Black Space Riders – Refugeeum

Black Space Riders official 2015_RingMaster Review

With their previous album D:REI, it is fair to say that German space rockers Black Space Riders not only set a new benchmark for themselves but ignited a whole new host of appetites and acclaiming attention. Now the Muenster sextet return with its successor Refugeeum; an intensive and expansive exploration which may or may not quite surpass its exceptional predecessor, but is an equal as it reinforces the band’s stature as one of the most fascinating and gripping propositions in heavy rock.

This time around the band has dropped from spatial explorations and focused on earthbound issues and tempestuous times. Musically the band has found an earthier and more organically trespassing, as well as more intimate, depth and invention to their ever diverse, flavour embracing sound. Certainly there are moments which soar and take flight through rich and broad landscapes but always they lead to the turbulence and raw canvas of emotional and physical migrancy, to simplify the album’s theme. There is also a new and open maturity to the songwriting and its realisation in Refugeeum, a quality taking the already recognised and rewarding potency in all aspects of band and sound that had already powerfully blossomed within D:REI, to new pastures.

A spatial shimmer grows around ears initially as album opener Vortex Sun starts things off, its distant twinkle soon joined by a lone melody and vocal harmonies. Everything has a shadowy glaze to it but equally a magnetism which within seconds draws ears and imagination right into the brewing soundscape of the song. Once the drums begin rolling with increasing resonance and hunger, the track is on the lip of a thickly atmospheric and energetically contagious proposal, guitars casting a cascade of sonic enterprise around nagging riffs whilst the vocals add further descriptive drama and texture. The threat of a full explosion of sound and turbulence is constantly there but never really realised, the song moving through constantly shifting rock scenery with exotic mystique and sultry Eastern whispers a regular and inventive lining.

Frontcover Refugeeum Vinyl _RingMaster Review   The track is a glorious start to the album and swiftly matched by Universal Bloodlines, who wins its persuasive argument from the opening bait of throaty riffs and crispy beats alone. They come with an irresistible hook, one which only persists as the band develops and slips into a Life of Agony like emotive croon within rousing rhythmic and dirtily aggressive temptation. It is a fiery and intimidating fusion and ridiculously irresistible, even when the sonic craft of the guitarists SLI and JE add searing sonic flames to the raw alchemy.

Born a Lion (Homeless) comes next, opening with its own compelling coaxing. The scuzzy tone of bass from SAQ is a thick menacing hook all on its own whilst just as quickly, fuzzy guitars and slithers of keys align with its enthralling call to accentuate and colour the tribal call of the song. The vocals are shared around the album by Seb and JE, and here offer maybe their most rapacious and fiercely captivating delivery yet. The song itself continues to grow into a brute of a proposition, a treat lying somewhere between Killing Joke, Rammstein, and David Bowie.

There is a post punk edge to the following The Lure (Come with us), especially in its opening stalking of ears. Four songs in and each has provided the most individual and passion enslaving openings, entrances backed by ever evolving and twisting adventures, and here the fourth song goes on to explore a filth toned embrace of snarling vocals, evocative guitar caresses, and one hypnotically tenacious doomy prowl.

A mellower lure escapes Run to the Plains next, gentle vocal persuasion luring in attention as a darker groan of bass from SAQ or HEVO, who also features upon Refugeeum, courts its invitation. It is a tempting increasing as both vocalists unite with their unique and complementary tones. There is a touch of post rock to the track and a Palms like alternative rock smoulder to the stoner-esque ripeness colouring the mesmeric encounter. At over ten minutes the track is a maelstrom in waiting too, expelling thick tendrils of intensity and heavy grooves as well as tempestuous riffs across its constantly resonating sonic glow.

The pair of Curtains of Death, another with a start which just seems to know how to flick the switch of lust, and Melek’s Lament (Yazidi Tears) just seduce and engross with constant imagination. The outstanding first of the two follows up its tasty start with a spiral of tangy grooves, feisty riffs, and grouchy vocals, all honed into an intimidating and again wonderfully fuzzy yet boisterous shuffle before drifting off into reflective and haunting, almost cavernous exploration. It is a riot for the ears and feast for the imagination whilst its successor is a mist of worldly whispers, flirtatious textures, and emotional intensity, and in a completely different way just as fascinating and infectious, especially as it brews up its own seventies rock tinged roar of a climax which in turn descends into a sonic escape.

Such his skilled rhythmic jungle of beats and resourcefulness C.RIP has an easy time winning these ears over from start to finish within Refugeeum, and again ensures Walking Shades has its hooks into the psyche straight away with another almost meditatively inviting dance of beats. Subsequent melodies and vocals pursue another Life of Agony like toning in their catchy and provocative body, it all colluding for one tantalising offering before Ritual of Inner Strength brings the album to an epic close. The track in many ways is like a musical epilogue to Refugeeum, all the richest and most potent elements creating the hearts of the album’s songs converging together in a gentle but intensifying tempest. It is creative theatre, one igniting thoughts and emotions as strongly as its infectious lures grip the body, and though it does not take personal emotions quite to the heights sparked by other songs, its impacting croon is a fine end to a mighty release.

The band’s previous album had great ruggedness to it which has been rounded off for Refugeeum but in its place the band has honed a more intricate blend of slimmer tempests, thicker explorations, and a perpetual unpredictable invention. The album is Black Space Riders’ boldest and farthest reaching creative offering yet and after many more listens whilst composing this, decidedly their most thrilling exploit yet.

Refugeeum is available now digitally, on Cd, and on double vinyl (2x180G, incl. CD & lyric-insert) @

RingMaster 24/07/2015

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Unmothered – U M B R A

Unmothered_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

U M B R A is a predator soaked in doom and sludge but equally draped with essences of black metal, noise, stoner rock, and most likely any other voracious flavour you can imagine. It is also one of the most primal and inventively addictive things heard so far in 2015. The new carnivorous proposition from US band Unmothered, the three track EP proposition brawls through ears, violates the senses, and scars the psyche from start to finish, all the time igniting the passions with its fierce turbulence. There is no escape once it takes hold but no desire to flee its uncompromising trespass either.

Starting their raucous prowl of the senses in 2010, the Austin hailing Unmothered unleashed their self-titled debut EP vinyl in 2012 to acclaiming responses across the underground scene. It brought seven atmospherically ravenous and physically cavernous landscapes to feast on the senses, laying the seeds for the even darker and in many ways more intimate intrusions to be found within the insidious temptation of U M B R A.

cover_ Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review    As its predecessor, the EP is wrapped in the artwork of UK artist Andrew Sloan, its dark toning and organic imagery a first glimpse of the creative tapestry and sonic exploration set to seduce ears and beyond. Opener Magnetar rubs ears with a lone riff to begin within but swiftly revolves and broadens into a predatory canter of imposing rhythms from drummer Matt Moulis and dark throaty bait courtesy of Joseph Barnes’ bass, both entwined in the just as gripping sonic tenacity of guitarist Matt Walker. Alone each sculpts pure drama but together they make aural pestilence whilst additionally conjuring a groove which no matter where it leads or what it twists itself into, is an unrelenting seducing within the carnal ambience and textures around it. The pestilential tones of Walker’s vocals crawl into the psyche too as they hitch a ride on the increasingly contagious grooving and tsunami like hostility swinging its way to the same destination.

If the swagger of the first song is incendiary and contagious, it is light weight compared to that of Scarp and before it Huntress. The second song scythes through ears on a sonic lure before thickening its bait within a musty swamp of noise. It is only building towards the point of greater addictive enterprise though, another flaming acidic groove with a waspish nature flirting within ears as guitars and drums spin a magnetic enslaving web. Equipped with gnarly bass tones which simply inflame the senses, the song offers whispers of bands like Ministry and Morkobot, though equally you would suggest Unsane or a Today is the Day, as many do, as a hint to the ravaging being enjoyed. The track is irresistible, a disembowelling of the senses with riveting rewards in return but quickly over shadowed by the final song.

Scarp from its first breath is a torrent of sonic nagging, Walker’s guitar a primal bee in the psyche which is rapidly matched in primeval temptation by the roguish swipes of Moulis and the throaty dissent of bass. A rhythmic and sonic virulence does not let up even as the raw tones of Walker spill their new narrative of aggression and his guitar skirts over the Killing Joke like rhythmic spine with its caustic and corrosive enterprise. A post rock like calm embraces ears midway through to wrong-foot and bewitch, the drums continuing to roll out a mouth-watering and unrelenting niggle of anthemic beats throughout. It is a mesmeric and meditative passage yet in its air, lurking in the shadows there is an intimidation and menace which bides its time before exploding in one hellacious climax of one outstanding incitement.

The track is a brilliant; a gripping end to a glorious slab of noise fuelled contagion posing as U M B R A. Letting greed have its say there is no doubting that the EP is over too soon but with the adage ‘leave them wanting more’ surely in its thoughts, U M B R A and Unmothered have opened up a vat of anticipation for something bigger and you suspect even more threateningly bolder.

U M B R A is available from May 26th via Crowquill Records. For details see

RingMaster 26/05/2015

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One Last Shot – First Gear


You just have to love a bruising stomp of rock ‘n’ roll where you feel dirty, battered, and exhaustingly contented at its conclusion, and few come more satisfying than the First Gear EP from French rockers One Last Shot. Without worrying about setting new templates for others to follow, it inspires by simply unleashing heavy passion drenched sounds in a blistering antagonistic and aggressive, not forgetting exhilarating form. The five track release is rowdy and refreshing rock ‘n’ roll at its prime, a riot of metal and rock everyone can lose their inhibitions to.

Consisting of ex-members of The Outburst and Crack Ov Dawn as well as the bassist of Sin And Death, One Last Shot creates a roar which takes essences from the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Motorhead, and Guns N Roses but equally involves groove and stoner metal tenacity with punk belligerence in tempests which easily spark attention and hungry appetites for more. Described by some as dust metal, the quintet’s sound is a take no prisoners brawl with the devilry of the sleaziest salacious and thrilling romps. It is an unbridled and seriously accomplished sonic provocation bound in inescapable fun.

Brawler is the first track to accost ears, casting a melodic enticing instantly through one then the two guitars sculpting the emerging song. It is a restrained but spicy opening awash with a0481176261_2southern winery which opens up into a raw and raucous incitement through the gravelly tones of vocalist Sky and the anthemic riffs of guitarists Shelby and Scarsid. With rhythms as imposing as the hooks and grooves are magnetic, the track virulently strolls with punk hostility and heavy rock intensity. A great solo only adds to the rich lure and enterprise of the track before it all makes way for the even more impressive Skateboard Song. An enslaving hook is the first thing to escape the lips of the song, swiftly followed by the crisp beats of drummer Kmy and a throaty bassline from Void. This is in tandem with great caustic vocals and a contagious blend of ravaging riffs and seductive grooving. The encounter is glorious, again part punk, rock, metal and quite irresistible.

The following G.A.S. is in no mood to let levels drop either, its busier opening a furious mix of snarling riffs and sinew swung rhythms ridden by the abrasing vocals of Sky which are backed by the anthemic calls of the band. Once again infectiousness soaks the guitars as tangy grooves grip ears and passions with consummate ease whilst as in its predecessors, imagination and unpredictability add their own distinctly flavoursome and tenacious bait. By this point in the release, if not earlier, it is hard to imagine anyone not being lost to the impressive craft and addictive hell-raising of First Gear but to make sure another pinnacle consumes the senses through the next up Headbangers. A roll of drums triggers a waspish lure of riffs, each wave coming with a web of toxic grooves and barb loaded hooks. It is a sensational start soon joining a tide of eager intensity and melodic spicing. As elsewhere, there is a gang feel to the presentation and energy of the song, a united front taking on all-comers whilst like an arrogant peacock it simultaneously expels sonic and melodic colours to seduce all before.

Closing with the maybe less dramatic and gripping but no less enjoyable Prophesick, the EP comes to a great imposing end. The last track puts on its heaviest rhythmic boots and harries and batters ears with belligerent enterprise and heart and without lighting the same fires as earlier songs, it still unreservedly pleases as it completes what is an excellent and refreshing proposition.

It is hard to do anything but heartily recommend First Gear; yes maybe originality is not high on the agenda but it twists established weaponry into a ferocious and riveting storm which quite honestly leaves most other similarly bred offerings in the shade.

The First Gear EP is available via Just For Fun Records now and digitally @

RingMaster 07/01/2015

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The House Of Capricorn – Morning Star Rise

Photo Credit Cerulean Empire

If the horned one has a house warming party the day he moves in and consumes the world, there are plenty of candidates to provide the musical incitement; a list sure to have The House Of Capricorn near the top. The New Zealand devil rock trio release their new album Morning Star Rise this week and it is a proposition which wears the apocalypse as a smouldering seduction, a tantalising glaze to the band’s rock ‘n’ roll tapestry of doom, gothic and stoner rock. The release is a masterful protagonist for dark deeds and blackened hearts, a bewitching evocative hex sounding like the son of a satanic union between Type O Negative, Dommin, Babylon Whores, and Sisters Of Mercy. Even that description does not touch the black hearted toxicity which coats every note and syllable but it does suggest the melodic and deceptive satanic alchemy fuelling the outstanding encounter, the album radiantly inviting as its sound and intent feeds on the soul.

Formed in 2001 and hailing from Auckland, The House of Capricorn set free the self-released The Rivers And The Rain EP in 2006 as their first temptation, but it was with first album Sign Of The Cloven Hoof four years later that the band stirred real attention within a wider spotlight. It was followed the next year by In The Devil’s Days, the album reinforcing the increasingly darker explorations began with its predecessor. Now the threesome of vocalist Marko Pavlovic, guitarist Scott Blomfield, and drummer Michael Rothwell have cast their most riveting collection of satanic hymns yet for one of the most thrilling possessions of the year.

The Road to Hell is Marked makes the first enticement of ears and psyche, the track bounding in on swinging beats and a carnivorously snarling bassline entwined with an instantly engaging if acidic groove. It is a magnet for the imagination, the opening intimidation swiftly bursting into a creative punk like brawl as Pavlovic roars from within a tenaciously aggressive sonic confrontation. An element of Volbeat plays with thoughts but only as whispers behind the outstanding Pete Steele like dark harmonies the vocals grace the lyrical infestation with. Anthemic and contagious, the opener is a salacious but controlled stomp teasing with a scorching solo and that ever grumbling bass sound which enslaves appetite and emotion.

The brilliant start is matched swiftly by the fire and brimstone of In Light of Lucifer, the track stepping down a gear in attack but increasing the dosage of toxic grooves and vocal tempting. The 143228track prowls and taunts with its gait and hypnotic sounds, an imposing resonance leaking from every pore whilst the guitars cast a web of virulent hooks and grooves within the thick doom loaded smog. As the previous songs and those to follow, there is a diversity of sound and textures making up the offering but whatever the spices the song, as the album, is simply rock ‘n’ roll at its voracious best.

Our Shrouded King is another bellow of sound and demonic intent, riffs and rhythms an uncompromising confrontation tempered by the sultry temptation of grooves and expressive vocals. Hints of Misfits/Samhain flirt with thoughts as do more loudly those of Type O Negative but there is no escaping the rich and imposing tones of seventies classic metal kicking up a storm within the swamp of enterprise and incendiary emotion squalling within the track. Its invitingly corrosive maelstrom makes way for the slower predation of Ashlands, it an initially agitated intimidation which emerges as a broad and funereal examination of imagination and emotions. The track is a glorious dark seducing, a drone kissed croon in sound and voice which consumes the senses with a post punk haunting and gothic rock elegance before making its way to angst soaked expulsions of raw vocals and blacker sonic depths. The song is as meditative as it is emotionally toxic, and quite riveting.

Both The Only Star in the Sky and Ivory Crown continue the exhilarating infestation, the album remaining on its lofty plateau of persuasion with consummate ease. The first of the two has an essence of The Mission to its melodic tempting whilst rhythmically and in the growling bass lures, a tinge of early Killing Joke. Again they are mere whispers in the fascinating creative embrace of an inescapable contagion. If this is an infectious suasion its successor is primal seducing with its Sisters of Mercy like chorus and blackened glamour, though overall as the song blossoms and tempts with melodic and female harmonies inflaming ears and passions, it enthrals more like a distant cousin of The Mission’s track Severina, a plus in anyone’s book.

The hazier climate and sonic colour of Watching Angels Fall comes next, the song as magnetic strolling relentlessly or welling up with tsunami like energy for impassioned dark crescendos. Its adventurous instinct leads the listener into a noir lit plane of sonic enterprise and provocative ruffled calm at one point, an almost wrong-footing turn before re-establishing its authority with the returning tide of torrential tiffs and rhythms. A slow burner compared to others on the album but soon another peak, it is followed by the atmospheric instrumental Covenants Ark, an intriguing and thought provoking piece of stark wasteland bred ambience leading to final epic emprise Dragon of Revelations. Over nine minutes long, the track is a cavernous journey into a dark unknown and destructive malevolence but lit with the transfixing smouldering tones of Pavlovic and a reflective streaming of sonic colour from Blomfield. It is a doom drenched exploration, oppressive and enchanting simultaneously and a sublime end to an exceptional release.

Morning Star Rise is majestic, colossally gloomy and fearsome but equally captivatingly infectious and spellbinding. When the apocalypse comes The House of Capricorn will have no fears, they will riding to the fore with wide grins and instruments sound-tracking the end of days.

Morning Star Rise is available now via Svart Records on vinyl @, on CD @ or digitally @

RingMaster 02/12/2014

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Spider Kitten – Behold Mountain. Hail Sea. Venerate Sky. Bow Before

Spider Kitten

Claimed as an album which was never supposed to exist, Behold Mountain. Hail Sea. Venerate Sky. Bow Before definitely belies the spontaneous and undetermined emergence that the statement suggests. The three track release from UK doomsters Spider Kitten, in their words “was always meant as a filler for themselves and the ‘fans’ before the next full album.” What they have created is a masterful captivation of sound and invention which pushes their horizons and suggests that ultimately its birth was not as laid back as assumed, though equally it holds a freedom and flow to it which is organically spontaneous. It is a gripping and unpredictable slab of stoner flamed doom exploration, something which the Welsh band excels in, which for newcomers and fans alike reinforces the stature of Spider Kitten and more.

Formed in 2001, the Newport band is centred round vocalist/guitarist Chi Lameo and bassist/vocalist Alex White. Emerging as a duo, the band as years and releases came and went, has been a full septet and as now, an imagination sparking quartet featuring drummer/vocalist Chris West and guitarist Rob Davies alongside the founding pair. The band has numerous impressive releases under their belt but strangely and almost inexplicably Spider Kitten is still a treat within the shadows when it comes to breaching the fullest spotlight within British rock. Maybe the new encounter will be the catalyst to broader attention and recognition, time will tell but it is certainly a striking and exciting incitement from the band which is sure to whip up a storm of acclaim somewhere.SKDigiPromoCover

Lyrically and musically inspired by Norse Sagas and Eddas, the release also features guests in the shape of guitarist Stuart ‘O.F.D.’ O’Hara (Acrimony, Iron Monkey, Blackeyeriot, Sigiriya) on opener Lindisfarena, and Charlotte Nichols (ex – Crippled Black Phoenix) who provides the heavy provocation of cello gracing final song Gore Swan. The first track launches on a gripping parade of predatory rhythms swiftly smothered in sonic causticity as guitars spray their endeavour. It is a tribal call to arms which instantly enslaves ears and imagination before suddenly relaxing into a just as tempestuous terrain of thick stoner enterprise and doom loaded predation. Vocals add their raw persuasion and colour next as the track spreads with almost toxic infectiousness across the senses, Lindisfarena insatiably swallowing thoughts and emotions with its riveting expanse of bass intimidation and sonic tenacity. Slow and lumbering but nimble on its feet in certain aggressive and inventive moments, the track is seven minutes plus of enthralling, bordering on visceral exploration.

The following Bearded Axe consumes ears with lowly slung grooves and stalking rhythms as vocal harmonies converge on the song’s corrosive ambience. It is a mesmeric assault, the track a ponderous beauty of bestial intensity and weight aligned to perversely radiant colour and temptation. For three minutes or so the track prowls and intimidates to fine effect but it is once sonic scythes split the body of the track, to be matched by carnivorous beats, that it grips an even greater plateau. Thick Kyuss like essences seduce in its maelstrom before a gentle caress of folkish charm leads the track towards the closing epic of Gore Swan. It is a transfixing bruising enticement which is surpassed by the journey, musically and lyrically, coming in the three parts of the last track. With ‘chapters’ Of the Land, Of the Sea, and Of the Sky uniting, the song is an evolving landscape of melodic scenery, ferocious confrontation, and imposing intensity. It never rests too long in one particular climate, each movement no matter its length a restless and fascinating tapestry of textures and sonically fuelled imagination. There is something of KingBathmat to the encounter, especially in its weave of evocative sounds and almost devilish ingenuity. The cello of Nichols is gorgeous as it crafts melancholic and bewitching shadowed tones as backdrop to hostile and calmer twists in the tale.

The track alone makes the album a must investigation, and locked in union with its companions helps provide another sensational proposition from Spider Kitten, a band which surely will eventually stand to the fore of doom bred, progressive caressed, sludge rich adventure.

Behold Mountain. Hail Sea. Venerate Sky. Bow Before is available now via Undergroove Records

RingMaster 28/10/2014

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ssSHEENSss – Strapping Stallions


It might be hard to be convinced by the band name but there is no such issue with the new album from Finnish heavy rockers ssSHEENSss. The band’s second full-length, Strapping Stallions is a compelling beast of a proposition, riffs and rhythms as cantankerous as they are aggressive yet there is an eclectic devilry across the release which aligns itself to a gripping inventive craft, it all resulting in an album which is resourcefully unpredictable, mischievous, and most of all great fun.

Formed in 2011, the Hamina sextet set to work on their self-titled but album at the tail end of 2012 with producer Billy Anderson (Eyehategod, Mr. Bungle, Melvins, Neurosis), before unleashing it on the world to eager reception in the February of last year on guitarist Harri Pikka’s own label Stabbing Records. It was an attention grabbing stomp and sound but one which between albums has evolved into an even more muscular and ferocious tempest of stoner bred sinew sculpted rock ‘n’ roll. Early this year the line-up of vocalist Mikko Kiri, bassist Edu Lethal, drummer Juho Harjula, and the triple strike of guitarists made up of Pikka, Porkka and Muhli, hit the studio with a new horde of songs. Mixed by Tomas Skogsberg (The Hellacopters, Dismember) and mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, Corrosion of Conformity, Beastmilk), what emerged was the riveting and virulently contagious Strapping Stallions.

The accompanying press release announces that the album and its sound is something fans of Turbonegro, The Hellacopters, and ZZ Top will want to devour, something easy to agree with though that is only one shade of the diverse flavouring of the encounter. Opening track Adios, Fucker! for example pungently reminds of Troublegum era Therapy?, and as the nine tracks come and flirt with ears and imagination plenty other references come to mind, though they cannot defuse the potency of originality also spewing from ssSHEENSss. The opener is an instant wall of thumping rhythms and predacious riffs, all sides of the song converging on ears with an irritable tenacity. Employing essences of punk and metal to its keen and voracious, the stormy treat as mentioned easily reminds of the aforementioned Northern Ireland trio but also with its melodic sultry swagger hints at the likes of Mondo Generator. It is a riveting and thrilling start to the release, honest rock ‘n’ roll with little need to add over the top flourishes but allowing guitars and rhythms to craft a compelling web of highly infectious baiting.

The excellent opening is not matched by a cover of ZZ Top track Concrete And Steel, though to be fair ssSHEENSss twist it into an individual incitement of their own with resourceful imagination. It is a more than decent encounter but ssSHEENSss_strappingstallions_800x800px_weblacks the spark and in the face potency of its predecessor, something the next up You And Your Daughters is more capable of. Bluesy grooves entwine ears straight away as beats jab powerfully across their fiery coaxing. With vocals and riffs joining the swift temptation on feet and emotions, it is a rigorously inviting opening accentuated by sonic flames searing the magnetic spine of the song. There is also a seventies hard rock breath to the caustic sound fuelling the proposition, a lure which easily secures full attention and appetite but it is the mid-way twist into a bordering on bedlamic post punk/garage rock venture reminding of The Three Johns, where a great track becomes an outstanding one.

The equally stunning Voice Distortion Call with its heady and weighty intimidation of air and power sparks another lustful wave of hunger for the release, its Queens Of The Stone Age like devilry a sonic toxicity impossible to resist. With grooves and a sonic colouring you can almost physically taste such its spicy twang, the song is a gripping slab of stoner bred ferocity; a track as volatile as it is creatively composed. Another lofty highlight of the release, it is followed by the more classic metal toned Wolf Street Blues where that earlier Turbonegro comparison comes in handy. It is an easy going and undemanding proposition but keenly contagious and enjoyable providing another flavoursome turn in the diversity of Strapping Stallions.

Shadow Animals with its anthemic rhythmic thumping and corrosive riffery sets the fires in the passions burning bright again, its virulent hooks and Kiri’s vocal prowess irresistible amongst nothing but inescapable enticements. Imagine Mastodon meets again QOTSA and you get a sense of the adventurous climate and canvas of the song explored and set ablaze by the band. Its successor Let’s Explode does not quite match its triumph but still provides a lively smoulder of stalking riffs and classic rock soaked sonic endeavour to eagerly embrace. With at times a southern lilt to chords and heated harmonies from vocals, it is an enthralling offering, though it and its predecessor come nowhere close to the brilliance of the next track.

It is rare to call a cover the best track in a seriously impressive release but the band’s version of Love Will Tear Us Apart is sensational. Easily the best version of the track since Joy Division’s own unleashing, the band turns it into a new depressive seduction giving riffs a more carnivorous growl and beats antagonistic agility which lies perfectly with the pulsating throat of the bass and the melodic toxins which seep from every chord and twist of guitar. Even the vocals make a dramatic statement, Kiri managing to hold onto the cold emotion of Ian Curtis’ unique delivery whilst adding further expressive twists. It is pure dark majesty leaving Saigon the unenviable task of following and closing up the album, which it does successfully with its own anthemic rhythmic lures and melodic rabidity creating a song which whispers Eagles of Death Metal and Kyuss meets Melvins.

It is a great end to an exciting release which in some ways might even have missed a trick or two to become a modern classic. Nevertheless Strapping Stallions is another firm treat for the year and ssSHEENSss a band with a dodgy name and a natural ability to create exceptional rock ‘n’ roll.

Strapping Stallions is available via Soulseller Records on 3rd October

RingMaster 03/10/2014

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Brain Pyramid – Chasma Hideout


As impressive debut albums go, Chasma Hideout from French psych rockers Brain Pyramid is right up there amongst the most enthralling and scintillating propositions. The seven track sonic exploration is a transfixing adventure of ear bending, mind warping psychedelic revelry, but one equally bred on the finest stoner rock grooving and experimental mischievousness. At times it feels like one massive glorious jam but throughout there is an enterprise and inventiveness which just as potently leaves senses basking and passions greedy. If the album is your introduction to Brain Pyramid, be prepared for one ruggedly spellbinding ride.

The Rennes band was formed in 2012 by guitarist Gaston Lainé and drummer Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo drawing on inspirations from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Sabbath, Motorhead, and Blue Cheer alongside those of Kyuss, Sleep, Nebula, Earthless, and Orange Goblin. Last year’s well received Magic Carpet Ride EP put ears and attention on notice but now with bassist Ronan Grall of Huata alongside the founding duo, Brain Pyramid is ready to really stir things up with their thrilling offering.a0031606373_2

The earth bound spatial adventure is started by Living in the Outer Space, a country twang and kick over of a truck engine the lift off to a groove driven flight through sultry skies and flaming sonic landscape. Instantly riffs draw a raw canvas framed by an unpredictable rhythmic incitement. It is a compelling coaxing but it is the similarly unpolished vocals and senses entwining grooves which brings the strongest colour to the contagion. A flirtation with a noir wrapped jazzy seduction provides a new twist of pleasure before the fiery surface and enterprise of the song re-establishes a forceful and gripping presence. Continuing to surprise and enthral, the song is a sizzling and immersive treat but only the beginning of the fun.

The following Lazy instantly unveils its funk seeded heat and tenacity, the lure bubbling with relish and energy the more the song reveals itself. Grooves and rhythms make a flavoursome embrace whilst the bass with its throaty temptation offers intriguing shadow soaked hues. It is a roaring blaze of melodic and sonic toxicity, the song worming under the skin through the excellent slightly deranged craft of Lainé and the irresistible heavy stoner-esque stroll of the track. Its success is soon surpassed by the even hotter creative breath and climate of Landing on the Pyramind. Soaked in tenacious and intensive blues flavouring, the song twists and entwines ears with serpentine agility through scorching grooves and another deliciously imposing bass tone. It is a big boned temptress with all the moves and invention to enrapture anyone with a lust for dirty riffs, thunderous rhythms, and caustic sonic beauty.

The pair of Lucifer and Twin Headed Giant provides strong individual temptations, the first a mesh of lumbering intensity and sci-fi noise which leads into a smouldering psychedelic wash of sinister persuasion. This in turn slips into something ferocious and fiery, heavyweight riffing and destructive beats punctuating burning grooves; The Doors meets Orange Goblin and Desert Storm if you will. Though it does lack something compared to its predecessors, the track’s dark demonic texture and presence leaves ears enthralled before its successor draws on even stronger seventies psychedelic and heavy rock inspirations to cast its pulsating and pleasingly raw mind-bending adventure. Guitars and keys radiate hallucinogenic sonic colours aligned to a warped imagination whilst rhythms just as voraciously impose upon and stalk the psyche with the gripping cleaner vocal delivery.


The song is a fireball of sound but even its qualities and potency cannot match up to the album’s pinnacle, Into the Lightspeed. The instrumental is sensational; an impossibly addictive and infectious stampede of hooks and grooves bound in another seemingly organic and improvised majesty. Its opening is a riotous almost chaotic coaxing which flirts with disaster as eagerly as the senses before settling into a gloriously robust and hungry swagger of rhythms from Gautier-Lorenzo. Every swing resonates through to the bone even when Hammond-esque keys wind around its spine with taunting relish and the bass of Grall adds its own irrepressible throaty resonance. Spicy grooves and deeply rooting hooks are no strangers either as the piece continues to grow and increase its enslavement on ears and emotions. The track is a mind-bending, thought twisting journey and quite brilliant.

   Chasma Hideout sees its title track bring its triumph to a close. Flowing out of the previous track, its celestial exploration proceeds to soar across an expansive melodic and cavernous ambience, guitars and bass slowly swaying with evocative radiance and imposing enterprise as the good ship Brain Pyramid fuels its flight with a transfixing creative sonic illumination. The song leaves listener and album on a high, its energy and incitement continuing to increase with every second of its creative hunger and technical urgency.

The track is a captivating end to an awe inspiring release. Managing to impress and offer more with each and every listen, Chasma Hideout is one of the year’s real treasures and Brain Pyramid a band destined to leave psychedelic rock aflame now and ahead.

Chasma Hideout is available now via Acid Cosmonaut Records @

RingMaster 02/10/2104

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