The RingMaster Review gets together with Spanish hard rockers JJ Friends in interview

Hello and thank you for taking the time to talk with us.

Can you present the band for the first time and give us some background on how everything started?

JJ Friends was born from the idea of Jose Jarque (voice) who after several bands decided to focus efforts on creating a group in which the closest musician friends participated. JJ Friends was born, 11 songs were written and the sound was worked on, a raw sound, pure hard rock with influences from the 70s and mix of 2018, a challenge that I think we have achieved.

Our style is pure hard rock.

How have those previous experiences with bands impacted on your creativity now and in the style and direction of the band’s sound?

All the components come from different backgrounds, with a wide career, between 20 and 25 years in rock. The impact is the power to make our rock more serene, more worked and with everything learned in the scenarios.

Our style is hard rock, we love it, we feel good, why change? No, we will not change; maybe we can play with more metal parts or more pop parts, but always with the hard rock base.

What inspired the name of the band?

Friendship…being able to work with great friends and what better then to translate it into the name directly.

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

Yes, the main thing was to gather those friends with whom we felt the same for rock and from the beginning we wanted to achieve a sound, powerful, seventies but at the same time modern today, I think we achieved it with a mixture of riffs and sounds.

…And now?

The idea of our band is the work, we create the themes, we polish them in the rehearsals and once finished, we continue working on them, re-polishing, until we are ecstatic with the subject.

Since its inception, how would you say its sound has evolved?

The band has little tour at this time, it only has one year of life, but it has evolved giving way to new songs within hard rock, more compact, more real.

Do you let things grow and evolve organically or deliberately look to try new things?

We are rock sound, we must listen to ourselves, and we are completely organic.

Probably throughout the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any that has particularly impacted not only on the music of the band but its member’s personal approach to and ideas about creating music?

Really like everyone we have musical references, ranging from Beatles, Rolling Stone, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Motley Crue, Scorpions, Van Halen, and in what gives us now the music we can name, Inglorious, Black Stone Cherry, The Dead Daisies, Richie Kottzen, and many, many more.

Is there a process in the composition that usually guides the writing of songs?

Previously we started with a riff; from there we composed a base melody and started to work on it, a thousand changes of structure, melody, etc. … until leaving a complete and compact base, then as indicated above, work without rest in the song.

Where do you most often draw inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

All themes are the product of our experiences, both personal and visual, sentimental etc. … a hard day of work, the feeling for our music, lack of love, love, party, etc. …Even a theme in which we reflect the feeling of the first minutes of being a father.

Are you a band that enters the studio with songs in their final state or do you prefer to develop them while recording?

When we enter the studio we have or try to have everything defined and very worked; really in the studio we go very fast and do not earn too much money with us studies, hahaha.

Tell us about the live side of the band, probably the band’s favourite aspect?

The party, we are a band that has fun on the stage, we try to give the warmth to the public, we want them to enjoy as much as we do; on stage we are partiers, we involve all the public and we want them to sing with us.

It is not easy for a new band to have a regional impact, let alone nationally and farther away. How are you finding it?

We are still in the process, it is a very difficult road, we know it, but we will not stop until the end.

Once again, thank you very much for sharing your time with us; something you want to add or reveal for the readers?

Give them the grace for your work and for including us in your magazine, we are delighted and we want JJ Friends to be heard in all corners of the planet.

Check out JJ Friends further @ https://www.facebook.com/JJ-Friends-969137536525542/

Pete RingMaster 17/01/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Infrared – Saviours

Pic By Gord Weber

Recent times have seen a growing wealth of eighties bred metal bands rising from their assumed demise or slumber. Thrash metal especially seems to have that power of resurrection. Some of those bands are venturing into new areas, some simply continuing what they did best back in the day which lured potent attention, success and reputation. Infrared sits in the second camp, their love and hunger for classic thrash openly inspired by contemporarys like the Big 4 as well as the influence of Sabbath, Maiden and the likes. As old school thrash never dates or tires in our ears, a resourcefully woven and imaginatively delivered encounter of said genre has a welcoming place and the new album from the Canadians is that and more.

Hailing from Ottawa, Infrared grew from local legends to stirring real attention within the national metal scene. Their sound was and is rooted in 70s and early 80s metal, bands such as Accept, Scorpions, and Judas Priest alongside those already mentioned inspirations on the quartet. Their rise came to a halt as life took members down different paths until 2014 saw three of the original four reuniting; vocalist/guitarist Armin Kamal, guitarist Kirk Gidley, and drummer Alain Groulx coming together again. Original bassist Shawn Thompson had since relocated to Miami so Mike Forbes was brought in to complete the line-up. The foursome then released debut album No Peace which featured songs written all those years ago. Now successor Saviours brings eight brand new tracks to ears, songs which swiftly grabbed ours as themes of “demagogues, dictators, and religious leaders professing to be the saviours of the world but instead inflict the most brutal attacks on humanity imaginable” roared.

Saviours erupts into life with Project Karma its opening magnetic yet portentous lure, one becoming even predacious as it prowls the senses. A delicious groove spears it’s stalking, a swinging proposal aflame with sonic enterprise and rhythmic incitement. Its initial lengthy instrumental is irresistible and only accentuated once the warrior tones of Kamal backed by the band head the song’s even fuller assault. Familiar and fresh hues collude in its web, imagination blossoming across its fiery body as a tremendous start to Saviours is set.

That predatory air retains its presence within The Demagogue, the following song also a court of threat and contagion which almost swaggers around ears as the guitars spin their sonic threads and rhythms pounce. Like a fusion of bands like Testament and Slayer, it hits the spot; increasing its temptation as calmer climes are ventured and melodic intimation embraced. It’s subsequent rising heat and intensity brings it back to its original sonic inference before Saviour explores an even darker trespass of menace and seduction. As we suggested, Infrared is not set on reinventing the wheel of thrash metal or even their core sound but there is a bold lining of adventure and imagination which makes their music and especially this track stand out.

Through the melodic and melancholic elegance to tempestuous roar of The Fallen and the voracious charge of All In Favour the album just hit the spot. Across both tracks the vocals of Kamal added more incitement to an appetite already happily feasting on the individual prowess and enterprise of the band, Forbes’ bass especially dark liquor stirring our taste buds. They are all attributes just as persuasive within the predatory They Kill For Gods and Father of Lies with its intensive atmosphere over increasingly manic and ferocious entrapment around demonic character. The most adventurous of all the tracks it simply enthralled.

The album finishes off with Genocide Convention, a trash dervish of sound and aggression with spiralling sonic wires and senses blistering turbulence. Our favourite track it brings the thoroughly and increasingly enjoyable release to a mighty close.

Uniqueness might be a rarity compared to familiarity within Saviours but from an already established base it breeds fresh adventure and captivation. The album lit our pleasure from start to finish and Infrared is further proof that very good things can only get better with age.

Saviours is out now through iTunes and other stores as well as @ https://infraredmetal.bandcamp.com

http://infraredmetal.ca   https://www.facebook.com/infraredmetal   https://twitter.com/infraredmetal

Pete RingMaster 27/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Nightblade – Crisis has no Prejudice

Nightblade - Band pic (1)

Formed in 2010, it is fair to say that UK‘s Nightblade has been a pungent force of muscular hard rock and NWOBHM inspired tenacity which with its increasingly potent evolution in sound, has been a presence locally and increasingly further afield, commanding keen notice. The tail end of last year saw their finest offering yet in the shape of magnetic EP Crisis Has No Prejudice. Consisting of three tracks that impressively fed an ever broadening spotlight on the band, it is now being reinforced by the release of its title track on February 9th.

The emergence of the Kidderminster hailing Nightblade has been ripe with successful shows alongside the likes of Snakecharmer, Diamond Head, Graham Bonnet(ex-Rainbow, Iron Butterfly), and Uli Jon Roth(ex-Scorpions) amongst many. Alongside that, the quartet has unleashed a clutch of highly persuasive encounters, from debut album Servant To Your Lair in 2011, through its successor Closer To The Threshold two years later to their current temptation Crisis has no Prejudice. All have found an eager welcome not only at home but across the metal world, as well as with its media. The latest EP is another step forward in their ascent and its new single, a big lure into their accomplished and stirring sound.

The track immediately has ears bound in a tangy grooved and crisp rhythmic persuasion, one courted by a just as potent and sturdy bassline. Within a few breaths, a melodic web is adding its thick tempting as the equally magnetic vocals almost prowl with the song’s narrative. There is a great rawness to the certainly melodic tone of the vocals; an edge which matches the predacious stride of Crisis has no Prejudice and its anthemic but stalking presence. It is fair to say the song, and in many ways the band’s sound is not worrying the boundaries of originality, clasping faithfully the essences of their inspirations, but with a fresh breath and creative adventure of classic metal enterprise, sits enjoyably apart from much of the crowd offering similarly sculpted bait.

2015 has the potential to be another big year for the quartet of vocalist Mark Crosby, guitarist Dave Parish, bassist Bill Fitzsimmons, and drummer Eddie Neale; it has certainly got off to a powerful start with Crisis Has No Prejudice.

Crisis Has No Prejudice is released on Feb 9th 2015 via the usual digital outlets with a physical copy of the EP also available @ http://www.nightblade.co.uk/music.php

http://www.nightblade.co.uk

RingMaster 07/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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InfiNight -The Vision

InfiNight_Band

Whether The Vision, the new EP from German heavy metallers InfiNight, is exactly offering anything new or unheard before is debatable but for straight up enjoyment and anthemic irresistibility there are no questions over its offering. The five track release is a strongly satisfying and pleasing slab of power metal fuelled enterprise, one which leaves you licking lips for more whilst it unleashes an expanse of sound which feeds appetites from numerous aspects of melodic metal.

Formed in 2001, the quintet of vocalist Martin Klein, guitarists Dominique Raber and Marco Grewenig (ex-Inner Logic, ex-Arctic Winter), bassist Kai Schmidt (ex-Inner Logic), and drummer Hendrik Reimann (ex-Inner Logic, ex-Godslave) has built and earned a loyal potent fan base and reputation for their sound and shows. Their impressive sharing of stages with the likes of Children of Bodom, Motörhead, Nevermore, Six Feet Under, and the Scorpions across gigs and festivals has enhanced their status certainly in their homeland and within Europe whilst their two albums, Sea of Knowledge (2005) and Like Puppets (2011), has brought great responses and good acclaim upon the band, InfiNight being compared to the likes of Nevermore, Queensrÿche, and Iced Earth. The Vision EP is their next exploit in gaining wide recognition and whether it will be the key to that awareness is up for discussion but it will recruit plenty more eager fans their way quite easily.

Hideaway opens up the EP and instantly seizes attention as guitars carve out a fire of compelling riffs as the drums hold court with Infinight_TheVision_Coverthumping heavy beats. Taking mere moments to hit its stride the song enthralls the senses further with an energetic stroll of predatory riffs ridden by the excellent vocals of Klein. There is a dark almost carnivorous tone to the guitars and certainly the bass which offers constant intimidation even when the melodic flames of Raber and Grewenig ignite air and passions, and it is this depth of sound which grips tightly as the smouldering charms of the excellent song flare up throughout to provide another richly appetising aspect to the song. The slip into a more hard/alternative rock aside with again Klein impresses powerfully is unexpected and thrilling, that moment alone questioning that earlier thought that there is not much new going on. In invention that can be argued for sure. As the rising crescendo of passion and intensity climbs to forge a tremendous climax, the song is simply a virulent contagion which lingers wonderfully.

The following short instrumental The Passage is a raw and abrasive post-apocalyptic like strength of evocative ambience evolving into closing seconds of orchestral colour which make way for A Loss of Love. The song opens with the vocals of Klein crooning over the melodic elegance of keys and warmth. It is an ok start soon elevated by the epically honed expulsion of melodic and symphonic lilted persuasion. Superbly crafted and presented, with guitars and vocals a tempting heat over the eighties fuelled melodic caresses of the keys, the song is a welcoming adventure that does struggle to match the heights of the opener but grasps the listener all the same in a blaze of anthemic power which is hard to turn down or resist participating in.

Transformation is another short instrumental, a piano led emotive piece with towering rhythms and a symphonic breath. To be honest as intriguing and interesting as both instrumentals are, and excellently delivered too, they are too short to make the impact the band probably wanted. They do not hang around long enough to inspire distinct thoughts and visions in the listener which really leaves them as feeling like fillers, something the composing and craft does not deserve. That is soon forgotten though when final song, the title track, explores the ear and passions with another scintillating stomp of riffs, rhythms, and sonic imagination. It makes a powerful conclusion to the release, it and the first track stirring riotous bookends to The Vision.  As the guitars scorch the song with sizzling melodic fire, their touch searing the tantalising spine of incessant rebellious drums from Reimann, it makes for a brilliant finish to an impressively decent and enjoyable release.

The EP does feels like a teaser in many ways to something bigger and whilst listening to The Vision you only hope that is the case, InfiNight having something bigger and longer in the works for the near future. An exciting thought.

https://www.facebook.com/InfiNight

8/10

RingMaster 05/08/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Derek Buddemeyer: Afterthoughts

   Afterthoughts is one of those albums which needs numerous plays to explore its many diverse corners of sound as well as the thoughts and emotions it incites during its engagement. The release from rock guitarist Derek Buddemeyer unveils a little something more within its expanse of instrumental pieces with each encounter whilst lighting different imagery each time too and though it is not always as consistently successful, it is a rewarding and enjoyable engagement which is easy to return to and often.

Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, the musician moved to San Jose, California at an early age and found musical influences which included The Beach Boys, Hall & Oats, and Barbara Streisand. As a young teen, Buddemeyer then discovered the likes of Van Halen, Def Leppard, and Stryper, inspirations which led him to buying a guitar at 15. Another move this time to Southern California drew him to the sounds and skills of George Lynch, Steve Vai, Warrant, Scorpions, Skid Row, Metallica, Megadeth, Testament, Anthrax, and many more. Taken by the heavier and rawer sound, as well as the melodic imagination borne from such artists, he evolved his own blend of melodic hard rock with sinewy veins and pop metal warmth. Debut album Afterthoughts, which is released through the Jerry Dixon and Erik Turner of Warrant owned Down Boys Records, is the vibrant result of his inventive ideas and honed craft, a release which breathes with enterprise and rich and full sounds.

The album starts with a storm of a track in the mighty Wicked Little Sister. The track immediately fires up the heart with flesh grazing riffs, insatiable energy, and a melodic teasing which smoulders with skill and sonic manipulation. It is an adrenaline soaked piece which is unrelenting in its purpose and inspiring in the open invention driving its course. Amongst the ten tracks which make up the release there are a trio which stepped to the fore instantly upon first listen, the opener heading that impressive first thrill.

The album is a varied little pleasure which investigates and ventures into numerous premises and soundscapes of sound. From the metal rush of the first song the album strolls into the progressive and metal expression of Breathing In The New, the powerful guitar adventure an invigorating and expressive heat supported by electro showers of sound. Then the title track takes over, it another of the great  pinnacles within Afterthoughts. It is a symphonic wrap with emotive keys and a brewing epic atmosphere which surges thoughts and senses through a striking escapade of melodic elegance and lush imagination. Whereas the previous songs were guitar driven this song is a delicious weave of keys and sonic beauty which leaves one basking full of content in a flush of strings and dramatic grace.

As the likes of the magnetic New Groove with its gentle and sunny coaxing of the ear, the classy and refined Morning After, and the fiery Lift Off with its burning temptations, reveal their creative and distinctly individual gaits, the album is a continuing captivation. Occasionally as with the brief presence of the last of these three songs, it feels like a track is written with the thought of soundtracking a cinematic moment so often depart without a defined climax but it only adds to the imagery incited during their usual dramatic breaths.

The third of the previously mentioned greatest heights attained by the release closes the album up. Sandstorms is an immense piece of writing which seduces the senses with its Eastern promise and intrigue setting imagination. Completed with coarse riffs and snarling guitar rubs shadowing the majestic melodic whispers, the track is an evocative delight.

For personal tastes and no other reason, there are moments on Afterthoughts which do not quite rise up to spark the same enthused ardour as at other times, like the mechanical rhythms and shallow electro  drizzles in some places, but it is a minor niggle in the overall quality of the album and does not deter from offering the recommendation to check the album if you are looking thoughtful and inventive instrumental melodic rock.

https://www.facebook.com/DerekBuddemeyerFanPage

RingMaster 20/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Hard Riot: Living on a Fast Lane

If you are looking for some good and honest hard rock with a strength and appeal that refuses to be ignored then you can do a lot worse than taking a listen to the debut album from German band Hard Riot. Released via Pitch Black Records Living on a Fast Lane offers up eleven slices of very satisfying rock ‘n’ roll that hits the spot without venturing into distinctly new realms. The release though carries an exuberance and vitality that the more one gives it attention the more infectious it becomes.

Formed in 2006 in Heilbronn the quartet of vocalist Michael Gildner, guitarist Andreas Rockrohr, bassist Mario Kleindienst, and Carmine Jaucci on drums, are open with their influences proudly using them to flavour their own ideas and creativity. The album offers up large doses of the likes of AC/DC, Def Leppard, Scorpions and at times Van Halen but there are also other spices that peer out from within their sounds, varied rock elements that bring thoughts of Metallica, Aerosmith, and Staind. This goes to make an album that consistently engages and welcomes the ear even if it offers no real surprises or startling originality. For impressive and enjoyable rock music though Living on a Fast Lane fits the bill easily.

2009 saw the band release their self-financed 5-track EP The Hidden Truth to good acclaim and last year the band ventured into the studio to record their debut album with producer Vagelis Maranis. With the band signing to Pitch Black at the beginning of this year and the release of this fine album coming this week  there is a feeling and promise that the band should gather up a much stronger deeper response and fan base than ever before.

The album offers a good variety within its walls, the band at ease and skilled whether bringing a power ballad like Tears In The Rain or dragging the senses to their feet to rock out with the likes of the southern rock tinged opener Get Ready. The production ensures that each element of the band is heard to its fullest ability but also seamlessly fits side by side to makes songs that eagerly connect. It is fair to say that hard rock  is not the favoured genre of choice here at the RR, but there has to be a full admission that Living on a Fast Lane had voices loud and limbs air playing on more than one occasion.

Standout tracks include the great stomp fest Hellfire Rock where drums and riffs light up the inner rocker from the very first note and the excellent No Surrender. The first is infectiously anthemic and one of the songs where an avoidance of joining in is impossible. It scoops one up with an irresistible explosion of power riffs and melodic invention around compulsive gang choruses and pulse racing energy. The second of the two though with a fuller classic metal intention is similar in triggering a full response from the listener. The song is hungry and eager to provide a feast of hard rock elements and sounds that though expected are brought with a skill and urgency that can only please.

The album has a strong flow and consistency making sure there is never a moment one is looking to move on early. The likes of the slow and well crafted Nothing But You and the impressive metal veined Hard Way Down providing more highlights whilst the bluesy Black Widow is a supreme piece of rock music. It as elsewhere does not break down doors into new pastures but is simply siren like even for those that leave hard rock as a choice low down their preference list.

Living on a Fast Lane is a great release offering all the elements that makes a good and easily returnable to rock album. No it is not startlingly unpredictable or inventive but it is one of the most satisfying and eagerly digestible releases so far this year and makes Hard Riot a band to investigate.

RingMaster 08/03/2012

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