Sharp teeth and rock ‘n’ roll: talking Yorkshire Rats with Don Mercy

YR_RingMaster Review

March sees the release of the Trouble City EP, another rousing and provocative slice of punk infused rock ‘n’ roll from UK band Yorkshire Rats. The successor to last year’s outstanding debut album, Sea of Souls, the new three-track release is further confirmation of a band with anthemic punk ‘n’ roll flowing through their creative veins and a hunger to push themselves and their creative adventure with every song and release. Ahead of the EP’s unveiling; we gratefully took some of band founder Don Mercy’s time to dig into the origins, history, and new phase of the Yorkshire Rats increasing impact on the British rock scene.

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

You formed the band back in 2004; what was the spark bringing Yorkshire Rats to life and was there a particular idea for the band?

No problem! Fuck! 12 years ago, I must say I didn’t think we’d be back rolling around, not after we pulled the plug in 2007, I think it was.

Originally it was me and a good friend of mine called Sean Brewin who came up with the idea for the band. We used to hang out together, go skateboarding drink cider, the usual teenage shit. I’d played in various bands before with friends from school but wanted to do something a bit different. I was massively into the punk rock thing but not many of the guys in my school were. Sean was from another school local to me and there were loads of guys who we grew up with that we’re big Fat Wreck, Green Day, Rancid fans. I think we were around 17 when we started the Rats. There was an old pub in our home town of Pontefract called the Counting House. All the local alternative folks used to go in there and they had live bands on every Tuesday night. We’d been drinking in there from the age of 14 and we ended up meeting a few other musicians who were into our idea to start a band. I’d write the songs and we’d kind of share lead vocals. We learnt a few covers and got into a practice room.

I think we wrote our first EP in about a month, recorded it and sold DIY copies to our pals. We played our first shows in the Counting House and they were always great. A lot of people really liked what the band was about, we sang about miners and the working class’ history of struggle in the area.

There wasn’t any big plan involved, we just wanted to have fun and play some music, cliché I know…

Photo by Carl ChalkmanVideo Arnfield

Photo by Carl ChalkmanVideo Arnfield

You had previously played in Abrasive Wheels and Billy No Mates; how did those experiences impact on how you wanted Yorkshire Rats to be, sound like, and differ?

I actually only did one tour with Billy No Mates, I wasn’t a permanent member, I just filled in for one of their guitarists. We had the same manager at the time and they had a European tour booked.

I was 18 and had never been to Germany or Italy. I got a call from our manager, then a call from Duncan. I had a week to get a passport and learn 18 songs; we never even had a rehearsal, we just went straight to Berlin and played a show. It was amazing! It was my first real tour and I learnt so much about how it all works. To be honest I don’t think I would have progressed any further without doing that tour, there’s only so many times you can read about it before you have to grab it by the balls and get out there. I seized that chance and will be forever grateful for that opportunity.

I’m not sure how much it influenced my band’s sound…..

I was in Abrasive wheels for a couple of years; this was before I started the rats back up. It was ok; I was playing with some really great musicians in that band so it definitely raised my standards in terms of what kind of musicians I would want to have in the new incarnation of the rats. I wouldn’t be happy with just anyone now. I’ve always been a big fan of the early 80s UK punk thing so playing with them was fun for a while. They just didn’t tour enough for me and they all had 20 plus years on me ha-ha

The members of Yorkshire Rats were all known to each other before the band was formed; before and post break?

This is a completely new line up from the original. Me and our other guitarist Matty went to school together from the very beginning, good Catholic boys, well once upon a time anyways.

We had to get a new drummer and bass player since we released Sea of Souls because the other guys couldn’t commit to serious touring. So we got Chris on drums and then Josh on bass. We found both of those guys just before German tours. I’d suggest that anyone stuck for band members, book a German tour! You’ll find whoever you need…. eventually.

It was a strong couple of years first time around seeing a well-received single and EP released and the supporting of Rancid live amongst numerous successful shows. Then the band went on a hiatus. What primarily brought that about?

I think we all had different agendas; it went from being fun to being a drug fuelled mess. We’d had various line-up changes because people couldn’t commit and it just seemed no matter what I did, we just kept going round in circles. We were young, maybe we thought that because we had management, a label, and had done some higher profile shows that things were just going to fall into place on their own. I now know that’s not how it works, getting higher profile shows means the band is moving forward and that’s precisely the time to put extra pressure on.

And the biggest spark to the return of the band?album art_RingMaster Review

Obviously Brewins isn’t here on lead vocals, but the plan was for him to be the singer again when we reformed. He’d joined the Army after the band split and I hadn’t seen him for a while, but we met up at a Bad Religion show in Manchester. It seemed just like the old days so we agreed to give it another shot with a new line up of people we could trust to help us do it right. His Army career was supposed to be winding down so we set to work on new songs and rehearsing but it turned out that it wasn’t going to work out so we agreed that I would take over all the vocal duties.

Was it easier in many ways to return to a keenly waiting and expectant fan base than when starting out originally or vice versa?

I didn’t really give it much thought to be honest. I knew that I wanted to keep some key parts of the old band, anthemic songs, big guitars etc., but I also knew that I wanted to bring everything up to date and move forward. There’s always going to be people that say you’re doing things wrong but I usually don’t pay much attention to those guys.

Would you say that anything specifically changed within you for the band through that period away? In sound, the drive of personal etc.?

I think the sound of the band has definitely progressed. We pulled back on the hi gain guitars and it’s all about the rhythm section. I just try to write good songs. I think a good song will always win. I guess in terms of sound we have a classic rock n roll type sound; I don’t think we’re really that stylised. My songs always start on an acoustic guitar then we beef them up in the rehearsal room.

I never write a song with a particular sound or genre in mind. I don’t know whether that’s a curse right now. It’s almost like if you don’t sound like Nirvana no one cares. But then again when we first started unless you sounded like Arctic Monkeys no one cared ha-ha

Debut album, Sea of Souls marked your return in potent style with its acclaimed release in 2015. Fair to say it poked stronger and broader spotlights your way?

I think it made people take us seriously for sure. I’m not one for doing what everyone else is doing, maybe having a different sound made the album stand out.

It’s still a hard slog and we do as much of the work as we can on our own. Getting the CJ Ramone tour was a big deal for us, and now he’s a fan of ours which is really surreal. I’m a huge Ramones fan so to have someone like that telling us that we’re doing something right is a real boost. We’re hoping to play some more shows together in the near future but nothing is confirmed yet, we’ll have to wait and see.

Now you are poised to uncage its successor in the shape of the Trouble City EP this March. How would you say the two differ in their punk ‘n’ roll sounds and how you approached each in the writing and recording?

I guess both Sea of Souls and Trouble City had the same approach in terms of writing and recording. Sea of Souls has some old revamped songs from back in the day that never came out.

A lot of the songs for the rats seem to write themselves. I dick about with a guitar for a while and sing some nonsense and things seem to come together pretty quickly. That being said I don’t let any old shit through, if a song isn’t working I just throw it away and move on. I think the sound has become more mature since Sea of Souls. It’s the same kind of vibe but it feels and sounds like a band that’s been playing consistently together for a good few tours.

Trouble City art_RingMaster ReviewI believe the Trouble City EP was recorded in Berlin late last year whilst you were on tour in Germany? Was that always the aim to record the tracks over there or more making use of opportunities?

That’s right. It wasn’t part of the plan to start with, but we had a couple of shows that fell through on our last German run so had 4 days off in Berlin. A good friend of mine suggested a great studio; it was an old telecom building or something, every wall in the live room was filled with patch bays. You can just imagine loads of German phone operators flying round on their office chairs transferring calls backwards and forwards. A pretty cool vibe and the place sounded great, we plan to finish the second album there. We’ll just add some more studio time onto the back end of a German tour or something.

Give us some idea to the inspiration to the EP’s tracks and character.

We wanted to lay down some balls to the wall, riff driven tracks. I guess you can hear some Social D, Stiff Little Fingers, Ramones, Springsteen. Me, and our other guitarist Matty are really dynamic players so I wanted to enhance that on these recordings. We don’t have super hi gain amps, they’re relatively clean in all honesty, it sounds great but it makes you have to play better and play with a bit more thought into chord voicing etc.. Anything that makes us better is a good idea in my eyes.

What things and situations spark your lyrics more than most?

90% of my lyrics are true to life. Usually come from people I meet, or conversations I overhear. Trouble City is the start of a story about a prostitute called Amy that I met on tour once. We sat and drank some beers and talked shit for a while, you couldn’t make up most of the stuff she was telling me so that seemed like a good place to start with Trouble City.

Tell about the new video for the EP’s title track which you made with one of the UK’s best and brightest film makers, Chalkman Video.

Carl’s a great guy and he did a great job on the new vid. We didn’t have much time with it so we just got into our rehearsal space, he set up some lights and off we went.

Looks pretty cool I think. We spent 4 hours or so filming it then he had it finished 3 days later, he doesn’t mess around.

The EP is going to be the spark for another hectic year, live wise?

I hope so, we’re working on loads of UK dates throughout the year and heading back to Germany in October, there’s a couple of other things in the works that I can’t mention yet but yeah, we’re trying to keep as busy as we can.

YR Promo 2_RingMaster Review

Photo by Carl ChalkmanVideo Arnfield

What has the band already got in place as 2016 evolves in other news?

We managed to nail down a show with Snuff which should be fun, I haven’t seen Duncan for a while….

We’ve also confirmed a show with The Dictators.

More releases in the pipeline?

Of course! But probably not this year. Who knows.

Once again many thanks for chatting with us Don. Any last thoughts you would like to share?

No problem, I guess if people could just keep supporting us like they did last year that would be awesome, we really appreciate it.

And finally, give us an insight into the records and artists which could be claimed to have most inspired your own life and creativity.

RamonesPleasant Dreams, Stiff Little FingersGuitar and Drum, Green DayNimrod, Drag the RiverYou Can’t Live This Way, Ryan AdamsHeartbreaker.

I love all these records; you can probably hear these influences in the rat’s songs. I guess my songs start as simple folk songs then turn into anthems when the band gets hold of ‘em.

Read our review of the Trouble City EP @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/yorkshire-rats-trouble-city-ep/

http://www.YorkshireRats.com/    https://www.facebook.com/yorkshirerats

Pete RingMaster

RingMaster Review 19/02/2016

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Yorkshire Rats -Trouble City EP

YR Promo 2_RingMaster Review

Formed in 2004, going on an extended hiatus two years later, UK punk ‘n’ rollers Yorkshire Rats soon showed through debut album Sea of Souls, that their return around a decade after that first step was equipped with even greater energy and passion, not forgetting creative adventure. Instantaneously impressive but equally revealing itself a slow burner that only increasingly impressed and thrilled as regular company for ears, the album was the mark of a band fuelled with a fresh fire and determination aligned to their renowned no punches pulled lyrical and musical snarl. It also hinted that the band was destined to create bigger treats ahead, a potential certainly confirmed and built upon by the Trouble City EP. A three track punk ‘n’ roll stomp sharing contagion soaked choruses, spiky hooks, and forcibly engaging dynamics, the EP is unashamedly anthemic punk rock to swing bodies to and breed greedy appetites for.

Created by Don Mercy (ex-Abrasive Wheels, ex-Billy No Mates), Yorkshire Rats definitely made a potent impact first time around marked by a single and EP, as well as a live presence which at its height saw the band supporting Rancid before going on that hiatus. Fair to say the quartet did not waste time in echoing its earlier success upon returning either, then easily eclipsing it with the release of Sea of Souls via Indelirium Records in the March of 2015 to fan and media acclaim. Now building on the album’s success and a tour with CJ Ramone, as well as shows around Europe last year, the foursome of vocalist/guitarist Mercy, lead guitarist Matt Lee, bassist Josh Clarke, and drummer Chris Furness are poised to stir up an even bigger fuss with the Trouble City EP.

Trouble City art_RingMaster ReviewThe EP’s title track, and new video single directed by Chalkman Video, opens up the release. Straight away rhythmic bait and fiery guitar strokes entice as the song’s infectious rock ‘n’ roll begins to blossom alongside the strong tones of Mercy. Never ones to hang around, the band soon uncages a keenly catchy chorus surrounded by spicy hooks. It is a seriously rousing moment in an increasingly anthemic proposal which easily takes body and attention in its Stiff Little Fingers scented hand to feed them and the imagination the ever potent emotive strength and heart of the band.

The following Amy strides in with a heavier air and emotion next, though it too shows early glimpses of bold infectiousness and tenacity as it expands. Naturally woven into the Yorkshire Rats sound are seventies punk and eighties new wave/power rock textures. They are essences which especially flourish on this song though equally a Tom Petty-esque blues hue escapes to add more appealing colour to a song swiftly lighting up ears.

Nothing But A Liar brings the release to a mighty close. Emerging us our favourite song, it is a warmly enticing confrontation with thumping beats and a sonic jangle that alone pretty much ignite greed. The grouchy tone of Clarke’s bass and the spiralling tapestry of craft and endeavour from Lee only reinforce the thick bait working away around the boisterous lures of Mercy’s vocals and the song’s heavily persuasive anthem. There is definitely a whiff of The Jam in their early days to the track too, another spicy ingredient in the merciless virulence of the song.

Ending on its highest point and only leaving ears and emotions eagerly aroused from start to finish, Trouble City cements Yorkshire Rats as one heftily rousing and thoroughly enjoyable protagonist; the purveyors of undiluted rock ‘n’ roll to improve any day.

The Trouble City EP will be released March 15th on the band’s own Northern Ruff Records.

http://www.YorkshireRats.com/      https://www.facebook.com/yorkshirerats

Pete RingMaster 16/02/2016

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Brassick – Self Titled

Brassick band_RingMaster Review

Building on a reputation earned from their first release and a live presence which has venues aggressively rocking, UK punks Brassick have released their self-titled debut album and fair to say whatever acclaim already garnered should be outshone by all offered this anthemic snarl. Raw and uncompromising yet loaded with a hardcore roar and fierce inescapable hooks to drool over, the release is poised to put the Birmingham quartet of the broadest punk maps.

Formed in 2012, Brassick quickly sparked local attention and support with their fusion of punk, ska, and metal essences. That presence soon gripped wider recognition through the band’s unrelenting live presence which has seen them play with the likes of GBH, Cock Sparrer, UK Subs, and Subhumans amongst many, and the release of the Broke And Restless EP in 2013. Last year saw the foursome continue to ignite the UK live scene, venues and festivals coming under their fiery growl and culminating in a highly successful spot at Rebellion alongside bands such as NOFX, Street Dogs, Stiff Little Fingers, Killing Joke, and The Duel. Already charging through Britain and Europe again this year with festivals and another Rebellion appearance on the schedule, Brassick have made 2015 their biggest year yet with the release of their rousing album.

Produced by bassist Jake Cunningham and guitarist Peter Macbeth, the album opens with Hollow Cries and sirens infusing cold portentous air. Punchy rhythms splinter the scenery next, all embroiled in a sonic mist before the song strides clear with anthemic riffs and rhythms sparked further by the instantly gripping vocals of Nicola Hardy. There is a great essence of attitude and snarl to her tones to match and incite the sounds around her, a pulsating bassline and inflammatory guitar enterprise colluding with the healthy swipes of drummer Jay Jay Khaos open evidence in two riveting and highly persuasive opening minutes.

Brassick cover_RingMaster Review     The punchy exploits of Same Sound bound in next, riffs and beats a feisty lure reinforced by the vocal defiance of Hardy. The metallic edge and texture of the track reminds of US punk metallers Mongrel, whilst the scything expulsions breaking up the song midway are the trigger to adventurous twists before the assault returns to its initial confrontation and sets ears up perfectly for the outstanding tempting of Media Faces. Like early The Duel with a Ruts like reggae predation, the track prowls and roars, forcibly stirring up appetite and imagination through the magnetic guitar craft of Macbeth and the irritable infection of sound and vocals.

Fall Because They’re Blind backs up the potent start to the album though it does not have that extra spark to match its predecessors. Nevertheless with Cunningham’s alluring bass enterprise and an old school punk leaning around Hardy’s ever inciting delivery, the track hits the spot before Drown takes over to stalk the senses. Bass and riffs are a deviously intimidating nudge whilst the beats of Khaos refuse to hold back on their provocation but it is the inventive atmospheric twists and varied vocal persuasion that gives the track an extra impressing potency.

The lyrical and emotional charge of the band pulls no punches on political and social commentary, and breeds a strong and impacting landscape in Sirens where authority wails and anarchic ambience wash over ears as bass and guitar spin their evocative and dramatic web around Hardy’s spoken and accusing narrative. It is a powerful proposal which stands alone or works as the turbulent lead in to the brawling antagonism of Free For All and its UK Subs/Angelic Upstarts like old school growl. The song in turn allows no breath to be taken as it seeds the beginnings of the outstanding Cynical Ties and another stock of gripping irritancy, sharp hooks, and anthemic defiance. There is a great street punk dirtiness to the album and especially accentuates the power and addictiveness of this track and in turn its successor Let Us Go. There is a touch of The Objex to the heart and fire of the second of the two but equally a seventies breeding and modern fury come together to ensure another stirring up on the body and passions.

The grouchy tone and belligerence of Leeches nags and grumbles next, its angry belly bound in more of the unpredictable and striking imagination shaping songwriting and sound which to be honest the band does not use quite enough across the album. When they do it turns great songs into venomous enslavements as here, richly emphasizing the potential coursing through the whole of the album.

The fun and enjoyment comes to a close with the mighty Vagabond Smile. Instantly its rhythmic shuffle traps ears, the song is in control, tightening its grip and lure as vocals across the band come together in a middle finger raised defiance complete with virulent grooves, sharp hooks, and incendiary attitude. It is a riotous end to an invigorating and refreshing album. Brassick use their inspirations and the seeds of punk rock to create their own, not majorly unique, but seriously enjoyable rock ‘n’ roll. Already anticipation of bigger and bolder things from the band is ripe and right now thick pleasure full thanks to their first album.

Brassick is available now @ http://www.brassick.bigcartel.com/ and through STP Records @ http://www.stprecords.co.uk/page4.htm with CD version out September 18th.

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RingMaster 09/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Foreign Legion/The Shame – Split 7”

reb1038_front_RingMaster Review

Courtesy of a co-release between Aggrobeat and Rebel Sound Music, punk from both sides of the pond links up in a 7” split which just ignites the appetite. On one side stands Welsh oi/punks Foreign Legion and on the other Tulsa Street punks The Shame, both offering two tracks of highly satisfying incitements. There have been a few potent punk splits over recent times and this stands right up there as one of the best.

Foreign Legion_RingMaster Review     Emerging from the ashes of Dead On Arrival, Foreign Legion began in 1984 infusing an oi seeding with varied essences of punk rock. The years have come and gone, line-up changed but the band has never slowed down or taken the heat out of their creative and lyrical rage as shown by the new release. Recent years has seen Foreign Legion share stages with the likes of Cockney Rejects, Guitar Gangsters, Control, The Warriors, GBH, The Ruts, and Stiff Little Fingers and play festivals such as Back On The Streets, Punk & Disorderly and Rebellion, whilst over time they have played in 15 different countries and remained the only Welsh band to ever play at the legendary CBGB’s in New York. With four albums under their belt, including the Mick Jones produced What Goes Around Comes Around, as well as a split full-length with Major Accident and numerous other splits and compilation appearances, the band instantly show they are as stirringly confrontational as ever with their first contribution to this new encounter.

Nowhere Left To Hide strides in straight away with commanding rhythms and attention seizing riffs, their mix a potent lure which the grizzly tones of Marcus stand astride. An air of Angelic Upstarts lines the attitude and presence of the track whilst backing vocals are as anthemic as the core hook repetitiously fuelling the infectious challenge. With guitarist Simon and bassist Dave colluding to grip ears and appetite with their creative bait as the rhythmic swings of Sid thumps them, the track stirs up air and emotions with its old school tones and a modern attitude driven on by the lyrical attack on the state of the world, a premise continued in its successor.

Our World Today is even more addictive with its central hook incessant in nagging repetition and inescapable virulence. Around this the guitar flames with sonic enterprise whilst the throaty bass belligerence snarls with antipathy to match the thick accusation of the lyrics, again anthemically and intimidatingly delivered by Marcus. As its predecessor, the track is not trying to stretch boundaries and venture into unique landscapes but for a thrilling and provocative slab of honest punk rock it is prime incitement.

The other side of the release belongs to Tulsa’s The Shame, another band breeding their attacks from old school punk this time with maybe more US heritage though there are undoubtedly The Shame_RingMaster Reviewsome essences of British punk found within their sound. Their potent history has seen the band play with bands such as Queers, Downtown Struts, Noi!se, Bishops Green, The Templars, Fatskins, Concrete, and Those Unknown whilst their discography includes an album and a 7”. With a new EP scheduled for later this year, the band launch their part with Crossing the Line first of all and quickly gets down to being musically and vocally grouchy and thrilling ears straight away.

Riffs and rhythms rise as one and are soon taking the listener on a feisty attitude driven ride. A thick bass lure easily grips the appetite as does the group calls around the chorus, but from start to finish with a whisper of bands like NOFX to it as well as a UK influence of bands like The Business, the song is a rousing stomp led by pungent hooks and beats around the stirring influence of the lead vocals.

Its successor is just as contagiously imposing and bullish, Faded Glory emerging as a thick anthem of nostalgia and rebel rousing inspired by beer and sonic rioting. A little more reserved in energy compared to their first, song and band still raise the passions and spark the defiance in us all with accomplished and galvanic posture.

The four tracks on the release all hit the spot with ease in a reminder that punk on both sides of the big water is still roaring as strongly as ever. ‘

The Foreign Legion/The Shame 7″ Split EP is available now on exclusive US red vinyl version (250 copies) via Rebel Sound Music and European blue vinyl version (250 copies) via Aggrobeat http://rebelsoundmusic.limitedrun.com/products/541545-foreign-legion-the-shame-split-7-ep

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Foreign-Legion/149893361856696    https://www.facebook.com/oitheshame

RingMaster 04/07/2015

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Monster Jaw – Losing All My Friends EP

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The end of 2013 brought forth Get A Tattoo, the debut EP from UK rockers Monster Jaw and a release which we found to be ‘Drenched in promise and an intriguing raw pleasure’. It was release which frequently lured our ears back into its potential fuelled grasp from thereon in and inspired a broader wave of national appetite for it with a reboot earlier this year through Cobra Kitten Records. Now the band returns with its successor and not only realises some of that brewing potency but has thickened it further, to again captivate, excite, and raise expectations that the Bradford/Leeds based trio will evolve into a pungent rock ‘n’ roll protagonist.

The Losing All My Friends EP bulges with a clutch of songs which manage to snarl whilst they seduce, each combining a mellow smouldering with heavy and hungry intensity. The tracks grip and spark full involvement from imagination and attention yet also they feel like a little bit of a missed opportunity in not going for the jugular creatively and aggressively. Nevertheless the release is a sizeable persuasion and a thoroughly enjoyable encounter which increases the stock and stature of one of Britain’s more fascinating emerging bands.

Formed in the earlier moments of last year by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Mik Davis (ex-New York Alcoholic Anxiety Attack), bassist Neil Short (ex- Down the Machine), and drummer John Bradford (ex-Utopian Love Revival), Monster Jaw was soon sculpting striking songs bred from the inspiration of their surroundings and life experiences. Narratives of such baiting as love, sex, drugs, and dystopian futures swiftly gripped as the band’s sound and live presence brewed up a buzz , something Get A Tattoo soon fuelled further. Shows and support slots on tours for the likes of Stiff Little Fingers and New Model Army only accelerated their emergence and it is easy to see Losing All My Friends, produced as its predecessor by Wes Maybe (The Libertines, Roger Waters, Robert Plant), giving it all another healthy thrust.losingallmyfriendscover

The title track opens things up and takes little time in cupping ears with melodic enticing and rhythmic incitement. Once relaxing into its fiery stroll, with the strangely low key yet highly alluring vocals of Davis spicing up the growing sonic blaze, the track unleashes an infectiousness which is more a slow invasion than a virulent infestation but finds the same irresistible results. The shadowed basslines of Short temper and compliment the scorched temptation of guitar whilst Bradford jabs and probes ears with a reserved but punchy tempting, everything merging for a feisty and compelling mix of garage rock and punk with just a whiff of Jesus and Mary Chain tangy acidity.

The impressing start is followed by the catchy stomp of Low and the punkish psychedelic alluring of Lidocaine. The first of the two songs ebbs and flows in force, melodic caresses building to raw and energetic crescendos which hit the sweet spot. Though that changing of attack is emulated a little in success, the track is a bruising seduction which emerges as another potent slice of nostrils flaring alternative rock persuasion flavoured with a blend of Birdland and My Bloody Valentine essences twisted into something distinctly Monster Jaw. Its successor is a sultry furnace of hazy atmosphere and flaming sounds which again grip most addictively in its explosive eruptions which descend from slower suggestive build-ups. As its predecessor, the song is one where it walks a fine line between calm and aggression and maybe might have found a new gear choosing one over the other. It has to be said though but both, and especially Lidocaine linger and flirt with thoughts and emotions long after their departure so maybe the band has it right after all.

The release is completed by two bonus tracks, first up being a studio version of fan favourite Do It Gay, Do It Straight. It is a ridiculously compelling and anthemic slab of rock ‘n’ roll for feet, voice, and passions, and so easy to see why it ignites audiences. Completed by an extended version of the title track, Losing All My Friends is an increasingly impressing proposition. It gets bigger and better with every listen and though yes it does feel like the band missed a potent trick with it, the EP shows a more imaginative, creatively mature, and adventurous Monster Jaw, and that works for us.

The Losing All My Friends EP is available via Cobra Kitten Records now @ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Losing-All-Friends-Monster-Jaw/dp/B00N953ZK0/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1414436807&sr=1-1&keywords=monster+jaw

http://www.monsterjaw.co.uk

RingMaster 27/10/2014

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Bite The Shark – First Blood

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With a sound as snappy and hungry as their band name suggests, Bite The Shark have made one impressive and attention grabbing entrance with debut single First Blood. Consisting of three songs which roar and swagger with a muscular rock tenacity and punk ferocity, the release is an adrenaline charged juggernaut of rock ‘n’ roll. If you are looking for music unafraid to get dirty whilst spilling bodily fluids then letting Bite The Shark and its single clamp its jaws on you could be one of the wisest moves you make this year.

Hailing from Manchester, the UK band only formed in the early days of 2014 and has swiftly drawn a healthy attention and fan base their way. The recently released First Blood equally took no time in garnering acclaim and more, its success leading to an invitation to the trio of Rory O’Grady and brothers Adam and Edd Langmead, to record with Romesh Dodangoda (Motörhead, Bullet For My Valentine, Twin Atlantic) this September. Like the music within the single, it is fair to say that Bite The Shark is on a charge.

Gas & Air right away tells you all you need to know about its creators, rugged riffs immediately sizing up ears before welcoming imposing rhythms and spicy grooves. It is a striking entrance which is as bold in its presence as it is addictive Microsoft Word - bitesuarez.docxin its explosive enterprise. Elements of Turbonegro and Buckcherry whisper across the raucous adventure as well as spillages of old school punk rock, all resulting in a richly flavoursome and highly anthemic stomp. Hooks and increasingly infectious grooves continue to enslave ears and emotions whilst vocally the band provides a captivating call and brawl of passion drenched energy. The song seems to be the one the band’s fans has grasped to their hearts the most and it is easy to see why as it flirts and romps around the senses.

For us though it is Burn em to the ground (sometimes seemingly just called Burn) which ignites the biggest lust. The track is a beast of an encounter, its opening prowl of beats and bass grooving irresistible and only added to by the sonic squall from the almost belligerent invention of the guitar. Lyrically and musically the song has a snarl and attitude which finds its seeds in bands like The Clash and Stiff little Fingers, whilst its addictive grooves and rapier like swings of rhythms infuses a hard rock riot into its predation. Politically powered and lyrically accusing with a weight of sound and tenacity to back it up, the track is immense and the seal to believing Bite The Shark is definitely going places with the potential to make a lingering mark.

The single is completed by the acoustic track Ms. Ratshit, a song with a swing to it that is bordering on rockabilly and vocals which simply captivate. Based on One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, it is another contagious stomp to cast praise and ardour over.

Do expect to hear a lot about Bite the Shark ahead and if you are wise you will jump on board their ascent right away with First Blood.

First Blood is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/first-blood-single/id899365205

http://www.facebook.com/bitetheshark

9.5/10

RingMaster 27/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Violation Wound – Self-Titled

violation wound pic

The fact that Violation Wound is the brainchild of Chris Reifert, a musician who has been a major genre shaping instigator through Death, Abscess, and Autopsy alone, is enough to make his new proposition a must investigation. The fact that it and its self-titled debut album is a rigorously exciting and enjoyable fury is an extra unbridled bonus.

Violation Wound is Reifert creating a dirty uncompromising brawl of punk rock and metal with hardcore ferocity, a sound and release which finds its seeds in old school punk/HC whilst forging its own distinctive voice. It is not a sound which rips up templates but certainly one which makes Violation Wound a fresh and viciously attention grabbing prospect. Reifert formed the band in 2013, the response to an ‘itch’ to play traditional pissed off punk rock. Moving from his usual position behind the drums to guitar and vocals, he enlisted friend and ex- Fog of War bassist Joe Orterry and current Fog of War drummer Matt O’Connell into the idea and band. The trio set to work creating and uncaging their punk ferocity which is perfectly caged within the album. Also featuring guest appearances from Autopsy guitarists Danny Coralles and Eric Cutler, the release like its sound is as raw and honest as it comes. The production is minimal in many ways and also as raw as it comes, allowing the heart, passion, and hostility to songs to breathe without restraint. The album plays like a collection of tracks brought together from different times or recordings, acting with an almost ‘fly on the wall’ like presence over a torrent of live performances. You feel and smell the sweat and aggression in the songs; immerse in their primal essence and emotion as they roar at the world. It is not a release for those without an appetite for the origins of punk in its most vicious guises, but for those where fire in the belly burns with vicious causticity, it is a must.

The album starts with a ferocious bang, opener Don’t Believe It a fire of abrasive riffs and crunchy rhythms over which Reifert snarls and violation wound coverart growls out the lyrics. Sex Pistols like hooks also sears the oppressively raw encounter, adding to the instantly contagious lure of the song. It is a tremendous start, especially with a great expulsion of guitar enterprise towards its conclusion, which leaves the next up Eyes Red And White in its wake. To be fair the track flies at the jugular with jaws clenched ready to rip out the throat of the senses for another riveting and blistering thrill but it is unfortunate to be sandwiched between the strong starter and the excellent Seeing Scars. At even at this point assumptions are set for the feel and voice of the album which the third song pleasingly confirms with its caustic graze of sonic hostility, vocal maliciousness, and rhythmic predation.

It all makes for a formidable and compelling entrance by the band swiftly put into context by the brilliant Glue Trap. Again riffs and rhythms are just a crescendo of vitriolic energy and intent to lay down an appetising canvas. A base which is then dealt exhaustive exploits of heavily throated grooves, spiteful hooks, and a flame of harmonica toxicity. It is barely over one minute of classic punk mayhem, a mix of Circle Jerks and The Exploited with just a touch of Stiff Little Fingers and quite outstanding.

Band and album continue to excite and impress in varying degrees, the likes of the Dead Kennedys sounding Everywhere is Nowhere with its irresistible niggling barbed hook and anthemic chorus and the surely Motorhead inspired rock ‘n’ roller Brian In A Sling casting new infestations into thoughts and passions whilst tracks such as the emotionally grizzled metal fuelled In My Veins and The Ramones kissed Disposable Soul without reaching similar heights still inspire and ignite a greedy hunger with their sonic and muscular vehemence. To be honest there is not one track which does not leave an invigorating and lingering mark, the depth of the savage rancor and occasionally the raw production helping choose some tracks over others as favourites, as well as of course the richness of hooks and shapely riffs, but all songs easily spark new strains of greed towards the album.

Bigger highlights of the album come in the eye balling intense Disconnection and the ridiculously catchy Complaint Box, a song which in fifty two seconds simultaneously bewitches and ravages ears through to emotions like a dangerously peeved tornado. Their triumphs though as soon exceeded by the abrasing animus of Off The Rails and the even stronger alienation of Circle of Wounds, a track where discord and anthemic potency align for a mouthwatering slice of brutal invention.

Brought to a potently solid and enthralling close by the lethal punk croon of Learn and Burn and the heavier rock bruising of Nothing To Say, the album is an excellent bridge to old school punk and modern ferocity which sparks an anticipation of much more from the band, hopefully this not a one off project. Flaws on the album, if they can be classed as real issues, is the production which meanders too much across the songs and as evidenced by the last two tracks, at times there is a too close a similarity between some tracks. That though is more than anything just finding something to temper the enthusiastic recommendation we can only make to all wanting honest merciless punk rock.

Violation Wound is available via Vic Records @ http://www.vicrecords.com/ now!

www.facebook.com/Violationwound

9/10

RingMaster 27/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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