Desert Suns – Self-Titled

Desert Suns band photo_RingMaster Review

Released in the Autumn of 2014, the self-titled debut album from San Diego quartet Desert Suns gets its deserved official worldwide re-release this January through a special collaboration between Ripple Music and HeviSike Records. For those missing that original limited run of 300 copies on vinyl through Birmingham-based HeviSike , its return is the chance to grab one highly flavoursome slab of stoner bred rock ‘n’ roll.

Formed late 2013, Desert Suns quickly drew attention with their first single Burning Temples which was released in the January of the following year. Seven months later and their six track debut album confirmed the initial potency of sound and imagination within that early single in a fiery and immersive blend of stoner and heavy metal, psyche and blues rock. The band’s sound, as at times their lyrics and song themes, demands attention without the heavy weight of it ever becoming invasively imposing, and within the Tony Reed (Mos Generator/Stone Axe) mastered album provides a powerful invitation to the listener, if without really wanting to take no for an answer.

DESERT-SUNS---DESERT-SUNS_RingMaster Review

Artwork-Jimmy Ovadia

Burning Temples starts things off, an initial sonic static the bed for heavier rumblings and clamorous energies before one hefty groove grows from within the low key tempest. It relaxes with an elegant shimmer to its lure and melodic spice to its touch as the dark bassline of David Russell aligns to his quickly alluring vocals though the forceful and agile beats of drummer Ben McDowell subsequently raises the intensity as the guitars of Woogie Maggard and Anthony Belluto twist and turn with magnetic grooves and riffs. As the track becomes a contagious blaze enslaving hips, ears, and imagination, it is easy to sense Black Sabbath and Deep Purple inspirations at play, the music masterfully and voraciously ebbing and flowing in energy whilst providing a continuous full-on sultry temptation.

After the incendiary climax of the first song has ignited ears and keen involvement further, the following Space Pussy shows it is even more ferociously enflamed with quick sonic and melodic intoxication. Raw and seductive flames soon live up to the suggested salacious exploits and skills of the song’s protagonist, their intensive heat casting a vociferous smoulder in sound and atmosphere which almost has the senses woozy, though sinew swung rhythms and a great gnarly bass tone provides a rapturous temper to that cosmic inebriety smothering ears.

The blues infested rock ‘n’ roll tempest of Passing Through gets ears excited all over again, its feisty swagger courting a virulent catchiness driven by tenacious rhythms and swinging grooves matched by the Ozzy-esque vocal temping of Russell. The track is irresistible, taking a great first impression of the album up another notch with its flirtatious enterprise and anthemic dexterity of music and craft. As across the album, there is something familiar to the Desert Suns sound but a hue only adding to the lure of its bordering on mischievous revelry.

A breath is allowed to be taken by the blues croon of Ten Feet Down as ears feast on a new twist in the landscape of the release. Blues and country rock merge to serenade as harmonica and guitar colour a salty portrait of suggestiveness around it, all colluding for a magnetic encounter before Memories of Home portentously pulsates into view and unfurls a lumbering beast of a stoner/heavy metal fuelled proposition. A scent of Fu Manchu meets Electric Wizard meets Kyuss looms up within the tantalising proposal, whilst mellow and soporific textures unite with the ravaging torrents stirred up by grooves and a hungry energy to create another hard to resist confrontation.

Run Through My Roots brings the album to a compelling close, its atmospheric soundscape and pungent rhythmic suggestiveness the prelude to another forceful and heavyweight enveloping of the senses. Once more romancing calms are seductive oases amidst increasingly volatile eruptions and predacious outbursts, their mesmeric caresses breaking ravenous outpourings of sound and emotion as the track offers a fascinating end to a thoroughly enthralling and enjoyable release.

Second time around, Desert Suns is not to be missed and already thoughts are eagerly turning to what comes next from the band, where they have imaginatively ventured since the creation of their album two years ago.

Desert Suns is out now through Ripple Music in North America on CD and Royal Blue vinyl and on Beer Brown vinyl in the UK through HeviSike Records with digital copies @ https://desertsuns.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/desertsunssd  http://www.desertsunsmusic.com/

Pete RingMaster 20/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Witch Charmer – The Great Depression

Witch Charmer

Raucously majestic and seductively intimidating, UK band Witch Charmer prove that not only was their previous acclaimed EP not a flash in the pan but that it was only the teaser to greater things with debut album The Great Depression. Five tracks which roar and hazily smoulder from a gripping fusion of doom, stoner, and heavy metal, the album is a riveting and scintillating incitement which musically stands out from the crowd but vocally sculpts a corner of its own to transfix from. Led by the magnetic vocal talent of Kate McKeown and assisted rather than backed by the grippingly individual tones of the band, it is an unpredictable and intriguing mix which only accentuates the raw and elegant extremes of the compelling sounds around them. This style of music is quite rich and thick in quality bands right now but the Sunderland quintet easily push themselves to the forefront of the masses with their exhilarating release.

Formed in 2012, the band consists of drummer/vocalist Dave McQuillan, guitarists/vocalists Len Lennox and Adam Clarke, and bassist Richard Maher alongside McKeown. Debut EP Euphoric Curse of last year drew in eager attention and acclaim with its stirring and intensive mesh of weighty rhythms and tantalising grooves aligned to pungent riffs and their compelling vocal mix. It proved irresistible to a great many but was just the base from which the Tony Reed (Mos Generator, Stone Axe) mixed and mastered The Great Depression has grown to greater heights for a heady captivation.

Themed around a “dark satirical view of this world gone mad”, album and band take little time in enslaving ears and imagination with opener Suffer. From its first breath it is spilling an enthralling groove which is soon surrounded by imposing rhythms and a sonic intensity which in turn sparks that initial lure to expel a greater flame to its potency. Just as swiftly the dramatic and impressive voice of McKeown joins the evolving narrative of the track, hot melodic designs alongside flirtatious grooves wrapping her rich tones. A brawling call from one of the band brings another thick texture to the song, his raw vocal squall the extreme opposite to the charm of McKeown but an impressing companion which seems to ignite another bout of virulent urgency and aggression in the sounds. Sharing the lead of the track for a fair portion, the two vocalists grab the attention but not enough to detract from the addictive enticement of the grooves and the sonic enterprise raging around them.

It is a mighty start but soon shown a clean pair of heels by the thrilling presence of The Cull. A more predatory gait is revealed by the track, its slow doom bred crawl an oppressive yet welcoming shadow through which McKeown’s voice WITCH CHARMER - COVERshines like a beacon. It is the vocal alliance which grips ears most of all though, certainly initially, the bruising growl heard in the first song returning with other allies bringing a punkish squall and a clean presentation to dual and flirt with the superb presence of the front lady. The track shows it is not just about that though, that like the release it stands out just as potently through its grooves and scorched atmospheres to create a riveting maelstrom of beauty and intimidation. Like a mix of Jess & the Ancient Ones and Electric Wizard with Triggerman, the track is a blistering provocation soaked in a smouldering blues haze and ferocious heavy psychedelic metal.

Both A Watching Of Wolves and …To Death (I’ll Drink) keep the temperature and might of the album ablaze and the passions aflame, the first arriving on a hypnotic stride of thumping rhythms within a humid tapestry of sonic invention. It takes little time to clad those lingering lures in a thick swamp of dark grooves and rapacious intensity which in turn is veined by melodic mystique enticing and infectious virulence. It is a merger of darkness and light, of brooding emotions and joyful revelry which is seamlessly entwined to create an incendiary incitement for thoughts and passions. Its successor is scintillating; the bass with a delicious bestial twang to its tone leading ears and thoughts into a haze of sonic expression and addictive rhythmic baiting. The song proceeds to lap the senses in waves of energy and seductive enticing, its potency never wavering in success and strength as grooves, riffs, and vocals weave and tease like an adulterous temptress with only eyes for its victim. The rhythmic imagination of McQuillan is inescapable as he frames and veins the track with unpredictable and engrossing bait matched by the delicious vocals.

The best track on the album it is soon rivalled by the closing Stare Into The Sun, a slow enticement which is even more of a salacious temptation than its predecessor in moves and grooves at times but ultimately is a persistently changing and evolving groove fest across a landscape of burning melodies and caustic riffs under a rhythmic thunder. It is a stunning end to a sensational release, though the album does have one final brief treat in hidden acoustic track Architects of our own Existence.

The Great Depression has everything fans of the likes of Black Sabbath and Goatsnake through to Electric Wizard and Blood Ceremony would devour in a second but also much more to bring a fresh air to doom and stoner flavoured heavy metal. Witch Charmer is a major force in the making and their album the first slab of irrepressible evidence.

The Great Depression is available from September 1st on Argonauta Records and at http://witchcharmer.bandcamp.com

www.facebook.com/witchcharmerband

9/10

RingMaster 01/09/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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C.F.A. : Managed By The Devil, Brought To You By The Grace Of God

A stormy mix of stoner, classic rock, and hardcore punk, Managed By The Devil, Brought To You By The Grace Of God the debut album from US stirrers C.F.A. is a more than decent riot to bruise and treat the senses to. It is an album which at times feels like it is unleashing something quite unique and in other moments is treading a well worn yet persistently pleasing path. Overall though it is a formidable slab of sixteen feisty and ultimately satisfying tracks.

C.F.A. (Cody Foster Army) consists of three musicians who combined their talents in 2008, a trio with plenty of experience in their wake. Creating a sound which has been tagged as stoner-core, the threesome of bass guitarist/vocalist Cody Foster (A.K.F., Toxic Shock, Miserable Bastards, Stump, Ash Bib, Poppa Wheelie), lead and rhythm guitarist/vocalist David Takata (Raw Meat , Inbreed, Daisy Love, Bonzort, Swelter, Argonaut, Goldteeth), and drummer David “Reno” Marseillan (Tribe, Nadir, Holokron, Crash Landing, Buckwildz, Mico De Noche, have not looked back in gaining an enthused reaction and following to their combative and abrasive sound. 2009 saw the band record their first album with engineer/producer Tony Reed of Mos Generator and Stone Axe, with its  release coming now via Ripple Records and one imagines certain to draw strong acclaim and responses its way.

The album is a storm of crucial and irresistible riffs from guitar and bass, starting with the infectious Never Free. The track is a magnetic weave which scours the ear through slamming rhythms, scraping vocals, and the gnarly bass tones of Foster whilst offering a melodic swagger which simply oozes contentment. It is a lure not to be denied, an opening temptation which leaves one enthused for what is to come.

Though the following burly Third Side and the crawling Chorus do not make the same heights they both stir up the emotions enough to leave one more than satisfied. In some ways the album is one of two halves with its later presence bringing a more impressive and appetizing collection of confrontations for personal tastes. This is not to say the earlier songs are lacking as Never Free and especially the excellent Shake Your Ass show, the latter a track which feeds on adrenaline and mischief whilst thrusting fiery melodic guitar strikes and pulse racing rhythms through the ear with teasing wantonness before passing onto the flaming stoner punk jab fest Lost Wisdom. This is another song to light the imagination with eagerness without leaving one particularly drooling in lust.

Songs such as the Bob Marley cover Iron Lion Zion, Sons of the Soil, and Kick Rocks deliver an easily agreeable energy driven rampancy but it is with the entrance of Shut Up Your Face that things suddenly find another incendiary level to light the passions. The song is high octane punk rampage which opens with a ska tinged smile before exploding into an air sizzling furnace of riffs and attitude. The bass of Foster funds an even more venomous growl to the song whilst the guitar of Takata moves from delivering insatiable riffs to being a malicious weapon which sizes up its victim before unleashing scythes of sonic venom.

Next up Built Up Knocked Down is a deliciously twisted brew of stoner and garage punk to fire up the heart whilst Red Wine Ride is a contagious rub of salty melodics and barging riffs driven by the fiery vocals. Another cover in the form of Creedence Clear Water track Fortunate Son is a decent enough song but pales against its predecessors and the following final two songs Magic Salad and Inhabit, both outstanding examples of hardcore punk for the first and stoner/sludge antagonism for the latter.

They impressively complete in Managed By The Devil, Brought To You By The Grace Of God an album which continually ticks all the right boxes even if it arguably does not hold the consistency to make it a classic.

http://www.cfa-codyfosterarmy.com/

RingMaster 22/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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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Grifter: Self Titled

The end of last year saw many a fan and media source excited by the self titled debut from UK trio Grifter. The release slipped past us then but having finally been introduced to its enthused and energetic rock n roll we just had to share it here in case you too had escaped its initial emergence. Quite simply the release is unadulterated and straight forward rock music for the heart and aural bar room liquor to intoxicate the ear. The band do not offer up anything particularly new or groundbreaking but other than label stable mates at Ripple Music, Trucker Diablo, it is hard to bring to mind another band that does it with the same accomplished quality and passion with which this band does.

Grifter formed in 2003 as a quartet well for their debut gig anyway. The show saw the vocalist quit on stage and the band has remained a threesome of vocalist/guitarist Ollie, bassist Phil, and drummer Foz, ever since. From day one they have riled up and excited people with their honest heart borne rock sounds, big teasing riffs, and high octane rock n roll. As their music and reputation grew to draw in a wider and more eager fan base across the south west of the UK the band released their Elephantine demo in 2005. Favourable reviews rolled in and they found themselves the attention of Fury 76 Records with whom they recorded the High Unholy Mighty Rollin’ EP the following year, its actual release not coming until 2008 and again to very favourable reviews. The band were then approached to do a track for a compilation by Catacomb Records which led to their second EP The Simplicity of the Riff is Key in 2010 and again on the label. Last year saw them contribute to a split EP release with Stone Axe, Sun Gods In Exile and Mighty High on Ripple Music, a success that has seen them now release through Ripple again their first album.

Grifter the band and album encapsulate rock n roll, their sound and songs bringing the best from an obviously thick blanket of influences and turning them into their own irrepressible heart fuelled music. As the album plays you are reminded of the likes of Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Clutch, Stone Axe, Motorhead and ZZ Top as well as to a lesser but as important degree bands like Orange Goblin, and Kyuss. Classic rock, hard rock, stoner, blues and southern rock are all in the rich heady and thrilling concoction, a sound with no demands asked and no unrequited emotions taken, Grifter is full of rock music at its best given with heart, energy and fun, and made for people like themselves, rockers.

The tracks whistle by due to the way they pull one in straight away to party with the band, the likes of the southern tinged stirring opener Good Day For Bad News, Alabama Hot Pocket with its muscle flexing rhythms, and Young Blood, Old Veins with a stoner swagger and middle finger offering, leaving the pulse racing and breath looking for air to re-energise ready for more of the same insatiable, exhaustive and rampant sounds.

Every song on the album offers a bottle of double strength rock to become light headed from. It is full of sure and tight riffs leading one down to dirty deeds and rhythms that draw willing and impossible to resist contortions of limbs and energy. Some tracks do have more of the devil in them than others though like the wanton groove driven Strip Club, a song that seduces and teases with all the tricks of a bar pole dancer, the rockabilly toned Buck Tooth Woman where the band have a sure touch of The Stray Cats about them, and Bean with its classic UK hard rock flavouring. As mentioned all the tracks hit the spot perfectly and have the desired effect  of pulling one to their feet to participate to some degree even the closing bluesy acoustic lined ballad Gone Blues. Once in its stride the song has lighters, voices and bodies swaying in unity with its mesmeric groove.

Grifter is an excellent rock n roll album, no more and certainly no less. It does not have to be anything more as it and the band deliver eleven pieces of pure and delicious rock music, what could be better?

Ringmaster 20/04/2012

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Stone Axe: Stone Axe II Deluxe Edition

Released a couple of years ago Stone Axe II is given another outing as a special deluxe addition on Ripple Music and is a vibrant treat for not only fans of the band Stone Axe but for rock music lovers in general. If you have not yet felt the majestic power and heart of Stone Axe and their sounds then this release of their second album complete with a second CD of fifteen tracks only previously available either upon their vinyl releases, as part of compilations, or are just rare tracks previously buried deep within their vault, is an essential for your ears. The package bulges with blues and classic rock fuelled rock n roll, the band dipping into the past and soul of the genres with flavours from the likes of Free, Deep Purple, Bad Company, The Faces, Thin Lizzy and Led Zeppelin the catalyst for their own absorbing sounds.

The band was formed in 2007 by multi-instrumentalist T. Dallas Reed in Bremerton, Washington who upon leaving previous band Mos Generator and its different direction to what the band was set up upon, worked swiftly to set up Stone Axe to continue his hearts calling, Seventies rock preservation. Alongside Reed in the studio there is vocalist Dru Brinkerhoff and live the pair is aided by bassist Mike DuPont and drummer Mykey Haslip. Since forming the band has become an important part of the current rock scene for an ever rising fan base with their impressive live shows and their two albums, as well as splits and EPs which show so sigh of slowing, constantly grabbing eager acclaim, attention and enthusiasm. The nostalgic music influences strike a firm partnership with the band invention to offer a fresh and powerful mix that has a versatility and variety to satisfy persistently.

The first CD as mentioned is the complete ten track second album of the band, a release that with an enthused attitude, heart, and energy combines the flavours of blues rock, stoner, and seventies rock into a stirring and fresh homage come reinvention of classic rock without losing its passion and soul. With songs like the hit Chasing Dragons and the excellent Thin Lizzy spiced Those Were The Golden Years where Brinkerhoff sounds like the reincarnation of Phil Lynott through to the Free inspired Ain’t Gonna Miss It and the stunning Procul Harem tinged Turned To Stone, Stone Axe II is an essential release for all old classic rock favouring fans.

Very often these types of packages offer very little for the passionate fan that has much of the output of a band already, the release riding on the desire of the fan to simply want everything a band releases for their collection. With this special edition those who already have the second album are more than provided for with the second CD and the wealth of tracks within, though if a truly ardent fan you may still have everything already of course. The disc includes a cover of the Cream song SWLABR, an early version of Black Widow, as well as a thrilling live cut of Taking Me Home to name just a trio of the excellent tracks within. With the majority of the cuts now unavailable the CD alone makes the release a virtually new one for most and a very rewarding package with more than just something for every rock fan.

Stone Axe has taken classic rock forward without losing the essence and purpose they and the genre strive by. From the excellently crafted sounds and lyrics through to the perfect and impassioned delivery the band and this release sparks up all the senses and emotions easily and impressively. Many bands are trying to create music with a soul and breath seeded from the early fires of rock, Stone Axe just do it better than most.

RingMaster 05/03/2012

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