Fathoms – Cold Youth EP

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Last year UK hardcore metallers Fathoms introduced themselves with the Transitions EP, a six track free download release which left you thinking that the Brighton quintet had a towering future in UK metal. Their acclaimed release’s successor is now upon us and the Cold Youth EP not only confirms and furthers that suspicion but makes the previous confrontation seem almost deceptive in its promise. The new four track fury is breath-taking, an incinerator of senses and thoughts which launches a torrential and imaginative tirade of invention and ferocity to leave the most potent of rapture in its blistering wake.

Formed late 2010, Fathoms took little time in finding a fervour led fanbase for their aggressively intensive sounds and acclaim for their live performances which has seen them share stages with the likes of A Hero A Fake, Polar, Dividing The Silence, Legend, Set Your Goals, Deez Nutz, and Napoleon as well as tours across the UK, Europe, and the US all equally as successful. The Transitions EP took what their fans knew to a wider audience and strong acclaim within media coverage but with Cold Youth you only feel it was a gentle start as the release in its immense presence surely is a trigger to major things.

Opener Pride of Lions springs from a sample of a speech on teaching children in a sonic haze to inflict the cruellest rhythmic badgering ColdYouthand predatory riffing within an instantly unpredictable and riveting corruptive temptation, the guitars of James Munn and Dan Goddard sculpting and conjuring a web of insidious provocation and startling imagination. It is impossibly captivating, the drums of Lui Sarabia insatiably inventive and impacting whilst bassist Tom Axtell is like a heavyweight raptor as he skirts it all with his carnivorous intent. It is a staggering start, a ridiculously addictive torrent of abuse which is ridden by the equally aggressive and corrosive vocals and vicious scowls of Max Campbell. His attack is uncompromising but also diverse like the sound which ensures something different and apart from not only other similarly clad bands but their previous release.

The following XIV soon notches the intensity and craft up a level, a contagious lure fuelling the chorus and primal swagger of the track whilst the guitars again twist song and manipulate air into a destructive narrative which senses and imagination can only devour with greed. To be overly critical there are elements which are well used and trodden in recent years but employed in a blazing creative fire as here it is hardly an issue. It is fair to say if breakdowns do not feed your appetite song and release might struggle to fully persuade but there is still a wealth of invention to seduce that same hunger whilst for those with a passion for such invention the track is a furnace of manna.

Third song Old Bones opens on a progressive caress if with a soak of menace, and soon stretches its evocative breath into a flesh flailing, bone splintering expanse of crippling rhythmic danger and sonic intrusion. It is a glorious slab of aural turmoil, perfectly crafted and impossible to resist. The vocals solo and as a band, are a fury which is virulently infectious and bewitching whilst musically there is debris flying mentally and emotionally before the thrilling corrosive escapade.

The closing Home/Less is just as ridiculously addictive and inventive, waspish grooves uniting with raptorial rhythms and the intensive riff brutality. The technical craft and inventive thought of the song and whole release, again is transfixing and makes multiple listens to Cold Youth essential to explore and suffer all of its glories, though it only takes one engagement to breed lust.

Fathoms have gone far beyond what was expected after the Transitions EP or maybe just got there quicker. The bottom-line though is that the Ghost Music released Cold Youth is a staggering slice of sadistic mastery which makes the future of the band even more exciting and you can imagine ground-breaking.

https://www.facebook.com/fathomsuk

10/10

RingMaster 02/10/2013

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The Heights – Drag Race On The Moon

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Hailing from Toronto, Canadian pop rock band The Heights are set to make the summer a warmer and more melodic place with their new EP Drag Race On The Moon. Made up of five vibrant and enterprising alternative/melodic rock songs which flirt with the ear from start to finish, the release is sure to bring the band to a stronger and wider spread attention.

Initially a solo project for Gavin Sutton (vocals / guitar / piano), The Heights soon expanded to a full encounter with the addition of guitarist Nick Dooley, bassist Colin Jacques, and Tyler Jones on drums. The self-titled and Bonacres EPs from the band set appetites alight but it is Drag Race On The Moon which looks set to make the quartet a name on a greater array of lips and passions. Employing inspirations from the likes of Coldplay, City and Colour, and John Mayer, which are open whispers in their clean cut and honed sound, there is a freshness and invention to the band which is impossible to dismiss even if they do not find the spark to ignite your passions. Earning further acclaim for their live performances which has seen them play with bands such as Set Your Goals, Silverstein and Fireworks to name a few, The Heights with the release of the EP stand at the door to greater recognition, whether it is the actual key the next months will tell but certainly the band offers everything available within them to provoke success with their new offering.

Opening song Soldier is an immediate rich attraction, its initial atmosphere brewing behind the emotive and excellent vocals of drotmcoverSutton as intriguing as the keys which also add their voice. Those impacting lures open up a deeper bait for the senses as drums and bass walk around and cage the melodic flames beginning to lick at the ear. Once its chorus erupts for the first time there is a contagion at large which wraps tightly around thoughts and emotions and continues throughout the rest of the song. Reminding of UK band Candidate23 though arguably not quite as virulently addictive, band and song add further drama and energy to the excellent track and secure certain acclaim well before its final note kisses the ear.

The following Some You Give Away has a sense of The Wonder Stuff to its first melodic caresses but then evolves into a boisterous and energy fuelled pleasure complete with jangly guitar strokes and evocative keys. Again the vocals are outstanding and ably aided by the rest of band in voice and inventive sound. A track which prods and leaps through the ear at times,  it is a heated blaze of melodic imagination and impressively crafted songwriting continuing the strong start with ease.

Both Devil and Spinning Webs unveil their feisty yet elegant depths, the first another song with punchy rhythms and sonic crescendos which ignite around the chorus as the keys spread a resourceful and smouldering ambience to the emotive tones of vocals and words. With an element of Doves to it the track passes the baton on to its successor who runs with a piano led narrative which is coated in a melodic beauty which demands total clarity. That the band gives as harmonies lead in sultry bass persuasion and rhythmic tenderness to support another great vocal and keys invitation. Maybe not as impacting as previous more energy driven songs it is still a treat of honed and sculpted excellence.

Closing song You Make Me is the weakest on the release, though still a more than satisfying encounter, which lacks the individuality of earlier songs to set the band and release apart from the rest but with strong craft and passion coaxed enterprise it makes a more than decent conclusion to a fine EP nevertheless. It is hard to say that Drag Race On The Moon got our passions excited enough to ignite any lingering ardour but undoubtedly it got feet dancing and sparked lively reactions in its eager company which is not a bad thing.

www.theheightsofficial.com

8/10

RingMaster 09/07/2013

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Only Fumes & Corpses -Selfish Act II

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Like going from one extreme to another, Irish hardcore punks Only Fumes & Corpses have released the second part of their two-sided attack Selfish Act.  Whereas Act I, or side one of a proposed physical release, rampaged over the senses and passions through thirteen songs barely touching twelve minutes in accumulative length, the B-side to the ‘album’ consists of one mountainous track lasting around seventeen minutes. Selfish Act II is a towering release which easily defies the temptation to avoid its massive presence by enthralling and seducing the ear and senses with a riveting expanse of invention and imagination. As caustic and raging as one would suspect after its predecessor, the track induces a captivated and thrilled participate in its charge and an exhausted but deeply satisfied admirer in its wake after expelling its final ounce of ferocity.

The Galway quintet formed in 2005 and took no time in earning a reputation as one of the hardest working and determined hardcore bands in Ireland. The years have seen the band scorching stages and audiences alongside the likes of Sick Of It All, Glassjaw, Agnostic Front, Set Your Goals, Sonic Boon Six and many more. Releases from their self-released four track demo through to the Read What Is In Between EP and debut album Who Really Cares, What Really Lasts also brought strong acclaim upon the band no more so than with last EP Selfish Act 1. The new release, classed as an EP too, continues their impressive presence to date but equally takes the band and sound to another pinnacle.

Released via Lockjaw Records, the track opens with a sonic burn of sound with further guitar teasing opening up within to brew an Only Fumes & Corpses - Selfish Act II - Artemerging web of melodic and acidic air upon the ear, the vocals of Momme caustically caressing within the nurtured embrace. It is a slow and deliberate wrapping around the senses whilst intensity is bred and caged within the rhythms and bass lure. With energy in hand it builds into a crescendo which explodes again into a riotous stretch of hardcore urgency and aggression. With a contagious temptation in tow to the punk viciousness, the track easily recruits thoughts and emotions, even if more so musically than lyrically certainly across the whole of the song.

Group shouts and the lone corrosive venom unleashed drive a spiked flame of spite through the core of the song to elevate its potency but it is the adventure and enterprise of the music which captivates most.  Seven plus minutes in and a folk metal like swagger breaks out to add a smile to the fire whilst the energy and pace of the song settles into a less demanding but fully magnetic invitation which then leads into another scintillating metallic temptation with the bass finding extra depths to its throat and the riffs grinding another level into the passions. Superbly crafted melodic near progressive enterprise takes its turn to push the narrative further before again more fluent ideas run along a blade of hard and metalcore like fascination.

Through to its end the track shifts and evolves, never leaving a moment devoid of imagination or excitement and making what seems on paper is an excessive tide of time feel like a passing blink. Selfish Act II is exceptional, the finest thing Only Fumes & Corpses has achieved whilst pushing the bar for British and European hardcore up a few more notches.

https://www.facebook.com/onlyfumesandcorpses

9/10

RingMaster 05/06/2013

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Only Fumes & Corpses – Selfish Act 1

Less than twelve minutes in length yet thirteen songs in content, Selfish Act 1 from Irish hardcore punk band Only Fumes & Corpses is definitely not a blink and you miss release. It is an abrasive and cutting assault of violent energy and brutal intensity which no one could possibly ignore. The songs charge and bristle with an uncompromising intent and destructive nature brought through challenging punk rock at its most caustic.

From Galway, the band formed in 2005 and become renowned as one of the hardest working and determined hardcore bands in Ireland. They have toured relentlessly throughout Europe as well as their homeland, sharing stages with the likes of Sick Of It All, Glassjaw, Bane, Comeback Kid, Capdown, Set Your Goals, Sonic Boon Six, Agnostic Front, and No Trigger, continually garnering acclaim along the way. Their releases similarly have made strong impressions; their self released four track demo, the eight song Read What Is In Between EP, and debut album Who Really Cares, What Really Lasts on Lockjaw Records, marking the band as one to firmly watch. With a new line-up, the quintet has released the first of two EPs in the shape of Selfish Act 1, again through Lockjaw, to surely ignite a mightier horizon for the band.

The title track distorts the air first, the blistering instrumental a scouring breath upon the ear with a restrained energy which sets things up powerfully for the impending rush of violence. The following Blinded screams at the senses in vocal and sonic breath, whilst within its 30 second fury it pulls an anthemic lure out of its brusque heart.

Tracks like Lost Generation with its squalling vocals and scything guitar sonics continue to ignite the senses whilst other rages such as the initially prowling Towers Fall with its defiant breath and the raging Won’t Come Back enflame the passions with their swift yet potent spite and intent.

The epic Full Circle, well at a minute and a half and compared to other songs feels like a giant piece of adrenaline fired animosity, is a ferocious pummelling from rhythms and churning riffs. The gang shouts combine with the vocals to agitate the senses further whilst the track as a whole is a wall of challenging and emotive energy. As this track confirms, each song despite their brief life always feel complete and even when there are moments where you wish there was a longer presence the tracks are rounded and wholly effective in their mission and success.

Further standout tracks include Smile Forever, the explosive We Were Heroes, and the captivating two parts of The Lush, arguably where the band explore their songwriting and individual abilities the most openly.

Selfish Act 1 is an excellent riot of hardcore punk brought with skill, expression, and most of all passion. It offers all the destructive antagonism and will you could require in a release whilst giving it individuality to set Only Fumes & Corpses apart from most other similarly driven bands. Angst has never been so slight yet so impactful.

https://www.facebook.com/onlyfumesandcorpses

RingMaster 08/10/2012

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Kids We Used To Be: And We Would Have Gotten Away With It Too… EP

The And We Would Have Gotten Away With It Too… EP is the debut release from Liverpool pop punk band Kids We Used To Be. Released through Like Records it offers four tracks dripping promise for a band still in evolution. With a hardcore vein bursting through their songs the band whilst not laying down deep scars of originality leaves one anticipating great things ahead once they find their true selves in their sound.

Taking their name from one of their influences Alexisonfire and their song Old Crows, Kids We Used to Be is barely a year old, being formed in the Summer of last year. Consisting of vocalists Ste McEvatt and Carl Gunning, backed by the musical prowess of guitarists James Cremor and Lewis Gardner, bassist Mike Higgins, and Lee Berrill on drums, the sextet use additional flavours from the likes of The Wonder Years, Set Your Goals, Alexisonfire, and Man Overboard, to forge their own not yet distinct but flavoursome sound, the band feeling like one still in transition. They have in their relatively short time already lit up stages alongside bands such as Polar Bear Club, Paige, Kyoto Drive, The Story so Far, Man Overboard, and Decade and set themselves as a band to certainly keep an eye on, something the EP does nothing to suggest otherwise.

30 Down opens up the release with a firm hand of striking melodic strikes and cruising riffs. Gruff brawling shouts going as vocals enter the affray and are fair if unspectacular in what seems to be a growing need for bands to employ this aspect against clean vocals which here are very agreeable and add a balance to their coarse counterpart and the track itself. The song itself is a bruising encounter without unleashing a barrage of aggression which works well with the melodic enterprise from the guitars.

The following Hey Aqualung litters the ear with feisty riffs and firm rhythms in a regular pop punk approach. Again the dual vocals dominate the song predominately though it is no reflection on the strong songwriting and sounds which without being the most imaginative easily satisfy and keep the attention fully engaged. The building crescendos throughout work well and add extra intrigue to what is a good song with an anthemic edge.

By this point the rough vocals feel in need of variety to be honest, the idea of using the twin attack in pop punk is a different aspect but someone simply screaming in the ear is at times too distracting. Against music which at the end of the day is not the most intensified and violent personal taste leaves one to hope there is a reassessment in that department, not a removal but a better definition and diversity.

The best song by far on the EP is Nothing Good Happens After 2AM, a song which alone shows why the suspicion that Kids We Used To Be has a definite strong future ahead is so strong by the end of the release. Easily infectious the song is the most inventive and imaginative track. With the punk urgency which is to an extent lacking elsewhere and a predatory air to its muscular riffs and thumping beats, it shows a band in complete unison and at the top of their current skills. Whether the song is new compared to the others or recorded at a different time we cannot say but in every aspect it is better, in creation, individual delivery, and production. This is the lead song and should be a single to really set the band off on a decisive rise.

Completed by a demo version of Man, I Hate Your Friends which again offers strong assumption the band will make a bigger mark ahead, the And We Would Have Gotten Away With It Too… EP is a more than decent introduction with one song by itself declaring Kids We Used To Be a band who will grab our attention often as they develop. Right now the EP is well worth some of your time, Nothing Good Happens After 2AM worth a persistent entertaining.

https://www.facebook.com/KidsWeUsedToBeOfficial

RingMaster 30/06/2012

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Man Of The Hour: A Modern Day Epic

Pop punk comes in many shapes and sizes with quite often obvious style over substance the residing factor. From South Wales Man of the Hour bring forth both. Their songs are solid and powerful slices of pop punk with a thought and considered creativity to them but delivered with a flair and absorbing ability that grabs the ear greedily. Their brand new single A Modern Day Epic perfectly demonstrates this  and in company with their previous releases sets the band as ones to take the genre into revitalised and diverse areas.

Man of the Hour calls themselves a ‘pop-punk band with teeth’ and certainly this single alone shows they have an edge that though it may not take a chunk out of the ear will gnaw on it with a sure eagerness. The band formed in 2008 when vocalist and guitarist Richard Meyrick linked with former keyboard player Matthew Morris to produce  synth led pop punk music with a difference. The band has seen many changes to its line-up over the past years  but it did not stop songs like Shatter and Adam, You’ve Got Lemonade as well as debut EP I Can’t Believe Man Of The Hour Is A Pop-Punk Band!? , and their impressive live shows leaving a distinct mark on an ever increasing fan base and media.

A Modern Day Epic from the off enters the ear with blooming melodies and firm riffs. Incisive and eloquent the guitar of Meyrick looks at one eye to mesmerised eye whilst the bass of Gareth Burrough rumbles behind. With strong but unobtrusive drums from Josh Delaney framing the song the vocals of Meyrick share the emotive heart of the song to great effect. Without attaching itself with an obvious addictive hook or recognisable melody the song is infectious without over playing. The guitar solo within also lights up the ear and without ripping up boundaries the song is very satisfying. Then it takes a turn on us to really leave the senses grinning. The song takes a breath, almost suggesting it has shared its last note but it is merely the start of an impression flourish and climax to the song. A lone guitar repeats the previous riff to expand and harmonise whilst the bass stalks alongside but it is when the flowing synths regale the track with their beauty that a strong song turns into a deeply impressive one. The extra added emotive piano completes the wonderful sound as the song finally waves its departure in style.

A Modern Day Epic is a fine and engaging song which excels the further it shares its unique presence and if there was one complaint it is that the heart caressing synths and intent it ends on do not feature earlier as then we might be talking about a classic.

For all already enamoured with the likes of Blink 182, New Found Glory, Motion City Soundtrack, and Set Your Goals, which the band itself openly is, Man of the Hour take you from that base into further  stimulating grounds. Pop punk has a new spark ready to ignite in the shape of Man of the Hour.

https://www.facebook.com/manofthehourband

RingMaster Review 04/03/2012