Maziac – Forged

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pete RingMaster 05/07/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Rosen – Self Titled

With a sound bound to draw comparisons to the likes of Korn and Limp Bizkit but quickly revealing its own individual drama and character, UK outfit Rosen are poised to release their self-titled debut EP. Offering six slices of the London band’s fusion of hip-hop, punk, and nu metal, the encounter is an attention grabbing proposal sparking ears with its enterprise and the imagination with its politically triggered lyrics.

Emerging last year, the quintet takes inspiration from bands such as Hacktivist, Rage Against The Machine and the previously mentioned pair of artists. The release of the first single High Tech Low Life and successor Riot triggered acclaim and support from fans and media alike, nurturing anticipation for something larger which the EP boisterously rewards.

It opens up with Sticks & Stones, the song rising up through the theatre of piano intimation with Frhetoric jabbing vocals leading jousting riffs and teasing rhythms. The guitar of Matt Ress becomes more irritable as a chorus forms, the track swiftly settling back down to repeat its creative cycle. Cole Sław’s keys continue to lure and suggest as the punchy touch of Frisco beats impose; a mix of the familiar and boldly fresh courting the appetite like a mix of The Kennedy Soundtrack and Papa Roach tinted by an industrial/darkwave hue something akin to Pink Turns Blue.

High Tech Low Life follows and almost immediately flirts with wiry grooves and a controlled but salacious swing encouraged by the throbbing bass of Kam Ikaze. As with its predecessor, there is an inherent contagiousness to the song, one elevated in its chorus around equally captivating vocals but just as manipulative throughout as the song strolls through ears. From beginning to end, the track is superb, enticing body and vocal chords as well as thoughts in an instant before Pushing Raw simmers and bubbles into view. Rap and synth rock entangle as the track quickly got under the skin, a rich Tech N9ne spicing adding to its organic magnetism and adventurous enterprise.

It proved so hard to choose a favourite track within the EP, the first trio all firmly lingering in thoughts and pleasure as too next up Hallelujah. The likes of Clawfinger, Fuckshovel, and B Movie all came to mind as the song calmly and effortlessly infested ears and imagination. Again lyrics and their delivery left as potent an imprint as the sounds around them, a rich trait echoed in Reverie straight after. Probably the song did not stir the passions as boisterously as its companions yet its atmospheric tone and melodic web only enhanced and enriched the already impressing release.

Riot brings things to a close, its electro punk scented entrance soon a blend of antagonism and seduction, again Clawfinger reminded of as well as very early Ministry though as for all songs, it’s individually is overriding. More volatile by the chord and vocal dexterity, the track is a web of temptation which never really unleashes its animosity but certainly snarls as it arouses.

Very good things have been said about Rosen and the EP has all the evidence as to why. Simultaneously it attacks and scythes through injustices and society’s waywardness while inflaming the senses with its insistently compelling, at times enjoyably tempestuous sound. The beginnings of great things for them and us we suggest.

The Rosen EP is released July 27th.

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Pete RingMaster 23/07/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

We Are Band Nerds – Forget Me Nots

When something is self- described as “Deftones meets Outkast” you just have to have a sniff but it was a mighty lung full we subsequently grabbed when diving into the debut album from US outfit We Are Band Nerds. That description certainly fits the Dallas sextet’s sound, though we would also suggest The Kennedy Soundtrack at times in their blend of alternative hip hop and nu metal, yet there is so much that is individual to the band that it is one imagination grabbing adventure within a debut which just demands plaudit loaded attention.

We Are Band Nerds consist of Brandon Cross (Lead Singer/Rapper), Tony Lucas (Rapper/Vocalist), Dorian “Scullie” Thomas (Guitarist), Carlos “DJ Sol*Los” Juarez (DJ/Sampler), Stephen “S Dot” Bonilla (Drums), and Santos “Sandman” Johnson (Bass). They all bring individual craft and loves into a united sound keenly embracing further diverse styles from jazz, metal, electronica, rap, and varied rock music. Within their first full-length, Forget Me Nots, it quickly proves to be a fascinating mix. Lyrically too the band transfixes, never pulling their punches whilst showing honesty fuelled insight and craft which whether with subtlety or force bewitches as firmly as the sounds around them in songs exploring the depths of everything from relationships to racism, poverty to life’s experiences.

From opener Hunger Games it grabs ears and imagination, electronics almost teasing as they suggest and lure before embracing a current of metal nurtured riffs, dancing beats, and the vocal prowess of Cross and Lucas. The snarl of the guitars is gripping and portentous; vocals matching their angst and irritability with the pair of singers and their individual styles a magnetic union.  All the while the melodic instincts of the band add a mesmeric glaze to veins of creative suggestion and the encounter’s natural rawer rapacity. It is a compelling mix of threat and contemplation in word and sound and a gripping start to the album.

The following Whore has an instinctive catchiness from its first breath of voice and bass, their natural swing controlled but bold and setting the tone for the outstanding track. Like a clock, each note ticks by with consistency and intimation, vocals matching their gait yet all the time volatility in the song’s belly is brewing and stirring, never truly erupting but adding a rousing trespass between the crystalline breaths and organically bred emotions. Like Palms meets Mudvayne in an unexpected way, it is simply glorious and reason alone to check out band and album.

Fake In You similarly has a relatively calm climate within which turbulence and intense shadows lie, essences which burn bright at times but are tempered by the atmospheric glides of the keys and the smooth blend of rap and clean vocals. That tempestuousness does take hold momentarily towards the song’s close but again is dampened down by the tranquillity and beauty of melody before Dreamer opens its heart and diminishing hopes through elegance, grace, and corrosive intensity. As with all songs, hindsight brings a sense of familiar hues within the inventive drama but there is no chance of predicting the landscape and enterprise of each encounter as hearts are shared and thoughts turned over.

Without quite stirring the passions as thickly as those before Under Water still holds attention tight with its evocative drama in sound and word amidst rapacious metal encroachments while American Trash springs from an electronic breeze of an interlude/intro into a heady windstorm of sonic manipulation and lyrical dissonance, though never breaking from its restraints to truly create a blistering tempest.  That control just makes the song though, ensuring its portentous air is a tantalising harassment behind more of the stirring blend of mellow and ire sealed vocals.

The industrial bent Hagel Trumpf is a prowling predator breeding addiction and lust for its senses preying beauty lit with nu metal stalking while Savage borders on the carnivorous, in comparison, but too holds its ferocity in an embrace of suggestion soaked harmonics and melodic intrigue. Both are mutually unique and magnificent, just two more reasons to be excited about their creators and lustfully keen to recommend the album they grace.

Forget Me Nots concludes with Fade Away, a scalding slice of rap and rock infused metal which is the band at their organically rawest on the album but once more infused into a searing irradiation of melodic beauty. It is a compelling end to an album which we can only repeat, must be checked out especially if those comparisons at the beginning hit the spot but equally atmospheric metal/rock in general.

Forget Me Nots is out now via Pavement Entertainment across most stores.

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Pete RingMaster 09/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Mid Reflection – Outcast

Reaping the rich essences of punk, rap, ska, and heavy rock for a sound which echoes the heart felt honest words it surrounds, UK quartet Mid Reflection have just released their debut EP. Outcast is a four-track incitement of creative intent and open emotion with plenty to please fans of those genres just mentioned and equally those looking for something fresh and hard to truly pigeonhole.

Drawing on inspirations ranging from Linkin Park and Sublime to Gorillaz and House of Pain, London based Mid Reflection emerged in 2016. In no time they were making a strong impression on the London and South East live scene, their reputation constantly increasing as they shared stages with the likes of Imperial Leisure, New Town Kings, and Karl Phillips. The Outcast EP is their introduction to broader attention and quickly incites that inescapable success with its opening title track.

An initial guitar melody wraps ears first, rhythms soon adding their inviting yet dark hues as frontman Matthew Bishop, aka 2T’z, raps his open reflection on some of the battles in life he has overcome. Just as quickly is an instinctive catchiness in sound and vocal delivery to which guitarist Martin Velicky spins a captivating web of melody as bassist Nathan Neumann provides a suggestively brooding shadowing. The beats of drummer David Bean add to the dark edge surrounding Bishop’s recollections of being bullied whilst Velicky’s guitar also carries a certain melancholy in its melody and defiance in its enterprise as the song makes an impressive start to the release.

Nevertheless it is soon eclipsed by the bouncing [Spunge]-esque ska pop stroll of Illusions. The track had ears and appetite hooked within seconds, its familiar yet individually fresh infectiousness and invention surrounding another lyrical probing inspiring fiery bursts of rock ‘n’ roll trespass. The old school punkiness which escapes some of its moments just adds to its strength and imagination, and the pleasure before Legalise It springs its own raw edged rock ‘n’ roll speared headed by the machine gun rap delivery of Bishop. With repetitive riffs and hooks, the song is not the most boldest on the release yet every thrust of its rhythmic incitement, blaze of sonic electricity, and roar of vocal carousing hits the spot.

Foes brings things to a close, offering up a thicker dose of The Kennedy Soundtrack spicing hinted at in the EP opener. Centred on betrayed friendships, the song is a melodic tapestry of emotion and intensity which seems to only further blossom listen by listen.

It is a great end to a release which may not forcibly put Mid Reflection on the ska/punk/rock map but will surely awaken a great many more to their presence and a rich potential which rather excites.

Outcast is out now through iTunes and Amazon.

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Pete RingMaster 29/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Energy Alchemist – Reminder EP

Adding to the list of fascinating proposals made this very year is the new EP from US quartet Energy Alchemist. It offers three tracks which within their electronic rock tagging embrace the essences and rich strains of metal, dubstep, and heavy and progressive rock amongst numerous flavours. It ensures each song is a tapestry of style and unpredictable enterprise delivered with a craft which together ensures that the release and Mendocino County, California based band stand out.

The brainchild of vocalist/guitarist/programmer Bill Hankins, Energy Alchemist is completed by vocalist/guitarist Julian Sterling, bassist Erik Koski, and drummer Matt Heath. Earlier this year they released their well-received album Ghost in the Machine, an encounter creating dramatic weaves of sound and styles upon a rhythmic adventure as bold and captivating as the imagination wrapping it; an adventure now built upon by the Reminder EP.

It opens up with its title track and instantly Reminder entangles ears with its electronically bred almost skittish beats and the tantalising tendrils of synths. As vocals join melody casting guitars in the blossoming track, a spicing akin to The Kennedy Soundtrack reinforces its lure. It is a tempting further increased by the brooding tones of bass and a scuzzier lining to keys with beats continuing to provide their hungrily persuasive and often unpredictable touch as the song twists and turns. It is a wholly magnetic affair which impresses more and more with every listen, revealing an entanglement of new creative hues and spices with UK outfit Axis Mundi brought forth at times as a hinting comparison to its electronic trance rock exploits.

The following Way Too Late similarly has attention quickly held, the two prong vocal enticement of Hankins and Sterling a potent invitation into the brewing drama of sound where metal nurtured riffs and electronic endeavour unite with a funk lined tenacity. That steel edge continues throughout the song, often giving it a bite and intensity which its predecessor lacked to take the Energy Alchemist down a fresh avenue without losing their creative fingerprint. As the guitars and bass, keys explore a broadening canvas where progressive hues combine with rave/dubstep inspired electronica to infest the imagination and match the pleasure spawned by its companions.

It is a reward especially powerful with closing track Flush, the song an apocalyptic trespass aligning strains of industrial metal and predacious heavy rock with electronic suggestion. It is also a web of warm temptation and poetic melodies which skilfully contrasts the raw heart and frame of the song, an invention further exploited by the stringed seduction and vocal dynamics interspersed within the imaginative ventures of guitars and synths.

Taking best track honours, it brings the EP to a fine and rousing close. As the other pair, it suggests that the Energy Alchemist sound is far from being the finished article but such its potential locked into the band’s already open craft and imagination and their sublime fusion of varying styles, an appetite for the band’s music is increasingly unavoidable.

The Reminder EP is out now @ https://energyalchemist.bandcamp.com/album/reminder

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Pete RingMaster 24/10/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Aliases – Derangeable

Aliases_RingMasterReview

Obviously, it is too early to suggest what will be the best of 2016 but amongst album contenders we suggest you can expect to see Derangeable flirting with the top spot. The new and second album from British progressive tech-metallers Aliases is simply majestic, inescapably irresistible, and a proposition more than living up, in sound and imagination, to its title.

The brain-child of former SikTh guitarist Pin and fellow six-string maestro Leah Woodward, Aliases quickly whipped up attention and eager appetites from the first steps of its emergence in 2010. The band’s first year saw ear exciting single We Never Should Have Met create a potent buzz; an introduction quickly backed by the band making their live debut at Euroblast Festival in Germany and subsequently signing with Basick Records. Highly acclaimed debut album, Safer Than Reality, was uncaged in 2011 to swiftly make the band a potent presence and protagonist within tech metal and suggest the potential to rise to the stature of Pin’s former band. With a new vocalist and drummer bringing their prowess to events, Aliases easily live up to that promise and indeed have more than matched, and arguably surpassed, anything previous exploits have offered with Derangeable.

The album is a non-stop, often exhausting kaleidoscope of sound and invention; a release as technically beguiling as it is infectiously compelling and creatively mouth-watering. It is also an openly individual and unique proposal which at times borders on the loco in its dance of craft and imagination. It all starts with Find Where You Hide, a track which leaps at ears with a wall of imposing rhythms and spiky guitar coaxing as new vocalist Joe Rosser springs with equal attention grabbing zeal. From his initial dirty tones, he swiftly gives a glimpse of his melodic and harmonic diversity which increasingly shines across song and especially album. If ever a voice was perfect for an unpredictable and fluidly eventful sound, Rosser’s is it; his delivery and invention seeming to flow and prowl the inventive discord and flirtation lining every twist and turn in sound with their own striking adventure. The song itself continues to seduce and incite; the sultry addition of sax, antagonistic beats, and finally classical keys, just a few strands in the enthralling tapestry of the song.

art_RingMasterReviewEverything Is Upon Us is soon dazzling ears and thoughts with its instant busy weave. Entangling varied metal bred lures with funk, avant-garde, and nu-metal devilment, the track enslaves in seconds. The guitars of Pin and Woodward simply dance with almost schizophrenic invention whilst Joe Heaton’s bass prowls through it all like a predator equipped with resonating groans and salacious grooving. As with all songs, it is impossible to reflect the emprise of senses twisting and psyche captivating exploration going on, every second seemingly a new cascade of adventure as shown again in the beefier and equally melodically alluring Back To The Start. Shaped by the crafty swings and beats of Jof Walsh and coloured by the impressive vocal exploits of Rosser, the song emerges like a mix of The Kennedy Soundtrack, KingBathmat, and maybe unsurprisingly SikTh on the way to being something distinct to Aliases.

The pair of Smile All You Like and Deep Sea Avenue keeps attention tight and the imagination stirred; the first with its intricately woven exotic bedlam of guitar and rhythmic ingenuity ridden by the great vocal resources of Rosser and band. It is a fascination of sound and imagination emulated in an even more strikingly unbalanced way by its successor, a track that growls and leers at the listener whilst taking them through its sonic psychosis. It is an outstanding and virulent treat of sound and temptation pretty much matched in success by the lighter yet just as frenzied tango of Uncontrollable Desires. There is a touch of Korn and System Of A Down to the song; spices which simply add to the irresistible web of creative alchemy infesting body and spirit.

The commandingly intensive and barbarously engrossing Callous comes next; it a merger of contrasting shades of aggression and intent bound together by the band’s ever riveting casting of unhinged innovation in sound and idea. It completes a quartet of unmissable favourites at the centre of Derangeable, though through the agitated maze of Face For Lust, where the bass is instinctively flirtatious, and the similarly dynamic and left-field bearing Seen It All, the album and pleasure are locked closer together than ever.

The album comes to a mighty close with the grooved beauty and psyche bending resourcefulness of the wonderful Untangled Mind and finally the warm harmonic charm and mischievous eccentricity of Above The Sky. The pair provides a quite glorious and lingering conclusion to not only one of the year’s major triumphs so far but one of the most enjoyable and impressive adventures in the history of tech and progressive metal. Derangeable is one of those releases which are destined to become an inspiration to others and the best friend to ears and imagination; the tag of genius is already on the lips in reference to their glorious triumph.

Derangeable is out now via Basick Records with buying options @ http://www.basickrecords.com/releases/derangeable

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Pete Ringmaster 18/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Hacktivist – Outside The Box

Photography and editing by Perry Westphal

Photography and editing by Perry Westphal

It has been a fair time in the coming but the highly anticipated debut Hacktivist album is finally about to be uncaged. It is a rage living up to the heights and promise of the UK band‘s previous self-titled EP whilst pushing further the band‘s imaginative distinct fusion of nu/alternative /progressive metal with extreme and electronic textures aligned to rap/hip hop fuelled incitement. In some ways it is not bold enough in its exploration and creative drama. Occasionally there is the feeling that the band missed opportunities to create a landmark proposition, but truthfully from start to finish Outside The Box leaves an already established appetite for their sound more than thickly satisfied.

Emerging in 2011, it is fair to say that the Milton Keynes quintet has been leaving deep marks on the British metal/rock landscape whether through their ravenous live presence or that aforementioned EP and surrounding singles. They have been devoured by fans and media alike even with a sound naturally which is going to make as many enemies as long term friends such its unconventional and unpredictable character. Festivals have equally have embraced the band, and Hacktivist them by lighting up the likes of Reading, Leeds, Sonisphere, Rock Am Ring, and Rock Im Park these past years. So as suggested, Outside The Box has bred plenty of intrigue and expectations in the wait for its eventful arrival, a pressure it more than deals with, if without quite realising its own potential at times.

The album opens with Our Time; a track featuring Marlon Hurley which lays out a dystopian atmosphere as an emotive climate springs from keys and spoken vocals before the muscular weight and intensity of the band bears down on the senses and imagination. It is a stalking rather than an assault but with djent spicing to its teeth, the track is a waking up of attention for the following tempest of Hate. An electronic coaxing entices ears initially, though its touch is as sinister as it is magnetic, especially once the subsequently duelling and colluding vocal rapacity of J Hurley and Ben Marvin steer the descending storm. Like a cantankerous cousin to The Kennedy Soundtrack, the track lures and berates the senses; eventually unleashing its full animus with intrusive grooves from Timfy James and predatory rhythms spawned in the creative venom of bassist Josh Gurner and drummer Rich Hawking.

art_RingMasterReviewThe track is a gripping affair followed by Deceive & Defy. It is the first in a trio of re-recorded older tracks amongst eight new provocations, and features Jamie Graham from Heart Of A Coward as guest vocalist. With ambience soaked smog around a rapped narrative, the song’s entrance is restrained yet dramatic, increasingly so as firmly swung beats and agitated riffs build towards an open almost carnal hostility of sound and tone. The track swiftly and increasingly pleases yet it is one which maybe holds back and never quite delivers the raw intensity and explosive adventure hinted at and expected.

It is something Taken certainly offers; its snaky steel lined tendrils of guitar and combative mix of melodic, raw, and spat vocals firing up the passions for antagonistic confrontation alone. The band builds on that with imaginative slips into harmonious vocals and warm melodies shared by James, moments which surprise and reveal the blossoming invention of the band’s songwriting. With Rou Reynolds from Enter Shikari guesting, the song leaves ears and thoughts eagerly involved as does the instrumental, The Storm. It is an evocative moment in time reflecting the physical and emotional aspect of its name, time giving the listener time to regroup before No Way Back launches its dissension. With a scent of Heart of a Coward and Monuments to it, the track badgers and tears into the senses with its jagged stabs of guitars and barbarous rhythms, soothing the wounds with the sighing caress of keys whilst a triple threat of vocals keeps ears consumed and eager to embrace the volatile textures being blended.

A re-working of False Idols comes next, the song moving from an opening romancing to a mountain of groaning rhythms and gnarly riffs bound in viperish grooves. The track certainly pleases without making a big stir in its opening moments but as each passing minute uncages more creative and intimidating adventure, the song blossoms to impress in a way fresh to its original version, even though the differences are not as dramatic as they might have been. The track is a standard bearer all the same but eclipsed by Rotten which sees Astroid Boys and Jot Maxi involved. Weaving essences reminding of Tech N9ne and Twizted into a progressively atmospheric climate, the track simply seduces the imagination as it provides a new strain of invention and diversity to the album.

Elevate has been re-tuned for its place within Outside The Box, given new sonic oil and vocal attitude as it builds build on its first outing in the band’s earlier EP. It is a dogfight for ears and a showdown for emotions as it attacks and stirs up a bedlam of carnivorous textures and electronic trespasses. Melodic and harmonic caresses add a great tempering but they never subdue the thrilling discord and friction of sound and voice.

Lyrically the band is as sharp and incisive as expected but at times they seem to carry a chip on their shoulder which does not lie quite as well as their more politically incited targets. It is something which can be said about the album’s title track where, even with the broadening investigation of its narrative, it captivates most potently in sound.

The album is brought to an exhilarating close by firstly the volcanic and bestial enterprise of Buszy, a deft entangling of contrasting textures in a maelstrom of ire and creative intensity, and lastly by The Storm II, a melodically elegant and sonically ravenous flight into uniting emotional resonance and turbulence. Both provide a climactic and impressing close to an album which itself is only striking.

Whether Outside The Box could have been even more impressive and impacting will surely be debated, our thought being that maybe it missed a trick or two knowing the invention and craft of the band. From start to finish though, it had ears and emotions enthralled and greedy for more; a success no one can turn their nose up at.

Outside The Box is released March 4th via UNFD / Rise Records through most online stores and @ http://www.hacktivist.uk.com/store/products/outside-the-box-cd-2/

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Pete RingMaster 03/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Audio Poets – Make a Scene

artworks_RingMaster Review

Such the almost scattergun diversity escaping Make a Scene there are times you wonder how it works with such coherent unity but it does and what is on offer is one gloriously rousing and dynamically imagination incitement for ears and emotions. The new album from US rockers Audio Poets, it is a thumping merger of pop punk, alternative rock, and unbridled rock ‘n’ roll, to try and slim it down, which leaves an increasingly greedy appetite breathless for more.

Formed in Dallas as 2014 made its goodbyes, Audio Poets quickly hit the live scene the following year, playing their first show in Buffalo with Rookie of the Year. Debut EP Colours had its successful release the following month before the quartet spent the spring of 2015 recording Make A Scene. The latter months of the year saw the album uncaged and the band relocate to Los Angeles, as well as hungrily hitting the live scene across the US. The UK and Mainland Europe are now in their live sights for 2016, the band ready to pounce on the already eager reactions to the galvanic sounds and the quickly impressing adventure of Make a Scene.

Recorded with producer Geoff Rockwell (Forever The Sickest Kids, Memphis May Fire, Crown The Empire), the band’s album swiftly hits a rousing plateau with opener The Anthem. A scuzz lined guitar makes the first invitation with its sultry hues, the lead vocals of guitarist Chris Durio quickly adding their punch to the attitude loaded proposal. As the track develops there is no escaping the potent and enjoyable Rage Against The Machine essence to the track, it coming bound in just as appealing stoner-esque grooves from the fiery guitar enterprise of Bru Whitley and Durio who create a magnetic web around the increasingly defiance loaded narrative and vocal tones.

It is a riveting and contagious start to the release but soon overshadowed by the outstanding Wake Up. Straight away that variety in sound and imagination is arousing ears and thoughts, the second song bounding around with pop punk energy and revelry whilst casting an aggressive CIV like snarl and melodic tempting. There is a touch of UK band Hawk Eyes to the romping escapade too, enslaving hooks aligned to rowdy but controlled dynamics colluding excitedly with the darker inviting prowess of bassist Mike Knight and the sinew swung beats of drummer Landon Jett.

Next up Not My Time is a triumph to match the last, this time the band exploring a My Chemical Romance meets Fall Out Boy like theatre of invention and creative mischief. Feet and hips are soon seriously involved with the more restrained, compared to its predecessors, yet feistily swinging canter of the spellbinding song and its unpredictable invention. There is a serious urge to dive right back into the track after its conclusion, though that is soon diverted by the punchy roar of Burn and after that, the album’s Marilyn Mansion scented title track. For the first, Durio mixes his strong clean tones with more rap bred vocal jabbing, though this time The Kennedy Soundtrack is a closer hint to the adventure of sound and voice on offer. As the song evolves between standing toe to toe with grouchy agitation and seducing with poetic melodic infectiousness, a touch of Lost Prophets slips into the captivation, that one more arguably familiar colour which, as within every song, simply helps flavour something openly unique. Next up Make A Scene flirts with and barges across ears with a virulence of craft and sound which again has the body and emotions subservient; electronic and industrial ingredients as powerfully persuasive as the punk infused rock ‘n’ roll at its heart.

Fiery interlude Space is more the doorway into a new turn to the album than a break, its cosmic air a progressively textured tempting for the imagination before Revolution stands tall and defiant in attitude and sound. Featuring Jay Miller of Texan band Drudge, the song is a brooding maelstrom of imposing rock ‘n ‘roll spiced with melodic hardcore imagination and an array of intriguing sonic colours and styles. It easily holds attention and enjoyment tight and leaves satisfaction full though it is maybe not as inventively bold and tenacious as earlier songs, a success found by the equally weighty emotive and tempestuous embrace of Wounded Eyes. Mixing a rich blend of varied metal infused rock flavours, the track is again an encounter fulfilling all wants and hopes if without quite breaching the same plateau the album set in place early on.

Do You Feel It (Now) brings a feistier and in some ways creatively livelier proposal with its tapestry of styles soon after, vocals and sounds from every corner of the band helping draw physical participation before closer Make It Through, escorts ears into a broader electronic landscape that sees the album go out on a potent high.

For personal tastes the album produces its richest and most ingenious mastery across the first five or so tracks, exploring more emotively shadowed and intensive depths to matching success thereafter, and from start to finish Make a Scene is one irresistible and rousing temptation from a band surely heading towards major attention.

Make a Scene is out now through most online stores.

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Pete RingMaster 07/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Smash Hit Combo – Playmore

shc_RingMaster Review

Released recently, Playmore, the new album from French rap metallers Smash Hit Combo, is a proposition loaded with familiar elements and a rugged character which seemingly wears its influences openly, yet from this breeds something enjoyably fresh and certainly fiercely rousing. It storms the senses like some recognisable tempest generating an easy persuasion without prominently feeding expectations and carries a crossover roar of sound which reminds of many, yet twists it into something that, if not majorly unique, has the Smash Hit Combo hallmark.

The Cernay hailing sextet began in 2004 with the varied background and tastes of its members creating a mesh of rap, hip-hop, and thrash lined metal. Early demo Next Level was unveiled the following year before debut album Hardcore Gamer was released in 2007, an encounter awakening stronger attention and praise from fans. Two years later its successor Nolife emerged to stronger acclaim of fans and media; the release showing a more mature and varied colour to their music which continued to grow and move on through full-lengths Loading and Reset of 2010 and 2012 respectively. Playmore shows another evolution with darker metal tones aligned to jagged djent enterprise and nu metal devilment, it all colluding with the band’s rapcore heart. As suggested it brings a familiar aspect to its body through this union of styles yet makes an invigorating proposal for ears and appetite from start to finish.

cover_RingMaster Review   Playmore opens with In Game, electro hints within a sonic mist lacing ears before the song erupts in a tenacious shuffle of biting riffs, swirling acidic guitar, and imposing rhythms, all driven by the dual vocal raps of Paul Vuillequez and Maxime Keller. As the music, the pair’s delivery shifts and turns with clean vocals additionally fuelling the warm chorus whilst subsequently gaining greater ferocity and aggression in their lyrical spits. It is a thoroughly engaging and bracing mix which continues to leap around snarling and alluring before Sous pression takes over with an initially similar regime but is quickly uncaging its own melodic and predatory mix. It does not quite have the impact of the first song yet with the guitars of Baptiste Ory and Anthony Chognard spinning an engagingly textured web made up of melodic soars of enterprise and carnivorous growls aimed at the senses, it is a perpetually enthralling offering again as impressive in its vocals and harmonies as it is in tempestuous sound.

Baka hits a major high spot for the album next; its climatic air and virulently twisted landscape complete with aggressive attitude, a bracing and throatily roaring terrain of cartilage grinding riffs and bone shuddering beats from drummer Hincker Brice. Like Meshuggah in a salacious fling with Beastie Boys and (Hed) P.E., the track is a bestial treat wrapped in sonic imagination with the bass of Matthieu Willer the most predacious element in the outstanding storm.

Both Quart de siècle and Time Attack thoroughly please, if not quite reaching the same peak as those before. The first is a melodically bred persuasion bringing thoughts of The Kennedy Soundtrack to the fore before corrupting its calm with volatile intensity then restarting the cycle over again. Its successor is a bruising seduction with an industrial like haunting to its relatively peaceful atmosphere and tortuous angst through to its primal expulsions of sound and emotion, and like its predecessor, fully captivating with new nuances revealed in every listen.

The brief melancholic and electronically sinister instrumental of B3t4 warms the imagination for the crunching touch and stark landscape of Animal nocturne, the song another ripe with volatility in its presence and heart. In certain moments it stalks the senses and in others has the psyche embroiled in a maelstrom of melodic expression and deranged djent seeded animosity, rhythms and bass enhancing the mix with their fluid swings from antagonism to gentle temptation.

An opening melodic cast serenade opens up Déphasé straight after, its opening lure soon over run by intense emotion and ravenous sound but continuing to lay its highly persuasive colours throughout the raw and oasis like calm of the excellent voracity of noise and creative attitude. Its triumph is quickly matched and then ferociously surpassed by the hellacious turmoil of Le vrai du faux, the song a furnace of scuzzy guitar, waspish grooves and barbarous rhythms, again guided by just as varied and impassioned vocals. Flirting with some Limp Bizkit contagion as it gets more ferocious, musically savage, and enterprising, the track plants another big favourite moment in the body of Playmore.

It is a pinnacle closely repeated by the technically bedlamic and compelling Irréversible, where again elegant calm and ravishing hostility in sound and energy collide in a skilled and constantly evolving union. Arguably the most involved and boldest song on the album and one of its most enjoyably fascinating, it blisters flesh and withers the senses whilst equally exciting the imagination and seizing the passions; it another best track candidate with increasing persuasion with every involvement between ears and band.

Playmore is concluded by 48H, a partly English sung offering vibrantly merging sparkling harmonies and vocal prowess with an undulating atmosphere of raw emotion and reassuring calm. It is a great end to an increasingly enjoyable release. Many tracks share closely matching tones and templates and as suggested before, each comes with sounds you can easily imagine inspirations of, but most importantly the album just holds attention and thick satisfaction in its hand from first to last note. Smash Hit Combo deserves broader spotlights and Playmore just might be the key.

Playmore is available now via Slam Disques from online stores and at the band’s Bigcartel store.

Pete RingMaster 17/09/2015

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

The LaFontaines – Class

The LaFontaines_ Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

Tagged as Scotland’s biggest independent band, there is no doubting that anticipation for The LaFontaines’ debut album has been in full swing on the back of acclaimed releases and a live presence seeing the band headline shows in New York, tour the UK and Europe with Watsky, and play their biggest headline sold out show to date at Glasgow’s ABC amongst numerous successes. The majority of that happened in a triumphant 2014 for the band but it is easy to expect bigger, more forceful spotlights upon the band in this with the release of the thrilling and fascinating Class.

static1.squarespace.com_ Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review   Formed in 2010, the Motherwell hailing quintet first snatched attention with the All She Knows EP in 2013, following its success the following year with the similarly eagerly received Under The Storm EP. The absorbing diversity and sounds of the Matt O’Grady (You Me At Six/Don Broco) produced Class now blends the qualities of those previous releases with a new adventure of invention and enterprise. It is at times a startling release, persistently a striking one, and even when its persuasive energy slips a touch, album and indeed band just enthral as they brew up an impassioned and tenacious incitement. The words of frontman Kerr Okan probably describes it best when he says, “We’ve spent the past 3 to 4 years leading up to this point. Everything we’ve seen on the road or experienced together as a band has finally made its way onto record. It’s guaranteed to shock those who assume we’re simply just the best live band in Scotland. There’s so much depth to these songs, a load of pain and struggle, but underlying throughout all of the writing, is some real grit and determination.

There can be few albums this year with as rousing a start as Class offers through Slow Elvis. From a distance the song looms on ears, hitting them on arrival with pungent anthemic rhythms and fiery riffs. It is not particularly aggressive or explosive yet within seconds the opener has ears and appetite seriously aroused and hanging onto its swing. Spatial sonic endeavour fills air quickly too, surrounding the swaggering vocal rap of Okan as bass and drums intensify their bait with a snarl and punchy attitude. Additional vocal calls and melodic revelry only adds to the incendiary brew, the track evolving into a Rage Against The Machine meets Lazy Habits encounter wrapped in the sultry hues of Muse.

The sensational start is quickly backed by the similarly electrifying Under The Storm, a burst of guitar sparking handclaps and melodic vocals with fire in their breath. The track is soon shrugging off any restraint and with sinews flexing, it strides resourcefully through ears behind scythes of guitar and bass which in turn are led by the stirring mix of clean and rap cast vocals from bassist John Gerard and Okan respectively. Though openly unique compared to its predecessor, that description of references again applies, and like the first song is twisted into something unique to The LaFontaines. Unpredictability also is a ripe asset to both songs, and indeed the album, that and the great Scottish lilt fuelling the jabbing potency of the rapping.

     The album’s title track comes next, a gentle caress of melodic temptation crooning over the senses as rhythms fling their enticement around in a robust dance. Once more the mix of vocals is a magnetic tempting in the indie seeded and lively serenade of the song, the melodic lure of Gerard as potent as the creative jangle of guitar from Iain Findlay and Darren McCaughey. Revealing more of the depth and imagination in the band’s songwriting and sound alone, it is replaced and emulated by Castles. This too has a reserved touch yet its heart is a blaze of sonic expression and evocative intensity. A sizzling start slips into a mellower embrace around Okan’s delivery, both taking ears and thoughts by the hand and leading them into new eruptions of emotional drama. Without quite matching the plateau of the first few tracks, the song easily steals full attention with its Biffy Clyro meets The Kennedy Soundtrack like canvas evolved into something distinct to this new breed of Scottish rock ‘n roll.

King steps up next, its great bluesy guitar twang an immediate tasty enticing to which a throaty bass groan from Gerard and the punchy spits of Okan bring their own irresistible tempting. Featuring guests Luke Prebble and Michael Sparks, the song whilst wrapped in the tangy keys of McCaughey and vocal harmonies prowls rhythmically and emotionally. Gospel like in ambience, mischievous in imagination, the track has ears and appetite hungry, their need fulfilled by Junior Dragon. Not for the first or last time, drummer Jamie Keenan stirs up body and emotions with his skilled incitement from which the song exposes an even grittier and volatile side to the band’s sound. Arctic Monkeys like in devilry, Freeze The Atlantic like in energy, and Able Archer like in creative grandeur, the track grows into a rich bellow of voice and sound for another major highlight of Class.

A fiercely shimmering persuasion comes with All Gone next, another with a predacious edge to its rhythms and character backed by a great rapping stroll from Okan but maybe for the only time on the album a strong impact slips as the melodic and harmonic side of the song flows. Nevertheless the track captivates and solidly pleases if without finding the spark which ignited earlier songs, an ingredient the outstanding Window Seat has in strength. A more smouldering persuasion, it takes time to reveal all its rich levels and qualities but over time becomes a mighty peak of the album. It is an intense slice of emotional balladry built on a muscular frame, this draped in quite superb and mesmeric vocal strengths. It might be ballad like but there is a tempest at its heart which makes the song a volcanic croon and just irresistible.

Enjoyable but less dramatically engrossing is All She Knows, an easy going and arguably formula song in respect to the band’s songwriting. It is relatively unique to outside references but finds it difficult to stand out in the richness around it, though again to be fair the track is only enjoyment for ears, something which again applies to Paper Chase. Its eighties indie pop essences definitely add something fresh but once more the track struggles to linger like the insatiable successes elsewhere upon Class.

The album closes with the thick and shadow enriched caress of Pull Me Back, keys a melancholic but dramatic expression against the anthemic beats of McCaughey. They are a mere moment in the ever evolving landscape of the excellent song of course, every second, note, and syllable from across the band just inventive theatre.

It is a fine end to a thoroughly exciting release. Certainly there are moments when Class slips from its loftiest perch but it is generally down to the brilliance of some songs in comparison than the failures of others. As suggested, the first album from The LaFontaines has been long and greedily awaited and now here it undoubtedly lets no one down.

Class is available now via 889 Records from most online stores

http://www.thelafontaines.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/thelafontainesmusic

Ringmaster 17/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net