Royal Oi! – Bootboys and Hooligans

v600_RoyalOi_Cover_RingMaster Review

Getting fed up of a punk roar is never a possibility, especially when it comes in the oi fuelled shape of the debut album from Scottish incitement Royal Oi!, a quartet creating street punk anthem after anthem. The release is a passion driven riot of sound and intent, uncaged by a band which, in their own words, just write and sing “songs about their passions and everyday struggles.” There is no agenda to their music, just the want to create a rebellious revelry for all to get personally engaged in; that an undoubted success found by their first full-length.

Hailing from Glasgow and drawing on inspirations from the likes of Bonecrusher, Perkele, and Cock Sparrer, the foursome of vocalist/guitarists Dave and Ana, bassist James, and drummer Jim first gave attention a healthy nudge with a four track demo in the December of 2014, its presence backing up a live presence already causing stir. Now it is Bootboys and Hooligans doing the contagious badgering and raucous persuading, a thick persuasion set to put Royal Oi! firmly on the punk map.

The album erupts with its title track, the opener a virulent stomp of punk riffs and spicy hooks driven by cantankerous rhythms. It is instantly a marker of things to come within Bootboys and Hooligans, an anthem setting the scene and the first great taster of the twin attack vocals from Dave and Ana. The former leads the track here with the pair alternating to some extent across the release, but always it is a dual incitement that hits the spot as resourcefully and potently as the grooves and hooks igniting ears.

Skinhead Warrior keeps the impressive start going, Ana’s snarling tones, backed by scything beats and grouchy riffs, alone an inciting call. Great backing shouts only add to the drama and catchiness of the track too, with the bass and its throaty bait another heftily compelling element before Docs and Tattoos takes over, sauntering in on a tasty groove spearing a charge of insatiable energy. Like a mix of 4 Past Midnight and Angelic Upstarts with a scent of dragSTER to it too, the song further whips up energies and an already awoken appetite with its punk ‘n’ roll devilry.

Both In My Heart, with its antagonistic passion and enterprise, and the fist in the air call of Punx and Skins ‘Football, Oi! and Rock n Roll’ keep body and emotions energised and greedily content; the first as a sing-a-long anthem no one could refuse. Its successor is more of a bruising confrontation but no less infectious as it draws the listener into full involvement of its rowdy adventure. The same can be said of all tracks within the album, Skinhead Loyalty swift proof with its inviting canter of sound and voice. Though the song is a less intensive proposal and without the extra spark of other songs around it, it still leaves ears, feet, and contentment enjoyably busy.

Musica Oi! enters ears on a great shadow lit predation, guitar and bass a prowling temptation leading to an eyeballing charge led by the thumping rhythms of Jim. Ana vocally growls and entices with typical prowess and energy as the track proceeds to twist and evolve through a varied landscape of imagination, intimidation, and enthralling enterprise. It is a mighty slab of punk matched in success by the old school bred Survive, a track rocking and rolling with prickly hooks and rapacious rhythms as vocals brawl with ears. It is another gem amongst only treats within Bootboys and Hooligans, a lingering protagonist keeping a firm hold on memory and provoking a hunger for more just like the outstanding Together. A chest beating call to arms, the song is glorious, a punk rock infestation stirring up the passions with an honest and open heart.

Bootboys and Hooligans ends on the raw onslaught of Violence, a challenging and tenacious roar on the state of the world today, and a highly pleasing and formidable way to end one thoroughly thrilling release. We cannot tell you how long Royal Oi! has been around but to our, and we suspect a great many others, their album is an introduction and wake up call to their rousing bellow. So for us there is a new and fresh oi incitement in town which excites and incites in impressive manner.

Bootboys and Hooligans is out now as a co-release between LastPunkRocker Records (150x Scottish Flag Blue), Crowd Control Media (150x White /w Blue Splatter), and Rebel Sound (150x Scottish Flag White) with an additional albums pressed in 50x Classic Black.

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Pete RingMaster 22/11/2015

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Hub City Stompers – Caedes Sudor Fermentum: The Best of Dirty Jersey Years

hubcitystompers_RingMaster Review

It never takes much of a reason to get our stomp on here, any excuse to fling limbs and energy around like a headless chicken devoured. One band which has perpetually been a spark is Hub City Stompers but in collecting a horde of their horniest ska bred tunes for their latest album, the band has set the fuse to global skanking like no other.

     Caedes Sudor Fermentum: The Best of Dirty Jersey Years is an irresistible bundle of songs personally chosen by band founder Rev Sinister and taken from previous releases Dirty Jersey, Blood Sweat & Beers, and Mass Appeal. It is also offers a long awaited outing on vinyl from the band, its songs re-mastered by David Perez of Memphis Street Studios for the format.

For those new to Hub City Stompers, the band was as mentioned, formed by Rev Sinister, the former vocalist for NJ Ska band Inspecter 7. When that band went into a kind of hibernation around 2001, Sinister searched out to like-minded musicians and by the following year, Hub City Stompers, with a line-up consisting of ex-members of bands such as Inspecter 7, Bigger Thomas, Professor Plum, Predator Dub Assassins, Bomb Town, and The Heavy Beat, was unleashing irrepressible creative romps. Infusing essences from styles such as reggae, punk, oi!, and hardcore amongst a few others into an array of ska flavours from the 60’s through to the 80’s, the band quickly bred a unique voice to their music which took little time in awakening greedy appetites, as shown by the success of 2004 debut album Blood Sweat and Beers and the Mass Appeal EP a year later. Both the Dirty Jersey and Ska Ska Black Sheep full-lengths of 2006 and 2009 followed suit before the band took a year out on hiatus as Rev Sinister members returned to help revive Inspecter 7. Last year though saw the frontman quit the band and return to Hub City Stompers, bringing it back to raucous new life as evidenced by their last album Life After Death which came out last December. It was of course a heftily welcomed return with their new compilation alone holding all the reasons as to why.

HCS Cover low_RingMaster ReviewThe twelve-track escapade opens with the epic sounds of Wtfiu, ears instantly under a cascade of roving rhythms and sultry brass whilst keys seduce and romance the imagination. Soon into a trampoline like gait, every beat and riff a bold bounce, the track is quickly the puppeteer to the body and soul of the listener, its contagion and energy aural addiction and merciless incitement. Uncaging a scuzzy intensity in its climax, the glorious opener sets release and ‘victim’ off in insatiable style before Bumbl-B is allowed to swarm over ears with its choppy stride and infesting key bred melodies. Vocals snarl and invite whilst the bassline coring it all, is heavy nectar, just two aspects colluding to stir up air around and the passions of all in close proximity in an encounter reminding of the UK’s own King Prawn at times.

Both the smooth skinned, Scarlet & The Harlots meets The Beat like Skinhead Boi and the ska ‘n’ roll canter Johnny Date Rape, captivate with their individual swaggers, both enticing as masterfully through the voice of Jenny Whiskey as they do with their ever tenacious weave of sounds whilst Chatterbox swings with reggae hips as the flirtatious clipping of the guitar aligns with hypnotic beats and another juicily moody bassline. Again the two tone elegance of The Beat comes to mind as the song seduces feet and sparks thick attention but once more Hub City Stompers employ all spices in their own renowned inventive and hungry adventure.

Trojan Night lifts bodies and dance-floors with its insatiable infection of sound and revelry next, early Specials a scent within its romping body, whilst a great Hub City Stompers infested version of The Cure’s Boys Don’t Cry hits the passions in the form of Skins Don’t Cry which hounds and brawls with ears; its punk toned sound and words twisted with Hub City Stompers warm irreverence.

A sixties smooch comes with the lively dance of Leave Me the F**k Alone after that thrilling pair, its own body a mischievous and flirty tempting sure to ignite everything from toes to voice in all to fall under its spell. Another exciting physical workout is guaranteed by band and song, a promise pretty much applying to all songs on teh album let us be honest, the following I’ve Got a Boot even in its belligerent and rawer ramble, a tonic to enliven the body, its relaxed and resourceful hooks and boozy brass lures especially intoxicating.

The magnetic punk irritability of F**k You, You’re Irish hits the spot with ease, its Dropkick Murphys like bar-room tromp a grin inciter matched in fun and unique persuasion by the jazz lined, blues charmed Little Julie Swatstika before the album is closed off by Mass Appeal and one last undiluted swing of sound and energy.

     Caedes Sudor Fermentum: The Best of the Dirty Jersey Years  is the cream of Hub City Stompers in the ears and thoughts of the band. Sometimes it is easy to forget the power of a band in consistency and evolving adventure over time and a good Best Of as here, can bring that home. This is simply a brilliant compilation which excites whilst igniting even greater and eager anticipation of the band’s exploits ahead.

Caedes Sudor Fermentum: The Best of Dirty Jersey Years is available from September 30th as a co-release between Rebel Sound on 150x White Riot Vinyl, Crowd Control Media on 150x Clear Vinyl, and Not Dead Records on 150x Green Goblin Vinyl, each colour exclusive to the individual label with 50x Classic Black Vinyl versions also available.

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Pete RingMaster 30/09/2015

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Immoral Discipline / Dead On The Streets Split EP

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This week Rebel Sound unleash the 7” Split between Immoral Discipline and Dead On The Streets, two US bands raging with Oi punk voracity joining for one raw and enjoyable fury. Uniting a band born in the heyday of the genre with a new protagonist for an uncompromising rapacious front, the release makes a proposition which does not push boundaries or hold startling surprises but certainly brings forward another thoroughly satisfying and invigorating slab of street punk to stomp along with.

First of the antagonists Immoral Discipline is a quintet from Washington D.C. which formed in 1986.From their first days the band was making a strong imprint on the Oi punk scene with their presence and sound, one which has still lingered over the years since their break up in 1989. Their demo Boots and Braces, Stars and Stripes in 1987 set a marker for the band and following genre bred bands, which in the following year the EPs Battlefield and a self-titled successor replicated. Live the band also earned a formidable reputation as they played with the likes of Agnostic Front, Half Life, The Adolescents, Leeway, Biohazard, Forced Reality, Best Defense, Uniform Choice, Warzone, Black Market Baby, Youth of Today, The Exploited and many more. Several line-up changes occurred across the years before the band called it a day, that was until founding member Shawn Garard Leahy brought Immoral Discipline back in 2011 as attention and a potent buzz around the release of a retrospective CD continued to grow. With past members placed in different parts of the country, Leahy with their blessing recruited a new line-up going on to play festivals and shows with band such as Stormwatch, Steel Toe Solution, Broken Heroes, Hub City Stompers, Pharmacists, Unit Six, The Traditionals, Iron City Hooligans, Warrior Kids, and Offensive Weapon. Currently working on a new album, the band uncages a couple of new tracks for this release, two shots of caustic might which shows they have returned harder and fiercer than ever.

     Riff RAF hits ears first, the bleating of sheep within a sonic swarm the key to a belligerent stride of snarling riffs and thumping rhythms. It is prime punk rock, the vocals of Leahy a raging protagonist which rile against thoughts whilst inciting great anthemic lures of group shouts. Production wise it could have been kinder to the frontman’s attack, it lacking the depth of bite expected, but it does not prevent his incitement hitting as hard as the irresistible hooks and the perfectly stirring basslines which course through the tempest. The song feeds expectations yet opens up a freshness and voracity in sound which makes their forthcoming album something to keenly anticipate, something the following Stay at Home Skinhead adds to. Once again the guitars surround ears with a sonic breeze before striking the flint to a stomping rampage of rabid beats and scarring riffs speared occasionally by searing melodic enterprise. It is a full-on punk anthem taking no prisoners as it ignites the passions. Listening to the two songs it is easy to understand that though they did not get the full recognition at the time how Immoral Discipline has inspired future Oi sounds and bands since, Dead On The Streets we would suggest one example.

Hailing out of Pittsburgh, Dead On The Streets emerged with their animosity last year, thus a band as fresh as newly baked bread and just as flavoursome. They also enrich their invention with the origins of the genre, creating honest and straightforward contagiously potent incitements. Early Grave is their first offering, a track which beats out a rhythmic coaxing before spreading out a bruising of coarse riffs aligned with catchy hooks. Walking with a more punk rock fuelled gait, the track merges old school simplicity and again raw snarling vocals to dirty rock ‘n’ roll revelry. It also is not a surprising encounter but a thrillingly magnetic one left in the shade a little by America Today. Stabbing riffs and a delicious almost psychobilly like bass bait opens up song and eager attention initially, before the song casts a masterful blaze of grazing persuasion and virulent hooks. The bass constantly seduces across the song, its charm and growl irresistible, but equally the guitars flirt and enthral ears with an adventurous flame of enterprise. Whereas its predecessor was pleasingly yet predictably sculpted the second of their songs is a thrilling intrigue and imaginative fired riot showing more of the diversity and strength of the band’s sound.

Dead on the Streets is a band to keep a close excited eye upon and Immoral Discipline an inspiration which has returned to more than likely set new seeds down for future emerging artists. Together they make for a highly enjoyable and enthralling encounter with their split, of which more of the same would be very welcome.

Immoral Discipline / Dead On The Streets Split EP is available now via http://www.rebelsoundrecords.com/ on 7” vinyl (300 Black vinyl, 100 Red vinyl, 100 Milky Clear vinyl with Blood Red Splatter) and digitally (including an extra track from each band).

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8.5/10

RingMaster 01/07/2014

 

Anti Nowhere League/The Damn Garrison – Split EP

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As criticised as they were praised in many quarters from their first days for their true DIY punk simplicity and unpolished confrontational often salacious musical craft and attitude, UK punk legends Anti Nowhere League soon outrode their critics to become one of the most loved antagonists. A new split through Rebel Sound release sees the band at their adversarial inhospitable best alongside New Hampshire Oi punks The Damn Garrison, a union made in middle finger heaven. The link up makes for four tracks of punk rock which are as soaked in aggression and mischief as in anthemic provocation, and on the Anti Nowhere League side unbridled irreverence. They are a quartet of tracks which unreservedly feed the base desires of all punk fans.

The first pair of songs provided by Anti Nowhere League are a couple which previously could only be found on their Pig Iron CD and tracks which Captain Oi refused to release. Day The World Turned Gay pulls no punches as it uncages potent hooks and insatiable grooves into a mesh of punk rock causticity lyrically and sonically straight away. The Tunbridge Wells quartet of vocalist Animal, guitarist Tommy, bassist Shady, and drummer Nato, cast a riff and rhythmic slavery which is simply prime punk rock. Certainly the song is not touching new plateaus in originality of band or scene but equally it is virulent choice ANL which stands apart wantonly and excitingly from the rest. Its might is replicated and increased by the following The Adventures Of Peter Vile, of course another song with no regard and blinkers to ‘boundaries’, going places where most fear even contemplating. Once again a weave of intrusive hooks and riling riffs create a web of ridiculously catchy bait to which vocals unfurl an equally riveting, irreverent, and forcibly honest narrative. Again it is what you expect an ANL track to be and stand up as, and again a wholly invigorating provocation reminding just how important and rigorously rewarding the band has been and still is to a great many of us.

Hailing from Dover, N.H. and formed in the summer of 2012, The Damn Garrison has swiftly made their presence a potent and thrilling one OB-GD17D.pdfon stage where they have played with the likes of Murphys Law, Infa Riot, The Warriors, Bishops Green, Evil Conduct and many more and through their four track 7” release through Arrest Records, Unsung Heroes. Consisting of vocalist Mike Day, guitarists Ritchie and Sammy Plante, bassist James Morin, and drummer Chad Lafrance, the quintet instantly unleash a thick infectious anthem of a bruising on the split with The Real Ones. An intensely coaxing bassline and crisp beats sets things in motion, their strong bait scythed through with thrusts of guitar. It is an immediately enticing affair which increases its call with a raw scowl of vocals which enter the fray as the track settles into a voracious charge, group shouts and juicy hooks adding extra spice to the temptation. As with the ANL tracks, the band is not forging new avenues but certainly lying fresh addictive and thrilling designs on to an established template.

The band’s second track Pride & Honor again leads with a great bass enticement which is soon smothered with irritable beats and rowdy riffs matched by excellent vocal squalls, singularly and as a group. As great as both songs are it must be admitted, as suckers for toxic basslines with as much groove and infectiousness to them as contagious spite, that Morin steals the passions in what are wonderfully fiery and contentiously evocative songs. Again stacked to the gills with hooks and raging riffs, the track rampages into the passions with merciless efficiency matching its partner track, and the incitements of their cohorts in crime upon the release, in exhausting punk bred appetites.

Two great bands birthed in different eras but united in sculpting strenuously exciting punk revelry across four outstanding tracks, the split is a mouthwatering stomp confirming the lingering adversarial might of Anti Nowhere League and announcing an emerging force in The Damn Garrison; another slice of evidence that world punk is possibly heading to another major heyday.

Anti Nowhere League/The Damn Garrison Split EP is available @ http://www.rebelsoundrecords.com on vinyl (200 Black vinyl, 200 Halloween Orange vinyl, 100 Lime Green vinyl).

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9/10

RingMaster 30/05/2014

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Boy – Darkest Visions

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Imagine a mix of The Angelic Upstarts and UK Subs with an equally potent blend of Rocket From The Crypt and Turbonegro, and you have a sense of Czech punks Boy and the body of their outstanding debut album Darkest Visions. Fusing old school British punk with a touch of glam and raw rock ‘n’ roll, band and release make a dramatic entrance to a worldwide market with their Rebel Sound/Voltage Records released rampage. It is an encounter which has a welcome familiarity to its brawl but just as strongly a unique breath and substance which marks out Boy as a band with a potentially mighty future within the world of punk rock. The band name suggests wishy-washy media friendly teen pleasing blandness, what you get is raw antagonistic punk rock of the finest order.

There is little we can reveal about the background of the band with any available bio offered in Czechoslovakian, but they are a quintet from Brno who have previously released a three track 7” EP via Voltage Records last year and before that had a track on the 2012 compilation Brno stále v plamenech (Brno Still In Flames). Their new full-length is produced by Turbonegro’s Tommy Akerholdt and features numerous guests including Ronnie King (who has worked with NOFX, Rancid, Offspring, Snoop Dog) on piano, Shawn Smash (Total Chaos) on guitar, Daniel Marusack (Chancers) on flute, Theresa Kovalová (Calm Season) on cello, and Martin Maleček (ex – Centaury ,SRK) on conga. That piece of info alone tells you the flavoursome design and sounds bursting from within the punk bred tempest, though the album starts off with a more straight forward belligerent sound.

The title track opens things up with a fiery welcome, hooks blazing vociferously within the ears whilst vocal samples bred from 9/11 place front coverthe drama of the release. It is a heavy weight welcome with sinews building up their intent and intensity ready for the following I Need Your Hate. The second track is immediately snarling and gnawing at the senses, riffs bordering on carnivorous and rhythms an imposing barracking. The excellent rough vocals roar and confront with a voracity which matches the passion of the sounds around them, the song further flaming with seductive melodies from within its rapacious onslaught. There is nothing dramatically ground breaking about the song but with impressive individual skills, a scorching solo, and anthemic band vocals it is an irresistible proposition.

Never Break Us Down binds the imagination next with an instant addictive groove, a lure aligned to numerous sharp hooks and that again virulent anthem seeded suasion which already the band proves they are expert at sculpting. The resourceful romp offers that earlier mentioned RFTC comparison as well as holding a touch of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones to its catchy temptation, both elements re-occurring across the album and adding extra spice to the outstanding raucous charge of punk ’n’ roll. It is a mix which lights up Back For More to a different degree, the band grazing the senses with greater causticity and ravenous breath. Again there is a compelling contagion to the track which has attention and appetite impatient for more which Stay Free more than happily provides. Abrasing ears with acidic sonic swipes from the first second along with an evocatively brewing wash of keys, the track broadens its riveting narrative with a wonderful dark cello croon and atmospheric shadows. It is like a mix of UK band The Duel and Russian punks Biting Elbows, an invasive seduction which subsequently stretches further into a NOFX like imposing. The track is quite glorious, pushing the invention and songwriting of the band whilst still entrenched in their epidemically appealing seventies seeded punk.

Stop Talking To Me stalks and riles up the imagination next, riffs on a chunky prowl speared by predatory rhythms. The vocals are vitriolic in delivery and malevolent in intent, a seemingly different voice leading the intrusive belligerence as the track squares up to the senses and emotions. It is a great strike but one which ends far too soon, only one minute forty seconds in length, and closes on a frustrating and actually very annoying fade-out. These grievances are soon forgotten though as Drop The Bomb scores ears with an acrid flame of guitar punctuated by keys and wisps of melodic guitar invention. The song strides purposefully with a slow predation, absorbing imagination and the by now constantly submissive passions. It is another total captivation revealing yet more of the depths of sound and invention within Boy, the unveiling continued with the heavy rock exploits of It was the Alcohol. The track is prime punk and hard rock with glam devilry and metal toned hunger, and impossibly addictive especially its infectious chorus which is bait only the deaf or the six feet under could resist joining in with.

The album comes to a close with firstly the thrilling quarrelsome bluster and catchiness of Fashion Police then the incendiary glory of Just A Number. The last track is an aggressive scrap of spellbinding hooks, fierce riffs, and punchy rhythms all merged into a rabid contagious punk spat, a last lingering triumph to sear the sound and name of Boy in to the memory and passions.

Darkest Visions is one of the punk glories of recent years and a potent suggestion that Boy has all the armoury and invention to be a real force in punk and rock rioting across numerous horizons to come.

Darkest Visions is available through Rebel Sound and Voltage Records now as a black vinyl release with a 12 -page booklet and in a deluxe version clad in silver foiled artwork.

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http://www.boy-punk.com/

9/10

RingMaster 19/04/2014

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Foreign Legion – Light At The End Of The Tunnel

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    As shown by their new album Light At The End Of The Tunnel, Welsh punks Foreign Legion has never strayed too far away from their roots but continue to invigorate and push their core sound with a passion and energy which never becomes tiresome. The band’s latest riot bridges their old school punk/oi background with a modern punk ‘n’ roll confrontation resulting in twelve songs which make swift anthemic stabs with contagious endeavour aligned to antagonistic intent.

     Formed in 1984, Foreign Legion has built an attention grabbing presence which has endured and widened over the years. A trio of full-length releases continued to set the band apart from the pack, especially the acclaimed Mick Jones produced What Goes Around Comes Around of 2002, whilst split releases with Major Accident in 2000 and Sledgeback in 2010 amidst their own EPs and compilation gracing songs, have proved the band a potent encounter within the modern era of punk rock. On stage again the quartet has forged a formidable reputation, the band playing across over 15 countries and sharing stages with bands such as Cockney Rejects, Guitar Gangsters, Control, The Warriors, GBH, The Ruts, Stiff Little Fingers and many more. They are also the only Welsh band to play the legendary CBGB’s in New York which makes an additional potent mark on their career’s CV alongside their numerous festival appearances including the likes of Back On The Streets, Punk & Disorderly and the Rebellion Festival, where the band is set to ignite the crowd again in 2014. Released via Aggro Beat in Europe as a Green With Red Splatter vinyl and Rebel Sound in the US as an equivalent in Mint Green with both issues limited to 250, Light At The End Of The Tunnel provides another feisty and tasty morsel from Foreign Legion to enthuse over.

     Light At The End Of The Tunnel makes a strong and appealing start with opener Jenny and its successor What A Place To Be, if neither really inspires a greedy appetite in the emotions. Both tracks still grab attention easily to set things off promisingly, the opening song entangling ears with welcoming guitar strands of melody from Simon Bendon punctured by the firm beats of drummer Glyn Bendon. Soon into its stride with the track’s narrative unveiled by founding band member and vocalist Marcus Howells, the restrained and easy to access stroll makes a simple and catchy romp before the second song on the album similarly has feet and voice in tandem with its infectious if undemanding beckoning, the bass of Steve Zuki the most irresistible lure.

    The album catches fire from here on in with firstly the excellent Regenerations (Council list. Riffs and rhythms bring an instant entrapment of the imagination before soon being reinforced by the swiping vocals as the song looks g at local governments and the decline of British towns and all that inspires. The track is a contagious two minutes plus of uncomplicated but thoroughly inciting social commentary in the renowned Foreign Legion style, though again maybe there is a spark missing in comparison to the following tracks. There is an undeniable greater potency to the song which the band and album expands further through songs like My Radio. A great bass intro from Zuki sets the track off in compelling style, its swagger and groove matched by the hooks of the guitars and the effect rubbed vocals. Infection again wraps the song, its virulence at new heights for the release with riffs and rhythms an additional thrilling toxic bait.

   Both Hey Girl and George Best continue and elevate the new plateau of the album, the first a Peter and the Test Tube Babies meets The Clash like provocation which takes mere seconds to seduce senses and passions whilst the similarly bred second creates a terraces like anthemic quality for an Serious Drinking mixed with Angelic Upstarts eyeballing, both songs enlisting full physical and emotional participation to its recruitment drive. As probably recognised, Light At The End Of The Tunnel just gets stronger and more impressive the further into its body you delve, the likes of Stalker with its deviously addictive bass hook, another striking offering from Zuki who adds something extra to the album arguably lacking on earlier releases, and the excellent Market Trader adding to the weight and bait of the release. The second of the pair again deals with the decline of towns, this through the intervention of supermarket chains and the likes, whilst raging and infecting with resourceful invention. #

     The uncompromising Three Years, and its unbridled assault on child abuse and feeble punishments, scars and provokes with greater venom and passion within the album before Miners and Drunken Heroes uncages a raw, caustic sonic grazing and belligerent defiance respectively. All three songs stalk and coax with spite and energy before the closing song covers them with its shadow. Phoenix from the Flame is a pure punk rock anthem, a band banner which alone places Foreign Legion band amongst the highest echelons of British punk, its body holding all the cards and bait to ignite crowds and recruit new hearts.

   Closing on its finest moment Light At The End Of The Tunnel is an outstanding punk quarrel and maybe the best thing Foreign Legion has set loose to date, certainly the rival to past glories. Punk right now feels like it is moving to a new heyday and records like this only reinforce that notion.

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8.5/10

RingMaster 03/03/2014

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Menace – Too Many Punks Are Dead

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Receiving its debut vinyl release last month, Too Many Punks Are Dead the new album from UK punk inciters Menace is another to prove that not only is there fight in the old dogs of punk but there is a passionate and creative rabidity still able to teach the genre a thing or two. When you place it’s re-release alongside the likes of this year’s offering from UK Subs, Steve Ignorant and Paranoid Visions, and 4 Past Midnight to name just three, it has been a potent year from the ‘old timers’ as they all continue to inspire generations. Menace predated most punk bands, forming in 1976, their uncluttered direct sound a spark for the likes of Sham 69, The Cockney Rejects, and arguably the Oi! movement from within punk, though they never did get the full credit they deserved when in full rage and since, but as their latest album shows the band has lost none of its contagious belligerence with maturity and time, and certainly none of its ability to sculpt addictive riots.

August 1976 saw the line-up of Morgan Webster, Noel Martin, Charlie Casey, and Steve Tannett come together soon followed by their debut gig at the now legendary Roxy. The show was attended by Miles Copeland from Step Forward and Illegal Records who signed Menace straight away. Though fans flocked to the band and their sound, they were basically ignored by media and label for whatever reasons leading to them splitting in 1979 after the release of their single Final Vinyl which contained the classic anthems Last Years Youth and Carry No Banners. After the split members of the band went on to play in Vermillion and the Aces before with a keen hunger around for Menace, the band reformed in the late nineties. A couple of EPs for German label Knockout Records and two albums via Captain Oi! in 2001 and 2004 followed to strong acclaim as was No Escape From Nowhere of 2008. Recorded and self-released as the previous album, in 2011 on CD only the well-received Too Many Punks Are Dead is a thumping bruising of prime genre invention and animosity, which with its limited edition vinyl uncaging, the release restricted to a pressing of 500, with 200 black, 200 red and 100 white vinyl copies, reminds us again of one of the genre’s important bands, past and present.

The first side of the album barges the ear with the dirty rock ‘n’ roll of Thank God I’m An Atheist, riffs and rhythms a predatory incitement providing the perfect canvas for the vocals to unleash their antagonistic narrative. The heavy throaty bass sound is an immediate lure which steals attention throughout song and release, its rabidity the intensive backbone the band swings hooks, anthemic grooves, and chants from. The track is a formidable introduction soon matched and exceeded by the outstanding I Don’t Care. With a touch of early Damned to it as well as a rich essence of Ruts, the song is a virulently contagious riot rife with inventive hooks and inspiring enterprise not forgetting compelling aggressive seduction.

Both the title track and its successor United match and drive the album deeper into the passions. The first is simply a respectful roll call of punk greats no longer with us, an impacting homage and reflection on so many who have shaped bands and punk rock as a whole. With a musical wrapping which ignites the primal rocker in us all the track is a tremendous exploit igniting nostalgia and hungry satisfaction. The second of the two swaggers in on an infectious tsunami of rhythms to which the guitars align blazes of rock riffs as vocals whip up thoughts and passions. The bass again brings an extra lick of the lips for its heavyweight prowling and as a whole the song and band again draws and exploits the primal pleasure and anarchy in us all.

As My Very Good Friend brings the A side to a close it is hard to remember Menace sounding this good and predacious musically and emotionally since those early days. The last track opens with a slow female and male vocal croon alongside a lone guitar, their reflective stroking capturing thoughts for a following ska punk eagerness to stomp through the ear. The track veers more on the punk side as it saunters along but with a healthy flame of jagged guitar to tease and coax the listener’s appetite, the track is a thrilling mix of Angelic Upstarts and The Vox Dolomites but uniquely Menace.

The second side immediately seizes the senses in a fury of belligerent punk revelry with firstly the rapacious Party Animal, another ridiculous infectious anthem, and then the excellent toxicity of Get Out There, niggling grooves an incendiary temptation within the bruising and intimidating viscous sounds. The tracks continue the impressive presence and stature of the release, the pair lingering imprints on the memory and passions as is the outstanding Busy which soon follows equipped with   that instinctively resonating bass call and addiction sparking hooks.

Leave Me Alone is a raw eyeballing argumentative squall, an agonistic encounter which stands toe to toe with its intended and pulls them into a mouthwatering call to arms before passing them onto the enjoyable acoustically borne rocker We Are The Boys. Both songs bring the album to a thrilling conclusion though there is still room for a bonus track, the brilliant One Two One Two, vintage punk at its ridiculously anthemic and riotous best. It is a brilliant end to a cracking album and though there is not quite a GLC or a Carry No Banners on it, the Rebel Sound released Too Many Punks Are Dead has a wealth of tracks to show the emerging punks of today how to craft and unleash real punk rock whilst showing Menace is as influential and irresistible as ever.

http://www.menace77.co.uk/

9/10

RingMaster 04/12/2013

 

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