The New Sheriff – BlackSwanSongs EP

new sheriff

Having been more than impressed by his previous projects, their distinctly different sounds lighting some potent passion, vocalist James Scott-Howes has stepped forward again with another unexpected but equally intriguing project in the shape of The New Sheriff. From the soulful mischievous  hip hop enterprise of Great Imitation through the startling experimental haunting adventures of Shrikes, Scott-Howes and his lyrical prowess has engaged and pushed the envelope of himself and listener but the post hardcore squalling intensity of The New Sheriff may just be his most disruptive and challenging moment yet. The Leicester based band is not all about him though, the frontman joining the accomplished and imaginative skills of guitarist Tom Whitmore, bassist Ollie Jones, and drummer Mark Abbott for a combined force which ensures attention is all theirs whilst they bruise and intrigue thoughts and senses.

With influences taken from the likes of Touche Amore, Pianos Become The Teeth, Defeater, La Dispute, At The Drive-In, and Refused, coverthe quartet create they own abrasive confrontation which takes its debut upon the BlackSwanSongs EP. The four track tempest of emotion and sonic spite is a raw and uncomfortable listen but a richly compelling and provocative one, and in no mood to take it easy on the ear from its very first tempestuous breath. Opening track Pinky Swear approaches with strokes of jangling guitar before big boned rhythms thump out their intentions alongside the dark growling bass. The combination has no problem in sparking the appetite as they set the platform for the caustic scowling attack of Scott-Howes to work senses and thoughts. As expected his lyrical stance and stylish script is magnetic but his delivery initially throwing assumptions off balance. Being used to his rapping and word crafted explorations the acidic and abrasive vocals shock and take a while to get used to but soon make the strongest persuasion. The song itself swipes and intimidates the ear yet within its full intensity, the sonic colours of the guitar casting a rich tale upon the muscular satisfying canvas.

Eternity Means Eternally steps forward next, well barges forth, with again a forceful almost rabid hunger. There is a punk grazing to the provocation especially in the group chorus which breaks out whilst the grizzled bass voice is a ravenous predator within the welcomingly wearing assault of guitar and vocals. The drums of Abbott cage and pummel the listener with excellent maliciousness especially entering its climax, and overall though the track is firmly seeded in post hardcore there is more than a whisper of the punk hardcore assault of Amen to its threatening lure.

The following Bitter Magicians restrains some of its intensity for an evocative weave of expressive guitar sculpting and less confrontational but more potent vocal suasion, the hard spoken delivery of Scott-Howes offering more clarity which certainly has essences of his previous band without losing the already in place spite or venom. As with all the songs there is no escaping or hiding from the power and intensity of the band which the EP closer In Heliotrope We Burn equally ensures. Moving from where its predecessor left off, the slower clear tones of sound and voice welcomes the ear into the impending storm of corrosive emotion and sonic spleen bred creativity, the track an inciting finale to a strong and impressive first encounter with The New Sheriff.

BlackSwanSongs suggests the band is still in the process of evolving and defining its sound and unique voice to stand out amongst a torrent of emerging post hardcore band but it is rife with promise which ignites real anticipation for their future creativity…a band to keep a close eye on indeed.


RingMaster 03/05/2013

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Dogfight Sox: Flux EP


    If you are looking for something different and intriguing but also a release which will test your thoughts and maybe even musical boundaries then take a listen to the Flux EP from German electro punks Dogfight Sox. Their five track release is equally inventive and bewildering, inviting and threatening, imaginative and creatively distorted but for the whole fully captivating.

Formed in September 2011, the Nürnberg duo of Crimson (guitars, vocals) and Indigo (programming, vocals) has taken no time in making their mark. Bringing a dramatic fusion of industrial, electro punk, psyche rock, and hiphop coated in invasive ambiences, the pair saw 2012 offer them a big year. From releasing their debut album Lunatic Fairytales and winning a band contest to performing at Weinturm Open Air alongside the likes of Dendemann, Käptn Peng, and Talco, playing the Danke-Festival, and lastly releasing this EP, it has been a massive twelve months sure to continue into 2013.

Released through Dungeon Recordings, Flux soon has thoughts and senses agitated and magnetised with opening track Konichiwa Bitches! A flourish of electronic teasing is accompanied by pulsating forceful pulses and blistered beats to wake up the ear before harsher guitar rubs leave their acidic touch alongside the rapped vocals. It is a provocative prowl and declaration which shifts between incendiary menace and total absorption, persistently a blend of both for the main. It is a sonic world within a song, the mini soundscape harsh or melodically resplendent with caustic atmospheres or warm whispers bringing their distinct voices to the intent and sound of the compelling song. Like a mix of Shrikes, The Karma Party, and Celldweller the track is an exciting and inciting impressive start.

The following Templum engages with native chants and calls whilst a guitar courts the heavy beats, the initial contact again riveting and posing questions within thoughts which though arguably never answered are easily satisfied by the continually startling sounds and imagination. Like its predecessor the song is unpredictable and intent on stretching its and your limits with sure craft, sonic contagion, and provocative confrontation.

From the arguably easier accessibility of the first two songs, the release tests and stretches patience and creative walls even further starting with the acerbic Sunfall. The track is a furnace of burning sonics, explosive intensity, and vocal malevolence forged into a squall of corrosion though throughout the song startles with slight-of-hand electro spikes and taunts.

Songs Of Distant Earth and The Intergalactic Chimpanzee Frenzee completes the concord of imagination and stimulation aggravation, the first a reflective reserved piece of design with elegant synths caresses, sonic manipulation, and fiery inducements. It once more brings impressive diversity to the release whilst refusing to give the listener an easy ride, something which would leave only dissatisfaction, the testing pose of each track as essential as their sounds and rewarding to the listener. The final song was the only low point on the release though it still has a senses busting charm which leaves one unsure. A seemingly tongue in cheek track which is best described as Kottonmouth Kings does industrial, it is hard to take the track too seriously due to the vocals which is a shame as musically the band again creates something invigorating, even  though it does throw everything in but the kitchen sink.

Flux is a convincing and pleasing release which impresses far more than it antagonises, though even those moments have their worth. Dogfight Sox is a band creating fresh inventive storms within industrial/punk electro and set to create even stronger tempest of creativity ahead.

Grab the EP as a free download @


RingMaster 07/03/2013

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A-Bridge: AlexPanda The Great EP


The AlexPanda The Great EP is the debut release from A-Bridge, the project of rapper Alex Pandya. Consisting of five tracks, the release is the introduction of a young man who is still evolving as vocalist and artist but one who offers massive promise ahead with his imaginative sounds and ideas. Admittedly rap is not a genre we have a great understanding or knowledge of but do have a strong liking for tracks and artists who offer something different alongside their rapping skills. A-Bridge certainly does that, the music and sonic invention surrounding the more than decent delivery of Pandya, smartly crafted and at times immersive.

The release starts with the title track and within seconds the brewing ambience and dawning sound pulls a full focus. Wrapping itself around the ear with epic whispers and enveloping charms the music opens slightly to allow Pandya to announce himself, as the character, and begin his statement. Hindsight against the other tracks shows it is not his strongest delivery vocally but easily decent enough to ensure attention to his words, and as good additional vocal layers compliments him he gains strength as the track proceeds. The shadowed voice of someone who sounds like Frank Bruno talking through a road traffic cone is fun without distracting too much but it is the great cloud of teasing persuasive sounds which soaks the ear that is the inventive highlight of the opener.

The Manifesto steps up next to place its stance within a weave of caustic harmonies and shimmering raw elegance. Musically the track rubs on the senses nicely, leaving them alert and intrigued whilst Pandya unveils his declaration. If political party broadcasts were sound tracked by sounds like this there would be much more interest for sure. Like the first track, the song is brief and fades out leaving the impression of something impressive yet unfinished. This is for all extent and purposes a demo but as mentioned leaves massive promise driving thoughts by its end rather than actually feeling like the completed article, the length of songs and their drifting away as and when they do adding to that impression.

Am I Human follows and is a gentle mesmeric caress upon the senses, its expansive atmosphere taking thoughts and emotions through wide open spaces of nature driven ambience soaked with a chilled yet compulsive breath. The track is emotive, the vocals from a soul seemingly drifting with a peace which is solitary and intrusive. It is a magnetic piece featuring someone called Wye, who also featured on The Manifesto, his presence offering another strong and engaging element to enjoy.

The release is completed by firstly Demons and then Angels, both songs coating the ear with a similar engagement as from Am I Human, their persuasive charms tempered by shadows which blister the air and distort the balance of the melodic sways. It is a texture which sets the songs and A-Bridge apart from many others. There are slight suggestions in the sounds across the release  of being influenced by the experimental innovators Shrikes, who Ajay Pandya the brother of Alex is with, but the EP finds its own pocket of invention to seize, leaving the more sonic twisting manipulations and imagination to others, for now.

AlexPanda The Great is an impressive release which surely will open the way for much more startling creativity ahead. Hopefully Alex Pandya will continue to push himself and the sounds he conjures to move even further away from the, coming from someone with limited knowledge of the genre, formula structures and vision a great many others feel the need to follow. It is in his hands.

RingMaster 06/11/2012

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Semitt Falls: Monkey See, Monkey Do Doo

An album which exiles predictability and narrow directions, Monkey See, Monkey Do Doo the debut album from UK band Semitt Falls, is a mightily impressive and intriguing gem. Ever twisting and evolving the release makes expectations redundant and guessing what is ahead pointless such is diverse and potent invention. For those who need to label bands and tag their sound Semitt Falls will be a nightmare, they are a band which makes music which hits their own sweet spot however it is inspired and ends up sounding. This is proven by the album, a collection of songs which follow no pattern or set course but are linked through immense quality soaked in the deepest contagion. If you need an initial description of the band, their bio says ambient/meta/drum and bass, but as the songs show that merely scratches the surface.

The Manchester band formed earlier this year, when following the demise of post-hardcore outfit Halt Under Heavy Fire, Paul Kendrick (guitar, vocals and programming) from the band linked up with ex-Fortune Favours Nothing member Danny Houghton (drums). The pair brought in another previous member of Halt Under Heavy Fire in Jay Kane (vocals and synths) alongside ex- Son of Shinobi Craig Gilroy (vocals and bass). Combined the quartet has created an album which not only marks the band as one of the brightest and inventive in British rock music right now but one bursting even greater things ahead.

The album descends upon the senses with the stirring and riotous opener The Warrior. Muscular and stormy it is a feisty dazzle which ignites the passions and energies most releases leave untouched. The drums of Houghton bring one to their knees with power and tight control whilst the keys explore and immerse one in a scorched and blistering weave of melodic majesty. With the muscle of Silent Descent and the acidic tones of Enter Shikari to it, the song is a tremendous and attention grabbing start.

Still trying to catch a breath after the initial introduction the next song whips it away again before it can be consumed whilst offering the first example of the perpetual diversity which wonderfully fuels the sound of the band. Late For Drum And Bass Reasons is the best track on the album by far which considering the quality elsewhere is a mark of how good it is. The band ruptures drum and bass sounds whilst filling the fissures with incisive melodic rock and ragga tinged beats. Twisting and winding around the ear like a sonic python the track leaves one lost in a sizzling groove of manipulative imagination amidst a corruptive maze of wickedness. Illegally addictive the song leaves the atmosphere sizzling and senses smouldering with its electronic force and corrupting power. Think Pendulum, Hadouken, and Shrikes in an unbridled mosh with Skindred and Collisions and you get a whiff of the goodness inciting every pore.

The melodic De.Fi.Ant with its heated melodic ambience confronts the ear next It is a track which is again pleasingly muscular at times yet enchantingly peaceful in others, a seamless blend skilfully created and brought throughout the track. The lead vocals of Kane as with the previous tracks show a range and ability to play with multiple deliveries which is outstanding and like the music keeps things on a consistently shifting edge. Though over three minutes long the song feels so brief, a sign of the perpetual enjoyment it offers.

Tracks like We Hid The Sun with its more post hardcore tones and Displacement, a song of mesmeric beauty wrapped in raw shadows, continue to leave one full of admiration, surprise, and satisfaction. Normally with a band which brings so many distinctly different sounds and ideas you thing a group unsure of their direction and intent. This never occurs with Semitt Fall, everything so instinctively right and perfectly fitting you know it is a band simply conjuring music which fires up their unique creative inferno with skill and incisive invention.

Ending with the pulsating The Loneliest Spaceman, a song which has a rock air reminding of a Thrice or Hundred Reasons wrapped up in surging electro energies, the album is one of the most startling and enterprising releases in a long time. It is a towering beginning giving Semitt Falls a lot to live up to in the future though it is hard to imagine they are not up to it.

RingMaster 21/08/2012

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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 makes a play for most original and striking EP of the year so far.

RingMaster 24/07/2012

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