief atmospheric grumble of Edge of the Earth, confrontation and beauty merged for a closing instrumental exploration. It sums up the whole album, contrasting tones and layers wrapped in evocative expression to spark mind and body into full involvement.

To simplify it all, Tearing Back the Veil I: Ascension is a gorgeous album; one demanding of your time and concentration but rewarding with one of the year’s biggest triumphs.

Tearing Back the Veil I: Ascension is out now @ http://lithiumdawn.bandcamp.com

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Pete RingMaster 09/12/2015

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This Is Shark Country – Chances

This Is Shark Country - Promo Photo_RingMaster Review

As you would imagine from a band name like This Is Shark Country, there is a real bite and unbridled tenacity to their sound; voracity bred in the fusion of technical metal and hardcore which the Berkshire quintet is increasingly becoming more and more acclaimed for. New EP, Chances, is further evidence to that fact and of the growing potency and potential the band embraces in their striking creativity; it a roar of four tracks fuelled by ire and sculpted with imagination seeded craft.

Formed in 2011, This Is Shark Country has also become renowned for their live hunger and prowess, a presence taking in most of the UK whilst sharing stages with the likes of ‘68 (ex-Norma Jean), Nexilva, Palm Reader, Exist Immortal and many more. Their debut album Saviour was uncaged in 2013 to keen fan and in some quarters, potent media attention. Taking a year to make, the Newbury band now unleashes Chances, an encounter revealing greater strength and invention in the band’s sound and songwriting which suggests that This Is Shark Country is a band bringing new adventure and striking promise to the UK hardcore scene.

This Is Shark Country - Chances Artwork_RingMaster ReviewThe EP opens with Sitting Pretty and within a breath the guitars of Ben Mercer and Nick Blair are spinning a web of technical prowess and enticing expression, the bass of Jamie Holmes no slouch in gripping attention either with his lure of dark strings. Swiftly the song is a climatic affair, emotion and sound colluding as vocalist Oli Cole lays down an antagonism of voice and narrative within the blossoming tempest. Calm and elegant moments also add to the temptation of the song, their shining passages still prowled by the predatory tones of the bass within a constant rhythmic web swung by drummer Chris Sheen. The track is a potent and welcomingly unpredictable start to the EP but soon eclipsed by its successor.

Ghosting is reeled in on a punk infused hook, a bait of rock ‘n’ roll seared in gripping sonic endeavour. Continuing to entice, its lead in grows into a noise/alternative rock turbulence with rhythms a carnal attraction as the guitars create a virulently caustic rain of riveting enterprise. Though no lightweight when it comes to skills, the song is a more out and out rocker than the technical compulsion crafted by its predecessor, and in many ways, it is that impressively crafted punk ‘n’ roll fury which sees the release breach another plateau.

The EP’s title track is a similarly cultured blaze of hardcore contagion, though this time the djent sparked zeal of the band is entangled in the tendrils of melodic acidity and sonic imagination shaping the track. Of course Cole is straddling all with his undiluted bellow, his angst soaked delivery unafraid to tweak its attack to ensure even there some level of variety adds to the drama of the lively incitement. Becoming more antagonistic and bruising with every minute, its metal seeds gnawing at the senses as its punk heart roars, the song fiercely impresses before flowing into closing track Forever In Waiting.

Instantly an intimidating theatre lines the bait of riffs and bass, and almost as swiftly the guitars are wrapping it in a weave of rapacious invention and challenging intensity. More of a grower than the previous pair of offerings within Chances, the song blooms into another impressive provocation if one lacking that final decisive spark of others.

To go along with the press release for Chances, the EP is something fans of bands like Periphery, Every Time I Die, and Sikth will get a kick out of but there is plenty more to This Is Shark Country and their sound, some realised here and some as potential for their future maelstroms of imagination. What is very clear though is that the British hardcore/rock scene has another seriously stirring protagonist in the making.

The Chances EP is released November 13th through all stores and digital platforms.

https://www.facebook.com/ThisIsSharkCountry    https://twitter.com/tisharkcountry

Pete RingMaster 13/11/2015

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V/ VEGA – Leaving Lyra

V Vega Promo Shot_RingMaster Review

Leaving Lyra is like a newly discovered dish which lies on the tongue very nicely on the first mouthful, but it is in the after taste and subsequent eager snacking that its full range of flavours escape to thrill and seduce the taste buds into having another bite, and then another. So it is with the new EP from British progressive metallers V/ VEGA, a release which pleased on the initial listen but continues to reveal new creative spices and textures to simultaneously and increasingly impress at the same time. Elegant and warm, fierce and volatile, the EP’s quartet of songs challenge as they entice and enthral, each a tempest of sound and emotion which only leaves an appetite for more.

Hailing from the eastern county of Bedfordshire, V/ VEGA emerged in 2014 with a sound which we earlier stated as progressive metal but in truth it is a tapestry of styles and flavours across metal and rock. Band inspirations include the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Dance Gavin Dance, Karnivool, and Periphery amongst others, they alone a clue to the diversity involved within the sound and now EP from the quartet. Making their live debut in the June of last year, V/ VEGA have hit the live scene with hunger, sharing stages with bands such as Shields, Giants, Canvas, and Create to Inspire whilst earning acclaim and potent reputation for their craft and explosive performances. The well-received release of debut EP Nostalgia, also out mid-2014, whipped up further attention, including that of Crooked Noise Records who now nationally release Leaving Lyra. It is easy to expect bigger spotlights and reactions to follow in the wake of the new EP’s unleashing, an assumption quickly in place after that initial listen and only cemented thereon in.

V Vega Cover Artwork_RingMaster ReviewThe song Lyra starts things off, it’s opening ambience of brewing intrigue sparking the imagination with ears swiftly involved as atmospheric melodies and invitingly agitated rhythms unveil their suggestive prowess. The vocals of Jim Dummer firmly engage and impress just as quickly, his soaring tones backed well by Tom Williams whose guitar enterprise alongside that of Edd Durcan, similarly spins a web of emotive and at times tempestuous persuasion. Outbreaks of heavy and voracious crescendos only add to the drama and lure of the track, raw antagonistic growls emerging from either Dummer or Durcan to drive the ferocity which manages to potently align with and be entangled in the melodic charm colouring the warm landscape of the encounter.

It is a thickly enjoyable opening to Leaving Lyra which continues with Grand Declaration. Straight away the track is badgering ears with the hefty swings of whoever is at the drums and the carnivorous tones of Josh Levy’s bass. Simultaneously melodic flames and clean vocal prowess wrap the twisting grooves and sonic tendrils that vein and spear the keys spun ambience which, as in the opener, adds an ethereal breath and climate around the stormy heart of the song. Even more than its predecessor, the track is a maelstrom of ideas and textures which may need time to reveal its depths but only with increasing rewards for the time offered in return.

Wanderer follows and swiftly flirts with djent seeded technical adventure within another ferocious expulsion of dark metalcore like antagonism. After another mournful yet inflamed breath, the band slips into a melancholy washed calm which subsequently embraces fearsome volatility, an progressive wind, and corrosive malevolence, in time all fusing into one rich confrontation. It is a mouth-watering proposition which again needs time to be explored before announcing itself as the best track, if only by a slither or two such the quality throughout Leaving Lyra.

The EP comes to a fine close with Reaching Eden, a song instantly gripping ears with its opening bait of riffs. Featuring the potent tones of Glass Cloud front man Jerry Roush, the song is a rousing and fierce blustery wind of sound and emotion, but also unafraid to drift into ambience clouded calm spun by technical tempting, flowing harmonies, and emotional reflection. Everything is seamlessly involved; what came before and is to follow fluid with the now within the track, uniting for a constantly contagious and raucous cacophony of vocal and emotive animus driven magnetically by the rhythms. Like Karnivool meets Periphery meets Bring Me The Horizon, with a healthy wash of Between the Buried and Me too, the song is a dynamic and wonderfully testing finale to a continually impressing offering from V/ VEGA.

With the band still barely into its second year, it is easy to think this is only the start of bigger and bolder things for and from V/ VEGA. A smile is breaking out at that thought.

Leaving Lyra is available from October 2nd digitally and on CD via Crooked Noise Records.

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Pete RingMaster 02/10/2105

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Parallax Method – The Owl

Pic Ewan Mathers_www.ewanmathersphotographer.com

Pic Ewan Mathers_www.ewanmathersphotographer.com

There are so many things about The Owl EP to wax lyrical over; from its intricate yet free flowing fusion of flavours to its smiling warmth of character even when offering a more volatile twist or passage to contemplate. Most though it is the fact that each of its instrumental adventures provides a brand new escapade with every listen. The music hints, at times openly suggests, but all the time the imagination is given the sonic and melodic palette to paint its own inspired landscape and exploits, and that is pure fun and pleasure.

The release comes courtesy of UK progressive rockers The Parallax Method, their debut introduction to the UK rock scene. Formed last year, the seeds of the band began with guitarist Danny Beardsley, drummer Dave Wright, and bassist Daniel Hayes’ time together in hard rock band Isolysis back in 2011. With a collective experience of almost thirty years, the Derbyshire trio re-united last year as The Parallax Method, drawing on their mutual love of bands such as TesseracT, Karnivool, and Periphery to spice a sound, as mentioned earlier, tagged as progressive rock but entwining the broadest array of styles and essences into a fascinating tapestry. It is all in evidence within their first incitement Owl, the trio conjuring a web of creative intrigue and glorious aural adventure. Since its recording, Hayes has left the band to be replaced by Ben Edis (Spirytus/Breed 77), but left as his legacy a gripping part in a potent start to the bands easy to assume rise to the fore of the progressive scene.

Parallax cdep1._RingMaster Review    To quote their press release, “The Parallax Method leans on the themes of space and a perpetual battle between the owl and the squid to convey their unique sub-genre of modern prog. Space signifies the vast and epic nature of each track. The owl, wise and powerful, manifests itself in the music in its’ confident and strategic build ups. The squid, sneaky and sly, embodies itself in the ever-present surprising twists and turns. And the battle between them often ends in a violent stalemate which serves to betray the band’s humble standard tuning.” That is the premise to and suggestive nature of the release but to be honest as soon as second track Honey I Shrunk The Squid steps forward, after the cosy yet stark intro of the brief Welcome One and Owl, the imagination is off and running with its own narrative too.

Evolving straight out of its predecessor, as all pieces do, the track is soon writhing with juicy grooves and darkly toned rhythms which in turn breed a just as swift virulence in their increasingly inventive enterprise. You can easily confirm the spicery of those previously mentioned influences but also as the track, and indeed EP, develops thoughts are reminded of Belgian solo project Squidhead. The song continues to take ears on a busy and eventful dance, the guitar a jumble of coherent hooks and bewitching melodies framed and punctuated by the almost morose tone of the bass and the swinging beats of Wright. There is an industrial feel to the visual incitement it sparks, an intensive parade of activity and life which is often seduced by shards of melodic beauty and melancholic warmth.

The following Can Mango Take Me Higher is blossomed from those seeds too, exploring them with the sombre yet flirtatious lures of Hayes’ bass and the resourceful craft and imagination of Beardsley’s fingers of guitar strings. As in the previous piece, the music perpetually evolves, at times brewing up tempestuous climates and avenues as potent and captivating as the mellow seductions aligning them. The spatial ambience of the track has thoughts soaring into the dark and dangerous unknown but always there is an earth bound intimacy which also has the imagination and emotions working overtime, the latter especially when the bass throws off its shadows to wonderfully cluck, for want of a better word, at the senses.

Though individual tracks definitely work alone, The Owl should be listened to and is most enjoyed as a whole. Each song is a natural progression and chapter in a singular scintillating tale, whether with the band’s premise or in one’s own thoughts; flowing masterfully from the other as Radagash The Brown does from Can Mango Take Me Higher. The new encounter is a cosmopolitan shuffle which from its jazz kissed and sultry opening scenery travels rugged terrain and gentler seas towards a classical seduction bred on Latin influences and mystique sowing climes. Ultimately the track is a cauldron of technical prowess and even more so mischievous imagination, there no escaping the underlying grin to the release.

Closing on a techno agitation against emotively spun keys, the song flips into Owlgarhythm, the only time you could say the join is less than organic. It matters little as the immediate haze of funk lined agitation and devilry sides with blues electricity, the trio again whipping up a tenaciously sculpted shuffle with a whisper of bedlam to its heart and energy. Continuing to spin a revolving soundscape of sound and descriptive textures which are more travelogue like for the imagination than echoing the conflict maybe suggested by the EP’s theme, the track is superb. As the whole of The Owl, it is a spellbinding creative emprise which you might never get a clear handle on but just devour more greedily with every listen trying.

Another great thing about the EP is that it never has a whiff of indulgence or showing off which can and often does afflict many progressive spawned offerings, meaning that The Parallax Method is definitely a band to pay attention to and The Owl, a release you really should let your imagination play with.

The Owl is released on Friday 11th September through all stores.

Pete RingMaster 10/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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