KingBathmat – Dark Days

Ears and the imagination have been spoilt these past three or so years by the solo adventures of songwriter/multi-instrumentalist John Bassett. From the melancholic beauty and emotional exploration of a self-titled album to the ever evolving post/progressive metal instrumental kaleidoscope of ARCADE MESSIAH and most recently the electronic/synthwave exploits of SΔCRED ΔPE, Sligo based Bassett has enthralled with an ever broadening landscape of sound and invention. It is fair to say though that, as for so many others, there has been a yearning for something new from the band which first brought him to our attention, KingBathmat. Now that hunger has been fed with the progressive rock/metal outfit’s new mini album Dark Days; satisfied and forcibly ignited further by the band’s first outing in four years.

Now consisting of just drummer Bernie Smirnoff and Bassett, KingBathmat follow up their acclaimed and seriously compelling Overcoming The Monster with the band’s heaviest and darkest proposition yet but one still bred in the band’s instinctively melodic prowess and suggestiveness. The songs within Dark Days were conceived last year for a 2 man side project but soon found a familiar identity, Bassett admitting when talking about the release that, “It wasn’t initially in my plans to make another KingBathmat record, but these songs just had that KingBathmat feel to them.”  Having enjoyed the impressively individual characters of his other projects it is easy to agree that the songs within Dark Days are instinctual to the band from the rhythmic dexterity of Smirnoff to the unique voice and style of the songs and their writing.

The title track of Dark Days starts things off, its sonic air soon sharing a keys coloured melody and the familiar tones of Bassett. Reflection fuels his words, harmonic suggestion his voice as additional textures slowly slip into the blossoming encounter where a moodier bass aligns with dancing beats as melodic hooks continue to magnetise attention; the track simultaneously growing warmly inviting and atmospherically shadowy.

The compelling beginning is continued through the more crepuscular Tis Pity She’s A Whore, its air heavier and darker yet equally sharing the calming invitation of its predecessor. Embracing an array of rock textures in its progressive web, grunge and stoner-esque essences among them, the track rumbles and flirts with increasing imagination; at times coming over like a blend of 12 Stone Toddler and An Entire Legion within its ultimately unique proposal.

Magnet To Pain has a mellower climate yet with a boisterous energy epitomised by the funkiness of the bass and Smirnoff’s vivacious rhythms. At the same time, a more volatile element is at play in the background, prowling the shadows with moments of fiery release as Bassett’s vocals and guitar honed melodies serenade. As with every song, each second carries an adventure, a bold invention which has the imagination as eager and lively as ears and a swiftly spirited body soon hooked on the track’s swing and catchiness.

The dusky charm of Feathers follows, its emotive voice and tender melodies instantly captivating especially as both elements alone bloom in expression and depth as the song grows. Bassett’s guitar weaves a tapestry of sound and temptation, Smirnoff’s rhythms offering a controlled but earthier union to the progressively nurtured layers emerging within the compelling encounter.

Dark Days concludes with Nihilist, the darkest track emotionally on the release; its feeling of emptiness countered by hope rich melodies and a spirited catchiness which grows from initial seeds into the driving force of the increasingly animated and frisky track. Bassett gives rein to his attributes across an array of instruments, his dexterity and craft as compelling as the song and supported superbly by the lithe rhythms of Smirnoff.

It is fair to say that Overcoming The Monster is one of our intimately favourite albums and though the outstanding Dark Days did not hit that level straight away, with every rewarding listen it moves a fresh step nearer to those heights. Without doubt a hankering for a new KingBathmat encounter has been satisfied with a richness which outshines any hopes lying in wait for such an event, the greed for a lot more though has now been set ablaze; over to you Misters Bassett and Smirnoff.

Dark Days is out now and available at https://kingbathmat.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/kingbathmat/    https://www.facebook.com/johnbassettmusic

Pete RingMaster 04/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

SΔCRED ΔPE – Self Titled

We are among many claiming Sligo based songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer John Bassett as one of the most inspiring and refreshingly imaginative composers/songwriters around today and the first album from his new project gives no reason to pull back on that acclaim. SΔCRED ΔPE is Bassett’s, the founder and driving force of KingBathmat and post/progressive metal solo project Arcade Messiah, exploration into electronic/synthwave bred adventures. It is a bold new avenue to pursue for artist and listener but a continuation of the kaleidoscopic sound and visually stimulating artistry within his eager imagination.

As poppy as it is progressive, as emotive as it is instinctively infectious, the SΔCRED ΔPE album needs little time to infest an eager intrigue for something new from its creator; as instantly exciting the senses and involving thoughts and more physical involvement. In many ways, it is his most accessible offering yet though attracting and gripping attention and pleasure has never seemed to be something needing a great deal of time across any of his releases to date. It has a freedom suggesting Bassett is embracing his own electronic loves seemingly with an eighties breeding; playing with inspiring sounds and textures with zeal but weaving them into pieces suggestively complex and intimate and, especially in the album’s pair of instrumental soundscapes, cinematically pregnant though all tracks have just as potent passages.

The album opens with its first instrumental, Horn and swiftly has ears and appetite entangled with its electronic coaxing equipped with virulent melodic hooks. Intrigue coats every note and their emerging collaboration, sonic shadows dancing with melodies and repetitious seduction like an aural cousin to the imagery at the start of the old British TV show Tales of the Unexpected. Spatial yet sinisterly terrestrial, bright but with an almost cold war like drama, the track is a virulent transfixing of ears and imagination and just irresistible.

Asleep At The Wheel (Part 1) follows, contrasting its predecessors light frenetic gait with a heavier almost prowling slow stroll. There is a weight to its air and emotion, a thoughtful pondering soon emulated in the vocals of Bassett. Again melodies escaping synths rise to a celestial atmosphere yet laden with those ever present shadows to temper the climate before Birds Fall From The Sky pulsates with sonic palpitations. From within the animated lightshow a glorious darkwave scented groan, for want of a better word, erupts and swaggers into the passions. With surrounding melodic revelry and an overall creative drama at play in sound and lyrical word, there is a touch of OMD to the song; a flavouring adding to a familiar Bassett design yet as ever one of singularly fresh enterprise.

As a tangy melody steers in next up I Want To Go Back To The Happy House, a Blancmange like lure teases ears continuing to attract as the song broadens its landscape and voice with more of a Kraftwerk meets Giorgio Moroder inspiration. The instrumental floats across and surrounds ears like a summer haze with electronic imagery indistinctly but evocatively flirting from within; easily sweeping the listener up in its flight if without quite igniting the same lustful reactions as those before it.

Through the reflective embrace and dark pulsations of Season Of The Damned and the compelling theatre of Walking On Ice, Bassett has enjoyment and manipulation of the imagination in the palms of his hands; both tracks individual slices of ethereal synth pop with an earthier heart and spine to their explorations with the first a warm hug of temptation. Its outstanding successor though, brings the darker suggestion of the first into a more tangible touch on ears and thoughts creating a John Carpenter like cinematic espionage of suggestion creeping upon and infesting the senses as melodic infection gathers. It is a catchiness which soon leads the way but never diminishes the darker threat alongside resulting in the kind of mouth-watering blend Frank Tovey (Fad Gadget) was so skilled at weaving.

The album concludes with the lullaby-esque Asleep At The Wheel (Part 2), an epilogue of melancholy fuelled, melody woven inference with a childlike clockwork skeleton. It is a sigh of emotion which bursts into greater weight and drama midway and again simply captivates from its first to last breath.

It is too easy to expect big things from John Bassett because of past experiences with his music and it is an instinct sure to continue with SΔCRED ΔPE adding another impressive and seriously enjoyable string to his creative bow. It is an aspect in his creativity we fiercely hope he continues to explore and we are certain in that wish we will not be alone.

The SΔCRED ΔPE album is out now and available @ https://sacredape.bandcamp.com/releases

http://www.johnbassettmusic.com   https://www.facebook.com/arcademessiah/

Pete RingMaster 02/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright