Lower Automation – Maps

lowerautomation_2016_RingMasterReview

You have seen those scenes in movies where people are strapped in front of a screen and bombarded with rapid brainwashing images; finally succumbing to the kaleidoscope of ravenous suggestiveness. Listening to Maps, the debut EP from US experimental punks Lower Automation, is like a sonic version of that; a proposition gripping the psyche with its quick fire and voracious onslaught of mathcore and noise rock trespasses. The difference is that Maps is a welcome infestation of ears and imagination which with every listen becomes more and more tenaciously seductive.

Hailing from Chicago, the seeds of Lower Automation begin with experimental/post-rock band Counterfeit I and Derek Allen who came from the band to form the new “kinetic frenzy” posing as Lower Automation  that is about to invade the rock scene. His former project found potent success which, from Maps alone, it is easy to suggest the threesome of Brian Sutton, Matt Walen, and Derek has the potential to eclipse.

lower_automation_maps_cover_RingMasterReviewRecorded with Sanford Parker (Pelican, Wovenhand), Maps instantly entangles the senses and a quickly eager appetite in the discord fuelled enterprise and sonic dissonance of opener Ring. It is a striking web of imagination which flirts and picks at ears with unpredictable and incessantly hungry dynamics; a creative dilemma for the senses  which plays like the mutated offspring of a liaison between At The Drive In, Devo, Wire, and The Dillinger Escape Plan. Fair to say though that the song quickly breeds its own unique character and devilment as frenetic bursts align with, and become tempered by, ‘mellower’ flirtatious passages as song and band reveals new sides to their rebellious adventure. It is when the creative ‘psychosis’ breaks loose though that lustful passions are especially sparked and further the track’s attempts to steal the whole show.

The excellent start though is more than matched by the band’s new single Decorated; the song swiftly showing itself another invasive tapestry of rhythmic agitation and raw sonic virulence. There is a much catchier almost pop element to the song too, the likes of Baddies and We Are The Physics coming to mind at times, though again as it warps into distorted spatial atmospherics Lower Automation show the fullness of their imagination and an invention which is all their own.

Break Room Curators offers a more noise rock sculpted venture; its body and features slightly more fluid in their infectious flow than certainly the first song but still casts a dark and sinister, not forgetting infectiously flowing, tirade of off-kilter and intrusive discordance in voice and melodic toxicity amidst scything rhythms. The track does lack a certain spark that its predecessors irresistibly carries but it still leaves enjoyment high and ears eager to devour more, which the following caustic maelstrom of The Cartographer feeds impressively. The track is a maze of sonic paradoxes and melodic toxins with an emotive angst to match as it rummages through the psyche, blisters on the senses, and fascinates the imagination.

Closing with the initially hellacious exploits of Scissor Lapses, the EP offers a final glimpse into the creative craft and aberrant imagination of Lower Automation. The song proceeds to explore a cacophonous and demandingly addictive landscape of sweeping hooks and inviting grooves within an ever evolving exploration of rabid sound and unpredictability; finally leaving on a senses invading sonic clamour.

It is a fine end to a thrilling debut from Lower Automation; a release which has certain familiar and welcome traits but is a whole new psychotic frenzy of invention ready to infect an as yet unsuspecting rock world.

Maps is released April 1st @ https://lowerautomation.bandcamp.com

Upcoming US Tour Dates:

3/5 – Skeletunes Lounge | Fort Wayne, IN

3/12 – The Oasis | Grayslake, IL

4/8 – The Refuge | Pana, IL

4/10 – Bremen Cafe | Milwaukee, WI

4/13 – The Rockery | Wyandotte, MI

4/14 – Buzzbin | Canton, OH

4/15 – Spacebar | Columbus, OH

4/16 – Crofoot | Pontiac, MI

https://www.facebook.com/lowerautomation
Pete RingMaster 28/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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American Heritage – Prolapse

americanheritage2014

With the departure of vocalist/guitarist Adam Norden following its recording, Prolapse from American Heritage might be the last thing heard from the Chicago band, but if this is so what a way to go out. It is a beast of a proposition, a tsunami of controlling grooves, belligerently aggressive rhythms, and a primal force of voice and breath. It is bullying mass of provocation and passion, a lingering statement from what will be a sorely missed band if there is to be no more.

Consisting of six new tracks and three covers brought in the fusion of thick sludge metal, imagination binding mathcore, and abrasing noise rock/hardcore ferocity the quartet is renowned for, the successor to acclaimed 2011 album Sedentary, uncages a caustic savaging which rivals anything they have unleashed before. Recorded with Sanford Parker and released through Solar Flare Records, sixth album Prolapse quite simply brings the band’s presence since 1996 to an incendiary and exhilarating end.

From the first sonic blast of opener Eastward Cast the Entrails, band and album has ears and attention severely grasped, the punishing initial touch leading into a bruising maelstrom of ferocious rhythms, corrosive riffs, and brawling vocals. Within the tempest though grooves raucously flirt and technical prowess seduces, the track increasingly expanding and flourishing in the imagination and emotions. Equally as it grows contagiousness coats the tenacity and enterprise of the guitars and rhythmic antagonism, the provocation becoming as seductive as it is hostile ensuring an insatiable and explosive start to the album swiftly matched by its successor.

Anxious Bedwetter roars and assaults with the entwined charm of Corrosion of Conformity, Mastodon, and Agnostic Front, it swiftly buffeting and igniting emotions with a torrential american_heritage_prolapseonslaught of raw riffery and rhythmic violence cast by drummer Mike Duffy. Again though there is a virulent temptation from scorching melodies and spicy grooves at work, all as uncompromising as the heart of the encounter but spreading irresistible magnetic toxicity. Vocally Norden leaves no syllable and emotion untainted by venom and anger whilst his and fellow guitarist Scott Shellhamer’s sonic temptation is simply bracing.

The pair of Obliviocrity and Constant and Consuming Fear of Death and Dying make no compromises on the senses, the first from another debilitating sonic squall and with nostrils flared, rampaging through ears on a breath-taking sonic turbulence and rhythmic inhospitality. To the destructiveness though again grooves are enflamed with a melodically brewed acidity and creative spice which invigorates and sears the senses. Its quick hellacious ravishment is contrasted by the prowling presence of the second of the pair. Reaped from the predatory essences of doom and sludge, the song crawls provocatively over the listener, imposing and oppressing in its air whilst exploring a brighter terrain of engaging melodies and radiant invention. There is still a menace to its raw beauty though, the band finding the same kind of dark allurement which has blessed the music of Killing Joke over the decades, bassist Erik Bocek, a constant primal enticement across the whole release, bringing forceful heavy seduction to the body of the song.

The hardcore severity always lurking within American Heritage is given full rein in the outstanding Mask of Lies next, the track a furnace of spite and rage with flesh flailing rhythms and riffery to match. It is a savaging you can only embrace and invite back time and time again, much as the next up Blackbird, it a hellacious forging of hardcore, punk, and noise rock rancor with psyche twisting invention. The track is a glorious predator and the pinnacle of the album, a relentless creative scourge which just has you drooling for more and ears and emotions exhausted.

The departure of the triumph is the start of the trio of covers on the album, starting with the outstanding take of the Descendents track Hürtin’ Crüe. It is an erosive swamp of sonic and vocal intensity, a merciless blaze with the charm of a public flogging and quite irresistible. It is followed by the Black Flag track Thirsty and Miserable, American Heritage treating it to their own kind of barbarous enterprise and stormily inventive bad blood before moving on to Bulletproof Cupid, the Girls Against Boys encounter. Openly salacious from its first vocal caress and fiercely imposing as soon as its first note preys on ears, the song is a delicious sinister seduction and dare one say even more potent than the original.

The track brings another unmissable offering from American Heritage to a fine close. What will be missed is the band’s presence, that realisation reinforced by Prolapse as it scars the senses whilst sparking a big tinge of sadness. Things move on and you just feel further raw adventures will be ahead in some guise from the members of the band, something very easy to breed an excited anticipation for, especially after this grand finale.

Prolapse is available now digitally and as CD and vinyl versions via Solar Flare Records @ http://music.solarflarerds.com/album/prolapse or http://americanheritage.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/americanheritageband

RingMaster26/11/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Bison b.c.: Lovelessness

It might not be borne of the thickest of sonic mud to consume the senses, but Lovelessness from Canadian sludgers Bison b.c. is certainly one of the most corrupted and venomous releases to gestate in the imagination this year. It is an album which suffocates light and hope, especially within its theme of the desperation in the search for love. It is a collection of searing and smothering tracks which scald emotions and numb the senses.  The release is a violent canker, an erosion of fantasy and reality, depending on your direction of view, and an album which one blissfully and willingly wants to continue to suffer.

Released via Metal Blade Records, Lovelessness is the third full length album from the band and shows that the quartet has not mellowed in attitude or sound. Recorded alongside acclaimed producer Sanford Parker (Yob, Pelican, Rwake, Yakuza, Nachtmystium, Zoroaster, Unearthly Trance), the album is a raw corrosion which engulfs the ear and beyond in sonic flames and insidious intensity. Whether it offers anything strikingly new is debatable but as a blistering and vindictive alternative to safety within peace it cannot be faulted.

From the opening smoking guitar weaves of first track An Old Friend, a sizzling form of mesmerism is begun. The guitar play of James Farwell and Dan And unleash a fiery tease which evolves into a heavy and chaining groove to immediately capture the imagination. It holds a repetitive structure and course for the moment as the vocals of both men squall like wind driven flames, their tones an acidic spiteful rub. As the bass of Masa Anzai prowls within the melodically flaring sparks and thumping rhythms of Matt Wood, it is impossible not to be sucked into the impressive tempest of stoner sounds and energies.  Into its stride the track flexes its muscle and pace, making for a riotous and merciless pleasure. It is a track without unnecessary complications and involvements, just a thoroughly compulsive and unforgiving rage.

If the first song is a rage the following Anxiety Puke/Lovelessness is a volcanic eruption of punk spite and unbridled abrasions.  From its excellent opening first minute crust punk destruction, the track evolves through to a scarring soundscape of jarring rhythms and magnetic discord. It verges on painful but always is wholly absorbing, the sharp imagination and scowling vocals springing from the emotive suffering and intrusive sonic salt. The track never lets go of its psyche tearing grip, its presence igniting passions and suffering with equal but continually welcome accomplishment.

Last and First Things and Blood Music both continue the destructive intent of the release, the first emerging from a distressed ambience into a furnace of insatiable classic metal and stoner shards twisted into spears of irresistible might and grandeur. The song is as raw and malevolent as any other on the release but holds an imperial blues breath within its creativity. The second of the two like many tracks starts with restrained and open lures before shredding their more polite shackles to rampage and distress the senses. The song is a more thrash cored piece, a bruising encounter which takes its time to create the fullest of damage but is sure of its aim and target.

Lovelessness is an album which takes time to become the contagious companion it ultimately will with all stone/sludge/ doom fans, its uncompromising intensity and creativity as noxious as its lyrical theme. Ending with two more staggering and undeniably satisfying tracks in Clorapine Dream and Finally Asleep, both further sonic poisons to devour without reticence, the album is an impressive and appetizing consumption. Bison b.c. might not have given the album of the year but certainly have let loose one of the more aggravating pleasures to be assaulted by.

https://www.facebook.com/bisonbc

RingMaster 22/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright