Early Mammal – Horror at Pleasure

   Early Mammal 2

     Devouter Records has developed this knack, insight, skill whatever you wish to call it, in finding and releasing music from bands which offer something different and imaginatively impacting within what can be loosely termed as a stoner/psychedelic brief for the label. Horror at Pleasure, the debut release from UK band Early Mammal is no exception. It is a record which takes the senses and thoughts on an intensive sonic journey which is not always easy or pain free but is continually intriguing and exhausting in the most enjoyable way. Brewing a collision of stoner, blues, doom, and progressive invention into a psyche-out storm of sonic intensity and blistering, Early Mammal rides roughshod over the senses whilst rewarding them with weighty sonic enterprise and acid soaked erosive breath.

Formed in 2012, the Camberwell, South London trio of guitarists and vocalist Rob Herian (ex-Elks), drummer Ben Davis (ex-85 Bears), and Turkish born Deniz Belendir on organ and synth take their inspiration from bands across the likes of Captain Beefheart, High Rise, Peter Green, White Hills, Edgar Broughton Band, and Hawkwind, adding these rich spices to their own psyche fire of progressively carved and fuzzed textured burning. As mentioned the album is not always comfortable upon the ear but no pain no gain right!

Opening on the brief instrumental and shimmering air of Right Hand, its ambience sweltering in the sonic heat but restrained in itsArtwork touch, the release soon evolves into the harsher climes of Final Witch. Immediately raw on the ear with caustically surfaced vocals to match, the track grazes and sears the synapses with a compelling melodic glaze which is sonically heated until it scalds and bubbles upon the senses and a guitar acidity which exhausts and compromises the enterprise at play for even greater satisfaction. With the keys transporting instigated visuals into a spacey kaleidoscope of aural colours and imagery it is a strong start to the album, an unrelenting and unkind embrace which evokes good satisfaction.

Horror at Pleasure is undoubtedly an album you need to undertake the journey of numerous times to fully reap what it offers, the many encounters slowly but forcibly showing the impressive strengths of tracks like Demon or Saint and Coming Back. Admittedly the first of the pair made a mighty persuasion on its first meeting with the ear, its bluesy gait and ravaging intensity ridden by the raw vocal tone and expression of Herian to capture the imagination but after further companionship the song expands into one of the strongest emotion exploiting pinnacles on the album. The second of the two is a fire in an atmospheric wasteland, the chilled solitude soaked ambience the home to an alluring emotive guitar narrative which sparks more vivid feelings in its short but inciting instrumental life.

The further into the release the more impressive and irresistibly tempting it is, the likes of To Find Me Gone with its Stones like fiery breath and Checking The Bullshitter’s Queen, a song which flames around the ear with an inventive sonic script to light up the air with cascades of intrusive but enthralling cunning invention, the pair conspiring with many others to enflames and push the limits of passion on to greater responses. The finest moment on the giant soundscape that is Horror At Pleasure comes with Resurrection Men. The track canters along with feisty intent and energetic urgency without fully unleashing all its intensity, keeping some back to frequent and stalk the shadows which wrap the track, something the band does across the whole album in truth. It has to be said that though each track is certainly distinct to each other, this song especially ripe in originality it is not always clear why as all songs employ a similar surface abrasion and hellacious near on spiteful scuzzy energy and presence which is borne from the same sonic seed. They do stand apart though and Resurrection Man with the fullest furnace of transfixing brain warping ingenuity and mesmeric colours above the rest.

Closed by a companion instrumental in Uncle Scary’s Left Hand to the opening piece, Horror at Pleasure is a strongly impressive release. Though the album overall did not exactly ignite the strongest furnace inside for its endeavours, poking the dormant embers into inconsistent eruptions, one senses it is just a matter of time before Early Mammal do achieve that, but for many others they will have made that break through with this wholly pleasing feast of sonic alchemy one suspects.

http://www.facebook.com/earlymammal

8/10

RingMaster 03/04/2013

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Gwyn Ashton – Radiogram

Following up his acclaimed 2009 album, Two-Man Blues Army, blues guitarist Gwyn Ashton returns with new release Radiogram, a ten track feast of thrilling and sizzling guitar passion. With drummer Kev Hickman alongside, Ashton had created an album which shows why he is so highly rated by the likes of Robert Plant, Johnny Winter, and Don Airey. Radiogram is a vibrant slice of blues driven rock n roll, a collection of songs which burst through the ear with enterprise, invention, and mesmerising skill.

Welsh born and an Australian resident since the mid sixties to the nineties, the now European based Ashton has drawn great and eager responses to his music and play since picking up the guitar at age 12 and playing in his first band when 16. Across the past couple of decades he has toured with the likes of BB King, Ray Charles, Buddy Guy, Mick Taylor, Rory Gallagher, Peter Green, Junior Wells, Johnny Winter, Canned Heat, Robin Trower, Jeff Healey, The Yardbirds, Status Quo, and Magnum, whilst recorded with such luminaries as Kim Wilson (Fabulous Thunderbirds), Robbie Blunt (Robert Plant), Chris Glen/Ted McKenna (SAHB, MSG), Don Airey (Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne), and Gerry McAvoy/Brendan O’Neill (Rory Gallagher). It is a CV to ignite the passions, something his new album easily emulates.

The sixth album from Ashton also finds an array of high profile guests involved alongside he and Hickman, those involved including  Don Airey, Kim Wilson, Robbie Blunt, Johnny Mastro (LA’s Mama’s Boys), Mark Stanway (Magnum, Phil Lynott), and Mo Birch (UB40, Go West, Culture Club). Radiogram only takes the length of its initial soundbite before enticing the emotions to wake up and pay full attention. Once into its stride opener Little Girl sizzles with heated riffs and forceful rhythms whilst the strong vocals cap the impressive first engagement of accomplished rock n roll. The track saunters and dawdles in turn as Ashton leaves fiery sonic shards across the song for a stirring start.

The album is a release which with great variety continually leaves one excited and wholly satisfied. Songs like the brilliant and best track on the album, Let Me In, with its teasing blues swagger and great mouth organ mastery, the classic sounding Dog Eat Dog, and the smouldering For Your Love to just pick a trio, all lifting one up in irresistible muscular arms to devour with ease their compulsive and rich majestic sounds from full imaginative hearts. The album is a release which you do not have to be a blues enthusiast to draw much pleasure from, even those with harder more abrasive tastes like us cannot avoid being magnetised by the craft and stirring sounds at work.

Also featuring a great version of the Willie Dixon/Muddy Waters song I Just Wanna Make Love To You and the simply hypnotic instrumental Bluz For Roy which closes the album and alone shows why the guitarist is so strongly thought of, Radiogram is one of the best  rock albums to appear this year. Gwyn Ashton may still be an undiscovered name for many outside of blues but the album will certainly go a long way to changing that as its impressive sounds reach wider searching ears.

www.gwynashton.com

RingMaster 29/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Donkey Jacket

 

Take two men, a blues fuelled guitar, a set of firm and eagerly heavy drums plus expressively inviting songs and you have Welsh duo Henry’s Funeral Shoe and the second album Donkey Jacket. Too simple a description to be fair as there is much more to the band’s music and a thoroughly engaging and at times exhilarating experience it is too.

Brothers Aled (vocals/guitars) and Brennig (drums/percussion) Clifford return with the follow up to their highly acclaimed debut Everything’s For Sale, bringing forth more of their striking blues/southern rock/ garage punk mix though on Donkey Jacket they have moved it notable steps forward in creativity for a more rounded yet still slightly raw sound. From Ystrad Mynach, South Wales the brothers formed the band in 2008 inspired and influenced by their father’s vinyl collection whilst growing up, artists making the deepest impression including the likes of The Who, Peter Green, Robert Johnson and the Beatles.  Their music is open in its influences from artists and sounds alike but they are infused into their own ideas to create blues veined rock ‘n’ roll with psychedelic and eager garage punk urgency.

One could not say Donkey Jacket is particularly unique but its defined variety and expressive songwriting and music more than stands the band out from the similar aurally adorned crowd. From the opening hearty blues rock of ‘Be Your Own Invention’ with its loving guitars and acute melodic energy through to the closing emotive ballad ‘Across The Sky’, the album intrigues and envelopes the ear to great satisfaction.

Every song offers up variety and a heartfelt passion whatever its guise, the twosome feeling their songs as they bring them to life for us.  Each track comes with well written and unpredictable cycles though the band never make things complicated leaving each track impossible to simply gloss over or let slip by the ear. The strongest tracks on the album show its varied content. The southern blues of ‘Love Is A Fever’ with a fine rock start is impressive as is the wonderful gothic darkness of ‘The Walking Crawl’ with its slight but lingering discordant tendencies reminding of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers. The albums best track by far though is ‘Dog Scratched Ear’, a song incessant in attack and beckoning energy that is spined by a vibrant and mesmeric resonating riff.  It refuses to be ignored, demanding and getting full attention with its garage punk flavours and firm direct rhythms.

Recorded by Tim Hammill in Wales and mixed in Detroit by Jim Diamond the release features guest appearances alongside the duo’s own flavoursome skills. The reefabilly tinged ‘Bottom To The Top’ features John “Ned” Edwards, a long time collaborator of Van Morrison on slide guitar and mandolin, whilst elsewhere sees the contributions of Pete Hurley, the bass player for the legendary seventies Welsh band Lone Star, and Justin Beynon of the Broken Vinyl Club on piano. Donkey Jacket is a lively affair that never dulls the senses or lets them drift off elsewhere. It might not be breaking new grounds but it is an impressive and at times smartly inspired release. Rich in freshness and fun Henry’s Funeral Shoe have given an album that feeds the senses and warms the heart, a perfect tonic for those long winter days and nights.

RingMaster 17/12/2011

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