Bleeding Raven Interview

BLEEDING RAVEN is the aggrotech/dark tek project from Dean Mason of Gnostic Gorilla. Recently he released its debut album via Cleopatra Records. We had the pleasure to chat with Dean about the album, his latest project, a career and life changing set back and much more…  

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

The pleasure is all mine man.

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

In a land…far far away…hahahahaha…Ok, but seriously… I first got the ‘itch’ to record music when I was a teen-ager in high school. Some buddies and I went into a little studio and recorded two songs for a single release. (Dark Hallway/Golgotha) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p05YqqTOS_M  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=047Pk2GhPnY

Thanks to my lovely parents I released a vinyl 45 rpm as just “Dean Mason” with “Lonely Ghost Productions” as the name of the makeshift indie label. I got ‘itchy’ again in 2001 and began looking at music again, but did very little. In 2012, I got right into recording electronic music of a dark bent and scent and thus was born “Gnostic Gorilla” eventually. (I released stuff as The Lonely Ghost Project initially but changed the name to “Gnostic Gorilla”) In 2018, Cleopatra Records released “St. Basil’s Asylum”. (Gnostic Gorilla) In May of this past year, after releasing quite a few albums on different labels (KL Dark Records, Nowhere Now Records, Throne of Bael Records and LGP-ONE) I wanted to pursue something more ‘aggrotech’ in style. That’s when I initiated the “Bleeding Raven” project. Cleopatra released “Darkness Consumed” in October of this year.

How have those earlier impacted on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

As I mentioned earlier, I started off as just “Dean Mason” as a lad. In 2012, the Lonely Ghost Project was launched (so to speak) and then “Gnostic Gorilla” and from that evolved what we are talking about today…that is…the Bleeding Raven Project. My early music in these other projects was a mix of ‘Goth/Dark Wave/Dark Tek/Industrial’. I really wanted to do something more bizarre and almost literally more noisy and that’s when I initiated “Bleeding Raven”. It’s more aggrotech, but I also call it… “dungeon trash”…hahahahahahahahahaha I even have a shirt with that on it.   https://www.dizzyjam.com/products/157830/ 

The image or character of the ‘raven’ is common in First Nations lore and even spirituality. The raven can either be a trickster or mischievous little critter or it can be sort of a symbol of the soul preparing for death of being taken back to the Great Creator. Different nations/tribes have different ideas and stories about the raven. The ‘bleeding’ part more or less speaks of suffering, of hurt etc. So, like my lyrics however, even with the image, I allow people to have their own interpretations. That said, I think always…DAILY…of my many sisters and brothers in the First Nations communities who suffer immensely because of a racist attitude towards them. There are many…MANY young Native women/girls who have gone missing and the effort to find them hasn’t always been fervent. As well, the suicide rate among First Nation teens is extremely high.

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

Well, in the Spring of 2019, I had to be on the road a bit and for some long drives, I acquired on my iTunes a few albums of a more industrial bent. That includes a couple of compilations of various bands. I discovered acts like Die Sektor and Psyclon Nine and I felt very inspired to go in this direction. I sort of started to go in that direction as “Gnostic Gorilla” but I wanted a new project that was mostly aggrotech in style. I came up with the ‘dungeon trash’ (LOL) I released in October and I am very proud of it!

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

Definitely evolved over time. So, when I first started off, I was more into a Gothic sound or industrial. And I still love a lot of that stuff. Always will. St. Basil’s Asylum is a classic and I’m just so sad that it’s still not discovered by many yet. But anyway, yeah…things do evolve. That said, I don’t like the idea of being in a ‘genre house arrest’ and being narrow minded in your approach to music. But either way, it’s all over for me in music anyway so…I’ve done what I could.

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

Well, from the really early days, that is from the days of the Dark Hallway release, things really evolved dramatically. First of all, that 45 was like a mish mash of metal/punk pre-grunge I guess. I was heavily influenced by Gary Numan and yet, try as I did my vocal style was markedly different than his. It’s later that I appreciated that. But, see…I love ALL sorts of music. I mean, sometimes I’m just knee deep  into The Doors and more psychedelic shit and other days I’m into Dio and Sabbath and Type O Negative and Ministry and Rammstein. Other days it’s The Cure or Smashing Pumpkins or of course, classic Numan and Japan or Bauhaus. So, a lot of what I do depends on where I’m at and I guess when it comes to music, I’m moody as hell. hahahahahaha

Do you find the changes have been more of an organic movement of sound or you deliberately wanting to try new things?

I’d say the latter, yeah.

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

So, I make a distinction between that which has inspired and that which has influenced more directly my own style. The artists/bands that have been inspirations are many. Gary Numan, KISS, Type O Negative, Black Sabbath, Rammstein, Japan (David Sylvian) Ozzy, Manson, Korn, Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, Bauhaus, Zardonic, Fear Incorporated, Frost Like Ashes, CRIX IIX and the list is endless. As for those who have been influences, while they include some of the names listed already, I’d say Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Psyclon Nine, Die Sektor. As I always do in any interview, the band that will forever be my absolute favourite is The Doors. The Doors and Gary Numan are both at the top of my own personal ‘chart’.

I also want to give a shout out to Tim Muddiman and NOT because of his connection to Gary Numan. Tim has ventured into more graphic arts in recent years and he is doing some amazing work. THAT very much inspires me…or better yet…I honour the man as an artist in every sense of the word…as a true artist.

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

Yeah, mostly I start off with a vague idea of want kind of song I want to do, Then I begin with beats and drum patterns and bass lines or even synth lines. (it depends) I get a general idea of the direction I want to go in before going far into the track. So, I begin to choose the different sounds and samples/loops that I want as well to give it a mood. More often than not, I manipulate these and distort or whatever to make them unique. Then as the song evolves, there’s the question of whether or not I want a traditional chorus (often not because that’s too pop) and I allow the track to sort of dictate to me where it’s going. Sort of like a First Nations wood carver who allows the ‘wood’ to speak to them as they say. Then when I have a rough demo, I begin writing lyrics and then record vocals. That’s the tough part for many reasons. Lots of hit and miss with that process. I’ve written an entire set of lyrics for a song only to discover that something else would work better and I have to (at times) chop out some of the lyrics. Hard to explain.  Also, sometimes I record the vocals and it sounds like shit. I mean, there is a need for a different ‘style’ all together. After all the vocals are recorded, I go back and add more …sometimes a sample here or an FX noise there or whatever. I’m quite ADD so if there are any sort of ‘blank stare’ moments in a song…that’s unacceptable. It has to be busy. I’m told my music is VERY busy. Then there is the final mix which is a real pain in the ass. Sometimes even at that stage you decide… “nah…this is total shit”! It’s a bit of a drag when that happens though man because you’ve come all the way to a full song and you realize it isn’t happening.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

First off, good for you for asking that because lyrics are important for me… I realize it’s not what the listener first becomes aware of…but for me, the lyrics are important. Anyway, so…I don’t write any lyrics with any sort of ‘agenda’. In other words, I don’t preach or dictate anything. I like a very poetic approach to the lyrics with lots of imagery. Now, that said, there are certain subjects that inspire me. I often write about religious themes or philosophical themes and often touch upon injustice and hypocrisy and hate and injustice for example. But I do so in veiled/poetic language. I want the listener to decide for themselves what it could mean.

Give us some background to your latest release.

 “Darkness Consumed” touches upon a few subjects…again in veiled language. One of the tracks is called “Pontiff’s Nightmare” which is actually about St. Francis. He more or less spooked the Pope at the time with his authentically radical life style and that Pope had a dream about Francis. Francis challenged the corruption of the time by the way he lived. “Salem Vigil” is sort of… but not completely about the Salem witch trials. The song actually addresses the unfortunate phenomenon of ‘religious people’ oppressing and persecuting people who don’t fit their narrow definition of what it means to be ‘good’ or ‘decent’ and ‘righteous’.  In the end, these arrogant and often ignorant people of so called ‘faith’ are the ones who are truly evil because of the harm they inflict on many borne out of their hatred and unenlightened worldview.  

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

So, “Darkness Consumed”…that very title isn’t a nod to evil or the promotion of ‘darkness’. It’s actually about the fact that somehow, ‘TRUTH’ (light) will ‘consume the darkness’ and overcome it. That’s sort of the idea in brief. As I said, I want people to decide for themselves however what something can mean for them.

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

Going back to the very first single “Dark Hallway”…I had everything figured out (with lyrics) when I presented the tracks to the band. I wrote the lyrics in English class (Dark Hallway) while under the influence of benzodiazepines. Hahahahahahaha We were reading “Death of a Salesman” in that class and it was, to say the least, a rather dark story. hahahahahaha

Tell us about the live side to Bleeding Raven.

I have lost the hearing in the left ear completely and totally. It happened in October…Very traumatic actually. I have to protect the little hearing I have left in the right ear which is at half capacity. I want to be able to hear the voices of the ones I love and the more natural sounds in life. For all intents and purposes…I’m deaf. Music is no longer an option. Especially live music, even if I wanted to do something live with a band. Music has been such an important part of my life obviously…but that’s over. That’s the future.

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

You’re correct. It’s very difficult to ‘break through’ in this day and age. There’s just too much out there. I mean, everyone and their cat is putting stuff out. There are so many genres today and so many…MANY indie folks (like me) who have stuff out there and are competing with the ‘big boys and gals’. You have to be creative to get known because sadly, younger people are not interested in new music aside from what they become aware of through video games or TV/Movies. I mean, I’m seriously over generalizing perhaps but it is true that, young people today don’t appreciate music the way people did in the past. They don’t grasp the concept of music as ‘art’ anymore. That’s not their fault. But because of the technology that we have today and with social media platforms…there is too much out there and for younger people, music is just “there for the taking” the way fruit on trees is there to pluck. So, you have to be creative in how you get people to notice you today. It’s not easy.

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

So, this is sort of a continuation of the previous question. Here’s the thing, the internet and social media and digital music etc. is here and it’s here to stay. We are still trying to adapt to this I suppose. Now, you could lament and dream of the “good old days” but that’s all it will ever be…a ‘dream’. Musicians/artists have to adapt. In many ways, it has been a blessing. Many artists would have never been able to put their stuff out there so to speak were it not for the kind of technology we have today. See, I picked up music again in 2012 but only as a hobby. I then, almost jokingly put some of my stuff out there as an indie/unsigned act and I eventually got a label deal with Cleopatra Records, which for me is phenomenal. I will have three releases with Cleopatra Records by end of 2020. (the last one is another Gnostic Gorilla album) I also have releases with three other labels. So, none of that would have happened were it not for the technology we have at our disposal. I guess it’s sort of what you make of it, like anything else.

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

Thanks again to you for the great (and extensive) interview. Reveal?

Ok…I’m  B A T M A N.  Hahahahahahaha  No but, seriously, I thank the many people who have been supportive of me in one way or another…be it family or friends and certainly Benny at Cleopatra Records. As I said earlier, because of the extreme hearing loss (actually deaf completely in one ear and the other is severely compromised) …I have to pack it in with regards to music. I will promote what I have and will have out soon (already recorded obviously) and perhaps a book of lyrics and that’s it. Cheers.

Dean

https://bleedingraven.bandcamp.com/   https://www.facebook.com/bleedingravenofficial/   http://www.bleedingraven.com

Pete RingMaster 17/01/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

From streets and trees

With again thanks to our friend Shauna of the great band Ummagma and leading light of the mighty Shameless PR, we have discovered another clutch of singles sure to ignite your interest.

The Room in The Wood is centred round the creative union of guitarist Paul Cavanagh and vocalist Dave Jackson, the pair back writing and playing together again since the demise of their post-punk band The Room in 1985; a band whose single, Things Have Learnt to Walk That Ought to Crawl still finds an eager place in our ears. That alone sparked real anticipation as what The Room in The Wood might offer and as Charmed reveals, it is pure captivation.

The likes of The Doors, Burt Bacharach, Beck, Fleet Foxes, and Nick Cave have been offered up as suggestions to the band’s sound but as soon as Charmed began its suggestive balladry, it was The Monochrome Set which came to mind and escalated the natural magnetism of the song, To be fair, the track is unique to The Room in The Wood in every way but that additional scent does it no harm as neither the flighty lures of Simon James’ folkish flute and the autumn stroll of drummer Colin George Lamont’s rhythms.

Released via A Turntable Friend Records, Charmed is a slice of melodic beauty with snapping jaws at social disparity and a real joy.

Also released through A Turntable Friend Records is the latest single from the black watch, a LA-based outfit consisting of John Andrew Fredrick, Andy Creighton, Scott Campbell, and Rob Campanella. Crying All The Time is taken from Brilliant Failures, the quartet’s new album planned for release mid-2020 and no finer a teaser for the full-length are you likely to hear.

A slice of psychedelic indie pop, the song has a definite eighties scent to its enterprise; indeed in certain moments and in varying degrees bands such as Echo and the Bunnymen, The Sound, and The House Of Love came to mind though it would be wrong to say that Crying All The Time shared anything less than the black watch richness.

From the citric jangle of guitar to the rampant incitement of rhythms and Fredrick’s participation encouraging vocals, the single rides pop rock instincts with creative boisterousness. Everything about it is virulent infectiousness yet embraces an organic DIY feel which again harkens back to late seventies/early eighties invention and boldness; another of numerous reasons to swiftly check it out,

photo by DC Cane

With their new self-titled mini album set for release January 31st, Beat Hotel share the second single from it on the 3rd. Bury It Deep is a song with an indie rock jangle and melodic pop catchiness and an ear pleasing invitation to that upcoming release.

Featuring current and former members of The June Brides, The Loft, The Weather Prophets, Distractions, Mudlow, Mojo Fins, and Lolita Storm and based between Brighton and Plymouth, Beat Hotel is the long-time project of guitarist/vocalist Paul Pascoe and bassist Arash Torabi. With drummer Dave Morgan having played on records alongside the likes of Jazz Butcher, Primal Scream, Vic Goddard, and Subway Sect, there was plenty to intrigue from the band’s musical experiences alone and Bury It Deep quickly rewarded with its accomplished enterprise.

There is a touch of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions to the song’s guitars at times, a hue which escalates its natural infectiousness and the melodic prowess of Pascoe and fellow guitarist Stephen Brett. With a psych rock breath adding to the track’s shimmer against the darker lit stroll of rhythms, Bury It Deep soon had ears hooked and with increasing strength by the listen. Released through Occultation Recordings, it is a song which suggests that upcoming release will be well worth a good listen.

Also with a new album in the wings, German gothic rockers MONO INC. release a pair of singles to entice ears towards that bigger proposition.

The Book of Fire and Louder Than Hell are the opening two songs upon The Book of Fire LP which will be released January 24th via SPV / NoCut in Europe and ADA / Entertainment One in North America. The eleventh full-length from the Hamburg quartet, it is a concept album of a “time when knowledge gained over centuries was systematically erased…A time of the inquisition”, an adventure the two singles suggest will make for a fascinating exploration.

The band’s sound is a weave of gothic rock and folk scented metal evenly embracing familiarity and uniqueness. The Book of Fire is a canter of melodic dexterity and lyrical intimation and straight away coaxes attention with its melodic lures before bursting into a bolder and heavier surge. Martin Engler’s tones soon unveil the track’s shadow bound tale as the rhythms of bassist Manuel Antoni and drummer Katha Mia echo that darkness.

Louder Than Hell similarly takes the imagination into a saga of drama and darkness and with matching enterprise from its electronic enticing to robust rock exploits. With Mia’s tones a rousing company to Engler’s lead and the guitar of Carl Fornia weaving suggestion as potent as the lyrics, the track makes for a stirring encounter, eclipsing its companion on the way with both tracks joining those previously mentioned in luring intrigue and attention the way of the bigger proposals they come from.

The final single we urge you to go explore is The Delicate Balance of All Things from Beauty in Chaos featuring Wayne Hussey. The song is the first appetiser for the LA-based collective’s new album, The Storm Before The Calm, a release due February 21st via 33.3 Music Collective which as its predecessor sees the project formed/led/curated by guitarist Michael Ciravolo (Human Drama/ Michael Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel) uniting with the craft and talent of numerous musicians.

Also a potent part of that debut, Finding Beauty in Chaos, The Mission’s Hussey joins Ciravolo in The Delicate Balance of All Things, his distinctive tones a calm and suggestive presence within the psych bred web of guitar and the melodic shimmer from their evocative strands. Craftily infectious in groove and gait and hauntingly dramatic in tone and imagination, the track simply bewitched ears and appetite while laying the seeds of eager anticipation for The Storm Before The Calm.

https://www.facebook.com/theroominthewood/  https://twitter.com/davejacksonroom    https://theroominthewood.bandcamp.com/   https://theroominthewood.bandcamp.com/track/charmed

http://johnandrewfredrick.com/   https://www.facebook.com/theblackwatchmusic   https://twitter.com/blackwatchmusic   https://theblackwatch.bandcamp.com/track/crying-all-the-time

https://www.facebook.com/Beat-Hotel-107226936009024/   https://twitter.com/paulbeat70   https://beathotel2.bandcamp.com/album/beat-hotel

http://mono-inc.com/   https://www.facebook.com/monoinc   https://twitter.com/mono_inc

https://www.beautyinchaosmusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/beautyinchaosmusic/   https://twitter.com/MichaelCiravolo

MONO INC.’s THE BOOK OF FIRE TOUR Dates

06.03.20 – Münster, Skaters Palace

07.03.20 – Köln, Carlswerk Victoria

12.03.20 – München, Backstage Werk

13.03.20 – Nürnberg, Z-Bau

14.03.20 – Wiesbaden, Schlachthof

15.03.20 – Pratteln, Z7

20.03.20 – Berlin, Columbia Halle

21.03.20 – Leipzig, Haus Auensee

27.03.20 – Oberhausen, Turbinenhalle

28.03.20 – Stuttgart, Im Wizemann

29.03.20 – Saarbrücken, Garage

03.04.20 – Hannover, Pavillon

04.04.20 – Hamburg, Sporthalle

Pete RingMaster 04/01/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

The Spider Hole – To the Monsters

The readymade entertainment to grace any Wickerman like pagan ritual or meeting of The Monster Club, The Spider Hole unveil a new carnival of dark deeds and imagination prowling adventures under the guise of To the Monsters. The band casts the listener into the heart of gothic tales and creature stalked escapades across the album’s eleven frightmares, each as compelling and arousing as another and all leaving these ears lustfully desperate for plenty more such devilish trespasses.

Hailing out of Phoenix, Arizona, The Spider Hole create a unique and fascinating sound which beguiled as it surprised with its inherent unpredictability within a voracious rock ‘n’ roll heart across To The Monsters. Inspirations to the band are said to include the likes of Tom Waits, Oingo Boingo, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Primus, The Pixies, Frank Zappa, and The Doors; some of which can be openly sensed within the lure of songs. To that we would suggest there are essences that remind of bands such as Helldorado, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, and even more so at times Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers but all spices in a proposition fiercely individual to The Spider Hole.

A mere breath was all it took for our ears and imagination to be coaxed into life as opener Werewolf Biker Bastard cast swarthy sighs of guitar, Kilen continuing to entice with strands of melodic intimation as the growl of vocalist Ethan Scott began its dark narrative. Keys add to the prelude of the adventure before things erupt into a tenacious stroll with its own eager swagger. Sweltering psych springs colour the climate of intimation as bold rhythms continue to prowl amidst the infectious landscape of suggestion and animation.

The outstanding start to the album is in many ways just an appetiser to things to come, each song setting out its own individual web of craft, magnetism, and dark endeavour as epitomised by next up Still Draw Breath, a slab of primal yet deviously designed rock ‘n’ roll with a blues lining to its rise through dank cold earth. The bass of XerXes Quinn is again a predatory lure easy to succumb to as equally the biting incitement of drummer Bobby Blades; the body secured in their trap as guitar and vocals take care of the imagination with their individual tales. With a Misfits-esque draw to its holler, the track just steals self-control like a puppeteer, bones jerking to his incitement as vocal chords eagerly joined with Scott in the track’s voracious carousing.

Hungover at the Eel God Festival is a far calmer yet almost predacious proposition and it too left body and throat subservient to the thick web of temptation it casts with unscrupulous craft. There is menace in its heart and air to equal the seduction in its sound and stomp, band and album continuing to lead us on a salacious dance before Rock, Your Body sprung its own skilful scheming across a pop fuelled, virulently contagious rock ‘n’ roll saunter. An element of enterprise and contagiousness reminding a touch of Black Space Raiders on their last couple of albums only adds to the increasingly raucous and thrilling emprise of sound and manipulation.

The glorious fevered ballad of Chomp-Chomp is next to ignite the senses and passions, its calling swiftly becoming a boisterous blend of fifties inspired rock ‘n’ roll and Rocky Horror theatre and simply inescapably addictive while The Goat Witch of Cornman Road commands the same rich attention with matching prowess through its crepuscular serenade woven upon a skeleton of big rhythms coated in vocal passion and bound in the sonic and melodic intimation escaping guitar and keys. Both songs simply bewitched though they are still slightly eclipsed by the mighty cavort of The Leviathan Stomp. Bestial yet agile in its dynamics and twists, the track as to be honest all, simply had us gripped in its temptation soaked hands.

The cinematic fears of Devil By a Nail initiate a lively shuffle of funk and psych rock eagerness next, the song casting its own Machiavellian enterprise to enslave ears and involvement before The People Who Come Out of the Ceiling creeps into the psyche where it seduces with a tantalising and mesmeric croon with volatility in dark heart. At certain moments Scott’s ever riveting presence and tones are joined by the delicious lure of female vocals though we cannot give a name to their siren whilst in sound the song simply stalks and prowls with rapacious desire; it all together uniting for our favourite moment within the album.

Night of the Nighty-Night Slasher completes the plethora of ghastly tales, its blood strewn romp a tempestuous roar of Ripper like goodness bringing To The Monsters to a mighty and ravenously rousing close.

There are times when we are truly bowled over and lustfully devour the exploitation of our inherent weakness for rabidly inventive but organically hearted rock ‘n’ roll however it is designed and To The Monsters stamps down one of those; an instinctive love of creepy tales and horror fuelled rascality only added extra icing on the pleasure The Spider Hole has undoubtedly unleashed.

To the Monsters is out now across most stores.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/TheSpiderHole/   https://twitter.com/TheSpiderHoleAZ   https://www.instagram.com/thespiderhole/

Pete RingMaster 11/07/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dark Stares – The Lightning Echo

Darkly haunting and persistently mesmeric, The Lightning Echo is the new album from UK rockers Dark Stares. The successor to their acclaimed debut, Darker Days Are Here to Stay, the new release provides twelve tracks which lure the listener and imagination into the realm between warm and portentous dreams; each a siren of intimation and reflection which enjoyably proved rather hard to escape.

St Albans hailing, Dark Stares has been a persistent captivation from their early tracks and EPs such as Octopon and Soul Contract through to that creatively potent first full-length of last year. Looking back to Darker Days Are Here to Stay, there is no doubt that The Lightning Echo is the natural progression to its predecessor but equally it has evolved its own fascination and unique character of sound; a nagging seduction which wraps the senses like a crepuscular animal.

The album immediately strides through ears with You Know Me, the track’s high kneed beats stamping authority on attention as the fuzz bred grooves of Harry Collins wind around them and the equally magnetic tones of vocalist Miles Kristian Howell. From the single song alone it is easy to hear why Queens Of The Stone Age is often used as a comparison though there is no escaping the singular identity of the Dark Stares sound either.

The highly rousing start is prolonged by the similarly anthemic Dance, a tenacious command on the body bound in the dark climes of surf/desert rock. Again the imposing yet contagious lure of Brett Harland Howell’s bass and Taylor Howell’s spirited beats manipulate song and listener, the Middle Eastern lures cast by Collin’s guitar quite irresistible in one of the album’s major peaks.

Next up Spell You’ve Cast is a similarly beguiling temptress if a slightly sinistrous one, its body a writhing tease of grooves and enticing vocals across almost predatory rhythms while the following Crusader brings a dustier desert rock landscaped croon with volatility in its rich fertile earth. Each made for a riveting proposition if the first with fiercer temptation as too Mr Midnight with its rapacious crawl and tantalising menace. As those around it, the magnificent encounter spins a web of flavour and suggestion sparking imagination and appetite for its tenebrific charm and bait.

There is something of a Doors meets Muse shimmer to The Shadows and Faceless Man, the first with its mercurial climate and compelling sonic grumble breeding sheer dark captivation and through the second wrapping an emotive melodic shroud around ears before breaking out into its pensive musing. Sandwiched between them is Today, a song edging more firmly to the sixties psychedelia of Morison and co. and though it does not quite match up to those alongside one that only grips attention and enjoyment.

After them, In My Pocket initially shimmers before catching flame, repeating its persuasive melodic cycle with greater intensity as Zedi Forder-esque hues bring earnest breath to the increasingly compelling encounter while in turn intrigue soaked and with disquieting glamour Misty Lanes makes its potent play for best track honours.

The album concludes with the radiantly rapacious saunter of Dead and Gone and lastly the hearty rock ‘n’ roll of Rebel Angel. Both tracks hit the spot with the first another simply adding to the numerous reasons as to why The Lightning Echo should not be ignored.

Easily The Lightning Echo is the finest moment with Dark Stares to date, one which for us only gets more thrilling and addictive by the listen.

The Lightning Echo is out across most stores May 31st.

https://www.darkstares.com/   https://www.facebook.com/DarkStares/   https://twitter.com/dark_stares

Pete RingMaster 30/05/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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