Sandness – Higher & Higher

We cannot say that seventies/eighties metal and hard rock are flavours which light our fires too often but it is fair to say that Higher & Higher, the new album from Italian outfit Sandness ticked many boxes of enjoyment whilst embracing exactly those styles. It is a release which initially struggled to spark the imagination but song by song, listen by listen, grew to be a thoroughly engaging and pleasurable affair; not without flaws but inciting an appetite to hear more from and follow the band as they realise the open potential within the release ahead.

Hailing from Rovereto in southern Trento, Sandness started out in 2008; formed by teenage friends, bassist/vocalist Mark Denkley and drummer/vocalist Metyou ToMeatyou. Inspired by the likes of Mötley Crüe, Crashdiet, Poison, Hanoi Rocks, W.A.S.P., The Ramones, Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath and the likes, the band soon honed its eighties toned sound. A few line-up changes ensued before the current line-up was secured with the addition of guitarist/vocalist Robby Luckets in 2009. Subsequent years has seen the trio support the likes of Adam Bomb, L.A. Guns, and Tygers Of Pan Tang, play across their homeland as well as undertake several European tours and take the stage at the renowned Glam Fest in France. Two demos, Return To Decadence in 2010 and especially Life Without Control the following year, lured strong attention though it was debut album Like An Addiction in 2013 which really sparked a more global awareness of their sound. Now Higher & Higher, released as its predecessor by Sleaszy Rider Records, is stoking up a new wave of fans and though we might not be leading the surge, reasons are readily apparent as to why its fresh success in persuasion .

The album opens with You Gotta Lose, a track which failed to tempt the first time and still labours trying to convince. Opening with a blast of group vocals and predictable eighties riffery, the song soon reveals a snarl which grabs attention but one as quickly tempered by the again familiar harmonic wash of voices.  It is hard to pin down exactly what is lacking within the track other than it just does not appeal to personal tastes but it is a decent start swiftly left sounding pale as the album takes off starting with next up Street Animals. The second song similarly offers a recognisable melodic welcome but is soon spinning its own web of hooks and twists; some unique some familiar but a great fusion creating flavoursome rock ‘n’ roll. Without reading the influences on Sandness, they are easy to guess from this song alone and as suggested eagerly employed by the band in their blossoming character of sound.

The individual prowess of each member is just as open in the track and equally next up Hollywood. Prowling ears initially, it soon whips out some Billy Idol spiced hooks and other moments which are vaguely System Of A Down like in nature. As the album, it is a song which grows and seduces more and more with every listen, its increasingly imaginative nature richly engaging before the melodic croon of Promises in turn captivates. With an increasing fire in its belly inciting a great bass grumble, the song quickly establishes itself as a major highlight of the release, musically and vocally hitting a high.

Through the vocally unstable but ultimately enjoyable Sunny Again and the boisterous hard rock of One Life there is little not too like even if neither can live up to their predecessor while the short poetic instrumental of Light In The Dark captivates before Heat lives up to its name with some quite irresistible fiery grooves against another great grouchy mix of bass and drums, the former the persistent provider of potent bait across the whole of Higher & Higher. With its blues scented flames, the song is another peak in the album as too the power pop rock romp of its successor Perfect Machine. There are no major surprises but a stream of hooks and flirtatious tempting which has body and voice quickly involved and enjoying every second.

The album is at its best by this point, Monster Inside Me backing up the previous two with its own tenacious glam/heavy metal stomp and mix of imaginative features and matched in potency by the groove woven Play With Fire, its prime lures striking as the band revels in its eighties inspirations once again.

Closing with the hearty and increasingly volatile balladry of Will You Ever, a song like the opener it was hard to connect with personally, Higher & Higher provides an increasingly compelling proposition easy to suggest fans of eighties metal and rock especially take a close look at. Sandness is never going to be the first thought when choosing the soundtrack for our day but with Higher & Higher they are going to be considered more than many others bands, for others they will be a long term involvement.

Higher & Higher is available now through Sleaszy Rider Records @ http://www.sandnessofficial.com/shop/ and other online stores.

http://www.sandnessofficial.com/    https://www.facebook.com/Sandnessband

Pete RingMaster 19/04/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Ninjaspy – Spüken

It is fair to say that Spüken, the new album from Canadian metallers Ninjaspy has been a long time in the making. With its ten tracks spanning a decade and its recording beginning late 2014, the band’s second full-length has had time and attention given its creation and character; it all reflected and more in its thoroughly enjoyable and imaginatively dynamic adventure.

Consisting of a trio of blood brothers in vocalist/guitarist Joel, bassist Tim, and drummer Adam Parent, Ninjaspy has honed a fusion of groove infested metal, reggae, and other heavy natured flavours which now roar mightily within Spüken. It is a web of sound which grabbed attention in the Vancouver threesome’s 2007 debut album Pi Nature and even more so in the following EP, No Kata six years later. Their new offering is the natural and lofty evolution of these earlier successes; a release weaving occasionally familiar but always unpredictable proposals which tease, flirt with, and persistently arouse the senses and imagination.

Linking up once more with producers GGGarth Richardson (Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mudvayne, Gallows) and Ben Kaplan (Biffy Clyro, Atreyu, Haste the Day), Ninjaspy gets the album under way with the single Speak, a track certainly sparking anticipation of Spüken with its release last August. Its relatively low key Australasian entrance cored by an emerging bait loaded groove soon leaps into a smouldering swinging stroll with more than an air of Dog Fashion Disco meets Faith No More to it. Subsequent raw outbursts come loaded with ferocity and zeal, trespassing with the same catchiness as the song’s mellower teasing where rhythms dance and the bass grumbles.

It is a stirring start swiftly eclipsed by Shuriken Dance. It too shows restraint in its initial coaxing, melodic twang and rumbling rhythms colluding in an understated but bold tempting before a web of sonic and creative espionage binds ears and appetite. A punk roar escapes the throat of Joel, his aggression matched by the punching beats of Adam and both tempered by the melodic exploits of guitar. Their calm is as deceptive as the raw touch they temper, each beckoning ears into a waiting System Of A Down-esque bedlam of psychotic sound and invention. The track is pure virulent infectiousness, drawing body and voice into union with its own twisted exploits.

The following Brother Man warmly grabs ears next like a collusion of Ruts and 12 Stone Toddler; its stalking groove and melodic coaxing a delicious mix soon embracing a reggae and metal induced tempest in turn proceeding to entangle all earlier aspects within its similarly and seriously catchy landscape. The further into its depths the more deranged twists show their voracious enticements as too mellower melodic but no less certifiable essences. Thorough captivation, it is more than matched in aberrant adventure by Dead Duck Dock. The song also follows those before it by making a relatively gentle melody woven entrance but also one soon showing argumentative discord in sound and intensity as its groove metal instincts rise. With hues of Slipknot and Society 1 to its growl, the song is a roar of creative irritability and intrigue never resting for long in one flavour or mood.

The outstanding Become Nothing is a loco romp revelling in a sound and imagination something akin to again SOAD  this time in league with Kontrust while What!! infests ears and satisfaction with a Skindred/American Head Charge scented escapade though as every reference used as a hint, it is a potent hue in a Ninjaspy bred roar.

The sweltering infection fuelled funk of Jump Ya Bones soon spins its own particular tapestry of rich flavours and various styles as it flirtatiously bounds through ears before Grip the Cage provides a more even tempered shuffle though it too expels moments of incendiary emotion and energy. They both equally push the diversity of the album and songs, that ten years of writing and maturing giving birth to Spüken skilfully shaping their varied designs.

The melody rich and increasingly agitated Azaria stretches that variety yet again, the song deceptively straight forward initially, luring ears into its own expectation defeating maze before Slave Vehemence brings it all to a thrilling close with a cauldron of capricious invention and impulsive ideation wrong-footing and exciting ears at every turn.

It is a fine end to an increasingly pleasing album unveiling new nuances and moments with every listen even after double figure plays. It is a release sure to harass global attention the way of Ninjaspy but more so leave new legion of fans lusting for their sound and presence.

Spüken is released April 14th

http://www.ninjaspy.net/    https://www.facebook.com/ninjaspy/    https://twitter.com/ninjaspy

Pete RingMaster 12/04/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Madjive – Business first

All work and no play makes…. well you know the rest though no one seems to have told French rockers Madjive. There new album suggests that it is Business first but it is a sentiment which does not stop the band taking the listener on a feverish, mischievous, and riotous rock ‘n roll romp which is all about fun, fun, fun…

Hailing from the east side of France, Madjive has been unleashing their creative devilry since 2008. As their third album reveals, theirs is a sound which evades guidelines and rules, Business first a cavalcade of various styles and textures woven into a proposition as punk as it is hard rock, as garage rock as it is funk. Across two previous albums, a trio of EPs and a split vinyl release, the band has only cemented and increased their reputation while live Madjive has stomped across the broad landscape of Europe to matching acclaim, sharing stages with the likes of Powersolo, Richie Ramone, The Phenomenauts, Fuzzy Vox, The Jancee Pornick Casino, The Inspector Cluzo, Nada Surf, Lords of Altamont, VCPS and many others along the way. Business first is the wake-up call to those yet to be infested by the outfit’s devilment, a boisterous and excitable encounter which would not surprise if it incited global attention.

Ignition program turns the album’s key, its scything riffs and tenacious beats wrapped in a vocal web before leaping into a punk rock stroll sparking the body into a blur of eager movement. The funk growl of the opener twists into the punk ‘n’ roll of I am addicted. Again guitars chop and entangle the senses with their agitated jangle whilst rhythms shuffle within the quickly established funk infested saunter of the song. Led by more lively vocals, it continues to bounce and infest ears with a persuasion causing reactions living up to its title.

Its masterful temptation is swiftly eclipsed by the salacious lures of Same bone; a feisty charge of bold rock ‘n’ roll with the growl of Rocket From The Crypt and the instinctive devilish catchiness of  The Phenomenauts. At barely a handful of breaths over a minute in length, the glorious pleasure is sadly sort lived but imposingly memorable and thrilling before A spooky bargain brings its own haunted impishness to the party. Hooks escape its imagination at will, keys and guitars alone conjuring seductive bait as vocals colour and incite proceedings with mutual dexterity. Hints of Neal Hefti, the creator of the classic Batman theme tease throughout; the adventure recalling his finest moment within creative shenanigans all Madjive.

The contagious punk rock of Kid bazooka bursts to life next, it too equipped with appetite piercing hooks and devilment before the album’s title track declares its intent with rousing vocal unity quickly joined by forcibly persuasive rock ‘n’ roll. The track feels like a prelude to the bigger picture of Draft, sketch and outlines, the meeting’s  minutes setting the tone before its successor twists and turns with forceful enterprise and garage punk meets funk rock roguery. At its final statement, a moment of jazzy rascality comes over the album and ears, its unexpected detour leading to the blues funk playfulness of I can’t complain, a track somehow managing to sound like a hybrid of Red Hot Chili Peppers, System Of A Down, and Kings Of Leon without making such influences more than a whiff of a scent.

Both the previous tracks leave pleasure full if without quite at the heights of earlier tracks or found in the heavier rock ‘n’ roll of Rigged show. The track is a muscular and gnarly yet controlled and flirtatious encounter demanding subservience to its scything beats and sonic antics. There is hint of bands like Cheap Trick and Golden Earring to the song, but small hues in a certainly seemingly familiar but distinct escapade.

If the last song was relatively composed, We’re clear let’s manic traits fuel its character as it escapes speakers and the enslaving restraints of life to stir up body and imagination ready for the stormily sultry adventure of Desert peddler. The Morricone laced climate of the song is pure western drama, suggestiveness bound in similar descriptive intensity and artfulness to which Helldorado revel in, and quite glorious.

The album concludes with the vocal and melodic chicanery of Another guidance, a track trying to be composed and refined but it just cannot keep its punk heart chained, involving ears in a thrilling burst of garage rock high jinks with more than a keen nod to old school rock ‘n’ roll.

Business first, from its first dose of addictively satisfying and enterprising misconduct, inspires a hankering to get back with it as soon as possible, even before it actually comes to an end. It is a powerful lure from a stomp any fan of rock ‘n’ roll knavery will find a lusty appetite for. Throughout it does seem to persistently nag and remind of one band in particular, though one our thoughts have still yet to pin down, but Business first only announces Madjive as a band ready to stir up the rock world with inventive capers.

Business first is out now across most stores and @ https://madjive.bandcamp.com/album/business-first

Upcoming live dates:

16.04.207 – Clou – Grünberg – Germany

22.04.2017 – Cafe Ohne – Emerkingen – Germany

12.05.2017 – La Rodia – Besançon – France w/ Imperial state electric

16.06.2017 – Festival Erbasons – Etupes – France

30.06.2017 – Atelier des Moles – Montbéliard w/ CJ Ramone

25.11.2017 – La Taverne – Nevers – France

http://www.madjive.fr/    https://www.facebook.com/Madjive/   https://twitter.com/Madjive

Pete RingMaster 21/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Falls – Cream EP

falls-promo_RingMasterReview

As its fifth month swung and revelled in the noisy, raucous, and ridiculously addictive strains of eclectic rockers Falls, so the final throes of 2016 have been ignited in the best possible way with the Welsh band’s new EP. Cream is the creatively salacious sister to the earlier acclaimed One Hundred Percent Strong EP, itself a proposition as inimitably rousing and twisted as its breath-taking successor now proves to be.

Emerging in 2013, Falls had a great many of us intrigued and hooked by following year with their debut EP Dirtbox. Self-tagging their sound as gash pop/fuck rock, it romped and enticed ears and psyche into the Flintshire quartet’s devilish bedlam of imagination and sound. Its success and the band’s swiftly growing reputation was cemented and accelerated by a live presence which saw a constant wave of new fans won and stages shared with the likes of God Damn, Blacklisters, Press To MECO, and Black Peaks around tours with others such as Allusondrugs and Shikari Sound System. As their two track single Mastiff in 2015 saw a new essence of control and imagination blossom in the band’s sound so One Hundred Percent Strong took things to another level with its bold maturity and skilled quick fire twist and turns. Cream is more of the same but at times showing an even keener touch in anthemic aggression and headstrong invention.

As its predecessors, the heart of the new EP is an unruly party clad in the insatiable hunger of a myriad of styles and flavours. Maybe best described as Asylums meets Hawk Eyes under the psychotic guidance of Jane’s Addiction, it grips ears and hips straight away as opener Berries! prowls with surly riffs and firmly kissing beats. With a touch of groove metal to its heavy harmony basted rock ‘n’ roll, the track flirts and rumbles, soon embracing the warm vocal tones of guitarists Martin Gallagher and Philip Kelsall alongside those of bassist Ben Griffiths as it erupts and calms across its virulent canter. Driven by the heftily persuasive swings of drummer Steff Jones, it quickly recruits body and appetite, rewarding them with mischievous dips into stoner and glam pop temptation.

cream-artwork_RingMasterReviewThe irresistible start to the EP is only accentuated by Daytime N U, a sweet talking romancing of the senses with warm vocals entangling a funk infested groan of bass amid energy dictating beats. Once into its fiery stride with the guitars casting spicy flames around the mellow charm of the vocals and the metronomic infection of the rhythms, the song shows itself a master of body and spirit. System Of A Down is often used as a reference to Falls, maybe not so much in its sound but the unrelenting hunger and craft at turning on the spot through a kaleidoscope of textures and twists; the second track reveals exactly why.

The punk roar of Live Delicious is next, leaping at ears with brawling energy and vocal irritability. Underlining it as ever is a funk bred contagion, reserved right now but just waiting to grab those eager hips as riffs growl and grooves sear. As carnivorous as it is inescapably infectious, the track vociferously snarls and incessantly bounces like a pissed off raptor yet still finds room for a chorus which breeds only addiction.

Cream closes with the epidemic of pleasure that is Liberator. At times as grouchy as its predecessor and as dynamically catchy as anything offered yet by the band, the track bounds through ears with the instinctive aggressive pop of Baddies aligned to the sinewy weight and attitude of Reuben, Pulled Apart By Horses like melodic flames licking their collusion as the funk psychosis of a Halfling’s Leaf plays. The result as ever is something distinct and unique to Falls providing an exhilarating end to another attention stoking triumph from one of the UK’s most exciting bands.

The Cream EP is out now via Naughty Strawberry through http://fallsband.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/fallsband/    https://twitter.com/fallsband

Pete RingMaster 06/12/2016
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

This Dying Hour – Resting Where No Shadows Fall

this-dying-hour-promo-shot_RingMasterReview

In many ways you could say that Resting Where No Shadows Fall, the eagerly anticipated debut album from British metallers This Dying Hour has been ten years in the making. Formed at the beginning of 2006 and swiftly impressing with their debut EP, the High Wycombe outfit has endured a decade littered with setbacks “that were just too great to overcome; everything from death and marriage to money came between the band and its members.” Now they are back and with a release which feels like it carries all the emotions and frustrations felt over that time; an album which ignites ears and imaginations with invention and passion.

That first year of the band produced the Longest Memory From The Shortest Life EP, a well-received and often praised introduction. It was accompanied by tours throughout the UK and Europe as well as shows with the likes of Young Guns, Sylosis, Bury Tomorrow, Malefice, and Exit Ten. The years since, as mentioned, brought This Dying Hour to a standstill until this year when vocalist Dave Pickup and guitarist Ash Whitelock decided to spark the band into life again with the help of “rotating members to fill the void.” Now they have made the wait for the next instalment of This Dying Hour adventure a forgotten moment as Resting Where No Shadows Fall seriously impresses ears and thoughts.

The album opens with its brief title track, an atmospheric instrumental which draws the imagination, leading it into the waiting jaws of War Drums. The second track instantly makes its point with scything riffs and beats, their imposing swipes aligned to a nagging raw melody before things all comes together in a predacious stalking of the senses. The snarling tones of Pickup are soaked in raw emotion and ire, a potency matched by Whitelock’s irritable guitar and the rhythmic antagonism of the track. It not may be the most unique proposal, references to the likes of Lamb Of God and Killswitch Engage valid, yet the song has a freshness which roars in ears and only blossoms further as a cleaner touch invades the vocal incitement.

The impressive start continues as Asleep springs its wiry grooves and vocal hostility next. Swiftly the song shows its distinct and individual character to be a diversity of intensity and energy, all soaked in venom as it seizes attention and a growing appetite for the release. Clean vocals and great dirty harmonies bring stronger drama and quality, as too the enterprising craft of Whitelock as the song bellows and challenges in equal enjoyable measure.

this-dying-hour-cover-artwork_RingMasterReviewPath Of Unknown opens with a melodic atmosphere similar to the opening intro, sunken vocals courting the initial lure before the song opens up into a striking and thrilling encounter. The mellower tones of Pickup predominantly stir the song this time around, luring with the listener alongside spicy melodies into one ridiculously infectious chorus and subsequently a great passage of calm reflection with a touch of Palms to it. One of the biggest highlights among many, the outstanding proposal is followed by the far more hostile climate and sound of Time To Die, though it too is unafraid to cast warm melodies and catchy clean vocals. A rival for best track to match its predecessor, the song completes a first half of Resting Where No Shadows Fall which simply blows most other emerging melodic/groove metallers away.

There is little loosening of attention and pleasure either as first the darker sinister realm of Underworld encloses and encroaches on the senses. Certainly the track is a touch hit and miss, moments which stir the blood and others which lie a touch flat on thoughts but arguably it is the most inventive proposition on the album as it ensnares the imagination while Alive is as accomplished as anything within Resting Where No Shadows Fall at blending the calmer and fiercer emotional and physical exploits of band and songwriting. Though both are lacking the spark of earlier songs, each leaves a real want for more which Priapism feeds with its melody rich charm and fiery temperament.

The album closes on the same kind of explosive sound and impact as it started, Room 108 a volatile and often corrosive encounter with sparkling moments of vocal invention and melodic imagination seemingly inspired by a mix of System Of A Down, Deftones, and In Flames.

It is a great end to an excellent first album from a band making up for lost time in passion and invention. With the potential of bigger and bolder to come, it is very easy to push Resting Where No Shadows Fall as something all should make an acquaintance with.

Resting Where No Shadows Fall is out in stores from Friday 30th September.

https://www.facebook.com/thisdyinghouruk/

Pete RingMaster 28/09/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The beating of shadowed wings and inflamed hearts: introducing Darkstone Crows

Darkstone Crows_RingMasterReview

Hailing from Mississauga, Ontario, Darkstone Crows is a fresh metal bred fire on the Toronto music scene with a sound which simply demands attention. Now as they prepare their debut album for release later in the year, the quintet is beginning to poke at ears and spotlights further afield. With thanks to the band, we take a look into the heart and creative passion of alternative metallers…

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started and what brought you all together?

Chanel Martins-lead vocals, Nick Sawicki and Jiv Marshall-guitars, Russ Shipman-bass and backing vocals, Matt Skypas-drums.

Jiv and Elle started the band back in 2014 and went through a bunch of line-up shuffles. Russ joined in July 2014, Matt was February 2015. Nick replaced our last guitarist in January 2016. We’re just a group of friends making metal music, we want to do it the best we can and not cut corners, really make a work that we can be proud of, that means something.

Have you been/are involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

Russ, Matt and Nick have been involved with bands before, and Chanel has been singing since she was four years old. We all bring something from our experiences to the table but we’re learning a lot as well so our personal style has evolved with the music we’re making.

Russ: I’ve been in a ton of bands before Darkstone Crows, but I would have to say that my first real band (Get!Wise punk-metal, 2008-2013) was very influential on my ethics and approach to songwriting. I learned to jam and to listen to the other players in the band, to build and to lock into groove. I wouldn’t say that any other band I’ve played in before had any direct impact on what I’m doing now.

Elle: No bands, but I’ve been heavily involved with a lot of contemporary music and lessons since I was four years old. Discovering metal definitely made my previous training and experience have an impact on my current endeavours, in a backwards way.

Jiv: Nothing really.

Nick: Prior to the band I was just working out in the gym and studying hard in school. I write and produce a lot of my own music as well, so I was into that before this.

Matt: I was involved in a small band before, nothing too serious, but it set my mind on where I wanted to go and led to where I am now.

Any particular story or inspiration behind the band’s name?

The shared inability to utter a complete sentence without stumbling over our swollen tongues…The name was discovered by accident. Jiv stumbled over her words while saying the original idea “Dark Storm Crows” and said “Darkstone Crows” and we all liked it.

Photo by Carey Costa

Photo by Carey Costa

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

As the initial birth of the band was Jiv’s brainchild, her original concept follows:

Jiv: Initially we were called “Pariah”, and the meaning behind the name was to represent a band that wrote songs for people who felt like social outcasts. Even though Darkstone Crows still speaks of injustices lyrically, we identify with a broader collection of movements and issues with many varying opinions. For me, I was very engrossed by the female punk movement of the 1970’s, so I wanted to create an all-girl punk band. My musical approach was very raw and simplistic. But obviously, as musicians grow and change the music changes with them, especially when all the different members offer their own influences. As we grew together, our exposure to different music exploded, even as our vision, direction and music did too.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

The same things still drive us and many more things as well, we’re constantly finding inspiration around us, and there’s a real drive to succeed and explore, to push boundaries that keeps driving us forward.

[Equally, things have] definitely evolved, but not to the point that we lost sight of what the end goal was. We want to travel the world, bring our music to as many people as we can, make our mark too, and have fun doing it.

How would you say your sound has evolved since starting out?

Our sound was very raw and stripped down, influenced by a lot of older rock and metal; from bluesy rock/metal in the early days to the pseudo-progressive alt-metal it is now, though we haven’t removed many elements of our early sound, but sculpted around them and experienced different types of rock and metal and how they can meld together tastefully.

Has it been an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

A bit of both inherent in the evolutionary process; we’ve become better musicians and writers so that was a very organic growth and a natural evolution. We naturally started writing differently as we expanded our playing, but there was a definite wish to push in different directions that we acted on. The better we got, the more comfortable we got, the more our music grew in complexity. Of late, since our initial guitarist left and Nick joined, we have been deliberately shaping our sound. He’s especially good at listening to ideas and improvising, so that has been a big step forward.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approaches and ideas to creating and playing music?

Lamb of God, Disturbed, and Periphery definitely cap the list, to a lesser extent Halestorm, Slipknot, System of a Down, and Tool have been big influences on our sound.

Definitely Halestorm, Slipknot, and Periphery, all those bands are wild performers and incredible musicians as well, truly inspirational.

Is there a process to the songwriting which generally guides the writing of songs?

Just try not to think too hard, and keep our minds open and concentrated simultaneously. Gold nuggets of music could come from the strangest things and at the weirdest moment. It could be an elbow knocking the strings a certain way that produces unique feedback that kicks off a whole song, you never know.

Usually we start with a riff and build around it, adding other parts that fit nicely and connecting the different parts afterwards. Once we establish parts and the vocal melody is written lyrics are drafted and we start fine-tuning.

Where are inspirations to the lyrical side of your predominantly songs drawn?

 Photo by Rachel Carys Gosling

Photo by Rachel Carys Gosling

Anything around us, in our world, any thought, any emotion, cause and effect, pertinent global issues like the environment, war, famine, and poverty. Personal struggles with alcoholism, drug abuse, homelessness, ire, rage, depression, euphoria, and victory. Our songs are very dark in mood, however not necessarily darkly worded (although more often than not darkly worded).

Predominantly Jiv, and Russ write lyrics, Jiv takes ideas from injustices she see in the world around her, the media, while Russ’ lyrics hit closer to home and tend to be more metaphoric in content.

Give us some background to your latest release.

Our newest release, our first full length album, is going to be available later this year (we’re aiming to release it in October). We’re currently recording and producing the album ourselves and it’s going to be massive. This album is very different from our debut EP (Darkstone Crows, June 2015), it’s much sleeker, the songs are more complex, and we’re incorporating far more instruments, as well as some feature performances. You’ll experience a more broad sonic adventure that delves into many facets of rock and metal. Our first EP, which was recorded and mixed by Dr. Sean at TRH Studios in Scarborough, CA, is much more raw; recorded stripped down and very loud. There is a punk aesthetic to this EP, hiding behind the pounding rock beats and shredding guitar solos. Definitely an honest, solid debut, perfectly illustrating the drive and hunger we were feeling at the time.

Would you give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

The album’s themes are directed at injustices around the globe, from the environment to civil rights, as well as a couple that delve into the human mind and touch on addiction or mental illness.

[In regard to the first EP] Hell To Pay was written in opposition to police brutality (this was written back in 2014, before any major organizations like BLM were even founded). Easily the darkest song on the record, and still one we play today. Sidewinder, so named after the missile and the desert snake. An apt title, as this song was written near the conclusion of the coalition occupation of Afghanistan that began with the World Trade Center attacks in 2001, loosely referencing 9/11 conspiracy theories but more importantly expressing outrage at a protracted military occupation. Deadhead is an ode to street kids and the homeless struggling to scrape a living and fight their demons every day. Fathoms is our salute to the men and woman who come out to our shows, who we’ve met and befriended, partied and laughed with. It’s about the feeling of hitting the stage and having really awesome people love what you’re doing, and scream the words back at you over the PA system.

Do you enter the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

For the most part we write before the studio. Only recently, with a home studio being acquired, were we able to implement recording into the writing process. It has many benefits, not the least of which is it’s now almost impossible to forget parts! It’s worked both ways for this record, plenty of trial and error, but with such high costs to record in studio we like to be prepared to nail those takes.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

Our live shows are full of energy, we try to project our excitement onto the crowd, even joining them in the pit occasionally. We’re constantly in motion and want to turn up and just go for it. If you come to our shows, expect to meet at least one of us in the crowd. We aren’t afraid to get close to our audience, mosh with our guitars, whatever it takes to get everyone having a good time. We try to put on a bombastic show, something memorable and huge. Showmanship isn’t out-dated yet, right?

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

Every scene has an opportunity for a band, the trick is making your mark and being able to leave for a bit, tour around, and come back to find your mark still there. You have to make an impression on people, really work the excitement out of your audience.

Toronto has exploded recently, not on the metal front, but in the general vein of music, so that’s generated a kind of Mecca for producers and label reps. That being said, these guys aren’t necessarily looking for a metal band, which is cool because we have more to offer than just grinding riffage and double bass. We definitely have our foot in the door, but we’re still growing as a unit and brighter horizons await.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

It can definitely be a tedious task, continuously having to type updates and promote shows, mail out merch, upload photos/songs, the list goes on. But, if you love something, you’ll deal with the boring and the crap times because it will come back to you in the end. Social media is definitely helping us at the moment, not only are we diligent about it but we have the right people for the job. Matt is a brilliant graphic artist and designer and Elle is a promoter and Event Management student. All things good must come to an end, but global reach on social media hasn’t gone bad just yet. Bands these days should definitely invest the time into learning how to mould social media, it is invaluable. Anything has the possibility to become negative if overused or utilised improperly, the trick is the learn all you can about using social media and keep your content professional.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

We’ve had it under wraps for a couple months now, but we are featuring the amazing Lindsay Schoolcraft, keyboardist/vocalist of UK metal band Cradle of Filth, on two tracks from our upcoming release. So we’re pretty excited about that. Beyond that just more music and we’re beginning to shoot more videos as well, so following our YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiJ2zCXgHfsnUurrge-UyoQ ) and Instagram (@darkstonecrows) will keep you up to date on that stuff.

http://darkstonecrows.wixsite.com/darkstone-crows   https://twitter.com/darkstonecrows   https://www.facebook.com/darkstonecrows

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 19/08/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Shot Of Hornets – Make Out A Picture

Shot Of Hornets Promo Shot_RingMasterReview

A release to make a lingering impression, Make Out A Picture is the debut EP from British alternative rock band Shot Of Hornets. Consisting of four tracks which snarl and rousingly seduce with equal measure, the encounter is a beast of an introduction to the Welsh trio. There is a predacious edge to every element making up its gripping drama and forceful enterprise just as a virulent contagion fuels the anthemic unpredictability shaping its ear pleasing character. Together it provides a creative and impassioned theatre of sound and imagination as compelling as it is so often breath-taking.

Hailing from Mold in North Wales, Shot Of Hornets consists of brothers Daniel (guitar/vocals) and Conor Cahalane (drums/lead vocals) alongside Charlie Farnham (bass/vocals). Emerging last year with inspirations from the likes of early Biffy Clyro, At The Drive-In, Hundred Reasons, and Fightstar in their creative arsenal, the threesome soon began making potent impressions with their fierce live presence and shows. Now it is Make Out A Picture set to rattle national awareness of Shot Of Hornets, with success surely an inevitable return for the EP’s galvanic might.

Shot Of Hornets Cover Artwork_RingMasterReviewThe band lays a tight grip on ears and appetite straight way with opener Corrosive, needing little time to tempt both as swinging beats and an instantly grumbling bassline starts things off. Angular strikes of guitar and group snarls behind the inviting tones of Conor swiftly join the affair and increase the infectiousness already sparking the senses. Smooth slips into mellower moments and discord kissed twists leads to a seriously rousing chorus, all the time an intensity and volatility seemingly lying in wait, eager to erupt but instead simply adding great depth to the song and enterprise persuading ears; when it does escape a great Reuben-esque feel flows through the track, ending in a scintillating finale which in tone continues into the song’s successor.

Don’t Go Chasing Shadows, Arthur is exceptional, from its initial lively stalking of the senses and barbarous tempest through to its quirky and deranged character one of the best tracks heard here this year. Vocally and musically the band prowls and leaps upon the imagination with their unique ideation and adventure, keeping things as enthrallingly off-kilter and seriously infectious. At times the song reminds of the now demised UK band Engerica, in other moments courting something lying between System Of A Down and Hundred Reasons, and relentlessly leaving ears and pleasure greedy for more.

The brief instrumental interlude of Firm Handshake provides a tantalising atmospheric hug though truthfully instincts after the first listen is to dive straight into closing track Everything With Nothing. The closer is another track which emerges as one kind of creature and slowly evolves into something different as one inventive minute follows another. The song’s initial abrasive growl is soon replaced by a melodic and emotive reflection though certainly vocally that raw edge still lurks. Subsequently, inescapably catchy lures and fiery flames add to the track’s theatre, spiky rhythms and riffs joining scything grooves and grisly punk infused predation as the song twists and turns and in turn bewitches with every unpredictable moment.

If Make Out A Picture is a sign of things to come, expect to hear plenty more of Shot Of Hornets in sound and acclaim. The EP is a debut which demands attention, rewarding with songs which bring the imagination and spirit through a band with very healthy horizons ahead of them.

The Make Out A Picture EP is released July 1st through all stores.

https://www.facebook.com/shotofhornets     https://twitter.com/SOHbandUK

Pete RingMaster 30/06/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright