Tyson Leslie – Train Wrecks, Havoc and Heartbreak

Tyson Leslie Promo 2

US musician Tyson Leslie has been a vibrant part of the Kansas City music scene for over twenty years, playing in cover bands such as Karma, Baloney Ponyz, and 90 Minutes, whilst also aiding onstage the likes of Corey Taylor (Slipknot/Stone Sour), Gavin DeGraw, Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big), Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Rod Stewart,), and George Lynch (Dokken/Lynch Mob), as well as recently touring as a temporary member of Red Line Chemistry. Train Wrecks, Havoc and Heartbreak is the debut of his own material after two decades of playing other people’s music and such its irresistible infectious charm and masterful anthemic might, you have to ask why it took so long for the man to thrust his own songwriting talents forward. Merging a tasty mix of rock pop, country rock, and melodic invention, the album is an exciting romp to set ears and passions firing.

Leslie provides everything from song writing and production to the multi-instrumentation and vocals on the release with only KC drumming legend Go-Go Ray a constant addition. Train Wrecks, Havoc & Heartbreak does also see guest back-up vocals from people such as  David George (David George & A Crooken Mile), Laura Roach (Solus), Jacklyn Unruh amongst many, as well as guest solos from Tory Stoffregen (Enuff Z’ Nuff/New Black Seven), Josh Johnson (The Slowdown/Wonderfuzz), Freddie Francis (Saucy Jack), and Samantha Fish. It is a vibrant proposition which from its opening seconds is dancing with the senses.

From a failed attempt to start its motor, Little Green Honda bursts into life with vivacious riffs and crisp beats, hooks immediately taking tysonleslietrainwreckscoverarta welcome grip. The strong vocals of Leslie soon join the ride, his delivery clean and potent to match the surge of the power pop heart of the song. With keys winking throughout and grooves flirting with ears, the track is an infectious romp with a familiar yet refreshing presence. Not for the last time, Leslie veins a song with skilful guitar craft engaging enterprise ensuring the album gets off to a thumping start.

The following Crazy All Over provides a rich country rock twang to its initial caress, keys and melodies equally southern rock heated and inviting. Undemanding yet irrepressibly resourceful in sound and vocals, the track strolls with a commanding swagger and coaxing rhythmic mischief sparked further by magnetic sonic endeavour before stepping aside for the equally enjoyable She Danced Under Lights. The third song on the album brings a choppy eighties riffery to its entrance and similarly timed breath to the vocals. The sharing of an excellent female delivery with that of Leslie to lead the song is potent as the expressive sound, the resulting warm seduction rife with feisty attitude playing like a meeting of Nick Lowe and T’Pau.

Selective Amnesia bounces in next with jaunty keys and punchy rhythms within a rock ‘n’ roll dance which easily reminds of Dave Edmunds, never an unwelcome inspiration for a song to embrace. The track leaps and bounds through the ear with an appetite to rock which triggers the same in the listener, its anthemic lure contagious and unstoppable. It is an exploit to get pulses racing which A Mourning To Lament brings back to a more stable rate with its melodic breeze and emotive caress. A gentle yet keen song in gait and invention, the track makes a pleasing stop on the journey of the album, keys an emotive narrative, but does slip in impact against the tremendous presence of the album to this point. Nevertheless it is an engaging song feeding the greedy attention inspired, a success matched by the ballad Goodbye To The Rain. Once again piano and vocals craft the evocative narrative which is further strengthened by flames of guitar and emotion.

The thumping drive of Suckerfish has the release flipping up the gears again, guitars and rhythms guiding the imagination into an epidemic dance of insatiable addictiveness pushed by again outstanding vocals and harmonies from Leslie and guest. Its mighty temptation is taken one better by the Costello-esque croon Stranger, a song which plays like an old friend with recognisable habits and brand new deeply gripping hooks. It is a masterful piece of rock pop matched by the distinctly differently guised but similarly delicious Wasted Time. Power pop at its best, the song has feet and voice recruited early on with passions close on their tail.

Both If He Comes Home and Blanket For Your Soul provide further proof of the varied flavour to Leslie’s songwriting, expression, and humour, the pair engagingly crafted melodic suasion in their respective rock and bluesy offerings. Their pleasing if underwhelming, again only in comparison to the weight and power of songs around them, presences are soon paled by the excellent 88 MPH, its urgently fuelled energy and rhythmic grin another impossible to resist adventure within Train Wrecks, Havoc and Heartbreak. The final song with its Lennon and McCartney like make-up, The Last Word, provides a closing ‘lullaby’ with its fine sounds and lyrical enticement, a last kiss from the strengths which have bloomed across the album.

    Train Wrecks, Havoc and Heartbreak is an excellent introduction to the solo side of a highly respected artist. Better late than never they say, and it certainly applies to the Tyson Leslie.




RingMaster 27/03/2014

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Gypsy Chief Goliath – New Machines of the Night


    Whether smouldering incandescently on the senses or burning them with blazes of blues soaked melodic rapaciousness, New Machines of the Night is one furnace of an album, a rigorous force which seizes senses and passions taking them on a goliath ride of heavyweight rock and metal fusion. Building on from their acclaimed debut, Canadians Gypsy Chief Goliath explore imagination and heart with ten slabs of scintillating and bruising rock ‘n’ roll. Classed as a stoner metal band, the Ontario sextet bring so much more to their presence and sound, the new album a magnetic fury of southern and classic rock with stoner and blues rock additives as well as melodic and heavy metal predation. It is a distinct and singular temptation to Gypsy Chief Goliath and in the Pitch Black Records released New Machines of the Night, a triumph at its invigorating potent best.

With songs sculpted by the three guitar assault and enterprise of Al the Yeti Bones, Dave Ljubanovich, and Sean Hamilton, the album is an adventurous and twisting flame of scorching invention and irresistible intrigue. Driven by the rhythmic framing and coring of drummer Adam Saitti and bassist Sean De Faria it is equally impacting with their enslaving spine of commanding persuasion and when you add the outstanding vocals of Al the Yeti Bones, who whether growling or offering a cleaner suasion coats the songs in an extra blaze of passion and energy to compliment the already fierce potency of the songs, the result is one of the best albums of this year. It does not end there though as with the harmonica sultriness of Brodie Stevenson teases the ear and boiling extra ardour, New Machines of the Night becomes an ever greater release combining themes of despair and dark shadows in a presentation which at times finds a feel good factor which has body and soul on their feet with jubilation.

The album stomps in with almost intimidation as opener Uneasy Kings raps the ear with measured beats and sonic spears of guitar cover_600x600strikes, a beckoning which wraps teasingly around the ear inviting thoughts and imagination into its seductive embrace. With the throaty predacious charm of the bass the platform for the excellent vocals to parade the narrative, the track is soon a shady yet dazzling companion, grooves and a sure swagger leading submission by the hand through scenery of Pantera like provocation within a vintage Thin Lizzy bred temptation. It is a striking start and the portent of things to come, certainly with that Lynott and co lilt coming to plenty of the offerings and an overwhelming perpetual contagious presence unveiled.

The following Are you Pulling Through also takes little time in gripping the ear and emotions, its starting stroll of feisty riffs and thumping rhythms aligned to a sirenesque call from the harmonica It soon evolves into an addiction causing growl of downtuned intensive bass and guitar which forges a dark stoner Down like ravishment with doom whispers and melodic acts of delicious discord. Easily continuing the impressive stance and power of the album with the blues furnace of Dirt Meets Rust matching the early heights with its blues swamp of enterprise and adventure the album is already in control of attention and appetite. With a fuller clean delivery to the vocals merged perfectly into his scowling gruffness, Al grabs as much of the attention as the fire spawned sounds. Thoughts of Bad Company make glimpses within the earlier part of the song though its heavier Sabbath suggesting latter portion shows the rich craft and diversity within the songwriting and album.

Busting the Avenue is another impossibly infectious bait of magnetic acidic invention, guitars conjuring a web of unpredictability and smouldering enticement which with the sinews of the rhythms and carnal snarl of the bass swings in comparisons from Clutch and Corrosion of Conformity to Motorhead. From one pinnacle the album provides another, and it’s loftiest in the brilliant wonderfully persuasive form of St. Covens Tavern. The song is glorious, immediately whisking feet and passion on a mesmeric dance of again Thin Lizzy seeped imagination. But it is only a teaser as riffs suddenly show their carnivorous side, barbarous tones springing infectiously from their strings whilst the rhythms equally harden their stance. It is when the folk metal like taunting enters with a whisper of Gaelic folk reminding of Horslips that the track becomes rock manna. It is rapture breeding raptor of a song, a treat which preys on all the weaknesses of the passions to feed all their wants in a multi-flavour insatiable metallic waltz. Not only best song on New Machines of the Night, it is one of those treasures which takes classic status.

The sizzling melodic pyre that is Got no Soul makes a strong rival with its southern blues coating of the ears, harmonica and keys aural alchemy within the cast of guitar and bass passion whilst both Secret Liaison and White Owl provide a slower sultriness from their heady blues angst and incendiary spicery, the second of the pair stretching into wider southern and hard rock endeavours. Though they arguably fall below the previous charge of songs they are borne of an invention and heart bred intensity which is at its height on the album within these two compelling snares.

Completed by the grizzled heavy metal breathing Slow Leak and the riveting Fought for Death with its again esuriently charged riffs stalking the senses for rhythms and vocals to play upon, New Machines of the Night is a magnificent release which leaves thoughts and senses ignited in a mix of adoration and greedy hunger for more. Gypsy Chief Goliath create an enthralling blend of rock and metal which is unafraid to stretch its limits and coax out startling fresh spices whilst offering something almost familiar to consume, certainly it is a treat with easy access and the fullest rewards. Heavy rock album of the year? Definitely the band has crafted a powerful contender.



RingMaster 09/10/2013

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Face Down – The Long Lost Future


Building on their well-received first EP The Runaway of 2010, French band Face Down return with a raging blaze of a release in debut album The Long Lost Future. Consisting of eleven tracks which consume the ear like a tornado and buffet the senses in a torrential downpour of thrash riffery and stoner/southern rock heat, the album is a pulse racing riot of contagious enterprise and breath-taking energy not forgetting accomplished invention. Not quite a ground breaking release but certainly offering something fresh and exhilarating to thrash, band and album is a ridiculously magnetic storm for which hunger and passion comes easy.

The Parisian quintet , complete with a new vocalist takes the essences and qualities of their previous release into a greater fire of passion and adventurous invention, each track upon The Long Lost Future superbly sculpted and unleashed with flare and thoroughly addictive energy. It does not take long for the band to corner and persuade ears and thoughts through opener Lone Ranger, the track an immediate fall of thumping rhythms and powerful riffs which settles before stalking and parading around the senses crisp commanding drum suasion and potent riffing which leaves the air heated and emotions alert. The vocals provide a scratchy gruffness which only enhances the presence of the song, especially when it ventures into an aside of bass led melodic restraint and temptation. The song is a strong introduction but only the appetiser for greater things to come which starts with the next up My Last Tequila.

As previously the band launch themselves at the ear with eagerness, a carnivorous tone to the bass a devilish coaxing whilst the fire bred riffs and sonic scythes do their devilry on the passions. The song as ultimately the whole of The Long Lost Future comes over like a bleeding union of Bloodsimple and I-Def-I with a healthy dose of Crowbar and Hell Yeah juice added to the mix. There is a familiarity to release and song which reaps those seeds for greater attraction whilst equally the band unveils their own distinctive charms and invention to leave them standing apart from most.

Horse Power makes a compelling entrance, its southern breath around the acoustic and guitar elegance quite irresistible. The seduction offered soon leads the listener into a towering weight wall of heavy metal excellence, sonic mastery veining the almost tsunami like energy and rhythmic provocation. With the vocals continuing to impress as richly as the instrumentation, the song leaves lips being licked and emotions stoked harder. Its chugging climax lays down even stronger bait to excite the appetite once again for the following Smokecoat. Complete with opening sonic teases, punchy rhythms, and the required cowbells, the song is soon into a stride of prickly riffery and grumbling bass stalking. As its predecessor the track inspires easy submission to its tempting and melodic flames, and though it is more of a slow burner compared to earlier tracks the song eventually takes the same grip of the passions as anywhere else on the album, its passion and fire in the belly impossible to refuse.

There is an interlude of sorts next, well more an allowance of breaths being taken. Under the Sun is an absorbing evocative instrumental of southern sultriness within a medium paced caress watched over by a brooding shadows wrapped ambience. It is a glorious piece and fits perfectly within the album even if of a different kin to its thrash and adrenaline fired companions, especially Kiss of Death. The track is a raging storming stomp of thrash rapaciousness, guitars and rhythms as well as vocals all surging through the ear with instinctive exciting rabidity and mouthwatering raucousness.

Both Only Human and N°1 Must Die swagger across senses and imagination with eager attitude and in the case of the first a towering almost intimidating mountain range of rhythmic demanding and lyrical/vocal causticity. It is a glorious brawl which like all the songs is unafraid to quickstep expectations, the song twisting and turning its body into numerous imaginative detours and through epidemically magnetic ideas. Its successor is more of the same in structure and individual in voice, riffs and rhythms finding a barbarous intent matched by the intensive vocals which offer fury and vitriol without losing the great clarity which allows the whole song and words to breathe.

Blow Away the Dust brings another flavour to the album, its expressive melodic colour and sonic hues creating a scenic narrative whilst still taking the lock off of some of the most hellacious intensive and thoroughly pleasing torrents of sound and energy on the album. With the excellent Poker Time providing a final full hand of southern spawned thrash and almighty passion it is just left for the short instrumental of Evil Blues to bring a close to one deeply satisfying and thrilling encounter. Whether The Long Lost Future is rewriting the future or direction of thrash is debatable but it and Face Down certainly gives it a new vein of impressive adventure.




RingMaster 04/10/2013

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The Howling Tongues – Self Titled

Brian Hall Photography

Brian Hall Photography

Having impressed immensely with previous EP Keep the Dust Down, Atlanta rockers The Howling Tongues return with their debut album to confirm all the promise previously tantalising the ear. The ten track album is a further evolution in the bands rise of sound, the previously ravenously raucous and scuzzy tinted approach given a polish and clarity which allows the emotive breath of songs to make an even bolder declaration. Equally the throaty bass almost grizzled bass persuasion has moved on though debatably not to greater strength, its presence again whilst pulsating less intensive and enthralling. Overall though it is a fiery release which continues to mark the quintet as one of the most flavoursome emerging southern blues rock ‘n’ roll bands.

Formed by guitarist Nick Magliochetti, vocalist Taylor Harlow, and drummer Tylor James in 2011 with the trio soon joined by bassist Zach Smith and keyboardist Thomas Wainwright, The Howling Tongues took little time in making a marked impression locally. An early EP and live performances bred a hungry response to their self-termed “no regret rock-n-roll”, whilst Keep The Dust Down thrust the band to an even greater and wider recognition.

Recorded with producers Stan Lynch (former Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers drummer) and Billy Chapin, their debut album is a rich 884501947114_cover.170x170-75and fire breathing encounter. Recorded mostly live and mixed to analog tape in 15 days at Sound Emporium Studios in Nashville, the album starts off with a feisty enticement in Gotta Be A Man, the big rhythmically boned track with scorching guitar enterprise and strolling gait an open continuation of the previous EP. Ridiculously addictive and  strikingly rapacious in its seizure of the senses and passion, the track has control of feet and hunger within a few sizzling seconds and never relinquishes its grip, even with a groove and hook combination which is straight out of the Ballroom Blitz songbook.

From the thrilling start things take a down shift in attack, the album as a whole turning to a more smouldering and slowly burning persuasive premise. Let Me Be shows it is not a bad move at all but for personal tastes more almost brawling energetic explosions like the opener and like those found on Keep the Dust Down would have lifted the album to even greater heights. The second song though has a sultry atmosphere which is easy to consume and an evocative touch which leaves a lingering satisfaction, keys and harmonies as compelling as the now almost expected striking guitar invention from the band.

Both Chainsaw and Strange Way To Say Goodbye continue the inviting offerings if without the same potency of the first two tracks. The first is a heavy yet respectful melodic rock beckoning with a certain swagger to its walk across the imagination whilst its successor comes rife with evocative and dramatic keys to stand as a broody ballad with the vocals of Harlow as expressively tempting as those powerfully calling keys of Wainwirght. The following Let It Fade also has a reserved approach to the ear which works so well but ultimately does lack that spark to explode within the passions. Again the keys and vocals are outstanding; their presence continuing the variety at play upon the album, but the tempered sound of the bass alongside suggests the band missed an opportunity to really score the senses, a darker more predacious lilt from Smith maybe unleashing a more virulent success to what is still a pleasing confrontation.

The gentle yet tall standing song The Sound makes a more than decent mark before the excellent I’m In Love wraps it in shade through its fizzing incendiary invention and melodically flaming sonic imagination. With an anthemic call and sinew clad body wrapped in the sixties tease of keys, the adventurous and continually moving track is a major highlight to rival the starter and set fresh fires burning in the emotions.

The closing trio of songs, the bluesy crooning Another Heart To Bleed, the emotionally simmering What’s It Gonna Take, and the acoustic southern country rock ‘hymn’ Too Many Times keep attention and appetite strongly engaged as they complete a fine and rewarding suasion of passion and imagination. As mentioned a lack of a storming blaze of contagion like a Makes You Tick or a Nagasaki arguably leaves the album short of really setting the heart ablaze but nevertheless The Howling Tongues has created an album which brings real pleasure to the day.




RingMaster 18/09/2013

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Tombstone Highway: Ruralizer


    Ruralizer is one of those unexpected gems which come out of nowhere awareness wise, to thrill and invigorate the emotions and ear. Unleashed by Italian band Tombstone Highway, the album is an immensely satisfying encounter of stoner rock, blues, and southern rock all soaked in the sinews of doom metal. Refreshing in its imaginative use of existing formulas within the above genres all captivatingly transformed into something distinct to the band, the Agonia Records released album leaves an insatiable appetite for much more from and strong passion for Tombstone Highway.

The band comprises of duo H.M Outlaw (vocals, guitars, banjo) and Emilio Sobacchi (drums), and has its beginnings back in 1999 with the pair inspired by the likes of Black Sabbath, Lynyrd Skynyrd, traditional Root Blues, and Bluegrass emerging as Leaf Season Death. Employing the heavy shadows of low-tuned guitars and bass to their ideas, the band failed to take off through the lack finding additional members to create their invention. The duo moved into other bands soon after but then 2006 saw them join up again and begin writing new material, with bassist Mike B. of Viscera brought in to the line-up.  Debut EP Padus River Graveyard Blues followed the next year and received strong responses to its limited release. Another hiatus for the band followed with Mike B. leaving but in 2011 the Piacenza pair united again to write and record their first album, the mighty creation Ruralizer.

The album combines the heaviness of a Corrosion of Conformity and Down to the southern fires of Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top TH_coverbefore immerses them in the heavy metal power of Black Sabbath. It is an inspirational result which is soaked in the rural and folklore essences of its homeland to further ignite the flames of all its other fires of sound. Outlaw and Sobacchi also brought in additional musicians in the shape of Mario Percudani (HungryHeart), one of the very best rock guitarists in Italy, guitarist Razor SK (Forgotten Tomb), and Paolo Apollo Negri whose Hammond keys bring another flavoursome persuasion to the album.

Opening track Old Blood is a sensational invitation to the album, the weighty lure of the riffs and basslines veined by irresistible banjo teases to immediate intrigue and please. The track strolls through the ear with purpose and a sure hunger which with ease demands eager attention whilst leaving a depth of pleasure which is immeasurable. The guitars carved a place in the passions with skill and enterprise whilst the rhythms without unleashing their full venom cage it all with craft and intensity.

From the startling beginning the album piles on the thrills with firstly Acid Overlord, a track with grooves as addictively sour and sharp as you could wish within its snarling insatiable presence, the sweltering Graveyard Blues which has whispers of Soundgarden within its Orange Goblin coated furnace, and the outstanding Hellfire Rodeo. The last of the trio is a virulently infectious romp with riffs and sonic taunting causing an epidemic of ardour within the emotions. As in all songs vocally Outlaw has a dust coated growl which ignites the whisky fumes of the music into another hot wind of satisfying enterprise, the union of all aspects within the band and songwriting forging something new and inspiring within a familiar context.

The title track employs that irrepressible banjo sound again within more searing sonic mastery, its swagger and muscular gait an imposing yet deeply stimulating instigator to feet and passions. Up to this point every track ignites the fullest hunger for their contents and the same can be said for Bite The Dust (and bleed) and At The Bitter End though both despite their quality and energy fail to quite match up to what came before. The two songs do not quite find that something to step forward into their own unique spotlight but nevertheless cannot be offered any real negatives.

Completed by a strong and inviting cover of the Mountain track Mississippi Queen and the excellent closing inventive maul of the ear Hangman’s Friend, Tombstone Highway has brought the world an album which is rock at its most rousing and bracing. If references mentioned above work for you than Old Bones is a real awaiting treat.



RingMaster 15/03/2013

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Southern Badass: Born In Mud

Arno Bechet

     Hailing from Perpignan in France, Southern Badass is a band which in Born In Mud has released an album as intriguing as it is pleasing. With a core of southern/stoner rock and other added spices such as doom and heavy metal, the release is an imaginative and engaging album, it is not always as successful as it could be but is continually brewing up pleasure and positivity to its enterprising encounters.

The project of multi-instrumentalist Arno Bechet, Southern Badass brings essences of artists such as Kyuss, Down, and Corrosion Of Conformity into a healthy and inspiring brew with flavourings from others like Metallica and Black Sabbath. It is a mix which gives the album a good variety across its length as well as making individual songs unpredictable and captivating for the most.

From the instrumental At The Gates the album takes a grip on the thoughts with Wrath Temptation, a pulsating piece of sizzlingImpression stoner rock with a heavyweight presence through the excellent bass work and snapping rhythms. The guitar is a fiery creature throughout which adds extra spice to a captured imagination. As with the album as a whole, arguably there is not a lot of open originality on show but with the enjoyment given for the main it is hard to really care. The vocals of Bechet have a near perfect American drawl which belies the mother tongue of the man and just add to the authentic heated breath of the track.

From the very strong start the album shuffles things up through the dirty blues tinged furnace of Call Of New Orleans and the cruising gait of Nowhere Man. The first of the pair sparks with tight melodic flames and a raw acidic energy and continues the impressive start whilst the second is simply a rock n roll party for the road which gets the job done without firing up any extra passion its way.  Both songs, as the album too, are slow burners, tracks which reveal their persuasion over several plays rather than in one union with the ear. It is a release which needs focused attention but rewards the time given.

Further highlights come with The Witch and its grumbling bone shaking basslines, Back To Where I Want, another song where the bass growls to offer a deeper textured snarl, and Voodoo Girl. The first pair of songs are feisty riots of southern grit and towering stoner touching sludge might to agitate and provoke the senses and emotions into a strongly receptive stance whilst the latter is a smoky southern croon to soundtrack a whisky drinking session and seductive wanton encounter. All three songs leave an appetite to keep a keen eye on the project in the future whilst making many returns to the release in the now.

Closing with the outstanding pulsating instrumental Sons Of The Sun, the album is one all stoner fans should take a look at. It is not perfect, the production at times offering a cloudy surface upon a sound from a genre which already is thick with intensity, whilst there are a couple of songs and other moments where the ideas feel either forced or given too much rope. Overall though Born In Mud is a highly enjoyable release which just needs time to state its case.


RingMaster 07/01/2013

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Yellowtooth: Disgust

Disgust the debut album from US rock band Yellowtooth, is one of those companions you know you are going to have great fun with but will come out of any shared mischievous escapade with plenty of deep bruising. The release is a collection of ten songs which instigates wounds as rewarding and deep as the mighty sounds on offer. It comes with no pretence just an honesty of what it is and what it wants to achieve, which is to unleash a booze soaked feast of low slung, heart borne, heavy weight sounds.

From Michigan City, Indiana, the trio of Henry McGinnis (guitar/vocals), Ed Kribs (percussion) and Peter Clemens (bass/vocals), bring a formidable blend of metal and rock swarming with the best essences of Southern rock, sludge, doom, groove, and thrash metal plus much more. It combines for a brawling stew of raw and dirty energies brought through down tuned riffs, exploitive rhythms, and snarling passion. Not always the easiest experience, its caustic breath bringing a stripping of the ear as sonically searing as a blow torch, but it is a permanent captivation which one cannot or wants to escape.

Though the band is relatively new its members has stalked senses from the nineties through numerous impressive bands such as Invasion, Skullview, Chronic Disorder, Sea Of Tranquillity, Shades Of Grey and Nocturnal Torment. That accomplished skill of experience is rife throughout the album, each song a storming fire in their distinct identities, of stirring and impressive skill from guitars and rhythms.

From the opening Wizard Dust through to the closing might of 11th Hour, the album entwines its listener in an abrasive and compulsive rampage which whether a song offers an oppressive heavy crawl or a boisterous aggressive assault upon the senses, only fully involves and engages. The first track once in its full height bitch slaps the ear with heavy treading riffs and combative rhythms alongside destructive vocal growls. The unrelenting snarl of the bass behind the excellently crafted and mesmeric grooves brings a balance and threat to the song which is outstanding. The song despite its bullying intensity is almost subtle in its unique elements and their appearance, though there is clarity when paying attention which makes their absorption easy.

Track by track the album offers no intention to take it easy on senses, the likes of the malevolent and vicious Soulstalker, the glorious ’75 Black Pontiac with its steaming red hot rock n roll passion, and the rabid Prophetic Ramblings, making every second in their company a dangerous and aurally churning onslaught as pleasurable as could wish for.

The vocals throughout take gruff into new realms and there are moments where one might have cared for some greater diversity to match that offered by the guitars but it is a mere quibble when their coarse texture work off the scorching disharmonic fires as well as they ultimately do.

Further tracks like On The Trail of Lewis Medlock and Decaying From Within ensure one is bustled down darker and weightier avenues before the release ends with the striking maelstrom of sound which is 11th Hour. The track has everything within its boundaries and all seamlessly linked, veins of classic metal, thrash, and death metal locked in triumphant union with black and doom strains of the genre. With explosive solos and yet more impressive bass sounds, the biggest highlight of the whole album, the song brings a memorable and towering end to the satisfying corruption.

The band has probably not quite created an album of the year contender with Disgust but certainly has unleashed a bear of an album which is openly inspiring and a certainty to capture vast amount of imaginations for all things Yellowtooth.


RingMaster 11/09/2011

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Need To Breathe: The Reckoning

It is fair to say that even if US rock band Need To Breathe does not send your senses into raptures or even enthused passion, they are a band one can easily appreciate in regard to their qualities and skilled craft. The same can be said about their fourth album The Reckoning, a release full of excellently crafted and delivered songs brought with passion and heart dealt energy. We cannot say the release left us excited and soaked in any lingering presence due to personal tastes but it certainly was a decent listen throughout with its southern rock invention and in a couple of moments a more than satisfying companion.

     The Reckoning gets its UK release September 10th and seems sure to follow the great success it had back home upon its arrival last November. The South Carolina quartet has already made a mark through their previous releases and hearty rock sounds, which bring essences of the newer Kings of Leon music and Mumford & Sons into their own climactic stadium rock sounds. Just off of a six month tour of the US, the foursome of brothers Bear and Bo Rinehart (vocals, guitar, piano and guitar, backing vocals respectively), Seth Bolt (bass, backing vocals), and Joe Stillwell (drums, backing vocals), follow up their acclaimed previous album of 2009 The Outsiders, with fourteen big boned sky filling songs which persistently drip with soulful and emotive imagination. Yes for us the style does not light raging fires but for those loving the earthy American drama of a Springsteen and arguably Tom Petty as well as those previously mentioned Need To Breathe and The Reckoning will have their ardour sparking greedily.

Easily the best track on the album opens things up and it is a song which instantly captivates. From its initial dulled melody and emotive vocals Oohs And Ahhs has the ear in close attendance and mesmerised, but when the chorus breaks loose to sizzle upon the senses passions, for arguably the only time on the album, go soaring. In to its stride the track is a hearty forceful rock song to leave anyone breathless and caught up in the moment. Midway in the song take a brief respite before rekindling its energy and building up to a fiery crescendo which has grins breaking out everywhere. The mischievous track then repeats the event though this time the stride towards the flaming ending is tinged with stirring brass and discord driven keys. It is simply a stunning track which the album for personal tastes fails to repeat again.

The following White Fences and Drive All Night stretch their melodic wings to bring expressive depths to their soulful breaths, both finding an energy and tension which evokes thoughts and feelings. The songs of Need To Breathe are not necessarily faith driven but do bring a moral touch to their strong lyrical content though importantly it can also be interpreted into the lives of all.

Songs like Slumber, Maybe They’re On To Us, and Wanted Man, as well as the title track, all wrap around the heart with rousing and in their individual gaits, stomping anthemic majesty. As we said at the start there is no missing the quality and accomplished invention of the band let alone their ability to wring every emotion and passion out of every note and line, and for those receptive to their Americana/Southern rock songs it is hard to imagine anything other than deep pleasure gained from The Reckoning.

The other big highlight for us came with the newest single Keep Your Eyes Open, a song which takes inspirational and stirring sounds and songwriting to their fullest expansive heights. You can argue how original the song is with nothing openly surprising going on but it is hard to recall any rock song which has sparked the heart into reflective and eager life as potently.

If Southern rock/Americana is your brew to hungrily feast upon than The Reckoning will leave you full to the brim, and to be honest even if it is not your preference, the album and Need To Breathe is still worth an hour of your time to be sure.


RingMaster 08/09/2012

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Mighty High: Legalize Tre Bags

With enough references to and celebration of weed to make The Kottonmouth Kings appear like The Osmonds the eagerly awaited second album from Brooklyn rockers Mighty High is let loose June 12th through Ripple Music. Fully mischievous, completely fired up and an unbridled dust bowl of sonic rampage and energetic guitar infestation, Legalize Tre Bags leaves thrilled and welcomingly assaulted. It carries no pretence, it is what it is and the band does not give two flying nuns on a day trip to a candle factory what anyone thinks. Most of all it is insatiable rock n roll, a posse of exuberant songs set on senses rustling.

Legalize Tre Bags follows up 2008 debut album …In Drug City which with the following Drops A Deuce 7″ single in 2009 and a 7” split with Stone Axe gathered strong acclaim. The release also marks the tenth anniversary of Mighty High and sees the quartet of Woody (vocals, guitar), Kevin Overdose (lead guitar), LaBatts Santoro (bass, vocals), and Jesse D’Stills (drums) as able as ever to raise hell and live high and vice versa as they return with an album sure to incite further shouts and puffs of praise.

With the title referencing the once available $3 bag that could be scored at all the best dope spots in the Bronx, Legalize Tre Bags hits the sweet spot from the off with I Don’t Wanna Listen To Yes, a Ramones toned ear puncturing of punk rock. With barely enough time to take a breath it splatters the senses with attitude drenched rock n roll to wake up and ignite attention for the excellent following Mooche. With a hypnotic bassline the track roughs up the ear with a Beastie Boys meets Black Flag attack punctured with scorched veins of classic metal to add extra electrified heat to its mesmeric swagger.

The great start is continued with the stoner fuelled The Ram, its smoked cloud of scuzzed guitars and enveloping energy an all pervading mesmeric wrap lighting up more than the senses. It is a track like many on the album which in its simplicity still twists and turns to great and infectious effect. There is nothing trying to open new musical doors or set down unique markers within song and album as a whole, but Mighty High still stand relatively alone with their irrepressible and carefree sounds.

With tracks like the outstanding contagious Tokin’ N Strokin’, a song about the life and death of David Carradine, and Southern rock saunter Cheep Beer, Dirt Weed the album ignites the urge to become one with the release in any way one feels fit. Add the Dead Kennedys like Drug War and the tour of all 5 boroughs of New York City with Come On! I’m Holdin’, not to mention the slightly schizophrenic Chemical Warpigs and there is nothing but fun and good times to be have each and every minute of the release. The last of these songs brings a Motorhead, Suicidal Tendencies, and Sabbath like mesh into a psychedelic blistering of the synapses.

Legalize Tre Bags is a raucous feast of punk, weed, and middle finger attitude, most of all it is a deeply satisfying slab of rousing rock n roll. It offers nothing particularly new nor tries to inspire an unexpected awe but it is still one of the most fun and gratifying albums out this year. Mighty High are lighting up with an aural invitation to share.

RingMaster 07/06/2012

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Royal Thunder: CVI

Going blind in to the debut album from Atlanta rock band Royal Thunder there were many whispers in the ear that their self titled EP of 2010 was rather tasty and that this new album should be great. Well the news is that great does not cut it for CVI is simply a triumphant feast of rock music for every taste. It is fuelled with such stunning creativity and hypnotic lingering sounds it finds a place in each and every heart.

Released may 22nd via Relapse Records, CVI is a sweltering array of classic rock, southern tinged blues, and progressive artistry with more than a liberal dose of metal and stoner thrown in for extra spice. It is an unpredictable release that twists and turns with glee to leave one persistently surprised, continually eager, and always fully satisfied. Drawn from a well deep with essences of the likes of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Cradle, Electric Wizard and Black Tusk to name a few, the album is an invigorating and consuming insatiable mass of splendour which leaves one enveloped in an immersive smog of aural grandeur.

The album opens with Parsonz Curse and within this song alone you know all you need to know about the album in sound, creativity, and quality. Seven minutes of pulsating mesmeric ingenuity the song is an expansive hard/progressive rock driven explosion of colourful sounds, heated melodies, and imaginative invention. The guitars of Josh Weaver and Josh Coleman bring dazzling weaves of melodic sonic blistering to the senses with white hot radiance whilst Lee Smith with his rhythms and the bass teasing of Mlny Parsonz add deeper shadows and darkened energy. It is amazing stuff and alone is undeniably impressive but it is the vocals of Parsonz bringing another fiery torch within the songs that the ignition of passions find their fullest flame. Her tones spread from searing the ear with scorched passion to mesmeric beauty and whatever the varied path she brings to each song she is irresistible.

Whispering World follows and inflames thought and heart with flurries of stout dominate beats and compulsive riffs. Together they lead one unerringly into the magnetic beauty within its passions and emotive force majestic. At one point the song may have you swaying within its siren glow and the very next it is inciting aggressive urges. It is as all tracks on CVI a bustling forever evolving maelstrom of invention.

Though every song deserves attention time and space is a greedy beast so as we bring some songs to light take those we do mention as read for those not. CVI is deeply diverse, an ever amazing collection of songs which draw you back into their irresistible charms like an aural addict. The one consistent that does pervade every track though is quality, not once is there a dip or lull in the sheer awe inspiring imagination. You can pick the likes of the anthemic express that is No Good, the sensational Blue with its wonderful evocative instrumental first part, or the haunting prowl of South Of Somewhere, and find alongside their glories something else totally unique but equally astounding. Blue is as contagious as any new virus, its soul and breath breeding a pure addiction whilst the craft and songwriting is from wizardry borne conjurations whilst South Of Somewhere is a seemingly chilled yet unsettling entity, its initial presence disentangled from its surroundings but ultimately it reveals itself as a wanton tease. Drawing one in with a slight sinister allure and remote emotive atmosphere it slowly weaves its devious charms to explode with fury of punk attitude and metal intensity. Though it is near impossible to choose a standout track all so impressive, this pair ignites the biggest fire of all.

CVI is an easy contender for album of the year and it is hard to imagine many will rise alongside it let alone surpass its brilliance and magnitude of imagination. Royal Thunder has made those initial whispers rather inadequate and very under estimating.

RingMaster 17/05/2012

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