Barbed hook and stirring insights: talking Kill II This

A growing and attention grabbing force within the UK metal/rock underground scene from the mid-nineties, with acclaim crowded albums under their belts, it is fair to say that the demise of Manchester’s Kill II This in 2004 left many heartbroken. Their return a decade later though not only re-ignited that following but lured a new wave of fans especially recently through the recently released single Sleeper Cell. The track showed that the quartet of vocalist Simon Gordon, guitarist Mark Mynett, bassist Pete Stone, and drummer Jeff Singer had not only retained their rousing metal and heavy rock blended sound but found a fresh energy and adventure within in. We recently had the chance to explore the past, present, and beyond of the band with thanks to four string slapper Pete…

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

You have just released the video for new song Sleeper Cell but before we talk about that can you give some background to Kill II This and how it all came to be in the mid-nineties?

Mark, Jeff and myself were in a band called China Beach in the early 90’s – we really learned our trade in that band, touring Europe relentlessly, often just living in our van, sleeping on top of the gear….We would probably have been classed as Power metal back then, but we were getting the urge to get a lot heavier as the metal scene at that time was evolving. We decided to look for a new singer and – and that’s how we ended up with Nick Arlea who at the time was living in New York playing in a band called Power.

We had a fair bit of music already written that was just way too heavy for China Beach and so Kill II This was born. We got the album recorded fairly quickly (Another Cross II Bare) and more touring began. We already had a reputation for being a hard working reliable band and I think that helped us get some of those early tours.

Did you have a specific aim and sense of direction for the band at the time?

Just onwards and upwards really…None of us had a job so there was only the band to focus on. Things were comparatively easy back then ha ha! We never purposefully tried to fit into any genre – we started using samples a lot more adding a new dimension to the live shows and our overall sound…at the time nobody was really doing that.

How has that changed, if at all, with the reactivating of the band a couple of years back.

Well we’re a little bit older now obviously, with the responsibilities that brings! I don’t feel as desperate to prove ourselves anymore I guess…we’re not trying to be the next big thing anymore! We are immensely proud of what we do though and are thoroughly enjoying our revival. I’m loving the new stuff we’re doing and Simon has breathed new life into our back catalogue…he kills it every night on stage. I still don’t know how he didn’t end up with us way back to be honest-we’ve been mates for years!

You released a quartet of albums with for us the second in Deviate the moment the band truly clicked within the metal scene and its keenest attention. How did you find it at the time trying to make that breakthrough?

I think at that time the band felt like we had really earned any success we were getting. We had worked hard and made a lot of sacrifices in our lives. We were touring nonstop still and had some fantastic tours with the likes of Slipknot, Megadeth and Machine Head to name a few, as well as headlining in our own right, and it just felt like the natural progression of things…we worked hard and we were starting to see results. Good times!

Would you say that the album was also the moment the band’s true and distinct sound suddenly blossomed?

Undoubtedly…I think Mark had really found his riff writing groove – I think he would agree that DV8 was probably our best album too. There were some internal wranglings through this period – I had left the band for a while, Caroline joined for a while, then I came back – all sorts going on, but the end result was still that unmistakable Kill II This sound.

Fifth album, A New Spiritual Mountain was marked out by the band as being its last but eventually emerged under the moniker City Of God. What is the story behind it and that switch? Was it mostly because of the new character of sound it embraced?

I think really this is a question for Mark as I didn’t play a part in that project, however personally I don’t think it was in in the same vein as Kill II This musically. There was definitely a different feel to it. It was the first time I’d heard Simon sing like that too really-even more aggressive than his Xentrix stuff. Great album though – we often wonder if we should sneak a song or two from it into our live set…

Leaping forward to the now; Sleeper Cell undoubtedly has that signature Kill II This sound and personality but equally a fresh breath of adventure and indeed aggression. How do you see your sound as having evolved since the comeback?

A few years ago Simon and myself were in a band with a couple of the guys from Xentrix called Hellfighter, which I guess had some thrash undertones and I’m hearing some old school influences in our new stuff here and there – but I wouldn’t say there’s a massive difference. We’ve used far less samples in the new track than earlier stuff, there’s some aggression in there vocally, but importantly there are melodic hooks.

Has everything within the band been an organic shift or something you all deliberately aimed for when planning your return?

I think fairly organic really-we have no deadlines to live by these days so we can take our time writing – something that we never could in the old days. We haven’t deliberately set out to sound one way or the other to be honest – we’re just going with the flow creatively. We’ve all been playing together in various guises for years and it’s a bit like putting on a pair of comfy slippers when we get together!

And the return of the band, how easy was it for you all to come back together and start creating again?

For me the timing was just right. Hellfighter had just split as the other guys were reforming Xentrix, Mark and Jeff had been informally chatting about reforming at this point. I think the push was being offered a headline festival slot at Fiesta Du Rock in Belgium, even though we weren’t strictly in existence at that point. So we rehearsed and we were made up with how good it sounded. It just came together so fast, and the songs still sounded fresh and relevant. So we thought let’s do some new stuff…

Sleeper Cell is a hint to the kind of sound and imagination we can expect from future releases?

That’s a hard one to answer. Yes I think you’ll hear things in a similar vein but don’t be surprised if we throw some curveballs in there. We’re not writing for the music industry anymore. This is for ourselves as much as anything. Obviously it would be nice if everybody else likes it too….

Tell us about the single’s video. It was recorded by Carl Arnfield of Chalkman Video, who has persistently sparked visual pleasure with his films over the past few years. How did you come to link up with him?

Through friends of friends I think-he needed something to complete a show reel – we needed a video! It’s such a small world really -he was good friends with Xentrix- was actually in them briefly I think! He put us in touch with a chap called Johnathan Santry who arranged all the fight choreography and is actually in the video…Great bunch of guys.

Carl was a great – he worked really hard for us – we’re made up with the video.

What inspired its striking narrative and guerrilla like strike on the senses?

Well I think the lyrics and subject content speak for themselves. I think it really suits the aggression of the verses then the melody of the choruses adds a great hook. Then the outro is just huge!

Unfortunately on the same day, several hours after releasing the track and video the atrocity that was the Manchester Arena bombing happened. Given the subject matter of the track we have pulled back its proper release for obvious reasons.

Where did the filming take place; and a lengthy shoot?

The band shoot was done in a day at a studio in Preston, and the fight scenes were shot in Manchester over a couple of days so not too lengthy. Carl really worked hard to get it finished for us….in fact we’re still humbled by effort everybody involved put in.

What is next for Kill II This; The chance of an album being planning?

We intend to keep writing for sure. Whether or not we release an album or just drip feed one track / video at a time I’m not sure. We are looking already at festival appearances next year, plus a few more shows this year. I’d love to get back out to Europe too…it’s been too long.

Big thanks again for chatting with us; any last words you would like to add?

Thanks for showing an interest in us and we really hope you enjoy the new video…you can watch it on our website where you can also download the new track Sleepercell for FREE.

http://www.kill2this.co.uk/    https://www.facebook.com/pg/kill2this    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsrVYMExsQyYNt0h4WU1lRQ

The RingMaster Review 13/06/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

GraVil – No More Forgiveness

Four years on from the release of their repeatedly acclaimed and imposingly impressive debut album Thoughts Of A Rising Sun, British metallers GraVil return with its successor No More Forgiveness. Not that the band has been away, becoming an increasingly potent force with a live presence alone which demands new attention each and every time. The years between though has seen the London based outfit breed real maturity in their songwriting and sound as well as an anger fuelled aggression which takes no prisoners as it ignites the senses. There was next to nothing about that first full-length which left you feeling that the band could have majorly improved upon yet it has been blown out of the water by the creative might and raw intensity of No More Forgiveness.

Written and recorded over a 15 period, No More Forgiveness saw the band take a whole new approach to its creation compared to its predecessor. The majority of writing was done online and by telephone, the band employing cloud and home studio technology whist attacking the lyrical side in one intensive week. Talking about the new album vocalist/lyricist Grant Stacey said, “There is a massive sub-context of loss within the new album, with 2016 notably being a brutal year; however No More Forgiveness pulls in a lot of strength from negativity that all too often engulfs our society and ways of life. It’s time to make a stand and do what’s right… and this is us, doing things right.” It is a power and emotional turbulence which is immense within the release, the fuel to its uncompromising ire and intensity within a voraciously charged and crafted encounter leaving the listener exhausted and invigorated.

Produced by Dan Alba (Voices, Sarah Jezebel Deva), No More Forgiveness opens up with Detonate; a track instantly devouring ears with rapacious riffs and fierce rhythms. A quick breath taken after the first surge is followed by a senses enveloping tide of sonic trespass led by guitarists Tony Dando and Charlie Webster. Stacey is soon snarling in the midst of it all, drummer Perrin leaving mighty indents with his swings as the bass of Sparx matches the irritable tone of the vocals. Bound in imagination stoking grooves and an unpredictable array of hooks and twists, the track is a mightily stirring opening to the album setting down the benchmark No More Forgiveness rarely misses thereon in.

Following the introspective examination of the first, Are We Alive scours the feelings of losing control; defiance soaking its roar as a web of enterprise is spun by the guitars. Jagged grooves and spiky beats collude with the brooding tone of the bass, Dando’s melodic flames scorching their invasive union with suggestive intensity before the outstanding I Am The Blood spills its venomous contagion. As in all tracks, despite the open hostility there is an instinctively infectious air and endeavour which has the body rocking as hard as thoughts are evoked and provoked by its imposing words and emotions. Group vocals only add to its rousing presence and energy, the track a beast of an uprising in heart and inspiration.

Plagues, Thieves And Murderers is a predator of a song, slipping in on a sonic mist before prowling with discontent through ears with the antagonism of the bass and biting intent of the drums to the fore. Even when settled, the song stalks the senses with Stacey masterfully scowling as riffs add toxic animosity to the increasingly compelling trespass of the senses and emotions. It is hard to pick a favourite proposal amongst all ten but the disappointment loaded contemplation of the music scene comes swiftly to mind each time the question arises as too its successor Locate The Traitor. Like a warrior, the song stands bold and tall, bellowing in voice and energy as grooves swarm and flirt with the imagination while rhythms harry the senses. It too has the body rocking with zealous endeavour, the track prime GraVil in a whole new ball game in design and release.

Next up Choke In Silence is an unforgiving tide of aural intensity and emotive gall sharing adventure with a wealth of multi-flavoured textures and alluring melodic spices, the song as sultry and beguiling as it is barbarous, while Fractured, Divided is bewitchment full-stop. Featuring the striking vocal beauty and elegance of Metaprism’s Theresa Smith, the song blends Celtic/folkish spices with metal bad blood. It is drenched in raw emotion stemming from Stacey’s opening up the feelings he felt at the loss of his baby a few years back, the track sparking a thickly evocative and physical connection with thoughts and emotions even without initially knowing its background. On top, that union of contrasting vocals is simply irresistible as the track provides another peak in the lofty heights of the album.

New single Decommissioned steps forward next, the track initially hiding its musical vendetta behind melody nurtured smog before unleashing its rancorous tone and intensity like a fusion of Slipknot and Raging Speedhorn. Bred from the vitriol found in betrayal, there is no escaping the bitterness or galvanic potency of the track; its arousal of thoughts and attitude all have faced an unbridled stoking of pleasure which Forever Is A Prison keeps burning with its nagging riffs and biting beats alongside friction spilling vocals and melodic toxicity. Though at times the track does not quite match the heights of other songs within No More Forgiveness, it is the height of their prowess rather than its lacking which decides as again Dando exhilarates with his adventure and the band as a whole leaves a memorable invasion and heavy pleasure in its wake.

The release is closed up by One Eyed King which in only its first bundle of creative seconds has ears and appetite enthralled and even more intensively gripped as grooves sear and hooks pierce within a fiercely enjoyable barbarity of rhythmic vindictiveness and vocal conflict. It is an immense and thrilling not forgetting formidable end to an album which thrusts GraVil to the fore of the current metal scene. It was easy to think that after that mighty first album, GraVil had found a peak hard to massively improve upon; how wrong that thought was with No More Forgiveness leaving it and most other current releases engulfed in its wake.

No More Forgiveness is out now across most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/gravil/

Pete RingMaster 10/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Ninjaspy – Spüken

It is fair to say that Spüken, the new album from Canadian metallers Ninjaspy has been a long time in the making. With its ten tracks spanning a decade and its recording beginning late 2014, the band’s second full-length has had time and attention given its creation and character; it all reflected and more in its thoroughly enjoyable and imaginatively dynamic adventure.

Consisting of a trio of blood brothers in vocalist/guitarist Joel, bassist Tim, and drummer Adam Parent, Ninjaspy has honed a fusion of groove infested metal, reggae, and other heavy natured flavours which now roar mightily within Spüken. It is a web of sound which grabbed attention in the Vancouver threesome’s 2007 debut album Pi Nature and even more so in the following EP, No Kata six years later. Their new offering is the natural and lofty evolution of these earlier successes; a release weaving occasionally familiar but always unpredictable proposals which tease, flirt with, and persistently arouse the senses and imagination.

Linking up once more with producers GGGarth Richardson (Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mudvayne, Gallows) and Ben Kaplan (Biffy Clyro, Atreyu, Haste the Day), Ninjaspy gets the album under way with the single Speak, a track certainly sparking anticipation of Spüken with its release last August. Its relatively low key Australasian entrance cored by an emerging bait loaded groove soon leaps into a smouldering swinging stroll with more than an air of Dog Fashion Disco meets Faith No More to it. Subsequent raw outbursts come loaded with ferocity and zeal, trespassing with the same catchiness as the song’s mellower teasing where rhythms dance and the bass grumbles.

It is a stirring start swiftly eclipsed by Shuriken Dance. It too shows restraint in its initial coaxing, melodic twang and rumbling rhythms colluding in an understated but bold tempting before a web of sonic and creative espionage binds ears and appetite. A punk roar escapes the throat of Joel, his aggression matched by the punching beats of Adam and both tempered by the melodic exploits of guitar. Their calm is as deceptive as the raw touch they temper, each beckoning ears into a waiting System Of A Down-esque bedlam of psychotic sound and invention. The track is pure virulent infectiousness, drawing body and voice into union with its own twisted exploits.

The following Brother Man warmly grabs ears next like a collusion of Ruts and 12 Stone Toddler; its stalking groove and melodic coaxing a delicious mix soon embracing a reggae and metal induced tempest in turn proceeding to entangle all earlier aspects within its similarly and seriously catchy landscape. The further into its depths the more deranged twists show their voracious enticements as too mellower melodic but no less certifiable essences. Thorough captivation, it is more than matched in aberrant adventure by Dead Duck Dock. The song also follows those before it by making a relatively gentle melody woven entrance but also one soon showing argumentative discord in sound and intensity as its groove metal instincts rise. With hues of Slipknot and Society 1 to its growl, the song is a roar of creative irritability and intrigue never resting for long in one flavour or mood.

The outstanding Become Nothing is a loco romp revelling in a sound and imagination something akin to again SOAD  this time in league with Kontrust while What!! infests ears and satisfaction with a Skindred/American Head Charge scented escapade though as every reference used as a hint, it is a potent hue in a Ninjaspy bred roar.

The sweltering infection fuelled funk of Jump Ya Bones soon spins its own particular tapestry of rich flavours and various styles as it flirtatiously bounds through ears before Grip the Cage provides a more even tempered shuffle though it too expels moments of incendiary emotion and energy. They both equally push the diversity of the album and songs, that ten years of writing and maturing giving birth to Spüken skilfully shaping their varied designs.

The melody rich and increasingly agitated Azaria stretches that variety yet again, the song deceptively straight forward initially, luring ears into its own expectation defeating maze before Slave Vehemence brings it all to a thrilling close with a cauldron of capricious invention and impulsive ideation wrong-footing and exciting ears at every turn.

It is a fine end to an increasingly pleasing album unveiling new nuances and moments with every listen even after double figure plays. It is a release sure to harass global attention the way of Ninjaspy but more so leave new legion of fans lusting for their sound and presence.

Spüken is released April 14th

http://www.ninjaspy.net/    https://www.facebook.com/ninjaspy/    https://twitter.com/ninjaspy

Pete RingMaster 12/04/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Brightlight City – Our Future’s Not Dead

Having impressed with debut EP, Adventures in 2015, British rockers Brightlight City now reveal the blossoming invention and increasing maturity in their sound with successor Our Future’s Not Dead. Hinted at by a pair of singles last year, the new release is evidence of a band building on an impressive start and potential with stylish adventure whilst nurturing a whole new promise for continued growth.

Surrey bred, Brightlight City weave in inspirations from the likes of Hundred Reasons, Million Dead, Yourcodenameis:milo, At the Drive-In, Biffy Clyro, and Jimmy Eat World into their sound; indeed sparking comparisons to the former and others such as Thursday and Hell Is For Heroes with their melody rich and harmonically honed songs. Equally there is a fresh and potent catchiness and steel to Our Future’s Not Dead which as suggested was first glimpsed within last year’s singles Gravity and Thieves. It is a growth in sound which has come with an increasing reputation and praise for their live shows through the quintet sharing stages with Max Raptor, Fizzy Blood, Bad Sign, and Blood Youth and playing alongside Rise Against and Millencolin at Envol et Macadam Festival in Canada in 2015as well as their own shows.

Recorded with Matt Hyde (Funeral For A Friend, Bullet For My Valentine, Slipknot), Our Future’s Not Dead is likely to spark another bout of attention and hunger for Brightlight City, setting out its persuasive strength with opener It Depends On You. Skittish beats alongside vocal and guitar offered temptation bring the song into focus; their low key yet agitated attitude soon a full roar as vocalist Jamie Giarraputo heads a web of melodic enterprise from guitarists Jonathan Staunton and Justin Giarraputo, the latter adding his own potent vocal expression to the mix. Anthemic in heart, imposing in rhythm as the hefty jabs of drummer Ben Bell court the brooding lines of bassist Tom Stock, the track roars with energy and passion.

With a mellower air Leave A Light On follows, wiry melodies swimming round a throaty bassline as emotive vocals entice with distinctive expression. Once again there is an instinctive catchiness at work, never wavering as fiery textures evolve and unite in a livelier blaze of sound and emotion. In some ways it is a less intricate proposition than its predecessor but only to its strength as each element is a flame of craft and drama before making way for Heart Stops. The third track comes coated in the infectiousness of the opener, its swinging body almost pop punk like and relentlessly coaxing listener involvement with its vocal harmonies and controlled but boisterous swing; a tenacious essence just as open in the calmer moments of a song taking best track honours.

The EP is brought to an end by Past/Future, a track epitomising the evolution in the Brightlight City sound with its rounded fusion of melody and energy amidst a new depth of contagiousness and invention. As all the songs within Our Future’s Not Dead it is a memorable and lingering encounter going to make a thoroughly enjoyable and impressing release. The Brightlight City sound has yet to become something truly unique but as the EP shows, it is well on the way and providing some rather tasty encounters along the way.

Our Future’s Not Dead is out now through Undead Collective Records.

https://www.brightlightcityofficial.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/brightlightcityofficial   https://twitter.com/blcband

Pete RingMaster 12/04/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Magoa – Imperial

magoa-photo_RingMasterReview

If nothing else, these past couple of years have revealed that the French metal scene is at a striking high if maybe still not truly recognised outside of its national borders. That might be on the verge of changing if it continues to persist in producing bands and releases like Magoa and their new album Imperial. An outfit established within the French metal underground, the Paris hailing band has unleashed a proposition which just demands the richest attention.

Imperial sees the band’s tapping into and unleashing a brutality and a grouchily uncompromising attitude not as vocal in their music to date; a coincidence that the band kept everything about its creation in house? It is emotionally and physically raw yet woven with an imagination which makes its grievous groove infested sound stand out from the crowd. Imperial is a cauldron of varied strains of the fiercest metal genres honed into a virulence which infests ears, appetite, and psyche alike.

The successor to their well-received second album Topsy Turvydom of 2013, Imperial swiftly hints at something having stirred within the Magoa heart and creativity which eclipses all before with each passing minute let alone song. It opens up with its title track, a rousing call to arms which drifts in on a sonic mist broken up by warlike strikes. A melancholic melody slips into the brewing climate, vocalist Cyd Chassagne close behind sharing his dirt encrusted snarls as that lone melodic lure begins to flame with greater intensity within a growing tempestuous air. As grooves begin winding around bruising rhythms, the track rises to real anthemic heights, its roar of a chorus as defiant as it is provocative and contrasted superbly by the beauty of keys and mellower caresses of emotion.

It is a potent start which is soon over shadowed by the snarling brutality of Resistance, grievous riffs and senses shuddering rhythms to the fore. The track is superb, an angry beast of a proposal but one unafraid to show melodic elegance and sonic grace like oases within its vicious onslaught. As its predecessor, the song is a spirit raising anthem which arouses body and emotions before Sailors swings in with its own host of irritable beats and riffs, they soon evolving into one ridiculously infectious and addictive incitement. A great blend of vocal ire is matched by the array of textures within the track’s fiery sound, guitarists Vince and Drayton spinning an imagination snaring web of intrigue and suggestiveness, the bass and drummer  Martin’s lethal swipes antagonistic weight to be feared and embraced.

pochette_RingMasterReviewThere is something familiar about the encounter but an indefinable essence which just spices things up here and within tracks like the following heavyweight swing fest of Kill Us. It descends upon the senses with raw aggression and intent, taking them on a groove spun, melody enriched ride of fearsome yet anthemic savagery which just sparks the instincts.

Through the haunting melancholy of Merge, a less imposing affair but just as emotionally intense as cleaner vocals and resonating rhythms court piano nurtured melody and electronic atmospherics, and the brief and equally impacting Remember and its reminder of conflict’s casualties and protagonists, Imperial strikes another stirring chord with both setting up emotions for the thumping roar of Faith. Like a reassuring beacon within the more murderous aspects of the album, it is pure contagious revelry with its own truculent presence.

The calmer nature of Afterglow follows uncaging a nu/groove metal trespass which bellows with warrior strength and countenance but equally engages in less bruising exploits which further entangles the imagination. Sonic and melodic invention is as prevalent as another great mix of vocal confrontation, all topped off by deliciously scything strings.

Physical barbarism and emotive reflection unite within Endlessly next, the track a mix of bloodlust and warmer enticement, emotionally and musically, with the former holding the reins throughout, while Pray for Us is an emotion driven sonic clamour which whilst maybe lacking the spark of other tracks before it, leaves ears enjoyable ringing and appetite hungry for more which the bewitching Untouchable delivers with its low key but atmospherically thick and emotionally commanding serenade. Cyd’s clean vocals glide over the senses, the gentle haunt of keys and guitar fingering the imagination as the song resonates in thoughts as darker clouds loom on the back of heavier lumbering rhythms.

The album ends with the ruthlessly addictive and mercilessly anthemic The First Day, a track which will either have you cowering or raising a fist in defiant unity while summing up everything impressive and compelling about album and the new character of Magoa’s songwriting, invention, and inescapable sound.

If Imperial came from a Lamb Of God, Slipknot, or In Flames people would be raving about it; hopefully they still will just with the name Magoa upon their lips.

Imperial is out now across most online stores and @ http://magoamusic.com/shop/

https://www.facebook.com/Magoaband/   http://magoamusic.com/   https://twitter.com/magoamusic

Pete RingMaster 21/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dive Your Head – Le Prix du Sang

DYH_RingMasterReview

As much as the sounds and intensity of the release are highly agreeable there is a creative savagery to Le Prix du Sang (The Price of Blood) from French metallers Dive Your Head, which simply hits the spot. The debut album from the Sens hailing quintet is brutal and angry; a raging roar upon the senses but equally, though its body has a familiar feel at times, it offers a fury of imagination which sets it apart from most like inflamed offerings.

Formed in 2012, Dive Your Head quickly became a potent and well supported force on the local metal scene, subsequently venturing further across France from 2014 taking in over twenty shows across the country last year alone. Musically they seem to draw on bands such as Slipknot, Of Mice & Men, and Wunjo; at times bruising the senses with their infectious animosity like a brutalising Rise of the Northstar as Le Prix du Sang swiftly and powerfully reveals.

Though lyrically songs are delivered in the band’s mother tongue there is no escaping the fury and emotional ferocity behind them, intensity backed by similarly unleashed sounds as evidenced by opener Les Rois Perdus (The Lost Kings). From its first breath thick grooves and hungry riffs invade ears, an infectiousness shadowing their antagonistic nature as the rhythms of drummer Amaury Pereira take no prisoners. Vocalist Luca Depaul-Michau is soon in the midst of the wall of aggression, venting his heart and raw vocal chords as grooves continue to entangle ears and an already keen appetite for the band’s sound. It is not the most unique proposal yet the track needs little time to grab attention and spark the imagination being quickly and as forcibly backed by Avaritia (Greed). Stalking the senses with a slightly slower gait, the song is a tempest of riffs and heavy grooves cast by guitarists Maxime Schmitt and Mickael Altmeyer and though just a few big breaths over two minutes long, it makes a potent impact to continue the strong start of the album.

art_RingMasterReviewFeaturing LeXa, Luxuria steps forward next to instantly lay down a nagging riff swiftly joined by a likeminded and darker invitation from the bass of Xavier Mansiot. The track prowls the listener, those early riffs continuing to offer a repetitive lure as Depaul-Michau mixes his raw squalls with cleaner tones. As good as the previous pair of tracks are the third takes the album up another level, Dive Your Head showing greater and more distinct imagination.

Gula equally shows this kind of invention which maybe was not as open at the start of Le Prix du Sang, its scything twists and rapacious turns still mixing with established sounds and hues but providing the imagination with something fresh to chew on before Superbia (Pride) provides arguably the most sonically violent and certainly cancerous assault. Again though, there is a nagging virulence to riffs and grooves aligned to an overall catchiness which infests the senses scything swing of the excellent encounter.

A matching savaging comes through Ira next, its turns from lumbering predation to livelier rancorous trespasses highly enjoyable though the song lacks the same inventive spark of its predecessor at times. Nevertheless it only adds to the appeal of album and a sound which Postmortem elevates as its web of steely melodic tendrils and punishing rhythms entangles great clean vocals alongside the expected throat ripping roars. The kinder delivery works a treat providing a striking contrast which would be good to see the band use in future, its success here reinforced by the same success in closing track Invidia (Envy). Both tracks are as vicious and uncompromising as anything upon the album but show great potential for future explorations from the band. The final song features Kevin Fauvel and Maxim Keller, and a fusion of vocal styles which stir ears as the rest of Dive Your Head go to creative work on the senses with imposing riffs, harsh rhythms, and a compelling unity of craft.

Le Prix du Sang is not likely to be the most unique thing you will hear this year but it provides a great introduction to Dive Your Head which will ensure you will only, like us, want to hear much more.

Le Prix du Sang is available now via most online stores and @ http://www.diveyourhead.bigcartel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DiveYourHead

Pete RingMaster 02/09/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The beating of shadowed wings and inflamed hearts: introducing Darkstone Crows

Darkstone Crows_RingMasterReview

Hailing from Mississauga, Ontario, Darkstone Crows is a fresh metal bred fire on the Toronto music scene with a sound which simply demands attention. Now as they prepare their debut album for release later in the year, the quintet is beginning to poke at ears and spotlights further afield. With thanks to the band, we take a look into the heart and creative passion of alternative metallers…

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

Chanel Martins-lead vocals, Nick Sawicki and Jiv Marshall-guitars, Russ Shipman-bass and backing vocals, Matt Skypas-drums.

Jiv and Elle started the band back in 2014 and went through a bunch of line-up shuffles. Russ joined in July 2014, Matt was February 2015. Nick replaced our last guitarist in January 2016. We’re just a group of friends making metal music, we want to do it the best we can and not cut corners, really make a work that we can be proud of, that means something.

Have you been/are involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

Russ, Matt and Nick have been involved with bands before, and Chanel has been singing since she was four years old. We all bring something from our experiences to the table but we’re learning a lot as well so our personal style has evolved with the music we’re making.

Russ: I’ve been in a ton of bands before Darkstone Crows, but I would have to say that my first real band (Get!Wise punk-metal, 2008-2013) was very influential on my ethics and approach to songwriting. I learned to jam and to listen to the other players in the band, to build and to lock into groove. I wouldn’t say that any other band I’ve played in before had any direct impact on what I’m doing now.

Elle: No bands, but I’ve been heavily involved with a lot of contemporary music and lessons since I was four years old. Discovering metal definitely made my previous training and experience have an impact on my current endeavours, in a backwards way.

Jiv: Nothing really.

Nick: Prior to the band I was just working out in the gym and studying hard in school. I write and produce a lot of my own music as well, so I was into that before this.

Matt: I was involved in a small band before, nothing too serious, but it set my mind on where I wanted to go and led to where I am now.

Any particular story or inspiration behind the band’s name?

The shared inability to utter a complete sentence without stumbling over our swollen tongues…The name was discovered by accident. Jiv stumbled over her words while saying the original idea “Dark Storm Crows” and said “Darkstone Crows” and we all liked it.

Photo by Carey Costa

Photo by Carey Costa

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

As the initial birth of the band was Jiv’s brainchild, her original concept follows:

Jiv: Initially we were called “Pariah”, and the meaning behind the name was to represent a band that wrote songs for people who felt like social outcasts. Even though Darkstone Crows still speaks of injustices lyrically, we identify with a broader collection of movements and issues with many varying opinions. For me, I was very engrossed by the female punk movement of the 1970’s, so I wanted to create an all-girl punk band. My musical approach was very raw and simplistic. But obviously, as musicians grow and change the music changes with them, especially when all the different members offer their own influences. As we grew together, our exposure to different music exploded, even as our vision, direction and music did too.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

The same things still drive us and many more things as well, we’re constantly finding inspiration around us, and there’s a real drive to succeed and explore, to push boundaries that keeps driving us forward.

[Equally, things have] definitely evolved, but not to the point that we lost sight of what the end goal was. We want to travel the world, bring our music to as many people as we can, make our mark too, and have fun doing it.

How would you say your sound has evolved since starting out?

Our sound was very raw and stripped down, influenced by a lot of older rock and metal; from bluesy rock/metal in the early days to the pseudo-progressive alt-metal it is now, though we haven’t removed many elements of our early sound, but sculpted around them and experienced different types of rock and metal and how they can meld together tastefully.

Has it been an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

A bit of both inherent in the evolutionary process; we’ve become better musicians and writers so that was a very organic growth and a natural evolution. We naturally started writing differently as we expanded our playing, but there was a definite wish to push in different directions that we acted on. The better we got, the more comfortable we got, the more our music grew in complexity. Of late, since our initial guitarist left and Nick joined, we have been deliberately shaping our sound. He’s especially good at listening to ideas and improvising, so that has been a big step forward.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approaches and ideas to creating and playing music?

Lamb of God, Disturbed, and Periphery definitely cap the list, to a lesser extent Halestorm, Slipknot, System of a Down, and Tool have been big influences on our sound.

Definitely Halestorm, Slipknot, and Periphery, all those bands are wild performers and incredible musicians as well, truly inspirational.

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

Just try not to think too hard, and keep our minds open and concentrated simultaneously. Gold nuggets of music could come from the strangest things and at the weirdest moment. It could be an elbow knocking the strings a certain way that produces unique feedback that kicks off a whole song, you never know.

Usually we start with a riff and build around it, adding other parts that fit nicely and connecting the different parts afterwards. Once we establish parts and the vocal melody is written lyrics are drafted and we start fine-tuning.

Where are inspirations to the lyrical side of your predominantly songs drawn?

 Photo by Rachel Carys Gosling

Photo by Rachel Carys Gosling

Anything around us, in our world, any thought, any emotion, cause and effect, pertinent global issues like the environment, war, famine, and poverty. Personal struggles with alcoholism, drug abuse, homelessness, ire, rage, depression, euphoria, and victory. Our songs are very dark in mood, however not necessarily darkly worded (although more often than not darkly worded).

Predominantly Jiv, and Russ write lyrics, Jiv takes ideas from injustices she see in the world around her, the media, while Russ’ lyrics hit closer to home and tend to be more metaphoric in content.

Give us some background to your latest release.

Our newest release, our first full length album, is going to be available later this year (we’re aiming to release it in October). We’re currently recording and producing the album ourselves and it’s going to be massive. This album is very different from our debut EP (Darkstone Crows, June 2015), it’s much sleeker, the songs are more complex, and we’re incorporating far more instruments, as well as some feature performances. You’ll experience a more broad sonic adventure that delves into many facets of rock and metal. Our first EP, which was recorded and mixed by Dr. Sean at TRH Studios in Scarborough, CA, is much more raw; recorded stripped down and very loud. There is a punk aesthetic to this EP, hiding behind the pounding rock beats and shredding guitar solos. Definitely an honest, solid debut, perfectly illustrating the drive and hunger we were feeling at the time.

Would you give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

The album’s themes are directed at injustices around the globe, from the environment to civil rights, as well as a couple that delve into the human mind and touch on addiction or mental illness.

[In regard to the first EP] Hell To Pay was written in opposition to police brutality (this was written back in 2014, before any major organizations like BLM were even founded). Easily the darkest song on the record, and still one we play today. Sidewinder, so named after the missile and the desert snake. An apt title, as this song was written near the conclusion of the coalition occupation of Afghanistan that began with the World Trade Center attacks in 2001, loosely referencing 9/11 conspiracy theories but more importantly expressing outrage at a protracted military occupation. Deadhead is an ode to street kids and the homeless struggling to scrape a living and fight their demons every day. Fathoms is our salute to the men and woman who come out to our shows, who we’ve met and befriended, partied and laughed with. It’s about the feeling of hitting the stage and having really awesome people love what you’re doing, and scream the words back at you over the PA system.

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

For the most part we write before the studio. Only recently, with a home studio being acquired, were we able to implement recording into the writing process. It has many benefits, not the least of which is it’s now almost impossible to forget parts! It’s worked both ways for this record, plenty of trial and error, but with such high costs to record in studio we like to be prepared to nail those takes.

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

Our live shows are full of energy, we try to project our excitement onto the crowd, even joining them in the pit occasionally. We’re constantly in motion and want to turn up and just go for it. If you come to our shows, expect to meet at least one of us in the crowd. We aren’t afraid to get close to our audience, mosh with our guitars, whatever it takes to get everyone having a good time. We try to put on a bombastic show, something memorable and huge. Showmanship isn’t out-dated yet, right?

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

Every scene has an opportunity for a band, the trick is making your mark and being able to leave for a bit, tour around, and come back to find your mark still there. You have to make an impression on people, really work the excitement out of your audience.

Toronto has exploded recently, not on the metal front, but in the general vein of music, so that’s generated a kind of Mecca for producers and label reps. That being said, these guys aren’t necessarily looking for a metal band, which is cool because we have more to offer than just grinding riffage and double bass. We definitely have our foot in the door, but we’re still growing as a unit and brighter horizons await.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

It can definitely be a tedious task, continuously having to type updates and promote shows, mail out merch, upload photos/songs, the list goes on. But, if you love something, you’ll deal with the boring and the crap times because it will come back to you in the end. Social media is definitely helping us at the moment, not only are we diligent about it but we have the right people for the job. Matt is a brilliant graphic artist and designer and Elle is a promoter and Event Management student. All things good must come to an end, but global reach on social media hasn’t gone bad just yet. Bands these days should definitely invest the time into learning how to mould social media, it is invaluable. Anything has the possibility to become negative if overused or utilised improperly, the trick is the learn all you can about using social media and keep your content professional.

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

We’ve had it under wraps for a couple months now, but we are featuring the amazing Lindsay Schoolcraft, keyboardist/vocalist of UK metal band Cradle of Filth, on two tracks from our upcoming release. So we’re pretty excited about that. Beyond that just more music and we’re beginning to shoot more videos as well, so following our YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiJ2zCXgHfsnUurrge-UyoQ ) and Instagram (@darkstonecrows) will keep you up to date on that stuff.

http://darkstonecrows.wixsite.com/darkstone-crows   https://twitter.com/darkstonecrows   https://www.facebook.com/darkstonecrows

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 19/08/2016

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