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

Ape Rising – Self Titled

It is hard to believe that it is five years and a few months ago that we were tantalised and hooked on the melodic dexterity and acoustic mischief of The Radioactive Grandma and their debut album, the fact that numerous of its tracks from it are still a regular part of our intimate listening for pleasure moments. Ready to re-energise that playlist, the outfit has returned with a new offering to grip ears and seduce the imagination.

It is not quite as simple as that though. Firstly the Co Cavan and Maynooth hailing band is now called Ape Rising and where once a trio it is now a tenaciously inventive quintet. Band originals in vocalist/guitarists Johno Leader and Peter Donohue are still there leading the way in melodic enterprise and lyrical suggestiveness but now joined by keyboardist Peter Denton, drummer Fran Mc Donnell, and bassist Jimmy Deface who is/was also one half of the excellent duo Juggling Wolves alongside Leader. Whether it was the need to recruit new members or the evolution of their sound which inspired the new moniker, or as hinted at elsewhere a dubious porn site taking their previous domain name, it certainly comes with a fresh wind of invention and a broader array of sound with the outfit; a blend simply lighting up their new self-titled treat.

Their acoustic prowess is still in evidence but embraced by a new indie/progressive/math rock venture which truly refuses to sit in any camp but embraces plenty of styles and flavours within its retro kissed synth inspired adventure. To say it is magnetic from start to finish does not do the increasing irresistibility of the album justice. It swiftly gets under the skin and engagingly niggles away whether with or without its company. It all starts with In Their Masses, the song rising from an initial ignition sparking sample in a melodic haze before guitars begin weaving their suggestive enterprise around the vocal prowess of Leader and the assisting tones of Donohue and band. Perpetually blossoming second by second as melodies and harmonies cluster, a seventies synth essence brings its flowing colours to the creative canvas. It is just one of the emerging traits though, a raw alternative growl having its moment in voice and sound too before things settle back into the track’s gentler yet still fiery seduction.

The song is pure temptation sparking things off and setting the heart of the release in fine style before being eclipsed by the following Oddysee. Straight away a great nagging hook is at work, its touch part celestial part espionage like resembling one of the teasing attributes of those classic sixties/seventies spy/sci-fi TV show themes. From its intrigue, a strolling body of infectious energy and endeavour surges, spun by guitar and keys as rhythms dance boisterously around zeal fuelled vocals. There is theatre in its nature, adventure in its heart; a combination with individually cast bold invention unites to simply hit the spot.

There is a bit of early Jimmy Eat World to next up King Of The Universe, Denton’ s keys bubbling with that ever present seventies  revelry alongside the irresistible acoustic craft of the guitars. Incessantly catchy to feet, neck muscles, and appetite, the song whisks the imagination away into its own climate of warm temptation; a plateau frequented just as captivatingly by Divide where imagining Young Knives and KingBathmat fused together gives an idea of the enticing progressive hug of the song and its graceful voice.

Keeping Me Away is a slice of indie rock ‘n’ pop which has the body bouncing with just its first eager strum, and swinging by the time keys swarm poetically across high-spirited rhythms.  Of all the songs within the album, this has the boldest Radioactive Grandma feel to its swinging body but it comes with the organic infectiousness which made eighties outfit The Woodentops so glorious, and now adds the same addictive quality to Ape Rising.

The calmer reflection of Medicine Part 1 shares a poetic suasion which reminds of songwriter/composer/musician John Bassett while Medicine Part 2 loads all of its predecessor’s assets into its own rousing sortie on ears and imagination, at times bewitching like a hybrid of Yes and Voyager. Numerous tracks make a play for best honours but this always stands at the front of the pack with every listen.

It is probably fair to say that To Daze The Day I borrows something of Juggling Wolves for its emotive canter but a stroll which bubbles with an energy which borders on raucous as keen invention simply lights up ears and the passions with an unrelenting imagination.

New single, The Model Prime skips in next; its melodic dance and harmonic sways animatingly lighting the song’s retro tone and mesh of glowing flavours. Like a siren it calls on ears and the spirit, unafraid to add unpredictability to its warmly cast temptations before the shuffle of the album gets even more kinetic within Joysticks & Stones, a song which at times has a touch of eighties band Furniture to it and in other moments the more hot-headed devilry of someone like Bloc Party.

The album finishes on the lustfully simmering progressive pop of Flicker and finally the pop rock beauty of 6 Eight 7. Both tracks simply match the pleasures before them with their own ear stroking, spirit stirring enterprises with the stunning first again having a great KingBathmat vibe which can never do any harm while its successor offers an acoustically nurtured samba which excites the senses with its unrelenting and greedily accepted infection.

The Radioactive Grandma will never be forgotten here or lose their spot on for pleasure only listening but now they are joined with equal zeal by Ape Rising, a proposition sure to drive you to highly pleasurable distraction.

The Ape Rising album is out now @ https://aperising.bandcamp.com/and through other stores.

https://www.aperising.com/     https://www.facebook.com/ApeRising/    https://twitter.com/Ape_Rising

Pete RingMaster 02/10/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

b.d. Gottfried – Something You Weren’t

Providing an intriguing teaser to his recently released new album, Something You Weren’t is a potent invitation into the musical world of b.d. Gottfried. The track is taken from Through The Dog’s Eyes, the successor to the well-received Motion Fever of two years back and hints at a new wave of creative energy and diverse flavouring in the already boisterous Gottfried sound whilst offering plenty of infectious enterprise to get wrapped up in.

Creating a lively mix of progressive and classic melodic rock with plenty of additional styles and spices, Canada hailing Bill Gottfried has grown from a kid of fourteen playing his first show, through years building his reputation as a session musician and writer, to an artist with a string of keenly played tracks across Canada, the US, UK and Europe as well as those previous seven increasingly acclaimed albums. Through The Dog’s Eyes is no different, being declared Gottfried’s finest moment yet, a claim which Something You Weren’t provides plenty of backing up for.

As the album, recorded with producer Siegfried Meier, Something You Weren’t emerges from a sonic fog with tenacious riffs and rhythms courted by a melodic excitement. Keys throw their dance into the mix soon after as Gottfried’s distinctive tones unveil the lyrical heart of the song.

Instantly catchy, the track swings along with a bold liveliness as the familiar imaginative enterprise of its creator plays. To that though, there is an air of confidence and a swagger in the writing and sound arguably not heard before in Gottfried’s songs. It all makes for a highly inviting and enjoyable moment in time as well as a strong lure to the exploits of Through The Dog’s Eyes and the continuing evolution in the b.d. Gottfried adventure.

Something You Weren’t and Through The Dog’s Eyes are out now; available @ https://bdgottfried.bandcamp.com/album/through-the-dogs-eyes

http://www.bdgottfried.com/   https://twitter.com/bdgottfried/

Pete RingMaster 17/08/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

KingBathmat – Dark Days

Ears and the imagination have been spoilt these past three or so years by the solo adventures of songwriter/multi-instrumentalist John Bassett. From the melancholic beauty and emotional exploration of a self-titled album to the ever evolving post/progressive metal instrumental kaleidoscope of ARCADE MESSIAH and most recently the electronic/synthwave exploits of SΔCRED ΔPE, Sligo based Bassett has enthralled with an ever broadening landscape of sound and invention. It is fair to say though that, as for so many others, there has been a yearning for something new from the band which first brought him to our attention, KingBathmat. Now that hunger has been fed with the progressive rock/metal outfit’s new mini album Dark Days; satisfied and forcibly ignited further by the band’s first outing in four years.

Now consisting of just drummer Bernie Smirnoff and Bassett, KingBathmat follow up their acclaimed and seriously compelling Overcoming The Monster with the band’s heaviest and darkest proposition yet but one still bred in the band’s instinctively melodic prowess and suggestiveness. The songs within Dark Days were conceived last year for a 2 man side project but soon found a familiar identity, Bassett admitting when talking about the release that, “It wasn’t initially in my plans to make another KingBathmat record, but these songs just had that KingBathmat feel to them.”  Having enjoyed the impressively individual characters of his other projects it is easy to agree that the songs within Dark Days are instinctual to the band from the rhythmic dexterity of Smirnoff to the unique voice and style of the songs and their writing.

The title track of Dark Days starts things off, its sonic air soon sharing a keys coloured melody and the familiar tones of Bassett. Reflection fuels his words, harmonic suggestion his voice as additional textures slowly slip into the blossoming encounter where a moodier bass aligns with dancing beats as melodic hooks continue to magnetise attention; the track simultaneously growing warmly inviting and atmospherically shadowy.

The compelling beginning is continued through the more crepuscular Tis Pity She’s A Whore, its air heavier and darker yet equally sharing the calming invitation of its predecessor. Embracing an array of rock textures in its progressive web, grunge and stoner-esque essences among them, the track rumbles and flirts with increasing imagination; at times coming over like a blend of 12 Stone Toddler and An Entire Legion within its ultimately unique proposal.

Magnet To Pain has a mellower climate yet with a boisterous energy epitomised by the funkiness of the bass and Smirnoff’s vivacious rhythms. At the same time, a more volatile element is at play in the background, prowling the shadows with moments of fiery release as Bassett’s vocals and guitar honed melodies serenade. As with every song, each second carries an adventure, a bold invention which has the imagination as eager and lively as ears and a swiftly spirited body soon hooked on the track’s swing and catchiness.

The dusky charm of Feathers follows, its emotive voice and tender melodies instantly captivating especially as both elements alone bloom in expression and depth as the song grows. Bassett’s guitar weaves a tapestry of sound and temptation, Smirnoff’s rhythms offering a controlled but earthier union to the progressively nurtured layers emerging within the compelling encounter.

Dark Days concludes with Nihilist, the darkest track emotionally on the release; its feeling of emptiness countered by hope rich melodies and a spirited catchiness which grows from initial seeds into the driving force of the increasingly animated and frisky track. Bassett gives rein to his attributes across an array of instruments, his dexterity and craft as compelling as the song and supported superbly by the lithe rhythms of Smirnoff.

It is fair to say that Overcoming The Monster is one of our intimately favourite albums and though the outstanding Dark Days did not hit that level straight away, with every rewarding listen it moves a fresh step nearer to those heights. Without doubt a hankering for a new KingBathmat encounter has been satisfied with a richness which outshines any hopes lying in wait for such an event, the greed for a lot more though has now been set ablaze; over to you Misters Bassett and Smirnoff.

Dark Days is out now and available at https://kingbathmat.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/kingbathmat/    https://www.facebook.com/johnbassettmusic

Pete RingMaster 04/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Molehill – Hearts on Fire

It is fair to say that Chicago hailing progressive alt-rock outfit Molehill has more than established themselves on the city’s music scene but broader horizons may soon be in their sights if the qualities found within new EP Hearts on Fire is a regular strength to their music. The three track release is a seriously engaging and emotionally provocative offering which catches ears and imagination with ease while suggesting that greater national spotlights and possibly those from further afield could be watching soon.

The band which emerged in 2008, consists of founders Peter Manhart on lead vocals/guitar and bassist/vocalist Trevor Jones who after beginning to work together soon linked up with drummer Devin Staples and subsequently keyboardist/vocalist Greg Van Zuiden. The following years has seen the band play over 300 shows between the Midwest and Eastern United States as well as help found the Chicago Roots Collective, which was a 10-band collective working together to promote the Chicago music scene and their music.

Their latest adventure for fans old and new quickly coaxes ears and thoughts with its presence, Hearts on Fire opening up with its title track. The song is inspired by the “Euromaidan” protests in the Ukraine, the birthplace of vocalist Manhart’s mother, where the common man rose up to fight an oppressive regime. A caress of vocals makes the first draw, bold rhythms and gentle poetic piano adding their touches soon after Manhart’s voice begins sharing the song’s heart. Quickly it finds its infectious stride, pop essences fusing to its catchy electro rock stroll to grab body and spirit. The track’s landscape is an evolving flight though, reflective calms and progressive turns meaning enjoyable unpredictability comes hand in hand with instinctive catchiness.

It is an excellent start resourcefully backed by the similarly infectious Reverie; its sadness tinged air cloaked in melancholy more grateful than morose. The dark throb of the bass epitomises its character, its resonating weight heavy but with a buoyant swing matched by the vocal expression and heart of Manhart. It is a highly charismatic song impossible not to enjoy and get wrapped up in before Old Soldier completes the release with its haunting tale and presence. The story of a proud, religious soldier living out his last days in a nursing home, with the line “And he sits in a dead room, sterilizer and perfume, and the lights are slowly growing dim.” encapsulating the evocative and striking tone of the song, it too absorbs the senses and imagination. A sonic unravelling and seeping discord adds to the charm and haunted elegance of the piano, their contrasts uniting perfectly to wrap rich words and emotions with at times the song finding a presence something akin to Muse.

It is a stirring and striking close to a release which ticks the boxes on every level. Molehill are working towards bigger successes and after Hearts on Fire those exciting horizons might just be coming their way.

The Hearts on Fire EP is available now on Spotify and iTunes.

http://www.molehillmusic.com/    https://www.facebook.com/molehillmusic/    https://twitter.com/molehillmusic

Pete RingMaster 24/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Cauls – Recherché

It has been five years since UK alternative/progressive rockers Cauls delighted and impressed with their EP simply called 2. It turns out it has been a time which almost saw the band call it a day just as it was beginning to make a major impact on the UK music scene. Thankfully they pulled out of the nose dive and after a line-up change found the energy and inspiration to go again. That thankfulness even more pronounced now with the release of their debut album Recherché.

An atmospheric, provocative, and continually rousing blend of alternative/progressive and post rock with earthier post hardcore intensity, the band’s sound and release has evolved into a fire of imagination and enterprise. You would expect and hope each release outshines the last and pushes things on again, something which does not always happen as we all know, but Cauls have taken a big leap in building on the success of that last EP. Recherché is a compelling web of sound and suggestion fuelled by melodic and harmonic elegance and driven by a climate of rousing and often aggressive atmospheric imagination.

From the short instrumental flight of opener De Novo Quincunx, the quintet of Michael Marwood, Chris McManus, Graham Morris, Douglas Redfern, and Kye Walker entice and involve ears and imagination with increasing creative drama. That first piece is a slow developing mist of sonic calm and darker intrigue, guitars gently entangling as darker hues occasionally moan; it all leading to the instantly kinetic presence of Peace Paean. Around the ever impressing vocals of Marwood, a relative calm while engaging guitar woven tendrils smoulders and builds into a more boisterous roar. Descriptive melodies continue to entice and flame in the rousing breakouts, adding to the bolder fire of the song and its captivating Mars Volta meets Muse like landscape.

The track is pure captivation, sparking a keen intrigue and appetite for what is to follow; that adventure soon in full flight through firstly Radio Johanne / Said Molineux. From its initial low key peace with an alluring tingle of melody, the track also simmers and grows in presence and intensity, building into an unpredictable web of sonic and melodic imagination punctured by the adventurous jabs of McManus’ beats. With at times a resemblance to the raw tenacity of At the Drive In, the song consumes ears with fiery charm and rousing energy before the first part of the three-track Wide Opus Abyss awakens in ears.

Amusia is a secret smog full of suggestive essences and evocative sounds as it blossoms into the corporeal body of Vapours. Rhythms quickly provide a bold spine for its harmonic and sonic flames to erupt and unite around the striking draw of Marwood’s voice and the combined prowess of Redfern and Walker alongside the poetic finesse of Morris’ guitar. It is a resourceful blaze which eventually becomes Tide and Bye, an even more agitated yet controlled melodic clamour sharing Radiohead/ Far like spices in its eventful recipe.

The technical sprightliness of COQ8 dances eagerly in ears before mellowing into a reflective serenade. It is a plaintive cry though carrying its own instinctive tempest, a highly strung excitement bringing fiery exchanges of textures and band around the thoughtful vocal led calms. Its second part, Retentive Anamnesis adds greater volatility to that scorching heart, providing a fibrous sonic weave to its wired atmosphere and pleasure for ears and thoughts.

Épée brings things to a close, strolling in with bass and guitars merging dark and surf rock like hues in its tranquil swing before things bubble and boil around ear captivating vocals. Jazzy and sultry yet melancholic, romancing and seducing with a boldness exploring a diversity of rigour, the track is just mesmeric and another fresh detour in the album’s diverse soundscape.

Cauls are back with a whole new heart to create and a sound which grabs that intent with adventure and beauty, Recherché offering surprises and provocative enticements at every turn. We can only sigh with relief that the band did not buckle to that feeling of bringing things to an end.

Recherché is out now @ https://cauls.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Caulsband/

Pete RingMaster 09/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Shades and glories; talking Different Light with Trevor Tabone

The history of progressive rock band Different Light comes in two parts, each seeing the band finding greater attention and plaudits to match their relentless growth in sound. Following their acclaim clad last album, the band is preparing to record its most inventive and imaginative collection of songs for a new album so we took the opportunity to explore the band to date with thanks to Trevor Tabone, a founder of Different Light.

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started; how you all together?

The band consists of: Trevor Tabone (vocals, keyboards) that’s meJ, Jirka Matousek (bass), Petr Matousek (drums), Petr Lux (guitars, backing vocals) and Petr Kania (live guitar). The band was originally formed in Malta in 1995 with 3 other members besides myself; then I reformed it with the current line-up after I moved to Prague in 2000.

Have you been involved in other bands before?

I was obviously involved in a few other bands before Different Light. The style has always been prog/classic rock, changing slightly according to the time it’s in.

What inspired the band name?

Mark (original guitarist) came up with the name when we were drinking in a bar, usually the place for the best ideas!

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

Personally speaking, I see myself more of a songwriter than a musician, so I’ve always sought the best musicians I could find to help me create and record the material I’d written. Regarding the sound, it’s got to be melodic and powerful with lyrics the listener can relate to.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

I suppose the driving force is still one of wanting to move people with the music we make; I think I can speak for the rest of the band with this.

Since your early days also how would you say your sound has evolved?

We’ve obviously become technically better, plus the new members to the constantly changing (evolving?) line-up always add a new dimension to the sound.

Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

More organic I would say, it’s all about evolution and not intelligent design 🙂

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

What particularly inspires my writing is personal experience and real life situations, people I know or even people I just observe. I’m not into fantasy and sci fi! Of course there are the many bands that we love and have inspired us, Genesis, Supertramp, Pink Floyd, Rush, Dream Theater and quite a few others.

Is there a certain process to your songwriting?

I sometimes come up with a lyric and put a melody to it and go from there. Or I’m fooling around on my piano or guitar and come up with a chord progression and a basic melody which I develop. I sometimes just completely rip off something (joking of course :)).

Could you give us some background to your latest release?

Our last release, The Burden of Paradise, came out just over a year ago and has been received fantastically by both critics and fans. We were high in many of the prog polls for 2016 and sales were excellent too. Its success has been a great inspiration for me personally and I’ve already managed to write the next album which we hope to start recording later this year.

Can you offer some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

A lot of the themes are personal but which I hope the listener can also relate to. They deal with love, death, freedom, religion, history, delusion and a host of other subjects.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

They pretty much are in their final state when we go in to record, as we always develop and arrange them in our rehearsal sessions before. Obviously some changes are made during recording, but not too many I’d say.

Tell us about the live side to the band?

To be perfectly honest, we’re more a studio band than a live one. Having said that, we’re rehearsing to play a few gigs later this year and we promise to give a memorable show!

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods?

The Czech Republic isn’t exactly a hotbed for progressive rock, so we’ve found that our market is mostly around the rest of Europe, plus various other parts of the world too of course.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success?

It’s a bit of a double edged sword, in that it has helped, or even enabled us to make our mark in the music world without having to rely on a record company. It also makes the recording of an album so much easier. On the other hand though, streaming and illegal downloads have obviously cut our sales dramatically. Still, I think it’s mostly positive for bands like us.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Our next album is going to be even better than the last 🙂

 

https://www.differentlight.cz   https://www.facebook.com/differentlightsound/?fref=ts   https://www.youtube.com/c/differentlight

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 12/04/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright