Combos – Steelo

Norwegian punk has not been slow in coming forward and grabbing our eager attention over recent years and the release of Steelo introduces another band we have made room in our hungry appetite for. It is the debut album of Trondheim-based punk/noise rock quintet Combos, a band which springs a voracious roar as animated and lively as it is defiantly antagonistic.

Emerging at the tail end of 2018, Combos was founded by guitarist/song writer Thomas Antonsen, vocalist Axel Møller Olsen, and drummer Andreas Kjøl Berg. Forging a rapaciously catchy sound from a fusion of punk and noise rock, the trio soon hooked praise and attention at home. Now with bassist Jørgen Wassvik and guitarist Terje Bjørndahl in their ranks, the quintet is setting their sights on bigger borders to arouse; a mission the Loyal Blood Records released Steelo openly shows the creative armoury to achieve.

Combos’ sound has something of a Shelter meets Swound! accosted by Bokassa to it. It is immediately infectious, just as swiftly aggressive and invasive, and an incitement of manipulation we could find few defences to. EP opener Boom Shakalaka tells you all you need to know about the holler and addictive nature of their creative stomping. Instantly rhythms are forcibly jabbing at the senses as riffs nag on punk instincts, their united incitement enough to have limbs punching even before the highly virulent encouragement of vocals and swinging rhythms. As shown across previous tracks, the band cast choruses which feed on one’s inner yell, easy to leap upon and share moments one’s own riotous body and roaring tones with. All the same, if not as bold as elsewhere upon the EP, twists and turns bring imagination and stirring enterprise, every second of the song listener orchestration.

Kjøl Berg’s dexterous beats are a potent essence within Steelo and an immediately compelling introduction to next up Meme Supreme. His rhythms demand attention, continuing to direct proceedings as guitars and vocals jump on his creative animation. Eventually the track bursts into a noisy clamour retaining a catchiness increasingly escalated by the drummer’s gripping rhythmic athletics which only continues within Mad Beef and its niggling irritability amidst physical tenacity. The delicious growl of Wassvik’s bass had us quickly hooked as too the sonic web cast by the guitars before it all descends into a smog like trespass, this only bringing greater focus on factors behind it when clearing.

Nerdz is a spiral of grooves and rhythmic fingering from its first breath, a song sharing a broader flavouring of sound as post punk and hardcore essences collude with its noise bred instincts while Make Money Take Money is a pandemonium of styles and temptation which is chained by melodic restraint until bursting upon ears in another commotion of a chorus. That post punk hue again enjoyably tainted the raucous spirit of the trespass and again both tracks left us greedy for more which All About The Wex heartily fed. A slice of feral rock ‘n’ roll, it teases with its initial distant baiting before leaping upon ears with noise bound audacity and physical dexterity; it all coated in a garage bed rascality.

The EP is completed by Bro In Pain and its title track; the first also laying down its addiction through ravenous beats before reaping its subservient rewards through vocal and melodic shenanigans. There is a touch of Shevils to the song in certain moments but as throughout the release belongs distinctly to Combos as too the second of the pair, the magnificent Steelo again entangling noise and post punk lures to viral contagion and inescapable manipulation.

The word was that Combos is one of the most promising up-and coming Norwegian bands; well they are here face to face with the world with Steelo, both refusing to be ignored and more than living up to that suggestion.

Steelo is out now through Loyal Blood Records.

https://www.facebook.com/combosofficial

Pete RingMaster 19/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview

Infidel – Self Titled EP

Infidel_RingMaster Review

Providing a fresh snarl and roar to the hardcore scene, US punks Infidel introduce themselves with an impressive attention grabber, their self-titled EP. Hailing from the perpetually stirring hardcore scene in Detroit, the quartet recently signed with Imminence Records and has taken little time in slamming their potency and anthemic credentials down on the table with their first provocation. It is also an encounter rich in contagious resourcefulness which whilst the songs are bellowing with confrontation lyrically and musically, they are also flirting away with striking invention. Excitement certainly brewed listening to Infidel with a strength which few bands in the genre have stirred so tenaciously over recent times.

The band’s sound is a skilled mix of old school strains of hardcore with fresh hostility and imagination whilst lyrically they set their sights on anything from animal rights and patriotism under fire to police injustices, the two political party system, and positive incitement promoting “never giving up on life when the road gets tough.” Both aspects of their songs make an immediate and strong impression as the EP opens up with Patriotism Under Fire, the song starting with a sample of the opening scene from Jarhead, its unifying bellow quickly overrun with rhythmic artillery and a torrent of raw riffery equipped with swift infectiousness. In full stride soon after, the song relaxes a slither as vocalist Andrew Thomas uncages its lyrical and impassions intensity, almost immediately raising its ire and aggression again to match and raging like a mix of Stuck Mojo and Minor Threat, the track getting heavier and more voracious with every passing minute.

infidelcoverRingMaster Review     The attention grabbing and appetite igniting start is soon surpassed by What We’re Made Of, a rigorous stomp fuelled by melodic contagion and antagonistic defiance driven by inventive hooks and violent rhythms respectively. There is a touch of Shelter to the catchier side of the song, its tempering infection the perfect contrast to the eager bruising wilfulness and energy, and their union a swift anthemic enlistment of body and emotions.

Call Of The Wild follows and from its first breath it is sonic and emotional rebellion stirring up air and thick satisfaction. Featuring Keith Allen of GhostxShip, the track is as militant as it is inviting, the drums casting a rousing incitement matched by the increasingly spicy invention and antagonism of guitars and bass. Loaded with magnetically uncompromising vocals, the track roars incitement and contumacy quickly matched by similar confrontation in Protect And Serve straight after. As the EP opener, there is a metal seeded ferocity to the encounter which seamlessly slips into a melodically coloured but no less aggressive turn of imagination. With guest DJ Bean of For All Who Fail involved, the song stands toe to toe with the listener, eye balling them with rigorously anthemic sounds whilst challenging the seeds spawning its narrative and emotion.

Next up is Politics, a track built from the same kind of template and core sound but quickly establishing its own adversarial identity with scything rhythms and spearing riffs. Their union provides the frame for swarms of sonic incitement and almost psychotic grooves to strike and if that was not enough to draw keen submission, a burst of melodic vocals and enterprise only lights song and ears further before parting with a final fierce growl for a superb cover of the H2O track What Happened? .

Bringing the outstanding release to a thoroughly enjoyable close with their stirring cover, we can only suspect that Infidel is a band destined to be soaked in attention and acclaim as more engage and become thrilled by this and their subsequent and evolving exploits. Fair to say, hardcore has a new spark to its fire in the belly.

The Infidel EP is available now via Imminence Records.

https://www.facebook.com/Infidel586

Ringmaster 26/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Rapture –Trials

Rapture_bandphoto

   Rapture is a Christian hardcore band from Los Angeles, a quartet making a rather striking introduction to themselves with debut album Trials. Recently signed to OnTheAttack Records, the band has also made their first proposition a name your price download, which with some stomping punk bred tracks the reward, is an invitation hard to turn down.

The band was formed last year by four friends who wanted to create and explore the music which excited them whilst also sharing their faith and love of Jesus Christ, an inescapable but not over imposing aspect of their enjoyable first release. 2014 as a musical year was a low key affair, the band only playing a couple of shows, but as this year broke the band decided to concentrate on their music and hit Birdcage Studios to record Trials with Allen Falcon. Approached by On The Attack Records who wanted to be involved in the album’s release, Rapture now make their first potent persuasion on ears with a full year of shows planned to back its unveiling.

The release is opened by Intro, though it is a little more than merely that. From the great growling bassline starting it off, it aggressively snuggles up to ears with abrasive riffs and vocal squalling, providing an unsurprising but swiftly anthemic and pleasing proposal all within 51 seconds.

Its fine start is matched by the fiercer but no less gripping Legacy where again the lively beats of drummer Tony Rangel demand keen attention whilst the grizzly basslines of Isaac Guerrera Rapture_Trials_albumcovershow themselves to be quickly compelling. The song is a confrontational prowl of ears, though as lyrics show, is more face to face with its own personal angst than solely challenging the listener, a showdown further driven by the accomplished riffs and enterprise of guitarist Garrett Gutierrez and the furious tones of vocalist Richard Haro.

Kingdom Crew steps in next with a rawer air and rhythmic chest beating. The band has been referenced to bands like Terror, Dynasty, and, xLooking Forwardx but certainly this track suggests a merger of early CIV and Shelter as a starting point in its bracing texture and sound, whilst Enemy Lines next rumbles and snarls with a slight air of The Bronx in its rapacious hardcore incitement. Though again surprises might be said to be low, everything about the track from its tenacious rhythms and grainy riffs to the vocal fight and group calls leaves a healthy pleasure and appetite in place.

The tempestuous Deceiver bellows and entices next with magnetic enterprise and attitude before the outstanding Nothing Else brings it all to an impressive close. The final song features Joel Muniz of Dynasty, and treats the listener to a rampaging march of inventive rhythms from Rangel aligned to the ever tempting bass endeavour of Guerrera. That is just the creative spine though of the most inventive track on the album, guitars alternatively spearing and spreading through the air with spiky imagination whilst Haro and band raise voices to their faith. It is Rangel which steals the show here to be honest but as elsewhere it does not work without the rest of the band’s impassioned enterprise and impact.

Without forging something strikingly original but avoiding anything majorly predictable, Trials is a promising and pleasing entrance by Rapture. This is a sure fire recommendation for all raw punk fans from a band with undoubted big potential.

Trials is available now via OnTheAttack Records as a name your price download @ https://ontheattackrecords.bandcamp.com/album/trials

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rapture/1403442699960183

RingMaster 12/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Old-timers – Be Reconciled

THe Old Timers cover

Hailing from South Africa, punk band The Old-timers has forged themselves a quite potent spotlight not only in Christian punk but the punk underground as a whole with their releases. Now the trio return with their finest moment yet, the Be Reconciled EP. With a broader sound and inventive nature, the release catches the imagination with infectious slices of raw and organic punk rock and a premise which asks questions of thoughts. The band’s fourth release, the EP is simply another open step forward in the presence and sound of The Old-timers.

The band was formed in 2011 by Cape Town vocalist Dave Emerson and Port Elizabeth guitarist/bassist Donovan de Necker, its seeds first sown when they met whilst the latter visited the home town of the former whilst on holiday. From the pair’s unplanned meeting they found plenty to connect over, punk rock being one big love for both. Writing and sharing songs over the vast distances between them through technology, the band emerged with a demo Punk’s Not Dead! Nor Are We!, which brought them to the attention of Christian Punk label Thumper Punk Records. Soon after its release the duo recruited Californian drummer Matt Lagusis whilst Thumper Records released the band’s following impressive releases, the 2012 album Soli Deo Gloria and the Spiritus Sanctus at the end of last year. Both releases showed the continuing growth in sound and songwriting, an evolution pushed again by Be Reconciled.

The new EP is a concept release, its premise following the story of a life finding the light from a dark destructive place, “from sinner to repentance to reconciliation through Jesus.” That journey can be translated into a search we all embrace at some point in our lives within or outside of religion, and in its infusing of keys, a capella harmonies, and spoken poetry within old school fuelled punk rampages, Be Reconciled is a masterfully riveting encounter which works on ears and emotions. It starts with Hole in My Heart, a track which instantly lights ears with its rising persistence of riffs and stomping rhythms. The song, as the vocals, roars with a rapacious intensity and air as the guitar of de Necker expels caustic riffs and enticing hooks whilst his bass prowls the song with a devilish intent. It is an outstanding start to the release, the song’s NOFX like raucousness and Exploited like intensity bound in grooves and hooks which simply infests the imagination, whilst the inventive pounding from Lagusis and vocal demand of Emerson round off the potent lure of the song.

The spoken poetry of Blessings Out of Buffetings is next, voice and haunting keys the protagonist accompanied by percussive taunting. It is a track which alone you would say is for those of faith but within the narrative of the EP and linking the opener and the following Hope for the Rejected, it works well in the context of the story and unimposingly. The third track flies at ears with a raw scrub of riffs and bass driven by rabid beats. With group vocals which works a treat the track at times reminds of early Shelter, its grazing breath veined by a contagious groove which simply entices the appetite further and without reserve. Another highlight of the release, the track provokes, incites, and thrills in equal urgency and strength.

The bruising sounds of Father God I Wonder excites and challenges senses next, the track recruiting the incendiary essences which grabbed attention within previous releases and loading them with a richer infectious bait and instinctive ferocity. It is one minute of prime punk rock which thrusts its sound and narrative irresistibly through ears into thoughts and emotions. Its triumph is matched by the riveting The Joy of Reconciliation. The song starts with that a capella offering mentioned before, a striking union of the band’s voices which works so well you almost throw a sigh of disappointment when the song erupts into its punk rapacity. It soon has those thoughts forgotten though as it squalls and stomps aggressively across the senses for another hunger feeding slab of punk passion.

The closing Ambassadors as the second track is a spoken word within a keys embrace, a conclusion to the narrative which also like the earlier song links in well when taken as part of the journey but for those without a feeling for the religious side of things you sense it may not get the chance too often to make its suasion in being the final track. It has to be reinforced though that as all their releases, The Old-timers presents an encounter which is for all punk fans, just this time it is the band at its most adventurous and dynamic sounding to date which is reason enough to spend plenty of time with Be Reconciled.

The Be Reconciled EP is available now through Thumper Punk Records and Veritas Vinyl as well as @ http://theold-timers.bandcamp.com/album/be-reconciled

https://www.facebook.com/theoldtimers

8.5/10

RingMaster 24/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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LIV. – Be The Change

LIV._BandPhoto

A release which bruises just as heavily with its passion as its sounds, Be The Change is a direct and formidable swipe of hardcore provocation. The debut album of Los Angeles band LIV., the release thrusts nine unfussy and aggressive punk songs at ears but they are encounters which potently offer twists of invention and angst drenched hooks to further capture the imagination and make the band stand out. Bursting from the South Bay section of their home city, the quartet of Matthew Salamante (vocals), Jason Diaz (bass), Ace Esguerra (guitar), and Tony Esquivel (drums) hit hard and true with their emotive anthems; as the accompanying promo says, ‘LIV. are Hardcore that embodies the love, the passion, the sorrow, the anger, the pain, the struggle, and the promise of life.’

Their songs also come with a rich vein of hope and defiance which fires up the dramatic and infectious narratives lyrically and musically. The 2012 formed band produce encounters which are well seeded in the tradition of the genre, holding familiar traits which keep major surprises at bay, but there is plenty of those earlier mentioned hooks and stimulating twists to seize strong attention and make a keen appetite hungrier. There is a sense of Gorilla Biscuits to the LIV. sound but just as healthily within the album essences of CIV and in less open ways Shelter also push the depths and colour of the band’s confrontation. Opening track Livin’ In Victory is immediate bold and thick evidence of the flavoursome incitement to come, a deliciously earthy dark bass snarl wrapping around ears first before the guitars join rhythms in a fiery evocation of eager energy and rapidly brewing intensity which explodes with the raw abrasive tones of Salamante. The track turns into a swagger at his entrance whilst the guitars cast metal bloomed sonic bait as the song works feistily and successfully on thoughts.

It is a tremendous start backed up forcibly by Make Moves, a more instant pressuring of senses and emotions with vocals and riffs LIV.-Be-The-Change-Covergrazing air whilst bass and drums provoke with rapacious intrusiveness. More straightforward than its predecessor, the song still plays with vocal delivery and sonic expression to provide something easy to get the teeth fully into before ‘Till Next Time fires up its turbo for a caustic blaze of scarring aggression and uncompromising intensity, its mid-way stop and emerging prowl an additional highlight.

Roots strolls in on a rhythmic coaxing next, the raw vocals soon stirring things up before riffs spill their contagious enticement over the scene. The restrained entrance and guitar urgency share time before the song digs out an anthemic vocal call from the band to enliven further the senses. Across its magnetic body, the track continues to flow through a shifting landscape keeping expectations empty and intrigue as well as its emotive flame high.

Both A Standard Issue and Rise provide incendiary climates and appealing tempests to get heavily involved in, the first a more formula yet thrilling blaze whilst the second almost stalks the senses as its vocal and sonic storm grows in pressure and incitement before exploding into a virulent ravaging, rhythms an addictive stomp and riffs a coarse yet inviting turmoil to embrace before joining the group shouts. The following Miles is a similar trap to lean into with greed and energy, its catchy hooks and antagonistic rhythms courted by sonic endeavour and vocal causticity.

The title track arguably provides the widest proof of the invention and still to be explored potential of the band, its masterful slavery of rhythms just the appetiser to a union of carnivorous bass lines, prowling riffs, and vocal abrading. It has a more resourceful enterprise and deliberately menacing breath to its intent than the other tracks, a presence which is predator like sharing an impacting voice in its emotive narrative.

The release closes with The New Liberation, a final compelling brawl to wrap yourself tightly up in, imagination and passions feeding on its old school punk breeding and modern hardcore voracity. It is a thrilling end to an impressive debut from LIV. with Be The Change looking like being the start of a very promising and potent ascent for the band.

Be The Change is available now via OnTheAttack Records.

https://ontheattackrecords.bandcamp.com/album/be-the-change

https://www.facebook.com/livsbhc

8/10

RingMaster 25/04/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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The Old-timers – Spiritus Sanctus

The_Old-timers_Band_Photo

    Following up their impressive and enjoyable debut 2012 album Soli Deo Gloria, South African punks The Old-timers release new EP Spiritus Sanctus, a proposition which continues where the last left off with another clutch of inventive and passionate hardcore punk encounters. As their previous release the trio fill most of the tracks on the EP with praise to God and his son, challenging wrongs and thoughts with their narratives. Lyrically there is no subtlety and reserve in the presentation as previously shown on the album but equally there is the same wealth of tasty punk endeavour to satisfy those not so interested in the lyrical contemplations, making the EP an adventurous slab of prime punk for all to enjoy.

     Consisting of Cape Town vocalist Dave Emerson, Port Elizabeth guitarist/bassist Donovan de Necker, and Californian drummer Matt Lagusis, The Old-timers seeds begin in 2011 with the meeting of Dave whilst on holiday with Don in his home town. Strong friendship led to a creative union of the two with technology providing the link over the vast distances between them and subsequently Matt (False Idle) who joined the band after the release of their first demo. That release, Punk’s Not Dead! Nor Are We! brought the band to the attention of Christian Punk label Thumper Punk Records who released the well-received full-length Soli Deo Gloria and now unleash the band’s new encounter in tandem with Veritas Vinyl.

    Opener Mammon relatively gently scraps with the ears through an opening stroking of riffs and spoken vocals, both setting up The_Old-timers_-_Spiritus_Sanctus_coverattention and appetite for the passionate rabidity to come. As the track provokes and rallies up thoughts with its intensive yet controlled assault there feels a greater intensity and voraciousness to the sound and delivery. It is not a metallic rapaciousness which hits the imagination and senses but certainly the suggested more thrash bred hardcore feel to this and other songs, as suggested to us previously by Don, makes itself pleasingly known.

    From the more than very decent start On My Knees Again deepens the tone of the sounds with a heavier darker  snarl to bass and guitar whilst the drums and vocals score the senses in fine if unsurprising style. The track still builds bait and a potent coaxing across its angry stretch which only feeds the hunger for good punk rock with its enterprise and satisfying craft. Its strong place though is soon put in the shade by the excellent and fun Goonies Never Say Die!, a riotous slab of anthemic punk with restrained but infectious hooks and potent rhythmic temptation all irresistibly luring the passions within a canvas which is less than a minute long. From its deep appeal things continue with equal success through Joe #1, a song which has essences of Shelter and the Subhumans to its stirring and evocative charge. Again hooks entrench themselves irresistibly in the imagination whilst riffs and rhythms crowd the ears with excitable and rampant enterprise as a good variation of vocals suggests the lyrical intent of the song. It is an excellent and energetically captivating encounter taking best song honours on Spiritus Sanctus.

     Love Alone Is Strength returns to a face to face eyeballing hardcore attack, vocals scowling out every note as riffs and drums barrack the ears. It maybe would be an over ripe provocation even in its again very enjoyable short presence, a minute once more barely pushed, but veined by a teasing acidic treat of a hook and that ever eager voracious energy the band craft another highlight of the EP. It’s potency is matched and surpassed by Carpe Vitae Part II, a storming blaze of old school punk  with a taste of seventies bands Crisis and Crass to it as well as that repeating flavour of Shelter though to a lesser extent than before. Both songs show an invention and evolution in the sound and songwriting which is certainly subtler in other songs but makes a promising turn in the growing of the band.

  The closing Axios provides a final feisty gallop of hardcore punk with its healthy arsenal of contagious hooks and irresistible energy for a song very easy to devour and with relish. The song is raw and accessible providing something for all punk needs as does Spiritus Sanctus as a whole. The release pushes on from the band’s excellent album, not in big strides but definitely with distinctive confident steps which makes The Old-timers a meeting all punk fans should eagerly consider.

https://www.facebook.com/theoldtimers

http://theold-timers.bandcamp.com/releases

8/10

RingMaster 19/02/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Zebrahead – Get Nice!

Since 1996 and bursting out from the Orange County punk explosion Californian based Zebrahead have brought their own sound that inspires and pleasures a mass of eager fans across seven albums, festivals and tours. Their pop punk /rapcore stands in its own spot in the genre, many bands have tried but few can rival the Zebrahead skill of bringing infectious pop-punk riffs, enormous anthemic gang choruses, and trademark dual vocal leads. The bands eighth album Get Nice! is released August 27th and across its fourteen tracks delivers more of the glorious Zebrahead sound. Boundaries are left intact and new doors remain shut from their music but as always is the case with their releases, there is a small evolution and more importantly the release is flowing with contagious and vibrant songs.

Produced by Jason Freese (Jewel, Death by Stereo and plays with veteran outfit Green Day) and mixed by Andy Carpenter (Dwarves)Get Nice! bulges with substantial hi-energy whilst bound in compulsive riffs, as well as essential anthemic chants and choruses that simple are irresistible.  

Get Nice! slams out the gate with opening track ‘Blackout’, it leaps eagerly into the ear without reservation though that is generally the norm for their songs. One does know what to expect with the band and they always deliver but in the best and most pleasing way and this song is no exemption. Here and throughout the album Ben Osmundson delivers bass lines that are darkly compulsive and distinct whilst the vocals of Ali Tabatabaee dual led  and complimented by Matty Lewis, are impossible to ignore and impossible to resist joining in with during the anthem lined choruses.

The next trio of tracks of ‘Nothing To Lose’, ‘She Don’t Wanna Rock’, and the first single from the album ‘Ricky Bobby’ all continue the fine engaging and bouncing pop punk sound. The third of the tracks  is a stirring melodic crescendo of crashing and striking guitars surrounded by excellent gang vocal harmonies and in the music, all combining to feeds the senses. The middle track of the three is certainly not the most original or inventive  Zebrahead song ever but once you slip into its siren like allure it is one of the most addictive.

Zebrahead as mentioned before do have their own sound  that stands out from nearly all other contemporaries current and past though one can find flavours that other bands have adopted or grown up with from Zebrahead. Most are mere whispers but the one band 90’s originating punk band Shelter do hold a very obvious similarity on some tracks, like again the single, the excellent ‘The Joke’s On You’, and the album’s best track and ‘Demon Days’ which closes Get Nice! Both bands share the ability to create distinct glorious hooks that makes every song eager to please the listener though the Hare Krishna hardcore punks do also bring a harder sound which Zebrahead have never really found.  The guitars of Lewis and Greg Bergdorf  all over the album are impressive and creative without ever taking over , knowing their place in the sachem of what is the band’s sound. The drums of Ed Udhus are forceful without being demanding and help lift the tracks to their envisaged destination perfectly, it is doubtful there are many bands with as tight and compact a unit sound wise as Zebrahead.

Get Nice! is truly a great album, yes there are a couple of moments where as on the title track and ‘I’m Definitely Gonna Miss You’ it feels like one is listening to just another obvious Zebrahead song but these are soon forgotten with illuminating parts like the ELO like opening to ‘This Is Gonna Hurt You Way More Than It`s Gonna Hurt Me’ and the ska punk of ‘Nudist Priest not forgetting the great humour that permeates throughout the release. Zebrahead shows that pop punk can be addictive, hard, and vital but also that it does not have to break down doors or walls, it just needs to entertain, Zebrahead are the masters at that.

RingMaster 30/07/2011

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