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

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