Holy Mountain – Ancient Astronauts


Binding the senses in grooves which show no restrain or mercy in their insatiable temptation and plying that slavery with riffs which voraciously gnaw and smother all before them, Ancient Astronauts the new album from Scottish metallers Holy Mountain, is an unstoppable juggernaut of sound and intensity. It is a heavyweight antagonist merging stoner and doom metal into a suffocating tsunami of intense and exhaustive sounds, but one which veins and sears it all with at times corrosive but always incendiary magnetic grooves and melodic causticity. It is quite simply an encounter which lovers of the riff will devour with greed.

Holy Mountain, its name taken from the Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1973 movie La Montana Sagrada, was formed in 2009 as an improvisational duo by guitarist/vocalist Andy McGlone and drummer Pete Flett. Two years after emerging, the Glasgow band enlisted bassist Allan Stewart and went almost straight into the creation of debut release Earth Measures. The mini album found its release in the May of 2012 welcomed by strong responses and acclaim, a reaction sure to be replicated and taken to greater levels by its impressive successor. Recorded with producer Paul Savage (Mogwai, Franz Ferdinand), Ancient Astronauts is a giant leap if not for mankind certainly for Holy Mountain as they explore all the qualities unveiled on their previous release far more intensively and inventively whilst casting new wild and expansive endeavours.

LV-42666 brings the journey into view, cruising in on a sonic breeze before stroking the imagination rigorously with thrashing rhythms, Holy-Mountain-Ancient-Astronauts-300x288rapacious riffs, and addictive grooves; rogue vocals adding to the celestial mystery and adventure. As urgent as it is heavy, the track strides boldly as sinews bare their muscular appetite and melodies seduce ears with the guile and irresistible lures of a wanton temptress. There is also an unmistakable psychedelic pop romp to the encounter which only accelerates its submission of the senses and passions.

The following Luftwizard instantly brings a darker and heavier suasion but again it is lit by scorching melodies and also this time vocal harmonies which flirt and tempt the imagination as potently as the sounds. The voice of McGlone is fed through a Roland Space Chorus across the album bringing a spatial quality to his tones and the general air of songs, something equally inspired by the majestic pungency of accompanying keys. The thick imposing riffs of the song provide a deep texture to the affair which almost groans in its intensity and rapacious wrapping of the sonic maelstrom within. It is a masterful adventure guiding the listener through a union of dark and light, a mutual rather than combative merger but one with plenty of imposing shadows to its exultant fire.

The title track comes up next exploring cavernous sceneries with doom bred prowling riffery and rhythmic provocation whilst short but virulent grooves lance the thick smothering air, their strikes beacons through the appealing murkiness as the song heads into an explosive contagion which bursts out with urgency and sonic radiance. The track touches the darkest depths and brightest highs in tone leaving the senses exhausted and rewarded by the riveting ascent, their recovery given no respite as Star Kings from a rhythmic draw swiftly courted by a highly tempting bass stroll, feeds another strenuous passage of ravenous riffs and fuzz surfaced enterprise. The vocals are a little further forward and carry stronger clarity within the tempest of sound, though they still feel pleasingly immersed in the overall flood of the experience rather than being an overlying presence riding the waves. It is an aspect which is as potent and important as the riffs and rhythms in making the album the immense proposition it is, they and the ridiculously contagious toxins which the band also casts into the creative rabidity.

Not necessarily the best track, so hard to choose one, but a definite favourite here is Tokyo which comes next. A bestial vicious voice and growl to the riffs drives the track initially whilst the bass with its throaty appeal makes the good guy in the confrontation, its smiling grooves the temper to the predacious guitar grizzle and the trigger to the flirtatious sonic temptation and boisterous vocals which revel in the overwhelming devilry of the track. It is a siren of a song which is matched by Gift Giver, the danger which usually accompanies such a tempting and arguably missing in its predecessor, an open stalking at the start of the song. Its slow pacing is soon ignited as riffs escape their shackles, a punkish urgency taking over whilst the drums hold a little restraint in attack if not power. It continues to switch between extremes bringing a scintillating and unpredictable soundscape to play with and explore, a post punk severity adding its taunts from time to time in the lulls between unbridled sonic blazes. The instrumental is riff heaven and groove manna thrown into an aural alchemy and corruption to bask in.

The album is completed by firstly the seventies seeded psychedelically enhanced 100 Years A Day and lastly the smouldering expanse of Hollow Hill which alone encapsulates all you need to know about Holy Mountain in sound, skill, and imagination, as well as influences with a range of twists and enterprise which pull up references to Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Electric Wizard, ones you can apply to the whole of the album even with its distinct presence. Ancient Astronauts is a magisterial slab of psychedelic rock/metal and Holy Mountain a band poised to stake their claim for a seat on the top table of the genre we suggest.

Ancient Astronauts is available now through Chemikal Underground digitally and on limited edition vinyl.



RingMaster 17/04/2014

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Cave of Swimmers – Self Titled



Originally self-released last year, the self-titled debut EP from Cave of Swimmers now has its deserved wider release with The Path Less Traveled Records, and an insatiably magnetic treat it is. Consisting of four irresistibly flavoured tracks which are unpredictable and compelling, the release ignites ears and imagination with a contagiously adventurous and dramatically enthralling encounter. Fusing the rich essences of varied metal and rock ventures into mouthwatering landscapes, band and EP provide one surprising and wholly captivating encounter.

Cave of Swimmers consists of Guillermo Gonzalez (vocals, guitar, synth) and Arturo Garcia (drums/backing vocals), two musicians hailing originally from Venezuela who relocated to Miami a few years back. The pair met in school but it was only nine years after their first meeting when Garcia git his first drum kit that the pair started making music together. They played in a few projects including a Rage Against The Machine cover band before Garcia moved to Miami followed four years later by Gonzalez. More years passed before the pair linked up musically properly, forming The Tunnel before renaming it Cave of Swimmers.

Their debut release instantly tells you all you need to know about the pair, their influences, intentions, and undoubted musical skills. From  CoS coverthe opening track Hangman, the band unveils a superbly textured and provocatively spices weave of styles and flavours ranging from seventies heavy metal and psychedelic rock to stoner and doom as well as a stirring progressive encrusted spicery. As the first song proves it is a riveting and refreshing concoction which hits the sweet spot time and time again. Song one instantly has attention at its will with eagerly coaxing rhythms framing expressive and inventive guitar suggestiveness. It is a heavy and melodically infused invitation which losing a little of its grip when relaxing into a less surprising stride, though it soon regains its potency with the outstanding vocals of Gonzalez. His voice soars and roars simultaneously, complementing and driving the sounds around him whilst his guitar, as the rhythms of Garcia, tie up any lingering doubts with anthemic arms.  As confirmed by all songs, there is never a moment to assume you know the destination of a track, a thrilling jazz/funk like salsa of Latin rhythmic temptation and melodic seduction tripping up expectations towards the middle of the first song before excellent guitar craft entwines ears and thoughts.

The outstanding start is soon matched by the initially bewildering Materia. A sinister atmospheric embrace coats the senses first, the breath of the moog synthesizer lying provocatively upon the ears as a rhythmic hurrying pushes the listener into the thick doomy arms of the song. It is a slowly tempered prowl which courts the imagination before being torn apart by the vocal flames of Gonzalez, his delivery verging on operatic and a shock to assumptions, a very welcome and absorbing jolt to expectations. The track continues to stalk with a noir clouded ambience and heavy footed muscular persuasion. It is an irresistible bewitchment, a beautifully thought out and presented drama which explores a brighter but still doom bred scenery. Keys and guitars cast further twists in the haunting narrative as they drop into a frightening textures and sonic mystery before reaching skywards with emotive invention to close the song.

The song Cave of Swimmers steps up next instantly employing open homages to the likes of Sabbath and Pentagram in riffs and melodic grooving whilst vocally they are again sparked by a heavy metal seeding. It is only part of the song’s colour though; it’s contagious hooks and winding sonic bait offering thoughts of Kyuss and Metallic in varying degrees. Inventive and persistently shifting in its gait, intensity, and pure imagination, the song escorts the listener on a breath-taking ride across scorching melody draped scenery and sultry sonic climates, closing out in a blistering vocal crescendo.

The strikingly impressive and immense infection of the release never abates across its length, the closing Catch ensuring the EP ends on the same lofty heights as it started on. The track arguably is the least adventurous of the four but still treats with stoner visited psychedelic temptations and the ever impressing vocal suasion, whilst samples and progressive tinkering only enhance the recipe. It is a fine end to a masterful and rapturous debut by a band with all the potential to make major strides and deposits in the world of metal. Make a note of the name Cave of Swimmers you will be hearing a great deal more of these guys we suspect.

Cave of Swimmers is out on The Path Less Traveled Records now!




RingMaster 16/04/2014

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Damn Vandals – Rocket Out Of London


It is fair to say that psyche rockers Damn Vandals swiftly set themselves a place in British rock as one of the most exhilarating and promising propositions with their 2012 debut album, Done For Desire. It was an encounter drenched in originality and a feverishly diverse flavouring setting the band apart from most. To confirm and stretch all of its potency within a new mentally twisting maelstrom of psychotic goodness, the London band now unleash the senses infestation that is Rocket Out Of London. It is a glorious swagger of caustic abrasion and acidic ingenuity honed from a brawling incitement of garage punk, psyche and stoner rock, as well as a vein of raw punk, simply put demented rock ‘n’ roll at its most addictive.

As for a great many, our admittedly eager affair with Damn Vandals began with the release of their Beautiful Mind EP, a widely acclaimed encounter awakening attention and appetite for the potential and instantly impressive presence of the band. The release and subsequent songs though was only the taster for bigger and major things to come, Done For Desire thrusting the quartet to new levels and into a richer spotlight with its release. Uncompromising but with a contagion to its presence which works under the skin like a welcome niggling itch, the band’s sound has found a new depth and power to its virulence with the new release whilst still retaining the raw dark textures and unhinged threat which stirred up the passions so quickly upon their emergence. As evidenced by Rocket Out Of London, it has become a twisting intrusive beast which wraps with almost insidious intent around the ears, permeating every pore and synapse with an exhaustive toxicity which simply ignites the imagination and passions. Produced by Julian Simmons (Midlake, Ed Sheeran, Guillemots, Goldheart Assembly) as was its predecessor, the album takes the listener on a dirty and intimidatingly shadowed ride through explorations of themes such as celebrity stalking, hard liquor, death by dreams, madness and homeland security amongst many but ultimately just through the creative mad ingenuity of the band.

The album opens with the first single uncaged from its wonderful aural rapaciousness, Twist Up And Tangle. Released mid-March, the dv coversong laid down the strongest bait for the full-length and still holds its intensive grip with an epidemic bait of granite sculpted rhythmic punches and scything sonic swipes of guitar. From its first second the song is an inescapable cage for the senses and emotions, a scarring provocation soon given richer fuel by the ever distinct and voraciously delivered vocals of Jack Kansas. The track is swiftly into a predatory stride, prowling around the ears with a sonically slavering intensity from the guitar of Frank Pick and the dark throated voice of bass held in rein by Adam Kilemore Gardens but still adding commanding menace to the whole of the psychotic fare. It is a masterful and insatiable stalking driven by the magnetic beats of Chris Christianson, but one which with its spewing discord and melodic flames as well as corrosive hooks and breath, provides a raucous dance to shield the fact we are being preyed upon.

Like a mix of Fatima Mansions meets The Birthday Party, the opener alone wakes a hunger to which the following Cities Of A Plastic World adds its own imaginative virulence. The track opens with a rhythmic drama speared by a ridiculously contagious hook, its abrasing hot touch a niggling pleasure just hard to get enough of. Around its tempting Kansas again parades the song’s narrative with unbridled expression whilst the guitar of Pick continuously lights up new corners and adventures to court his primary enticement with skill and enterprise, the album easily his finest inventive and moment yet, as it is of the band itself. The track sculpts another immediate pinnacle in the impending lofty range of the album and is soon equalled by Too Lazy To Die Too Stoned To Live, a sultry stroll with a citrus edge to its grooves and melodic teasing. There is a definite lick of Queens Of The Stone Age initially and Eagles of Death Metal later to its constant erosive taste and hypnotic stance.

I Bring You Love which made up part of the earlier mentioned single keeps the album coursing potently through the body, its psychobilly/Cajun swamp-esque stomp with sliding toxic mesmerism and blues bred frisking irresistible. The track just gets better and more virulent with every crossing of its red-neck terrain with dirty violating rock ‘n’ roll scenery. With more than a feel of Screaming Blue Messiahs to it and always an essence of the previously mentioned Cathal Coughlan led band to the presence of Damn Vandals, the track is a delicious lingering antagonist to unreservedly submit to.

Both Number One Fan and Whisky Going Free provide a new mischief to fully devote attention and passions to, the first merging classic and incendiary garage rock for a rampaging stomp built upon the intensive frame work of Christianson, a cage again laced with riveting guitar revelry and craft. Its successor sidles boisterously up to the ears with tight sinews and deviously coaxing addictive grooves, the track a less expansive dark tango than say the last but with a no less leaner determination in its air and voice to seduce and inflame the passions, which it does with ease.

The following I Hate School hits the spot perfectly but lacks the spark of other tracks, a familiarity and somewhat predictable essence to its body slipping up against the surrounding triumphs. To put it into context though, with absorbing blues/psychedelically teased guitar invention from Pick and a certain unavoidable catchiness to its lure, the song still has feet and emotions fully engaged before next up Mad As Hell takes them on a similarly successful and potent ride, if again without quite matching earlier heady heights. The track rumbles and strolls with attitude and a thought immersing design all the same to keep the fire for the album burning eagerly.

The closing pair of tracks takes the release back to its highest plateaus, the first This Music Blows My Tiny Mind, another incitement with the stance of a predator and the drive of a volcanic eruption expelling sizzling melodic flames, searing hooks, and climactic rhythms building to a quite scintillating final drama. Its successor, the title track brings the album to a glorious closure, its addiction forging rhythmic slavery and scorching guitar endeavour an inescapable virulence guided as masterly as ever by the gripping tones of Kansas. Like a mix of QOTSA, Julian Cope, and Rocket From The Crypt, the track is a brilliant finale to a quite outstanding taking of the soul.

Rocket Over London with ease reveals that Damn Vandals is no longer the potential future of certainly raw British rock ‘n’ roll and garage punk but the template.




RingMaster 07/04/2014

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Morass Of Molasses – Ashtabula


Following the success of their debut single Rotten Teeth, its equally devoured video, and an acclaimed BBC Introducing headline slot at The Oakford Social in Reading, UK riff sculptors Morass of Molasses unleash their second single Ashtabula. The track shows another side to the Reading based trio, exploring a livelier swagger and expressive energy, not forgetting sonic intrigue compared to the heavy predatory weight and stance of its predecessor. The song also equals the potent temptation and impressive creativity of the first single before taking it to new infectious levels easily showing why the track has become a fan favourite in the band’s live shows.

Approaching the end of its first year of existence, Morass of Molasses has become one of the most highly anticipated and intensively imposing rock bands to emerge in the UK, their sludge fuelled, stoner coloured dirty rock ‘n’ roll garnering praise and fevered attention from fans and the critical media alike. The threesome of baritone guitarist/vocalist Bones, guitarist Phil, and drummer Chris, have become an eagerly sought after focus for a growing horde of passions which the new single can only fuel further. As mentioned it offers a distinct new character to their sound; band founder Bones commenting on the track recently saying, “This song has seen many evolutions, but now rests as a firm favourite with the crowd during our live set “, also revealing that “For those who like to delve deeper we will be releasing a studio-shot video to accompany this very soon

Ashtabula initially lays down a sonic mist where from within firstly the guitar of Phil begins casting a precise and intriguing design soon joined by the crisp rhythms of Chris and the dark throaty tones of Bones’ strings. It is an imposing and engaging start which the band, with the same unpredictability which marks their first single, takes into a magnetically unexpected stance of expressive vocals over a restrained and earthy ambience. A mighty stab of drums sparks intensively weighted riffing to show their persuasion, speared and entwined by delicious and skilfully sculpted sonic flames. Yet again it is only one movement in the journey of the song, searing melodic toxicity and sonic rapaciousness spellbinding senses and imagination subsequently whilst the expressive growls of Bones push the dark lyrical shadows and investigation deeper.

The track is a scintillating fire with contagious sinews and addictively grooved temptation, another aspect to the face of the band’s songwriting and invention and a leap forward in sound and craft from their outstanding debut.

Available as a ‘Pay what you want’ Download from http://morassofmolasses.bandcamp.com/track/ashtabula the single is the next mighty and striking step in the rise of Morass Of Molasses, a band with the potential to bring British heavy rock dramatic and new inspirational adventures.

Upcoming gig dates for Morass Of Molasses

Wednesday 9th April – The Boileroom, Guildford

Saturday 12th April – Upstairs At The Garage, London

Sunday 13th April – The Facebar, Reading

Thursday 1st May – The Registry, Portsmouth Friday



RingMaster 03/04/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Rotten Teeth Video Still 2

In the five short months since Morass of Molasses erupted onto the scene in Reading, they have been busy cramming in gigs aplenty, persistently wowing audiences with their unique and ever evolving brand of Sludgy Stoner Rock every time they hit the stage. Their first track ‘Rotten Teeth’ seemed to take everyone by surprise, with fans and critics alike clamouring to sing its praises.

In recognition of this, the band decided to produce a video to accompany the track. As by way of saying thanks to for the support they have received so far, and as a gift before the next track ‘Ashtabula’ which is released on Wednesday 19th March at the BBC Introducing night at The Oakford Social Club in Reading.

Frontman Bones commented on the response up until now, saying ” The chemistry was there right from the first note, but you never know if it will truly connect with people. In truth, it has been better than we could have ever imagined, and this is just the beginning” As for what to expect next, he says “With regards to the video; expect a visceral visual treat for all the senses. Gently preparing you for the onslaught of Ashtabula
The video for ‘Rotten Teeth’ is immediately available to watch through the band’s Youtube page:
Morass of Molasses next track ‘Ashtabula’ will receive its first exclusive play on Linda Serck’s BBC Introducing show and will be released for FREE download on Wednesday 19th March.

To find out more about the video, upcomng  single and all things Morass of Molasses check out their various links below.
facebook : www.facebook.com/morassofmolasses
Twitter: @morassmolasses
Youtube: youtube.com/morassofmolasses
Bandcamp: morassofmolasses.bandcamp.com
email: morassofmolasses@icloud.com for more details

Rotten Teeth Video Still 1

Monstre – Self Titled LP


Monstre @ Fête de la musique 2012

    With more flavours than a Cornish ice cream parlour and twists than a snow boarder on an Olympic half pipe, the debut album from French rock band Monstre is a startling and scintillating beast of a release. The self-titled ten track encounter challenges and treats the senses from the first second, a constantly evolving mix of metal and rock in numerous guises all colluding to infest the imagination and passions. With a suggested depth of potential that is still to be fully untapped by the band as their album thoroughly captivates and thrills from start to finish, Monstre is one of the most exciting propositions to tantalise the ears in recent years.

     The creation of Toulouse duo King Pilo (vocals/guitar/bass) and Seb (drums/backing vocals); the album was recorded in November of 2013 at the Meskine Records Studio with its release at the start of this year. List your favourite metal and rock styles and most likely Monstre will be employing their essences in the multi-faceted and voraciously inventive release. More unpredictable than an orgy in the dark and just as rabidly enterprising, the album works on the primal and creative wants of all with a rhythmic alchemy which leaves you exhausted and drooling alongside a sonic kaleidoscope of ingenuity which simply dazzles and enthrals.

    The album opens with Obey, the jaws of bass an instant intimidation on thoughts as the guitar lays a slow glaze of causticity coverover the senses. With vocal harmonies grazing air as expressively as the stalking sounds, the track subsequently expels a sludge toned weight and intensity on its recipient. Whilst circling and probing emotions with its lumbering and incisive predation, the track’s lyrical incitement as across most songs is a minimal but equally imposing and effective lure helping create a towering entrance for the release.

    The following Green Fish not only builds on its predecessor’s presence but thrusts the album to new heights with its fusion of noise and psyche rock aligned to menacing alternative metal. As in the first the bass has an irresistible savagery which immediately sets the passions beaming, but it is just part of the wonderfully toxic bait building a web of virulence. There is an early Killing Joke potency to the song but also slithers of invention which suggest bands like Melvins and Faith No More has added spice to the band’s artistically informative years. The track is a glorious slice of intrigue and adventure for the imagination, a tantalising and chilled enticement soon matched by the instrumental Mother. Revisiting a sludgy textured prowl with that metallic snarl of the bass and equally ravenous riffery amidst a sonic voracity, the track is an epidemic of rhythmic seduction and inventive endeavour.

    Both Prick and Less taunt and light up the ears, the first coating everything from rhythms and riffs to vocals and sonic weaves in a rapacious breath. The guitars scythe and sculpt a riveting maze of provocative ideas and textures whilst the bass scowls and leans heavily on the senses as the drums pummel their tender flesh. It is an absorbing and incendiary mix offering a Gang Of Four compulsion and Fugazi liking attitude and combativeness. Its successor provides eight minutes of cantering sonic hostility and rampant incessant rhythmic incitement, the track’s first half an instrumental taking of the imagination and its latter stretch providing a great vocal enticement and grunge bred expression to the relentlessly anthemic charge of rhythms. Both songs are formidably imposing and irrepressibly magnetic upon thoughts and emotions continuing the impressive stance of the album.

     Drunk blends a grunge and stoner persuasion into its hungry design, a Nirvana kiss smooching in some of the song’s punkier moments whilst the following What U Say takes that same punk essence and immerses it in a more hard rock brawl with again a Gang of Four post punk tempting. Without strolling along the same plateaus as set by previous songs, both tracks providing a healthy feeding for a greedy appetite before Song One thrusts its muscular and sonic grunge/rock swagger through the ear for another contagious trap for the passions.

    The album is brought to a close by firstly the niggling pressure and charm of Nothing, a track with a provoking adventure and inventive voracity which reminds of Wire at their most transfixing, and lastly by the persistently shifting Welcome, a song which between a top and tailing Middle Eastern seduction which is very similar to that of The Cure’s Killing An Arab, immerses the ears in every essence of sound it can conjure for a fluid and inspiring soundscape of incisive metal and heavily boned rock ‘n’ roll. The pair of tracks impressively concludes a tremendous album and introduction to Monstre, a band with all the imagination and flare to rise into the strongest spotlight. The anticipation of that is full and sure whilst pleasure now is fat and bloated on the excellence of Monstre.




RingMaster 19/02/2014

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Altar of Betelgeuze – Darkness Sustains the Silence



Not completely convincing but feistily compelling Darkness Sustains the Silence, the debut album from Finnish metallers Altar of Betelgeuze is a proposition which has thoughts and emotions leaping all over the place in satisfaction and uncertainty. The eight track release makes an attention grabbing but puzzling initial encounter with successes and deficiencies almost roaring out their persuasions but given plenty of time and listens it slowly emerges as a release metal fans with a wide taste should investigate.

     Released via Memento Mori Records as 2014 opened its eyes, Darkness Sustains the Silence is the successor to the band’s first release, the At The Shrine Of Light EP of 2012. Consisting of members current and former of Decaying and Sclerosistake, the 2010 formed Altar of Betelgeuze employs and infuses a plethora of styles and intrusive flavours into its creativity, so much so that there is not exactly a predominate distinct core sound to their music. Across its muscular body, the album blends doom and death metal and in many ways that is the base for their endeavour, but with thick tides of sludge and groove metal also making their suasions as well as classic metal and stoner rock. It is an ever evolving and testing incitement which challenges your preconceptions and the band’s own ability to merge it all and place the distinct flavours side by side. Determined attention reveals that for the main the band do succeed with a strong craft even if there are elements which just do not cut a potent presence against the stronger towering aspects of the release.

     The album opens with the intro/instrumental Epitaph, a more than decent piece wrapped in a skilled melancholic embrace AOB DSTS coverfrom guitars and bass. It does not give away much as to the rest of the album except proof of the impressive melodic skill which the band openly possesses. The track leads into A World Without End and immediately a wall of doom clad intensity smothers the ear, rhythms colliding with the ear drum and the guitars of Olli Suurmunne and Juho Kareoja casting sonic weaves which tempt and sear. The instant stand out element is the bass of Matias Nastolin, its voice and predation magnetic and its employer’s craft riveting as he goes on to prove across the whole release. Nastolin also provides the dark growling vocals which match the heavy intent of the music, his tones grizzled and malevolent, soaking every chugging riff and bass groan with venomous bile. The track stalks and lumbers across the senses sparking the imagination and appetite, especially when it picks up the pace midway and the bass swaggers with invention and tantalising enterprise around the now spoken vocals of Nastolin. It is a strong and thrilling start to the album and sets up expectations eagerly for the rest of the release.

     The Spiral Of Decay opens with an emotively sculpted coaxing from guitars and bass, again to potent alluring effect. With the drums of Aleksi Olkkola the ignition for the song to expand and stretch its heavy rock flavouring, there is a less intensive pressure on the senses but with the dark growls a still intimidating one…that is until Suurmunne adds his clean vocals to the mix. I have heard people suggest he provides a poor offering to the album but it is hard to agree, his voice for a hard rock track is strong and expressive but it is the style of delivery which just does not fit the track and for the main the album. It is a shame as the guttural and dirty vocals are again thoroughly enjoyable but for personal tastes and thoughts this is where the merging of such varied and different flavours comes unstuck on the release, though admittedly the song is still an appealing and creative encounter.

     There is no such issue with the next up Steamroller, easily the best track on the album. From fiery guitar flames and thunderous slow rhythmic slaps the song stalks the ears with a ravenous chugging and melodic devilry all within a sinew cage provided by Olkkola. Once more the bass finds a tone which seduces infectiously and with the cleaner delivery working well in the context of the song this time and a constant surface snarl covering all, the track is a riveting consumption of sludge/stoner invention. Whether the extreme difference in presence and style of this and say A World Without End works is debatable as being a positive for the album but individually it is a masterful and thrilling brute of an incitement.

      The Middle Eastern kissed opening strains of Smoldering Clouds Above Orion ignites the imagination with ease which the again mouth-watering bass and guitar play runs with across the excellent heavy weight carnivorously vocalised predator of a song, whilst The Approaching Storm bursts upon the senses with cascading rhythms, lingering sonic scorching, and a voracious bass invention and sound which violates and seduces with irresistible craft. The classic metal like clean vocals again leave thoughts and emotions unsure, the track calling out for a bestial delivery throughout as shown as a must by the toxic return of the earlier vocal pestilence, but it is an impressive song overall and another compelling reason to check out the band.

     The album finishes with firstly the death soaked Out Of Control which succeeds and suffers as its predecessor, and the seventeen minute title track. As masterful and enthralling as it is, and skilfully presented, the final track is just too long to earn the focus it deserves for its epic sonic narrative. By the tenth minute, and being a three minute provocation fan at heart it was a proud moment to last that long, thoughts do waver  and hanker a return back to the start of the album as elements repeat and stretch at the final straight. All the same it is rich evidence of the ability and adventurous songwriting of the band, something which again makes Altar of Betelgeuze a deeply promising and captivating provocateur.

    Darkness Sustains the Silence is not perfect by any means but it proves to be an adventure which more than earns the right to be given the fullest attention, and if the lesser issues are ironed out this could be a band to set standards still undiscovered by others.




RingMaster 09/01/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Plug – Back On The Skull


With more hip grinding grooves than a dozen pole dancing establishments, and certainly heavier boned treats, Back On The Skull the debut album from Texan noise rockers Plug enslaves and dances with the passions in exhausting and riveting style. With jackhammer rhythms powering ridiculously addictive grooves and equally seductive riffs, the eleven track juggernaut creates a loud and virulently compelling storm which is far too easy to greedily devour to surely be safe for any of us.

Formed in 2010 and consisting of ex and current members of Mammoth Grinder, Iron Age, Bitter End, FEED, and The Mites, Plug merges a voracious mix of noise and hard rock with metallic sinews and punk antagonism whilst stoner and psychedelic enticements add their  seduction. It is an exhaustive and breath-taking brew which simply ignites the imagination and passion. Imagine a tonic being made up from the essences of Unsane, Melvins, Torche, Red Fang, and Helmet whilst Dead Kennedys pees in the pot and you get a reasonably close dose to what Plug has to offer. It is a sound which is not exactly unique but neither is it without a distinctive flavour and intrigue of its very own, Back On The Skull working and playing hard from the moment it touches the ears and rewarding with a torrent of mouth-watering intensity and noisy drama clad adventure.

The San Antonio quintet of vocalist Tyler Lutz, guitarists Scott Corbin and Zach Brin, drummer Raul Vela IV, and Chris Ulsh of Mammoth Grinder, Power Trip, Hatred Surge, and The Impalers who provides the bass guitar for the album (Reed Deangelis the band’s current bassist), immediately chomp on the ears with opener Babysmile. Riffs and rhythms are almost grinning as they launch their muscular persuasion; a mischief soaking their thumping lure which evolves into a full swagger as the track extends its temptation with a rousing stroll through infection soaked grooving aligned to rhythmic taunting. The vocals of Lutz match the call of the music and with all aspects making an anthemic union, there is an irresistible recruitment of total attention and submission from its recipient.

     Meanwhile… is more than eager to back-up the immense start, its own wanton romp swinging brazenly between rhythmic coverlegs as grooves and riffs again cast a spell of noise bred contagion for a minute and a half before evolving into the title track. Bringing a heavier weighted energy and intent, the third song stalks its victim with a leaden prowl wrapped in scuzz lilted melodies and harmonically scorched vocals. There is an element of The Pixies and more so Melvins to the smouldering intensive bait on show but again it only flavours a magnetic sonic causticity distinct to Plug.

A potent bass coaxing opens up next track Rainbow To Hell, the song continuing the arguably subtle shifts in character through the early tracks on the album but equally increasing that variety with its sludge coated predation of the imagination. A slower burner than its predecessors, the immersive encounter employs further detailed yet restrained twists and turns in its invention within a patient consumption. It does not quite match those early heights either but easily reinforces the appetite ready for the likes of the following cover of Discharge’s State Violence, State Control. Bringing a greater carnivorous breath through the guitars to the song to replace the more violent aggression of the original, it is a satisfying provocation though it pales against the bands own tempting.

     Pigbomb and Cadence steal their hefty portion of the acclaim next, the first rife with intensive rabidity and discord lined scuzziness as well as another groove and collection of hooks to drool over whilst the second is a sultry psychedelic/stoner flight through a heated climate of melodic exploration. Though another not to make a quick suasion, it is an absorbing drift through evocative textures and new intrigue from the release. Their allurement is soon pushed aside by the outstanding Hideous Rex, a ravenous track which does not rush its attack but unrelentingly nags with dark rapacious riffs and a hefty atmosphere which feels like it is licking its bulging lips as it smothers the senses.

A great cover of the Fang track The Money Will Roll Right In steps up next, its sonic grazing speared by another addiction forging groove and great squalling vocals, before the rampancy of Mexican Death Hammer unleashes its claim for best track with a torrent of bruising riffs and crippling rhythms spiced with a sonic web of discord leaning crafted invention. It is a glorious incitement for the passions and does indeed steal top honours from a flood of exceptional encounters.

The release is completed by the epic Sphere 3, a nine minute dronathon of menacing intensity and invasive sonic toxicity washed over by spellbinding vocal harmonies. It is a meditative danger which seduces from first doom seeping note to its last corrosive breath, and though for personal tastes probably a couple of minutes too long to hold attention tightly nearing its end, the track is a dark beauty of an evocation to end a scintillating release.

Available as a buy now name your price release at their Bandcamp profile, Back On The Skull is an epidemically riveting and thrilling encounter which thrusts Plug right up there with the likes of Torche, Kylesa, Buzzov*en, Orange Goblin and the like. This is an album all riff hankerers must add to their sonic landscapes.




RingMaster 13/12/2013

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Hysterix And His T-Rex – Changes – or, when love becomes misery EP

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Looking for a slab of senses stomping intrigue? Then try plunging into the promise drenched tempest of Changes – or, when love becomes misery, the new EP from German rockers Hysterix And His T-Rex. The three track release is an eclectic fury of dirty rock ‘n’ roll with progressive and metal tendencies which captivate and seize the imagination. The Dortmund quartet has already pricked strong interest with previous releases but now stalk a new level of craft and invention which makes the band one needing close attention now and in the future.

Formed in 2010 by brothers Sandro (drums) and Dino (bass) as a side-project, Hysterix And His T-Rex creates a sound which merges a sludge thick breath and stoner heat to metallic sinews and experimental adventure.  Debut single A Clowns Tragedy of the same year was followed in 2011 by Nils (vocals) and Sebi (guitar) joining the line-up. Last year saw the band’s first EP The Wayfare released, a four track piece of compelling if patchy invention, but a strong base from which Changes… has sculpted the band’s finest moment yet.

Changes opens up the encounter, a sonic call soon dismissed by a bulging bassline and prowling riffs framed by magnetic beats. 1463106_648494221839765_1529272345_nAs a groove opens its throat the song has already found a contagious grip which leads into a hardcore bred ferociousness with a viscous sludge antagonism. The track presses on the ears with skill and predatory intent, its body simple but wholly riveting especially as clean vocals replace the previous scowling roar, with both switching from here on in. With an additional grunge lilt and a metal spawned hunger to the rhythms and riffery, the song twists and lurches across the senses with pleasing craft. The song as the release has to fight the raw production a little but it cannot stop the qualities of band and track from making a strong persuasion.

The following Ring takes the sturdy start to another plateau of impressiveness, the track easily the best thing on the potent confrontation. From its first second the track chews the ear and rampages with fiery belligerence, squalling vocals raging over merciless beats and a delicious swarming niggle of a groove. The intensive start is dropped into a vat of doom leaden labour soon after but takes little time in re-emerging into that virulent addictive opening scourge of waspish temptation. A taunting rapacious enticement with vicious aggravation and scintillating uncompromising coaxing, it is an outstanding blaze of instinctive noise abuse and without doubt the pinnacle of the band’s invention so far, and hopefully an area where they will stride forth in direction in the future.

The closing Beyond The Waterfall opens like Wire meets Beehoover, a wall of muscle and intensity seizing command before opening its arms for a grunge/stoner melodic suasion to stretch the offering further. Merging with the harsher elements, the inventiveness continues to press home its advantage as a jazz/avant-garde venture steps into view, it again a moment which is soon evolved as band and song twists and flexes an imagination which only increases the intrigue and its riveting presence. Arguably there is too much going on to flow easily throughout and the cleaner vocals are weaker compared to the inhospitable delivery elsewhere but it does little to diminish the lure and pleasing argumentative conspiracy making a strong persuasion on thoughts and emotions.

Released as a buy now name your price on Bandcamp, the Changes – or, when love becomes misery EP shows the leap Hysterix And His T-Rex has made since the previous release, in songwriting and bold adventure to ignite a definite anticipation and hunger for what they conjure up next.




RingMaster 04/12/2013

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Woodwall – WoodEmpire

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Providing six evocative soundscapes of stoner bred and progressively expanded evocation, WoodEmpire from Italian quartet Woodwall is a richly compelling introduction to the band, a release which immerses the listener in an impacting expanse of thick sound and impressive imagination. The EP is not casting new pastures it is probably fair to say but for a debut it is powerfully striking and extensively satisfying whilst breeding a promise for the Lunigiana hailing band which cannot be ignored or taken lightly.

Released via Red Sound Records, WoodEmpire soon has fascination and attention on full alert with its title track. The opening song slowly emerges from a sonic pulsing; its breath coated in an intrigue enhanced by the guitar of vocalist Matteo Signanini as it starts its melodic design. Soon joined and skirted by the rhythmic craft of Pietro Groppi, it is a full enticement elevated further by the delicious almost spacey keys of Paolo Cipolla, their presence sinister yet magnetic and a perfect tease within the intensive weight of the song pressing upon the ears. It is a formidable and riveting adventure with the gruff vocals of Signanini another impacting lure. Eight minutes in length the song evolves its intent and sound across its body, a fiery melodic temptation keeping thoughts and emotions away from expectations and the excellent bass of Massimo Cornali providing constant enthralling shadows which at times keeps to the darker corners of the track and in others leads forward an irrepressible and seductive persuasion. It finishes on a drone infused temptation, a closing stretch of invention which plays like a mix of Palms and Kyuss whilst leaving the imagination to invent its own exploits within and to follow the stunning start to the release.

Again a sonic ambience infiltrates the air from which second song Locrian flexes its intensive muscle. The initial approach of the song feelscover like a continuation of the heart of its predecessor, in texture and especially the keys and the heavy compelling bass and drum probing. The doomy coverage of the senses is virulently spellbinding; a description which applies to the whole of the EP, but within that heady smothering the band and song ignites an energy and rapacious adrenaline which forms a feisty canter within a melodically acidic splendour. Not as dramatically incendiary as the first the track still feeds the ripe hunger now in place for the release and the greedy imagination being seriously provoked by the adventure before it.

Both King Stuste and Red Toad bring a heavy metal swagger to their swampy stoner calls, an inspiration of the likes of Black Sabbath, Sleep, and Kyuss seemingly casting their potency across the songs. The first of the pair is a stomping charge of thumping rhythms and heavy duty riffs aligned to ridiculously contagious acidic grooves and scorching melodic flames. It is a deceptively uncomplicated but superbly crafted and layered confrontation which simultaneously bruises the senses whilst searing them with a sizzling sonic provocation and invention; old school rock ‘n’ roll in many ways but one fuelled by the incite and bravery of modern experimentation. Its successor is a similarly sculpted instrumental but one again unique in presence and sound to the other tracks, a piece which pulls thoughts and emotions in with ease and treats them to another expressive and exciting exploration.

The following Walden steps from a cold and haunting wasteland, the chilling atmosphere the home for another emerging sonic embrace rife with menace and inciting suggestiveness. From inside of its breath a melodic casting of guitar and keys embraces the senses with the ever expressive and melodic vocals of Signanini aided by Cipolla, a captivating breeze within equally invigorating and altruistic imagination. Just exceeding eleven minutes the track is a smouldering emprise, a slow burning seduction which never quite finds earlier pinnacles set upon WoodEmpire but shows the immense scope and craft within the band and their songwriting, making the horizons for Woodwall something to be highly anticipated and you suspect greedily devoured.

The record is completed by Holocene/Cambrian, the track leaving the release and listener on a major high. The rhythms of Groppi as across the EP take the senses on a tempestuous parade of skill and unpredictable allurement backed by the just as predacious guitar exploits and bass prowling. Never content in a single route to the passions, as the whole of WoodEmpire, it is a magnificent conclusion to a colourful and dramatically impressive release. Woodwall is a band on the start of a rapid and powerful ascent you suspect on the evidence of WoodEmpire, one a great many will be keeping a close and enthusiastic eye upon.



RingMaster 01/11/2013

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