Solar Halos – Self Titled

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Setting the new musical year off to a stunning and potent  start, US rockers Solar Halos unleash their debut album, a release conjuring a tantalising mesmeric brew of stoner and psychedelic rock with further explorations which simply seduces the imagination and passions into hungry life. Out 20th January via Devouter Records, the self-titled album is a masterful temptation and beautifully crafted evocative expanse of heavy unrelenting rock leading the listener into one of the first great adventures of 2014.

Hailing from Chapel Hill, North Carolina the trio certainly comes with a rich pedigree to its line-up. Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Nora Rogers, formerly of Horseback and Curtains of Night, Caltrop and Horseback drummer John Crouch, and Fin Fang Foom bassist Eddie Sanchez, Solar Halos feed expectations bred from its line-up and then shows them another creative level through imagination and sonic invention. Soaked in a doom like weight yet finding a radiant and transfixing resourcefulness generally absent in the genre through varied textures and sounds, the band’s first album is an enthralling and intensive examination of and feast for senses and emotions. A travelogue of heated and dusty climes brought through an ever shifting provocative aural landscape.

The album opens with The Vast White Plains and immediately hits the appetite with a delicious grizzly bass sound within ear Artworkentwining sonic guitar lines, all caged by the hypnotic rhythmic sculpting of Crouch. Within its first seconds the song has attention rigidly glued to its magnetic lure, a hold which is only cemented further once the distinctive and absorbing vocals of Rogers begin the lyrical narrative. The combination is unstoppable as the track winds the passions around its rhythmic fingers, its sonic persuasion drifting into continual enterprise and bordering exhaustive intensity. With additional vocals from Sanchez as effective and pleasing as those of Rogers to further flavour the rich lure of the song, it is a mighty and riveting start.

The following Tunnels takes a more reserved approach as its entrance but one with melodic flames and a tempered rhythmic gait which only engages thoughts as eagerly as its predecessor. A crawling journey through seemingly doom seeded psychedelic waters, the track heavily leans on the ear yet with the warm life filled vocals and incendiary melodies cast by the guitar it feels like a plunge through dark emotional depths lit by a beacon of hope and warmth. As with the first track every aspect of the song coaxes out rapturous responses, its twisting and inventive enterprise reinforcing the lure and lingering beauty of the wonderfully intrusive feel of adventure. There is a definite Horseback tone to the music as well as elements of Kyuss and at times Jess and the Ancient Ones but as the second song finishes there is no denying that Solar Halos crafts a sound which is uniquely theirs.

Both the soaring rigorous flight of Migration and the atmospheric scenery of Frost continue the impressive presence of the album, the second especially with a carnivorous tone to the bass and another mouthwatering rhythmic taunting by Crouch igniting another wash of emotional rabidity within for its offering. Their triumphs are soon followed by the chilled touch of Wilderness, a song which builds mountainous sonic ranges and heavyweight rhythmic caverns to explore and spark the imagination within. The most doom washed track on the release but again one which teases and invites bright burning flames from within its dark shadows, it builds a thick tide of scuzz filled provocation and melodic heat provoking thoughts and emotions to delve only deeper with each excursion through its fascination.

Resonance brings the album to a close, the track eight minutes of sonic incitement and rhythmic enslaving. It is a glorious slowly invasive triumph to complete a breath-taking release. Everything from the great vocal blend of Rogers and Sanchez, the guitar’s senses encircling spirals of expressive melodic suasion, and the almost goading and certainly anthemic rhythmic bait of the bass and Crouch’s outstanding drum craft, enslaves ears and imagination. Like the album as a whole, the track just gets better and impresses more with each course through its striking landscape and steals top honours on the release though it is constantly challenged by the other tracks.

Solar Halos instantly stand aside the likes of Horseback and Royal Thunder through their debut and it is not hard to suspect that the threesome will be forging major heights in the future. 2014 could not be off to a better start.

www.solarhalos.com

10/10

RingMaster 01/01/2014

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Whores – Clean EP

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It is generally agreed that the Ruiner EP of 2011 was one exceptional introduction to its creators, a release which thrust US intensive noise rockers Whores straight into the centre of eager attention and marked them out as a band with the promise and armoury to become a possible tour-de-force to come. Their new release, the Clean EP not only confirms those early suspicions and expectations but in many ways blows its impressive predecessor out of the water whilst still declaring there is still plenty more to come from within the Atlanta trio. It is an unrelenting juggernaut of power and invention, a brute before which the passions soon fall to gleefully bask in the merciless ravaging triumph it unleashes.

Formed in 2010 Whores took little time in igniting the energies and hunger of fans locally with their rapacious heavyweight blend of aural provocation which plays like a voracious mix of Helmet, Jesus Lizard, Melvins, and UK band The St Pierre Snake Invasion. Their Brutal Panda Records released debut soon placed the band before worldwide awareness, its ferocious no hold barred invention an undoubted gripping entrance. With acclaim and success breeding around the band for that release and their live performances which has found the band alongside the likes of Torche, Kylesa, The Atlas Moth, Royal Thunder and many more, Whores now unleash their sophomore attack and quite simply the Ryan Boesch (Melvins, Helmet, Tomahawk, Fu Manchu) recorded Clean is the band taking another major step forward.

Again unleashed via Brutal Panda, the EP immediately stands snarling at the ears with the guitar opening of Baby Bird. The riffs of 1006024_605198922834746_308244883_nChristian Lembach are a cantankerous rub soon joined by the earthy bass growl of Jake Shultz, its throaty prowl instantly irresistible alongside the swinging thumping rhythmic assault of Travis Owen. It is a potent combination which takes on another guise and toxicity when Lembach restrains his fingers to let his vocals impressively swagger across the now primarily rhythm cast crowding of the senses. The track is an evolving, exhilarating contagious brawl of punk predation and riff clad incitement which feeds the senses as well as the already brewed hunger to the fullest enterprising meal of nose rock.

The immense start is continued through Last Looks, another track with a carnal breath to its bass and sonic endeavour and an antagonistic ingenuity to its invention. Vocals and guitar provide a rapacious presence which crawls over and permeates the psyche with intimidation, though it withholds any violent intent to make a seductive caustic embrace rather than a vicious assault upon the senses. Like its predecessor there is a rampant imagination to the track and a craft which elevates every lure and idea to another potent depth whilst its infectiousness defies any refusal from thoughts and passions.

      I Am Not A Goal-Oriented Person from its first seconds is a stalking temptation, the bass a cantankerous reptile coring the tempest whilst the sonic web of guitar and aligned riff rabidity oppresses the ear with a deliciously magnetic sonic squall of adventure and senses ravishing toxicity. Without quite matching the previous tracks, the song still easily feeds the awoken keen appetite for Clean which its successor, Cougars, Not Kittens equally matches and inspires a little more greed from. Verging on psychotic in its early sonic breath and exhaustingly expressive vocals, the track unfolds a groove which winds pleasingly around the ears before the heavy tempestuous doomy aspect of its heart takes the brief and impacting slab of muscle to a pungently intensive conclusion.

Next up Blue Blood lumbers through the ear with a sludge rock texture to its virulent bait, a heady full on weight which across the leviathan of a song steps aside for rivetingly addictive restrained garage punk spawned teases and lures where vocals and slowly chugging riffs play over an awaiting rhythmic confrontation. It is a masterful animalistic hunt sculpted with invention and epidemically enthralling mastery, a mix of Queens Of The Stone Age and Mclusky honed into an imaginative sonic scourge.

     I Am An Amateur At Everything completes the EP with a fire of sonic infiltration and rhythmic badgering, both aspects driven brilliantly by the ever compelling vocals and equally dramatic and corrosive bass marauding. It is a song which manages to be immediately addictive and also a smouldering slow burning entrapment of the passions to thrillingly close out an outstanding and aggressively intoxicating feast of noise. Skewering the passions with every barb on every hook offered whilst ensuring that anticipation for future releases from Whores will be impatient and rabid, Clean is one of the highlights of the year and another declaration of just how major Whores is destined to be.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Whores/108004672554176

9.5/10

RingMaster 28/10/2013

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