Bleeding Raven Interview

BLEEDING RAVEN is the aggrotech/dark tek project from Dean Mason of Gnostic Gorilla. Recently he released its debut album via Cleopatra Records. We had the pleasure to chat with Dean about the album, his latest project, a career and life changing set back and much more…  

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

The pleasure is all mine man.

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

In a land…far far away…hahahahaha…Ok, but seriously… I first got the ‘itch’ to record music when I was a teen-ager in high school. Some buddies and I went into a little studio and recorded two songs for a single release. (Dark Hallway/Golgotha) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p05YqqTOS_M  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=047Pk2GhPnY

Thanks to my lovely parents I released a vinyl 45 rpm as just “Dean Mason” with “Lonely Ghost Productions” as the name of the makeshift indie label. I got ‘itchy’ again in 2001 and began looking at music again, but did very little. In 2012, I got right into recording electronic music of a dark bent and scent and thus was born “Gnostic Gorilla” eventually. (I released stuff as The Lonely Ghost Project initially but changed the name to “Gnostic Gorilla”) In 2018, Cleopatra Records released “St. Basil’s Asylum”. (Gnostic Gorilla) In May of this past year, after releasing quite a few albums on different labels (KL Dark Records, Nowhere Now Records, Throne of Bael Records and LGP-ONE) I wanted to pursue something more ‘aggrotech’ in style. That’s when I initiated the “Bleeding Raven” project. Cleopatra released “Darkness Consumed” in October of this year.

How have those earlier impacted on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

As I mentioned earlier, I started off as just “Dean Mason” as a lad. In 2012, the Lonely Ghost Project was launched (so to speak) and then “Gnostic Gorilla” and from that evolved what we are talking about today…that is…the Bleeding Raven Project. My early music in these other projects was a mix of ‘Goth/Dark Wave/Dark Tek/Industrial’. I really wanted to do something more bizarre and almost literally more noisy and that’s when I initiated “Bleeding Raven”. It’s more aggrotech, but I also call it… “dungeon trash”…hahahahahahahahahaha I even have a shirt with that on it.   https://www.dizzyjam.com/products/157830/ 

The image or character of the ‘raven’ is common in First Nations lore and even spirituality. The raven can either be a trickster or mischievous little critter or it can be sort of a symbol of the soul preparing for death of being taken back to the Great Creator. Different nations/tribes have different ideas and stories about the raven. The ‘bleeding’ part more or less speaks of suffering, of hurt etc. So, like my lyrics however, even with the image, I allow people to have their own interpretations. That said, I think always…DAILY…of my many sisters and brothers in the First Nations communities who suffer immensely because of a racist attitude towards them. There are many…MANY young Native women/girls who have gone missing and the effort to find them hasn’t always been fervent. As well, the suicide rate among First Nation teens is extremely high.

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

Well, in the Spring of 2019, I had to be on the road a bit and for some long drives, I acquired on my iTunes a few albums of a more industrial bent. That includes a couple of compilations of various bands. I discovered acts like Die Sektor and Psyclon Nine and I felt very inspired to go in this direction. I sort of started to go in that direction as “Gnostic Gorilla” but I wanted a new project that was mostly aggrotech in style. I came up with the ‘dungeon trash’ (LOL) I released in October and I am very proud of it!

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

Definitely evolved over time. So, when I first started off, I was more into a Gothic sound or industrial. And I still love a lot of that stuff. Always will. St. Basil’s Asylum is a classic and I’m just so sad that it’s still not discovered by many yet. But anyway, yeah…things do evolve. That said, I don’t like the idea of being in a ‘genre house arrest’ and being narrow minded in your approach to music. But either way, it’s all over for me in music anyway so…I’ve done what I could.

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

Well, from the really early days, that is from the days of the Dark Hallway release, things really evolved dramatically. First of all, that 45 was like a mish mash of metal/punk pre-grunge I guess. I was heavily influenced by Gary Numan and yet, try as I did my vocal style was markedly different than his. It’s later that I appreciated that. But, see…I love ALL sorts of music. I mean, sometimes I’m just knee deep  into The Doors and more psychedelic shit and other days I’m into Dio and Sabbath and Type O Negative and Ministry and Rammstein. Other days it’s The Cure or Smashing Pumpkins or of course, classic Numan and Japan or Bauhaus. So, a lot of what I do depends on where I’m at and I guess when it comes to music, I’m moody as hell. hahahahahaha

Do you find the changes have been more of an organic movement of sound or you deliberately wanting to try new things?

I’d say the latter, yeah.

Presumably , and you have touched on them already, there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on your music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

So, I make a distinction between that which has inspired and that which has influenced more directly my own style. The artists/bands that have been inspirations are many. Gary Numan, KISS, Type O Negative, Black Sabbath, Rammstein, Japan (David Sylvian) Ozzy, Manson, Korn, Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, Bauhaus, Zardonic, Fear Incorporated, Frost Like Ashes, CRIX IIX and the list is endless. As for those who have been influences, while they include some of the names listed already, I’d say Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Psyclon Nine, Die Sektor. As I always do in any interview, the band that will forever be my absolute favourite is The Doors. The Doors and Gary Numan are both at the top of my own personal ‘chart’.

I also want to give a shout out to Tim Muddiman and NOT because of his connection to Gary Numan. Tim has ventured into more graphic arts in recent years and he is doing some amazing work. THAT very much inspires me…or better yet…I honour the man as an artist in every sense of the word…as a true artist.

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

Yeah, mostly I start off with a vague idea of want kind of song I want to do, Then I begin with beats and drum patterns and bass lines or even synth lines. (it depends) I get a general idea of the direction I want to go in before going far into the track. So, I begin to choose the different sounds and samples/loops that I want as well to give it a mood. More often than not, I manipulate these and distort or whatever to make them unique. Then as the song evolves, there’s the question of whether or not I want a traditional chorus (often not because that’s too pop) and I allow the track to sort of dictate to me where it’s going. Sort of like a First Nations wood carver who allows the ‘wood’ to speak to them as they say. Then when I have a rough demo, I begin writing lyrics and then record vocals. That’s the tough part for many reasons. Lots of hit and miss with that process. I’ve written an entire set of lyrics for a song only to discover that something else would work better and I have to (at times) chop out some of the lyrics. Hard to explain.  Also, sometimes I record the vocals and it sounds like shit. I mean, there is a need for a different ‘style’ all together. After all the vocals are recorded, I go back and add more …sometimes a sample here or an FX noise there or whatever. I’m quite ADD so if there are any sort of ‘blank stare’ moments in a song…that’s unacceptable. It has to be busy. I’m told my music is VERY busy. Then there is the final mix which is a real pain in the ass. Sometimes even at that stage you decide… “nah…this is total shit”! It’s a bit of a drag when that happens though man because you’ve come all the way to a full song and you realize it isn’t happening.

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

First off, good for you for asking that because lyrics are important for me… I realize it’s not what the listener first becomes aware of…but for me, the lyrics are important. Anyway, so…I don’t write any lyrics with any sort of ‘agenda’. In other words, I don’t preach or dictate anything. I like a very poetic approach to the lyrics with lots of imagery. Now, that said, there are certain subjects that inspire me. I often write about religious themes or philosophical themes and often touch upon injustice and hypocrisy and hate and injustice for example. But I do so in veiled/poetic language. I want the listener to decide for themselves what it could mean.

Give us some background to your latest release.

 “Darkness Consumed” touches upon a few subjects…again in veiled language. One of the tracks is called “Pontiff’s Nightmare” which is actually about St. Francis. He more or less spooked the Pope at the time with his authentically radical life style and that Pope had a dream about Francis. Francis challenged the corruption of the time by the way he lived. “Salem Vigil” is sort of… but not completely about the Salem witch trials. The song actually addresses the unfortunate phenomenon of ‘religious people’ oppressing and persecuting people who don’t fit their narrow definition of what it means to be ‘good’ or ‘decent’ and ‘righteous’.  In the end, these arrogant and often ignorant people of so called ‘faith’ are the ones who are truly evil because of the harm they inflict on many borne out of their hatred and unenlightened worldview.  

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

So, “Darkness Consumed”…that very title isn’t a nod to evil or the promotion of ‘darkness’. It’s actually about the fact that somehow, ‘TRUTH’ (light) will ‘consume the darkness’ and overcome it. That’s sort of the idea in brief. As I said, I want people to decide for themselves however what something can mean for them.

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

Going back to the very first single “Dark Hallway”…I had everything figured out (with lyrics) when I presented the tracks to the band. I wrote the lyrics in English class (Dark Hallway) while under the influence of benzodiazepines. Hahahahahahaha We were reading “Death of a Salesman” in that class and it was, to say the least, a rather dark story. hahahahahaha

Tell us about the live side to Bleeding Raven.

I have lost the hearing in the left ear completely and totally. It happened in October…Very traumatic actually. I have to protect the little hearing I have left in the right ear which is at half capacity. I want to be able to hear the voices of the ones I love and the more natural sounds in life. For all intents and purposes…I’m deaf. Music is no longer an option. Especially live music, even if I wanted to do something live with a band. Music has been such an important part of my life obviously…but that’s over. That’s the future.

It is not easy for any new artist/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?

You’re correct. It’s very difficult to ‘break through’ in this day and age. There’s just too much out there. I mean, everyone and their cat is putting stuff out. There are so many genres today and so many…MANY indie folks (like me) who have stuff out there and are competing with the ‘big boys and gals’. You have to be creative to get known because sadly, younger people are not interested in new music aside from what they become aware of through video games or TV/Movies. I mean, I’m seriously over generalizing perhaps but it is true that, young people today don’t appreciate music the way people did in the past. They don’t grasp the concept of music as ‘art’ anymore. That’s not their fault. But because of the technology that we have today and with social media platforms…there is too much out there and for younger people, music is just “there for the taking” the way fruit on trees is there to pluck. So, you have to be creative in how you get people to notice you today. It’s not easy.

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?

So, this is sort of a continuation of the previous question. Here’s the thing, the internet and social media and digital music etc. is here and it’s here to stay. We are still trying to adapt to this I suppose. Now, you could lament and dream of the “good old days” but that’s all it will ever be…a ‘dream’. Musicians/artists have to adapt. In many ways, it has been a blessing. Many artists would have never been able to put their stuff out there so to speak were it not for the kind of technology we have today. See, I picked up music again in 2012 but only as a hobby. I then, almost jokingly put some of my stuff out there as an indie/unsigned act and I eventually got a label deal with Cleopatra Records, which for me is phenomenal. I will have three releases with Cleopatra Records by end of 2020. (the last one is another Gnostic Gorilla album) I also have releases with three other labels. So, none of that would have happened were it not for the technology we have at our disposal. I guess it’s sort of what you make of it, like anything else.

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

Thanks again to you for the great (and extensive) interview. Reveal?

Ok…I’m  B A T M A N.  Hahahahahahaha  No but, seriously, I thank the many people who have been supportive of me in one way or another…be it family or friends and certainly Benny at Cleopatra Records. As I said earlier, because of the extreme hearing loss (actually deaf completely in one ear and the other is severely compromised) …I have to pack it in with regards to music. I will promote what I have and will have out soon (already recorded obviously) and perhaps a book of lyrics and that’s it. Cheers.

Dean

https://bleedingraven.bandcamp.com/   https://www.facebook.com/bleedingravenofficial/   http://www.bleedingraven.com

Pete RingMaster 17/01/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Stolen Dead Music – Penny Drop

UK based ScreamLite Records is one of those labels which you just have to keep a close ear on. Their hunger for fresh and exciting new music is the match to that of a fan meaning attention for their releases is certainly a given here. This month sees the label release the new EP from Newcastle outfit Stolen Dead Music which ScreamLite announced was “the first band to really get our feet tapping in 2019” though what the rest of their bodies were up to we don’t know because the three tracks making up the Penny Drop EP just had us bouncing from head to toe.

Formed in 2017, Stolen Dead Music take the inspiration of bands such as Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer, Black Flag, Pixies, QOTSA, and NiN into a sound which stands distinctly aside of what expectations assume going by that list. It is a blend of alternative and noise rock with numerous other flavours involved sitting uniquely amongst the equally striking enterprise of bands like Japanese Fighting Fish, Houdini, Damn Vandals, and Max Raptor and providing so much to get excited over.

The EP opens up with its title track, Penny Drop initially stroking ears with fuzz loaded riffs before the same guitar begins deviously scything across the senses as the tones of vocalist/guitarist Jimi Trimmer break. Simultaneously the tenaciously strolling beats of drummer Aidan McGill erupt alongside the just as sturdy bassline of Lewis Patterson, guitarist Issak Patternson continuing to tease and tempt alongside the lures of Trimmer. Just as you think you have a handle on the song, it twists into a whole new channel of virulence to manipulate and seduce, never once taking its foot off its imagination and feverish enterprise.

It is an outstanding track and start to the release more than matched by next up Shunt. Rhythms straight away toy with ears and appetite, the guitars getting in on the act with their web of teasing melodic wires. Loaded with hooks and grooves, the band’s rock ‘n’ roll is a devious persuasion and in full lustfulness within the second song. There is a great Pere Ubu-esque whiff to the track at times too which only escalates its call on instincts and sure allegiance to its feral like energy and imagination.

Gallows Humour completes the release, the instrumental simply an irresistible shuffle of salacious melodic hooks and boisterous rhythms casting intimation and addiction with ease.

The Penny Drop EP is in many ways just a teaser to the Stolen Dead Music songbook, the three tracks picked out from their repertoire to mark their link up with ScreamLite Records but a wake up to all of us previously unaware of their potential and thrilling adventure. Anticipation for more is already drooling here.

The Penny Drop EP is out now on ScreamLite Records across numerous stores and @ https://screamliterecords.bandcamp.com/album/stolen-dead-music-penny-drop

https://www.facebook.com/StolenDeadMusic/   https://twitter.com/StolenDeadMusic   https://stolendeadmusic.bandcamp.com

Pete RingMaster 13/06/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Bastard Disco – China Shipping

Maybe more recognised for its metal diversity and prowess, over the years we have found that the Polish independent music scene breeds some rather fine propositions within other musical flavours. The latest to come to our attention is the noise rock fuelled alternative rock of Bastard Disco and particularly their new album, China Shipping. Across nine ear grabbing tracks, the Warsaw quartet’s sophomore full-length is a magnetic affair as raw and hungry as it is melodically seductive; one of those encounters you cannot help taking real notice of.

Formed in 2015, Bastard Disco finds inspiration in the likes of Fugazi, Quicksand, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, and The Pixies for their own individual sound. 2017 saw the well-received release of debut album Warsaw Wasted Youth via Poland’s oldest independent label, Antena Krzyku. The band has united with the label once again for China Shipping, a release swiftly engaging ears with opener Sophia. The coaxing grooves of guitarist Kamil Fejfer lay down a potent lure, the accompanying grumble of Paweł Cholewa’s bass and the swinging beats of Marek Kamiński soon eagerly accentuating the early temptation. As vocalist Yuri Kasianenko’s melodic tones join the captivation, the track almost haunts the imagination, its hooks and quickly established enterprise proving very easy to devour.

Future Crimes follows, opening with the great dirty growl of Cholewa’s bass before contrasting its grumble with the melodic jangle of guitar. As with its predecessor, familiar essences collude with bold fresh endeavour to create an individual character and presence; its melodic and harmonic boisterousness adding to that distinctiveness. There is a sonic mugginess to song and sound too which similarly just lured ears in and though maybe missing the striking hooks of the opener, the track effortlessly held court before Time Traveller offered up its own humid noise cultured breath. Something akin to Dinosaur Jr meets Big Black the song proved increasingly compelling and contagious as it nagged an already eagerly involved appetite.

Next up is Clear!, a slice of scuzzy indie rock with punk voracity to its infectious holler. Its highly potent persuasion soon matched by that crafted by the outstanding Shining Confidence. The track was pure fascination, its melodic seduction and sultry climate a mesmeric setting for the track’s devilish groove spun chorus. It is another with familiar elements but never proved anything but unique to Bastard Disco while Ministry of Self-Defence emulated that originality straight after with its own sonically dissonant bounce and confrontation. Ferocious yet melodically seductive, feral but craftily conjured, the track provides another particularly compelling highlight before Game of Patriots stole the show. Its first breaths bring the hypnotic coaxing of Kamiński’s beats, every subsequent one exposing his manipulative dexterity as the equally nefariously antics of bass and guitar just enforce the track’s virulence. Kasianenko is just as magnetic alongside their tenacious enterprise, providing further impassioned flaming to the song’s fiery eruptions.

The closing pair of Sink or Swim and B-side Son ensure China Shipping leaves as potently as it arrives, the first enjoying the union of a grumble dark rhythmic incitement and scuzz lined melodic intimation around the perpetually tempting vocals of Kasianenko. The final track is all spirited bounce and creative contagion beneath vocal and emotive energy; a rousing memorable finale to an equally stirring release rather easy to highly recommend.

China Shipping is out now via Antena Krzyku; available digitally @ https://bastarddisco.bandcamp.com/album/china-shipping and on CD/LP through http://www.antenakrzyku.pl/en/shop/bastard-disco-china-shipping-lpdownload-preorder-release-date-030519-kopia/

https://www.facebook.com/bastarddisco/

 Pete RingMaster 21/05/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Big Jesus – Oneiric

Pic cred: Chris Sullivan

Pic cred: Chris Sullivan

Imposingly dreamy, Oneiric is a proposal which simply infests, seduces, and lingers with increasing potency listen by listen. The new album from Atlanta bred outfit Big Jesus, the transfixing Oneiric is a warm serenade of the senses but equally has a predacious side to its shadows and rhythmic weight which hooks eager attention. Mellow and raw, seductive and fiery, the band’s sound sits somewhere between My Bloody Valentine and Deftones, Smashing Pumpkins and Palms but is all the time weaving its own distinct adventures now collected on one gripping album.

According to vocalist/bassist Spencer Ussery, the Big Jesus sound was bred on inspirations found in nineties rock;  everything from metal, psychedelic pop, shoegaze, hip hop, and classical piano music impacting on the ideas and music of the band. It is a mix which lured potent interest in the band with the release of their debut album One, and is set to escalate as the Matt Hyde (Deftones, Slayer, Monster Magnet, Sum 41, Alkaline Trio) produced Oneiric swarms over more and more ears.

Bringing four tracks from their earlier release with six new encounters, Oneiric quickly grabs ears and imagination with opener SP, the song instantly a writhing mix of fuzzy melodies and hungry grouchy riffs. It is imposing yet inviting, especially as the warm tones of Ussery float across the feisty landscape of the song. Guitarists CJ Ridings and Thomas Gonzalez cast a great web of warm and aggressive enterprise too, riffs and grooves a conflicting yet beautifully united adventure which with the ethereal nature of Ussery’s voice offers a House Of Love meets Smashing Pumpkins enticing.

art_RingMasterReviewThe snarling air of Ussery’s bass and the intensively swinging beats of Joe Sweat make a matching powerful lure, their driving energy and dark nature as virulent in the following pair of Always and Lock & Key. The first of the two is a ridiculously catchy affair, it’s relentlessly twisting grooves and rhythms a feistily contagious invitation wrapped in magnificent psychedelia/ shoegaze spiced vocals while its successor musically ventures down the same creative avenue to create its own tempting while caressing the senses with romantic melodies as sonic suggestiveness warms with celestial hues. Again there is heaviness and intensity involved which sublimely tempers the bright air and only increases the potency on ears and imagination.

Through the rapacious directness and melodic meanderings of Floating Past You and the gentle yet intrusive and slightly melancholic croon of Fader, the album transfixes with ease while their successors, the sonically incendiary Shards and the heavy metal hued Oneirica only tighten the pull of one increasingly engaging encounter. The latter is another song which fizzes with infectious vitality and a rhythmic boisterousness which seems to inspire all the other elements making up the outstanding and seriously enjoyable multi-flavoured track.

Shrimp caresses the senses with its melodic and vocal gossamer next; a golden kiss on ears with a fiercer underbelly. it is an irresistible calling on appetite and emotions before Felt In Reverse coaxes the senses with magnetic reverberation into another sonically flaming and vocally seductive fire of sound and imagination. As at times across the album, surface elements of the song seem a touch similar to that of other tracks but with closer focus and each subsequent play, the song reveals its own mesmeric and often wonderfully volatile character of craft and invention.

Concluded by Heaviest Heart and its mix of irritable predatory riffs and airy almost diaphanous melodies and harmonies, Oneiric is pure temptation in your speakers. As suggested, the album simply grows and further entangles the listener with every listen, unveiling plenty to satisfy fans of rock music from psych and melodic rock to shoegaze and grunge.

Oneiric is out now via Mascot Label Group / Mascot Records and available across most online stores and @ http://www.mascotlabelgroup.com/big-jesus/

http://bigjesus.net/   https://www.facebook.com/bigassjesus/   https://twitter.com/bigassjesus

Pete RingMaster 07/10/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Gavin Chappell-Bates – We Are The Ones

GCB_RingMasterReview

The beginning of the year saw British singer songwriter/guitarist, Gavin Chappell-Bates unveil the video for new track Refugees. It was an ear catching offering also providing a teaser for the Cambridge musician’s forthcoming debut album. Now the release of We Are The Ones is upon us and fair to say if that earlier proposition spiced up the tastes buds there is plenty more highly flavoursome goodness to be found and feasted upon in the thoroughly enjoyable album.

The musical desire and devotion of Chappell-Bates is said to go back to the age of eleven and being inspired by Sgt. Pepper, an ‘awakening’ backed by “ his musical friends and a few early lessons by Ezio’s Booga.” Learning his craft playing in various local bands  which included Bokaata, The Deadlines, We Are Godzilla, and Up & Atom , Chappell-Bates decided to pursue a solo career in 2014, drawing on influences listed as The Beatles, Feeder, Aerosmith, Buddy Holly, The Bee Gees, Smashing Pumpkins, Our Lady Peace, and majorly Manic Street Preachers for his own creative adventures. The following year saw first EP, Black Holes released. Its attention provoking presence was followed by the singles 95 and We Are The Ones, each luring more eager ears the way of his emergence. Equally live he has been sparking strong praise and support around the UK, playing venues such as Bury St. Edmunds’ The Hunter Club, The Rescue Rooms in Nottingham, and in London the likes of Hoxton Bar and Sebright Arms.

Already earning strong radios play on BBC Introducing, BBC 6 Music, and XFM among many others and being was nominated for Best Male Solo Artist in the 2015 NMG Awards, Chappell-Bates is looking to now spark national awareness, something We Are The Ones certainly has the potential to give a potent nudge to. Produced by James Coppolaro, who with drummer Rob Gibiaqui (Sergey Lazarev, The Pinker Tones) plays alongside Chappell-Bates on the release, the album swiftly has ears keenly attentive with opener Church Of Rock ‘N’ Roll. A rousing and contagious slice of sound boisterously living up to its title, the song springs punk riffs and spicy hooks on ears as Chappell-Bates’ vocals lead its lively anthemic pull. It is a punchy and infectious start setting up an eagerness to hear more which the following All Ways more than satisfies.

Art_RingMasterReviewThe second song equally has an infectious swing to its presence whilst pursuing a more melodic/alternative rock imagination in its energetic persuasion. As with many songs there is a familiarity to the sound and nature of the song but equally a fresh essence that highlights Chappell-Bates’ own invention, the following 95 another example. It carries an air of the decade of rock spawning its title yet casts a vibrant pop ‘n’ roll flavouring which has the catchiness of modern rock pop flirtation. Its pleasing presence is matched in success by Refugee next, its initial gentle melodic caress growing in weight and intensity as keys shimmer in the background. Soon that brewing intent erupts in a fiery crescendo and chorus before repeating the cycle to engaging effect with Chappell-Bates’ vocals again a potent hue to his songwriting and its colourful realisation. A more subtle but increasingly provocative texture is provided by guest violinist Prue Ward and cellist Anna Scott, their evocative and here melancholic imagination a great spicing colouring a handful of tracks hereon in.

The album’s title track is another; its melodically reflective balladry evolving into a warm and inescapably catchy rock pop canter framed and steered by a robust and tenacious web of beats before making way for the acoustic tempting of Writing In The Sand and in turn the delicious spirit sparking incitement of Black Holes. The first of the songs has a sunny air to its infectious gait and a smouldering intimacy to its vocal and lyrical embrace whilst the second immediately has ears and imagination gripped with its opening throaty bassline and subsequent tone. A Nirvana-esque feel coats the beginning of the song whilst its emerging virulent stroll lies somewhere between Weezer and The Presidents of the United States of America, all essences combining to colour an encounter whipping hips and voice into eager involvement as it takes favourite song accolades on the album.

Dead End Disco Streets brings a great electronic spicing to its magnetic and physically buoyant temptation, indie and electro pop flavours uniting to embrace and dance with the equally spirited vocals before Follow The Light unveils its own animated serenade which dances with ears rather than laying sentimentally upon them though it is certainly emotively shaped and fuelled. As if any more proof was needed, the song is further evidence that Chappell-Bates knows how to write pop and rock songs which simply stir attention, proof swiftly backed by The Finest Hour and its Big Country like landscape of melodic and folkish hues.

The album concludes with firstly Last Angel, an emotionally intense country spiced ballad featuring the guest vocals of Kathryn James and keys of Jamie Brooks, and finally the acoustic/folk pop sparkle of Starlight. Both songs have brightness to their sentiment loaded proposals, especially the last which with a hug of strings is edgy and provocative as the best pop ballads always are.

Certainly some songs ignited more lusty reactions than others, but from its first note to last syllable, We Are The Ones is a proposition that can only be enjoyed from an artist with the potential to made big strides in the UK rock/pop scene.

We Are The Ones is released April 8th through R*E*P*E*A*T Records and @ https://gavinchappellbates.bandcamp.com/album/we-are-the-ones

http://gavinchappellbates.com/   https://www.facebook.com/GavinChappellBates   https://twitter.com/GChappellBates

Pete RingMaster 07/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Supersonic Blues Machine – West of Flushing South of Frisco

Photo By Alex Solca

Photo By Alex Solca

Not so much a super group but a collective of irresistible talent, Supersonic Blues Machine release their debut album, West of Flushing South of Frisco, this February and a collection of blues fuelled tracks which leave ears glowing with satisfaction. Centred around the trio of bassist/producer Fabrizio Grossi, guitarist/singer Lance Lopez, and drummer Kenny Aronoff, band and release provide a tapestry of craft and heart fuelled enterprise which, even if blues is not the prime source of your musical tastes, simply stirs up an eager appetite with its tenacious rock ‘n’ roll.

The beginnings of the band began in 2012 with Lopez, when planning a visit to Los Angeles to record a new album, arranging to hook up with Grossi, who has worked with some of the finest musicians from Steve Vai to Tina Arena, Nina Hagen to Alice Cooper as well as Glenn Hughes, Dave Navarro, George Clinton, Joe Bonamassa, Leslie West, Zakk Wylde, Ice T, Slash, and Paul Stanley to name a few. Their plan to knock around new ideas led to a trio of tracks which became the foundation of an exciting new project to which ZZ Top’s Billy F. Gibbons added fuel to the creative fire by suggesting the pair, who he both knew, “should seriously consider working on something together.” Aronoff who has worked with the likes of John Mellencamp, Smashing Pumpkins, Meat Loaf, Brandon Flowers, John Fogerty, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Joe Cocker, was then subsequently recruited, thanks to Toto’s Steve Lukather, to complete the heart of the new adventure.

Rushing forward to now and it is fair to say that West of Flushing South of Frisco is already making a stir from the glimpses of tracks offered as teasers and from the band of musical brothers brought in to give each song its individual and impressive character of sound and persuasion. It opens up with Miracle Man and a coaxing caress of acoustic guitar aligned to enticing sonic tendrils around sand textured vocals. Those sultry strands of blues guitar continue to wind around the moodier tones of bass and the great grain textured vocals of Lopez, even as an infectious saunter breaks free from the more reserved start to lead feet and hips into an eager southern spiced jaunt around the dance-floor.

artwork_RingMaster ReviewIt is a great start more than backed by I Ain’t Fallin’ Again with its punchy rhythms and climactic air of wiry grooves and spicy enterprise. As the first, it too develops an infectious canter which easily coaxes involvement in its anthemic funk lined revelry and continues the album’s rousing star before Running Whiskey turns up the heat again with its rock ‘n’ roll blaze. Featuring Billy F. Gibbons, the song aligns shimmering keys with classic rock ‘n’ roll with a very gentle scent of Thin Lizzy to it.

Remedy mellows the adrenaline running through veins next, though the song with Warren Haynes (Gov’t Mule/Allman Bros Band) adding his provocative craft has ears and enjoyment firmly gripped with its smouldering Americana. Fair to say though, it is quickly replaced in the attention of personal tastes by the outstanding Bone Bucket Blues. Gnarly and cantankerous in riffs alone, the track is a liquor scented stomp with the vocals of Lopez as much galvanic bait as the feverish grooves and tenaciously writhing textures around them. It is led by a brooding bassline which reoccurs in a less imposing manner within the emotive croon of Let It Be. Even within is sweltering climate of emotional intensity, the song has a sway and infectious manner that makes easy pickings of ears.

Equally as fiery and expressive in word and sonic invention is next up That’s My Way with Chris Duarte joining the trio for its catchy rock ‘n’ blues persuasion whilst Ain’t No Love (In The Heart Of The City) is a tantalising engaging cover of the Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland classic. Smoky in air, galvanic in a group loaded chorus, it is easy to suspect that the song has an emotional involvement with one or more of the trio such its impassioned rendering, though that kind of potency is fuel to the album as a whole and in evidence within the Eric Gales enhanced Nightmares And Dreams. Inspired by a dream, the song is a haunting yet inviting roar of voice and emotion draped in the guitar imagination which veins the whole of the album in an array of stirring tapestries.

Walter Trout brings his distinct touch to the lingering temptation of Can’t Take It No More where the pairing of Lopez and Trout‘s vocals alone are worth the price if the ticket whilst after Whiskey Time, a spicy track described as the extended ending to earlier proposal Running Whiskey, the mellow charm of Let’s Call It A Day sees Robben Ford helping create a piano led, guitar shaped serenade which provocatively smooches with ears with a gentle and at times more intensive touch.

Closing with the funky throes of Watchagonnado, the Supersonic Blues Machine debut keeps pleasure full and a hope for more of its band of brothers like rock ‘n’ roll to come. It is fair to say that we are no blues experts but we know what we like and West of Flushing South of Frisco easily fits the bill.

West of Flushing South of Frisco is released February 26th via Provogue/Mascot Label Group @ http://www.mascotlabelgroup.com/supersonic-blues-machine-west-of-flushing-cd.html

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Pete RingMaster 25/02/2016

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This Burning Age – Desolation

this-burning-age-ep3-desolation-band-photo-5th-day-records-2015_RingMaster Review

It has taken a while to get here but now inciting ears and emotions, Desolation proves the wait was more than worth it. The new EP from British electro rockers This Burning Age is the third in a four EP cycle which began last year. The three track encounter is a rousing and forcibly provocative proposition proving that whatever has happened and evolved in the time between releases, the This Burning Age songwriting and sound has potently grown through it.

The EP’s songs feel physically and emotionally fiercer than ever but equally more inventively woven from the depth of sound and flavours which have always marked the band’s sound and releases. Originally a solo project for vocalist/songwriter/guitarist Friday, the Birmingham band emerged on the live scene as a full line-up after the release of debut album A Muzzle for the Masses. Wanting to take its heart and success to live venues, Friday enlisted guitarist/keyboardist Jon Farrington-Smith, bassist Davey Bennett, and drummer Christian Jerromes (since replaced by Jack Josypenko) to the band, with the years since seeing This Burning Age play with the likes of Fearless Vampire Killers, William Control, Heights, and Hundred Reasons amongst many.

this-burning-age-ep3-desolation-5th-day-records-2015_RingMaster Review   The band’s sound fuses essences of post-punk, industrial, Synth-pop and post-rock to really simplify its tapestry, with influences arising from bands such as NIN, Interpol, Rammstein, Sonic Youth, and Smashing Pumpkins. It is a fusion which potently gripped attention through the first pair of releases in the four EP project. Both Supplication and Devotion revealed an evolution in the band’s sound with a fresh thick web of textures to that within the band’s album, whilst exploring the theme of love and sex in their destructive form across their songs. That growth has continued with Desolation, its tracks inspired by a look at death and the human condition. As to the timeline of songwriting between the EPs we cannot say but there feels a new maturity to the band’s latest EP which not only seriously ignites ears but offers the potential of even bolder and deeper things ahead.

First song up on Desolation is Tatterdemalion, a quickly voracious and rousing proposal but one just as quickly slipping through an unpredictable and tempestuous landscape of intensity and creative resourcefulness. From its initial fuzzy flame of riffs, imposing rhythms stir the blood with just as potent scything grooves getting involved. The song hits a commanding stroll before relaxing into a prowling gait lit by a great steely twang of the bass. This ‘restful’ passage in turn welcomes the distinctive tones of Friday, his expression and emotion as open as ever as keys glow with simmering but bright temptation around him. Fiery expulsions of energy and heart then drive the soon to break chorus, its ferocity lingering to add richer hues to subsequent melodic and slightly restrained moments. For the main though, the track is a cauldron of inventive twists and turns, an array of styles colluding in a striking blaze which at times pokes thoughts of bands like Joy Division, in others of the likes of Pitchshifter and Smashing Pumpkins or Trent Reznor and Anti-Clone.

The outstanding start makes way for Drown In Silence, a song which leans more or certainly quicker to its industrial and electronic rock side as lively cascades of punchy rhythms and suggestive synths fall upon ears before dissipating for the emotive reflection of voice and atmospheric melodies. Calm before the storm, the track is a furnace of emotive energy and heart but again thick intense shafts which share time and the imagination with increasingly volatile and ferocious crescendos, all these keen essences uniting in an explosive and dynamic climax to another increasingly contagious persuasion.

As striking and irresistible as they are, the first two songs are slightly over shadowed by the closing Ab Aeterno (From Forever), a mesmeric introspective unveiling from Friday in voice and emotion. A crystalline twinkle of keys light a creeping mist of evocative melodies from the song’s first breath, the vocals emotionally raw as guitars and stirring beats add their weight to the unfolding intimate drama. Like a mix of Bauhaus and very early U2 embraced by the dark ethereal craft of Nine Inch Nails, the song glows with charm and shadows, eventually igniting in a searing fire of sound and suggestiveness.

It is a transfixing end to a breath-taking release from This Burning Age, the band’s finest hour without doubt though you get the feeling even now that we have seen nothing yet.

The Desolation EP is out now via 5th Day Records @ http://thisburningage.bigcartel.com/

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Pete RingMaster 05/10/2015

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