The Hubris Interview

Could you first introduce yourself/the band and tell us how it came to be?

Jonathan Hohl (Guitar, composition, production) – We are hubris., a post-rock band from the canton of Fribourg in Switzerland. Nathan, the drummer, and I have been playing music together for over a decade, but we first started in a metal band which was heavily influenced by post-rock. Eventually, we decided to give a proper “post-rock” band a go, albeit with our own music influences. On March 13th of this year we will be releasing our third album.

How would you define not only your sound but the creative character of the band?

Nathan Gros (Drums, composition, production) – We try to incorporate literally everything that we listen to into our music. As mentioned, Jonathan and I started our first band in the metal genre but before that we both listened to different genres of music (e.g. my father is an African music percussionist). We end up with post-rock that quite clearly is not post-rock in the stricter terms because it is heavily influenced by so many other styles. What is post-rock is that we start all our compositions with a basic post-rock quartet (i.e. 2 guitars, bass and drums) and that the compositions aim to foster introspection. But then the drum patterns that I usually come up with sound very much like what you would hear in a hip-hop tune for example.

Are there any previous musical experiences for band members and how have they been embraced in what you do now?

JH – Well, yes as we’ve just explained regarding metal music. Also, Matthieu, Lucien – the two musicians that we always play live with – and I studied Jazz. Although they do not strictly have a hand in the composition per say, having played with them – personally for many years – has definitely had an impact on me and the way I understand music or compose it.

Is there a particular process to your/the band’s songwriting?

NG – So far, it’s been nothing but pure chaos. We’ve been trying to improve for every album, but there are always elements that we don’t pay as close attention as we should, and it ends up with us having to kill ourselves eventually to repair the small mistake. For the fourth album that Jonathan is composing at the moment, we are trying to stick to a strict plan, so we do not get caught up with an overwhelming workload towards the end of the production.

Would you tell us about your latest release?

JH – Metempsychosis, our third album is to be released on March 13th of this year. It is very much in the lines of Apocryphal Gravity our second album, although we have tried to incorporate so more styles that we like or play into this genre of music. For example, the track Dionysus contains a disco-like drum pattern for the first riff.

What are the major inspirations to its heart and themes?

JH – The one and only big inspiration that I go dig up for is Greek Mythology. I have studied it at University (i.e. at the time when we first started the band) and it remained this way to this day. I like not to get lost in what is available to me in terms of inspiration and the fact that I can go back to a specific and definite source of inspiration is quite liberating actually. I am of course referring only to their stories or themes but going hiking for a whole day is as inspiring as anything else. I simply make sure that I cater this inspiration to myths.

I am always intrigued as to how artists choose track order on albums and EP’s and whether in hindsight they would change that. What has been the deciding factor for you or do songs or the main do that organically?

NG – So far, we have always tried to have our albums be listened to in one go. It means that all the transitions between the songs have to be flawless and very much decided and/or worked on early in the production process. Sometimes Jonathan would compose a song and use the last few chords of that said song to compose the next one, which then makes the transition somehow create itself. It makes performing live a bit more difficult, because then we have to decide whether we play two songs or more from the same album one after the other or whether we abruptly cut one and place another song in-between.

What do you find the most enjoyable part of being in a band and similarly the most cathartic?

JH – Probably the experiences and emotions you share with your mates on stage. If I could choose to keep doing only one thing in music, it would 100% be to play live. What I think is the most cathartic experience as a musician is having had the best moments composing a song you love and then present it to an audience for the first time. Release parties are always so paramount because almost the entire audience discovers some of the songs for the first time, so you try your best to give out the best of experiences.

NG – I guess most enjoyable part as being in a band is to have something where you can express yourself and your feelings without being judged. I have so much respect and gratitude for my band mates because I know they give their 100% each time we play music, even for a simple rehearsal at 8am after a short night of sleep. I know I can trust them because they are like family, and I know they will always be here when needed. The most cathartic moment must be when our albums get delivered on my doorstep, simply because I know there is no more turn back on the mixes or anything else linked to the album. I mixed the last three albums, and this was probably my last, because I want to be more focused on the music and less on the small details (that actually gives you bad insomnias…) of the mixing aspect.

For anyone contemplating checking you out live give some teasers as to what they can expect.

NG – We try to stick to the album quite religiously, there is not much room for improvisation. The only difference with the album – with the exception that it is ten times louder – it that we usually add a lot more dynamics than the actual songs. Some of the lead guitars are also a bit louder, to make it more interesting live. Most importantly, we literally kill our necks on stage every single time. No exception. We always put ourselves in a performance mood and go as crazy as the music transports us.

What has been your most thrilling moment on stage to date?

JH – Our tour manager in India had been working day in day out to make the tour come to fruition and we did not really know how to thank him as we did not have much to offer except music. It was about 4-5 months before Metempsychosis was to be released, so nobody – except him and the label – had had a listen to any of the new songs. We made the decision the same day of the concert to actually perform one of our new songs live, just for him. We spent hours that same afternoon right after the soundcheck to make sure that all the backing tracks, click track etc. were on point. At about the end of the show, we took the opportunity to say a few words to him and then dedicated this song, Dedalus, to him before we started playing the song. It was the first time we played it live and we had not rehearsed it for weeks since we were not going to play it for the whole tour. Perhaps we did not play it as cleanly as we could, but the energy and emotions were so intense.

NG – I would say it was on our last tour in India when we played in Bangalore at Fandom. We had all the elements that makes a show a great show: good gear, good sound-system, good vibes and the best audience we could imagine. This was the first time I saw people imitating the drum parts, singing the guitar melodies and screaming when we ended a part (not even a song). We were tired and I was sick on that day, but as soon as we got on stage, all the pain went away and who knows how, we played one the best shows of the band’s history.

Do you have live dates coming up?

NG – Yes, a few shows here and there (April in Belgium, May in Germany), but most importantly we have our release party that will take place on Friday 13th of March at Fri-Son in Fribourg, Switzerland.

What else can we expect in the near future?

JH – We are working on our tours for the second part of the year, but we cannot say too much about it just yet. Also, as mentioned earlier, I am already composing songs for the fourth album and we are really confident about the potential of these future songs.

What are the major inspirations to you sound wise and as a musician?

NG – I take a lot of inspiration from artists such as Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, The Contortionist, Moderat, Young Widows and so many other artists from many genres. This might sound weird, but I do watch a lot of YouTube or Instragram videos from drummers to get inspired. The drumming community is amazing because there are so many people eager to share their knowledge.

JH – The people that influence me the most soundwise are not from the post-rock scene at all. I am a big fan of Queen of the Stone Age’s guitar sounds, but I don’t think fuzz would match that well in our music – I haven’t tried it yet, but who knows. There is that guitar player from Nashville, TN called Jack Ruch who I have been following for quite a while. His tones and ideas are flawless.

And finally, what song or release would you say was the spark to your passion for music?

JH – All the songs that I have looked up that I thought sparked my passion for music where released after I believe my passion for music emerged. So, I don’t really know unfortunately.

NG – I started playing music at 6 because my dad was playing African percussions, and at this time he didn’t have any albums but only songs he would play live with his band in small venues in Switzerland.  My parents bought me a drum kit when I was 7 because I transformed my plastic toy kitchen into a drum set (that got broken after a few days “playing it”). The funny part of this is that I didn’t try on purpose to transform this toy into a drum kit, I was just having fun with something that sounded cool to me.

Many thanks once again; anything else you would like to add?

JH, NG – A massive thank you to anyone who’s supported us over the course of hubris.’ existence. Perhaps our lives without hubris. would be a bit less stressful, but god knows how grimmer it would be too!

Check Hubris out further @

https://hubrisband.bandcamp.com/   https://www.hubrisband.com/   https://www.facebook.com/Hubrisband/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 26/02/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Maziac – Forged

When a release instantly and impressively smacks you in the face and proceeds to tease, taunt, and fascinate thereon in you know there is something rather special in the brewing. Forged is one such proposition, the new album from UK based outfit Maziac devouring ears and attention from its first breath and only continuing to captivate with its eclectic body through every passing second.

Formed in 2017, the London residing trio of guitarist/vocalist Tony Best, bassist/synth player Tim Stokes, and drummer Marc Vachon have already faced potent fan and critical praise through their first EP, the Justin Hill (SikTh) mixed and mastered Parallel unveiled in the May of 2018. Its success alongside the band’s rousing sound and live presence has led the band to share stages with the likes of The Ever Living, Epsilon, Derange, On Hollow Ground, and Winchester; it all adding to their growing reputation. All previous acclaim though should be quickly paled by that destined to be garnered by Forged, one of the year’s brightest gems so far.

Again recorded with Hill, Forged erupts with an immediate predacious hunger, opener Symptomatic a tempest sweeping in and consuming the senses. Rhythms bludgeon as riffs dismantle the senses, Best’s vocals just as urgent and rapacious as a cyclone of djent/technical and alternative metal/rock disgorges its rabid temptation. It is a starting introduction which only continued to incite and thrill as the song reveals its craft and prowess. As quickly and continually proven, Maziac have a sound which enjoyably proves very difficult to pin down with references to others but certainly within its ferocious sonic kaleidoscope essences resembling bands such as Fear Factory, Deftones, The Contortionist, Between the Buried and Me, and Spineshank swirl.

It is a stunning start keenly and powerfully matched by the following Escapism. Relatively restrained in comparison, the track still prowls with a definite predatory intent; its rich body wrapped in melodic wiring as alluring as they are cutting. Best’s vocals equally have a calmer harmonic edge in a delivery as varied as the sounds around it, the band’s alternative rock instincts a thick colour to the inventive metal of the song. It is hard not to think of the track as a beast, stalking and preying on willing ears tempted by sonic plumage of inventive temptation.

Cortisol teased an already eager appetite right away with the rhythmic rapping of Vachon, his beats taunting attention as the guitar brews up its subsequent eddy of bold enterprise and melodic flaming. The song’s progressive nature shapes its imagination; rock ‘n’ roll contagiousness fuelling the animated gait of unpredictability. There is a touch of Voyager to the track as too Muse but once again, it emerges solely Maziac before Prisoners saunters in with its swiftly beguiling lures. A whiff of The Kennedy Soundtrack shades its beginnings, a Muse-esque hue adding to the mix as the riveting track unfurls its intrepid enterprise and adventure to challenge for best track honours.

The melodic intimation of brief instrumental Vicissitudes had the imagination conjuring ready for the far more feral but composed dynamics of Again. Once more progressive and djent elements collude in its buoyant design, Stokes’ bass not for the first or last time a rousing snarl of incitement in the midst of skilled melodic and sonic endeavour. It is fair to say that as potent tracks are on first listen, each following play only reveals fresh depths and textures for greater rewards as no better proven than here.

Deceptive of its title, Allure instantly embroils ears in a pestilential cauldron of metal but soon relishes the band’s melodic dexterity and the almost poppy catchiness that breeds. It is a thunderous encounter teasing with glimpses of the peace at the eye of the storm, never giving in to predictability or anything less than compelling while closing track, Resolution, casts its own experiment in texture and tone to bring the album to a fine close. In certain moments almost primal in its climate and in others like a melodic sunspot, the song just enthralled as another aspect to the Maziac sound and imagination is shared.

With Forged ringing in our ears it is easy to be excited about what is ahead for and from Maziac because as suggested, they have created one of the year’s finest moments so far.

Forged is released July 5th; available @ https://maziacband.bandcamp.com/album/forged

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Pete RingMaster 05/07/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Unbowed – Dogma

Unbowed_RingMaster Review

Two years ago Canadian metallers Unbowed grabbed thick attention and praise with debut album Collapse The World. It was a raw and ravenous slab of black metal atmospherics fused with death metal corrosion; blackened death metal with melodic tendencies that was unafraid to push it and its creator’s boundaries. It was also rich in open potential which has now been nurtured to striking effect for new EP Dogma. Offering four atmospherically primal and raw yet creatively elegant tracks, the release sees the Ontario duo breach a new plateau of songwriting and sound whilst opening fresh potential suggesting even bigger triumphs to come.

Formed in 2011 as a studio project by multi-instrumentalist Alex Snape and vocalist Ioan Tetlow, Unbowed proceeded to release a self-titled demo EP, the aforementioned Collapse The World, and bring together a live line-up which has played a host of shows and shared stages with the likes of Battlecross, Einherjer, The Contortionist, and Erimha throughout Ontario. Their bracingly invasive and imaginatively provocative sound has seen the band’s reputation grow within the underground spreading outwards and you suspect things are set to erupt with greater strength again as Dogma infests ears.

Unbowed Dogma - Final Cover Art_RingMaster ReviewThe EP opens with The Bleeding Throne; an enveloping of the senses and imagination from its first breath marked with a herald of melodies and atmospheric keys. It is a welcoming if portentous prelude to a rampant cascade of rabid riffs and matching rhythms within a wave of intensity as catchy as the thrash like canter that emerges from it. The craft and sound of Snape quickly impresses and works away on appreciative ears whilst the raw throated vocal squalls of Tetlow add a just as effective drama and predatory temper to the tapestry of provocative sounds around him. Thoughts of warriors, deceptions, and bloody turbulence are easy casting for the imagination as the song expands its sonic narrative, but equally there is an exotic beauty and expressive majesty to the song which grips the listener. It all further enhanced by the tendrils of varied metal and livelier variety in the vocals with blossom throughout.

It is a gripping and fascinating start which continues in the even more confrontational Besieged; though it too spins a web of guitar enterprise and rhythmic tenacity as infectiously alluring as it is barbarously intimidating. With sweeping melodies and expressive keys, you can visual the setting for the song’s drama and narrative. Broad and expansive, harsh yet beauteous landscapes are visualised, providing the canvas for the resourceful and enthralling imagination of the two musicians. As the first, the song bewitches as its trespasses, leaving a hunger for more which the closing pair of The Fall and Echoes of Cernunnos heftily satisfy. The first merges consuming textures and destructive virulence with flowing ambiences around epically poetic melodies whilst its successor provides an animus of ill-intent and immersive sufferance brewed with sonic rabidity. Both take unexpected and dramatically contrasting turns, the first especially enthralling with its melancholic and tainted reflections. The final song is more concentrated in its core attack but around its invasive spine, Snape creates a realm of celestial grandeur and earthbound intimacy coloured by the great vocal abrasion of Tetlow.

Dogma is superb, a release which only reveals more depths and corners with every listen. It leaves the band’s potent last album pale in comparison and equally many a black and death metal emprise heard in recent times.

Dogma is available from February 12th @ http://unbowedofficial.bandcamp.com/

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

Pete RingMaster 12/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Fall – The Insatiable Weakness

Fall_RingMaster Review

Busier than a swarm of flies on a carcass but far more thrilling and rewarding, The Insatiable Weakness is a seriously explosive and dramatic introduction to Texan band Fall. The album is a cauldron of styles and flavours within a progressive/melodic death metal landscape which never gives ears and the imagination a moments rest whilst creating a gripping incitement as creatively tempestuous as it is coherently fascinating.

Taking inspirations from Scandinavian metal and bands such as Opeth, At the Gates, and Soilwork to their sound, the Portland based quartet emerged as 2010 took its early breaths. It was not too long before they were a notable presence on the live scene, going on to share stages with bands such as Helstar, Periphery, The Human Abstract, The Contortionist, Textures, Fallujah, and Aegaeon as their presence and reputation grew. A self-titled EP was released in 2012, an encounter featuring guest vocals from Soilworks’s Bjorn Strid which soon awakened not only more of the US to the band’s emerging potency and force but ears and attention further afield too. Now the band’s self-released debut album is set to stir up plenty more with its inescapable adventure and invasive imagination.

Consisting of vocalist/keyboardist Jessie Santos, guitarist Daniel Benavides, and bassist David Gutierrez alongside, for the album, the ever irrepressible rhythmic craft of Soilworks’ drummer Dirk Verbeuren, Fall swiftly encase ears in a cloud of sonic and rhythmic incitement as opener From Ashes rises threateningly to spawn a maelstrom of cutting riffs and intensive rhythms. In its air harmonies also break out with an atmospheric tempting, both getting their moment to descend poetically on the senses within the storm with Santos revealing pleasing variety and strength to his vocal delivery, raw and clean. Given potent hint of what is to come, the song continues to evolve its forceful and evocative tapestry with strands of progressive invention and rousing enterprise, all amidst intrusive turbulence led by Verbeuren’s renowned prowess.

Cover artwork by Niklas Sundin

Cover artwork by Niklas Sundin

Not of the Sky continues the attention catching start; the vocals again one focal point in a cascade of many, with their slight discord, whether intentionally or not, adding greater character to the emerging bedlamic and creative tirade of the song. Furiously unpredictable and fluidly aligned, melodic enticing and colliding flavours breaks through as each twist grips ears, softening and working them up into an eager appetite for the also tempestuously toned and adventurously woven Ever Hollow. Bellowing and tempting, the track is a magnetic fury veined by seductive magnetism, extreme and progressive metal uniting in something intimidatingly hellacious, sonically psychotic, and at times rousingly catchy.

Through both Harvester and Cinis, band and album continue to infest and corrupt the senses, though the former is just as potent in its infectious glaze of pop metal. Featuring guest vocals of Jessie Frye, it is another bundle of contrasts and clever contradictions creating a track which mesmerises as strongly as it bruises. Arguably it is the most accessible offering on the album but is as inventive and volatile as any of the more challenging and invigorating proposals within The Insatiable Weakness. Its successor is a much more voracious proposition, as swiftly shown by Strands of Night vocalist Asa Dubberly, who guests on the tempest, and the carnivorous tone of the bass which builds on the darker menacing tone it offered the previous song. Around them, and the bracing roar of Santos in its different strains, guitars stir up a nest of sonic vipers and melodic resourcefulness, the track painting a turbulent and tenaciously diverse canvas of raw and alluring flavours.

Ears and appetite are only drawn in tighter as the celestial hued and aggressively bracing Desolation and the predatory thrash seeded, death fuelled torrent of provocation posing as Soul Ignition thickly satisfies whilst …to dust lights ignites another fuse to lustful reactions with its unbridled ferocity and cantankerous attitude lined with infection soaked exploits. Providing one more major highlight amongst only heftily persuasive successes, its rich tempting is emulated in kind by the uniquely different Empty where, arguably for the first time, keys stretch their ever present atmospheric and ambience casting prowess into being a leading protagonist.

The album closes up with firstly Gods of Ruin and its landslide of unforgiving rhythms within an exhaustive infestation of expansive metal voracity and finally You were but a Shade, it an invasive and virulent episode of unpredictability, absorbing imagination, and explosive individual craft from all concerned. A seduction that tears strips off the senses, the song is an immense end to a similarly impressing release.

Only a weighty amount of listens does The Insatiable Weakness true justice, but every venture reveals new striking layers, previously undiscovered twists, and a bigger hunger for more as reward. As a name, Fall does not make a particular impact but rest assured from their first moments, sound and album more than make up for it.

The Insatiable Weakness is out now @ http://fall1.bandcamp.com/album/the-insatiable-weakness

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Pete RingMaster 28/01/2016

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Elderoth – Mystic

Collin McGee - Live

To call Mystic, the new album from Canadian melodic metallers Elderoth, easy going and very likeable does not do any justice to the technical craft and skilled invention at work within the proposition, but that is exactly what it is, a highly enjoyable encounter very easy to get on with. The bands second full-length is also a collection of thoroughly captivating songs bred with tenacious imagination and as mentioned, technically impressive invention, a release sure to awaken a new and broader wave of attention on the Montreal based band.

Elderoth is the creation of vocalist/lead guitarist Collin McGee, a project formed in 2007 and soon making a mark on the Canadian metal underground. 2012 saw the release of the band’s self-titled debut album, its presence well-received and awash with the potential of greater exploits ahead, now coming to fruition with Mystic. Infusing N. American and European flavours comparable to bands like Devin Townsend Project and Periphery, with the sound and instrumentation of East Asia, the new album is a fascinating and enchanting offering but also not without a raw snarl or two, or indeed an aggressive streak. It offers tracks which seduce and impose simultaneously, though it is predominantly the former which holds ears and ignites the imagination.

Though a full band live, the album seemingly was performed entirely by McGee showing the talent and multi-instrumental skills he possesses. Within opens things up, the brief instrumental instantly revealing its oriental influence and just as swiftly creating a wind of imposing rhythms and tempestuous riffs. With melodic designs also luring ears from within, the piece evolves into the following Black and Blue where keys create an immediate sunrise of melodic seducing, one bolstered by thickly laid rhythms and the resourceful prowess of the guitars. McGee’s vocals are just as warm and inviting, harmonies flowing and caressing ears in a superbly expressive delivery of the song’s hope bred narrative. It is fair to say that the track is a tempest on the senses, but the kindest, warmest one possible and seriously magnetic with the kiss of Japanese seeded beauty.

elderoth_cover4     Next up the initially darker This Shadow By My Side makes an entrance which is bound by spicy grooves and almost portentous in breath and air. It soon dispels that feeling though with inviting vocals and sparkling sonic enterprise. Into its riveting stride, the excellent encounter brings a whisper of bands like Heights and Voyager to its temptation whilst it’s more creatively turbulent moments suggests elements of The Contortionist and KingBathmat. As the album, time is needed to explore all the layers and adventures within the song but effort only ensures it and in turn the release impresses more.

The outstanding My Future has appetite and emotions inflamed again with its virulently contagious character and thrilling endeavour whilst Falling Star has ears and imagination in an eager submission right from its opening weave of Asian elegance. Of course any essence is part of a richer more involved web, and here rugged almost tempestuous scenery gets involved as spiralling key crafted melodies cross imagined continents with its stirring adventure. The song is pure seduction and the moments when “like a falling star” in the chorus is mistaken for saying like a porn star only adds to the fun.

The calmer charm of In A Dream with its Dream Theater like essence simply dances with body and thoughts, its increasingly energetic and strenuous exploits a beguiling proposal. It is straight away matched by the more heavy metal spiced The Ocean, though its classic tones are soon awash with oriental instrumentation and bewitchment too. Though not managing to carry the instinctive spark exciting the senses in previous songs, with its atmospheric drama around McGee’s impressive technical and composing skills, the song only enthrals before the heavy striding presence and almost shanty like infectiousness of Far In The Sea steals attention away from the real world. The album makes the listener feel like a traveller in many ways, this track one of the most theatrically visual adventures.

The album closes with the transfixing instrumental Always Remember, a track kind of summing up all the exploits and elements found within Mystic in one final individual flight. It is an intriguing hug on the senses and suggestive incitement for thoughts bringing a great release to a thrilling end. Mystic is like a giant melodic magnet, ever since its first touch it has gripped our attention on a daily schedule so far. It is not necessarily the very best album heard or likely to be explored this year but as a highly personable and persistently alluring proposition, it is a winning treat.

Mystic is out now @ http://elderothband.bandcamp.com/album/mystic

https://www.facebook.com/elderothband   http://www.elderoth.com/

RingMaster 29/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Abiotic – Casuistry

byVinceEdwards

byVinceEdwards

As much as it is swiftly fascinating, Casuistry from US progressive death metallers Abiotic is a challenging proposition, testing in its ferociously busy landscape with a technical prowess to match, and at times approaching overwhelming ears with that same creative tirade so ears and imagination cannot settle and appreciate what is going in the moment. For all its formidable elements though, the second album from the Miami quintet is one striking and compelling proposal which just gets more impressive and enjoyable with every listen.

Emerging in 2010, Abiotic quickly made their mark on ears with debut EP A Universal Plague the following year, a release laying down a template of ravenous riffs, blistering solos, and technical breakdowns. Grabbing the attention of Metal Blade Records, the band subsequently signed with the label and unleashed debut album Symbiosis in 2012, a proposition pushing sound and skills, as well as invention, on in leaps and bounds. In hindsight though it too was a mere step towards the immense adventure in sound and craft now flooding Casuistry. The band’s voracious live presence has similarly lured acclaim and glowing support across the years, shows with the likes of Dying Fetus and Exhumed reinforcing their growing stature. Last year saw Abiotic link up with producer Jamie King (Between the Buried and Me, Wretched, and The Contortionist) as they set about creating their follow-up album, and a change in line-up which saw new vocalist Travis Bartosek and drummer Brent Phillips join the band, a change which has really added to the impact of the new album and the continuing evolution of Abiotic sound.

Abiotic-Casuistry     Casuistry has growth in every aspect from its striking predecessor, a new maturity and exploration fuelling songwriting to sound, lyrical endeavour to technical resourcefulness. This also applies to the rigorous challenge on the senses and psyche of the listener which will be too much for some, but the rewards as evidenced straight away in opener Believe the Unseen, border on intoxicating at times. From its first breath, the song offers a bestial roar on ears, the throat ripping bellow of Bartosek alone a fierce and gripping incitement matched by hellacious riffs and rhythms. It is a brief savagery though as mere seconds later spiralling melodic enterprise flows from the guitars of Johnathan Matos and Matt Mendez, entangling the predacious bassline of Alex Vazquez and the rugged beats of Phillips in their midst. Within thirty seconds the song is a creative tempest, an unpredictable maelstrom which allows thoughts a glimpse on getting a handle of things before stirring its body and threat up all over again. Thoughts of Trepalium hint away across the track but also as everything turns in on itself and dives into new ideation, the likes of The Faceless and The Contortionist spring up.

It is a stunning start, a disorientating one occasionally even in the briefness of the song, but as mentioned earlier and applying to the whole album, with each listen becomes more coherent in thoughts and thrilling in ears. The same of course applies to the following Reanimated Destruction, which makes a much more merciful entrance, the guitars casting an atmospheric sonic mist as the bass flirts with jazz seeds for its instantly intriguing and exotic tempting. The two almost duelling vocal deliveries work a treat again; guttural and serpentine tones twin insidiousness within the technical and intensity driven raging.

One of the things which definitely add to the songs is the snappiness of their length, no track passing the five minute mark and most falling a lot shorter. This certainly intensifies the bustling character of the tracks inventively and physically, Abiotic wasting no second on repetitive thoughts but it also ensures the testing tracks never come close to be laborious propositions. Cast into the Depths epitomises this next; the song a melodic wine of a sound dripping over ears and soon spreading a weave of sonic imagination as rhythmic hostility intimidates the senses. Phillips is as brutal as he is contagious with his swings and beats whilst the song itself is a cauldron of fiercely bubbling and changing sonic and vocal enmity. Featuring John Gallagher of Dying Fetus, the encounter is a blissfully exhausting endeavour, a description fitting Casuistry perfectly also.

Violent Scriptures is a torrential onslaught of malevolence and craft again, Phillips a beast and Matos with Mendez, mesmeric with their melodies and sonic espionage on the psyche. Vocally too the band has hit another level with Bartosek which has spread to the rest of the album’s throat offered exploits, an aspect ravaging the listener mercilessly in Nightmares of Your Conception next. Grooves once more simply ooze from the sonic animus being uncaged, whilst rhythmically the track is the most vicious yet. The song does not quite match up to its predecessor though, that industrious tsunami proving almost too taxing if still enjoyable at times.

Through the ‘funky’ but rabid The Absence of Purity, which features guest Paul Waggoner of Between the Buried and Me, and Falling into Obscurity, band and album seduce with full steam again. The first is especially virulent with its toxic grooves and sparkling melodic flirtation, swiftly becoming a big favourite whilst its successor arrives drenched in a menacing theatre, noir bred hues colouring its opening torrent of riffs and grooves, proceeding to add rich hues throughout the wiry entanglement of sound and skills. Both tracks leave the imagination and ears ringing and enslaved before Molecular Rematerialization nags and worries their defences with its own flurry of concussive rhythms and citric grooves, all bred in the darkest most venomous corners of the band’s invention.

Casuistry is brought to a close by the transfixing and punishing Drain. Deface. Abolish., a final tempest to be seduced and violated by in equal measure. It is a fine end to a great album which only gets stronger and more enthralling with time. Abiotic make you work to explore and unravel their deeply entrenched and wonderfully turbulent imagination, but make the effort, brave their unrelenting creative hunger, and you might just find one of your favourite albums of the year.

Casuistry is out now on Metal Blade Records via http://metalblade.com/abiotic/

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RingMaster 23/04/2105

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Verse Vica – Endeavor

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It is safe to say that progressive metal has presented some of the most imaginatively inventive bands and compellingly immersive releases over recent years and to both lists you can add Verse Vica and their debut album Endeavor. One similarly imposing and seductive flight spread over eight movements in its continuous landscape, the release is a skilled and dramatic introduction to the US band, announcing them as an exciting prospect to pay eager attention to.

Hailing from North Carolina it is maybe no surprise that their inspirations include fellow statesmen Between the Buried and Me alongside the likes of Animals as Leaders, The Faceless, Periphery, and The Contortionist. There is no denying those essences across the Asheville quartet’s first offering though it is mere flavouring to something which primarily casts its own distinctive nature and character. Unafraid to bare its rawest depths sonically and emotionally, and a flaming beauty which is as transfixing as its contrasts are rugged, the album is an intensive and at times satisfyingly demanding proposition. Though first impressions leave a hungry appetite for its presence, the album needs an attentive investigation to reveal all its striking textures and superbly crafted layers. It rewards though with not a flawless offering but definitely one which ignites a greed for more in the imagination and emotions.

Mastered by Jamie King (BTBAM, The Contortionist, Scale The Summit), Endeavor opens with the engaging Airyth. It is a gentle and melodically elegant instrumental which carries darker shadows within its smouldering and resonating presence. It is not a dramatic track, certainly in hindsight against the subsequent twists in the album’s journey, but a captivating soar across the emerging climate of piece and release. Guitarists Paul Meisner and Greg Marcon create a sonic breeze which mesmerises with its beauty and skilful designs whilst the bass of Tyler Shehan incitingly strokes the darker element of the exploration. It is a tantalising entrance though it does straight away offer up the only real flaw with the album and that is the sampled drums and rhythms. The band is yet to find a live body to swing the sticks and this makes for one aspect which is lacking across the album, being more obvious in some tracks than others, but to be fair such the quality elsewhere it is never enough to derail songs and pleasure.

The opener flows straight into the rugged terrain of Cities I: Cerulean. Riffs and grooves respectively badger and entwine ears from the first breath whilst raging gut bred growls and subsequently clean harmonies from Spencer Album CoverBrunkhorst, bring further thick colour and spice to the already colourful design of the song. The technical ability of the band is just as striking and instant, the guitars spinning a web of infectious and intimidating enterprise whilst the rhythmic side of the song, along with the harsher side of the vocals, carries as much malevolence as the melodies and sonic endeavour brings flirtatious ingenuity. Equally the songwriting shines brightly, especially in the way the band blends and twists extremes around a fluid core of intent and imagination. It is a fine incitement though soon shaded by Verdugo and even more so the outstanding Ravenholm. The first of the two stands steely eyed with hooks and riffs a savage persuasion within a caustic and radiant melodic atmosphere. Again opposites attract within the song and combine for a tantalising and intimidating excursion for ears and thoughts which the second of the pair pushes to new scenic heights. Opening with a melodic death metal ferocity and invention, the track evolves before the ears as melodies provide a catalyst taking the voracious vocal driven emprise into a seductive waltz of Latin sultriness and acoustic Spanish guitar refinement. It is an enthralling and thrilling proposition which returns to its original caustic blaze before merging it into the sonic brilliance which binds the majestic encounter.

Marumari takes senses and thoughts through an engrossing soundscape of shimmering melodies and intrigue coated bass suasion, calming ears and emotions from the previous roars before diving headlong into flaming sonic and cavernous yet intimately suggestive beauty. The instrumental is a web to spark the imagination, in a way the eye of the storm between the previous adventure and the furious tempest of Djinn. It successor is a predator yet with the antagonistic vocals and rhythmic intensity striding through a sonic tapestry of inventive and skilled ideation, the track is just as infectiously compelling as it is barbarously challenging. Sharing best track honours with Ravenholm, it is a stunning slab of creative and unpredictable bewitching hostility with the bass of Shehan stealing the biggest plaudits.

The album is brought to a tremendous close by firstly another absorbing instrumental in the mentally inflaming shape of Koholint and lastly the tempestuous might and creative storm of Cities II: Saffron. Both songs show further sides and variation to album and the band’s inventiveness, the first simply with melodic eloquence and adventure and the second through the employment of melodic and pop rock infectiousness within the technically spellbinding lure of the track.

Endeavour is a glorious debut and one which just gets better as it reveals more with every flight taken. Anticipation for a live drummer and where that takes songs and the sound of Verse Vica is a strong feeling at the end of the album but more overwhelming is the total pleasure and excitement for what Endeavour offers and where the band has the potential to go. Bottom line though is that this is a must investigation for all progressive metal fans.

The self-released Endeavor is available worldwide now on October 6th.

https://www.facebook.com/versevica

RingMaster 06/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Nemost – As The Ocean Burns

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As The Ocean Burns is one of those self-released propositions which could easily be missed in the never ending torrent of offerings but deserves the strongest of attention such its impressive and riveting contents. A rich and intensely striking blend of varied ideas and flavours upon a canvas of progressive death metal, the latest album from French band Nemost is a thought provoking and imagination igniting proposition which shows the Paris quintet to be one of France’s most exciting potential loaded prospects.

Formed in 2005, Nemost are not exactly newcomers but still a relative secret outside their homeland metal scene, though As The Ocean Burns will surely have a say about that. A self-titled demo in 2008 was well-received by fans and critics with debut album The Shadow’s Trail two years later drawing greater attention and reactions for its striking sounds. Four years on with the band’s songwriting and invention evolving as potently as their skills and sound, As the Ocean Burns is a new plateau for the band and a compelling addition to the ranks of melodic and progressive death metal. It is a release which grips from its first breath, leading the listener through cavernous scenery of sonic and rhythmic intrusiveness and intimate climates of melodic and atmospheric radiance.

Pressure Nation is the first encounter and straight away embraces ears in a melodic weave of guitar temptation and heavily jabbing beats from drummer Thybo Saz’Rain. It is a warm coaxing yet holds an intimidation which is soon ing the band) realised in a tempest of sonic causticity and bellowing intensity, the vocals of Arnold Petit roaring from within an imposing cloud of aggressive grooves and riffs from guitarists Johan Nat (since left with Pierre-Jean Catez joinuand Samuel Eymonym. It is a muggy climate which immerses the track but still allows clarity to the gripping drama and individual inventiveness of the band. The rampaging skilled urgency of Saz’Rain is impressive baiting for the senses alongside the magnetic and heavy tones of the bassist of Thomas Krajewski but it is the enthralling guitar craft and invention which steals the biggest chunk of the limelight in the exceptional track.

The stunning start is followed by the similarly hostile and engrossing Beasts and Bullies. Grooves worm into the psyche within seconds as rhythms hurl mighty and unpredictable swipes down on ears for a threatening yet addictive nemost-as-the-ocean-burnsentrance. It would be a debilitating start but for the outstanding mix of guttural scowls and outstanding clean vocals which entwine for a glorious and aggression tempering enterprise alongside the sizzling guitar play which emerges to ignite the imagination. Already two songs in it is hard to remember too many melodic death metal encounters this good and inventive, nor as virulently contagious as the first pair of tracks are.

Diversity is as much a key to the success of As The Ocean Burns and proven by the cinematic start and ambience of Respawned. Haunting crystalline keys tease ears first, followed by an expanding electronic charm and revelry. It is just the doorway into the delicious and relentless nagging of corrosive riffs and predatory rhythms, though it retains the melodic enticement of the song’s start throughout. A new dark throat emerges in the bass whilst the vocal harmonies seem to be fuller and more provocative than ever over the maelstrom of addictive ingenuity and adventure beneath them. There is a total lack of predictability to the album and songs, every time as here, you think you have handle on its intent and direction it twists or evolves its gait, direction or simply sound to bewitch and enthral.

Both the fascinating The Aimless Endeavour with its merger of Breed 77 like Latin melodies with insidiously dark malevolence, and the smouldering antagonism of Fight turn the temperature and persuasion up on the passions, the first a heat wave of sonic enterprise and aurally incendiary ideation. Its successor has a closer intimacy and more restrained purpose to its tempest yet it still immerses the ears in an almost oppressive texture of energy, as well as a cinematic menacing from its hooks which latch onto equally gripping melodies and the smooth vocal temptation of Petit. The track would make the perfect soundtrack to the darkest adult only Bond escapade and is another massive highlight on an album offering nothing but so far.

There is an inhospitable tone to Lifeless Heat, the song feeling like it wants to violate the listener even though it too comes with a sublime sonic inventiveness from the guitars. It does not live up to its predecessors in many ways but keeps the emotions enjoyable warm for the erosive might of Sandstorm. The track is a tempest of a track, a bear like ferocity unleashed by drums and riffs in league with a venomous beauty which soaks the ever impressing vocals and toxic lure of grooves. It’s incessant almost waspish irritancy and charm lights up ears and emotions perfectly before making way for the initial gentle and ultimately scarring brilliance of The Pale Observer. The track is ultimately a blaze of malicious invention and smouldering seduction, a battling tempest in the ears which evolves its fury into another fire of stunning technical and thoughtful enterprise blessed with gripping drama.

A kind of respite for the senses comes with Hourglass, though thoughts and emotions are kept busy by the entrancing sway of elegant melodies and emotive hues within a rugged sonic wind, before the fierce splendour and rabid invention of Year of the Libra and subsequently the bordering on demonic Atomnium treat and excite. The tracks bring yet further unique character to the album, each a dramatic exploration in sound and lyrical intrigue wonderfully impossible to pin down with real comparisons, though we suggest any fans of bands such as In Flames, Opeth, Katatonia, Lamb of God, Beneath The Buried And Me, Anathema, The Contortionist and the likes will especially get a kick out of the glory that is As the Ocean Burns.

The title track brings the release to a close, a song which is probably the lightest in intensity on the album but also one of the most spellbinding with its weaving of light and dark, seductive and violent textures into a fluid and beguiling landscape of originality. As the Ocean Burns is a gem all should take time to search out and investigate, a triumph which should not be allowed to slip through the net.

As the Ocean Burns is available now @ http://store.dooweet.org/en/cd/151_nemost-as-the-ocean-burns.html

http://www.nemost.com

RingMaster 18/09/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

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The Contortionist – Language

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Formed in 2007, US progressive metallers The Contortionist have been no strangers to twisting the senses and psyche of fans with their unpredictable weaves and startling structures of sound and ideation. Previous albums in the shape of their startling 2010 debut Exoplanet and even more so the rigorously acclaimed Intrinsic two years later, took the metal scene by the scruff of the neck with their increasingly imposing and intricately technical tapestries. Now the Indianapolis sextet has unveiled their finest moment yet, the exhaustingly compelling Language.

The band’s first studio album with new vocalist Michael Lessard (Last Chance to Reason), who replaced Jonathan Carpenter when he left the band last year, Language spins a startling web which swiftly immerses ears and imagination from its opening seconds. Produced by Jamie King (Between the Buried and Me, He Is Legend, The Human Abstract), the album seduces from the first breath of The Source, Lessard instantly caressing the senses with his mesmeric tones as keys emerge elegantly around him. As the song grows, so does its captivation as impassioned melodies simultaneously soar across and intimately shape the aural narrative. It is a gorgeous seducing with Lessard exceptional, and right away matched by the distinctly different Language I: Intuition.

Guitars tenderly coax the imagination from the very start, their thought binding enterprise soon aided by flowing harmonies and subsequently an alluring throaty bass tone amidst a soak of expressive keys cast by Eric Guenther. Grumbles of raw vocals taunt in the background at times but the track ultimately glides imperiously over ears framed by the inventive beats of Joey Baca and resourcefully shadowed bass prowess of Jordan Eberhardt. The snarl and agitation within the song rises closer to the surface as the track moves towards Language II: Conspire, the guitars of Robby Baca and Cameron Maynard at times as predatory as they are enchanting. Its successor seamless steps from its embrace with a jagged bait of riffs and an increasingly predatory voice to the bass, coarse vocal growls also stepping forward from within the brewing maelstrom. The track proceeds to prowl and size up its recipient with death metal malevolence and caustically coated progressive imagination twisted into something uniquely exploratory and individual to the band.

Integration opens with a jazzy wind of keys which is emulated by the creative sculpting of guitar intrigue and swinging rhythmic temptation. As the mellow tones of Lessard flow there is a conflicting yet perfectly harmonious merger of LANGUAGE COVERantagonistic and entrancing climates, opposites uniting for a provocative emprise of sound and intent. Thoughts of Karnivool and Between The Buried And Me offer hints as does Cynic as the song twists and evolves with every incendiary note and impacting syllable but again it is merely spice to an ingenuity owned solely by the Indiana six-piece.

Both the spellbinding grace and beauty of Thrive and the following Primordial Sound enslave ears and thoughts, the first a scintillating journey through an evocative scenery of tenacious rhythms and smouldering drama crafted by a tempest of guitar invention and sonic passion. Basking in a simmering keys drawn atmosphere veined by vibrantly melodic flames, the track also involves a technically explosive turbulence which is as flirtatious as it is intimidating. It is the pinnacle of the album, a peak matched straight away by the second of the two songs. Primordial Sound opens on another exceptional vocal caress from Lessard, guitar and bass courting his radiant tones with their own dazzling voice and expression, all wrapped in a magnetic wash of keys. The song is sensational, another innovative and remarkably imaginative binding of light and shadows.

It is fair to say that Lessard brings a Deftones like air to parts of the album, and no more so than in Arise, his dulcet tones a smooth glaze over the song’s presence and theme. This is enhanced by the equally luscious sounds around him; that is until a bestial expulsion drives vocals into a rapacious metalcore like roar and riffs and hooks into a heavily barbed torrent of addictive persuasion. The track continues the established high plateau which is maintained by the cinematic theatre and haunting colour of Ebb & Flow. The keys of Guenther alone paint an engrossing canvas for the imagination to explore, one given richer impacting depth by the cinematic hues and shadows of guitar which in turn create a tempestuous threat of intensity and a temptation of skilled enterprise.

Its success is equalled by the spellbinding majesty of The Parable. The final song on the album is a thick blaze of sonic and technical ingenuity hugged by the ever refreshing vocal brilliance of Lessard and band. It is a swirling eddy of beauty, skill, and exploration within a kinetic incitement of rhythms and rousing intensity, a sensational flurry of invention which almost bewilders as it seduces.

With so much going on and to be explored, Language is not as instant a triumph as other releases but with focus and time emerges explosively rewarding and intensively exhilarating. As much as their previous albums were impressive, you can almost say that The Contortionist has come of age with their new offering, suggesting a new template for progressive metal to contemplate with its masterful presence.

Language is available from 16th September via eOne Music / Good Fight Music.

https://www.facebook.com/thecontortionist

RingMaster 16/09/2014

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The Room Colored Charlatan – Primitives

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Every now and then we come across a release which certainly impresses and is very easy to recommend but at the end of the day just does not excite as much as it should and that is just the case with Primitives the new album from US metallers The Room Colored Charlatan. Musically and emotionally the encounter is glorious and technically bewitching but for all the moments which have thoughts basking and imagination captivated without reserve, for us it fails to light a fire in the passions. It is still very easy to suggest exploring its stylish merger of progressive and technical metal filtered with the voracity of extreme metal aligned to soaring ambiences, as it is a fascinating and striking adventure.

Hailing from Indiana, the quintet has been compared to the likes of Between The Buried And Me and The Contortionist, two bands which indeed have inspired The Room Colored Charlatan along with the likes of Painted In Exile, Born Of Osiris, Veil Of Maya, and Animals As Leaders. Listening to the new album you can see what breeds those references though equally there is plenty about the release which sets the band apart. Building and increasing their reputation live, playing with bands such as TesseracT, Veil of Maya, Born Of Osiris, and The Contortionist over the past years, the band brought concentrated attention upon themselves with debut album Between Mirrors: The Quantum Immortality in 2012 which was released, as the new album, on Subliminal Groove Records. Primitives take all the qualities of its predecessor into new expansive dramas and evocative climates, across sceneries which roar and claw at the senses whilst seducing with a melodic and atmospheric beauty. Inspired by the theme ‘that humankind is not as civilized or as modern as we like to think’, the album is an epic imposing journey broken up into individual musically poetic chapters.

A chilled breeze around a lone guitar opens up the album and Instinct, and it is a beckoning soon full of melodic intrigue and rhythmic Primitives-covresonance as the song grows into full view. It is a hypnotic entrance potently luring in attention before the grizzled vocal delivery of Jared Bush brings a raw imposing into the creative elegance already cast by guitarists Justin Seymour and Brent Edelson, his presence seemingly a spark for an expanding intensity which stalks with djent seeded stabs, oppressive breaths, and rapacious shadows. The weave of melodic enterprise becomes more acidic but still seduces within and tempers the more vocal tempest of sound. It is an enthralling proposition, the composing and craft of the band alone gripping as the soundscape of the sonic narrative consumes the imagination.

The starter evolves into the brief and invigorating instrumental Native Habitat, guitars and drums sculpting a mouthwatering terrain for thoughts to explore before it then flows into the following Apex Predator. The rhythmic enterprise of Adam Dixon swiftly has its heavy skilled hand on a definite appetite for the impending adventure as a sonic web spins an absorbing and perpetually shifting picture, one nicely courted by constantly dark and agreeably imposing bass hues from Michael Miller. As the track permeates thoughts the aggressively caustic growls of Bush fail to sit easily but to be fair it is just down to personal taste, just like eyes maybe lack a kinship to the colour green, at times his delivery fails to persuade our ears. It is no reflection on his presence and attack but to our loss it does defuse some of the might of what is an impressive track, especially its vivaciously ravenous climax.

The intensively bruising emergence of the title track has senses rocking back on their heels next rugged riffs and similarly predacious rhythms badger and assault before an entrancing melodic mesh wraps the heart of the song, caressing and soothing the sores spawned by the formidable and pleasing storm. The subsequent body of the track does not quite inspire as its entrance but again the individual skills combine for an almost romantically colourful view of an intimidating premise.

Keys make another potent and important texture to the album, none more so than within Questions of Origin, their vigorously simmering dazzle impregnating another virulently aggressive, almost rabid exacting landscape. With guitars searing as they simultaneously entwine the senses in melodic beauty, the track is one which lights a fuse to more keen ardour alongside again nothing but impressed respect for the album so far; oh and note Bush is exceptional too, his bordering vicious snarl resting very nicely in the ears, yes we like to be contrary.

The sweeping synth grandeur within the following Survivalist Notion soon captivates whilst beneath riffs grind and chew through ears, the fusion a riveting endeavour which is only accentuated by the first appearance of clean vocals, something the band should definitely explore more ahead. The bass of Miller has its finest hour here, though maybe it is just it is allowed a little more space to enslave away from the smothering tempests it so richly helps create. Like many of the songs, there is very little to criticise or question, though for a still indefinable reason, as the album, it does not ignite the heat of passion it probably deserves.

The Atlas Artifact from its first touch floats and rigorously pursues an epically honed expansive progressive flight, though it is soon perpetually buffeted by clinging almost hostile eruptions and vigorous creative rabidity. The song again unveils exceptional harmonious vocals which once more impress thoroughly whilst the guitar invention and imagination between Seymour and Edelson is breath-taking at times; everything combining for a gripping and highly enjoyable emotively driven conclusion to the main thrust of the album.

Closed by the outstanding bonus track Nexus Point, which as good as steals the album’s pinnacle moment, its voracious enterprise and outright creative aggression savaging and firing up ears and emotions, Primitives is a fine album which only offers impressive bait to acclaim and eager recommendations. The Room Colored Charlatan is potentially a major force in the making, the album makes that easy to say and who knows they might even get us over excited at some point too.

Primitives is available via Subliminal Groove Records and @ http://theroomcoloredcharlatan.bandcamp.com/album/primitives

https://www.facebook.com/TRCCBand      

8/10

RingMaster 23/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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