Bear – Propaganda

Having discovered Bear through their senses ravening second album back in 2013, every new moment with the Belgian outfit has been a momentous moment in our musical year and there is nothing different in 2020 with the unleashing of Propaganda, their most striking trespass of the senses yet.

There has always been an open uniqueness about the Antwerp quartet’s sound but again it has evolved into a whole new beast of fascination within their fourth full length. Described as a fusion of progressive metal and hardcore, the reality is that it is a far richer and diversely woven proposition. Within Propaganda groove and tech metal embroils in death and noise rock, a mixture only further twisted as rapacious imagination cast its weaves. The feral likes of Noumenon and successor /// have blossomed in that creative environment but Propaganda though has simply found a whole new discharge of temptation.

With its heart and breath a roar against the spins which manipulates all our lives, Bear’s new onslaught immediately descended on ears with opener Dissolve Dissipate. Rhythms immediately assault as acerbic grooves entwine the listener, a hungry contagiousness swarming the senses as the track violently devours. The thick growl of vocalist Maarten Albrechts erupts straight into the barrage, spilling further malice and tempting in a fusion only increasing in enslavement; even more so as a contrast of clean vocals rises within the sonic persistence and growing enterprise.  As the track again twists and escalates its lure, all the time soon adding greater lust to our appreciation, it is a superb start to the album and a scene setter of the invention within its body and ravenous dexterity in its realisation.

The rhythms of drummer Serch Carriere and bassist Dries Verhaert perpetually make for a magnetic invitation even as more restraint wraps their baiting of ears as the release’s title track follows. Nevertheless it instantly held attention tight as further aspects add the inescapable beckoning into a waiting deluge of sound and venom. Even that though is aligned to melodic and compelling enterprise, the track a mercurial incitement as savage as it is seductive on body and thoughts. Winding, Guitarist James Falck again weaves vines of sound and threads of grooves around the song’s transfixing length, tendrils which threaten as they lure; the track itself epitomising that feat within its predacious presence.

Obey barely allows a breath to be taken before uncaging its own predatory instincts and sounds, ferocity again interlaced with progressive and grooved imagination which not so much tempers the assail as encourages it and an already well grown addictiveness to the encounter. It is a trait we found with previous releases, a quickly formed and unshakeable hunger for their wares which is soon fertile within Propaganda and only intensified with the following pair of Apollo’s Heist and Red Throne. The first teases ears first, nagging on attention before rewarding such focus with a menacing crawl which was soon burrowing deep; the sinister temptation only accentuated by the harmonics of varied vocals and synth caresses within the ursine confrontation. It provided full enthralment from start to finish which its successor quickly devoured with its far more volatile and grievous exploits. As those before and to come, the track is as unpredictable as it is compelling, leaping with bruising dynamics yet never hinting on its subsequent moments of greedy aggression or dramatic restraints; it all delivered with devious craft and manipulative imagination.

Through the similarly ominous and disturbing intimation of the increasingly carnal Mite and the viscous animosity of Gutter Love the album only gripped tighter, the latter a virulent slab of primeval rock ‘n’ roll while the following Stigmata left its deep sonic mark with rhythmic lashings and dark raptorial fingering of the psyche and fair to say that each track is bound in capricious adventure and skilfully erratic enterprise inventively and imaginatively bred.

The calm dark beauty of The Ram brings a moment to find stability for the senses and suggestion for thoughts though the listener is soon consumed in the cataclysmic invasion of Flares which erupts with Bear’s trademark brutality and imagination gripping resourcefulness as again expectations are never allowed to seed and appetite to lose its greed for the band’s ingenuity.

Engine and Kuma bring the album to a close, the first an infection of sound and intimidation which is as masterfully radiant at times as it is persistently intrusive and truculent throughout and the second an infestation of quarrel and hostility around a groove woven web of harmonic and melodic splendour; both providing a rousing end to the album with the last another particular peak in its lofty landscape.

Propaganda only becomes more potent and magnificent by the listen and imposingly stimulating as its lyrical side stands tall in the instantaneous glory of its sounds. Not for the first time Bear has crafted one of the year’s major and richly enjoyable moments; the continuing welcome ringing in our senses proof.

Propaganda is out now via Pelagic Records.

https://www.facebook.com/bearpropaganda   https://twitter.com/bearpropaganda

RingMaster Review 16/06/2020

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Sertraline – Clouded Minds & Silver Lines

The recent release of their new EP has confirmed what many have been thinking and openly saying, metallers Sertraline are becoming one of the UK’s most compelling bands. Their new five track offering builds on all the potential and prowess of its acclaimed predecessor and then lays down its own plateau of craft and invention which simply demands attention.

Emerging from Stoke-On-Trent in 2014, Sertraline has increasingly tempted support and thick praise through releases and a striking live presence which has seen the band share stages with the likes of Voyager, Sumo Cyco, Forever Still, Butcher Babies, Kobra and the Lotus, Skarlett Riot, and VOLA over the years. Second EP, Guilty was a potent moment in their rise up the ranks with its release in 2017 but we expect to be richly outdone in success and plaudits by Clouded Minds & Silver Lines.

Already rich in enterprise and imagination, the band’s mix of progressive and melodic metal has simply grown between releases, its snarl is more intense, melodic radiance growing inescapably seductive while the craft and imagination behind each aural tapestry within the new outing as captivating as the sounds they cast as swiftly proven by EP opener, Inside Out.

The track beckons ears with a melodic weave initially, one soon cradling the warm melodic tones of Lizzie Parry. Suggestive and tempting, it opens up to an even more intriguing and inviting proposition with a more steely weave of grooves emerging. There is something of a Voyager like hue to the song which only adds to its temptation before the predatory instincts and traits of their sound fully erupt. As the track expands Lizzie soon shows her growing prowess of blending guttural and melodic vocals to echo the mix texturing of the sounds around her, they also an evolving adventure in ears as the rhythmic dexterity and predation of drummer Si and bassist Hendo align to the adept enterprise of guitarists Mike and Wilson.

Mean to Me II follows, rising in a sonic breeze to sweep through ears with a sinister breath and magnetic agility. As in the first, the song twists and turns as it fuses contrasts in voice and texture, never feeding expectations but creating a fertile landscape of familiar essences and greater fresh invention while its successor 2205, also emerging from a calm distance, unveils a mercurial landscape as forceful as it is contagious. The song is less volatile than the first pair of tracks but certainly bares its teeth and shares a rapacious trespass within its melodic adventure before Screaming For Sleep similarly crafts a tempestuousness confrontation as infectious as it is imposing on the way to taking favourite song honours.

Isolation completes the EP, its name apt for the times we currently are embracing and also a major highlight rivalling its predecessor with every breath from its drama soaked entrance and subsequent raptorial stalking of ears and devouring of the imagination to its capricious prowl and tempting. It is a superb end to a release which impressed straightaway and has only grown in temptation and stature much like Sertraline themselves.

Clouded Minds & Silver Lines is out now.

https://www.facebook.com/WeAreSertraline/   https://twitter.com/wearesertraline

RingMaster Review 16/06/2020

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Dead Reynolds – Frontier EP

Having been securely hooked by a pair of previous singles by Dead Reynolds sent our way courtesy of the ever enlightening Emma at Pluggin’ Baby we thought we would bypass the third she pleasured us with and go straight to the new EP it comes from. There you will find four striking and powerful songs which declare the emerging British quintet as one mightily exciting temptation within the national rock scene.

East Anglia hailing Dead Reynolds rose from the ashes of Phoenix Calling and The First, guitarists Dom Greenwood and Luke Reid of the former linking up with the second’s former bassist Ben Knowles. With its line-up completed by former Damage member in drummer Luke Green and vocalist Callum Waterfield, Dead Reynolds have quickly grabbed eager attention and praise since emerging in 2018 through their releases and live shows.

Their alternative rock styled sound is a tonic of flavours with its alt rock dexterity loaded with the snarl of punk and contagiousness of power pop. Frontier is a four track calling card of its potency and immediately had us grabbed and involved with opener By Your Side. The song is that new single we mentioned, an encounter which instantly flies at ears with energy and relish. Its urgent start momentarily calms for Waterfield’s entrance yet continues to tease of another eruption as energy builds and explodes in a contagion of a chorus. Throughout Green’s rhythms land with purpose and manipulation, a persuasion echoed in the lure of bass and web of guitar enterprise gathered around increasingly rousing vocals.

It is an outstanding way for the EP to immediately ignite speakers and attention, being swiftly backed up by the just as potent presence of P.S. (I Loathe You). Maybe less forceful in its invitation than its predecessor it soon reveals a magnetic fusion of rock ferocity and pop punk infection, the band fuelling its anthemic climate with a fusion of flavours and adventurous imagination. Every track within Frontier could be an attention grabbing single, the second a case in point but also epitomising the personal individuality which shapes each song from the character of the next.

Bright Lights is next up and also is relatively gentle in its invitation, Waterfield’s vocals an easy welcome into the growing creative and emotive drama of the song. Knowles and Green provide a persistent rhythmic enticement which, as throughout the EP, only manipulates song and attention alike which the sonic and melodic flaming of Greenwood and Reid breeds further rich enticement upon.

Finally the EP is concluded by Lines, another looming from the shadows to breed an enthralling affair for ears and appetite alike. Catchiness and aggression entangle as the song roars, hook bearing melodies ensnaring senses whipping rhythms and vocal resourcefulness as luring as the sounds they nestle in.

Part trespass and all anthemic persuasion, the track is an arousing end to a thrilling release. Its success was part assumed due to the striking exploits of earlier singles but easily outshone expectations to confirm Dead Reynolds as heading towards being one rather formidable rock band.

The Frontiers EP and new single By Your Side are out now.

https://www.facebook.com/DeadReynolds/   https://twitter.com/dead_reynolds   http://deadreynolds.com

Pete RingMaster 25/06/2020

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Hot Nuns – Rude, Dumb & Anxious

 

The ingredients were all there to spark our intrigue and appetite; bass, drums and vocals only, power punk fuelled sounds and featuring members of outstanding Norwegian outfit Blood Command. Even so it did not stop Rude, Dumb & Anxious from hitting a previously undiscovered sweet spot.

The four track release is from the duo of Sigurd Haakaas and Yngve Andersen going by the name of Hot Nuns. Last year saw the pair release debut EP, Wrong Again, to a potent welcome which has similarly awaited the swiftly acclaimed Rude, Dumb & Anxious if on a larger scale. Though this second EP is our first moment with the band a love of encounters built on the rhythmic enterprise of bass and drums has been an instinctive pleasure nurtured by the likes of MoRkObOt, Big Business, Lightning Bolt, and Royal Blood. Thus a lurking appetite was awoken just by the thought of the make-up of Hot Nuns but still stopped in its tracks by the individual power and captivation of the band’s sound.

Rude, Dumb & Anxious begins with the instantly riveting Can’t Get Over You and closed by its even more compelling title track. The opener breaks silence with a plaintive voice within a calm caress of bass. Swiftly Haakaas’ beats are stamping authority on song and ears as bass riffs deliciously grumble and share just as embittered grooves. The melodic holler and subsequent swing of vocals are a contagion in their own right, together it all making for a song which dances with the listeners inhibitions as they flee the occasion whilst roaring with punk endeavour.

In a kind of contrast the final song controls its urgency for a pungent canter through ears but one again fuelled by virulent infectiousness. The melodies and harmonies in vocals tease yet calm the anxiety in the darkness of the track, a shadowed heart escalated by the mouth-watering growl of the bass, but as in the first song on the EP, it all raucously infests greed gathering ears and imagination.

In between the two major highlights, there is only additional goodness and clamorous pleasure. I Love You Still, I Always Will is another track hankering for love new or lost and also surges at the listener from its first breath, hooks and grooves an invasive trespass of creative fulfilment with an almost carnal hue to the glorious texture of the bass. Vocals once more soon recruit participation as the sounds work with a bouncing body, hungry punk and feral power pop united in one inescapable and addictive proposal.

The other song of the foursome is a great cover of The Boys classic, First Time. Just by their touch and slim down line-up of instruments Hot Nuns re-ignite the track whilst paying homage to its own original raw infectiousness; the song relishing the attitude and inventive muscle of the duo as it sits perfectly alongside the other trio of treats.

No frills and plenty of thrills Rude, Dumb & Anxious is a gem no rocker should pass by.

Rude, Dumb & Anxious is out now via Loyal Blood Records; available @ https://hotnuns.bandcamp.com/album/rude-dumb-anxious-ep

https://www.facebook.com/hotnunsband/

Pete RingMaster 11/05/2020

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das GHOUL – The Video Nasty EP

Whether through TV or experience few have escaped the beauty of UK city Oxford and the medieval architecture of its renowned educational establishments and of course, university. It must though also have plenty of untapped shadows and a dark breeding ground for the likes of das GHOUL

Recently introduced to the band through its vocalist/guitarist Craig The Plague, das GHOUL is a quartet creating a contagious form of horror punk fuelled rock ‘n’ roll. They are also a group which would not a surprise if found invading mausoleums and graveyards for inspirations for their horror hued, gothic flavoured songs. Last year’s album, Noise Das Noire, was a rousing mischievous adventure through the depraved and creepy, one sound-tracked by a punk hued sound equally as ghoulish as the masks the foursome don. Now the band completed by Bernard Ghoul-Hefner on bass, drummer Mary Ghoul, and the keys of Octavia Von Wakeman, has recently opened up the vault of The Video Nasty EP to again take the listener into a highly enjoyable humour laced dark place.

Recorded, mixed and produced by Steve Bernard, the new EP opens with the outstanding Behind The Cobweb Veil, a brief but manipulative instrumental opening the curtains on the gothic clad show. Keys cast drama soaked on ears and thoughts in intimation, its theatrical breath as intimate as it is gothic picturesque and a captivating start to the release.

The EP’s title track immediately breaks the seduction of its predecessor but replaces it with its own individual rock enticement as the guitar springs classic hard rock hued flames. Soon senses swiping beats land as the dark groan of bass aligns to similarly magnetic vocals. In full stride, the track is a blast of feral rock ‘n’ roll bred on horror punk instincts draped in the melodic suggestion of those gothic dwelling keys.

It is another moment which only held attention firmly though a moment soon eclipsed by the following Formaldehyde Girl. Our favourite track might only linger a few breaths past a minute but straightaway it was under the skin and causing havoc with our eager bodies. Like a fusion of Misfits, Autopsy Boys, and The Adicts, a short shrift on time brought richness in temptation and pleasure before the release comes to a potent close through Porcelain. Another embracing a more classic rock essence to its colourful rock ‘n’ roll without losing that punk abrasiveness, the track hugs ears with the melodic dexterity of keys to spark the imagination and please a now set keen appetite for the band’s dark realm.

Having now flirted with their album and the demos before that, das GHOUL have made a habit of unleashing ear grabbing songs but The Video Nasty EP is their most tempting offer yet and a lure to the kind of attention which will draw them fully out of those dark Oxford shadows.

The Video Nasty EP is available now @ https://ghoul1.bandcamp.com/album/the-video-nasty-ep

https://www.facebook.com/666dasGHOUL666/

Pete RingMaster 11/05/2020

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Little King Interview

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

Hey there, the pleasure is all mine!

Yes, currently Little King consists of Manny Tejeda (Bass and backing vox), Eddy Garcia (Drums), and me, Ryan Rosoff (Guitar and Vox).  This is about the 11 millionth line-up for Little King in the last 23 years, but hopefully this is static for a while.  Eddy has played drums on the last 3 records (Legacy of Fools 2008, OD1 2014, and Occam’s Foil 2019), so at least there’s some consistency there.

I started Little King back in 1996 when my previous band disintegrated.  I was playing with a band called Tweed Quickly with two guys who are STILL among my closest friends (Scott Marestein and Shannon Brady.)  In fact, Shannon played bass on Time Extension (1998) and Virus Divine (2003), and Scott and I have collaborated and toured many times in the last 25 years.  But when Tweed went RIP, I had a bunch of songs that I had already written that we were gonna record together, so instead of folding up my tent, I found a couple other dudes and we went hard at rehearsals and on the road.  Eventually, Transmountain was born (1997).  It was, um, fun?  Still can’t really bring myself to listen to is, but one song called “I-10” is still probably gonna make the cut for the live show.

How have those experiences impacted on what you are doing now?

Yeah, Scott was the main writer for Tweed Quickly, and he definitely had (and still has) a very eclectic approach to songwriting.  We both share some primary influences like Rush and the Beatles, but he also really introduced me to Zappa and Parliament Funkadelic when we first starting jamming.  Scott’s playing just SWINGS…and everything he writes is based on the up, so finding the one was a different experience with him.  He also is not afraid of the chromatic, and I was new to that.  I always considered it to be kind of a songwriting cop-out, if you will.  I mean, anyone can slide up a scale one half-step at a time, but he really emphasized how that can lend drama or levity to a musical passage.

What inspired the band name?

After Tweed went AWOL, I had those songs and I needed a name.  I’ve always been into hip-hop, and it seems like there are a thousand “Lil'” this and that in rap, so I thought it was kinda funny.  And, of course, the name “Ryan” is translated in Gaelic to mean Little King, so that fit as well, as it was always meant to be a vehicle to showcase my songs and make records and tour with my friends.  Here we are, almost 24 years later!

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

I was never interested in playing in a cover band.  I did it for a minute when I was like 16 in a high school band called Green T’s (as in the first toke…get it?)  We butchered some Police and Zep covers back in the day, but my heart wasn’t in it.  I didn’t sit on my bed with my guitar for 10 hours a day to try and sound like someone else…I wanted to BE that someone else.

There are so many different ways to make an artistic statement.  I have a college degree in Creative Writing, so I certainly appreciate novels and poetry and I’ve even written a couple screenplays.  I love to draw and I’m not half bad (I actually illustrated the cover for the first album, Transmountain, back in 1997…mostly because I was too broke to pay someone to do it.)

But music called to me.  It was the synthesis of words and melodies, which satisfies my right brain, and the counting and carefully planned measures in the songs to make a maximum impact…the left brain.  Like Neil Peart wrote about on Rush’s album Hemispheres – The Heart and Mind Collided!  I love that making records involves so much art, including the cover art, which of course I’m always active in producing.  I am very proud of all of Little King’s album art, and the newest album (Occam’s Foil, 2019) is probably my favorite of all of them.

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

That’s a wonderful question…thank you for asking it in such a way.

It’s always been about a creative outlet, but when my first album came out, I was 24.  I’m almost 48 now, so that was quite literally half a life ago.  When I was starting out, I just wanted to see if I could do it AND if people would like it.  I Could and the Did, although the first effort and a half were pretty uneven, so to speak.

As I aged, had kids, and thought more deeply about the passage of time, the goals changed.  I wrote the lyrics for Time Extension (1998) at age 25, and it’s basically a concept album where the protagonist is on his death bed and is looking back at his life and wishing he could go back and make some changes…every song is one of those points in his life.  So even at a relatively young age, I was acutely aware of the passage of time.

As I went on, it became an obsession about leaving a legacy…for my kids, their kids, and the universe in general.  As I said before, the creation of an album appeals so much to me on so many levels, so this is my chosen medium to make my statements to the world.  Not sure who or how many people really give a shit, but I do!  So the album Legacy of Fools came out in 2008 when I was teaching English in high school down in Texas, and I was very much thinking about the legacy I would leave as a teacher as well as a father (my son had just been born as well.)  That concept, a wilful legacy of words and music, carries me forward to this day.

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

Without question, I am a better writer, arranger, and singer.  I was not classically trained, so as a self-taught player and writer I think there is a lot more trial and error.  Mostly error at the beginning!

I am a fan of conceptual albums that tell stories, even if they’re not completely cohesive.  Again, the melodies, lyrics, production, and artwork all combine to leave a milepost on the spiral of time.  So one thing that I’ve always tried to do is play up diversity within those albums.  Key changes, different tempos and time signatures, and evolving lyrical themes all within the context of a 3 piece band…that’s been the goal.  On Occam’s Foil, and really on most of the records, there are a few special guests (the violin and cello arrangement written by David Hamilton for “The Skin That I’m In” is STUNNING).  But the ethos of reproducing live a faithful representation of what you hear on the record is important to me, perhaps more than ever now after making 6 albums.

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

Forgive the dodge, but a bit of both, I think.  “Organic” may be an overused word in this context.  It’s organic that I want to take some different directions.  Is that forced?  No.  But maybe that’s a better word.  I know what I am and what I’m pretty good at.  I always have a notion to stretch out and try different things, but somehow it always ends up sounding like Little King!

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

I have gone on ad nauseum in other interviews about how much Rush has influenced me and how much I admired Neil Peart’s brain, work ethic, and dignity, so I will leave that as it is and talk about some less obvious influences.

I love Vivaldi and Mozart as much as I love Iron Maiden and Tupac and Peter Tosh.  That really runs the gamut, doesn’t it?  I am drawn to equal parts of passion, skill, and intelligence.  those things transcend genre, for sure.  So those guys all are in rotation in my car.

Is there a particular process to the songwriting?

It’s music first for me.  I am the singer and guitarist, but not necessarily in that order!  Little King songs are not all in 4/4 and are not all in the same key, so I have to really make sure I have the playing of each of them down to absolute second nature.  That takes time and patience and practice.  The goal is to be able, of course, to be able to sing and play them at the same time.

My songs are dictated by what I like to play FIRST, and then I fit the words to them.  If a song makes sense to me in structure and melody without any words, then I feel like I can’t fuck it up by writing lyrics to it. Sometimes, though, the music is enough.  I don’t ever really set out to write instrumentals, but sometimes when I fall in love with a riff or a song; it just makes sense to leave it as is.  This also gives my voice a rest in a live setting!  But I have 3 companion instrumentals from the last 3 albums called “Internal Smut” (Legacy of Fools), “The Leaded Beatdown” (OD1), and “Nerve #8″ (Occam’s Foil) that are just too much fun to play…so they didn’t get words.  Poor, neglected instrumentals!  Oh…””Internal Smut” is an anagram for the word “Instrumental.”  I’m a massive dork.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Parenthood, current events, the squirrel invasion in my backyard, global pandemics, or just a failed relationship…they all make their way in, somehow.  We recorded 4 little videos this time discussing with my friend Ashley Ruark each of the lyrical themes for the songs on Occam.  I think they’re worth watching.

Give us some background to your latest release.

Occam’s Razor is a famous theory that originates with wise old Father William of Ockham, an area in Surrey, around 1300.  He believed and preached that the simplest answer is usually the correct one absent of extenuating circumstances or additional information.  I’m paraphrasing, but the Razor is a popular enough theory that it’s still regularly used, particularly in medical diagnoses, almost 700 years later.

My argument is the “Foil” to good Father William.  The counter-argument, if you will.  I think the Razor discourages deeper thought, healthy discourse, and it makes it less like that one will spend the requisite time to research and find an answer to a problem that may be much more complex that it would be at first blush.

Each song deals with that counter-argument in some way.  But in a world of social media pontification, bellicose posturing filling the void of intellectual rigor, and instant gratification, I was compelled to address the Razor in my own way…through my music.

“Hate Counter” deals with the separation of migrant children and the border as a policy enacted by our current administration here in the USA.  I always record Little King albums at drummer Eddy Garcia’s studio, Krank Studios, down in El Paso, Texas.  El Paso is on the border, and these disgusting camps were front and center in July of 2019 when all of these lyrics were written.  They were also sandwiched around the mass shooting at Walmart by a fucking racist from Dallas that killed 20+ people. I was pissed, and that music fit the bill to write an angry song.

“The Skin That I’m In” is my response to the song “Happy Home” that I wrote in 2014 as I was getting divorced and moving across the country to a place I’d never even been. It was a dark time, but I came out so much better 5 years later. “Skin” is my “marked safe from the shitstorm” song, and it deals with infidelity, paranoia, substance abuse, and triumph over these things.

“Forgotten Mile” is about turtles. Sort of…  It’s also the name of the area I lived in when I wrote these songs.  “The Foil” is sort of the title track and also references religious douchebaggery and also the Opioid crisis in Delaware and beyond.

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

The arrangements are DONE when we get in there.  Eddy learns them on drums pretty much on the fly, although I send him demos beforehand.  I don’t know how much he listens to them, though, and I don’t really care.  The dude is INCREDIBLE, and his playing is so on-point and creative that I don’t care how much he has worked out ahead of time.  I like that he brings spontaneity to arrangements that are otherwise meticulously crafted.  The other things I totally improvise are the guitar solos.  I am absolutely at my playing peak by the time I get to the studio to record, so I love to just unleash live, no rehearsal, and see where that takes me.  Again, it’s cool when juxtaposed against these arrangement.  The solos for “Hate” and “Skin” I think are the best I’ve ever done, especially “Skin” – and they were both in one take!

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably a favourite aspect of making music?

Stay tuned, friend…all will be revealed soon.  I can say that I’ve never performed with this particular line-up and I am beyond thrilled to be able to get this to the masses someday very soon.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

Sure! How good are you?  How willing are you to make sacrifices in time and money?  Do you care enough to evolve?  What DO you really care about?  Is it money, fame, or just sharing your art?  I think that there are a million different avenues to promote your music, but I would like to think that the best promoted band isn’t always the one who “Makes It.”

I still hope we live in a world where the cream rises to the top.  Hope springs eternal, right?

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

Again, it is what you make of it.  If your music is shit, you may have a nice short run of people close to you who love it and fill your head up with platitudes.  It’s cool to feel good about yourself, but it’s fleeting.  How does one have lasting power?  I think it’s evolution of the craft and a willingness to work hard, both creating and promoting.  I grew up in an era of paper flyers for shows in parking lots.  As that old meme goes, “You never flyered a show at a Walmart in the 90’s and it shows…”

It’s great that the playing field has been somewhat levelled.  It’s certainly easier for bands to distribute their music and have it promoted and streamed for free.  You can’t make a fucking living doing that, which sucks, but we never did really anyway.  Maybe a few of us did, but not much of a living (I just got a check from our distributor today…let’s just say in HELPED pay for toilet paper that I need during the pandemic.)

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

Please just go visit www.littlekingtunes.com and have a poke around.  Hopefully you can get a sense of why I’m still doing this after almost 25 years.  And I APPRECIATE IT SO MUCH…you can’t imagine how gratifying the reception to Occam’s Foil has been.  Manny, Eddy, and I worked so hard on this record.  Thank you for caring!

https://www.facebook.com/littlekingtunes

RingMaster Review 16/06/2020

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Revealing Lucifour M with Mattia Dallara

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

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

All started after Marco and Michele first met in the backstage of a gig…then all developed naturally when I, Mattia, joined… we all knew each other a bit already because we come from the same area and we occasionally had the chance to do something together too…then the music just started flowing after the first musical meetings…jamming just playing live y’know…we don’t even remember the steps we made, we remember that we have been having so much fun since then…and we are here now

Had you been involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

All of us have been involved in other bands and projects over the years…I in Capucino or recently in Amycanbe, Michele in M+A and Marco in MACK or Orange Combutta or C’mon Tigre….everything we do influences us of course, but it is unconscious…

hummm….what we did so far in Lucifour M is mostly based on our common passion for R&B and Soul Pop Music…Jazzy pop… but this is only the start…and we are very open…and so next things will go in different directions maybe…who knows?! 😉

What inspired the band name?

It is partially based on Lucifer’s Sam song….we want an evil name…and also our names all start with M…so this is it.

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

Not any specific idea but the fun! We just do it because we enjoy it…well maybe we also fancy some cinematic stuff…we all love cinema…and yeah we often think to our music with some image connection…and it seems working too! 3 songs of our recent EPs will be a soundtrack to a new great short film by Robert Daniel Martin called “State Of The Game”…it will be out soon.

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

We are evolving sure!…but in a very natural way…we don’t like to plan too much….we want to stay always fresh if possible! J

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

We basically write pop songs… maybe the new ones are more psychedelic?…I don’t know honestly…but there is a part of what we do that now has more of it.

Again, more of an organic movement of sound or the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

We love the “new” in what we listen to and in what we do…we are attracted by new sensations…and sounds just follow that ….in a stream of consciousness.

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

Stevie Wonder…Prince….The Beatles….Radiohead…Pino Daniele…Franck Ocean…just to name a few…Jazz…Italian Music…there are so many things….sometimes you hear something that is completely unknown and never heard that could make your day …and your music can’t help but be influenced by that…giving you different ideas, changing a bit your approach….no rules and no edges really

Is there a process to the songwriting which generally guides the writing of songs?

All starts with a jam….then when it becomes a mess! J we try to make order and then some of it could become a song.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Life in general…Michele (the singer) loves philosophy so maybe you can hear also that in his lyrics.

Give us some background to your latest release.

Our latest release is called DUE is our second ep, the first one is called UNO, simple isn’t? 🙂 They are 2 parts of the same project, recorded during the same sessions…we just split in two together with Sonarkollektiv Berlin and K7 Records London (our labels)

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

12 songs all together, all available in digital stores….and we are preparing also a vinyl release…themes are various…all inspired by little experiences, lived, or read…or dreamed….

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

We are so lucky that we can jam in our own studio, we are mainly based in a studio which is often our home….so sometimes things start at home, just an idea or a riff…but more often they start in the studio and end  there as well.

Tell us about the live side to Lucifour M, presumably the favorite aspect of the band?

Yeah exactly! We are a live band…on stage we play often as four piece….we feel more comfortable. And the sound is far better…but sometimes for logistic reasons we are just 3…anyway…what you hear on record is what we do on stage…not very different…the biggest different is of course the experience…every live is a different story and the impact on us and on the audience is more powerful, and emotional

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

We just play and play…enthusiasm brings enthusiasm, in us and in people around us, if they are fans or people of the music biz….anyway there must love in what you do, then it could be growing if we are good enough…we are keen of what we are doing, and we don’t want to stop.

There is always a chance, but you can’t think about it too much, if you want to have a chance you have to just what you do best: playing. The rest is secondary.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date?

It is just the new way of listening, sharing and promote music….the problem is that there are too many artists, projects, songs etc…the good thing is the freedom….we are able to do what we want without pressure …and there are also opportunities…for example next may we will play The Great Escape Festival in Brighton, we just made and application online and they said yes – it would not be possible 20 years ago without internet

All is very fast and changing very fast…so there is always a lack of knowledge…we always have to learn every day every minute…but we like it.

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

Thank you very much for having us.

Follow us on our social pages, a lot of new music is coming up – stay tuned.

Please find new EP DUE out now – link below.

http://www.facebook.com/lucifourm

http://www.youtube.com/lucifourm

http://www.twitter.com/lucifourm

http://www.instagram.com/lucifour

RingMaster Review 16/06/2020

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Calling All Astronauts – #Resist

The voice of celebrity can sometimes rightly and wrongly have a highly persuasive impact on essences of society and political apathy. Equally arousing as proven decade by decade can be the assertion and roar of musicians and their vociferous sounds. They can be a rich echo of the issues and divisions in the world and a rousing ‘call to arms’ to their refusal. UK goth punks Calling All Astronauts have been a creative thorn in a world of indifference, bigotry, persecution and more for the past seven years but maybe one of their releases has never been more relevant and impactful to what is going around them as well as being simply striking than new album, #Resist.

Since emerging in 2013, Calling All Astronauts has regularly entrapped ears and praise with their fusion of goth and electro punk, but a sound never afraid to stretch its landscape and enrich its snarl with fresh enterprise and creative venom. It is fair to say their debut album, Post Modern Conspiracy, that first year immediately gripped attention as it enticed acclaim, both escalating as single and EP led to and surrounded 2016second full-length, Anti​-​Social Network. Each encounter has seen the band grow and intensify the adventure of their sound, each flourishing in evolution which #Resist now basks in.

The seeds for the trio of David B (vocals, programming, keys, producing), Paul McCrudden (bass, guitar, keys), and J Browning (guitar) go back to their time in seminal rap-metallers, US:UK. After its demise, J went on to form pop-punkers Caffeine while Paul joined Goth outfit The Marionettes. A chance meeting though reunited David and J with Calling All Astronauts the result, the threesome back together when Paul linked up as the band set to work on that ear gripping second album.

Mixed by Alan Branch (Depeche Mode, NIN, U2), #Resist took little time to spark an already in place appetite for the band’s sound to date but equally evoked keen anticipation for new development and extension as The Holy Trinity opened things up. Keys immediately surround ears bringing drama and intrigue swiftly echoed in the surges of guitar. CAA have bred an identity and sound which is unmistakably their own and again it envelops song and persuasion as David’s equally distinctive tones lyrically provoke and highlight. With rhythms a similarly dark place of intimation as the fusion of melody and sonic tension around them, the track is a gripping start to the release.

Divided States Of America strolls in with matching strength and tenacity, every aspect built on sharp imagination and persuasive muscle yet it soon reveals taunting hooks and fiery grooves which easily slipped under the skin. Like a fly on the  wall to the state of its concentration, the song unveils a host of compelling twists and turns, all lined with virulent hooks and melodic enterprise with eighties synth pop hues. The track is superb, epitomising the creative growth and imagination in songwriting and its realisation before Give Them A Leader stamps its own authority over attention and enjoyment. David’s dark tones bring an edge to songs which alone court keen heed and regard, here a magnetic shadow across the marching sounds, with Paul’s bass a unique tempter in their midst, sharing a creative flourish just as captivating.

The likes of Ministry, Mindless Self Indulgence, and New Order are regularly touted as hints to CAA’s music, all relevant clues yet as Rapture proves only suggesting shades of their music as it infests the senses with its fusion of eighties gothic rock/post punk and industrial incitement, the track carrying something akin to Alien Sex Fiend meets KMFDM/ Nitzer Ebb in the lining of its uniqueness while New World Disorder shares another electronic hue in the album’s kaleidoscope of imagination. Seduction and trespass align in its body, again essences across recent decades courting originality in its haunting presence.

As Fifteen Minutes and Resist share their individual offerings so the album only gripped all the tighter, the first a punk fired incursion which the release, not for the first time, shares something of an Amen-esque grievance upon ears within. The second in turn nags and harries the senses with its defiance fuelled uprising, the trio enlivening both with their united invention and craft with next up Post Truth World matching their thick temptation with its synth pop saunter and indie rock punch.

Finalising a favourite moment within #Resist has proven impossible so far, every minute of every track a persuasive suggestion but Reason persistently lurks around first thoughts with its animated contagion and enslaving catchiness. Bass and guitars again just ignited greed with their imaginative enterprise, one only escalated by keys and David’s cajoling tones before Welcome To The Black Bloc had the body bouncing and pleasure aflame as thoughts are stoked once more by band and release.

Completed by Not In My Name and brought to a boisterous conclusion by its snappy moves and dark manipulations led again by the devious resonance of Paul’s bass strings, #Resist is the finest and most compelling outing with Calling All Astronauts yet.

In a world of change enforced and desired but one where the worse in man seems empowered by its leaders, a voice for all wrongs and equally something to find pleasure in it’s a hungry desire, Calling All Astronauts and #Resist provide both.

#Resist is out now; available @ https://music.apple.com/gb/album/resist/1513156706?app=music

https://www.facebook.com/CallingAllAstronauts/   https://twitter.com/caa_official   https://open.spotify.com/artist/0xqglBsPF9COYj64LNl85t   https://www.youtube.com/callingallastronauts

Pete RingMaster 11/05/2020

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The Domestics/Pizzatramp – No Life/This Is Your Life Split 12”

Back in 2018 UK outfits The Domestics and Pizzatramp lined up side by side for the striking 5” split release, Discipline, which offered on each band’s side three songs lasting less than a minute combined. Now the pair has linked up again but with a step stopping difference as unexpected as it proves striking and thrilling.

This time the hardcore punk protagonists have provided just one song each to the 12” offering but before you think that is nothing unusual let us add that each track is an eleven minute plus incitement which surprised and captivated as much as they ignited the senses.

Side one is consumed by The Domestics’ track, No Life and straight away the East Anglian quartet courted the imagination. Fuelled by vocalist James Domestics’ semi-autobiographical lyric and ever enjoyably challenge carrying vocals each with the inspiration of a corrupted world and the injustices of life within, the track immediately haunted attention and the senses as dark portentous strings rise up around ears. Their shadows are soon splintered by Simon Battery swiping beats, Ted Mint’s guitar in turn casting sonic smog within the imposing intense drama before more defined lures coax already eager ears. It is a compelling and inspiring start to the track which is only reinforced once the song erupts with the hardcore instincts of the band’s creativity.

With the bass of Rhodes a carnal pleasure within the caustic assault, the track stalks and attacks in equal measure. James’ tone and words are drenched in intimacy but with a worldly echo too whilst rhythmic catchiness underpins the raw ferocity of the encounter which is soon again revelling in its undiminishing unpredictability and imagination as it embraces strings, synths, and piano across its epic and feral emprise.

The track is superb, without question for us one of the best things the band has ferociously entangled our ears in and a proposition matched in captivation by South Wales hailing trio Pizzatramp.

This Is Your Life has an apocalyptic breath which immediately soaks its opening prowl around ears. It too makes for a magnetic introduction which easily drew us in, the subsequent bright groan of grooves and antagonism of skate punk nurtured riffs compounding the attraction as vocals share their aggravation. Its political incitement sparks alienation and vex on the lyrical and emotive heart of the track, one shared by its contagious but abrasive sounds driven by senses scything rhythms.

With an inescapable nagging to its riffs and grooves, the song continues to accost and stalk ears, evolving through differences of urgency without diminishing its animosity. An indictment on our corruptively damaged world, the song also carries an adventure which keeps attention and appetite enthralled throughout one becoming bolder with every passing minute.

Together the two tracks make up one of the year’s most arousing and galvanic encounters so far; one which will surprise a great many and thrill so many more.

The Domestics/Pizzatramp 12” split is out June 12th via Kibou Records (UK), TNS Records (UK) and Sick World Records (New Zealand).

https://www.facebook.com/TheDomestics/   https://www.facebook.com/Pizzatrampuk/

Pete RingMaster 11/05/2020

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Smiling Assassin – Plight Of The Millennial

As the issues and injustices of society and politics seem no closer to be squashed and resolved, UK punks Smiling Assassin bring a new holler to highlight and attack such corruption, suppression, and iniquity. The Yorkshire band also presents punk rock with an openly fresh breath, a trespass of punk and hardcore with a ska tinge that we for one are greedily devouring.

Hailing from Hull, Smiling Assassin formed in early 2019, its name “inspired by the collective’s experiences and frustrations around, and with the current economic and socio-political climate.” The past nine months or so has seen the band a rousing live presence breeding a potent and loyal fan base and, as their album reveals, a sound and message which demands attention.

Plight Of The Millennial opens with Prologue, where within an atmospheric uprising a vocal warning of a time of change baits the world; a call to arms for those to change it before the album’s title track unleashes ten seconds of sonic and vocal challenge.

From there Psycho-Apathy taunts the senses, riffs an immediate enticing bait as rhythms barbarously leap across the invitation. Uniting in an intensive surge, it subsequently springs a hook swinging stroll led by the potent tones of vocalist George Garnett. The tenacious beats of drummer Robbie Johnson continue to violently pound but manipulation echoed in the groove of Casey Stead’s bass and the wiry web cast by guitarist Josh Rogerson. The track is superb, an invasive yet virulently catchy and ferocious punk incitement with much more to its almost devious exploits.

Divide And Conquer quickly follows, its intrusive attack again as infectious as it is vicious. Relentless in its blitz, vocals singular and united driving the uprising, the track is a clamorous summons for action wrapped in just as an instinctively provoking sound while next up Coping, emerging from the sonic wash of its predecessor, is an equally enjoyable nagging fuelled by word and esurient rhythmic tenacity. Rogerson’s riffs and grooves escalate the temptation and drama, an intimacy entwining their enterprise echoed in the vocal holler of Garnett equally reflecting the pressures we have all dealt with in current isolation.

There was no escaping physically emulating the bounce of the ska coated News Corp. Monopoly, the track as virulent as anything around right now whilst devouring news media before National Pride unleashes its feral jaws and voracious sounds on race discrimination for another seriously rousing inducement.

Both tracks epitomise the individuality of the Smiling Assassin sound and it’s sometimes understated but always open imagination with plenty to hook ears and attention to the motivation within, With All Due Respect similarly striking and stirring. From its Vincent Price sample to the splintering beats of Johnson and the spiral of grooves and riffs to the belligerent throb of Stead’s bass as well as Garnett’s ever goading vocal strikes, the track is a cauldron of enterprise and provocation.

Completed by the panic and violent mayhem of The Aftermath, reaction to the previous incitement, Plight Of The Millennial proved one of the most thrilling and impressive things heard so far this year; Smiling Assassin a band easy to feel is destined to major attention if they demand it and with their first album they are doing just that.

Plight Of The Millennial is out now via Warren Records; available @ https://smilingassassin.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.smilingassassin.co.uk    https://www.facebook.com/smilingassassinofficial   https://www.twitter.com/smilingassass1n

Pete RingMaster 02/06/2020

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