Goldray – Self Titled

Goldray Press shot 3

Ahead of the band’s first full-length later this spring, we take a look at Goldray’s self-titled debut mini album which was released earlier this year. Consisting of four mesmeric and dramatic soundscapes bred in early seventies psychedelic temptations within fiery rock embraces, the release is an enthralling encounter fuelling the imagination and emotions whilst laying down the most compelling bait for the upcoming album.

Goldray is the project of Reef guitarist Kenwyn House who formed the band in 2010 when teaming up with vocalist Leah Rasmussen (Hydrogen, EMI, Bedrock, Renaissance). Sharing the vision to create music ‘blending psych and prog experimental arrangements resulting in a dynamic that took them towards psychedelic rock’, the pair enlisted Kula Shaker drummer Paul Winter-Hart and bassist Sinah Blohberger in 2010 and 2011 respectively. The band’s second year saw Andy Treacey (Faithless) take over the sticks whilst in 2012 Geoff Laurens (The Resistors) joined the band to take over bass duties. Financed via Pledge Music, the mini album features performances from both the previously mentioned drummers as it revels in the inspiration of the psych rock tradition of the late-sixties and early-seventies. House has commented on that influential period by saying “That era is so avoided by most of the media and the musical orthodoxy which is strange considering how powerful that time was for music and culture. Much of what was being said then – freedom, war, environment – is just as relevant, if not more relevant, today. It’s such a rich area to draw on.

Co-produced by Clive Martin with House and Rasmussen, with final touches provided by Brit Award-winning producer Pedro Ferreira, the Goldray_Artmini-album saw its first ‘soft’ release to pledgers last November with an official release on the band’s own Akashic Records late January. It is a proposition which washes over the senses with melodic flames which seduce as potently as the almost siren like voice of Rasmussen, though she only leads the imagination into inciting adventures of sonic invention within evocative landscapes rather than any destructive intent. Opening song Outland instantly transfixes attention with an initial caress of thick sonic coaxing, a firm and strong yet gentle beckoning. With a darkly resonating bass tone joining in with the celestial caresses of Rasmussen’s delivery, a sultry air and heat envelops the senses as the band paint its intensive canvas. The track continues to drift and entwine around thoughts and emotions but with a bordering on exhaustive intensity and drama which enflames ears to imagination, passions to appetite. It is an immersive flight which challenges and seduces with equal strength before leaving the psyche in the hand of the closing glance of Instrumental: The Arrival, it a lingering spice which only increases the already awoken anticipation for the album as it closes the first song.

The following Calling Your Name emerges from dark imposing shadows and a menacing rhythmic stalking, a discord kissed surface to the guitars an additionally sinister taste to the portentous entrance. The voice of Rasmussen provides a beacon through the darkness, holding back the dark nightmares and drawing in breaking shafts of melodic warmth and magnetic beauty. It is a glorious evocation soon surpassing the potency of its predecessor. Its towering and slightly threatening walls frame an unpredictable and transfixing waltz, rhythms and bass continuing their heavy persistence whilst vocals sublimely entrance within their cage. The best track on the release it is a delicious danger and seduction rolled into one.

Indigo Sky courts a warmer climate though shadows and intensive incitement are no stranger to the soundscape either. As Rasmussen soars through the evocative textures and expansive sonic painting, guitars and rhythms unveil rich provocative hues and inventive temptations to bewitch and push the senses whilst the bass again lays down a dark lure which only adds to the engrossing call of the journey.

The closing Diamond Road is in many ways the most strongly sixties influenced offering, its body and melodic soul seemingly more impacted by those evocative flavours of the time  especially with the delicious Doors like keys, though just as boldly it embraces a richly coloured modern sonic fire. Completed by the brief Instrumental: The Busking Magician, the track is an epically enthralling conclusion to a similarly compelling release. Goldray’s first official offering is a strikingly full and fulfilling encounter which if a hint of the upcoming album provides the strongest enticement possible.

http://www.goldrayband.com

8.5/10

RingMaster 27/03/2014

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Kobadelta – The Hidden Door EP

Kobadelta

Expelling a captivating kaleidoscope of emotive shadows and sonic light, The Hidden Door EP is a transfixing and quite compelling proposition from a band beginning to draw intensive praise and acclaim its way. The creators of the magnetic release are UK rock band Kobadelta; a quintet from Newcastle who are stirring up an energetic and demanding appetite for their imaginative sounds. Consisting of five enthralling and expressive mergers of psychedelic and melodic rock with blues and spatial rock ‘n’ roll additives, the band’s new release is a masterful temptation which whether fully seducing or simply awakening eager attention leaves senses and imagination greedy.

With the Ritual (Time Flies) single of last year under their belt as well as the sharing of stages with bands such as Temples, Splashh, and Kobadelta-The-Hidden-Door-EP-e1394372154357Superfood, Kobadelta takes little time to excite ears whether new or old with the opening seconds of first track Supernatural Cause. Drums and bass cast the initial temptation to excite senses with the guitar soon adding its melodic lures to the coaxing. It is an instant web of persuasion which seemingly draws on The Doors and Echo & the Bunnymen, an embracing enticement which smooches and dances with the imagination whilst the vocals of Dom Noble croon with expressive strength. Throughout its heated narrative and melodic climate, the song sways before and leans bewitchingly upon the emotions, the tangy sonic design by guitarist Alex Malliris and mesmeric charm of the keys from Jordan Robson a potent spice for thoughts and passions. The track is an exceptional entrance, one which simply gets stronger and richer over time marking the band out alone as something potentially special.

The following Electric Chair as the first launches its bait with the crisp rhythms of drummer Chris Malliris and the especially alluring throaty bass prowl of Jonathan Marley leading the coaxing. There is a swagger to the song from the first note, one egged on by a delicious guitar twang and fiery sax caresses but most of all by the sheer inventive mischief of the song.  Also as its predecessor intriguing shadows and a heavy air to certainly the rhythmic intensity borrows the imagination in its own purposeful casting whilst the guitar and keys colour that emerging canvas with inspiring and immersive psychedelically bred hues. It is a masterful enticement continuing the impressive progress of the release.

Not Above & Not Behind moves in next with its acoustic and vocal union, Noble confirming his skilled and potent delivery is as varied and consistently compelling as the sounds. Admittedly taking a little longer to fully persuade than maybe other tracks, the song emerges as a thoroughly absorbing incitement before making way for the title track, a musically expansive encounter spawned from the same emotive reserve and descriptive strength as its predecessor. Big rangy beats steer the fire of passion and sonic design though arguably the drama and truly incendiary spark of earlier songs is lost somewhere in its flames. Nevertheless it is another heavily brooding and accomplished suasion for ears and satisfaction.

The closing Love Stoned Chic is a deliciously intensive smog of fuzzy sonics and raw atmospheres thickened further by an impacting rhythmic penetration and guitar causticity. Veined by a searing melodic toxin and gently invasive keys, the track ventures into the realm of The Doors once again though it is impossible to take too much of the originality of the song away from Kobadelta.

A release which increases its potency and persuasion the more you let its fingers tease and search the senses, The Hidden Door EP is a rousing and enthralling adventure proving Kobadelta to be on the frontline of the most exciting and fascinating emerging rock bands around in the UK. Expect big things for and from them ahead, something to eagerly anticipate.

https://www.facebook.com/Kobadelta

http://kobadelta.bandcamp.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 26/03/2014

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Doom’s Day – The Devil’s Eyes

 Photo: Phil Rousseau photographe

Photo: Phil Rousseau photographe

    The release of their debut album The Unholy just over a year ago brought Canadian occult metal/horror punk band Doom’s Day into a closely inspected view and though in many ways the release was more promise than substance it was a thoroughly enjoyable encounter sparking intrigue and anticipation of greater things ahead. Their second full-length The Devil’s Eyes, easily justifies those expectations and hopes with its eight gothically atmospheric striking songs. With a maturer sound and better production than its predecessor, the release unveils a band with still plenty more surprises and potency to come you suspect but in the midst of an impressive evolution.

     Hailing from Quebec , Doom’s Day has been on a steady and recently rapid ascendency in grabbing attention, locally through their live shows and more widely with The Unholy. Originally released as a hand numbered CDR consisting of just 50 copies, the album drew the attention and enjoyment of PRC Music owner Remi Cote who proceeded to give the record a wider re-release. Certainly no stranger to strong and positive responses, the album made a good base for the band to move on from which their new album, again out via PRC, has explored to impressive success. Continuing with a sound seemingly seeded in the likes of Mercyful Fate, Venom, Ghost, and at times early Misfits, The Devil’s Eyes brings a stronger unique voice to the band, one arguably more heavy metal spawned and a big pleasing step on from their introduction.

     The Offering sets the listener off on the occultish stomp of the album, strikes of drums and guitars cutting through the wash of doom'sday_devilseyesthe atmosphere casting keys. Immediately ears and imagination are led into a shadow clad mausoleum of blackened intent and demonic provocation, an evocative and expressive caress darkening the soul. Into its steady gait the track expands with strong vocals, singular and as a dual persuasion, and a sonically hued guitar enterprise ripe with acidic colour, all adding greater adventurous intrigue to the narrative. It is a magnetic start, an infectious lure setting up album and appetite impressively.

    The following Cathedral Of Lies provides a warmer enticement to its temptation, mellow vocals and harmonies almost chant like in their beckoning within the spiralling web of guitar endeavour and forcibly grabbing rhythmic frame. Like the album, it is a song easy to immerse within and feed thoughts and visions off of, haunting keys and chilled melodies the strongest bait to sculpt adventures with. Also offering an emerging throaty bass sound as appealing as the riffs and invention of the guitars, the track makes way for The Outsider. Sinister from its first breath, and certainly the initial caustic stroke of vocals, the song stalks the senses with a predatory gait and enveloping gothic keys. It constantly probes and provokes the imagination, again with dark scenery and noir lit enterprise. The best song on the album it pushes it and band to a new plateau with irresistible invention.

     The release continues to stir up the passions with firstly the title track which rattles cages with its antagonistic almost violent rhythmic agitation and flowing keys, a vault of malevolence and anguish unleashed to embrace and taunt the listener. Its bordering on insidious tempting is matched and surpassed by Watery Grave, a song which takes longer than some to seduce but emerges as another highlight. Slow in its taking of the imagination, laboured in its preying of the ears, the track is a deceptively contagious submission from the release. It seems to evolve before the ears turning from a strong emotive menace into a highly seductive consuming of heart and soul. Those earlier mentioned influences seep through across the album but equally here you feel a stronger psychedelic essence which flickers up whispers of The Doors.

    The additive lure of The Devil’s Eyes never waivers as the final trio of songs set up home in ears and thoughts. The first Lost Soul is maybe less dramatically gripping as previous songs but is rich in stimulating riffs, commanding rhythms, and expressive keys. The vocals equally impress, and across the album to be fair, like the music and invention, standing much stronger than on the band’s first album. Offering an excellent solo, the song is followed by the dark ‘hymn’ Ave Satanas, a predominantly instrumental psalm of melodic excellence and evocative ambience. It is an outstanding piece of composing and craft which is ousted and contrasted by the closing track, Crush The Cross. In quality and excitement the song is easily the equal of its predecessors but whereas the previous song was an enveloping of melodies, this is an all-out charge of harsh riffery and rhythms, an almost thrash honed blaze of sonic corruption to end things on a high.

     As stated earlier Doom’s Days’ debut pointed at a strong chance of greater things to come from the band but The Devil’s Eyes easily outshines any expectations and hopes. There is still improvement to come you feel but there is little to defuse the pleasure from and praise for the release. Doom’s Day is now a band you can confidently say is going places.

https://www.facebook.com/dooms666day

http://prcmusic.bandcamp.com/album/dooms-day-the-devils-eyes

8/10

RingMaster 26/02/2014

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Bernaccia – Cinema EP

Bernaccia pic

    Triggering that gut instinct that you are witnessing the birth of something special, the Cinema EP from UK neo-psychedelic blues rockers Bernaccia is one of those magnificent surprises which has you catching your breath in excitement. Hailing from Newcastle upon Tyne, the band has already reaped an eager attention with a pair of previously released songs. As good as they certainly were though, there is something extra and exceptional about this new release in presence and quality. Bernaccia casts a fusion of blues, folk, and rock which is deliriously captivating; a riveting sculpting of atmospheres, rhythmic slavery, and melodic seduction which is simultaneously expansive and intimate, and simply irresistible.

     The quartet of Jonny Noble, Stew Falkous, Chris Cox, and Kieran Healy drew great critical responses and success last year with the release of the track The Keeper, a song followed and equalled in strength and success by No Club. The second track pushed the band into a greater spotlight, helping pave the way for the band to support slots bands such as Wolf People, Twisted Wheel, and Royal Blood, but it is Armada and its two companions making up the new EP that look destined to dramatically push and accelerate the emergence of Bernaccia such their riveting temptations

     From its opening breath Armada has intrigue soaking senses and imagination as a sonic whisper brews into a breeze as the a1189779621_2distinct tones of Noble begins the expressive narrative. As anthemic beats from Cox join the richly coaxing emergence of the song, its atmosphere and seduction intensifies becoming irresistible as the striding dark bass tones delivered by Healy and the equally eager guitar strokes from Falkous and Noble join the transfixing suasion. The song transports the imagination into imagery of chain gangs, passionate resistance in the face of oppression, and simply lives making their way through unavoidable trouble and suffocation, the power of the song inspiring thoughts to go beyond its own theme and intent. The song is a delicious blaze of sultry, smouldering drama punctuated by those striding rhythms, a bold drama soon matched by its successor.

     Circuit Ryder takes the sinewed rhythms of its predecessor and pushes them into bigger bulging enslavement, their towering call supported just as loftily by a pulsating bass beckoning and the guitar shaped emotive hues of the song. There is a western ambience embracing the track, more Native American than Morricone like and enthrallingly magnetic amongst the folk and rock seeded blues exploit. Essences of The Doors play with thoughts but equally that of Helldorado and the Dennis Hopper Choppers with more than a whisper of The Verve too at times. Accompanied by a new video from Melting Point Media, the song is simply sublime, bordering heroic and apocalyptic.

   Final song No Home For The Buffalo reaps the same climate as the previous track, its body bringing an even more potent blues flame as a scuzz kissed edge excitingly teases through the guitars. As across the other songs there is an unrelenting anthemic call to its determined yet controlled stroll, the track spawning a shamanic/ soulful drone which envelops and takes over it’s recipient like an epidemic. It is another outstanding venture standing side by side with its fellow protagonists to ignite and invigorate thoughts and passions, a union of tracks which as mentioned thrusts the band into a whole new realm of success and expectations.

   Armada is the first of a single a month sequence from Bernaccia which will make up the Cinema trilogy, each track connected to a piece of exclusive artwork which will be available as an early bird exclusive to the debut download Armada. It is a little confusing to our simple minds especially with this release already being called Cinema, but whether by that name or using Armada in your search, this is an evocative adventure which simply must not be missed.

https://www.facebook.com/BernacciaMusic

10/10

RingMaster 26/02/2014

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Akb’al – …Of Darkness and Light

Akbal Online promo shot

    …Of Darkness and Light is one of those encounters which makes a striking initial impression but over time and subsequent journeys unveils and expands into a constantly rewarding and riveting adventure. The creation of Welsh progressive metallers Akb’al, the seven track album soon shows it is much more than that tag suggests, the band exploring and employing resources across a multitude of styles to produce one thoroughly absorbing and provocative experience. The release is not without minor issues, and they are minor but with craft and hunger to seduce and savage across its formidable presence, the band’s debut is an impressive adventure to grow from.

     The seeds of the band began back in 2006 with Michael Young-Temple (vocals, bass, tablas, djembe, didgeridoo and the kaossilator!) who coming to the end of travelling around the world began fusing his experiences and world percussion instrumentation into a more stoner/prog rock and metal bred songwriting. Linking up with Thoby Davis (vocals, guitar, violins) and Rob Miles (guitar, backing vocals, synths), the trio began evolving and expanding Young-Temple’s early ideas. The band was eventually completed with drummer Michael Hourihan, also of Onslaught, and from 2010 set about building a live presence. The Cardiff quartet took little time in making a mark locally and with shows alongside bands such as Ten Cent Toy, Thorun, Chaos Trigger, and Fell on Black Days was soon an established and eagerly followed proposition around their region. Next came a venture into the studio to set about working on…Of Darkness and Light; the result a tempest of imagination and invention and one of the more exciting and compelling entrances so far this year.

     The band bring influences from the likes of Tool, The Doors, and Porcupine Tree through to Kyuss, NIN, Alice in Chains, and Akbal Cover ArtworkCoheed And Cambria into their sound though again certainly they are spices heard but only a slight flavour of what …Of Darkness and Light feeds the senses within. The title track opens up an imaginative and intimidating flight, the track a venture through the dark side of the release’s theme, an exploration of the darkness and light in human reality and state of the mind. Opening female torment within a cloud of pestilential breath coaxes in a shadow drenched bass and guitar incitement, the former heavy and respectfully imposing and the latter a melodic tender heat wrapped in spoken whispers. It is an intriguing and imagination probing invitation which flows into an aggressive and tempestuous oppression of noise and intensity. Merging mellower caresses with menacing sonic rapaciousness the song weaves and entrances the senses with a blend of progressive, nu, and psyche metal for a potent and riveting start.

     The Ride takes over with the same fluidity and mix of dark and light evocations, voracious and magnetic textures easily lying in each other’s arms as the song develops a melodic metal temptation. Again nothing settles into a singular persuasion or attack, bursts of primal agitation vocally and rhythmically punctuating the transfixing melodic wash of the song and great clean vocals. Sonically the track equally ebbs and flows with intimidation and temptation, both fuel to the open invention and craft consuming the ears.

    From the very strong start the album switches up another creative and impacting gear with Totally Recalled and the following Equilibrium.  A muscular rock essence which at times flirts with a Metallica like tempting guides the heavyweight stoner persuasion of the first song, an exhaustive metallic predation united with an infection clad groove just as irresistible and virulent in its ignition of the passions. As with many of the tracks there is a slight familiarity to certain moments but never anything to deter thoughts and emotions from falling greedily into the scintillating feast of sound and enterprise on offer. The track’s successor and new video single from the band is pure magnetism, simply nine minutes of smouldering wanton seduction from its opening melodic notes. Thumping rhythms and a bass snarl is soon stalking the senses whilst another strong and impressive swarm of clean vocal harmonies soak the ears with the equally pleasing lyrical narrative. The song is an unbridled addiction, unveiling a mouthwatering range of grooves and hooks within a flowing evocative soundscape which never relinquishes its hold and immense stature across its epic expanse. Like a mix of KingBathmat and Tricore with a healthy touch of Mishkin to its ingenuity at times, the song is a masterful triumph and the obvious doorway into Akb’al.

     Restless And Waiting is bred from the same bloom of ideas and inventive sculpting as it predecessor but returning the ears to the scavenging causticity of coarse vocals and sonic predation within the melody rich adventure. The song provides a subtler though no less captivating addictiveness with its squalling charms. It imposingly completes a trio of major peaks in the range of lofty highs with the sultry suasion of Pacha Mama stepping up next to take its share of the imagination. A gentler and progressively crafted soar through melody enriched and expression cast sky, the song is a mesmeric and evocative exploration bringing diversity and further acclaim upon the release.

    …Of Darkness and Light closes on the extensive instrumental Light, a lingering invention driven travelogue of emotional reflection and expressive scenery taking in twelve minutes of tantalising continent travelling endeavour. Admittedly like a couple of songs it is a little too long to keep attention as enraptured as it deserves but as mentioned earlier the issue is a minor quibble against the pleasure and enthrallment surrounding the senses. It completes an outstanding encounter from a band in Akb’al, who you can be sure we will hear much more of and in even greater circumstances ahead.

http://www.akbalband.com/

www.facebook.com/Akbalband

9/10

RingMaster 10/02/2014

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Phil Lewis – Age of Nothing EP

Phil Image

    Stocked full with hooks which just will not let go and melodies which linger long after their passing, the Age of Nothing EP from Welsh singer/songwriter Phil Lewis provides six buoyant and inventive tracks which play like new adventures but approach the imagination like old friends you feel you previously knew. The release certainly embraces the ears and its own enterprise with relish, with an eagerness and vibrancy which soaks every accomplished note and idea, and though it also offers open familiarities in its presence it wears those inspirations proudly on its sleeve showing the eclectic influences on the creativity of Lewis.

    Hailing from Penarth, Lewis has already released a trio of well-received and acclaimed albums since 2007, the release year of debut Ancient Light. Bringing inspirations from the likes of The Killers into the new release it is only another flavour which has marked the informative and creative years of the man. From listening to the top Forty every Sunday as a child to start him off, Lewis has been drawn and been nourished by the likes of 1970’s funk, indie music, and ‘big stadium bands’ like U2 and Coldplay, as well as finding a particular affinity with African rhythm music too. All these sparks in his own tempting style helped to take subsequent albums Movements In Space and Ripples From a Small Pond, 2009 and ’11 respectively, to a certain and keen recognition but it is easy to suggest that the excellent Age of Nothing might be the one to make Lewis a name on many more appreciative lips.

     It is fair to say that the EP does not come down on the ear and seduce like an instant classic, though it certainly provides a bait Folderthat is impossible to move away from, but it is when the songs, their melodies, and those impossibly addictive hooks return on their own with a beckoning potency far away from the record that you know there is something extra i and long term about the release. Opening track Imprisoned is a prime example, a song which in its company is a sizeable temptation but one laying seeds within which blossom and seduce all over again whenever they want at any unpredictable moment away from the record and music. The song emerges from a small and enticing sonic web with a great bassline coaxing which is almost gnawing the senses. As with all the instruments, the delicious bait is provided by Lewis’ collaborator Ben Haynes who also produced the EP, as well as previous albums. The trap is soon snapped shut as an immediate appetite for the thick heavy tones and punchy rhythms is further lured by flames of guitars and the distinct tones of Lewis. His voice does not jump out but there is a quality which defines it and works well with the melodic harmonies which join him throughout. A definite early U2 feel to the track breaks out to add a further vein of strong suasion but it is the hypnotic rhythmic enticement which grips the deepest whilst making a virulent canvas for the melodies and infectious charms of the song to work their rich attraction.

The impressive start is instantly matched by the equally contagious Ready. Less energetic than the first but still with an eager gait to its persuasion the bass again steals the march on the other sounds as it strolls alongside the vocals. Soon though elegant electro kisses and a melodic tantalising is adding extra magnetism as the song leads into the emotively fired chorus. It is like a flare up of melodic flame and again has something recognisable in its seventies rock built presence. Not as irresistible as its predecessor but an easy to welcome and hard to escape slice of rock pop smouldering, the song only increases the already strong appeal of the release.

    The title track is another interminably seductive offering, guitars and rhythms resourcefully veining a poetic ambience before all collude to forge a pop sculpted song with a rock frame and pounding which leaves you wanting more whilst implanting again that essence which brings it back to mind again and again. Its successor Devil Comes To Dance shows another side to the release and Lewis’ songwriting, the track a scuzz lit rub of vocals and guitar creating a dark atmospheric intrigue whilst keys add Doors like melodic heat and psyche tempting to the causticity. Though maybe this is one song which fails to linger and return like the others it is a riveting blaze face to face which sets you up perfectly for the fully addictive Fly Again. There is a sixties rock/pop air to the song which enlarges its lure with a sultry melodic climate and expressive guitar craft, at times an Echo and the Bunnymen spice pervading its narrative.

    The EP is completed by Calling Me, a song with a similar premise and spicery to the previous song whilst creating its own distinct character and enjoyable venture. It is a strong and ripe final invitation into the world of Phil Lewis, another influential beckoning which if not as powerful as earlier track certainly like the EP as a whole spotlights the satisfying creativity of an artist who on the evidence of Age of Nothing deserves a much wider attentive audience.

http://www.phillewisuk.co.uk

8/10

RingMaster 20/01/2014

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Northern American – Wander

 

   northernamerican

    Providing as much intrigue about its creators and their musical endeavour as undoubted enjoyment, Wander from US band Northern American is an immediate slice of evidence as to why there is a richly brewing buzz building up around the Californian band. Not a wind to rigorously ruffle hair and agitate feet into keen wantonness but a caressing breeze with the potency and seduction to coax out a full and warm appreciation, the new single from the LA quartet dances with the imagination whilst taking thoughts on a glide through the emotive and scenic persuasion seemingly suggested by their home city’s instinctive temptation.

     Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Nate Paul, keyboardist Shane Alch, drummer Bruno Calenda, and bassist Augusto Vega, Northern American declare their music as a picture of the city they live in, “From The Doors to Tupac, we are inspired by the same sunset, Los Angeles; the place that was and always will be.” Certainly the sultry and mesmeric heat that you imagine soaks the city washes over the senses through the persuasive sounds embracing the ears adding to the inspirations of the likes classic bands The Doors and The Byrds on to contemporaries such as Local Natives, Autolux, and Letting Up Despite Great Faults which the band says impacted on them. There is a slight familiarity to the songs making up the single at times, though not admittedly sparking thoughts of the first two bands mentioned, but also a uniqueness which sets the band apart without forging a wholly individual presence quite yet.

  The successor to the well-received Happiness Hungover EP, Wander is poised to tease and tempt wider attention through its happinesshungover_largeworldwide release via Heist or Hit Records, not only to itself but in preparation for the band’s debut album currently in the preparation. Currently working with Local Natives producer Raymond Richards all signs point to the year being an extensive awakening towards the band’s enveloping sounds, the single the initial provocative melodic climate to drift over the passions. A release which like the summer sun seduces and heats the senses more the longer you remain in its gaze, Wander emerges as a lingering suasion which will be taken close attention of.

     Wander emerges from a busy yet restrained ambience, electro pulses shooting across its gentle sky whilst an eager rhythmic and melodic brew builds into a jazzy and evocative texture surrounding the expressive tones of Paul. It is not an entrance which opens new doors and definitely it carries a likeable familiarity but with the strong vocals, skittish rhythmic stroll, and guitar jangle it only entices a welcoming appetite. This is until a mouthwatering flip into an almost tribalistic rhythmic tango breaks free, the wonderful detour hypnotic and carnivalesque plus quite irresistible. It is a glorious unexpected twist soon followed by another as a dark drift of sound and adventure shows its hand. A moody alluring bassline provides a shadow kissed temptation whilst keys float and flit over its infectious bait. The blend is almost Joy Division/PIL like before melodies mingle with cosmic shards of electronics to lead the listener back into the initial course of the song. It is a masterful encounter which only gets better and stronger in its contagion the more time spent in its impressive company.

    The track is accompanied by Record Forever, a smouldering blaze of melodic and funk pressed enterprise with again little nuances and shifts that surprise and further the open engagement. Not as immediate and ultimately as magnetic as its predecessor, the track washes over the emotions with a tender and respectful energy but again is unafraid to turn the temperature and urgency up in occasional moments to remain unpredictable in another proposition which holds a familiar appearance but with indefinable reasons.

     The release makes it easy to see why Northern American has drawn impressed and strong reactions to date and it is hard to imagine them not breaking out a much wider audience in preparation for their forthcoming full length. Wander does not light major fires in the passions but has them simmering quite nicely; a great introduction to a band with the potential to be a name on a tsunami of new excited lips ahead.

http://northernamerican.us/

7.5/10

RingMaster 20/01/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The new AKB’AL album,’…Of Darkness and Light’, uncaged on 10th February

Akbal Online promo shot
PROGRESSIVE NOISE CHIEFS AKBAL RELEASE EXCITING ALBUM!
With an extensive cluster of intriguing influences spanning from Tool, The Doors and Porcupine tree, to Kyuss, NIN, Alice in Chains and Coheed And Cambria, Akb’al have served up a genuinely exhilarating piece of progressive rock that tips its hat to experimental metal in passing. Akb’al release “…Of Darkness And Light…” on Monday 10th February 2014 through all national outlets.
Akb’al began as a concept back in 2006 when Michael Young-Temple (Vocals, Bass, Tablas, Djembe, Didgeridoo and the Kaossilator!) was coming to the end of a long spell travelling around the world. Initially, his songwriting focussed on the key elements of stoner/prog rock and metal; however due to his experiences from his extensive exploration, he soon introduced world percussion instrumentation into the equation. Michael took these songs to his musical contemporaries, Thoby Davis (Vocals, Guitar, Violins) and Rob Miles (Guitar, Backing Vocals, Synths), and together the trio further sculptured and elaborated on Michael’s early ideas. The band soon recruited long-time friend and current Onslaught tub-thumper Michael Hourihan to play drums, who added extra power and depth to the band’s already established sound.
After further tweaking their sound Akb’al hit the stage in 2010, and since then, the wide-reaching four-piece have extensively played throughout Wales, racking up shows with Ten Cent Toy, Thorun, Chaos Trigger and Fell on Black Days along the way. After firmly establishing themselves regionally, the band headed into the studio to work on their debut album “…Of Darkness and Light…”. The quartet came out of the studio armed with a killer album. Packing seven stunning cuts, the record showcases experimental ambient texturing and engaging soundscapes underpinned by cutting hard rock and thoughtful metal undertones, all bonded together to take you on a progressive journey that will truly inspire and ignite. The album is set loose this February; look for the new video single ‘Equilibrium’ out soon. Also, head on over to the band’s Facebook page for show updates.
- AKB’AL RELEASE ‘OF DARKNESS AND LIGHT’ ON MONDAY 10th FEBRUARY 2014 –
Akbal Cover Artwork

Electric Woodland – Potrero

Electric Woodland Cover Artwork

Having impressed a great many with their self-titled EP of 2011, Norwegian rock band Electric Woodland take things further into richer potency with first album Potrero. A ten track mixture of classic rock and metal infused with an equally vintage soaking of blues, the release is a magnetic lure for the imagination which though a little undulating in its heights has all the craft and invention not forgetting compelling sound, to push the Skogbygda band right up to the coat tails of the likes of The Black Keys and Them Crooked Vultures. It is an absorbing encounter which seduces the passions with an infectiousness and enterprise which at times lingers and seduces long after its departure to make for one memorable and easy to re-engage with pleasure.

Electric Woodland came to be in 2009 taking influences from the likes of The Doors, Deep Purple, and as is openly evident, The Black Keys into their fiery melodies and carefully sculpted sound. As mentioned their EP placed a certain focus and success on the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Peder Kjaernli, bassist Marius Nordby, guitarist Christian Olsen-Ruud, and drummer Emil Kjaernli, from which they have stretched and driven on their imagination and songwriting on the new album. Recording Potrero on analogue tape at the barn studio of Norwegian Grammy winners Amund and Henrik Maarud, Electric Woodland tease and seduce with the emerging album though not always to the same strength throughout admittedly. nevertheless the Snaxville Recordings release is relentlessly captivating and resourcefully appetising.

As soon as the heated guitar strokes cup the ears opener Heavy Eyes gives more than a hint of what is too come, their blues kissed tones an immediate lure caged by punchy beats and additional acidic melodic enticement  prowled through by the great bass tones of Nordby. The guitars sculpt a reserved yet stomping gait which simply magnetises the senses and imagination, a Queens Of The Stone Age swagger and seduction woven into the sonic bait with the vocals only adding to its essence. There is also a classic bred familiar sound to the song though one evading definition of its source, the band’s influences maybe simply breeding a recognisable air to the refreshing endeavour making the strongest persuasion.

The following Bad Shoe not only cements the impressive start but takes it to another level to fully open up a hunger within the already emerged appetite for the release. Once again guitars make the initial contact before vocal harmonies caress the ears and Peder Kjaernli opens up his fine voice for the brewing narrative. There is a definite rockabilly feel to the core stroll and vocal delivery, a rock ‘n’ roll stance to which melodies and sonic expression weaves and stokes its evocative flames and textures. Not for the first or last time the guitar play is constant bait alongside the mutually gripping rhythms and barbed hooks that litter the song and album throughout.

After the slow burner This House, a track which smoulders and writhes within its blues crafted opening shell before holding a breath and erupting into an excellent brazen melodic lined dusty romp of again QOTSA like scuzz filtered energy, Have You Seen My Baby pushes the blues coloured walls of the release to another diverse depth. The song with its romping rhythms led by the great throaty bass feels like a major anthem for the band within moments, the guitars and emerging keys casting a spellbinding tide of invention over the ears. Drummer Emil Kjaernli is an attention grabbing key to the song though everything about it is an irresistible hook for the passions, the track best described as Seasick Steve meets The Black Keys with Kyuss in close attention.

From here the album goes into a bit of a lull though really it is just that the likes of To You, Humbread, and Old Airplane do not manage to light the same potent fires as their predecessors like those before. All tracks are superbly written and crafted, each providing moments and lures which certainly recruit eager attention and a want to engage them again and again, especially the first two of that selection, but each lacking the spark to raise the same emotions as before. That is something the song Electric Woodland has no problem with, the song another classic to rival the opening pair. The rhythmic onslaught lays the first inescapable trap, the drums a commanding provocateur soon aided in its mission by the grizzled riffs and the ever alluring vocals. There is a predation to the song which never leaves the listener alone, a niggling persistence which you can only devour greedily as the song, safe in its knowledge it has you hooked, paints a melodic venture with stoner tendencies and blues mixed hues. It is a brilliant reminder of just how good this band is and will be.

Closing with the decent enough acoustic folk bred song Dog Without A Bone, a slight Arctic Monkeys air to its elegance, Potrero is an exciting and deeply satisfying release, one which marks out Electric Woodland as a band which has to be paid attention to. The album suggests as the band grows it is just the appetiser for greater things to come; our lips already being licked in anticipation.

www.facebook.com/pages/Electric-Woodland/128747150525584

www.electricwoodland.com

8/10

RingMaster 07/12/2013

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the Greeting Committee – Island

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Hailing from the sultry streets of Newcastle, the Greeting Committee is one of those smouldering embraces which once laying their spellbinding caress over the ear leaves a lingering temptation which persistently invites and receives a return into the arms of the band’s exotic sound. Creating a web of psychedelic and indie seeded rock with Brit pop and sixties blues kissed seduction, the sextet return from the success of their first single Show Me The Lights Of Home at the closing weeks of last year, with debut EP Island released via Puzzle Push Records. Consisting of three magnetically compelling tracks, the release is a wake-up call and introduction to all newcomers and confirmation for existing fans of the potent promise and strength of this very exciting emerging band.

The title track opens things up with a dramatic brew of strings, keys, and atmospheric intensity which once securing full focus mellows out into a melodic breeze of impressive vocals and sonic imagination. It is a thick and intensive breath though which drives the song, one also unafraid to settle into less imposing textures and weight to allow the vocals and guitars to cast an infectious mesmeric weave. Imagine a merger of My Bloody Valentine, House Of Love, and The Verve and Island is the resulting alchemy and more. A brooding and increasingly seductive encounter the track is a beauteous evocation for the imagination and passions.

The following What’s It Like again takes a relatively gentle entrance into its resourceful body, its initial and following presence another filtrated through the essences of House Of Love with some Inspiral Carpets whilst infused with a delicious sixties Eastern sultriness and melodic warmth. Deceptively infectious and virulently compelling, the song is a persistent and welcome instigator of the passions, a rapturous engagement which is the strongest on the release and for personal tastes would have been the better lead track, though the fade out is an annoyance and seemingly suggesting the song is incomplete in this version.

The closing Borders & Patrols also ventures into an older climate of sound for inspiration, a whisper of The Doors washing teasingly over the harmonics and melodic intrigue conjured by the guitars. A celestial elegance from the keys accompanies the rich slowly roving bassline across the track to keep the persuasion unpredictable verging on mysterious whilst the excellent vocals and skilled guitar narrative brings a hue to the song which leaves a purposeful hunger in the appetite for band and release.

The Island EP is a masterful adventure which only disappoints in its contents being admittedly magnificent but only a trio of songs. the Greeting Committee breeds a greed which the release certainly suffices but also leaves short and impatiently wanting more by its lack of more tracks, but then it equally leaves anticipation for the next encounter an eager fire. This is a band destined to major things, just watch this space as the saying goes.

http://www.thegreetingcommittee.co.uk/

9/10

RingMaster 25/11/2013

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