Arcade Messiah – Hell By Default

After two years of pretty much silence since the release of previous release, Trilogy, Irish musician John Bassett has returned with a new slice of Arcade Messiah temptation. Hell By Default is that offering, the declaration of a new captivating breath to his sound and songwriting and an ear grabbing EP making a rather potent teaser to a new album in the works.

Already renowned before Arcade Messiah as the frontman/songwriter of KingBathmat, Bassett himself says that ‘After a couple of very difficult years, I’ve finally managed to get back to making music, the new Arcade Messiah sound is more song focused with vocals…” That was the first surprise as previously the Sligo based songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer’s project has been an instrumental adventure and news which immediately intensified the intrigue as fruitful experiences with KingBathmat and SΔCRED ΔPE as well as an acoustic album under his own name proved vocals was another potent string to Bassett’s creative bow.

Equally there is a new hue to the Arcade Messiah sound, a lighter multi-flavoured flume of melodic imagination and contagious hookery which comes with something of a KingBathmat lining but one which colludes with and enhances rather than defuses the established progressive shadow haunted explorations of Bassett’s project. Its first three albums and their union as Trilogy in 2017 provided a cathartic venture for the imagination within a kaleidoscope of suggestive sounds for ears. Hell By Default is no different yet with its broader palette of enterprise is a bold new trail of exploration for Arcade Messiah.

The EP opens with its title track, a song taken from that new and fourth album planned for release later in the year. Hell By Default rises on a siren sonic call, a lure within which a teasing melodic hook soon beckons and the tones of Bassett coax. With every note and second, the song gently but firmly accelerates its urgency and temptation, soon hitting a keen stroll soaked in drama and fiery intensity. Rock and metal essences blend in the post rock nurtured flames which boldly consume and ignite upon the senses, dark almost rapacious tints soaking the creative trespass swiftly igniting imagination and appetite. It all unites for a thickly magnetic proposition and a greedy devouring of the return of Arcade Messiah.

The following Death X-Ray strolls in with a calmer and lighter character and touch, one fuelled by an instinctive tempting and organic catchiness which instantly gripped attention. As melodic infectiousness, vocal intimacy, and rhythmic persuasion continue to flourish, the track blossomed with greater radiance. Even so a shadowy courting to the melodic radiance and emotive heart on offer brings an edge and drama which only highlights the nagging prowess of hooks and grooved melodies, the result another track which only compelled pleasure and attention.

Hell By Default concludes with its instrumental version, a piece of creative inference which led thoughts to a different adventure to that highlighted by the words of Bassett in the opener and that is another attribute proven to its creator’s craft, songs can have a dual aspect and has the imagination constantly conjuring.

It has been a perpetual pleasure for us to engage in any Arcade Messiah encounter so far and the new EP only repeats that experience though through it there is a feeling that that new album could be the biggest thrill of all.

Hell By Default is available now @ https://arcademessiah.bandcamp.com/album/hell-by-default as a name your price download.

https://www.facebook.com/arcademessiah

Pete RingMaster 09/08/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Joakem – Mind Matter

Mind Matter is the striking debut album from Cyprus-based singer songwriter, composer, keyboardist Joakem; a release which just blossoms and further impresses play by play. Woven in a magnetic blend of progressive rock and metal it shares tapestries of craft and imagination, they all created with an instinct to tempt.

Joakem (Stelios Ioakim), from his beginnings as a classical pianist, has formed and played in a host of bands including alternative rock outfit Slightly Offensive and melodic death metallers Tørment. Musically, as in rich evidence within Mind Matter, he embraces various threads of styles and flavours in his atmospheric and progressively nurtured sound and as proven by his first full length, it makes for one seriously enjoyable proposition.

The album instantly began to keenly lure ears and attention as opener A Peaceful Place teased with rapaciously edged guitar, its full entrance joined by an equally enticing coaxing from keys. Already what proves to be a distinctive flavouring to the latter is working away on a swiftly found appetite before just as potently Joakem’s vocals add to the temptation. Immediately too, there is an infectious touch and tenacity to the song, one which as the track evolves and reveals a wealth of imaginative twists and turns only intensifies while across its irresistible length, various metal bred colours from extreme to melodic ignite progressive rock instincts to create one fascinating and thrilling start to Mind Matter.

The following Resurgence makes a just as persuasive first impression; Joakem’s almost carnival-esque keys dancing with ears and imagination as riffs reveal a similar creative bent. Lively rhythms soon add to the swiftly captivating incitement before an atmospheric calm if one carrying crepuscular shadows, emerges. This in turn breeds a new wave of tenacious enterprise with keys, vocals, and guitar colluding in the casting of a richly compelling aural painting within which its creator’s classical breeding is a perpetual lure as too the Dave Greenfield (The Stranglers) scented those keys.

One of the album’s early singles is next up, Generation Z a fiery fusion of rock and metal with a snarl in its breath and irritability in its body yet equally a song sharing a reflective calm and spirited animation in its respective tempting and rousing roar. Maybe not as immediately gripping as its predecessors, the track only needed one round of its chorus to banish doubts, that carousing bred on the ever alluring presence of Joakem’s voice and keys before Illusory stepped forward to share its own intrigue lined exploits. It too has a dark edge and tone to its bold exploration of a shady world in sound and word but as potently a melodic radiance which only adds to the thick intimation.

Through the constantly tantalising journey of The Path, another previous single which awoke plenty of attention the way of Joakem, and the mercurial trespass of Terra captivation tightened. The superb first of the two is a blend of aggressive disposition and melodic elegance, though charm fuelled by fire bearing melody while its successor shares an instinctive earthiness with almost psychotic inclinations, twisting and turning with almost bedlamic mastery. A track which took a touch longer to persuade in comparison to others, it emerges as another big highlight as Joakem makes use of his obvious vast palette of sound and imagination.

Treacherous is a far less tempestuous affair though it too erupts in a cyclone of composed melodic and metallic fury led by the driven winds of keys. As with all tracks, it fluidly surges and slips through an array of contrasts and contradictions, impressing with its unpredictability and bold imagination before Departure brings it all to a great close. From an evocative caress of piano, the final song serenades and arouses the senses before rising up in virulent coercion of vocal chords and ardour providing a glorious end to an equally magnificent release.

Wrapped in the stirring artwork of Alexandros Papantoniou, at times Mind Matter is simply sublime and in other moments ridiculously captivating, throughout casting a web of easily addictive enterprise which only leads to our recommendation that you go treat yourselves.

Mind Matter is available now for download/streaming on all digital platforms with physical copies available @

http://www.joakem.com/   https://www.facebook.com/joakemmusic   https://twitter.com/joakemmusic

Pete RingMaster 12/03/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Ciconia – Meraki

The approaching spring of 2016 saw Spanish instrumental outfit Ciconia confirm themselves as one fascinating and enthralling proposition with the release of the album Winterize. Now almost to the day the Valladolid hailing trio are unveiling its successor, an even richer and resourcefully riveting encounter simply demanding real and full attention.

Already hinting to the fact with their 2014 debut album, The Moon Sessions, Ciconia showed a potent craft and agility at weaving canvases of sound as visually stimulating within the imagination as they were sonically compelling for ears with Winterize. The trio of bassist/composer Jorge Fraguas, guitarist Dani Dean, and drummer Aleix Zoreda have built on its acclaimed strengths and adventure within Meraki, a collection of tracks again bred through the band’s blend of progressive/classical rock and metal. It is a mix though unafraid to embrace other styles and hues to its creative breast creating tapestries of sound and intimation proving so easy to immerse within and conjure with.

Caressing inspirations from the likes of Opeth, Anathema, Porcurpine Tree, and Liquid Tension Experiment with their own individual creative emprise, Ciconia have tapped into an even more captivating fusion of individual prowess and united dexterity let alone manipulative imagination with Meraki. Swiftly as opener Litost flexes its metallic muscles within fiery melodic exploration, the track lifts ears on a flight of sonic exploration across a landscape as dramatic and welcomingly imposing as the sounds giving it visual perception. As Dean’s guitar weaves its suggestion, the respective rhythmic snarl and drive of Fraguas and Zoreda infiltrate song and appetite. It is a rousing affair stirring spirit and thoughts alike as well as sparking the instinctive heart and quest of the release.

The following Dépaysement makes a calmer more thoughtful entrance, the melodic hints of guitar within a keys spun atmospheric mist slowly but surely conjuring an increasingly defined image of dark shadows and light drawing implications. As the first, the track swiftly got under the skin and into adventure spinning imagination as folkish hues merged with progressive and melodic disclosure before the increasingly outstanding Euonia spun its own coalescence of descriptive textures and flavours. As throughout the album, every note of the music comes with open craft, drama, and sonic insinuation; a tempting as potently matched by the forceful but no less incisive and compelling manipulation of rhythms.

Through the earthier probing and strolling trespass of the equally thrilling Lost In The Wadi and the lofty winds of Katabatic, imagination and album just came closer together. Both tracks were delicious to ears and thoughts, the first a challenge with a feral edge to its persistence and the second an ethereal laced flight brought terrestrial bound by the dark hues of rhythms and incursions of earthier creative endeavour; and together the pair cast the album’s peak in a mountainous range of success and temptation.

Classic metal strains vein the incandescent canvas of Duality straight after, another track which relentlessly captivates with moments of irresistible enterprise and invention while the closing celestial seduction of Starlight inflames its mellow lures with controlled but stirring blazes of guitar and luminous melody. As each song and Meraki as a whole, every moment is as unpredictable as it is unapologetically alluring; the track a whole mesmeric adventure for the senses and personal interpretation.

We for one were blown away by previous album Winterise but Meraki has left it in the shadows as Ciconia again announce themselves one of the world’s most spellbinding and fiercely enjoyable propositions.

Meraki is released March 11th with pre-ordering available @ https://www.ciconia.band/web/Shop

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

Pete RingMaster

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Wheel – The Divide EP

Pic by Jonna Ohrnberg

With time seemingly at a premium in all aspects of life, especially free time to do as one wishes it is far too easy to be acquainted with bands and artists in name and reputation but not through the real attention they quite possibly deserve. Finnish progressive rockers Wheel is such an outfit with us. The release of The Path EP last year sparked potent acclaim for the 2015 founded band; praise that reached us here even though its sounds evaded close focus. We have not made the same mistake this time around though with its successor, The Divide EP a collection of tracks which roar and seduce with craft and enterprise whilst enthralling the imagination in their complexities, intricacies, and emotive landscapes.

Helsinki based, Wheel weave a sound which is as familiar as it is fresh and bold. It is easy to suggest comparisons to bands such as Karnivool, The Pineapple Thief, and Tool though none are an exact match or true clue to the powerful sound within the release. There is a touch of all in its tracks but each swiftly proven individual to Wheel with the outstanding voice of English vocalist James Lascelles at their heart.

Produced and mixed by Jesse Vainio (Apocalyptica, Poets Of The Fall, Sunrise Avenue), The Divide opens with Please. Immediately the dark growl of Mikko Määttä’s bass entices ears and attention, the crispy beats of Santeri Saksala enticing alongside. The pair is soon joined by the flavoursome lures of the guitars, a mix settling into a suggestive stroll as Lascelles tones step forward. There is a slight Bush like scent to the song at this point, its tempting tendrils and intimation a flirtation easy to grab with hunger. Lead guitarist Roni Seppänen weaves a web of adventure and craft as the track grows, Lascelles backing him with string and voice as the tempestuous heart of the song erupts with increasing rigour. As suggested earlier, there is something recognisable about the song yet every twist is unexpected and each of its emerging textures and turns a spark for the imagination.

Powerful in tone and voice and coming in two versions on the EP, radio edit and extended cut, the track is an easy pleasure to devour and pretty much matched in strength and adventure by Pyre. It is aflame from the off, rhythms and guitar colluding in a tenacious proposal as muscle and enterprise unite in persuasive voracity, vocals equally blazing alongside. As in the previous track there is a grunge bred lining which adds to its richness and magnetic layers. Similarly there are also the expected detours and twists, all fluid and imaginative as the track continues to melodically holler and emotively croon over instinctive volatility.

Completing the line-up of songs is It’s Over Now, a compelling ballad aligning melancholic strings and Lascelles’ similarly magnetic vocals to the melodic poetry of the guitars. Compared to their dynamic shaping of the other tracks, rhythms provide a calm almost reserved presence but one just as suggestive in their shadowed touch.

If like us Wheel has yet to make it upon the radar we can only suggest, indeed urge The Divide EP is given keen attention, the rewards as the pleasure are quite addictive.

The Divide EP is out now via Umbrella Productions / Warner ADA.

http://www.wheel.band/   https://www.facebook.com/wheelband/

Pete RingMaster 05/06/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Hyvmine – Earthquake

High praise has been brewing up around Los Angeles quartet Hyvmine and it is not too hard to understand why listening to their debut album, Earthquake. The release is a tapestry of attention gripping craft and substance, an encounter woven with individual style and enterprise united with a single rock ‘n’ roll intent.

Hyvmine could be said to be a proposition built around or for the striking technical skill and open imagination of lead guitarist/vocalist Al Joseph but the band’s first album soon shows it is all about four very talented musicians bringing individual prowess to a common guile and aim. Their sound is a magnetic fusion of progressive metal, hard rock, and grunge, a weave which at times ebbs and flows in its imagination stoking qualities and success but is never less than one seriously fascinating and enjoyable proposal.

Earthquake wakes upon ears with Shift, keys like suggestive mist immersing the senses before piano and guitar cast their own inviting welcome. Al’s earthier vocals step forward soon after bringing grunge nurtured hues with him, the song already aligning a mix of flavours and only continues to broaden its web as Al’s guitar paints its creative intent around the rousing rhythmic rumble sprung by bassist Christopher Joseph and drummer Fabrizio Cavallaro. With veins of progressive and heavy metal continuing to escape the strings of Al and fellow guitarist Alon Mei-Tal, the track simply lures intrigue and increasingly keen attention.

The following Mirror Master opens with a bass led grumble, a Sick Puppies like breath joining it as the song swiftly eclipses its predecessor. Veins of technical dexterity and cunning ensure the imagination is persistently caught unawares and pleasured as wholly as ears, the track bursting from its earthier canvas like a firework before settling down to similarly enticing heavier rock incitement. It is a weave emulated across the album in numerously individual ways, as the following Shogun shows with its instinctive rapacious growl and Seether-esque croon. Flowing through mellower scenes, the backing vocals of Alon a warm caress, and steelier climes, the song seduces and snarls with equal tenacity and temptation.

All Of Creation brings its own braid of menace and melody next, grooves winding around the senses as vocals and melodies smoulder if with a great gravelly raw edge especially in the former. If you can imagine a fusion of TesseracT and Stone Temple Pilots, this absorbing track could very well epitomise your thoughts. Again Al’s skills radiate but as elsewhere they are never, even with the startling twists leading to his strands of creative flair, forced upon ears but organically embraced with a track’s roar.

The album’s melodically seductive title track engagingly, almost lovingly, wraps around the listener but still holds a thick growl in its depths while Fire Escape prowls with a plaintive grouchiness as it flirts and challenges with a funk infused, predation lined shuffle. Each left a definite want for more, a lure pretty much all tracks within Earthquake sow as echoed by the melodically atmospheric Elysium. Like a heavy rock equivalent of The Christians meets Voyager, the song is pure mesmerism, its metallic touch addictive and harmonic heart irresistible.

The album closes with firstly the similarly hued but firmly hard rock nurtured Great Divide and lastly the flaming almost tempestuous Cliffhanger. Neither song quite ignited the appetite as their predecessors but both just left an already bred intent to enjoy the album again and again a little more urgent each offering moments of real mouth-watering adventure within their bodies.

Though making a great first impression, Earthquake really grows with every listen, recognisable aspects aligning with uniqueness for one thoroughly pleasurable encounter.

Earthquake is out now through Seek and Strike, available @ https://hyvmine.bandcamp.com/releases and https://seekandstrikemerch.com/products/hyvmine-earthquake-cd

https://www.facebook.com/hyvmineband/

Pete RingMaster 23/01/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Of Allies – Night Sky

As release by release they have realised and pushed on the promise which came with their first steps into the UK rock scene, Of Allies has similarly step by step grown into one of the most riveting and exciting prospects within its grasp. Because of the potential and craft shared through their previous EPs, and enjoyment found, anticipation for their first album has been patient and increasingly eager with the reward being one rather wonderful encounter going by the name of Night Sky.

Emerging in 2013, Of Allies soon had intrigue and pleasure stoked with the release of their first EP, Tempers the following year. It was a beyond solid and skilfully accomplished introduction which suggested bigger and bolder things to come, that suggestion part realised and supported by its successor, the Fragments EP in 2015. Everything has now come together within Night Sky, all the promise and craft uniting with adventurous enterprise for a kaleidoscope of sound and imagination where you know there is still a tease of even bigger, bolder things to come.

Night Sky opens with its title track, an atmospheric invitation cast by the guitars of Tom Hewson and Rich Nichols against an electronic fizz. The latter’s ever impressive vocals soon intensify the lure; a Voyager meets An Entire Legion like hue soaking the blossoming encounter. Soon the vigorous muscle and stroll of the song takes hold, a rich grip of sound never quite let of the leash and all the more impacting because of it.

It is a striking start swiftly rivalled by the following 17, its calm equally as magnetic and subsequently fevered as the energies and emotions boiling up around the swinging rhythms of drummer Danny Barrick and the alluring groan of Nick Tyldsley’s bass. Controlled yet tempestuous, the song is a rising infectious blaze of invention and captivation before making way for the equally compelling presence of Collapse. Its grumble is heavier, more rapacious, but superbly tempered by its melodic dexterity and the instinctive catchiness which runs through the Of Allies sound. Like Breaking Benjamin meets Shattered Skies, attention and appetite are quickly enslaved.

The haunting beauty and melancholic grace of brief instrumental Apparition leads the imagination into the waiting harmonic drama of Run. As guitars spin a beguiling web, Nichols croons with organic temptation being just as potently backed by the vocal chords of Hewson as the song flows evocatively through ears. It is a caress of aural sunlight with emotive shadowing which only draws the listener deeper into the heart and emotion of the album; a prowess as deftly conjured within the celestially warm and increasingly volcanic Waiting For You where progressive and melodic textures collude with metallic trespasses. With a capricious character and mercurial climate, the track is nothing less than thick enticement for ears and plaudits.

The steelier Lost Not Found has a firm grasp on rock pop boisterousness in its similarly skittish gait and eventful body while the lapping waves of scenic seduction and undercurrents of gloom clad aural thoughts within the suggestive slither that is Drifting leads the imagination into the spatial and immersive fineness and deceptive calm of Open Sea. It too has a dark edge and underlining predaciousness which perfectly aligns with the heated drama of voice and sonic enterprise.

The warm atmospheric succour of Solace lifts emotions up from those darker hues, the instrumental piece as provocative as it is manipulative before passing an open imagination over to easily the best track within Night Sky. The open ingenuity of all songs frames the sheer magnificence of CMD-Q. Straight away post punk instincts are gnawing on the passions, guitars and bass linking up in agitated discord and melodic trespass as beats scythe across their glory and vocals skilfully wrap their addictive throes. The track is just majestic but so frustrating when it just leaves lust hanging at two minutes.

It is a hunger soon satisfied though by the robust but graceful exploits of Glass House, Of Allies showing how inventive and artful they at aligning contrasting elements. It is a quality never far from the surface of their music even the slim moments of atmospheric instrumental haunting as shown once again in Stranded.

The album finishes with In Low Light, an echo of all the diversity and craft across the release in its own individual theatre of adventure and imagination with a bite to its nature and dynamic drama to its breath.

Night Sky is superb, easily one of the most captivating propositions this year and most importantly, one of the most enjoyable; both aspects only increasing listen by listen.

Night Sky is out now on iTunes.

 http://ofallies.com/    https://www.facebook.com/OfAllies/    https://twitter.com/weareofallies

Pete RingMaster 30/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Energy Alchemist – Reminder EP

Adding to the list of fascinating proposals made this very year is the new EP from US quartet Energy Alchemist. It offers three tracks which within their electronic rock tagging embrace the essences and rich strains of metal, dubstep, and heavy and progressive rock amongst numerous flavours. It ensures each song is a tapestry of style and unpredictable enterprise delivered with a craft which together ensures that the release and Mendocino County, California based band stand out.

The brainchild of vocalist/guitarist/programmer Bill Hankins, Energy Alchemist is completed by vocalist/guitarist Julian Sterling, bassist Erik Koski, and drummer Matt Heath. Earlier this year they released their well-received album Ghost in the Machine, an encounter creating dramatic weaves of sound and styles upon a rhythmic adventure as bold and captivating as the imagination wrapping it; an adventure now built upon by the Reminder EP.

It opens up with its title track and instantly Reminder entangles ears with its electronically bred almost skittish beats and the tantalising tendrils of synths. As vocals join melody casting guitars in the blossoming track, a spicing akin to The Kennedy Soundtrack reinforces its lure. It is a tempting further increased by the brooding tones of bass and a scuzzier lining to keys with beats continuing to provide their hungrily persuasive and often unpredictable touch as the song twists and turns. It is a wholly magnetic affair which impresses more and more with every listen, revealing an entanglement of new creative hues and spices with UK outfit Axis Mundi brought forth at times as a hinting comparison to its electronic trance rock exploits.

The following Way Too Late similarly has attention quickly held, the two prong vocal enticement of Hankins and Sterling a potent invitation into the brewing drama of sound where metal nurtured riffs and electronic endeavour unite with a funk lined tenacity. That steel edge continues throughout the song, often giving it a bite and intensity which its predecessor lacked to take the Energy Alchemist down a fresh avenue without losing their creative fingerprint. As the guitars and bass, keys explore a broadening canvas where progressive hues combine with rave/dubstep inspired electronica to infest the imagination and match the pleasure spawned by its companions.

It is a reward especially powerful with closing track Flush, the song an apocalyptic trespass aligning strains of industrial metal and predacious heavy rock with electronic suggestion. It is also a web of warm temptation and poetic melodies which skilfully contrasts the raw heart and frame of the song, an invention further exploited by the stringed seduction and vocal dynamics interspersed within the imaginative ventures of guitars and synths.

Taking best track honours, it brings the EP to a fine and rousing close. As the other pair, it suggests that the Energy Alchemist sound is far from being the finished article but such its potential locked into the band’s already open craft and imagination and their sublime fusion of varying styles, an appetite for the band’s music is increasingly unavoidable.

The Reminder EP is out now @ https://energyalchemist.bandcamp.com/album/reminder

https://www.energyalchemist.rocks/    https://www.facebook.com/energyalchemist1

Pete RingMaster 24/10/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright