Defy The Ocean – Elderflower EP


Ignore the post rock tagging when seems to accompany UK duo Defy The Ocean as their sound is so much more than that. Well not exactly ignore as it is one prevalent texture within a proposition which commands attention but as their new EP Elderflower reveals, the band is as eager to embrace alternative and melodic rock as they are grunge and many fiercer flavours. It results in a sound which captures the imagination across seven intriguing tracks within Elderflower, songs which are a mix of sheer bewitchment and less dramatic adventures but all offering company that only firmly satisfies.

Defy The Ocean consists of vocalist/guitarist Chris Theo and drummer/guitarist Marcos Economides, a pair which met at high school and began jamming together at the respective fifteen and nine. Having gone their separate ways the duo reconnected and musically linked up again in 2009, Defy the Ocean emerging from their songwriting and playing. Their first two singles were released in 2010 with the Myopic EP unveiled late 2012; its well-received release followed by the single Gold & Green the following year.

Working on Elderflower since then, Theo and Economides have pushed their sound to another level, weaving soundscapes of dramatic textures within melancholic atmospheres coloured with matching emotions. Equally they have drawn on more virulent forms of rock to add an inviting catchiness which whether subtle or forthright is another potent draw on ear and imagination.

The EP opens up with Rest, a sombre introduction sharing its shadowed heart through the first melancholy hued strains of guitar. As more creative detail appears, the song comes to life, its emotive intensity as dark and troubled but shaped by melodic suggestion and graced by the excellent vocal harmonics of Theo. Ebbing and flowing with energy and raw emotion, the track grips ears, seizing the imagination as forcibly in less than three minutes of striking enterprise.

elderflowercoverart_RingMasterReviewThe following Veil equally opens in calmer sorrowful waters, wrapping downcast yet vibrant melodic strands around ears as a dirtier bass line walks the shadows bringing a portentous air to the blue but radiant captivation. Along its body, the track continues to grow in layers and ear snatching textures, as with the EP as a whole needing numerous listens to appreciate the levels and nuances making up an ultimately enthralling body with increasing impressiveness following every venture into its riveting downcast landscape.

The EP’s title track comes next, casting a theatre of emotion and sound with essences of bands like Tool, Pelican, and Grenouer in its tempestuous landscape. Both Theo and Economides entangle each other’s enterprise and technical prowess, rhythms a rousing often destructive element as sonic adventure links up with rawer trespasses for one infectious tempting.

Brine follows with its own thick canvas of dramatic sound and emotional turbulence, Theo vocally emptying the song’s heart as the guitars cradle his dejection. Again it is beguiling stuff if at times lacking the last few sparks that lit up its predecessors, though to be fair there are moments it radiates like a creative sun to dynamically pleasure the senses before Vessel soulfully caresses ears with its atmospheric despondence and warm understanding. The most adventurous track so far, it transports thoughts into exotic places over time, always sharing compelling emotion and an understated yet powerful catchiness which just as potently fuels the impressive tones of Theo and his and Economides’ invention.

The piano bred instrumental of Poisoned leads into final track Bones, its brief heavyhearted beauty the appetiser to the woeful and epically shadowed closer. With moments of melodic clarity and stormy intensity, all swept across by the vocal and harmonic elegance of Theo, the last song is emotional turbulence within a musical tempest and quite beguiling with greater command on the passions with every listen.

Within Elderflower, Defy The Ocean merges recognisable essences and textures with their own stirring invention. It makes for a masterfully powerful release becoming more striking with time shared.

The Elderflower EP is out now @

Pete RingMaster 20/10/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Astral Cloud Ashes – Too Close to the Noise Floor

Album Art_RingMasterReview

With three attention grabbing and imagination sparking singles under the belt, Astral Cloud Ashes unveil debut album Too Close to the Noise Floor. It is a collection of songs which arouse and serenade the senses, often simultaneously as the project’s mesmeric songwriting and emotive melodic elegance seduces.

Astral Cloud Ashes is the new project of Jersey bred songwriter/musician Antony Walker, previously better known as one half of the Channel Islands hailing Select All Delete Save As. Having already created music under the name ALPA, amongst other monikers, Walker quickly sparked attention to his latest project last year with first single Too Close To The Noise Floor, the now title track to the new album. Primarily a solo project but with backing vocalist Jason Neil a permanent fixture in the band, Astral Cloud Ashes draws on inspirations ranging from The Cure, Bloc Party, Interpol, At the Drive In, Mars Volta, and Say Anything as well as flavours bred in indie and alternative rock/pop. Equally though, the album shows bold ventures into more progressive and post rock pastures without losing the instinctive catchiness and melodic romancing found in those earlier propositions.

Mixed across its tracks by Gareth [The Fold], Edd HartwellPaul Miles, Daniel Szanto,  and Walker himself, with the mastering undertaken by Tim Turan, Too Close to the Noise Floor opens with The Man I Had To Become. Instantly a temptation of bubbling guitar captures ears, the coaxing quickly joined by a wave of rhythmic jabbing and a thicker weave of melodic guitar and harmonious vocals. It is a gentle yet boisterous affair easily whipping up the imagination and spirit with Walker’s distinctive tones the mellow flame within a more combustible web of enterprise. It is a great mix which marked those early singles but already seems to have blossomed within the album into a more adventurous and confident entangling of the listener.

The great start is followed by the album’s title track, Too Close to the Noise Floor showing a rawer, more imposing energy as it takes the imagination into the intimacy and adventure of cosmonautics but equally involves “family values and unwanted first-world paranoia” in its energetically hugged theme. Punching its rhythmic and contagious essences home, it also carries a hazy climate to its atmosphere with the bass a deliciously throaty lure amongst nothing but virulent temptation. Embracing a XTC feel and Melvins like revelry, the track has body and appetite eagerly involved in swift time.

Grateful for the Ghost In Our House steps forward next and as the last track showed a more formidable presence to its predecessor, this song reveals a fiercer predation to its opening and subsequent invention within another wash of suggestive melodies and smouldering dynamics. Though not in the actual sound, it is easy to see where an influence of The Cure comes into play, Walker creating an emotional and musical drama which has the senses riding a roller coaster.

Recent single Get Real follows, strolling along with the ever present catchiness which Walker conjures with seeming ease across every track. Guitars pop and bubble throughout the song as rhythmic tenacity creating an anthemic frame to the vocal and melodic ingenuity before Flashback takes over. A calmer and mellower engagement but even more emotively forceful, the song caresses ears with a lone guitar melody before being joined by a heavily shadowed bassline aligned to a broader floating melodic enterprise. Vocally, Walker provides an introspective narrative as provocative as the poetic almost volcanic fuzziness of his guitar. Adding another individual shade and hue to the album, the track shows the broader landscape of Walker’s songwriting and an intimacy, whether personal or observational, which fuels his words.

With drummer Max Saidi guesting, Avant Blah! strolls boldly in next, its lo-fi pop ‘n’ roll blending Weezer infection with Pavement-esque invention while its successor Lites almost lumbers into view in comparison with the brooding bass and irritable riffs to the fore. In all songs there is a great repetitious quality brewed by Walker, here almost coming over drone like to great effect around the solemn melody and the similarly melancholic vocals. As it expands though, a wave of rich textures and rousing energies flood the song, returning throughout the low-key yet thickly enjoyable, almost imposing encounter.

The excellent This Once Great Place has an air of The Cure again with its atmospheric landscape, reminding of the A Forest/Pornography era of the trio across its own captivating journey before the equally impressive Housing in a Bubble makes a grab for best track with its more punkish/grungy roar of sound. Everything about it has a snarl not heard on the album previously; revealing more of the diversity the release carries whilst stirring up a fresh greed in ears and pleasure.

Our Holiday brings Too Close to the Noise Floor to a sombre and enthralling close, the track initially a dark sigh but soon building its own catchy canter loaded with spiky hooks and spicy melodies around another slightly foreboding and compelling bassline. Once more thoughts of Robert Smith and co are sparked but again as a flavour in something individual to Astral Cloud Ashes. It is a riveting end to a striking and increasingly impressive first album from Walker.

The clues to the project’s potential were there in its first trio of singles, and now confirmed and partly realised by Too Close to the Noise Floor. The feeling is that there is plenty more to come and to be explored within that promise, and going by the strength of this thoroughly enjoyable offering, we are all in for many treats ahead.

Too Close to the Noise Floor is released July 11th @

Pete RingMaster 08/07/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dead Register – Fiber

pic Joe Sands

pic Joe Sands

The inability to pin down the Dead Register sound is almost as enjoyable as the music itself and the expansive web of flavours making it up. The Atlanta trio weave a tapestry which seems simultaneously made up of essences from gothic and death rock, post punk and dark pop, doom and post rock and more. As shown by debut album Fiber, the richness of those textures is a genre crossing emprise of craft and imagination. Yet there is something easily accessible to its busy body of imagination igniting invention and atmospheric drama too, an almost familiar presence which still defies recognition. The result of it all is a release which has a uniqueness few can emulate and a fascination which simply seduces ears and emotions.

Formed in 2013, Dead Register began as the creative union of vocalist/bassist M. Chvasta (ex-Palaces; ex-Light Pupil Dilate) and his wife Avril Che (bass synth, textures, keys, backing vocals). The programmed rhythmic side of the project was replaced the following year by Chad Williams (ex-Magnapop) with a wave of writing and subsequently the live honing of songs live following. Bringing six of their favourite tracks together, Dead Register now release Fiber; an introduction which bewitches and challenges in equally compelling manner.

From its first moments, Fiber is a leviathan of monolithic, doom infused temptation sparking and feeding off the imagination. It manages to be imposing, bordering portentous, but with an infectious virulence and emotively melodic character of sound which does not so much temper its dark side but blossoms in its embrace. It all starts with Alone and a lone and slim melancholic melody. It is the spark for a doom loaded awakening of raw riffs and a deliciously gravelly bass groan. A suggestive ambience lays in its shadows too before the instantly impressing tones of Chvasta’s croon and the rhythmic shuffle of Williams help unveil new depths in the outstanding encounter’s increasing emotion and drama.  Che’s harmonies float like gossamer in that air whilst the track takes on a Southern Death Cult meets Modern English meets Swans presence across almost ten minutes of sonic and vocal bliss.

Dead Register Fiber Cover Art_RingMasterReviewIt’s impressive and gripping presence is matched in might by the album’s title track next. From its initial grouchy growl in metallic riffs and bass lures, the song has ears and thoughts thickly involved with an intimidating creative theatre and emotive exploration. It gently nags and openly immerses the senses in a slightly corrosive but engaging proposal, everything about it a skilful and imaginative merger of contrasts. Rhythms are irritable yet rousing, melodies poetic against almost ravenous sonic atmospherics, and Chvasta’s beguiling voice the descriptive haven within a tempestuous climate and raw wind.

A mouth-watering post punk incitement opens up the rhythmically irresistible Drawing Down next; it continuing to make ripe appearances within the evocative landscape and post rock/ gloom-gaze heart of the third track. At times there are spices sparking thoughts of bands like Echo and The Bunnymen and The Birthday Party, other times a surge of invention hinting at a Godflesh or Palms, but all strands within the band’s captivating ingenuity linked by the ever impressing vocals and the tenaciously seducing rhythms.

Grave offers the darkest, dankest climate of the album so far, its atmosphere almost clinging to the senses as guitars and bass cast emotively picturesque lures serenaded by the rich expressive tones of Chvasta. As all tracks, it has thoughts off on their own creative tangent whilst embracing the narrative offered by voice and melodic intimation; a craft and success unsurprisingly found in the following Entwined too. Even with the riveting throaty grizzle of the bass, a flavour hard to get enough of within Fiber, the song has a warmer tone to its predecessors. It has an almost mystical air, especially through its sonic and melodic design, though again raw and erosive shadows lurk and crowd their magnetic insinuations for great volatility in another lingeringly memorable moment on the album.

Closing up with the heavy seductive oppression of Incendiary, a track rivalling Grave for strength of suffocating emotive intensity, Dead Register transfix and thrill with every twist and turn of Fiber. Though maybe not quite matching those before it for personal tastes, the final track epitomises the qualities and craft of the band whilst exciting the senses and imagination. Again contrasting textures and elements collude through a kaleidoscope of styles and sounds to create something unlike any other proposal heard in a long time and likely to be found again this year outside of the trio. Fiber is dark magic, emotional trespassing, and quite wonderful.

Fiber is released May 6th via AVR Records digitally and on CD and cassette @

Pete RingMaster 06/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Ciconia – Winterize


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 @ and

Pete Ringmaster 19/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Erudite Stoner – Self Titled

Erudite Stoner_RingMasterReview

There has been quite a few ear seducing instrumental albums over the past year or so but it is hard to remember any as charming yet emotively striking as the self-titled debut album from Erudite Stoner. A one man acoustic based project from Brazil, the band creates music which simply immerses the imagination in beauty and suggestive intrigue. Nothing is imposing and no elements forced, but sound and album provide the paint for a myriad of mental pictures and emotive explorations.

Erudite Stoner is the creation of Matheus Novaes, a guitarist leaning on inspirations from the like of Alcest, Agalloch, Gustavo Santaolalla, and Ulver for his first album. Weaving the potent scents of post-rock, shoegaze, doom, and classical guitar into his sound, the Erudite Stoner freely and so often sublimely caresses ears and strokes the imagination across nine tracks of aural majesty. The pieces of music are the perfect length, never too long and over pushing their persuasive limits but equally never too short and leaving the conjuring of imagery adrift. Together tracks create a seduction hard to get enough of and easy to drift away with time and time again.

The release opens with Spiritual Deliverance, a piece of music initially wrapped in nature’s lonely hug whilst sharing melodic melancholy. A warmth and escape from that harsher climate subsequently surrounds ears, the embrace of acoustic and electric guitar as gentle and descriptive as it is at times dramatically tenacious. It is a bewitching start to the album which continues in the similarly melancholic Alienist. Darker hues line the track’s scenic tempting of melody and tone though, essences flirting with thoughts like shadows in the shade of a lonely yet mesmeric day.

art_RingMasterReviewThrough the emotive fascination of Ride to Nowhere with its sultrily melodic calm and the elegant theatre of Far Away From City Walls, imaginative interpretation and pleasure only increases. The second provokes thoughts of innocent smiling children within depressing and oppressing landscapes; a superb merger of contrasting shades of sound and emotion skilfully woven before the riveting majesty of There is No Home sends the listener into new and quaint but equally cosmopolitan lands.

The song, as with the craft and skill of Novaes, easily inspires praise, their tempting and composing creating the most inspiring and engrossing moment yet within the release though it still gets eclipse by emerging favourite Waiting For the Storm. Listening to the track is like its title’s suggestion with a melodic peace initially romancing ears and attention while around it slightly darker essences are glimpsed and eventfully felt in a dynamic and deliciously intensive finale. The piece is simply irresistible, a rousing companion for ears and thoughts.

The pair of Sand Path and Roads to Somewhere continues to keep both those aspects busy, each providing their own individual and tempting palette of melody and emotive expressive for the listener to wrap themselves in before the brief and folkishly intimate Left Behind brings the thoroughly enjoyable and bewitching adventure to a close.

Erudite Stoner, band and album, is a proposition of sheer beauty which it is hard to imagine anyone failing to be easily touched and seduced by. Go treat yourselves is our sole recommendation.

The Erudite Stoner album is out now @

Pete RingMaster 19/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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