öOoOoOoOoOo – Samen

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Every year seems to have one month where riveting surprises and essential releases come at ears in a keen flood. This year it is maybe two as October follows September in unleashing records which simply inflame the imagination, an increasing list now added to by the irresistible and rather deranged offering from öOoOoOoOoOo (“Chenille” in French, “Caterpillar” in English).

A new collaboration between former Pin-Up Went Down vocalist/lyricist Asphodel and multi-instrumentalist Baptiste Bertrand, öOoOoOoOoOo creates a theatre of sound and imagination within debut album Samen. “Visually built as an art exhibition”, the release is a kaleidoscope of styles and invention cast in an avant-garde/experimental metal/rock adventure. Helped by the rhythmic prowess of session drummer Aymeric Thomas who is no stranger to creating off-kilter and seriously unpredictable exploits with Pryapisme, the duo ignite and enslave ears and psyche from the very first seconds of Samen, never relinquishing their magnetic grip of mercurial enterprise driven alchemy.

Rules Of The Show opens things up, the track initially enticing with a tender melody as a darker groan lurks before quickly welcoming the instantly impressing tones of Asphodel. Her voice is as magnetic as the sounds brewing around her with a growing blend of bewitching harmonies courting as the song slips into a catchy stroll with a poppy air. Soon it unleashes its hellish heart in a ravenous metallic outpouring as honed in gothic and epic metal as it is through orchestral and melodic rock. It is a virulently infectious affair, its tempestuousness icing on the compelling cake with Asphodel’s unexpected and masterful barbarous death bred growls extra engaging bait.

Its increasingly deranged presence is followed by that of Fucking Freaking Futile Freddy a track wearing Pryapisme like scent at times but equally sparking thoughts of bands like The Creatures and Stolen Babies. Thomas is a blur of rhythmic tenacity, Asphodel vocally captivating, while Bertrand creates a tapestry of sonic and melodic bedlam shaped into one fluid skittishly versatile weave.

cover_RingMasterReviewFrom one pinnacle within Samen to another and the creative devilry of Meow Meow Frrru, a track teasing with melodic intrigue while taunting with bolder energies, the first shaped by electronic fingering with a slight medieval essence and the latter through climatic crescendos which become more irritable and prolonged with each expulsion. The deeper into its insanity the song goes the more it evolves, an espionage loaded hook and System Of A Down flavoured revelry especially tempting.

Straight away the suggestive lures of cello from guest and Psygnosis member Raphaël Verguin charm ears and imagination as the following No Guts = No Masters launches its bruising and increasingly dramatic rock ‘n’ roll upon ears. A blackened air grabs the senses at times, its occasional trespass imposing on the glorious melodic seducing surrounding the shining vocal prowess and class of Asphodel and a psychotic majesty which would be almost sinister if it was not so glorious and irresistible.

Verguin also features on next up Bark City (A Glimpse Of Something), his bow on strings the poetic shadow to a track which merges the melodic beauty of a Nemesea with the dark secrets of creative dementia, all on show in a track which kisses the senses as it corrupts the psyche. Again understandably there is a touch of Pryapisme to the song but equally Russkaja, Siouxsie and The Banshees, and Die So Fluid are pointers to the uniqueness of the band’s sound.

There is a Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks feel to the bewitching Purple Tastes Like White, the track yet another brazenly diverse aspect to the landscape of Samen with the brooding bass a particular treat alongside the melodic might of Asphodel while I Hope You Sleep Well is a cracked and bedlamic web of ideas and imagination stirring sounds hard to describe in words but so easy to physically indulge in with its sinister nursery room childlike innocence and crazed invasive genius.

With Adrien Cailleteau guesting as on its predecessor, Well-oiled Machine draws ears next with its soulful R&B infused balminess. With a flaming sax igniting the jazzy noir atmosphere of the brief song, all courting the somewhat pub-singer like fun of the male vocals, the song only leaves a smile in the imagination before the outstanding Chairleg Thesis dances with the listener in an eighties spiced affair which is at times as ruggedly boisterous as it is erotically seductive and ravenously stormy.

Across the screwy pop/hip hop soaked metal of Fumigène, a song revelling in a Lady Dynamite meets The Sugarcubes meshuga, and the gothic rock drama of LVI where band and album explore even more enjoyable expectations defeating adventures, the latter with Germain Aubert and Verguin bringing their individual craft, the inescapable lure of Samen just strengthens.

Completed by the fierce death metal toned blaze of Hemn Be Rho Die Samen, a song soon showing an array of contrasting yet perfectly uniting strands to its inventive disorder and predacious appetite, Samen leaves an exhausted and blissful pleasure in its wake. Even in the most off-kilter sounds and releases there is an order, an underlying texture which links all. Within Samen it is only the members of öOoOoOoOoOo themselves as unpredictability and unbridled imagination locked into one glorious ride.

Samen is released October 21st via Apathia Records, available @ https://apathiarecords.bandcamp.com/album/samen

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Pete RingMaster 20/10/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Victoria+Jean – Divine Love

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From the gorgeous artwork by Russian artist Oleg Dou through to the cinematic seducing which escapes each and every song, Divine Love is creative beauty involved with an imagination which simple leaves the listener lost in fascination. The imagination comes from Victoria+Jean, the episodes of aural drama from their debut album, and the brooding romance between listener and artist from instincts that just know when something transcends just ear food.

The band is the artistic and romantic union of Swedish born vocalist Victoria and Belgian guitarist Jean. Brought up in London and moving to Paris where she began her first career as a model, Victoria was a musician at heart and was signed as a solo artist aged 16 by a French major label, though she broke her four-album deal before releasing her debut, unable to make the compromises demanded upon her by the label. Moving to Belgium she met Jean and the couple began a career “motivated by encounters, travels and sound.” We have simplified the background for and leading to the project and union of the pair, with not for the first or indeed last time, Divine Love demanding to be the focus of attention.

art_RingMasterReviewIn creating the album, the duo sent their 12 tracks to their favourite producers with the request of collaboration for the release. The list included the likes of John Parish (PJ Harvey, Goldfrapp), Rob Kirwan (The Horrors, Depeche Mode), Christopher Berg (The Knife), Ian Caple (Tricky, Kate Bush), Joe Hirst (Stone Roses), Alistair Chant (PJ Harvey & John Parish), and Lucas Chauvière (De La Soul). As evidence of things being meant to be, each freely chose the same track Victoria+Jean had intended and hoped for them; a move and success which only adds to the album’s vastly diverse and eclectic character.

Divine Love opens with its title track and the duo’s new single. Within seconds the electronic mystique and ambience of the track has ears and imagination enthralled, the sixties cinematic drama in tone and air providing a great sense of mystery reinforced by the celestial caresses of Victoria’s mesmeric vocals. The gentle and elegant jangle of guitar equally brings rich suggestiveness to the enveloping theatre of dark charm and atmospheric tempting. There is no escaping a Portishead like essence to the bewitching encounter though equally artists like Propaganda and in a small way The Sugarcubes also offer their scent to its evocation.

It is a glorious start followed by the ridiculously irresistible Holly. From an initial lure of fuzzy guitar and mischievous beats, the song soon swings along with a virulent infectiousness which barely needs a handful of seconds to have hips swaying and spirit smiling. Victoria’s voice dances upon the compelling strands of sound, mixing composed moments with soaring harmonics as rhythms dance with addictive tenacity. As provocative in word as it is in sound, the track is sensational; growing with each twist of its musical theatre and lust inspiring alchemy.

Big Billie comes next, coaxing ears with raw blues guitar before thumping rhythms surround the tangy expressive tones of Victoria. Jean’s imagination continues to weave a sultry web of sound and enterprise to surround the tribal beats and descriptive vocals; a provocative blend playing like a mix of The Creatures and My Baby. Enthralling and igniting the senses it makes way for Until It Breaks and its brooding climate of sinister shadows and electronic espionage. As all songs, it has the imagination casting its own adventures to align with that of the song itself, sparking closer involvement between ears and song which is echoed again by Why Won’t You and its delta blues laced tango.

Across the fiery sonic and rhythmic trespass of Your Baby Don’t Know Me and Firecracker, things only get more boldly flirtatious and grouchily confrontational. The first is a prowling beast of a track with a touch of De Staat to its predacious noise rock infested waltz whilst its successor, while employing a similar dark rhythmic throb, courts techno fuelled ingenuity. It is a collusion which just gets more dynamic, agitated, and schizophrenic across its three body involving minutes, like its predecessor inciting a greedier appetite for Divine Love before a haunting beauty cast with a vibrant calm hugs ears through Härligt Sverige. Tantalising harmonies float around the poetic tones of Victoria, they skirted by resonating beats and the low key repetitive niggle of guitars. Winy tendrils vein the piece too; Jean creating an increasingly climactic drama matched by the vocal emotion equally gripping attention.

Ears and pleasure become engrossed in more blues bred invention through Takes You Like A Rose and Where We Belong next, the latter tempering the flavour with a bewitching folk seeded hug of melody and harmony before creating a tempestuous showdown of sound and emotive theatre. It is a glorious slice of aural cinema, again visual interpretation quickly inspired by the song and indeed Pull The Trigger which follows. Rhythms and percussive enterprise tease and play with ears before hitting an imposing stride entangled in sonic and vocal imagination. Anthemic and intimate within every writhing twist and turn of its excellent proposal, the track is like a hex on body and thought.

Closing with the epic spatial and atmospheric romancing of Define Love, an immersion into electronic and vocally harmonic reflection, Divine Love is one of the most enthralling and in turn invigorating releases heard in a long time. Every song provides an individual and compelling exploration still revealing fresh rewards after numerous listens. The album has plenty for fans of blues and rock ‘n’ roll, ambience and electronica, pop and dance and with a host of videos also accompanying each song, Divine Love is nothing less than essential listening and viewing.

Divine Love is released April 29th via FY Records at https://itunes.apple.com/be/album/divine-love/id1089239770?app=itune and across most online stores.

http://www.victoriaplusjean.com   https://www.facebook.com/victoriaplusjean

Pete RingMaster 26/04/2016

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Midday Veil – This Wilderness

MiddayVeil_new1_RingMaster Review

The release of Midday Veil’s third album, This Wilderness could possibly not come at a more apt time in the course of mankind and civilisation. In a world of beauty being ravaged by its occupants, in a time when worldly community is being questioned, tested, and shown up, perfectly epitomises the stark reality but also beauty, globally and intimately, we all are an integral essence of. Vocalist Emily Pothast describes it best with “Lyrically, the songs on This Wilderness are a cycle that explores the self-destructiveness implicit in the civilizing impulse. It comes from a place that is critical, but ultimately acknowledges its complacency in this beautiful, terrifying culture that we all participate in whether we want to or not.

The release goes deeper than that in many ways too but ultimately the biggest thing about the Seattle band’s new proposition is that it is simply virulently glorious, a musical travelogue of spatial sound, mystique lined textures, and sublime beauty. It is a feast for ears and the imagination, a perpetually giving confrontation that sublimely seduces as it incites thoughts and emotions. The successor to the band’s acclaimed 2013 full-length, The Current, the seven track exploration is Midday Veil creating a new plateau for themselves and for others to seed ideas from.

This Wilderness opens with Babel, the keys of David Golightly immediately conjuring a cosmopolitan weave of sound and suggestion. Initially minimalistic, beats are soon throwing off their restraint to dance engagingly on ears in union with electronic vivacity and the swiftly seducing tones of Pothast. In no time, the song is a busy bubble of sound and activity with the bass of Timm Mason exploring the shadows lining the vibrant scenery, sparked by Jayson Kochan’s guitar, revelling around it. The track is sheer magnetism, a feisty serenade on the senses which just gets funkier, more diverse, and increasingly compelling with every invigorating minute.

midday veil this wilderness_RingMaster Review     There is a darker lining to the song though and equally the lure of Pothast’s lyrical narrative. Her voice alone is siren-esque if in an understated way but though all radiance provides, as the song, a vehicle for brooding shadows which are a stronger presence in the following Cages. Straight away there is a more melancholic feel to the song, in its air and tone even as keys pulsate with melodic light around the mellower and more sombre heart of the song. The percussive coaxing of Garrett Moore adds to the warmer side of the track’s flowing landscape whilst between them Golightly and multi-instrumentalist Mason create a tapestry of melodic suggestion within an evolving sound which as good as besieges the imagination.

The irresistibility of that song is intensified in Empire Is No More, the pinnacle of the album. Around a chilled sonic lure, crystalline shards of keys transfix, enticing the listener into an emerging exotic and sultry stroll. Rhythms quickly have feet and bodies involved as Eastern mystique lines the melodies oozing from keys and voice. There is a flirtatious nagging to the encounter too which through Kochan’s bass, he switching his string prowess on different songs, and Moore’s beats never lessens in potency as the song slips through the sense of past empires, and with an increasingly volatile energy, subsequent turbulence and discord. The song is rousingly mesmeric, at times igniting ears like a mix of eighties band Monsoon and the colder infection of a New Order, whilst persistently inflaming the senses and imagination.

Assumed Stockhausen inspirations prowl the dark elegance of The Water which follows, its haunted atmosphere a cavernous but again intimate embrace of primal rhythms and percussion within slowly revolving, melodically bred aural luminance. Pothast’s voice is dreamy and slightly shamanic, an external lure to inner reflection and accompanying instincts in the sonic, almost erotic, pool of sound cast by band and song. It is pure bewitchment which again has thoughts working feverishly before Circle takes over with its bolder electronic pulses and temptations within a lofty flight of vocal caressing and provocative enterprise. Closing eyes adds to the sense of soaring inspired by the track; celestial warmth soaking the senses’ wings as vocals fly alongside and over darker rhythms amongst sizzling textures cast by keys and the inventive strains of guitar and additional strings.

I Am The War has the body swaying with more urgency next, it’s still restrained but more tenacious energy and melodic resourcefulness touching on essences of artists such as Cybotron, Ladytron, and Propaganda. Lighting ears and appetite with its more classically honed wash of strings, a swift immersion into evocative depths and poetic incitement is unavoidable; and it is the same with closing track Universes. Both songs are individually ethereal beauty; the final track a gorgeous gloom lit haunting wrapped in Siouxsie and the Banshees like, or maybe more so The Creatures, bleak but golden seduction. With ghostly harmonies and limbo-esque sounds, it is simply majestic and another massive peak in the stunning landscape of the album.

Also featuring guest appearances from musicians such as Bernie Worrell (Parliament, Funkadelic), Eyvind Kang, and Skerik amongst a few, This Wilderness is a major moment in 2015, in fact it is possibly the album of the year.

This Wilderness is available from September 11th via Beyond Beyond Is Beyond.

Pete RingMaster 11/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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RxGF – Any Other Way

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Not exactly an album of two halves but one with a certain shift in its manner well into its body, Any Other Way from US electronic explorers RxGF, is an exhilarating and transfixing adventure for ears and imagination. Consisting of thirteen tracks which bind the listener in flirtatious and provocative dark wave intrigue, the album is a creative emprise of rhythmic and electronic ingenuity honed into individual provocations which ignite thoughts and emotions as forcibly as they seduce ears. The third album from the band and the first with vocalist Angeline Schaaf, Any Other Way is one of those glorious inventive blazes you unknowingly hanker all year for.

The Seattle bred RxGF is the brainchild of and driven by multi-instrumentalist John Morgan Reilly who linked up in 2005 with producer Jonathan Plum who had worked with one of Reilly’s previous bands, to experiment on fresh songs and sounds. Under the name Radioactive X Girlfriend, this revamped in reflection of the band’s new twist of sound for the new album, the pair uncaged the albums, The Art of Splitting in 2011 and the following year All Blade No Handle. Enlisting contributions from the likes of Daniel Bedingfield, Dave Rosser (Twilight Singers, Afghan Whigs), Matthew Burgess, and Davey Brozowski (Cathaters), the acclaimed releases explored guitar-heavy indie rock and electro-folk respectively, each offering a dramatic departure in sound to the other, a diverse shift which is again emulated by Any Other Way.

The new album thrusts the listener into a dark wave terrain bulging with rhythmic incitement and electronic tenacity. Equally there are thick essences of techno, trip hop, and industrial trespasses which infuse and colour the shadows with greater experimentation and expression. It all makes for a wonderfully imposing and unpredictable proposition, one given even greater drama and imaginative espionage by the gorgeous sultry tones of Schaaf. There is a futuristic bordering on dystopian edge to many songs and with the broody noir lit beauty and tonal majesty of her voice, as instantly evidenced on the first two songs, it makes for dark times presented with compelling seduction.

The album’s title track opens up the theatre of creative operations, the encounter an immediate wall of sonic and electro baiting lit by the voice of Schaaf. It is not long before punchy and gripping rhythms are knocking on the door of the passions, their insatiable baiting potent within the expanding warmth and melodic expression of the synths. As lively and electronically radiant as the track is there is an intimidating shadow to its presence, a dark breath which also lies on the syllables flowing from the throat of Schaaf, the lady from track one revealing the depth and rich expression of her tones. It is a striking flame to start things off but soon surpassed by the brilliant How To Make It. With the opening intimidating rumble of rhythms and subsequent designs which emerge, the band shares a comparable skill and imagination to The Creatures, Schaaf herself finding that gothic elegance and exploration which makes Siouxsie Sioux so distinct and revered. The track from its hypnotic start continues to prowl the dark corners of its depths and the senses, its honest appraisal of music a defiance to the doom laded climate presented.

From one pinnacle another is soon caressing ears, the melodic guitar crafted entrance of We Will Not Be Denied the gateway into fiery and caustic scenery. Again Siouxsie comes to mind butRxGF - Any Other Way cover with more Banshees bred essences merging with the lighter melodic revelry of a Morningwood this time though the song is soon establishing its own identity and unique persuasion as it ebbs and flows in voracious enterprise, a trait raging in all songs as shown by the funkier electro dance of Flesh And Bone. Breathtakingly vivacious in energy and bubbling sounds, the track is a smouldering riot which almost explodes when it breaks from the dance floor for a punkish challenge led by the vocal challenge of Reilly. It soon returns into its hot summer of festivity though, leaving feet and emotions exhausted.

Antidote looks back into the shadows next, from its first second the song soaked in a menacing sizzle of sound amidst sinister colouring. This is tempered by the increasingly impressive vocal hues of Schaaf and again eagerly simmering melodies as another dark tale for the imagination is cast before the outstanding Tombstone Soirée takes over. A rhythmic and vocal swagger lurks from the first beat and mischievous syllable cast, fiery electronics again the lead protagonist before Schaaf unveils a compelling temptress posing as her voice. She flirts and seduces with every dramatic note, matched along the way by the maelstrom of adventure around her where sounds are as salaciously predatory as they are diversely magnetic. The track is an inescapable tempting providing another major peak which is matched by the ridiculously tantalising Never Felt So Good. As celestial as it is darkly beckoning, song and climate is another which intrigues and hints without revealing its full intent, dark and light colluding for a delicious mystery for thoughts and ears to immerse in.

It is at this point where the album seems to make another shift of direction, The Dying Grace Of Machines diving into a heavy industrial landscape with Reilly taking lead vocals where every word and tone expelled seems to have an axe to grind. It is an unexpected twist but one which soon grips with compelling weight and drama, its EBM lures pungent suggestiveness to match the potency of the weave of samples and creative enterprise fuelling the track. The following provocation of The Hit is spawned from the same mix, its dark but less threatening body equally enthralling and unexpected and warmly welcomed before making way for the False Flag Mix of Things That Go Bang, the fall of liberty and the beckoning of 1984 in one unrelenting and mouth-watering slab of electro/industrial predation. As the two before it, the track is exceptional but whether they fit with the previous fiery romance of the earlier songs is a still running mental debate. The following ears and thoughts stalking of Kontrollier Die Kontrollierenden is another which slips into that uncertainly, though the song with a great Bowie-esque lilt to Reilly’s vocals certainly continues the immense pleasure gained from the album.

The album closes with firstly Flow, an electro shuffle which delights and has feet subservient but lacks the spark of other songs and lastly the Verax Mix of Belladonna Dream which sees Schaaf returning to seduce the senses. The song is a delicious croon to leave a lingering kiss on ears and emotions and bring Any Other Way to a mystique coated and bewitching end.

     Any Other Way is an engrossing and virulently thrilling encounter which teases, seduces, and challenges throughout for all the right reasons. It rivals all other electronic releases this year for the right to be called the best whilst RxGF shows again their extraordinary ability to explore new realms with every release.

Any Other Way is available now @ https://rxgf.bandcamp.com/album/any-other-way

http://www.rxgf.co.uk/

RingMaster 16/11/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Bad Powers: Self Titled

Some bands upon their introduction just make you sigh with pleasure as the flames to a permanent attachment are lit and such is the case with Bad Powers and their self-titled debut album. It is a glorious and deeply stimulating piece of creative invention, its imagination as stirring and impressive as the raging provocative sounds brewed from the distinctly unique musical minds of the band. Arguably the quality of the release is not a surprise given that three quarters of the band were in the acclaimed Made Out Of Babies which called it a day earlier in the year, but guitarist Brendan Tobin, bassist Eric Cooper, and drummer Matthew Egan, have returned with something quite different and greedily enthralling.

The Brooklyn band headed by the stunning vocals of Megan Tweed (also of The Family Curse), has unleashed a hybrid of post punk and noise rock blended into a steaming maelstrom of innovation and ingenious enterprise. It is not the easiest to describe such the unique invention at play, for example at times the album teases the ear like a dysfunctional offspring of The Creatures, with Tweed sounding like a emotionally beleaguered Siouxie Sioux, The Pixies, and Throwing Muses lined by the corrosive breath of Joy Division, and in other moments the senses are swamped with a ravenous erosion brought by a cacophonous smothering from a mix of The Raincoats, The Sugarcubes, Stinking Lizaveta, and Essential Logic veined by the chilled whispers of a Xmal Deutschland. For all those inciting comparisons though the songs are in a realm of their own, a staggering amalgam of ideas and their inventive realisation brought through craft and energy to leave one drooling within a full and eager passion.

Released through The End Records, the album sets to work on the heart with opener New Bruises, the song immediately turning the key to adoration with dramatic sonic slices across rapping beats and firm riffs whilst Tweed begins her magnetic squalls of immense vocal enchantment. Like the music she offers a warm sizzling caress which alternates with a scorched and tenacious bite, her passionate wind shifts from deliciously scarring thoughts and emotions to coaxing them with a heated elegance. Whichever the source guiding her delivery it is a continual irresistible temptation. The track pulls one into an enveloping sonic wantonness, guitars and bass manipulating the synapses with brewing melodic gasses which consume all resistance whilst the rhythms cage and ensnare with an inescapable captivation.

The following likes of the tempestuous Hit Sniffing Dog and the brilliant Eves And Eyes cast their own distinct spells, the first a mix of intimidating intensity and taunting hypnotic grooves like a blistered union of elements from Dead Kennedys and Belly and the second an expansive crawl of emotive majesty and sinister shadows which delves within the psyche like the darkened fallout from The Birthday Party meeting Breeder overlooked by Morningwood. With its dark strings the track is immense amongst nothing but titanic pieces of dare one say genius?

Throughout its ten stunning tracks the album just offers the richest of rewards from its stylish and brilliantly crafted magnificence. The erosion Black Alf with its rolling plundering rhythms of Egan and abrasive vehemence from Tweedy just sparks higher flames of desire for the staggering creativity, the bass of Cooper snarling with venom within the caustic guitar assault whilst Blueberry transports the ear into an outstanding storm of air pilfering sonic rubs and incessant incendiary grooves. It is not the fiercest of the songs on the album but burns with a melodic heat to leave one breathless and smarting from its precise intensity.

With further heightened pinnacles in Electricity Should Be Free with its Bond like teasing intricacies and evocative swagger, and the quite wonderful and astounding closing track Bread And Butter, the album is without doubt one of the real triumphs of the year. From beginning to end it just wraps the senses and heart in a textured wash of brilliance. From its moments of crunching encounters through to the enchanting yet barbed beauty it seduces with ease through, the release is a sensation and Bad Powers in one stroke has taken sonically gifted music to a new and titanic height.

http://www.badpowers.com/

RingMaster 12/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright