Crawling and romancing the shadows with Gnostic Gorilla

Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Gnostic Gorilla is a dark electronic project which wears unpredictability as easily as imagination in its ear gripping sound. Recently we had the chance and pleasure to talk about the solo project with creator Dean Mason, exploring its origins and music amongst many things as well as picking at Dean’s thoughts about music in general.

Hello Dean and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Thank you. My pleasure!

Can you first introduce the project and give us some background to how it all started?

Sure. As a teenager, I began exploring the idea of recording music. I was of course a major day tripper…I mean…day dreamer. Hahahahaha! So I ventured out to record two songs, Dark Hallway and Golgotha for a single. I had some excellent musicians join me in the studio (Dave Davidson, Tony Bourdeau, Shaun Saunders and Chris Byrnes) and with the help of my parents I released the 45 rpm under the so called label name “Lonely Ghost Productions”. That was my first experiment with recording music. I left it at that and went to school to find some sort of career. In 2012, I returned to recording, as a hobby and recorded exclusively electronic music with a dark bent. (Gothic/Dark Wave/Industrial) I released a few singles on iTunes etc. and then in 2015 I released the first album (St. Basil’s Asylum) using the project name “Gnostic Gorilla”. Before that I was using the project name “The Lonely Ghost Project” but that changed once I learnt there was an American band called “The Lonely Ghost Parade”. I wanted to avoid confusion. So that’s a brief history of “Gnostic Gorilla”.

What inspired the name “Gnostic Gorilla”?

As I mentioned earlier, initially my project was called “The Lonely Ghost Project” but I changed it to “Gnostic Gorilla”. I had a song called Gnostic Gorilla (now renamed Eye for a Lie) and I decided to use that name for the project. The idea behind the name is a sort of convergence of two world views: the religious ‘creation’ story and Darwin’s theory of evolution. “Gnostic” means “knowledge” or “to know”. That is a reference to the “tree of knowledge”. Obviously, “Gorilla” is in reference to the idea that we evolved from some sort of ‘ape’ species (not specifically the Gorilla of course) and here we are. “Gnostic Gorilla” is not about Gnosticism as some may think.

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

In many ways a lot of it was allowing the creative process to dictate where I wanted the project to go and how I wanted to sound. I started off doing simply instrumental/soundtrack type recordings. Then I decided to try and do a complete song with lyrics/vocals. The first song I did as part of this new electronic music pursuit was a song called Requiem for the Prophet of Doom which was a tribute to Peter Steele of Type O Negative who passed away in 2010. There were two versions of that track. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEnSgqaI3JA & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0N7Uxzg7ac

That was released under the name “Dean Mason of The Lonely Ghost Project”, as singles. Soon after this, I began to really become more interested in a sound that was more industrial and Gothic or Dark Wave and eventually after a few more singles I recorded St. Basil’s Asylum which is now rereleased by Cleopatra Records. Most of my music has been industrial or Gothic since then.

Do the same sparks still drive the project or have they evolved over time and equally since your early days, how would you say your sound has specifically evolved?

Sort of continuing on from the previous question…yeah…there was definitely an ‘evolution’ of sorts. I look back on what I did in 2012 and some of it doesn’t send me far, with the exception of Nietzsche’s Cyborg. I will always be proud of that song. It was a game changer. It’s on St. Basil’s Asylum even though it was recorded in the fall of 2012 and St. Basil’s Asylum was released in 2015 and then rereleased by Cleopatra Records in 2018. But back on track here, I guess for me, I became more interested in an abrasive and weird industrial sound. (Psalm for the Lost was actually more of a retro Goth/New Wave type deal though) My latest album, Freak’s Mind is in my opinion one of my strongest in many ways. The next album to be released by Cleopatra Records (Shaman Rave) will blow your socks off! Promise!

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

A bit of both… I don’t want to be boxed into a specific genre to be honest. So, I go through phases where I really like menacing and weird industrial and then other times I prefer a more velvety Goth or Doom Psychedelic type mood in my music. I have been inspired not only by other artists but also by some soundtracks like, the soundtrack for Sinister which is absolutely mind numbing! So sometimes I watch a movie like that or like Queen of the Damned and it gives me inspiration. So, yeah, there is an evolution of sorts but I never deviate too far from being a dark electronic act.

Presumably there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on your music but your approach to and ideas about creating and playing music?

Well, one of my first inspirations would be Gary Numan. I mean, I was a huge KISS fan when I was still in diapers hahaha …but Numan was the one that inspired me to consider doing my own thing in music. That said, I don’t write and record in the style of Numan. I owe more to Ministry, Skinny Puppy and Rammstein as far as recording style goes. I also am very much inspired by Peter Steele of Type O Negative and Jim Morrison of The Doors, especially for their unique lyrical style. Did you know that the first time the term ‘Goth or Gothic’ was used in reference to a rock band was when someone did a review of The Doors, the day after (or close anyway) that Morrison had met Andy Warhol? Anyway…I owe a lot of gratitude to Nash The Slash for being an inspiration as an indie artist as well.

Is there a certain process to your songwriting?

I usually begin a track with a general idea of the kind of mood/style I want to pursue. Then, usually, the song ends up being something totally different than want I first imagined. I usually start with either synth riffs/loops and/or beats/drum patterns and build from there. Kind of difficult to explain how a song evolves and usually I look back and think, “how did I even come up with this”?

… And where do you draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Many of my songs address the human struggle. I never write ‘love’ songs or ‘sex in the corvette’ songs…there are ample of those so …why compete right? I usually write in sort of ‘mystical’ story form. I use a lot of imagery and I allow the listener/reader (of lyrics) to decide for themselves what it means to them, even though I may have a specific idea in mind. I often use religious imagery and also imagery of ‘battles’ or ‘war’ but not in the sense that they are LITERALLY about armed combat. The imagery of ‘battle’ is more of an emotional/psychological journey of that inner struggle. I use a lot of religious imagery, but I don’t push ANY sort of religious point of view…for or against. Again, I let people decide for themselves what any song could mean. I address the issue of mental illness and depression and even the tendency for despair. I don’t encourage ‘despair’ but that experience of wondering where there is hope is quite universal. As well, I often, in veiled language, address the ‘tribalism’ that we humans seem to cling to. I have a real personal distaste for hatred of any kind and the world is full of that. Religious people bashing and rejecting others for being ‘different’ or of the ‘wrong tribe’ and all the bigotry and racism and all the phobias that still exist in a so called ‘evolved’ modern world. That ‘tribalism’ isn’t just from those of a religious persuasion but it also exists among ,many ‘atheists’ and ‘secularists’ who can be just as hateful towards those of the ‘other tribe’. We just don’t know how to leave each other be do we?! Hatred of any kind is for the birds. Wait…not even the birds want it!

Give us some background to your latest release.

The latest release is Freak’s Mind. It’s very abrasive and weird and even at times ‘gothadelic’ (a term coined by Peter Steele by the way). That album is the album that wasn’t supposed to be. I never really wanted to record anything new but one song at a time, and I ended up recording an album’s worth of dark wave/industrial/Gothic madness and I’m really proud of this album. It touches on all those subjects I mentioned earlier. Womb To The Tomb is one of my favourites on that album. It’s a strange combo of wild 60’s psychedelic with raging industrial sounds. Veil is a powerful song, which was recorded in 2013 actually. It’s a good album and I’m not the type that easily says things like that about my own music.

Could you give us some insight to the themes behind it and its songs?

Womb to The Tomb is about the cycle of life more or less, but also looks at the life of a corrupt village and all its citizens, including the powerful who take advantage and the victims who are taken advantage of. It’s kind of inspired by modern day events, without being specific. Chaos Frankenstein is sort of a ‘mystical’ telling of conflict and chaos and suffering and deception. Finally, (I won’t dissect every song) Freak’s Mind, the title track, is more or less about someone struggling with some sort of psychological or emotional turmoil.

Tell us about the live side to the band?

At present, Gnostic Gorilla is not planning on any live shows. I’d need to lasso a bunch of musicians to do that and I don’t see it happening. I don’t think so anyway…Maybe a one off someday.

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

You’re so right. It’s not easy. I mean, as far as having an impact is concerned. It’s a different world… a different industry and there are many factors that make it very difficult to make a dent anywhere, even locally…especially if you’re in a bigger city. Technology and the age of communication (social media) make it so that anyone can set themselves up and do music and even videos and put it out there. It makes for a VERY clogged reality in cyberspace. There is SO much out there. Everyone wants to be considered the next big thing…Fair game. But here’s the thing, it’s all been done. After KISS and Sabbath, and Manson and Depeche Mode and Numan and NIN, Slipknot, Cradle of Filth, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Ice T, Eminem, Shaggy, Run DMC etc. …how does one come up with a unique style? I don’t want to be a pessimist but let’s be realistic. It’s VERY difficult to make a dent because it’s almost impossible to snap people out of an oversaturated “yawn…I’ve seen it all before” mindset. You can’t impress people easily. You can barely shock people unless you are involved in some sort of controversy or are pretty like a Barbie/Ken doll. Legends/pioneers are no longer being made and I know that would piss a lot of people off to hear that, but it’s true. As for my own situation, I must confess that as I proud Canadian, I am very unimpressed with the way I’ve been treated by the reps/labels in Canada. I have a label deal with Cleopatra Records (LA) for two albums, a deal with KL-Dark Records in Germany and Nowhere Now Records in Australia and have never even received a reply from the Canadian labels I sent music to. Kind of disappointing but I guess they’re all waiting for the second coming or RUSH or Justin Bieber or Gordon Lightfoot.

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

As I said before, the world has changed dramatically in more ways than one. The internet and social media have forever changed MANY things, not just music. Look at what it’s done to the world of politics! (not always for the better) Even the Pope has a presence on social media. Hahahaha. But more specifically related to the music industry…it’s a mixed bag I suppose. It’s great to promote one’s music/art but also you’re not the only one doing it. Millions are doing it. With regards to the reality of ‘streaming’ though, as an example…that too is a combination of blessing and curse. What’s happening is people don’t feel like buying music is even a concept. It’s not their fault. It’s the way things evolved. (There’s that word again…hahahaha) Younger people grew up knowing nothing else and so, even the concept of music as art is kind of challenged. It’s rarely seen as ‘art’ and just part of the regular noise and scenery of cyberspace all mixed in with the latest ‘app’. It’s like music is there for the taking the way fruit on trees is there for the taking…it’s just a part of the way life goes. It’s all there to snatch and rarely pay much more than a standard monthly fee or something and have unlimited music. Hey, I do it myself, so I’m not criticizing. Also, it needs to be said, with reference to struggling artists: there are also different organizations that promise ‘hi-fi mega stardom’ for a fee! Some of these take advantage of artists, even some of the big labels have jumped on that bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong, there are some decent, honest organizations that genuinely want to assist struggling artists, but there are also a lot of vultures out there cashing in on Wendy and Charlie’s dreams of “making it”. I guess in the end, like anything else, it’s what you do with it right? Maybe it’s just another challenge for artists to be creative, even with regards to promoting and marketing.

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

It is I who thank you! All I can say is that if you are a struggling artist…be true to the art, to being creative. I know that sounds like hippie bullshit, but it’s true. As soon as your goal is to become a ‘celebrity’ you’re setting yourself up for deception. Don’t dream about being a ‘star’. Instead, be creative and express yourself and be true to yourself…regardless of who does and who doesn’t approve. The rest will follow because in the end, authenticity speaks louder than the need to be ‘worshipped’. That’s what I believe.

Explore Gnostic Gorilla further @ https://www.facebook.com/gnosticgorilla/

Also grab your copy of the Various Artists Compilation album, Nowhere Now Volume 2 on Nowhere Now Records @ https://nowherenowrecords.bandcamp.com/album/nowhere-now-volume-2    featuring Last Call (Heed The Drones) by Gnostic Gorilla

Pete RingMaster 12/04/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Desert Clouds – Nothing Beyond The Cage

It is probably fair to say that we did not make an immediate connection with the new album from UK based rockers Desert Clouds yet there was a certain lure which took us back to its atmospheric embrace with intrigue and enthusiasm. It was an essence which grew richer as band and release, Nothing Beyond The Cage, blossomed by the listen into a fascinating and increasingly persuasive proposition.

Formed in 2008 in Naples, Italy, Desert Clouds relocated to London two years later. It was a time which saw instability in the band’s line-up though things were far more settled by the time 2017 EP, Time Distortions, was released; an encounter which drew strong attention the way of the band, praise carrying interest which was only built upon by subsequent singles in Speed of Light and Under Tons, both unveiled last year. It is easy to imagine that Nothing Beyond The Cage will only increase the reputation and stature of the quartet within the UK rock scene with its multi-flavoured and atmospherically provocative adventure.

Nurtured in a mix of grunge, stoner, doom, psych and alternative rock, the band’s sound is a seductive trespass as forceful and mercurial as it is plaintively intimate and brooding. Often it comes over within Nothing Beyond The Cage like a raw Doors meets a predacious Kyuss aligned to the emotive howls of early Coldplay amidst the soulful winds of Soundgarden but emerging if not boldly unique certainly clearly individual to Desert Clouds.

The album opens up with The Outcast Trail (See you Chris), a sullenly thoughtful ballad built on a web of melodic imagination and vocal emotion which roars like a funeral pyre in fiery crescendos. Unsurprisingly there are thick Soundgarden hues to the outstanding track, a tribute to Chris Cornell, with its sonic and emotive heat evocative and invasive, its enterprise seriously magnetic led by the inescapably compelling vocals.

The following Speed Of Light opens with a just as dark air, the bass of Julius Caesar a portentous throb within the wiry web and earthier riffs of guitarists/vocalists David Land and Val L. Wallace. With every passing note and vocal lure, the song’s intensity and drama increases, brewing up into a controlled yet feral blaze spiked by the predacious beats of Andrea Orabona. Though it lacked the spark of its outstanding predecessor for our appetite, the song enticed and lingered behind its wake before next up Take Off harassed the senses with its moody almost irritable melodic roar. Grooved tendrils vine the track with increasing captivation, their incandescent lures lava-esque within the song’s muggy climate.

The calmer but mercurial balladry of Under Tons tempts next, its tenacious croon as untamed as it is intimately restrained with every moment contrasted within another twist courtesy of craft and imagination before Overmore springs its desert/psych rock exploits on ears. A certain QOTSA lining adds to a swift appeal while its successor The Judgement carries a Coldplay/Muse like spicing which grew more flavoursome by the listen. All three tracks flourished over time whilst equally sharing the, at times understated but certainly not hidden, broad palette of sound the band creates with.

Final track is Whistling In The Rain, an almost bestial encounter in its prowling gait and ursine-esque growl but lava-like in its sonic climate and scorching winds. From vocals to guitar, rhythms to atmospheric conjuring, the song is another mighty highlight to Nothing Beyond The Cage, a release which we might have needed time to take to but have with real eagerness once we clicked.

Nothing Beyond The Cage is released January 18th.

https://www.desertclouds.net/   https://www.facebook.com/desertclouds/   https://twitter.com/TheDesertClouds

Pete RingMaster 17/01/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Mount Sinai – Weightless

 

As part of the indie virulence that was Black Black Hills to his solo temptation, the melancholically clothed troubadour-esque Rooster Cole, vocalist/songwriter Mark S. Aaron has been a magnet to our ears and imagination. We can swiftly say nothing has changed as the debut single from his new project, Mount Sinai, has been unveiled; in fact the temptation might just be as rich as it has ever been.

Mount Sinai sees Aaron linking back up with long term musical collaborator Tom Windsor (Black Black Hills/Coin-op),  with Alex Painter (Great Pagans/Speak Galactic), Max Numajiri (Spacenoid), and Jools Owen (Bear’s Den) alongside the pair. Musically Mount Sinai is a natural progression from Aaron’s Rooster Cole exploits; the swarthy psych rock flames and rich desert rock grandeur of first single Weightless bred in the more intimate but no less darkly dramatic sighs of his previous solo project. Even so, Mount Sinai is as individual as Rooster Cole was, a duskily lit almost saturnine proposition carrying its own minstrel like hue.

Weightless instantly lured ears with its initial melodic strum, its next joined by Aaron’s familiar and ever compelling tones. Unsurprisingly knowing his previous works, melancholy lines voice and melody but there is an edge to them which erupts as rhythms and sonic winds erupt. In full swing, the track becomes a heated draught across the senses; inspiring the imagination as much as swaying hips with its virulent temptation. Horns and the animated call of impassioned guitars only add to the track’s growing blaze, drama soaking note and syllable, melody and siren-esque lures all going to make for one striking debut.

Imagine a fusion of The Doors, Echo & The Bunnymen, and Helldorado and you get a shimmer of the Mount Sinai beauty going by the name Weightless; a proposition suggesting Aaron and co have started out on their greatest adventure yet.

Weightless is out now @ https://mountsinaiband.bandcamp.com/releases and other stores.

https://www.facebook.com/mountsinaiband/   https://www.instagram.com/mountsinaiband/

Pete RingMaster 18/12/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Spookshow Inc. – Visions Of The Blinded World pt I & II

 

Four years after Part I unleashed its “furiously agitated entrapment of industrial, metal, and electro rock”, a rousing accompaniment to an impending apocalypse, Part II of Visions Of The Blinded World is here to not only continue the arcane adventure but take it into a whole new level of dark deeds and senses trespassing contagion. The project is from Norwegian trio Spookshow Inc., a band which has been curiously ignored by bigger attention so far, a blind eye which if continuing after the full release of Visions Of The Blinded World will be criminal.

The beginning of Spookshow Inc. goes all the way back to 2003 when Lucky Spook (guitar, programming, songwriting, producer) and Soltex (vocals) came together and began creating and nurturing their individual fusion of industrial and heavy metal with electro rock. As proven by the 2014 released Visions Of The Blinded World pt I, there are plenty of other rich flavours to the band’s asylum of sound, Middle Eastern hues alone an inescapably alluring ingredient. With the band’s line-up completed by bassist/keyboardist Sharaz who featured on the final few songs recorded for its predecessor, the second part of Visions Of The Blinded World is an even richer affair of sound and styles, a bolder adventure in an already eager collusion of essences sure to appeal to any appetites for the likes of Pink Floyd, Prodigy, Rob Zombie, KMFDM, NIN, and Pitchshifter.

Visions Of The Blinded World pt I & II has been released as a complete package and should be listened as one to grasp its full dark majesty though each part firmly captivates alone too. It makes for a journey which leaves ears, body and imagination as aroused as they are disturbed, as inspired and animated as they are haunted. As we have covered part I previously, which you can read here, we will explore the second part of the creative emprise, a canter through the haunting shadows and ravenous dissonance of a dystopian landscape lost in extinction luring bedlam. Note though that the first ‘side’ of the album contains two brand new tracks in the shapes of the Seven Trumpets, a track sparked by the biblical legend of the same name but an echo of a split personality, and the horror movie like Lizard Eyes.

Pt II opens up with Virtual Insanity, electronic sparkling the gateway to an infernal surge of electro rock predation as ravenously hungry as it is virulently catchy. Even so, its instinctive urgency has an underlying premeditation of devious intent, melodies and calmer but darker twists adding to the track’s inescapable invasion. Something akin to Rabbit Junk meets Fear Factory, the track instantly has the project’s second part off to a flyer but also connects seamlessly to the nature and presence of the first part of Visions Of The Blinded World.

Already breathless from the superb thickly rousing start, the band show no mercy as Devil’s Triangle surges in with similarly uproarious energy and intent, Spook’s guitar gnawing away at ears as beats swipe at the senses,  Soltex’s vocals in turn matching their boisterous appetites with eagerness and attitude. Again momentary detours bring darker trespass rather than a chance to take a breath, it all adding up to another galvanic assault.

Next up Mindgame does bring calm, its melodic caresses courted by demonic tones of voice and intimation, a sonic Garden of Eden oasis in some ways. Featuring XRC, the track smoulders with toxic beauty; those Eastern hues enticing with siren-esque seduction as darkness await new arrivals. Enthralling and haunting in its distraction, the song slips away for the advancing savage addiction and voracious heavy swing of Little Pill. Eating away at thoughts and senses from its initial original cinematic drama to its esurient stalking, evil soaking every note and castigating syllable, the track with Subliminal Mentality guesting equally got under the skin and nagged away thereon in.

Blackbird From Karachi with D.Tschirner involved is a deceptive creature; evolving from its initial serenade into another predatory confrontation courting chaos and corrosion with almost pernicious incitement, every moment unpredictable and disturbing before the outstanding Prison Planet casts its specific trap. A galactic tango which had the body bouncing and imagination conjuring as intrigue and espionage fuel every contagious touch, it in turn departs to encourage the emotionally harmful but physically infectious dance of Falling Down Pt. I. All three tracks simply hit the spot, repetition occurring across the whole of the album as proven yet again by the dark carnival of Cold Frantic Boy, this another track mixing flirtation and catchy harassment with cinematic intimation as cold vocals bring their own toxic fascination pretty meaning submission to its dark glamour was inevitable.

Across the likes of Match Of The Century / A. Crowley Vs. A. Einstein with its increasingly volatile and ominous disquiet around a hypothetical chess game between the two protagonists and Kissing In Graveyards featuring Underworld, another slice of aural insidiousness, the album continued taking ears and pleasure into new dark corners, the release magnetically broadening its maze of sound and creative villainy before stretching it again with the glorious Midnight Tango, a mesmeric psych surf piece with a caress of The Doors and Calling All Astronauts to its dark rock ‘n’ roll.

The final pair of Follow Me, a carnal trespass of pestilence-laden temptation, and Battle For Babylon with R. Carey (an English- New Zealand based artist better known as Fiery Jack (The Teapot Goblins)) a guest in its stark yet rousing smouldering epilogue, provide a compelling conclusion to the relentlessly enthralling release. In some ways they lack the rousing bait of their predecessors but in just as many are cast in mutually potent lures of dark emotive suggestion.

As suggested the biggest rewards come from listening to Visions Of The Blinded World pt I & II as one but certainly not essential as proven by the individual galvanic prowess of each track. Spookshow Inc. has created a landscape bred in the world’s turbulence and destruction; Part I made us want to know more, the stunning Part II sparked the desire to be lost in its impeding tempest with the band’s sounds for company.

Visions Of The Blinded World pt I & II is available now @ https://spookshowinc.bandcamp.com/album/spookshow-inc-visions-of-the-blinded-world-pt-i-ii

https://www.spookshowinc.com/   https://www.facebook.com/spookshowinc/

Pete RingMaster 02/11/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Mayflower Madame – Premonition EP

photo by Sven Santelmann

Though formed in 2011, it was the release of their debut album Observed in a Dream two years ago which awoke real attention upon Mayflower Madame, introducing them to a whole wealth of new fans, us included. It offered a compelling and increasingly gripping full taste of the band’s psych rock infested post punk. Ahead of a new album later this year the Norwegian outfit have unveiled the Premonition EP, a release which simply leaves that previous encounter in the shade and is already making anticipation for the band’s second album impatient.

Fresh from a US tour, the latest the Oslo quartet has undertaken beyond their homeland since the release of that first full-length, the band now no strangers to venturing across the UK, Europe, and N America, Mayflower Madame lures the listener into a new soundscape of their imagination fuelled sound with Premonition. Consisting of four tantalising propositions which can be, as the EP’s promo sheet suggests, “best described as apocalyptic love songs”, Premonition has a captivating calmness across its body which the previous release maybe evaded but equally a more virulent almost predacious craft and indeed seduction for a romance of impending darkness to embrace and fear.

The EP opens with its title track, a siren warning its arrival. From the midst of the threat an instantly compelling groove emerges, its calm but inescapable swing courted by additional melodic tendrils from the guitars of Håvard Haga and vocalist Trond Fagernes. It was pure temptation to our ears, the swarthy blend of their lures irresistible and swiftly complemented by the dark enticement of Kenneth Eknes’ atmosphere weaving synth and Fagernes’ potent voice. The rhythmic captivation of Petter Gudim Marberg’s bass and the crisp swings of drummer Ola J. Kyrkjeeide reinforced the grip the song quickly held, it only tightening its hold as the layers of psychedelically lit post punk infested body and psyche.

The following Before I Fall makes a similarly magnetic entrance, the bass of this time Fagernes walking magnetically through ears with the melodic intimation of the guitars for company.  Like a psych washed fusion of Dead Can Dance, My Bloody Valentine, and Fields Of The Nephilim, the song fascinated and tantalised in equal measure. Its heavy emotion and senses wrapping shadows unavoidably infested the imagination but equally the song tempted the body into calm but definite involvement even as its darkness consumed. The fact that the song did not bring the same lust as for its predecessor or successor is simply down to their might, the song only magnetism.

The best track to our ears is Alma’s Sermon, its swing and melodic dance manna to our musical instincts and passions. Flirting with both through something akin to The Orson Family assimilated by The Doors, the track ensnares ears with a hook which teases and pleasures as an insatiable creative appetite supports it from within a web of melodic suggestion from the guitars. All the while, rhythms manipulate attention and hips like a puppeteer with the tones of Fagernes as alluring as they shimmer and echo the song’s dark magnetism.

Spiders Seek with the opener is a close contender to that favourite track choice as it completes the release, the intrigue soaked encounter cinematic in its atmosphere, intimate in its breath. The keys simply seduced our ears, their seemingly familiar yet unique enterprise a spark for the imagination on their own, the suggested drama thoughts conjured only accentuated by the dark catchiness of the bass with Marberg back plucking the strings, the hypnotic stroll of the beats, and the guitar’s sonic wiring.

It is a superb end to a magnificent release. Observed in a Dream only pleasured and excited but the Premonition EP has left it in its wake with ease. Goodness knows what the band’s forthcoming full-length will do…We cannot wait.

The Premonition EP is out now digitally and on CD via the band’s own label Night Cult Records @ https://mayflowermadame.bandcamp.com  as well as being available on cassette via Black Verb Records (Germany), SpiderChild Records (US) and Custom Made Music (US).

https://www.facebook.com/mayflowermadame

Pete RingMaster 26/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

The Ugly Kings – Darkness Is My Home

Towards the tail of last year Australian blues rockers The Ugly Kings left a rather fertile and extremely tasty teaser for their debut album in the shape of two-track single Promised Land. Now we can reveal that all the hints and intimation offered then of something special coming ahead have been forcibly realised with the band’s first full-length, Darkness Is My Home. The release is a powder keg of muscular rock ‘n’ roll, a cauldron of suggestion and haunting darkness, and most of all simply one of the most powerful creative roars heard in a long time.

From the coarse grain of the delicious bass sound to the suggestive clang of the guitars and from the lyrical atmospherics to their vocal realisation, Darkness Is My Home is pure uncompromising temptation, one as dynamic as it is seductive and as cinematic as it is intimately haunting. In fact it is so much more than that outstanding first single implied, and still offering more after a multitude of listens.

Formed in 2011, the Melbourne quartet soon stirred local and subsequently national attention through their live presence and in turn 2015 mini album Of Sons. The past two years has seen the band share the stage with Rival Sons in Melbourne (2016), support Airbourne on their successful sold out 2017 east coast Australia tour and this year open for Papa Roach on their two shows in The Ugly Kings home city. Darkness Is My Home can only open bigger doors and opportunities, the album thrusting the band into the realm of the big boys without even a knock on the door.

The album opens with the outstanding Promised Land and instantly hooks ears with its initial lure of sultry guitar and vocal expression. Frontman Rusty Clark has a voice which commands attention, a musical orator you just want to listen to and backed by just as compelling sound throughout song and release. The smouldering brooding of the song is transfixing, only escalating its lure as resonating beats and the first of a tide of irresistible basslines across Darkness Is My Home breaks. Igniting into a robust stroll with a searing groove, the track is pure captivation and increasingly so as it repeats its cycle with greater lust and vigour. Rock ‘n’ roll does not come much better as this imposingly infectious and skilfully manipulative encounter though it is undoubtedly matched throughout the album.

The following Black Widow also makes an instant impact with the beats of Andy Alkemade sending ripples of resonance across the senses with every impact before Christos Athanasias’ guitar begins its prowl alongside Clark’s vocal incitement. The earthy growl of Nick Dumont’s bass is just as riveting, the four conjuring a predatory yet seductive dark romance with threat in every note and suggestion in every syllable. Influences to the band include the likes of The Doors, Jack White, Black Sabbath, and Royal Blood, flavours you can sense but as in the first and those to come the track is as unique to The Ugly Kings as you could wish.

The fiery rock ‘n’ roll of Raging Bull has a more animated gait though it comes in an ebb and flow which stabs at the senses with purpose and mischief before being uncaged in a rich blaze of melodic lava while Killing Time borders on the carnivorous with its gorgeously gnarly bassline and romantic with its melodic and vocal reflection. The uniting of contrasting textures is masterful and Dumont’s bass manna for personal tastes whilst the song’s croon is just impossible to resist. Both songs light up ears and imagination, fire up the passions though we can say that about every track within Darkness Is My Home.

Love Enemy with its slow swagger of a stroll brings calm after the clamour of its predecessor but one lined with dark provocative shadows and magnetism as sinister as it is infectious. Its catchiness is inescapable, swaying hips and over worked neck muscles our evidence with the imagination just as involved as words and tendrils of sonic enterprise entangle before You And Me brings is boozier intoxication to bear on ears. The band’s passion for the blues is a constant roar in their skilfully eclectic sound, The Ugly Kings infusing it into their own power fuelled designs, each individual to the next as proven by the volcanic heat and earnest swing of yet another gem.

Another great trait of the album is that every song feels like old friends within a couple of listens, Lazarus drawing vocal chords into play even before it finishes its first influential roar, the ballad a pyre of power and individual intensity.

The album is brought to a just as rich close by firstly Little Birdy Told Me; a cauldron of senses singed grooves and ever welcomed rhythmic trespasses aligned to the striking prowess of vocals and unpredictability, and lastly The Fire. The closer has the heat its title suggests but before it reaches that intensity, simmers and smoulders around vocal melancholy and defiance. When it catches, the track is a furnace of sound and intensity but just as powerful when it’s sonic and atmospheric kindling is just glowing.

Darkness Is My Home is quite simply glorious, a rousing beacon among already a host of great and powerful heavy rock releases. The Ugly Kings better get their passports in order because we get the feeling the world is going to want them blazing away in their backyards hereon in.

Darkness Is My Home is out now via Kozmik Artifactz; available @ https://theuglykings.bandcamp.com/ and http://smarturl.it/DarknessIsMyHome

https://www.facebook.com/TheUglyKings/   https://twitter.com/theuglykings   https://theuglykings.bandcamp.com/

Pete RingMaster 25/04/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dirt, spices, and rock ‘n’ roll: getting a taste of The Sourheads

If you ever have thoughts that real rock ‘n roll is on the wane a quick listen to the new album from British rockers The Sourheads will soon make you think again. Care Plan For The Soul is a nine-track debut full-length, a skilfully and passionately woven roar of classic and fresh rock diversity which snarls as it seduces, thrills as it trespasses ears and imagination. Through our friend Garry at SaN, we had the chance to dig deeper into The Sourheads with guitarist MIK CRONE, exploring the band’s origins, digging into the heart of Care Plan For The Soul, The Sourheads live and more….

Hi Mik and big thanks for taking time to chat with us.

Can you, for those yet to be invaded by your rock ‘n’ roll, first introduce the band?

Jake on vocals, Mik on Guitar, Ben on Bass and Lamb on Drums.

We are The Sourheads and we come from Wakefield West Yorkshire. We are a rock band who take influence from the greats and add our own twist. We like to think of ourselves of somewhat multi-genre and we don’t want to be seen as just one specific style of music. A career band like The Stones or The Who dip into different things but still stay true to who they are…So yea we are a rock band who give it our all live.

The band is said to have emerged in 2016 but does its seeds go further back?

The version of The Sourheads now is the result of many years building. Like Oasis the original version was Jake [Coxon]our singer and his brother Sid who played guitar. They had a string of musicians throughout a short period of time. I first came into the picture as a producer for the band. I had been working with various bands and the early version of the band struck me as a very different but awesome set of musicians. I felt with direction the band could be massive.  Around this time I was asked to join as a second guitarist and a month later Sid left. So at this point we upped our game and decided to focus on a solid tight band and work on the debut album. The Sourheads you see now emerged in 2016.

Is The Sourheads your first ventures in a band or do you all bring various previous experiences and explored styles of music to the mix?

Everyone in The Sourheads has been in other bands before and we are all have different musical influences. This has proved a major asset in creating the sound and style of The Sourheads.. I had a small amount of success with a metal band I was in. Lamb [Chris Lambert] our drummer was in a relatively successful Indi band. Ben [Taylor] has a more Pearl Jam grunge influence and has played bass forever and grew up jamming with his brother Simon (Inme) and Jake has always been a creative person singing and painting and  as I, is more 70s inspired through bands such as The Doors, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple. The combination of these different influences creates the originality of our band. We are what we are.

What inspired the band name?

A Sourhead can be interpreted a number of ways. Bitter and twisted, hungover. There is no deep meaning behind the name.

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

As a band we feel that it is easy to be stereotyped into a genre. We don’t necessarily want that as we are all influenced by different styles of music. What we want to do is wear our hearts on our sleeves and be 100% true to what we are. Our image and sound isn’t contrived, it is pure. Our front man is a character and is like that 24/7.

As a band we have evolved over time and we are now as sharp as a razor. In the last few months we have really tweaked everything so that it is the best we can offer. Little things like changing guitar sounds or what bass amp we use. We are always trying to give the best live performances we can. Through time you learn how to fine tune every aspect of the band.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

Before I joined the band the sound was more indie influenced. When I joined we rocked it up considerably. The band used to jam and have beers and chill out more. Since we started writing the debut album and got the record deal we became more focused. It is important to be professional at rehearsals. As a result we worked on emphasising certain parts of songs, making them tighter and adding dynamics.

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

We have always tried different styles of music when we write. Some songs sound like the Rolling Stones others sound like Black Sabbath. It depends on who comes up with the first ideas, riffs etc at some point we will bring the Synths and organ back out. Everything we do usually comes from a groove, guitar riff etc

You have just released your debut album, Care Plan For The Soul. From its first breath it shares a multi-flavoured, refreshingly dirty and just a little salacious roar of sound and intent; a mix which suggests a varied range of inspirations to the band and individual members. Who particularly stands out as having an impact on your approach to making music?

We take our inspiration from different places. Jake is a massive Doors fan, Lamb is into his classic British Indi music; Ben is also a fan of different styles of music. I look up to any band that has strong songs. Stone Temple Pilots are a massive influence for me. Deftones, Queens of the Stone Age, The Cult, Shed Seven, Oasis, Clutch. We use many colours to create our art.

How would you describe your sound to newcomers?

Iggy and the Stooges mixed with the Sex Pistols thrown into a blender with The Stereophonics and Nirvana.

Classic Rock with an edge.

It feels like it just follows its nose, always prepared to embrace fresh and unpredictable flavours. Is this something you deliberately set out to purposefully develop or a sound and direction which just grew and evolved organically?

We are what we are. People either get it or don’t. One review says we are original and have rewritten the rule book of what a rock band should be. The other will say they don’t get us. Why do we look like we do and why does the artwork not match the music. Well the answer is we are totally focussed and we are 100% us. Everything is totally focused and this is what we do, our sound and direction develop naturally. Luckily our label saw this and our friends like Red Spektor saw this. So it’s better to have a loyal friendship and business partnership and have loyal listeners than to be fake and try to jump on a scene.

How long was Care Plan For The Soul in the making?

We had a lot of time rehearsing and making sure we could play the songs. We could play without vocals, with vocals, without bass or without guitar and obviously all of us together…Probably 3 months of pre-production and a week to record.

It has an instinctive snarl to its air and open rawness to its energy; at times feeling like it may have been recorded live. How did you approach its creation in the studio?

We decided early on that the band has a live energy that needed to be captured so we decided to record live and then delete the guide vocal and do a main vocal later. I also overdubbed a second guitar rhythm track to fatten the overall mix. We also added congas and cello in the overdub stage.

Can you give us an insight into the trials and pleasing surprises you found when recording the album?

We worked with a wonderful producer called Matt Knee and we used an old 70’s BBC mixing desk, this gave us a warmth that we were pleasantly surprised by. We wanted initially to record full analogue but as we wanted to play live we decided it’s may be better to do it digitally but through old analogue gear. This was due to the fact that digital is instant and we knew we had to keep in budget for our business plan to be effective. We needed to make sure everyone was comfortable and the atmosphere was good. We had incense burning and lava lamps. Pretty laid back.

It was subsequently mastered by Pete Maher (The Rolling Stones, Depeche Mode, U2) and released through German Label Kozmik Artifactz. How did those link ups come about?

Pete Maher has worked with everyone and we liked the fact that he worked within multiple genres. Katy Perry, Pink Floyd, Linkin Park are a few of his varied clientele and he had just finished mastering the LA LA Land soundtrack. We knew that attracting a big name would gain us attention and Pete does great deals for up and coming bands. It seemed like a great idea and he did an amazing job. Around this time we became close friends with Red Spektor and their manager Simon. They were saying good things about us in interviews and we were starting to get noticed. I sent a private link of the album to a number of labels and pretty much instantly Kai at Kozmik Artifactz messaged back saying ‘We don’t usually release this style but we think you would fit our sister label Oak Island perfectly so we did the deal and we are honoured to be part of the Kozmik Artifactz Oak Island family. The label is having great success with bands like Church of the Cozmic Skull and of course our brothers Red Spektor.

Can you give us the inspiration for the album title and some of the themes within its body?

We felt that the title had to reflect the song content. Our drummer Lamb came up with it. The songs are pretty intense in parts and cover lots of topics such as Demonic Possession, Marriage Breakdowns, War veterans, soul stealing creatures. When you take this into consideration and then see the album cover is a lone figure stood in the middle of the beach with his dog it’s kind of like that is the care plan for his soul. He is escaping the turmoil.

Is there a particular songwriting process within the band?

Pretty much straight forward…Ben or me write a riff or two. Lamb plays a beat. We arrange the song, record it on a phone then Jake writes the lyrics.

Apart from obvious pride and satisfaction in Care Plan For The Soul is there a particular moment within it which gives you a specific personal flush of inner pleasure?

The whole thing is a major flush of inner pleasure. We set out with a goal and we achieved it on budget and we didn’t move away from our art and vision one bit. This is amazing to us. To have a vinyl copy of the album in my hands and look at the finished product gives me goosebumps. The fact that the digital streaming numbers are good too also feels good. We want to get out to as many people as possible. From the actual recording there are a few moments I like. I think some of the vocal delivery is the best Jake has ever been.  The rush created when he shouts I am the Lotus! That’s a fan favourite moment.

Give us an insight into the live side of the band?

We are told we are extremely good live. Jake is a bare chested beast of a frontman, live truly something that has to be seen and heard. We are very tight and play as close to the album as we can get. I like the idea that we are four individual characters and that as a member of the audience you can get what you are looking for from us. We put a lot into it. I’m swinging my arm in the air and running around; Jake is in the crowd or rolling around on the floor. Ben is grooving away and lam is bashing the living daylights out of the kit.  We are an old fashioned rock band. We put on a show.

Obviously the album is in its early days inviting attention but what is next on the horizon of The Sourheads?

We are hoping to tour throughout 2018 and play some festivals. Do a couple of music videos and keep writing. We have 3 songs written for the next album already. We have also experimented with slightly different sounds. Some old school style Stones vibe.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods?

The most important thing to do is gig swap with other bands throughout the country. There are so many bands who are hometown heroes. That’s all very good if it is a hobby but not so if you want to leave a lasting impression and have your legacy respected. What we have found is the more we play the small festivals, the more the promoters share the information. There is a really healthy underground rock scene in the UK at the moment and everybody seems to be looking out for everybody else.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date; is a battle which has to be waged or a constant weapon for success?

Social media is great if the people already know about you. In the last few years the pay to get hits and advertise your band has really hurt the artist. The idea that you pay £50 to get 300 likes in Indonesia isn’t helping anybody. We have had musical instrument companies say you need so many likes on Facebook for us to consider you. This along with people not actually going on bands websites anymore means companies like Facebook and Instagram pretty much have the Monopoly on online presence. Bandcamp seems to work and I would encourage other bands to check it out if they haven’t already. Webzines like yours also help a great deal. I would say use social media but don’t let it be the basis of promoting your band.

Again many thanks for sharing your time; any last words you would like to add?

Thank you for showing interest in the band. We truly appreciate every website, magazine radio station that helps us spread our message and music. We are fans of music and do this because we love playing and creating our art. People like you keep the musical torch burning bright. There is a buzz and new found enthusiasm for rock music and we want to embrace this whole heartedly.

Check out The Sourheads further @ https://www.thesourheads.com/    https://www.facebook.com/thesourheads    https://thesourheads2.bandcamp.com/

Pete RingMaster 13/12/2017

The RingMaster Review

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright