Exploring the roar of The Erkonauts with Ales Campanelli

ales_RingMasterReview

With their recent signing with Kaotoxin Records, those of us who missed it first time around had the very welcome chance to grab the debut album from Geneva’s The Erkonauts. Quickly devoured on its first self-released outing, the world-wide re-release of I Did Something Bad has allowed those slow to the presence and roar of the band to explore their ferociously diverse and increasingly fascinating tempest of genre varied flavours and sound. The album was a rousing and invasive slab of voracious, the kind of incitement that “heavy duty recommendations swarm to.” As the quartet prepares to create their already highly anticipated follow-up, we eagerly grabbed the chance to talk with bassist/vocalist and ex-Sybreed, Ales Campanelli about the band and their first album whilst looking for clues and spoilers about their next offering.

Hello Ales and thanks for talking with us.

Before we get on to your recently re-released and rather tasty debut album, can you tell us about the beginnings of the band; its seeds and birth etc.

We started really existing in early 2014, so there isn’t much history yet. We come from different bands in Geneva, and the timing was right for us to meet around this project. Everything was very organic. The Erkonauts are a natural free flowing occurrence.

Did you have any specific intent and ideas with band and sound at the start?

I think so yeah. We really wanted this Metal blend with a punkish progish touch. Mostly, we wanted to have fun. And tour. You gotta have tours.

The Erkonauts_RingMasterReviewIt is fair to say that your sound fears no boundaries and hungrily embraces a multitude of flavours. For newcomers how would you best describe it?

Well thank you very much! I like to describe what we do as Progressive Punk. But I guess it can be confusing because we wander in the Metal genre, and all these words have various meaning in the mind of people. We have been placed in so many different categories that we lost track of it. So in the end, full circle…I go back to Progressive Punk, for the oxymoron.

As I mentioned, recently your debut album I Did Something Bad was unleashed again, this time via the outstanding Kaotoxin label. Originally released in 2014 in limited amounts, it is probably fair to say that there has been a horde of appetites waiting to get their hands upon it too. Did you sense this and was it one of the main reasons for its re-release?

We released a second batch in 2015, and this one also sold out, which is fantastic. We were convinced that the album still has a lot to offer, and would benefit greatly from a worldwide exposure, which it did. We discussed it with the indeed outstanding Kaotoxin and they agreed to insert it in their catalogue. In the long run, it keeps the album easily available, and it gives it an “official” touch. It is part of the band history as an official release instead of deluxe demo. So it’s all good things and we are truly grateful.

Tell us about its creation and the premise behind its themes.

We felt the urge to release some no bullshit rock n roll. Without going in too many details, some of our previous musical endeavours became more about complicated and uninteresting stuff than about music. It was boring and hurtful. I Did something Bad is all about tension release. It’s pure freedom. Sincere and heartfelt. The themes are mostly urban, and revolve in many occasions about the need to compare ourselves to others, to reach standards we don’t care for and to live in envy. Of course this isn’t true for all the songs. 9 is better than 8 is about nine being better than eight for instance.

Were songs and ideas all fresh since the formation of The Erkonauts or were there some things going further back which have been lying in wait within the imagination and subsequently woven into the band’s invention for I Did Something Bad?

That’s a very relevant question. The vast majority of the content was new, and created specifically for this album. There is however here and there the occasional riff that I had for a long time without finding a proper use for it. I can recall that it is the case in the beginning of Gog.

You are working on its successor I believe also to be released via Kaotoxin? How far along is the album?

You are very correct! We are currently in the writing process, which should be over soon. The recording will start around the end of spring and will take about two months. We’re going back to the Downtone studio in Geneva, since the last experience was such a pleasant one.

Any spoilers you can offer to whet the appetite further?

Well we don’t have much to say right now. We intend to keep a video journal of the recording and share the whole process. There will most likely be a music video further along the way. Of course the spirit of the band will remain unchanged.

Have you approached the album any differently to its predecessor in the writing or recording?art_RingMaster Review

I don’t think so. We have the habit of working almost every day on the songs. Rethinking and rearranging them constantly, until… we’re too late and have to record them. I joke, but we like to take time for the arrangements to shape the song in a comfortable way. So the process is, at least at the moment, the same.

How would you say your sound has evolved between those first songs and those on the forthcoming release?

I kinda think it’s too soon to tell for that. We’re too involved in it to see that clearly right now. Maybe we’ll know a lot more about that when the rehearsals will start.

What did you learn with the first album which you have employed or pushed further for the new encounter?

We know that we will record in a safe environment which will allow us the possibility to experiment on a few things and even do some last minute arrangements. This is a pure treasure to us.

Can you give any clue of a possible release date?

It’s going to be in 2017, not much else is set in stone I’m afraid.

Other than working on the album what else has The Erkonauts got in store for 2016?

Well the making of the album and rehearsals will probably take most of our summer, but after that, it’s all about touring. We have plans to travel in Europe and Russia in fall, something in Asia seems to be shaping up. And of course, we’d love to visit the US again!

My thanks to you again for sparing time to talk with us. Any last thoughts you would like to add?

Well thank you very much for the interview and the sweet sweet review!

The Erkonauts2_RingMasterReviewAnd finally, give us an insight into the records and artists which could be claimed to have most inspired your own creative life.

Well I can’t talk for the whole band on that matter. We each have our own distinct tastes. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s definitely going to be bands from the 70s. On the top of my head I can think of Uriah Heep or Queen. The album In Trance from the Scorpions is one I consider a timeless masterpiece.  On more recent acts, Suicidal Tendencies, Primus, Faith No More, New Model Army… There are so many. And of course, a Swiss, it is our sworn duty to mention Coroner and Samael:) which both had a huge impact on my childhood.

Read our review of the Kaotoxin Records released I Did Something Bad @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/the-erkonauts-i-did-something-bad/

https://www.facebook.com/theerkonauts    http://www.erkonauts.com

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 25/03/2016

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Fahran – A Thousand Nights

Fahran_RingMasterReview

Giving another potent nudge on attention for their excellent and increasingly impressive second album Chasing Hours, British rockers Fahran release the track A Thousand Nights with another slice of the album in Take This City Alive for company. Both tracks epitomise the creative and rousing qualities to be found in the full-length and the Nottingham hard rock band’s sound as a whole.

Formed in 2012 out of the ashes of Toxic Federation, Fahran soon made a potent impression with their self-titled debut album which embraced inspirations ranging from the likes of Queen, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy, Shinedown, Alter Bridge, and Black Stone Cherry into an expressive and dynamic hard rock sound. With a just as attention grabbing live presence which has seen them successfully play Bloodstock and Download, the band made a bigger and bolder statement with the 2014 released Chasing Hours, again a success backed by their tenacious live exploits.

Now the single gives a potent reminder of album and the Breaston quintet’s enticing sound with one of its highlights. A Thousand Nights wraps ears in a sonic seducing straight away, riffs and rhythms collecting around the sonic coaxing before springing fiery grooves and classic rock bred flames around ears. Inspirations are an open colouring to the classically honed encounter, the guitars of Chris Byrne and Jake Graham a snarling captivation alongside the impressive vocal tones of Matt Black. Major surprises are not a bold element of the song but more than covered by the melodic seducing and rhythmic intimidation shaping it. Within Chasing Hours, the song was one which took longer to convince to the same stature as others but persuade it did and now seems to shine even more as a lone temptation.

Alongside it, Take This City Alive is a far more ballsy and hungry offering, a slice of rampant rock ‘n’ roll with delicious grooves entwining JR Windsor’s anthemic beats and bassist Josh Ballantyne’s throaty lures, not forgetting that powerful vocal prowess of Black. Inescapably infectious with a creative and physical swagger to match, the track roars with sonic endeavour and rhythmic aggression, teasing and pleasing ears with its boisterous swing and lively hard rock vivacity.

Both tracks provide all the best reasons to check out Chasing Hour, if it is not a friend already, but more so to give yourself the best kind of night out by seeing Fahran live.

A Thousand Nights is available now.

Upcoming Live Dates:

March 24th – Grand Central, Manchester

March 27th – The Prince of Wales, Kettering

April 16th – The Cellar, Oxford

May 1st – Dementia Aware Fest, Birmingham

May 21st – The Woolpack, Doncaster

June 5th – The Rock Bar, Tamworth

June 25th – The Birdwell, Barnsley

July 14th – Carnfield Hall, Alfreton

September 10th – Redemption Festival, Wakefield

https://www.facebook.com/Fahranmusic/   https://twitter.com/fahranmusic

Pete RingMaster 18/03/2016

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For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

No holds barred rockin’: talking Jackson Firebird with Dale Hudak

JF2_RingMaster Review

   2014 saw Australian rockers Jackson Firebird unleash a riot of distinct rock ‘n’ roll across Europe through debut album Cock Rockin’. Heftily acclaimed and greedily devoured, it quickly repeated the success already found by its storming tracks in the duo’s homeland. A year on and the pair of guitarist/vocalist Brendan Harvey and drummer/vocalist Dale Hudak has repeated the incitement with second full-length Shake The Breakdown. Not needing to be asked twice if we wanted to get back in touch with the guys to learn about the new release we thrust a host of questions at Dale with the following insight into Jackson Firebird, album, and studio antics.

Hi Dale, welcome back to The RingMaster Review

Last time we talked with you was after the European release of debut album Cock Rockin’ last year. Apart from the obvious being your new album Shake The Breakdown in the making and releasing, what have the months since also brought the way of Jackson Firebird?

Hey Pete, thanks for the great questions mate. Lately most interviews have been aimed squarely at Brendan’s sex change operation so this is refreshing. We recorded the new album late in 2014 so it’s been almost a year. We have been just itching to get it out there and tour the balls out of it. Other than an Aus tour earlier in the year and the odd show, we have had a quiet 2015. Personally I have learnt to throw together quite a delicious cheesy potato bake and mastered a recipe for a triple choc brownie. But somehow we have managed to find the time to jam our arses off and now just want to get out there and play!

Now the dust has fully settled on that first album, what are your thoughts looking back at its success outside of your homeland?

We started off jamming in the family bakery just as an excuse to get together with mates, make some noise and get drunk on a Tuesday night. We never considered success outside of our small town let alone out of the country. Success comes to me in the form of people wanting to come to our shows, stick around and party with us. That feeling of being able to hold a whole room or watching someone picked up and thrown about on a crowd while losing their shit makes us feel like we’ve done good. We saw a bit of that last time we were in Europe.

What kind of doors, if any, has it opened for the band?

I am now able to get the best table at any McDonalds restaurant in Mildura. So there’s that.

JFcover2_RingMaster ReviewAs we just said second album Shake The Breakdown has been recently uncaged. How did you approach its creation compared to Cock Rockin’?

We went into Cock Rockin as having a bunch of songs that we wanted to record so we could have something to sell at gigs and show the grandkids and stuff. We mostly produced it ourselves and recorded and paid for it in drips and drabs. Shake the Breakdown started with a trip over to Austin TX for SXSW in 2013 where we had a chance to record a few songs with legend producer Chris Frenchie Smith. He was totally on our wavelength and found the sound we were chasing so it made sense to go back and finish it off with him. Frenchie’s production was the big difference between Cock and Shake. He shoved us when we needed a push and pulled us when we needed a tug. He definitely got more out of us than if we were to do it by ourselves again. Talking about creative input, not about semen you dirty bugger.

If you had to nail down the major differences and the evolution between the two albums what would they be for you?

I think with Cock Rockin we managed to get a live sounding album that sounds bigger than just two people. With Shake the Breakdown it’s taken up a few notches but in a way that we can still achieve live with just the two of us. We still tried to keep our music simple stupid stripped back rocking but now it’s centered by a wall of noise. We probably got a bit more adventurous with the style of some of the songs on the new album. Not on purpose, just “Hudak:   Harvey, I got a riff I think you should sing this one”. “Harvey: SCREAMS!!!!!”

Get Away is finished.

As the first album and as you just implied, Shake The Breakdown feels like its songs are a live encounter for ears but did you change anything in the recording approach this time around or where did you certainly evolve things?

Just like Cock Rockin we recorded every song on the new album with both of us belting it out in the same room as if we were playing live. All the rhythm guitar at least was laid down at the same time as the drums. Harvs was more than patient with my continual fuck ups but there were a few times he had to dodge a flying drum stick aimed at his head. We used a Moog synth to get some of the fat bass sounds and over dubbed geet leads and stuff but tried to keep the songs as live as possible.

There is more variety in the sound of Shake The Breakdown too, were there any specific inspirations which might attribute to the adventure at play?

We never really have anything particular in mind before writing a song other than it’s got to be fun and a challenge to play live. Riffs and melodies can come from anywhere at any time so my phone’s voice memo is choca block full of humming or stupid guitar voices or just singing. It’s all gold at the time, but when you revisit at jam it’s more what was I thinking? Wait, was I actually taking a shit during that one? The fact that I sing a few more songs on this album may attribute to the variety in sound. The writing process remained the same but my style of singing takes some of the songs in different directions.

I believe the first album consisted of songs which had been around a while in the Jackson Firebird armoury just waiting to be unleashed; how about with Shake The Breakdown, are these fresh JF1_RingMaster Reviewfrom the pen encounters other than the covers of course?

The song Shake the Breakdown is actually one of the first songs we wrote together. We recorded a demo of it ages ago but it wasn’t until we got together with Frenchie that we considered giving the song a better go in the studio. It’s a song I play on the bottle bin and a permanent fixture to the JF set list so it was important to have on an album. All of the other songs are newbies.

As always the band’s humour runs wild across the release as the great sounds, particular stories which have inspired songs?

The Headache Mantra stemmed from my love of the show Monkey Magic. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s about an arrogant bad motherfucker monkey king who takes on heaven and wins. In short, the Buddha makes him follow around a ladyboy and kicks heaps of demon arse along the way. The headache mantra is the chant that makes Monkey’s head ring tighten. This made him yelp in a way not unlike what happens in the song. It’s hard to explain; watch it, 80s cheese in all its glory!

We mentioned the covers on the album. Your take on Queen’s Fat Bottomed Girls was a treat but the version of the Shirley Ellis classic, The Clapping Song had the room in a riotous union, as indeed many others tracks to be fair. You did not seem to dissect and twist them about too majorly yet found a character to them which was wholly different. What was the idea behind firstly of choosing the pair and of how you approached them?

Fat Bottomed Girls was suggested by Frenchie when we had some time up our sleeves in the studio. We thought he was taking the piss but his vision was to totally under think the track. Queen made such a brilliant rock song and the lyrics are all a bit tongue in cheek so we humored Frenchie. Harvs was practically watching a YouTube tutorial on how to play the song while we were recording it. Frenchie was pummelling the Moog and jumping around like a man possessed and I was just cracking up as it went down. My biggest stress with the song was even attempting Freddie’s vocal. But I had the megaphone set up next to the drums so Frenchie asked me to lay down a guide vocal. That ended up being the vocal we used and the track was finished in half a day. I think it’s this rawness that gives our version its flavour.

The Clapping Song was a song Kmart used in their advertising for a good six months in Australia so it was hard not to hear it whenever the TV was on. It was stuck in my head on a daily basis so we jammed in it. Kmart to thank for that.

Is there any particular moment within Shake The Breakdown which has you especially smiling inside?

Mostly in Fat Bottomed Girls when Harvs was trying to nail the guitar break short solo bit. He got so pissed off that he just kind of sloppily slaps the strings randomly and Frenchie goes “perfect!” and we move on. Listening to the wrongness of that part makes me smile a bit inside.

jf4_RingMaster ReviewYou are already out there uncaging the album on stage? What is on the horizon live wise?

There is some pretty intensive touring on the near horizon before the end of the year, both in Australia and Europe. Not all of the dates have been confirmed yet so check out our website or Facebook for updates. We are playing a killer festival on the 3rd of Oct called Chopped Rod & Custom which is full of crazy old cars, rev heads and rock n roll. Drag racing all day can’t wait!

What is left in store for 2015 from Jackson Firebird?

Touring and more touring and playing our tits off touring and going to watch that new Star Wars movie.

Thanks again for sharing your time with us, any final thoughts you would like to leave on?

If you get a chance come and see us play we’ll have cracker of a time!

Oh and finally, there are a few great duos creating blood boiling rock ‘n’ roll right now, we mentioned a couple in our review of Shake The Breakdown. Are there any which ignite your personal flames of passion?

Yes!!!! The Fumes, The Black Keys (early days), Local H, The Mess Hall King of the North, and Royal Blood are all sick bands.

https://www.facebook.com/jacksonfirebird       http://www.jacksonfirebird.com/

Read our review of Shake the Breakdown @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/jackson-firebird-shake-the-breakdown-2/

Pete RingMaster 04/10/2015

The RingMaster Review

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Jackson Firebird – Shake The Breakdown

JF_ringmasterreview

Last year saw the global release via Napalm Records of Cock Rockin’, the debut album from Australian rockers Jackson Firebird. Already stirring up eager appetites in their homeland, its riotous expanse of multi-flavoured and feistily raw rock ‘n’ roll quickly went to work on a new expanse of ears and appetites with great success. Now the duo of guitarist/vocalist Brendan Harvey and drummer/vocalist Dale Hudak unleash its successor Shake The Breakdown, another riotous explosion of blistering heavy rock that incites the instincts to have a ball.

Things get swiftly hot and heavy with opener Mohawk Bang!, the track spewing tangy grooves and firm handed rhythms from its first breath. Vocals similarly leave nothing in the locker as they shuffle with zeal on the riotous stride increasingly brewing within the rousing encounter. Southern rock with a splatter of Rage Against The Machine spicing, the track is a storming start to the release, revealing new maturity and prowess in the band’s sound without losing any of the raw tenacity and incendiary texture which gripped throughout the band’s first album.

Get Away twists and grumbles next with a dirtier air and coating to its grouchy presence. Growling somewhere between Motorhead and Nirvana, the track is a web of insatiable grooves and rapier like beats luring a just as hungry appetite from the listener before New Wave parades its heavy hard rock revelry to again anthemic effect. Its skin also has an earthy tone whilst the fingers of Harvey create blues tinged squalls of sonic enterprise to lick lips over within the adrenaline driven charge of the song.

cover_ringmasterreviewFunk inspired grooves writhe throughout the blues spawned High Love next, its rockabilly seeded shuffle alone inescapable addiction but just as mightily matched by the searing contagion spawned by the guitar and speared by the scything rhythms of Hudak. Musically and vocally the track agreeably reminds of US duo, In The Whale, leaving slavery in its tail wind for the thick delta blues bred tempting of Sin For Your Lovin to reinforce, which it does with in fine swamp style before the first of two covers on the album teases ears. The first is a version of Queen’s Fat Bottomed Girls, Jackson Firebird turning it into a distortion soaked rock ‘n’ roll bellow which leaves a smile and potent satisfaction behind, if not the option to add it to the favourites within Shake The Breakdown.

Devil’s Door soon has ears and hips swinging next with a The Black Crowes meets Turbonegro swaggering within a sonic witchery, whilst Voodoo pushes those tones into even more eventful and resourceful endeavours through a creative maelstrom flirting with the recognisable essences of bands such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys, and Pearl Jam. The song equally creates its own character and essence to powerfully entice with before stepping back for the punk ‘n’ roll devilry of Headache Mantra to have its moment of glory lined with a compelling glam metal, rap metal, and noise rock lunacy.

The slow sultry shimmer and stroll of Sick ´n Tired soaks ears next but is soon providing expulsions of heavy boned riffs and commanding rhythms which free themselves from the bluesy climate from time to time. It is an incitement loaded with ‘deceit’ too, the song expressing being “sick ´n tired of playing the blues” and confirming it with Zack de la Rocha and co inspired eruptions.

The album’s second cover is its penultimate track too, Jackson Firebird just stirring up the passion with its rousing take on the Shirley Ellis classic The Clapping Song. Grooves are as virulent and addictively flavoursome as the organic anthemic instincts of the song and verse itself are overwhelming, the union ensuring there is no escaping the breathlessness grasping lungs and body by its close, not that the spidery sonic web of the album’s title track cares as it wraps the listener in a mouth-watering fuzz ball of blues temptation and rhythmic incitement which just gets more furious, tenacious, and compelling across its fiery body.

As its predecessor, Shake the Breakdown leaves a lustful want of more whilst pushing the band’s instinctive diversity of sound and heart fuelled hunger to rock ‘n’ roll to new heights. The bottom-line is that this is another encounter which demands it should be added to that must have list of 2015.

Shake The Breakdown is available now via Napalm Records.

Pete RingMaster 08/09/2015

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Zedi Forder – Self Titled EP

cover_RingMaster Review

Having a lustful attraction to its member’s other projects, there was always a fair chance that the self-titled debut EP from UK rock band Zedi Forder was going to incite the same kind of appetite but of course you never know. Well actually maybe we do as it seems any project linked to bands such as Tricore, An Entire Legion, and Rind Skank, not forgetting Kerl, the solo project of one of its members, is primed to excite and ignite personal passions and those of a great many others. The four track Zedi Forder introduction is no exception, another bundle of songs which blow ears and emotions away whilst proving once more that some of the most compelling songwriting and sounds in heavy rock/metal are waiting to be discovered in the heart of the British music scene.

Zedi Forder is right now a duo, soon to be trio as they search for a bassist, and consists of Guildford based vocalist/drummer/songwriter Chris Kerley and guitarist Mark Carstairs, men behind the list of exceptional bands mentioned above. Inspirations woven into the band’s sound include the likes of System Of A Down, Led Zeppelin, Korn, Mastodon, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Queen, Incubus, Paradise Lost, Nirvana and many more, but as is soon apparent within the EP, all mere colours in a unique tapestry of imagination, creative mischief, and pure aural majesty which if it reminds off anything it is a little of the duo’s previous adventures.

The EP starts off with Killakarta, a track instantly warming ears with punchy beats and lightly growling grooves. In no time the recognisable tones of Kerley are enticing, his presence as magnetic as ever to match the potency of the sounds around surely one of the best unsung vocalists in British rock as well as songwriters. The track continues to boldly stroll, its calm but open swagger as endearing as the brewing drama of sound fuelling its confidence and sparking the imagination. Warm breezes of melodic seduction blossom in the expectations avoiding craft and emotional theatre of the song though a more predatory and aggressive shade continually lurks in the shadows to resonate with the lyrics. It is a mouth-watering start to the release but just the teaser to greater alchemy.

I’m the one leaps in next with sinews showing and nostrils on the point of being flared but it is a ruse as almost as quickly the track twists on a meaty piece of bass bait into a hip swaying funk kissed swing of melodic and contagious dexterity. Like 12 Stone Toddler meets KingBathmat with a definite and understandably rich vein of An Entire Legion (AEL) to it, especially when it bursts into an energetically and almost dirtily tantalising blaze, the song is just irresistible. Quite simply it is a gorgeous hook laded slab of melodically flirtatious and feistily rousing rock ‘n’ roll, and one of the very best things to come from a Kerley composition/collaboration.

Humour has never been too far from the band’s member’s creativity and is just as potent in Zedi Forder and within the grin sparking Nachoman, a song which is just as provocative in its social commentary as sonic flame of sound. Again we have to offer some similarities to AEL and songs like Scurvy Johnson, but equally it is another song bred with a diversity of flavours and almost whimsical imagination for a smouldering creative charm offensive complete with a rousing snarl and anthemic seduction.

Final song is Time after time, two and a half minutes which really does growl whilst springing a web of riffs and jabbing beats which bleed infectiousness in every grungy enticement and wicked swipe. I guess you could offer the inventive roar and aggressiveness of Tricore as a scent to the closing song, spices which are unavoidable due to the familiar voice and creative flare Kerley and Carstairs, but once more there is plenty of fresh tenacity and ripe originality to sculpt its own identity and bring an outstanding encounter to a rich, thrilling close.

It is fair to say that other bands with Kerley and Carstairs at the heart have criminally gone undervalued bordering on unnoticed by major attention and success. Thankfully making music which leaves a lasting imprint on body and imagination through creative originality and adventure is a passion, a vocation for the pair at the heart of Zedi Forder, so we get to feast on their alchemy once again and so should you, it would be rude not to go off and discover its majesty, wouldn’t it?

The Zedi Forder EP is out now as a name your price download at the Tricore Bandcamp profile.

Pete RingMaster 02/09/2015

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The Fuse – Alamein

the fuse_RingMaster Review

It is fair to say that the journey to the release of Alamein, and that of its creators The Fuse themselves, has been a platform of trials and issues to which many other bands would have probably thrown the towel in over long ago. Eight years on the UK rock scene has seen the band suffer member instability and changes, label collapses, and their manager struck down with cancer. The band’s new album in the thoughts of many was destined to never see the light of day, but with an attitude matching and title seemingly inspired by the Winston Churchill quote, ‘Before Alamein, we never had a victory. After Alamein, we never had a defeat’, the London band’s offering is ready to captivate grip ears.

Formed in 2006, The Fuse soon began enticing ears and interest for their alternative/indie rock sound, and within a year they was heading over to LA to record their debut album after Russ Regan, who discovered and signed Elton John, had heard their single Everybody Knows The Way and signed the band up. In the financial crisis of 2008 though, his Velocity Entertainment went bust leaving no release ready and the band returning to their home city. Back in England, The Fuse continued to lure attention and support with their shows, especially after playing one with Coldplay cover band Coldplace. This triggered more gigs around the UK and in 2010, a tour of Holland supporting Coldplace as well as the sharing of a stage with UB40 and numerous festival spots. More tours and shows in Europe were followed in 2012 by the band headlining the Pembrokeshire Fish Week Festival and Richmond World Music Festival, and the next year playing a couple of shows with Foreigner. Now the quartet of Alex Lato, Simon Bowker, Ed Thorne, and Simon James White have their first album on the launch pad, an fair to say, the Javier Weyler (ex-Stereophonics) produced album reveals a collection of songs which just grab the imagination.

CD_CBwallet_The Fuse_12_06_2015_RingMaster ReviewAlamein opens with the outstanding Black Lion, a song tantalising with almost tribal enticing from its first breath and a cascade of harmonic vocal roars, which in turn sparks a seductive stroll of meaty rhythms and tangy grooves. The song is soon strolling with a swagger and mischievous enterprise, drums and bass a prowling shadow against the bright temptation of the guitars and quickly alluring vocals. The full result is a contagious and increasingly compelling romp inventively setting the album off on a major high and setting a lofty bar for the following Misfit to match. It is a test quickly passed as an electro shimmer of an entrance evolves into a dark Stan Ridgway like pop canter, the track proceeding to flirt with spicy hooks and sparkling melodies over another tenaciously rhythmic adventure. Its colourful mix of sound is matched by a great variety of vocals across the band too, their unions a festival of creative revelry around a lively reflective narrative.

Oxygen steps up next, treating ears to a post punk bass line and matching ambience before the vocals, with melodies in tow, awaken a ray of energy and warmth. As in the first pair of songs, imagination is soon adding little twists of sound and character to the engaging and increasingly emotionally inflamed proposition. Feet and appetite are simply bewitched by the track and indeed Sleuth which shares its resourceful vivacity next. Inside once more contrasts unite, the snarl of the bass and punch of drums tempering but more so complimenting the bubbling keys and vocal vibrancy, it all bound in fiery guitar endeavour. It is a fresh breath of drama and aural heat which is continued through the mellower White Shark and the elegant croon of Rainbows. Neither song quite spark personals tastes as strikingly as their predecessors to be honest, but each, and especially the increasingly rousing latter, grows into a potent and provocative blossom of sound and persuasion.

A twangy tone of guitar quickly makes 3AM an inviting proposal, the song growing with every passing chord into a magnetic blaze, still cored by that great initial bait and increasingly breeding a catchiness which lingers long after its boisterous departure. There are many tracks which wear single on their temptation, this certainly amongst them as too Paint This Town which actually has already had that position and unsurprisingly drawn a great many newcomers to The Fuse. Bounding in on a Blondie-esque dance of melodic flirting, the song swiftly builds its own distinct, infection soaked incitement for body and emotions. Its body of hooks and pop leaded tenacity has the musical shine of bands like Super Happy Fun Club and at times The Killers, whilst providing another pinnacle for Alamein.

The album closes with firstly the emotive and melodic smouldering of Phantom, a song which suggests that Coldplay is certainly amongst the band’s inspirations, and lastly In This World. The final song opens with a Lennon-esque tone to vocals and piano, subsequently growing into another of the slow burning persuasions on the release which builds into a richly satisfying theatre of sound and emotion which finds a potent resemblance to Queen like adventure.

Both songs offer an enjoyable end to a highly pleasing album and long last, proper introduction for the world to The Fuse. There is no doubting their journey to now has been worthwhile and creatively well spent, Alamein emerging as a very rosy addition to the melodic/indie rock discography of 2015.

http://www.thefuse.london/    https://www.facebook.com/thefusemusic/

RingMaster 05/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

Bold silences and whispering landscapes: talking Native Construct with vocalist Robert Edens

bySamHarchik_02

You can expect to be impressed by a flood of releases across a reviewing year but to be actually startled is a less regular occurrence but something that Quiet World, the debut album from US progressive metal trio Native Construct achieved. Consisting of vocalist Robert Edens, guitarist Myles Yang, and bassist Max Harchik, the band has crafted a creative emprise of sound and invention which is as fascinating as the background to the album. Quiet World was an album from out of the blue, a mouth-watering, technically gripping landscape of imagination spinning diversity and creative adventure which ignited ears and thoughts. Soon offered the chance to explore the birth, heart, and depths of band and release, we took little time in throwing a torrent of questions at the band’s vocalist.

Hi, and thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

Can we start by looking at the beginnings of Native Construct? The three of you were fellow students at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts; you were studying the same courses?

Rob here–thanks for reaching out to us!

Max and I are both Electronic Production and Design majors, and Myles a Composition and Contemporary Writing and Production dual major. While we studied many of the same core courses, our major courses of study were quite different. The band originally formed in the Berklee dorms, with Max joining on bass later.

When did friendship start to become idea collaboration and subsequently the creation of Native Construct?Photo 3_Cinematic

Myles and I had been playing and recording music together since middle school, and we’d planned to form a prog metal band once we got to Berklee since getting our acceptance letters. Shortly after arriving at Berklee, Myles and I joined with our friend Gabe Salomon to start writing what would become the Chromatic Aberration demo. So, the band formed pretty early on in our Berklee careers, after spending some time jamming with numerous other students.

Do you all come from a background of musical tastes with a common bond? I ask because of the diverse flavours and variety to your music.

We all share a common background in progressive music of many forms, but certainly prog metal most notably. Myles and I having had grown up together, our musical developments have been very similar. Our respective studies at Berklee have definitely brought a lot of the variety to our music, however, since you’re exposed to quite a lot as a student there.

Once beginning to write together etc., how quickly did the premise and direction of your music emerge?

We decided we wanted to write a concept album pretty much from the get-go. After Chromatic Aberration was written, we started writing the rest of the album around this first song, which would eventually become the end of our story.

From reading the accompanying press release to your debut album Quiet World, I understand the writing of songs, the album, and indeed its recording was between your on-going studies? How did you find the time and you could use the college’s facilities?

Finding the time, let alone the creative energy, to completely compose and co-produce this album along with our school studies was quite difficult, but it was something we were passionate about. We really believed in this project, and wanted to take the time and effort to make it the best we could. We were able to make use of Berklee’s facilities on occasion, but the vast majority of the work was done at our home studios.

You have now finished your studies?

Myles and myself graduated this past December, but Max is a couple years younger and has a few semesters left.

Tell us about the recording of Quiet World. It happened over an extended period?

Yes. Like the rest of the album production, the recording process took a long time due to school. We were very meticulous with every aspect, as well. We wanted to make sure everything sounded perfect, so we’d even go back and re-record sections several weeks later just to improve one small aspect of the take.

CoverIn its production etc. was there any others involved or it was a solo effort by the three of you until the signing with Metal Blade?

The album was largely self-produced. All tracking and programming was done at our home studios in Boston, MA, with the exception of vocals, which were recorded with Jamie King at The Basement Studios in Winston-Salem, NC. The album was mixed by Rich Mouser at The Mouse House Studio in Los Angeles, CA, and mastered by Jamie King.

How did that link up with Metal Blade come about, what brought you to the attention of Brian Slagel of the label?

We got in contact with Tommy Rogers (vocalist of Between the Buried and Me) once the record was finished, who liked it and wanted to help us shop it to labels. Metal Blade, BTBAM’s own label, got back to us with an offer upon hearing the album from Tommy. We’re eternally grateful for him having given us this opportunity!

The vocals to Quiet World were as you mentioned subsequently recorded with Jamie King. How was the experience?

Working with Jamie was a blast. He’s an extremely patient and helpful guy, and really great to work with. It was also really exciting for me to get to record Quiet World inside the same vocal booth I’d seen in the BTBAM studio videos!

Were there other tweaks, evolutions to the album around this point too?

With the exception of Chromatic Aberration between its demo version and now, not much on the album has ever changed. Our vision from the onset remained fairly constant, with changes affecting primarily the sounds in the album rather than the writing.

I think it is fair to say that Quiet World has been enthusiastically received. Did you have any particular hopes for it, especially once Metal Blade was steering its release?

We’ve been nothing short of floored at the overwhelmingly positive response to the album. We knew Metal Blade would be able to get our music out there, but we never could’ve known how well-received this album was going to be–it’s been quite surreal. We’re so excited that people have been enjoying it and can’t wait to bring it to them live!

Tell us about the premise between the lyrical concepts of Quiet World? bySamHarchik_03

The lyrical concepts were intentionally connected in many different ways, not necessarily all relating the same over-arching story to the album. We don’t like to talk about our own interpretation of the story too much since we want listeners to be able to find their own meaning in the music, but I can give some background on the concept. The main source of conflict in the story stems from an unrequited love. Mute, an outcast, escapes into a world of his own creation where he maintains complete control, until a struggle for freedom begins to mount against him. The musical and lyrical content work together to tell many different stories following this concept throughout the album.

What inspired the narrative?

The music and story of Quiet World are largely interdependent, each influencing the other constantly throughout their creation. When we set out to come up with a story to write the album around, we knew we wanted something emotional and eclectic enough for the musical ideas we already had. We also took influences from everything we’d taken in and appreciated throughout our lives: from videogames to fantasy novels to classic prog rock concept albums, Quiet World truly came from all over.

As we mentioned the album has a strikingly diverse and adventurous landscape to its music, are there any bands or artists you would say have inspired the ideation within Quiet World most notably, and in your own personal craft?

The album clearly has several major influences (musical theatre, Queen, Between the Buried and Me), but the main inspiration behind the sound of Quiet World has been to create something strange and interesting through the conglomeration of all these different styles. Through jazz harmony studied at Berklee, vocal writing inspired by Queen, and the emotional storytelling of musical theatre, we were able to put together this album that really felt like its own unique sound.

Is there a live presence to Native Construct?

Absolutely! We’re rehearsing with an additional guitarist and drummer to bring our live line-up to a five-piece, and will be playing shows soon.

What is next for the band? Is the Metal Blade union on-going?

Our agreement with Metal Blade lasts for at least three major record releases, so we’ll likely be buckling down on our next album after the summer.

Big thanks again for talking with us, any last thoughts you would like to share?

I know I’m not Trolzaan. I’ll never be Trolzaan.

https://www.facebook.com/NativeConstruct   http://www.metalblade.com/nativeconstruct/

Read the Quiet World review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/native-construct-quiet-world/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 16/05/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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