Black Orchid Empire – Yugen

With a critically acclaimed debut album already under their belt and a strong reputation earned for their energy surging live side, Black Orchid Empire look at even greater attention with new full-length Yugen. With eleven tracks of adventurous heavy weight alternative rock embracing the familiar and individual whilst unleashing hooks so easy to get snagged upon and lithe grooves to swing from, the UK outfit’s second album is a rather tasty proposition with regular moments of imposing captivation.

Since emerging in 2011, the London hailing trio has drawn increasing attention with their fiery yet resourcefully and carefully woven sound. That well-praised first album, Archetype, put them solidly on the radar of media and new fans alike, its release in 2016 the ignition to their continuing ascent within the British rock scene sure to be escalated by Yugen. Alongside the former’s success, Black Orchid Empire has been a potent live presence, making numerous much-lauded festival appearances at the likes of Standon Calling, Planet Rockstock, Camden Rocks, and Germany’s Taubertal Festival and sharing stages with artists such as Biffy Clyro, Editors, Skunk Anansie, and Hed P.E who the threesome supported on a UK tour.

Now the band is ready to stir up fresh fuss around themselves, success which even from the boisterous persuasion of opening track of Yugen you get the feeling is close to being a done deal. My Favourite Stranger is also the new single from Black Orchid Empire, a song stirring from a distant sonic squall with a great grumbling rusty bass lure quickly bound in the wiry tendrils of Paul Visser’s guitar. As the song settles without losing those tempting elements, his equally enticing vocals step forward backed by the just as melodically fine tones of bassist David Ferguson. The band has been regularly likened to Biffy Clyro and Muse but for us and certainly with this start, their sound sits somewhere between Reuben, Sick Puppies, and Foo Fighters in varying degrees across each song.

The equally magnetic Burn follows; bass and guitar again setting an enticing canvas for vocals to spring from and the firm manipulative beats of drummer Billy Freedom to shape. In that inviting and slightly imposing proposal, the track is an animated and unpredictable web of imagination and enterprise. Twists come and go; all delivering fresh adventure and bait while the song fluidly swings between teasing seduction and a full throated roar.

Previous single Celebrity Summer is next, the opening croon of Visser and his guitar a mischievous if emotive spark to the track’s ferocity and urgency as well as another trap of hooks and sonic dexterity. A tenacious slice of vociferous rock ‘n’ roll, the track also hit the spot dead centre before Wires entangled ears and appetite in its contagious aggression lined exploits. From vocals to rhythms, melody to sonic trespass, the song is a formidable and compelling incitement uniting a host of voracious flavours, all traits colouring Yugen from start to finish.

Blacklight Shadow makes its own mellow emotive entrance after the previous blaze, its elevated croon surrounded by sonic flames before settling down again to repeat the rich cycle. That earlier mentioned Australian band certainly comes to mind in the track but again the Black Orchid Empire sound soon establishes its own character with tempestuous power.

As the likes of the muscular and invasively magnetic Pray To The Creature with its weave of senses scorching tendrils and the heart spun atmospheric balladry of Vertigo rise, variety and pleasure go hand in hand. The second of the two wears an alluring country blues scent to its impassioned voice too, more of the broad flavours the album embraces while Mouth Of The Wolf takes essences of hard rock into its seriously catchy prowl.  Emerging as album favourite here, the song nags and jabs, teases and taunts with its controlled but hungry imagination and touch, pretty much living up to the snarling intimation of its title.

A more straightforward proposal comes with Pins And Needles, maybe the album’s least bold song but another which just grips attention and pleases as Toru’s Maze waits to uncage its infectious wares; that grizzled tone of Ferguson’s bass again licking at personal pleasure here though the whole of band and song manages to stoke things up.

Ending with the quite captivating roar of Years, a track erupting from a potently alluring ballad cry into a heart unleashing blaze, Yugen is one thoroughly enjoyable and so often striking release. is there any other reason to check it and Black Orchid Empire out?

Yugen is released May 25th via Long Branch Records; available @

Upcoming live shows:

02.06.2018 UK, London – Camden Rocks Festival

03.06.2018 UK, Glasgow – Broadcast /w Black Map

04.06.2018 UK, Manchester – Gulliver’s /w Black Map

07.06.2018 UK, Donington – Download Festival

22.06.2018 UK, York – Pile Up Festival

Pete RingMaster 24/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Hidden Pleasures: getting Under The Skin with Angie Joseph


Hailing from Paris, Under the Skin is a new alternative rock band already beginning to turn heads and lure real attention. Consisting of Angie Joseph and Yann Brandon, the band released their first EP earlier this year, quickly stirring unsuspecting and eagerly receptive appetites to their refreshing sound. We had the pleasure of discovering more about the band and the creative forces behind it thanks to Angie, exploring its origins, that debut EP and much more…

Hi Angie and many thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?

HI! We are Under the Skin…A French alternative rock band based in Paris. This band is a duo fuelled by Yann and me. We have additional musicians on stage but we really create the songs together. We used to work together in another project before and when it stopped, we have started to work alone… Yann was making me listen to his songs and I was doing the same… one day we decided, as we love each other’s work, to work together again.

Have you been/are involved in other bands together or singularly before?

Yes, Yann has been in few bands before. I’m in different bands since I’m 16. But I was in the same band with Yann for 7 years (2007-2014). When this band (WISHES) split up, I didn’t want to join another band, never… I had enough! So I’ve started to work alone and tried to found my own sound. I needed to prove something to me. I didn’t wanted to be involved in something where you have to convince or to hear the opinion of 4 or 5 musicians. But Yann and me are very close friends, so naturally I made him listen to my songs, and he did the same… we have decided to work together because we wanted the same things and most of all, we knew what we didn’t want anymore. We compose each at home on the computer, we record a demo and then we meet to listen and choose what we like or not.

What inspired the band name?

I wanted something with a meaning and also a name composed, because …hey, why not? Yann wanted the same, that’s why I love to work with him. Most of the time we want the same things and we don’t even have to talk about it, some people think that we are clones.

We’ve chosen this name because we are convinced that ‘Under the skin’ we are all the same, we don’t really like labels. So let’s break the fences and just make music.



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

I don’t know if we can call it a specific idea but we wanted to make music in the most peaceful way possible… so from the creation of the band, to the songwriting process, we only do things if it’s cool and if we really love it. It’s easier because we are only 2 to decide… if it’s not 100% ok we don’t keep it. We never have a third person to choose between him and me. Maybe it’s something that our fans can feel… I don’t know. But we are more relaxed that’s obvious.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

It’s too soon to tell… the only thing we know is that we have found our sound… we know how we want the drums or the guitars sound… same thing for the mix…etc.… but for the songs themselves, we have not explored all the things we wanted, we don’t want to stay in one direction so, it’s too soon to tell.

Have any changes that have occurred in your sound been more organic than you deliberately wanting to try new things?

I feel that we always want to try new things because we have not explored all the things we wanted to as I said before… there is so much we want to try, we got so many ideas that this organic movement is more the way we work in general than something we could force… Yann and I came from different music styles so both of our influences feeds us… this give us a ton of opportunity and the band is too new to know where we could go yet. Every time I try to compose a song and I think of the way I want it to sound, I end in a totally different style, so not really. We do what we love. And we let the magic happen.

You mentioned influences, are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

We do have a wide range of inspiration, really different… I know that Yann really love bands like ‘Incubus’,‘Skunk Anansie’ or ‘Faith No More’, and I’ve heard people say that they can feel this but really as an influence and not like a copy or anything. It’s difficult to explain… We do have a lot of bands or artists in common  but I do listen to more punk music or loud rock, not like metal bands or heavy bands but bands from the 90’s or 70’s, raw, simple and most of the time with a woman behind the mic… Yann listens to different stuff so when I bring an idea he‘s the one that “arranges” the song and when he brings a song I try to find something to make it sound “simpler” … so we really complete each other in the way we write music.

Is there a process which generally guides the writing of songs?

No there is not a process. We really have a total freedom in the songwriting. Sometimes Yann brings a riff or a full song (just music or melodies, not lyrics), sometimes it’s me… sometimes we’ve just got an idea for a chorus or a verse. But we record anything we’ve got. Guitars, basses and drums before we share it and our ideas are full… and then we choose, we rearrange it or we put it in the “ideas box” … that’s what I like with our process… there is no waste.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

I write all the lyrics… I take inspiration from my life, the world, my feelings… sometimes it’s exaggerated sometimes not… Then I try to find a melody, record a first idea and make him listen… and we refine the melody together, but most of the time I speak with him about the idea of the lyrics and he’s agree …

Would you give us some background to your latest release?

Well, our latest release was also the first one. At the end of our previous band, we’ve been solicited separately by people who wanted to make music with us… for a song, a new project … some people  were waiting and wanted to see what we were going to do after this stop. But we wanted to work without pressure so we didn’t tell that we were working together on something new. When nobody is waiting for you, you got all the time you need and no one interfere, or push you. We’ve worked on few songs and have recorded them. We’ve also worked on a video clip that we had made few months before the release, always in secret. We’ve opened a Facebook page without showing our identity… and we’ve started to share it and the whole thing came out at the same time. It was a pretty good idea because a lot of people were not waiting for anything and suddenly a new band was here with a full pack. It was also very exciting and scaring but we definitely don’t regret it. We really had amazing returns from people everywhere. Radios, webzines, from our fans from our previous band, our family, friends…

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.uts2_RingMasterReview

I would say… love, friendship, sadness, happiness, anger… feelings.

Ego‘ talks about all that people that need to have lights on them without doing nothing, most of the time they do it to feel surrounded but that kind of friendship is fake, and it never last and they ‘re alone at the end of the journey.

‘Fever’ is about a poisoned relationship where love and hate are equal… and your mind about to break…

Good enough‘ is about being present for someone as a friend…even if at the end we are the only one that decides to bounce back when it comes to a rough time that we live.

‘Witness’ is about one of my friends… it’s hard to see someone dealing with a pain and feeling helpless… only time can heal that kind of drama…

Do you enter the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or leave room to develop them as you record?

We go in studio with the songs done at 96% because of our way to work… so the only things we do in studio are some arrangements. We only record the drums and the voices… Everything else is already recorded at home… it’s faster.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

We’ve got a pretty good team for the live side. All the musicians are really good and they are also good friends of us. We also have a wonderful light engineer that works with us for years now, Bertille Friedrich. She has a lot of ideas, she’s young and she’s definitely a band mate. I think that what you see on stage is as important as what you hear. We try to create a very personal environment and a full universe. Like a story.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it?

It’s really hard… we try to do everything ourselves… from the recording to the graphic designs and video clips… so it takes a lot of time. The good thing is that we have experience and competence… But I think there is not magical recipe except working hard, with passion and staying true. But if you’ve got the magic formula in your pocket, you have all my attention.

uts_RingMasterReviewHow has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date?

If social media and internet didn’t exist, our entire plan for the release of the band would have been screwed up. We work with it… it’s important to see social media as a platform that helps you to keep in touch with people… for a band… not when you need to find new friends 😉 but it also forces a band like us, to rethink the way we communicate… we must feed this media with anything we have because people behind their screens are starving and everything goes really fast… that’s a full time job… People that keep social media or internet aside, loose something important that could help them, I think.

Once again Angie, my big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Thank you for having us. We have recorded a new song called ‘State Of Mind‘… I think this song is a good cure to the mood of the dark days that we are all living all around the world…it makes you smiles, and makes you happy. We’re going to release also a new video for this song… So keep in touch!  It’s going to be amazing!

We are going to work with our friends from the band ‘Dry Can’ for this video… Anne and Antoine are really good friends and they were already working with us on the video clip for the song ‘Fever’.

Pete RingMaster 07/12/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Arsenic Unbirthday – Ravens And Writing Desks

Arsenic Unbirthday_Picture

From a name which is instinctively memorable and carrying a sound made up of potent temptations, certainly on the evidence of new EP Ravens And Writing Desks, Italian rock band Arsenic Unbirthday is one of those propositions which just courts personal attention from the first touch. Like a mix of Forever Still and Skunk Anansie, the Cagliari quartet is described in their bio as “a poisonous alternative rock band.” Truth is their seduction is far sweeter and warmer yet indeed with a creative toxicity and snarl which ensures every track on their new proposition leaves the imagination and appetite captivated.

Formed by guitarist Nick Farlight and vocalist Mary Red Mallow, Arsenic Unbirthday has gone through the several line-up changes which cross many bands, emerging stronger and more inventive whilst adding shows with numerous established artists to their CV along the way. Following an early demo, the band recently linked up with Epictronic for the world wide release of their first official EP, and an ear opening, attention nudging offering it is surely going to prove.

PAGES 1-8The chilled winds of My Enemy embrace ears first, accompanied by a vocal narrative of gothic fairy tale breeding. The song gradually brews up a melodic tempting around them, the provocative guitar and keys shaped imagination of Farlight draping the brooding rhythmic frame sculpted by drummer Alex Stowe and bassist Emmanuel. It is a tantalising proposal swiftly accentuated by the siren-esque expression and tones of Mary Red Mallow, her voice an inviting romance in the darker atmosphere of the music. There is more to the encounter than a gothic and dark rock proposal though, an electronic enterprise blossoming across the enjoyable start to the EP and providing the track with a flourish in its climax.

The strong opening continues with Unnecessary Pain. Immediately its sinister electronic caress has a Nine Inch Nails breath to its drama, one soon breeding a bubbly tempting before expanding into a fascinating soundscape of vivacious and unpredictable enterprise within an exotic electro climate. The warp resonance of melodies through the keys is gorgeous and perfectly tempered by the sobering dark bassline cast by Emmanuel. If the first song was an imposing awakening of ears its successor is a full on infestation of the senses, spreading intoxicating melodies and contagious imagination as it gets under the skin.

It is fair to say Ravens And Writing Desks already just gets bolder and more impressive with every track, proven by the fiery almost predatory presence of Imperfect and in turn by the sheer beauty of Another Sin To Hide. The first of the pair roams and stalks the senses with rapacious riffs and crisply connecting rhythms, all under the spell of the ever bewitching vocals. There is a certain carnivorous texture to the riffs which cannot be shaken by the flowing charms of keys and vocals, though they equally share the listener with the smoother haunted theatre of melodies and their evocative flirtation. Its successor is a kiss on the senses and imagination, a seducing power ballad with melancholic strings and climactic emotional outpourings which simply bow to the superb voice and delivery of Mary Red Mallow. The song is spellbinding, as all songs not startlingly unique yet providing a presence and attention stealing adventure quite a few bands can only imagine.

The electronic heart of Leaves Beneath continues not only the imagination of the release but the variety too. All songs come with the same kind of core template but each unveils its own distinctive character and presence with this a compelling persuasion. Its electro elements are like shards of light breaking upon a shadowed land, though the scenery itself basks in a warm melody and vocal enriched elegance. A whisper of Evanescence is a creeping suggestiveness across the gripping enchantment and drama of the song, and another spice to ponder and enjoy.

The EP closes on, with for personal tastes its pinnacle, the mouth-watering Sparklet. The track is a merger of numerous styles and flavours, emerging from a golden pool of electronic and atmospheric beauty into an intimate and jazzy stroll with a whiff of Stolen Babies to its almost devilish temptation. Equally there is a slow but open swagger to the rhythmic luring of the track, everything leading to dramatic crescendos before settling back down into that addictive teasing of the psyche. The song is outstanding, the peak of the release and further evidence of the enjoyable and impressive diversity to sound, songwriting, and imagination within Arsenic Unbirthday.

An encounter which also grows and improves with every listen, Ravens And Writing Desks is the introduction of a band with the potential to breach the broadest, intensive spotlights.

The Ravens And Writing Desks EP is available now via Epitronic @

RingMaster 31/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Grace Solero – Hundred Years Apart


As striking an encounter as you could wish for Hundred Years Apart the new album from UK rock band Grace Solero, is an impacting encounter which cannot fail to wake the imagination and stir up a very healthy appetite for its enticing potency and dramatic sounds. Admittedly it is not a release which grips with the same strength of appeal and success across all its thirteen tracks, the album making an imposing initial impact which only deepens and grows across subsequent plays but it also has moments where it just does not spark any real fire or hunger as found elsewhere. Nevertheless it is a release which leaves thoughts and emotions eager to hear more and expectations rife that the London based quartet is an emerging presence set to ignite in our psyche whether we like it or not.

Formed by the core of the singer and guitarist Grace Solero who lends her name to the band and California born lead guitarist Dan Beaulaurier, the band merge numerous rock and metal styles into something rivetingly distinct. As the new album shows there is a definite similarity to Skunk Anansie, Grace’s style and startling range bred from the same natural sources as blessed Skin, whilst musically the band sculpt tracks with a merger of styles which captivate through the purest addiction forging grooves, hooks, and melodic flames. Their debut album of 2010 New Moon drew acclaim and strong attention with fans and media but you suspect that this will be classed as foreplay to a greater response and recognition as the Wohone Records released Hundred Years Apart searches out more passions to tempt and persuade. With a line-up completed by drummer Maurizio Liberato and bassist Bjorn Zetterlund, Grace Solero will be ingraining their existing mark to richer success and deeper depths if not now definitely ahead.

The first half of the album is certainly its strongest and the band ensures first contact is a memorable and rousing strike, opener 1003365_494894257264451_1617464641_nRiptide riling the senses in a caustic and inventive stomp. Guitars make the first electrified stroke of the ears soon joined by the drama clad expression of Grace, her delivery immediately shaking any lethargy from senses and thoughts. The strolling gait of the song is sculpted by a great moody bass sound and shimmering acidic guitar tempting which subsequently erupts into a squalling fire of energy and sound as all aspects fuse into a sonic brawl clad in contagion. Like the album overall, it is fair to say the song is not leaving existing invention in rock or metal opened mouthed in awe but undoubtedly gives it a kick up the backside in passion and adventure. Repetition plays a great part in many of the songs lures and the first is a prime example, a riff and hook niggling throughout with a singular voice and intent to great effect.

The following Electro takes the strong start and lifts it up further levels, a sinister dark groove preying on the passions from its opening breath whilst barbed allurements and melodic infectiousness emerge to build an anthemic cage to which passions can only submit and flourish. The new single from the album, the track also features the irresistible tones of Tristania’s Mariangela Demurtas who alongside Grace makes a union which only accelerates the charge of emotions greedy to embrace the fiery evocation.

We Don’t Wanna takes its lead from its predecessor, the track though slightly more reserved riding upon thumping rhythms and jagged riffs to enslave the imagination whilst the vocals glide and soar with beauty and causticity over it’s the bait. The track as the first pair shows the skill off the band in sculpting irresistible and provocative entrapments but also in breeding a variety across the songs and sound offered, the third stretching the expanse again. It may not be a boldly new sound but the band certainly creates a refreshing and highly varied one.

The likes of the emotionally and musically intense St Ives with its great gnarly bass spawned groove clad prowl and the smouldering Unless, a track which brews a rising crescendo of fervour, reinforce the pull of the album whilst Circles is a soaring blaze of vocal and melodic drama veined by further infection fuelled grooves and wonderfully niggling hooks. All three songs leave a hunger for more ripe intent though in some ways disappointment follows.

After a thrilling cover of the classic Audrey Clark and Lori Kramer penned Yard of Blonde Girls, grunge and noise rock essences wrapping the offering, the album raises one last peak before slipping from its pedestal. Far Away is another smouldering seduction which places a spellbinding cast over the senses, one raising in intensity and passion the further into its trap you immerse. With a persistent hook nagging away within its belly the song is a thrilling absorbing adventure which probably goes some way to making the likes of Falling Down and Real feel an antic-climax in comparison. Both tracks as well as The Woman By the River are superbly crafted and presented in their individual guises but despite all presenting compelling elements lack the spark and character to stand away from expectations. Their blandness, for want of a better word, against previous tracks is a drop which presents the album from challenging best of honours though they cannot prevent Hundred Years Apart from being one of the more exciting and captivating releases over recent months. The closing Eternal Love emphasises that, its Eastern kissed melodies and exhaustive fire a final drama to drool over.

Hundred Years Apart is a great and thoroughly satisfying album even if one which misses its full potential. It does cement Grace Solero as a band with a seeming destiny to ignite UK heavy rock music, something they have already started with this very enjoyable release.


RingMaster 09/12/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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This Wicked Tongue: Provinces EP + Mick Hucknall’s Hair


    From Worcester in the UK, This Wicked Tongue is one of those bands which once heard or is that bitten they stay around with a lustful lingering. Brewing up storms of rock n roll pulsating with essences of progressive rock, grunge, and alternative rock, the band creates a thrilling fiery sound which is rife with a deviously seductive persuasion and mischief. Their Provinces EP which came out in the latter part of last year is a release which fully deserves a belated look whilst their new single Mick Hucknall’s Hair, due for release in May, is a song which defies any patience in sharing its stunning quality.

Formed in 2011 and taking influences such as Queens of the Stone Age, Nirvana, Audioslave, and Soundgarden into their creative design, the quartet of Tina V (vocalist/guitarist/ keyboards), Haydn (vocalist/guitarist), Rob (bass, and Ben (drums) has emerged with a sound which equally offers the passion of Skunk Anansie and the melodic lures of Throwing Muses. This Wicked Tongue on the evidence of these two releases and their previous self-titled EP, openly do not lack invention or imagination with the band able to craft stirring infectious and tempting songs which are veined by sculpted hooks, explosive energy, and instinctive passion.

The Provinces EP is made up of six tracks which capture the imagination with ease, their varied and compelling sounds a lingering and hungry presence in the ear. Opening song House first places a blistered sonic hand on the listener before unveiling a rich flame of stoner groove and a passion baiting funk bassline. Turning into an eager to please stroll with bass and guitar making their individual lures of invention, the vocals of Tina stroke the ear with restraint within the reserved gait of the song. Soon though the song ignites a feisty feast of impressive energy and open emotions to leave an ever tastier flavour which gains additional potency as the track writhes and twists with further craft and enterprise before it departs to lift the satisfaction levels up greater levels.

The following If This is Me teases with a heavier impacting energy and once again a blaze of sonic colour from the guitars, their bluesy swagger bold and confident without indulging in any over blown grandeur. Though the song lacks the addictive hold of its predecessor it is a heated slice of accomplished songwriting and even greater impacting realisation. With its heart bleeding emotion in every note and a delicious harmonic tease in its final few breathes, the track sets up the senses for the equally emotive and inviting Cape Pelorem. It is a vibrant rain of sizzling melodies and elegant hooks all coated with heated rock tenacity, an intenseness which compliments rather than smothers the mellower light of the track. It is a song which triggers an inflammation of the passions before passing on the next step to their rapture to next up Discontent.

The track is stunning, a riveting encounter of taunting hooks and hearty bass sounds wrapped in vocal harmonies boisterously expanding the walls of the song. Loud whispers which can be seeded in the likes of Alice In Chains and Jane’s Addiction hold irresistible sway over the passions throughout though the song and band never settles for leaving things unstirred, a melodic aside with near siren properties sending thoughts escalating in to greater ardour. With a parting sonic scorching the song is the highest pinnacle of the release.

The EP is completed by the riotous energy of Your Hands, swiftly followed by a brief piano reprise of the same song. The main track sees both Tina and Haydn vocally guiding the powerful sounds to expose further evidence that the band can issue sinews of metal and rock with the same ease, power, and invention as they can their melodic flames and entrancing sonic shards. The song is another outstanding inferno of imaginative conception and leaves a lasting burn upon the heart.

As mentioned Mick Hucknall’s Hair has its physical release in May but we cannot wait to share its towering sound and invention. Immediately the song gnaws at the ear with ravenous riffs from guitar and bass whilst the drums bring an extra bite to their swiping punches than seen on the previous EP. The song offers strong indications that the band has evolved their sound and direction many steps on since the Provinces, the track having a richer growl and harder intensity to its rigid prowl. The band has not left their melodic beauty in the past though, the song weaving in virulent progressive radiance for the deepest fascination and invention from the band yet. Everything about the song is a marked evolution from the already impressive EP and it is hard to see the band not finding a far reaching recognition and stature in the years ahead.

Provinces EP 8/10 + Mick Hucknall’s Hair 9/10

RingMaster 06/03/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Trash Monroe: Addiction Of Duplicities, part 1 EP

Strong and intriguing from the start, the new EP from UK alternative rock band Trash Monroe just gets better and better the more time you spend in its company. Well the first part anyway as part 2 of the release is not unleashed until January of 2013, but going by the pair of stirring tracks offered here there is no reason to doubt the second part of Addiction Of Duplicities will be any different.

Formed in 2003, the quintet from Essex have made a big impression with their sound which has been compared to the likes of Tool, HIM, as well as Skunk Anansie and Pat Benatar in reference to the powerful and impressive vocals of front person Melany Dantes. Completed by guitarists Brad Hurr and Matt Rowe, bassist Ken Mortimer, and Dave Pankhurst on drums, Trash Monroe has lit up stages across the UK alongside the diverse likes of The Birthday Massacre, Raggedy Angry, Black Candy Store, and Undercover Slut. Heavily positive responses across the media have also followed them whether for their shows or previous releases in debut album Shooting From the Lips and Other Crimes of Passion and the Ornament and Batesian Mimicry EPs.

Recorded with Neil Hayes at The Parlour Recording Studio, Addiction Of Duplicities, part 1 is destined to follow suit in inspiring acclaim and support with its two muscular and well defined slabs of melodic rock. First track S.O.B. approaches the ear with a mix of intricate melodic play and fiery yet reserved riffs. It is an immediate mix of shadows and light which is soon elevated with the striking voice of Dantes. The song has a gritty edge to its warm surface which flares up the further the song expands its  creative arms, the drums and bass without being openly commanding against the guitars, forming a sturdy and cagey canvas for the scorched air of the song to lay. When a band has a vocalist with the range and force of Dante there is a tendency to play to that but as the song shows Trash Monroe compliment and push her mighty tones with a creativity and craft equally as mighty and unforgettable. It is not an infectious song as such but lingers long after its departure to keep the elevated emotions during its engagement staying around and thoughts cantered on its earlier presence.

The release is completed by the and best song of the two in the excellent Stupid Again. Again the track builds its tower of forceful energy and intent, the vocal and electric whispers alongside teasing guitars an inciting yet restrained breath leading to the heart of the song. Into its still controlled stride, the track widens into an epic expanse of emotive passion from the continually impressive Dante and a rising charge of sonic grandeur and captivating imagination. The sinews of the song ripple throughout to give the song a bite alongside the melodic heat generated and transformed into a magnetic brew elsewhere. It is an outstanding piece of songwriting and realisation which leaves the opener in its shade a little and only ignites strong anticipation for the forthcoming part 2 of the release.

There is a buzz surrounding Trash Monroe which suggests the band are on the verge of big things, Addiction of Duplicities, part 1, and the great track Bleached Edges Of My Memory which was recently released as a free download taster,  do nothing to suggest otherwise.

RingMaster 10/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright


Hitchcock Blonde: Five Pounds EP

When Avenge Vulture Attack announced a reincarnation as Hitchcock Blonde it has to be admitted a slight groan escaped from within, accompanied by an audible air of worry. Would the sound follow the same route as the move from what was a snapping combative name into a more, though admittedly it carries its own intrigue and shadows, noir yet glamorous one? Would the great punk pop sounds with their impressive snarl which had captured our enthusiasm previously turn into an elegant fluffier form of pop music was the question and fear. Their debut release the Five Pounds EP now provides the answers and dispels those fears. Yes the music has changed but into a new compelling force which, yes has arguably lost the raw punk edge which wonderfully marked their previous releases, but has evolved into something just as enthralling and exciting, to make the release itself one thrilling contagion.

From London, Hitchcock Blonde consists of guitarist Drew Wynen, bassist Joss Nightingale, and drummer Ben Davies, speared by the enticing and striking voice of Ella Grace. It is a combination of skilled inventive musicians and elements which has already led the band to strong acclaim, an energetic and growing fan base, and to playing some of the top venues around the UK this past year sharing stages with the likes of The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, My Red Cell, Wrongnote, and The Mars Patrol. Comparisons with bands such as Band of Skulls, the Foo Fighters, and Skunk Anansie have been placed upon the bands though the quartet inspire other more accurate thoughts in that area whilst creating their own distinct presence and breath with songs which captivate and lead senses and bodies into a riot of infectious escapades.

Recorded with Tobin Jones (Cold Specks, The Twilight Sad), Five Pounds opens with the immediately engaging Baby Knows Best. Its initial breeze is a gentle caress rising to a crescendo of striking riffs and vibrant energy. The song then settles into a warm slow stroll with the wonderful vocals of Grace leaving extra heat with her expressive and full tones. Though arguably that previously mentioned snarl has now gone the track as it explodes into dramatic sonic explosions still offers a certain attitude from their previous guise, a bite which obviously will never abandon the creativity and heart of band and music. The song moves through unexpected and delicious breaks in pace and direction, brief seamless movements which flow perfectly and only go to make the song magnetic and impressive.

The great start is left in the shade somewhat by the brilliant Buzzkill, a song which holds many disguises within its pulsating and magnetic enterprise. It is another gentle and warm beginning with the guitar of Wynen playing the ear and heart like a harp, his play tantalising the aural taste buds and thoughts whilst the bass of Nightingale prowls around the sounds with a devilish yet unintimidating gait. As the guitar plucks with singular and hypnotic elegance, Grace offers her vocal seduction to leave one transfixed. Once immersed within its irresistible arms the song then erupts into a bristling and inciting energy safe in the knowledge you are going nowhere. The mini ‘riots’ are another shift within a song of great imagination and outstanding craft. Along its delicious body the song integrates the same elements again whilst offering further stunning delight through slow sparkling melodic kisses until it all sparks up into a fiery climax which leaves one breathless. The best song on the release, it is an excellent invention of elegant craft, unchained imagination, and controlled aggression.

Cutglass is a less provocative track, its crystal whispers next to eager rhythms from Davies is a skilful union whilst again the vocal smouldering of Grace bewitches the passions. It does not quite light up the fires as the first pair of songs but leaves one completely absorbed and satisfied with its more reserved yet potent emotive charms. The track carries a charge too which ignites its climax, an energy and intent which ripples throughout Sexy Like You, a piece of pop rock which sways and taunts with attitude and sweltering melodic majesty with a blues whisper on its lips.

The release ends with the sizzling energy and charge of Let It Go and the irresistible teasing of Animal, an exceptional track where the band venture into the punkish qualities which marked their early days. Both take one on a ride of infection and enterprise, the first a slice of sparking muscular pop with a touch of Metric to it and the second a lightly bruising piece of brilliance which comes from the same blood pumping rock n roll found within the likes of The Objek and eighties band Au-Pairs.

The Five Pounds EP is exceptional, a real pleasure to leave the heart excited and desperate for more whilst destroying those initial groundless fears. Hitchcock Band will be a band to shape the future of UK indie Pop rock and we for one cannot wait.

RingMaster 09/11/2012

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