Rhoda May – Sessions

Rhoda May Online Promo Shot

    The info sheet accompanying the promo for Sessions, the debut EP from UK progressive rock instrumentalists Rhoda May, waxes lyrical about band and it has to be said that after being washed over by its absorbing potency and imaginative aural narratives the release offers, you can only agree with rather than doubt the claims made. The six track release is a magnetic slice of sonic majesty, a sextet of songs which tease and ignite the imagination without ever over doing anything. The tracks tempt and hint rather than paint exact pictures and with an uncluttered sinewed beauty only seduce the imagination and passions to a full acceptance and hunger for EP and band.

    The Surrey trio of guitarist Will Pain, bassist Andy Page, and drummer Mark Sanger originally conceived the idea of Rhoda May mid-2012 but it was not until last year that the long-time friends officially formed the band after a local venue promoter who happened to overhear the band rehearsing asked them to support UK hip hop/metal pioneers Senser. From that debut show the threesome has gone on to support the likes of Heights, Freeze The Atlantic, and Three Trapped Tigers, all the time increasing their emerging presence. Their first release consists of the 347 and 589 live sessions recorded with producer Jason Wilson (We Are The Ocean, Reuben, Dinosaur Pile Up) and James Kirk respectively. All tracks were recorded as live takes for a series of live videos filmed & directed by Emma Dalesman and now get their appearance together as an EP release, six songs which cast a mouth-watering adventure of modern rock.

     All the tracks upon Sessions are simply numbered which allows the listener to interpret the songs without any prompting or Rhoda May - Cover Artworknudging which even a song title can do; the slices of absorbing creative invention the only persuasion  upon thoughts and emotions. As opener #3 strolls into view with the guitar of Pain jangling seductively around the ear as the gentle rhythmic incitement of Sanger coaxes equal attention, there is an instantaneous connection as a familiarity and mesmeric bait washes the senses. The bass of Page offers a no less potent lure, again with an initial reserve and provocative tone which sparks attention. There is a surf rock essence to the melodic guitar sculpting throughout which is an easy appetiser but it is merely one spice in the melodic rock enticement emerging tantalisingly. Overall the track is a flight through rugged yet radiant climes and textures, never so thick in sounds and structures to threaten or slow its fluidity and riveting adventure but using the simplicity that a mere three instruments can produce to transfix and almost belie the undoubted craft and intensively shaped enterprise.

    It is a masterful start soon equalled by the scorched sonic landscape of #4, a track which smoulders with heavy rock rapaciousness whilst conjuring a melodic luminance which sways and bewitches like a fire bred temptress. As with its predecessor the piece is unafraid to slow its muscular power to offer tender superbly crafted enticements or once comfortable licking and teasing the passions to rile things up and open the gates to another surge of sonically forging metallic endeavour.

     Both #7 and #5 continue the powerfully impressive entrance of release and band, the first an evocative melodically poetic piece of predacious rock which delivers a slight eighties goth rock breath to the guitar whilst the latter is a scuzz kissed fuzz rock persuasion to eagerly indulge in and imaginatively contemplate. As mentioned earlier there is at times a familiarity which coats elements and passages of tracks, this pair being no exception, but it only adds to the strength and colour of the tracks as they spark mind and passions with their delicious bait and rigorous creative charm.

      #8 takes the listener by the hand and leads them into a compelling soar through weather battered rocky terrain lit by melodic beauty and invention which again simply ignites the senses and imagination with sublime ease. Rhoda May perform musical alchemy at times across the EP and especially within this engrossing and mentally invigorating venture. Its triumph is almost shaded by the excellent closing track #9. From its mischievously nagging entrance of jagged riffs and alluring sixties bred guitar enchantment the track expands to build an emotionally textured soundscape, drums and bass crafting heavy dark infused skies beneath which emotive and provocative mastery urges thoughts to build their own adventure. It is a scintillating end to an outstanding debut.

     It is fair to say that Pain primarily grabs attention with his guitar skill and invention but do not assume that Page and Sanger are part players, the trio converging as Rhoda May to create something which needs and exploits every element to create an impressive stunning sound. With thoughts of bands such as Deftones, KingBathmat, Palms, and early Cure amongst others showing their prompts throughout but never to overwhelm something that is original and fascinating, Sessions gives evidence of Rhoda May’s PR claim that they could be “the next band to nationally break.”

www.rhodamay.com

 www.facebook.com/rhodamayband

9/10

RingMaster 06/01/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Senser – To The Capsules

Senser_promo2013_lores

It is always hard not to have an extra buzz to the anticipation of a new Senser release and the unleashing of their fifth studio album To The Capsules is no exception. Following the Biting Rhymes EP, an interim covers release between albums, the new ten track tempest from UK’s crossover legends shows the band at its most eclectic yet. Experience and maturity has certainly not diluted their want and intent to stretch their boundaries and on the evidence of the new release Senser have openly taken their consistently adventurous confrontational enterprise and inventive provocation to new levels. The debate is still going on in thoughts as to whether the album is their finest moment to date but certainly with a compelling expanse of imagination within a sumptuous storm of metal, hip hop, and electronica to simplify it all alongside the as expected political and social lyrical confrontation from the sextet, To The Capsules is a bright blaze in a fiery musical year.

Fan -funded through a highly successful Pledgemusic campaign and released via Imprint Music, the self-produced album takes the strong base established on the band’s comeback record How To Do Battle of 2009, and expands it into an intensive, incendiary, and satisfaction filling encounter. With a live presence which has accelerated into one of most exciting and inspiring over the past couple of years, Senser stir things up to another tempestuous height with To The Capsules, a record returning the band to the fore of genre merging invention and antagonistic ingenuity.

Big bulging magnetic rhythms open up the release, the initial pulsating lure of Devoid an immediate seizure of ears and thoughts. Senser-To-The-Capsules-cover-hi-resSoon after the guitar of Nick Michaelson is sending scars of searing sonic temptation across the rhythmic slavery, the merger only accelerating the hunger already brewing from the album’s entrance. Taking a stand of classic metal seeded enterprise alongside the still compelling rhythms, vocalist Heitham Al-Sayed unleashes his distinctive and passionate narrative delivery. It is prime Senser at this point but with a growl and predation which is as fresh a bait as ever laid down by the band. The album features guest vocalist iMMa across its length, the excellent vocalist having toured with the band since founding member Kerstin Haigh stepped down last year, and even as support on the song through the chorus raises the temptation and sultriness wrapping the metal bred intensity. As the predatory bass stalking of James Barrett and the outstanding drum exploits of Johnny Morgan, as well as the desk twisting skills of Andrew Clinton (aka DJ Awe) conjure greater shadows and traps for the listener to be enthralled by, the track is an immense and memorable lure into To The Capsules.

The following Time Travel Scratch drips intrigue and simmering seduction from its opening sample and coaxing, the DJ craft of Clinton stalked by the bestial bass sound conjured by Barrett immersed in a psychedelic funk kissed weave of imaginative persuasion. The track at times reminds of nineties UK rap group Honky, its grooves and senses mesmerising rhythms a similar toxicity wrapped in a soul and jazz funk fusion. The invigorating dance makes way for another lofty peak for the release. Witch Village with more than a whispered element of the weight and might of debut album Stacked Up to it, courts groove metal vengefulness and classic rock melodic enterprise for a result which is an aggressive and fearsome blaze of aural exploration and lyrical incitement.

The brilliant Wounded Spectre continues the torrent of diversity already rampaging across the album, its hardcore/punk rabidity linked to an alternative metal invention. Riffs are a carnivorous instigator of the passions whilst the sonic noise rock like stabs from Michaelson fall like shards of aural manna around the vocal vociferousness provided by Al-Sayed and iMMa. It keeps the album at its highest plateau, and is soon backed by the scintillating Break The Order, the track two and a half minutes of thrash ‘n’ punk fury. Take a pinch of Motorhead, The Grumpynators, Fuckshovel, and maybe a little Five Finger Death Punch and you have another piece of Senser alchemy to bask within.

The sultry sirenesque beckoning of iMMa within Alpha Omega and its sweet Eastern bred toxicity only increases as the track unveils intensive sinews and spite and melodies as virulently tempting as any release this year, whilst its successor Liquidity is a beguiling fluid heat of rap vocals, scratching squeals, and a psychedelic wash with a flavour of Dizraeli and the Small Gods to it. Neither track triggers the intensity of passion as their predecessors but both leave appetite greedy and satisfaction full to continue the raging pleasure.

Echelon features Kerstin Haigh on vocals alongside Al-Sayed and is another which just fails to reach earlier heights but for unpredictable and exhausting adventure is on the frontline, the track a bruising and uncompromising scorching fire of metal and hard rock rapaciousness. In its distinct character Chemtrails which has UK hip hop artists Junior Disprol and Manage guesting on its offering, also has a hunger which toys with rabidity within its electronic swamp and brass irresistibility. It is a challenging swarm of aural fascination, a glorious investigation which adds another startling aspect to the album whilst setting up the closing seven minute epic, Let There Be War. Despite the track epitomising all the strengths and invention of Senser it is a little disappointing, lacking that essential spark though like the other songs which slip below the album’s fullest heights, it is more down to the quality surrounding them on the album than any major shortcomings within its skilled and provocative walls.

      Nevertheless To The Capsules is a thrilling and richly exciting release and Senser back as one of the most innovative and boundary worrying bands in British rock, metal, rap….well within any genre they wish to employ.

http://www.senser.co.uk/

9/10

RingMaster 25/11/2013

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Hacktivist – EP+

© Tim Tronckoe

© Tim Tronckoe

If you missed out on their impressive self-titled debut EP released almost a year ago to the day, UK metallers Hacktivist give you another chance to grab and explore its triumphant thrills with its re-release via Wake To Reality. Containing an additional four bonus tracks to the five which ripped attention forcibly in their direction, the Buckinghamshire reassert the promise and scintillating invention forged in their long sold out first CD and deleted digital format. Re-mastering the original songs whilst recruiting their latest single and unreleased tracks into the EP’s line-up, Hacktivist reminds fans of their dynamic presence and future whilst surely recruiting a new legion of fans to their exhilarating blend of metal, djent, grime, and hip hop.

Formed in 2011 by guitarist/vocalist/producer Timfy James (ex- Heart of a Coward) and rapper J Hurley, Hacktivist took little time in gripping the intrigue and imagination of fans with the release of Cold Shoulders in the January of the following year via YouTube, its entrance gaining over 100,000 views in its first week. From there the band continued their striking emergence by igniting stages at home and in Europe with their exhausting performances, shows which has seen them alongside Enter Shikari and appearing on the Warped Tour Europe and Warped Tour UK. The first appearance of the EP took the band up another stride into acclaim and recognition in 2012 whilst new single Elevate earlier this year as well as a full UK tour supporting Enter Shikari ignited another wealth of attentive passion from media, radio, and fans alike. Appearances at the likes of Download, Reading /Leeds, T in the Park, Rock Am Ring, and Sonisphere France this year has equally pushed the stature of Hacktivist to new levels which the re-release of EP+ can only feed and accelerate.

The EP opens with the provocative call of New Age, its opening potent breath brewed into a thick and evocative atmosphere of H_sleeve_visual_2013sound and intent veined with stalking rhythms and the immediate irresistible lure of the vocal tempting of Hurley and Ben Marvin, James also lurking with and adding his tones across the release. A staggered rhythmic fury from drummer Rich Hawking proceeds to assassinate the air and provoke the senses as it fuels the absorbing verging on debilitating djent craft of James skirted by the predatory antagonism conjured by the bass of Josh Gurner. Barely two minutes in length the track sets up the EP and introduction to the band perfectly, the riveting assault sparking an immediate appetite soon wrapped in hunger as the song’s successor uncages its might.

     Unlike Us equally takes little time in persuading a total submission to its creative narrative, its initial restrained yet busy tempestuous mix of riffs and spicy grooves punctuated by a rhythmic web and the excellent throaty bass lines of Gurner. The track snarls and seduces in equal measure, the dark rabid elements of the track aligned to a sonic elegance and temptation which toys with thoughts and emotions. Merging radiant melodic ambience and lures with a rapacious aggressiveness, the track has the intensive growl of The Browning, the vocal infectiousness of Hadouken, and the belligerent confrontation of early Senser. It is a striking and wholly captivating adventure thrusting the release up another level of quality and persuasion.

Both Blades and Hacktivist continue the immense coaxing and presence of the release, both tracks magnetic and imaginative. The first retains the crippling prowling gait of its predecessor but layers a glorious sweeping clean vocal across its sinewy shoulders before providing the bands distinctive and pleasing hip hop inspired vocal confrontation. The song ebbs and flows in its challenging ingenuity, always ensuring unpredictability and enthralling adventure is leading its predation and skilled invention firing up the listeners greed for more. Its successor twists and turns from its first seconds, lurching powerfully through the ears with the same almost violent enterprise sculpted by guitars, bass, and drums. Rigorously anthemic in a deceptive way and potently tempting through its sonic tantalising and melodic richness the song washes the senses in a breath-taking passage of ingenuity and imaginative exploration, and taking this song as an example it is easy to offer bands as references for certain moments and twists delivered but there is no-one which creates and presents sounds close to those of Hacktivist.

    Cold Shoulders brings another slice of diversity to the EP, its atmospheric dawning through colour rich keys an ever presence evocative coaxing whether alone or whilst underlying the severe and animalistic intensity coating the crippling rhythms and bestial riffing. There is also an element of rapcore to the song, an added spice bringing a Hollywood Undead essence to certainly the vocals, and though the song is arguably the weakest on the EP you can easily see why it lured in a fever soaked fanbase for Hacktivist. The following Elevate makes a play for the best track on the release whilst showing the evolving exploration and strength of the band’s songwriting. Its muscular frame is a cage for excellent expressive invention which itself spawns transfixing melodic and sonic bait around the ever impressive vocals and the stringent crescendos of aggressive combat.  Showing the genre pushing and crossing depths of the songwriting there is also a punk/hardcore breath within the creative maelstrom which pricks thoughts of band like Lazy Habits and the Janice Graham Band and adds extra temptation.

The release is completed by the more than Shikari Sound System Remix of Elevate, though the original easy steals its glory, the Ndread Mud Remix of Unlike Us, and a great live version of Blades, the track easily showing why the band has a formidable live reputation and why all should go see them given the chance.

The re-release of EP+ easily confirms that Hacktivist is one of Europe’s most exciting and dramatically promising metal bands, a force which brings a burning spark of originality and excitement to an array of styles. The band has given all a second chance to experience the beginning of their certain ascent, an opportunity not to be missed this time.

http://www.hacktivist.uk.com/

10/10

RingMaster 13/11/2013

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Three Way Plane: Fire EP

by Ntalakas Gkantemoglou

photo Ntalakas Gkantemoglou

Hailing from the cities of Athens and Thessaloniki in Greece, Three Way Plane is a band which leaves the listener slightly mystified and arguably a little confused such their diversely composed sound, but all afire with passion for the deliciously eclectic and rampant sounds the band creates. The Fire is the new EP form the band, a quartet of songs which excites and incites the heart into a full musical rebellion and wantonness.

Three Way Plane formed in the last weeks of 2003 and from their first show in the following February have shared stages with the likes of Savage Republic, Senser, and Gallon Drunk to name a few. In 2006 the band self-released their debut EP Bright Days to good responses with the song My Best Friend being featured on the second Spinalonga Records compilation, In The Junkyard Vol 2. The same label released the first album from the band in 2010, Give us something new to shout, intensifying the attention surrounding the band and their dramatic sounds. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Stratos, bassist John, and Dio and Geo both on drums, the band have now unleashed a deviously addictive slab of an EP in Fire which is poised to thrust the band into a further elevation of awareness and acclaim.

Old School Chum opens with shards of brass flames from guest musicians Kostas (trombone) and Nikos (trumpet), theirs a coverprovocative blaze of entrapment which captures the imagination just as the thumping drum beats resonate through ear and bone. Within a breath of the time of the rhythms making their stance, fiery guitar riffs rampage and strong inviting vocals add their lures. From an initial funk/latin beckoning the track brews up into a storm of punk infused noise rock with numerous teases from varied sources to further whet the appetite. Richly infectious with the perfect depth of abrasion and melodic seduction as well as the continuing to tempt brass hooks the song makes the strongest persuasion with craft and devilment.

The following Freeze Me at first lays down a welcome of enticing guitar strokes which are instantly joined by exalting predatory bass growls which instinctively has one licking their lips in satisfaction. With a blend of Wire/Artery post punk to its mischievous swagger of attitude and noise bewitchment the track leads the listener by the ear into a maelstrom of energetic and vaguely rabid enterprise as well as an even deeper ardour.

The EP is in full flow now in sound with an intensive addictive grip on the senses and heart, if innovative and adventurous prepared to experiment noise raise the temperature Three Way Plane is aural manna which finds another tasty recipe to offer with Fall In Love. Featuring the voice of Stefania, who opens the song with her fine vocal caresses alongside a lone guitar, the track then shifts into a dusty atmosphere of bruising rhythms and stoner grooved riffs whilst the two vocalists duel words. From its gentle opening the storm of sound is the most aggressive and riled encounter on the EP though it, as is constantly he want of the imagination of the band, transfers its ideas into varied expanses of asides and inventive sounds throughout its thrilling course.

The closing Queen Misery completes the very impressive release with another forceful and inventive feast of flavoursome energetic imagination and passion igniting sounds. Like the other trio of songs, the track offers so many hooks and barbs which entrench deep and linger long after the song departs that it is almost impossible to remember whole songs but their intrusive and intoxicating elements take a deep and constantly pervading hold on thoughts and heart.

The Fire EP is one of those releases which does everything right at the right time and for the right reasons, the rewards all reaped by the listener. As a free download from: http://threewayplane.bandcamp.com/album/fire-ep this is a must have release.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/three-way-plane/145989883224?fref=ts

9/10

RingMaster 12/03/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Shrikes: The Ruiner Of All Things Good EP

Shrikes is a band which quite simply defies labelling or any straightforward comparisons, their sound and creativity from a world and mindset of its very own. Their exciting debut release The Ruiner Of All Things Good EP is borne of this uncharted land, an unrelenting maelstrom of ideas, sounds, and distinctly different flavours which in most hands just would have no right or ease being alongside each other. Shrikes though is a band with invention and imagination found in so few and their EP one of the most exhilarating and inspiring releases heard in a long time.

With the demise earlier in the year of the outstanding Great Imitation there was a heaviness left in many hearts. The return of frontman James Scott-Howes though has not only filled the gap with something completely new and unexpected but with something which is even more impressive. The additional great thing about the undisputedly excellent release is it offers an equal and immense promise of even more orgasmic musical moments ahead.

Each track on The Ruiner Of All Things Good fuses an electronic/hip hop core into unpredictable and perpetually evolving aural breaths and directions brought by their own mouth watering uniqueness to ensure nothing merely matches expectations instead leaving those limitations to others to exploit. At times the sounds and ideas are as lethal and destructive as the inspiration for the band name whilst in others they enflame with a grace and disrupting discordance to leave safety nets redundant. For those who need a sure footing in their music Shrikes may be a challenge too far but life is nothing without adventure and intrigue and this release has it all in abundance.

The biggest highlight in a release of nothing but heights to give vertigo sufferers nightmares comes in the mighty form of Applauding With A Handful Of Snapped Fingers. From a glittering caress surrounding the forceful tones and aggression of Scott-Howes the track spreads its arms with a warm discordance coated sound and vocals. Scott-Howes is as unique as the music, his tones challenging notes wonderfully finding and stretching their limits to bring weaves of textures and energy around his spoken and more regular hip hop delivery. The song itself as on the release as a whole, envelopes the senses through shadowed atmospheres and ambiences, its course choosing sinister and insecure avenues to flourish within which most other bands do not see let alone venture. As the track surges with the added weight of punk attitude and metallic muscle to the sonic experiment the sense and awareness of something truly new emerging grows and strengthens.

The dark and disturbed Mare Aux Sange sets senses and synapses on full alert at the beginning of the EP, its disorientating ambience and corruptive intent intrusively provocative and suggestive whilst Third Eye Pinioned teases and envelopes the ear with an initial slightly industrial macabre before taking a breath to step in a acoustic melodic presence which has a distinct inviting hook. The song then explores and ripples with multi flavoured majesty again combining diversity and expressive ingenuity. As mentioned it is hard to truly represent with comparisons the sound the band create but imagine a brew of hip hop, eighties melodic prowess as of The Jam with slithers of Senser, World Domination Enterprises, and Great Imitation and you get a slight whisper of what Shrikes conjure.

Completed by the brief and arguably least successful track Milk With Knives, well in comparison to the other songs, and the tantalising I SAMSA, the EP is pure excellence and quite possibly the start of something special for UK music. The latter of the two tracks is one where a more direct comparison or influence can be offered up with a sound which reminds of Pop Will Eat Itself whilst with all the others songs combines to make the EP something all should pay attention to.

As much as Great Imitation will be missed by many Shrikes will and possibly already does transcend their promise with The Ruiner Of All Things Good. It is a release so remarkable that surely only the shallow and mundane will fail to response to its stunning and explosive glory. Lyrically and musically it leaves one open mouthed and wanting more and more and with its release as a free download from http://shrikes.tumblr.com/ makes a play for most original and striking EP of the year so far.

RingMaster 24/07/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Seething Akira: Incoming Transmission EP

Having just released their new Incoming Transmission EP, Seething Akira emerge from its four tracks to stand strong as possibly if not right now certainly in the future, the biggest UK rival to the likes of US bands brokeNCYDE and Hollywood Undead. Combining a blistering brew of electro, rap, dubstep and crunkcore, the Portsmouth band leaves the senses writhing in pleasure with their stark and intrusively blistered trance manipulations. Their EP is a frenzied surge of filthy sonic fingerings and distorted atmospheres thrust forth with a challenging imagination and punk attitude. The Incoming Transmission EP shows that Seething Akira may not be the finished article yet and is itself not quite flawless but the promise and striking pleasure it gives marks the band and their acclaim by the masses as an explosion just waiting to happen.

A trio on the EP but now a duo looking for a guitarist and drummer, Seething Akira forces the ear into attention from the off with a sampled storm and old easy listening radio sounds introducing Come Here****Chickens! Scathing scraping electronics tease and niggle to announce the forceful vocals of Kit Conrad with Charlie Bowes alongside as the band begins to bully the ear, the provocative distortions and disentangled sounds meshing with impressive ease for a startling effect. The track persistently switches and surprises with an aural slight of hand merging dub elements with caressing melodic play and hypnotic trance metal intensity into caustic rap brought with a screamo tint. Like a merger of Enter Shikari and Hollywood Undead without the need to persuade with open hooks and stereotypical rhythms the band waits until the climax to unleash their pent up energy in a rampage of infectious wantonness brought with scorched eastern promise and senses scrambling invention.

The track is the best on the release though closely pushed by the following Dead Rabbits. Another dramatic intro leads the ear into a more expected rap vocals delivery over epic strikes of sound as the atmosphere intensifies. The song is more ordered than the opener though always unpredictable and enterprising and though arguably it lacks the same contagion its oppressive intimidating breath makes it a song just as effective and compulsive.

The EP is completed by Even Angels Break Hearts and Neil Buchanan. The first is a stark social commentary brought with anger and defiance within a mellower yet striking weave of sounds. As the anger rises the track flexes its muscles with a darkening of its now oppressive intensity and ear seizing guitar invention. As with all the songs on the release the band brings an expansive yet concentrated assault on the senses with layers of synths and programming speared by disorientated beats to captivate and unsettle in equal measure, this particular song the most atmospheric and provocative of all. The second of the pair splatters the senses with a dark carnival swell of sound off of a child spoken intro. It then spends its whole four minutes jabbing and pinching nerves and synapses with biting heavy rhythms and snarling bastard intertwined sounds all soundtracked by a soaring electronic swarm of warmth. At times it reminds of Senser  without ever revolting into a fully balanced song, but it is exactly the constant corruptive barracking of unconnected sounds, like a sonic version of walking on hot coals for the ear, which makes the song so exhilarating.

Seething Akira and the Incoming Transmission EP will not be for everyone but if the likes of the aforementioned brokeNCYDE, Hollywood Undead, Enter Shikari and Senser leave you twitching with pleasure then Seething Akira might induce you into a full on meltdown.

Grab the Incoming Transmission EP for free through the link http://bit.ly/KDAbjl

https://www.facebook.com/seethingakira

RingMaster 22/06/2012

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Zoltar Speaks: Treatment EP

To be honest whilst reviewing releases consistently it is not an irregular thing to be impressed by a band, album or particular song. It is much rarer though to be openly surprised and virtually awe struck by something. The debut EP from UK metallers Zoltar Speaks is one such rarity, a distinctly appetising and very pleasing treat. The Treatment EP is a mighty piece of metallic power and striking imagination which leads the senses through a fury of belligerent riffs, crushing rhythms, and classic guitar invention as well as introducing one of the best emerging vocalists in UK metal.

The quintet from Somerset first emerged in 2009 immediately grabbing attention and a devout following throughout the South of England and Wales with their impressive live show and the sharing of stages with bands like Malefice and Sworn to Oath. Their sound brings an irresistible blend of metal and rock into intensified adrenaline fuelled energy and senses igniting invention. With angry riffs and scorching mesmeric melodic play from guitarists Ollie Smith and Jason Coles, threatening lines from bassist Shane Yard, plus brutal rhythms from drummer Ben Dean smashing the ear into willing submission, their music explodes with strikingly  impressive craft and ideas. On top of the stirring invention of the band the vocals of Louise Body grab the already submissive emotions and willing heart, lighting them up with a stunning ability and captivating power. Altogether the band remind a little of Skunk Anansie it is arguable if that band offer the complete and devastating unique pleasure that Zoltar Speaks offer on their EP, with no disrespect to Skin and co.

Released June 11th, the EP opens on A Metaphor and immediately floors the ear with towering melodic strikes and vicious riffs. It is a towering entrance but once the voice of Brody soars the air the song erupts to even loftier heights. Behind her hard to tear the ear from vocals, the music creates a brewing storm of muscular intent and formidable energy though it never truly explodes into the suggested devastation it teases up throughout.

That is soon addressed with the excellent How Could You Blame? The drums of Dean thump with a lingering resonance whilst the riffs carry a ravenous appetite to their venomous aggression. At times the song releases an unrelenting attack which is as infectious as you could wish and once the song hits the same insatiable addictive vein as Senser did in their early days with tracks like No Comply there is no losing the infection that has set in. The song persistently snarls and bites with a strong jaw and bestial tenacity for the fullest satisfaction.

The Best Revenge and Treatment complete the release with equal strength and quality. The first strokes with a melodic guitar beckoning before corrupting with bludgeoning riffs and stinging melodic ingenuity. Like the song before it the track takes bites out of the senses with sharp rampaging clusters of heavy riffs whilst triggering fires with its blistering white hot guitar conjurations. The closing title track reveals the other equally immense side of the band with a song flowing on a crest of melodic enterprise and poised craft, the band at ease and skilful at punishing or flooding the senses with intelligent and inventive melodic warmth. Not that the track is a soft touch, it still sears the flesh with harsh venomous backing vocals and twisted dark hearted riffs.

The Treatment EP is easily one of the best debuts heard this year and the first step in what one suspects will be the steep rise of Zoltar Speaks, surely a band that will eventually leave a long lasting and deeply impressive mark on metal.

www.facebook.com/zoltarspeaks

RingMaster 05/06/2012

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Collisions: Believe In This EP

Just when we thought Irish band iBurn had already wrapped up our EP of the year choice even this early in the year, there comes along UK electro metallers Collisions to challenge and make us just think about our choice. Feeling like a bookie who has already paid out on Manchester City winning the English Premiership title a couple of  months back, the Brighton quartet has shown that nothing is ever clear cut.

Collisions has unleashed a pulsating mesmeric release that shows UK metal is just as vibrant as any where let alone as that of its Irish counterparts. Consisting of five tracks that exhilarate and incite the senses, Believe In This is a feisty cross breed of metal, electro, punk, and drum n bass that eagerly pulls one to their feet and drills them in the way of having infectious fun. The sounds that burst from the EP are tight, energetic, insatiable, and an infection that one just wants to go deeper and linger.

Formed in 2010 the band took no time in making a mark on their local scene which considering the perpetual health and competition in the Brighton area is a CV marker all on its own. Their impressive sharing of stages with the likes of Senser and Floors & Walls led them through an ever growing attention to headlining their own sold out show at The Hydrant and recently a European tour supporting (Hed)pe. It is hard to imagine anything other than a triumphant explosion of attention coming their way once Believe In This is released on May 7th, and maybe exploding onto the UK underground metal scene the least they can expect.

The moment the opening Middle Eastern electro vocal chants swarm around the ear on the opening title track the anticipation of something special is rife. A beckoning riff and electro teasing draws one into big meaty riffs and an irresistible energised punk attack. Immediate thoughts are Max Raptor meets Breed 77 and as the song explores and tantalises the senses that  feeling is imprinted further with touches of Dub War added to a special flavouring that is all Collisions. The song rampages with great vocals from Olly Simmons over moody distorted riffs that rile up the emotions and rhythms that drive with an excitable but controlled enthusiasm.

If this was the only good song on the release compliance is still a given but the band simply slams their quality home with an even better track in Fire Fire. The track is glorious, a feast of dance rhythms, ragga metal, and punk that leaves one breathless and deeply eager to dive right into it again. There is a definite Skindred stamp to it with essences of Billy Talent and Pendulum for extra spicery. From the tight controlling beats of Will Chapman and the brooding bass of Richard Speaight to the blood boiling riffs and melodic intrusions of guitarist Andy Trewin, the song blisters the ear and sends the senses into blissful spasms. Once more the vocals of Simmons  lead the charge magnificently ably backed up by the rest of the band in great group choruses and shouts.

Two down and great heights reached so there has to be a lull or drop in intensity right? Not at all just a change in sound showing the strong diversity the band brings to their music. Chasing Forms begins with an emotive rap metal vocal opening through an atmospheric slow enveloping of the ear, with electro elements to the forth the song then makes its full presence known with intense riffs and sturdy rhythms that expand to include intelligent melodic invention. Again the Pendulum feel flows through the song bringing an inventive form to the Kennedy Soundtrack like restrained slower moments.

Push and  Once Weary Eyes (remix) complete this stunning release. The first of the two is an electro/trance metal lined track that lies somewhere between Pendulum, Silent Descent and Ourfamous Dead. It is a powerful animal that burns itself into the senses with scorched melodies, unfettered rhythms and riffs that strike with a fully intensified metal heart.  The closing song Once Weary Eyes rounds things off perfectly with its drum n bass/metal sounds that wraps around the ear and beyond with a hungry intent.

Believe In This is immense and the finest declaration that Collisions are a band about to brew up a storm and a fresh breath for UK metal.

https://www.facebook.com/CollisionsUk

RingMaster 24/04/2012

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Senser – Biting Rhymes

As a prequel to their forthcoming fifth album and a sure fire key to get the juices of anticipation going, metal hip hop crusaders Senser release their Biting Rhymes EP on Nov 27th via Imprint Music. The release is a five track compilation of unique covers of hip hop classics from artists that inspired and influenced them, the UK rap metalers giving their homage to the makers of the music that lined and filled their lives and journey into becoming Senser. The band themselves say in the press release for the EP, “This is really the music most of us grew up with, to us early Hip Hop represents a parallel with folk music, or the Jazz standards – a lexicon of classics” 

    Bringing three brand new covers, a remastered all time favourite of the band and a remastered live cut, Biting Rhymes shows affection and respect for the originals whilst being steeled with Senser’s distinct and powerful essences to result in a release that will satisfy rap and metal fans alike. There is a recent move from bands it seems to bring out releases with a spattering of covers of songs from their strong influences with recent offerings from As I Lay Dying and Whitechapel springing to mind, but there are not many that hit the mark as acutely and impressively as on Biting Rhymes. To be honest there was a little caution before going into the EP, a ‘more covers? Sigh!’ mentality, but as soon as the opening track states its purpose and unveils its quality the reticence is replaced as guilt for not trusting Senser and their hearts.  

The three new covers consist of ‘Don’t Believe The Hype’ (Public Enemy), ‘Follow The Leader’ (Erik B & Rakim), and ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ (LL Cool J). The first of the three opens up the EP with the band bringing a faithful and beefed up interpretation of the original through a stalking deep bassline which skirts around and through the track instilling the strong intent they bring to all their original sounds. Senser actually sound very much like 90’s UK band Honky on the song with the vocals of Heitham Al sayed and the songs eager groove. The third of the trio ripples with attitude and belligerence, the song standing sure footed in front of the ear, chest beating and throwing its weight around. Again the track is a more muscular version of the original, the band bringing their own distinct flavouring in equal measure to their respectful use of the original sounds.

Those two songs are split by the release’s best track ‘Follow The Leader’. With a darker intent and rippling menace the song is immense, and whereas elsewhere the songs offered are on a virtual even par with their sources here Senser outshine the original easily. Even watching the classic gangster video from Erik B & Rakim at the same time as playing Senser’s version of the song, it pales in comparison to the intensity the UK sextet infuse into the track.

The release is completed by firstly ‘Channel Zero’  (Public Enemy) a song the band has adored and brought to their live shows since the beginning, the samples from Slayer’s ‘Angel Of Death’ that vein the track an easy fit with Senser’s own metal strengths. The song is noted by the band as being one of the most important tracks in the band’s development into being and there is a sure extra energy from the band within it that backs that statement up. The track carries the trademark Senser heavy slashing guitar sound and aggressive rap vocals and instantly is a fit to the Stacked Up album era.

Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun’ (Beastie Boys) finishes the EP, a live track taken from way back in 1994 from a gig at Reading University. Despite its age the song still sounds fresh and is a pretty faithful version that raises the spirits even if matching The Beastie Boys is impossible, for anyone.

     Biting Rhymes is a great and extremely enjoyable collection of sounds and insight into Senser’s strong acknowledgement to their inspirations and loves. It is also a fine teaser and the trigger for the eager anticipation for their album to go into overdrive.

RingMaster 19/11/2011

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