Ace Mafia – Self Titled EP

Without doubt for The RR one of the year’s surprises and exciting events has been the return of UK rockers Ace Mafia from a six year hiatus. Unexpected, it instantly raised anticipation, eager questions, and intrigue now fed by the release of a new self-titled EP. Offering up four slices of the band’s rousing hard/melodic rock, the release took us back to the days when we first discovered the London hailing band as if they had never been away.

Emerging in 2007, the beginnings of Ace Mafia were pretty much sown when Argentinian born bassist Geos Letona relocated to the UK and subsequently met guitarist Richie Faulkner. Writing and recording demos together, the pair in time enlisted drummer/producer Bruno Agra and vocalist/rhythm guitarist Kay Ghibli. With the line-up in place, Ace Mafia was officially uncaged and soon luring praise and attention with 2009 debut album Vicious Circle. Faulkner was already a well sought after guitarist and due to touring commitments with Lauren Harris stepped back leading to the band bringing in Ben Lundy. Faulkner’s eventual return brought the band to a quintet with the emigration the following year of Agra seeing drummer Jerry Sadowski added to the line-up. Even with their reputation ever growing though, the band eventually went on a temporary hiatus after Faulkner was recruited by Judas Priest.

Now Ace Mafia is back, a quartet of Letona, Lundy, Ghibli, and Sadowski though the new EP also features the craft and invention of Faulkner on lead and rhythm guitar. It took mere seconds to find the band rocking as boldly and enterprisingly as ever, the EP opening up with new single Snakes ‘nʼ Ladders. Its first breath unleashes a trespass of predacious riffs and intrusively imposing rhythms yet with a contagiousness which is only escalated by the distinctive tones of Ghibli. A great Stone Temple Pilots hue adds to the track’s instinctive and flavoursome hard rock nature, it’s harrying of ears and appetite very easy to swiftly succumb to with guitar imagination icing on the captivating and arousing proposition.

With its tracks seemingly written before the band went away it is maybe no surprise that the EP feels like a continuation of previous releases but as the opener and the following Face To Face alone show there is also a distinct fresh adventure revealed. The second track opens with the gentle but earnest invitation of keys, melancholy lining their charm before its main body rises up. Settling into its weighty but controlled saunter, the song smoulders with emotive and physical intensity; its heat erupting with fiery flames and guitar spun tendrils as emotional intimacy springs its own captivation.

The instantly infectious Stop Loss is a mix of the predatory and contagious, the spring in its grooves and riffs tempered by the formidable swipe of Sadowski’s beats and the brooding bassline of Letona. Grungy in its hard rock exploits, animated in its compelling exploits, the track quickly had ears hooked especially when Faulkner’s web of temptation caught light.

Closing track Breathlessness also has an ominous prowl to its magnetic seduction, instinctively tempting grooves and melodic enterprise matched by vocal and rhythmic prowess. A bouncing body and eager participation was the quick outcome to its eager suggestiveness, the song rivalling the EP’s other book end for best track honours.

Not so much more of the same but certainly more of what Ace Mafia does best their new EP is a welcome joy as is their return. There are also hints of new adventures to come which are just as compelling but just having the band back roaring is one of the year’s major pluses.

The Ace Mafia EP is out September 15th.

https://www.acemafiarock.com/   https://www.facebook.com/acemafiarock   https://twitter.com/AceMafiaBand

Pete RingMaster 14/09/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Monument: Rock The Night EP

Heavy metal especially the old school classic kind and The RR has never really seen eye to eye, the likes of Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, and Saxon igniting more discontent than pleasure. It is personal taste of course and as open to all as we are it is makes it rare for the genre to offer something up for us to find appetizing. One of those rarities comes in the shape of the Rock The Night EP from British classic heavy metal rockers Monument, a little treat which without any chance of making our end of year best of lists left more than a pleasing impression and satisfaction behind it.

Formed by vocalist Peter Ellis (ex- White Wizzard, The More I See), the London based quintet do not hide their influences and inspirations, combining all into a riotous and compulsive sound of their own. Their new release does not break into new avenues or rip up the rule book but simply brings the feistiest heavy metal party you can wish for right to your door. Completed by guitarists Lewis Stephens and David del Cid, bassist Jim Ramses, and Matt C on drums, the band seem intent on giving a new life and freshness to the near corpse like state of NWOBHM, something which would normally give nothing but chills this way but Rock The Night EP actually manages to make it almost seem an appealing prospect.

The title track erupts in the ear with an immediate intent to excite and fire up the senses, soaring screams and raging riffs instantly taking over the ear. The song is an insatiable charge of energy and metal passion which leaves no pore or synapse devoid of melodic enterprise and charging intensity. The guitars reign on the track leaving one glowing from their fiery display of forceful riffs and enticing invention whilst the solos leave one drooling, which maybe is not surprising as the song features a guest spot from Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner. The vocals are as expected from Ellis, expansive and highly charged with strong group harmonies adding their enthusiast companionship. Arguably the song offers nothing new except fully energising sounds which have not been this enthusiastic in the genre in a long time, then again not being fans we may have missed plenty of similar moments?

Whereas the opener leaves only hi octane energy and enthusiasm in its wake the following Carry On is a more expected composition. It is hard to call it predictable as again the guitars and vocals are nothing less than impressive whilst the rhythms of Matt C take instant charge of the ear with their powerful and commanding tight grip, but it fails to excite quite as openly. With surging riffs and plenty of chugging ready to link the scorching melodic play, the song is enjoyable without stoking too many fires something which cannot be said about Midnight Queen.

Best song on the EP, the track is addictive from first note to last, the Ozzie like vocals playing well amongst the brew of sinister melodic enterprise and menacing sprawling energy. From the vocal and additional harmonies through to the expressive guitar work the song captivates but it is the bass of Ramses which steals the thunder. Steely with the hunger of a predator it brings a dark shadow and breath all of its own, surely a pact with the devil at play which spoils over in the following Fatal Attack. There is a plethora of good things on the release but his presence is the highlight.

As said the bass continues to ignite greater heights on Fatal Attack, it is as if Ramses has been unleashed and he is making every moment count but the song as a whole is nothing less than thoroughly pleasing. It has a snarl and bite which is distinct from the other songs on the release to make it alongside its predecessor and the title track. One of the strongest moments on Rock The Night.

The closing Blood Red Sky continues the strong and gratifying pleasure surprisingly incited from the release and though it slips a little against the previous duo of songs still holds the imagination and ear with ease.

     Monument with the Rock The Night EP laid waste to expectations to replace them with surprised pleasure. If this is the new state of heavy metal maybe there is a home here for it after all.

Facebook – www.facebook.com/monumentuk

RingMaster 16/08/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The best and easiest way to get your music on iTunes, Amazon and lots more. Click below for details.