Asa-Noir – The Fall Of The Idols

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    If you are looking for a real musical adventure then listening to The Fall Of The Idols, the new album from Finnish metallers Asa-Noir is high on the list of recommendations. Everything about the release is adventure, from its aural exploration and lyrical narrative through to its appetite inflaming flavouring and exhausting imagination. Band and album make a riveting and forcibly compelling endeavour with more distinct metal variants than flood warnings found in the UK right now. It is a glorious and seamless blending of textures and sounds into that extensive range of styles, a fusion which emerges as something mouth-wateringly invigorating, boldly exciting, and strikingly unique.

     The band found its seeds in the Finnish town of Hämeenlinna where guitarist Ville Oravala and drummer Ilkka Koivisto united their skills in 2004.Taking inspiration from the Norwegian black metal scene into their fascination with Norse mythology and Gothic horror fiction, Asa-Noir evolved and emerged with initially a heathen black metal encounter but as time passed and the band expanded, and from all accounts persistently changed, so did its sound. Now a sextet of vocalist Henri Asikainen, guitarist Kalle Hotti, bassist Antti Koivisto, and Toni Haapasaari on keys alongside Ville Oravala and Ilkka Koivisto, the magnetic metallers unleash The Fall Of The Idols, a record which given the chance will bring the band new and greater recognition you can only surmise as it seduces and voraciously toys with the passions.

     Released via WormHoleDeath Records, The Fall Of The Idols continues the band’s lyrical premise and artistic investigation based in the native European religion Asatru whilst infusing elements and visually stimulating aspects of the works of writers such as Poe and Lovecraft. Being our first meeting with Asa-Noir, how the new album differs from the band’s earlier sounds is impossible to reflect on but with a presence which can only be described as passion raising metal in all its melodically buoyant and aggressively hungry glory, The Fall Of The Idols is an enthralling and masterful provocateur which to be truthful we cannot get enough of.

     The opening instrumental Lokasenna gets it all off to a stunning start. It is an epically toned flight through an evocative and stirring desert like sultry landscape, sands of time and dusts of generations flying across thoughts whilst holding ominous and dangerous secrets. It is a rapturous start, a visually incendiary soundscape setting the listener up perfectly for the blazing tempest of the following title track. Immediately consuming the ears in a sea of symphonic and power metal rapaciousness with snarling riffs and reserved but intensive rhythms, the track takes little time in igniting thoughts and emotions. The vocals of Asikainen provide a grizzled texture to the melodically elegant keys and folkish warmth which emerges, his tones as gritty as sand but soaked in enticement rather than threat. It is a transfixing piece of malevolent but fully welcoming persuasion leaving an urgent hunger to delve even deeper into the album.

    The Cosmogonic Process follows with a more electronic and industrially honed opening, though guitars and bass are soon entwining the radiance with strict preying riffs. Not as instantly accessible as its predecessor and less intensively aggressive, the song unites dark shadows and melodic beauty in a tantalising flame of enterprise latched to dramatic textures created with open and incisive craft. There is so much going on in the song, with a similarly potent sparking of the imagination in tow, that you almost need to take a song one at a time to bask in and reflect on everything you have heard for full appreciation, but then again with a fully raging appetite from almost the first minute too impatient to wait you just have to move on and admit that to explore individual moments more that is what repeat listens are for.

    From the previous track which at times brings Canadian underground metallers The New Jacobin Club to mind, Asa-Noir open up Solitude In Silence with an orchestral piece which is again wholly cinematic though igniting a comparison to films like Love Story with its romantic air. It is just an early caress though as the track breaks into a muscular stride with an anthemically fuelled flame to its evolving melodic expedition. It once more creates a web of temptation which is impossible to resist or remove emotions and energy from, the embracing swagger and triumphant gait of the song aggressively spellbinding.

    The likes of the irrepressibly tantalising Hawthorns and the rich foreboding imaginative storm of Rise Of The Lokean continue the ever intensifying entangling of thoughts and emotions whilst Spirit Of The Unrest works its way almost insidiously into the passions with a symphonic, gothic, and slightly thrash blessed united suasion that feel like a gift with barbarous intent, a sonic Trojan Horse of sorts. Amidst these though lies the pinnacle of the album, the magnificent Naglfahr Lounge Music. It is festivity and anthem sculpted into an irresistible riling of the heart, and almost alone a reason why Asa-Noir should be sought out.

     Completed by the rigorously commanding and tempting Torn By Thorns and the closing portentous instrumental Drowning, it is impossible to validly offer anything up to temper the virtual lust we have for The Fall Of The Idols. People’s tastes and wants obviously vary but it is hard to imagine that fans of melodic metal however it comes, and the album probably employs it anyway, not finding a real feeling for and pleasure from this immense offering from Asa-Noir, a band turning metallic ‘theatrical drama’ into something to greedily devour.

https://www.facebook.com/asanoirband

10/10

RingMaster 04/02/2014

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Eibon La Furies – The Immoral Compass

Eibon la Furies 3

It is fair to say that The Immoral Compass, the new and second album from UK dark metallers Eibon La Furies is not going to be for everyone and will possibly draw as many unfavourable responses as acclaimed ones. It is extreme metal in its most provocative though maybe not for the reasons you would suspect. Bringing black and avant-garde metal into a devious league with dark symphonic rock, the quartet and their album challenge emotions, rising up against thoughts and expectations to deliver an unforgettable encounter, though not always memorable for all the right things. At times the release pushes one’s limits over the edge with an almost deliberately obtuse proposition but all the time there is a toxicity which lures in the senses and brews an intrigue that is hard to ignore.

Formed as a solo project by vocalist/guitarist Paul D Sims under the guise Lord Eibon Blackwood in 2006 and with the intent to create industrialised black metal and dark ambient music inspired by Victorian occult spirituality, Eibon la Furies released the demo EPs Something Wicked This Way Comes and Yours Truly…From Hell. The project next expanded to a trio with the addition of drummer Jamie Batt (as Battalion) and bassist Matt Cook (The Furious Host). Following an appearance at Bloodstock Open Air Festival in 2009 as the best unsigned progressive band, the threesome signed to Code666 who released their debut album The Blood of the Realm the following year. To help push their boundaries and creative ideas the band recruited lead guitarist Neil Purdy last year and set about writing their second album. The Immoral Compass is the result, a release which does have its ups and downs but is fuelled by riveting imagination and undeniable musical craft.

Inspired by the shadows in humanity the album is a melodramatic narrative lyrically and musically, its large melodic fires and sinew ELF Artworkdriven rhythms helping to sculpt songs which twist and turn on a whim and continually enthral like a sonic magnet. There are less successful times where you wonder what went wrong, but you never want to leave as when the album is on full song it is a dramatic rewarding beauty.

The opening instrumental intro The Compass Awakes is an evocative piece which paints an emerging dual sense of wonder and uncertain menace, the guitars and keys overpowering thoughts into creating their own dramatic revelation. The piece passes into the following Immoral Compass to the World, a track which takes an instant to cloak the ear in intensive guitar strikes and atmospheric keys from Sims whose vocals stand astride the emerging aural palette of suggestion with a gruff growl of a delivery. As the keys swoon and soar before the senses the track plays like a mix between Cradle Of Filth and The New Jacobin Club, but a paler version of what you would imagine their union to produce to be honest. Despite that the song is still a strong enough temptation to delve deeper into the album which repays with a mixed but persistently satisfying bag of adventure.

The opening song does instil one requirement when taking on the album, the need to engage in its confrontation numerous times before making a decision. There is so much going on in each track that you have to make many visits to dredge their depths and imagination, most emerging better and stronger the more you explore them as with second track Astronomy in Absences. From a celestial flight the song flexes its muscular riffs and even more ruthless rhythms, a thrash coaxed blackened tempest consuming the ear whilst the guitar of Purdy lights its skies with some stirring sonic flames and enterprise. The track does not exactly get the pulse racing but again there is plenty to investigate and devour for an increasingly greater flavour the more you immerse in its progressive temptation.     Imperial Jackal’s Head is the same though the song is the first more notable moment within the album. An initial almost like Rammstein call especially vocally, prowls along the galloping sonic blaze which cores the entrance of the song. A slip into a venom bred vocal tale puts a rein on things before expanding its evocative heat of melodic and sonic commentary. Musically the track boils impressively with hooks, grooves, and melodies all lingering treats but overall vocally the song does little to match the sounds, though at times they do work rather well.

The merger of beautiful potent classically shaped keys and again less satisfactory vocals marks Flames 1918 (A Song for the Silence) to give more doubts room to think but suddenly from this point the album seems rise many levels starting with An Enigma in Space and Time. Bordering hostility throughout whilst simultaneously being just compelling the track twists and turns through a maelstrom of textures, styles, and pace with a hunger and energy that intimidates and seduces contagiously. It crawls along the lips of rock opera it has to be said but with further impressive guitar work, rapacious bass lines, and flames of imagination the song is a pinnacle soon matched by both Who Watches the Watchers? and Conjure Me. The first swarms over the senses with a choir of glorious voices veined by dark hearted riffs and forceful rhythms before the serpentine grizzled tones of Sims add a delicious alien presence. It is a tremendous track, with only the flat sound of the drums something to moan about. Its successor dangerously beckons the ear with female siren calls whilst riffs and grooves swarm like hornets in her charm.  With familiarity to the predacious song which escapes definition it eagerly romps with a bedlamic breath and presence.

The sultry yet threatening voice of Ascending Through Darkness offers up another powerful encounter whilst the ballad The Vanguard with its spoken narrative and absorbing guitar elegance, just gets better with each listen, especially the folky march of rhythms and song towards its end. Final track The End of Everything… (Or the Beginning of it all) provides a closing wall of inventive and enthralling instrumental storytelling leaving thoughts and emotions wanting more of certainly the second half of the album.

The Immoral Compass is a very decent album that has to have time and patience to prove its case which for the main it does with strength and craft. Eibon La Furies may not have given us a classic release or one which you can take to immediately, but it is definitely an album given time which makes a companion you get the urge to return to.

http://www.eibonlafuries.co.uk/

7.5/10

RingMaster 27/08/2013

 

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Antipope – 3 Eyes Of Time

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With more grooves than a tyre wall at Silverstone, 3 Eyes of Time the new album from Finnish harsh progressive metal band Antipope is an intriguing mix of flavours and spices within a weave of eclectic metal influences. Awash with vibrant melodies and pleasing progressive enterprise it is a release which ignites plenty of appetite for the band and whilst not being the best or most original record to step forth over recent months it is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable.

Formed in 2004, the Oulu band have always been aside of most extreme metal bands, essences of black and death metal standing side by side with those of doom, gothic, and industrial metal within a continually evolving landscape of ideas from the band. After numerous EPs and demos Antipope drew the strongest attention with their debut album Desert which was released in 2010 on their own TCM Records. It was followed by the band signing with Violent Journey Records for the follow-up House of Harlot the following year and also this their third full length. Their second album saw the band create an even more groove laden collection of songs which 3 Eyes Of Time pushes further within its rich wealth of shadows and rapacious sound. The new release also sees vocalist Mikko Myllykangas take on bass duties after fellow band founder Santtu Heinilehto left the band in 2012, and leaves an eager wash of satisfaction for its imagination capturing escapades.

Opening song Close makes its introduction with a melodic beckoning of a singular guitar which smacks of The Eurythmics song Antipope_800Sweet Dreams, it is a heavily shadowed lure with bass in tow soon joined by a magnetic sonic tease and the expressive vocals of Myllykangas offering a slight Marilyn Manson feel. Once settled into its place the track wraps emotive arms around the ear whilst the vocalist moves through varied deliveries to bring a pleasing and unpredictable voice to the melodic wash now in charge of the still attention grabbing sinews. It is not a startling encounter but a strong and satisfying beginning to the release which passes over to the excellent Last Chance.

Guitar and bass immediately provoke and niggle the ear with compelling temptation whilst concussive beats begin their offering to the brewing sense of antagonism. What follows is a tempest of demanding but thrilling rhythmic and riff laden hunger lain with potent melodic endeavour and power metal like embraces. Admittedly the song ebbs and flows with the insistent and industrial honed urgency leaving the appetite greedy whilst the gentler flames incites a drop in intensity to the brewing ardour but it all goes to make the song imaginative and enthralling.

The following stroll of electronic and gothic metal fusion The River Standing Still, keeps attention firmly gripped, its heavy shadows and symphonic whispers expressing a temptation which is rich and teasing whilst the solo and melodic invention leaves a healthy desire for more. There is a sense of The New Jacobin Club to the dramatic presence of the song which asks and gets stronger involvement in its narrative whilst the following likes of the Fear Factory/ Type O Negative sounding Burn with riveting rhythms from drummer Tuska E. adding stronger addiction to the thrillingly carved textures from guitarists Juho Rikberg and Antti Karjalainen, the mix of smouldering atmospherics and fiery invention that is Exposure, and A Decomposing Ritual of Absorption all offer variation and refreshing individuality to the album. The last of these three is a prowling and consuming sinew veined cloud of blackened progressiveness and melodic acidity dripping emotive provocation and inciting expression.

With both The Logic of Self-Discovery and closer Guiding Light bringing further potent highlights to the album, the last a brawling insurgence of thrash filtered intimidation with sonic intrigue and melodic magnetism, 3 Eyes Of Time leaves a full stomach of pleasure and invigorating creative energy. It can be argued it also leaves a feeling of a lost opportunity in its wake as throughout there is a feeling that songs could have been pushed into greatness and adventure but it does offer complete enjoyment which is impossible to dismiss.

http://www.antipope.info

8/10

RingMaster 10/05/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The New Jacobin Club: Left Behind EP

After their deeply impressive album This Treason of 2010, Canadian horror rock band The New Jacobin Club return with a 15-year anniversary release in the shape of the Left Behind EP. It features four of their songs from the nineties which they have  re-recorded and re-orchestrated for this special project. Released in May and coinciding with a tour around Western Canada, the EP might also just give us an insight into the next album from the band, tentatively titled The Mark. In a recent interview frontman/songwriter The Horde explained how the new EP sort of came about by the band looking at the effectiveness of older material after some of the songs from their last album proved difficult to play live. How that will translate to new material only time will reveal but from the great reworking from the current septet of songs written and performed back when the band was a quartet at most on Left Behind, the prospect is exciting.

The EP starts with My Smile, one of two songs that though regulars of The New Jacobin Club live set in 1996 never had an official studio treatment or public release. Hearing the quality of the songs with When Evil Comes Out To Play being the other track, it is surprising this is their first appearance outside of those first live shows. Obviously the band has updated them with their full and immense sound but the core of a song never truly changes and My Smile especially is an easy equal to the recent material of the band. The song is a short  energetic slice of horror veined rock with a compulsive punk vein throbbing within bringing a Danzig like tone to the infectious and energised heart of the song. It is track that feeds the senses wonderfully, its body uncluttered and undemanding as it romps with a breath that is vibrant and refreshing. The electric cello of Luminous gives eager warmth to the song as it gallops across the ear with the theremin conjurations of Poison Candy searching and lighting deepest corners. The band may be looking at removing the complexities of future music a little but as this song proves they still intrigue and ignite the senses with thoughtful and fine craft.

Demon Princess comes next, a song like the closing live cut on the EP that made its first arrival on the self titled album from the band. The track masses around the ear with a weave of expansive synths from  Brother Vitruvius and the melodic guitars of The Horde and The Fury, the combination instigating a slow and assured consumption of the senses. The track offers a menace fuelled by the bass of Swarm and the combative drums of The Rat King that pervades the atmosphere of the song like a creeping evil and is seemingly reluctant to leave as the song draws to a close.

The early Misfits/Danzig like When Evil Comes Out To Play stomps into view with a confidence borne of secure wicked intent, an air that swaggers and taunts with a dark mischief. The track canters with an infectious groove that is impossible to avoid falling in league with and by its final departing note voice and limbs are eager bedfellows to the music before them.

Closing on the excellent live cut of Blood Of The Servant Girl, a track that will easily convince you to go check the band out if they ever pull up their blackened carriages to a town near you near you, Left Behind is a great addition to the already formidable catalogue of The New Jacobin Club and the perfect introduction for newcomers to the band. As a celebration of 15 years it could not be a finer release and as a teaser for future sounds it is a mischievous instigator of impatient anticipation.

    Left Behind is released May 22nd digitally as a pay what you want download and as an exclusive CD with record-style packaging.

www.newjacobinclub.com

Ringmaster 24/04/2012

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The New Jacobin Club Interview

Recently here at The RingMaster Review we came across a band and album that stopped us in our tracks with its majestic darkness and vibrant energy, as well as a creativity and theatrical presence that captivated deeply. The band was Canadian shock rockers The New Jacobin Club and their album This Treason. The album, their music and jaw dropping live shows show a band with a perfect grasp on originality, visual impact and insatiable impressive metal sounds. We had the pleasure to find out more about the world of The New Jacobin Club thanks to the band agreeing to and taking time out to answer some questions.

Welcome to The RingMaster Review and thank you for taking time to let us ask you about all things The New Jacobin Club.

So The New Jacobin Club, where, when and why?

HRD (The Horde) – The group began as only a trio in 1995, the original members a combination of inexperienced instrumentalists or from other existing groups of contrasting styles. The New Jacobin Club was a response to the mid-90’s holier-then-though attitude prevalent in Canada at the time within the underground punk and hardcore scene, bands signed to labels like Fat Records. We were politically incorrect and unafraid to incorporate those views into subjects of the occult, demonology and history.  There was no scene for what we did. We created our own. We put up with a lot of hostility for being attention grabbers at a time when everyone was obsessed with the “message in the music” and how if you dressed for the stage and emphasized the performance you were somehow less of a musician.

We’ve always been based out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which is the dead center of Western Canada. Probably the most land locked place in North America.

For all those still not had the pleasure could you introduce the members of the band?

HRD – We have a large group, we rarely get every member on stage every time we organize a series of concerts, but the line-up that was on stage throughout 2011 has been:

The Horde – guitar/vocals, The Swarm – bass/vocals, The Fury – guitar, Vitruvius – synth/vocals,  Poison Candy – theremin/percussion/vocals,  The Luminous – electric cello, Rat King – drums

We see some shuffling of duties at the end of certain shows – Rat King playing guitar, or The Luminous picking up the bass. Our programmer and former drummer Eclipse (who played on Retake the Throne & Wicked City) also sometimes joins us onstage.

When did the current line-up get together?

The Horde

HRD – After we finished 2 years promoting “Wicked City” in 2006-2007, we met up with 2 members of what would become the Angry Teeth in a short while. We put together a big carnival themed event with some other collaborators from a local burlesque group and realized we couldn’t go back, and that this was going to be expected of us again and again.

The beginning of our relationship with the Angry Teeth in 2008 was the beginning of a new band line up as well. We gained Rat King, replacing our previous longtime drummer who had just moved to the UK and Vitruvius on synth. Luminous and Candy joined during the long process of recording This Treason (2009 – 2010), although both of them had been indirectly involved with the band before that.

The band has had quite a few changes in personnel over its fifteen odd years, has this been something that in hindsight has improved the bands diverse sound over the years?

HRD – New members have always provided the band with a new angle on the material. The songwriting core has been largely the same for 10 years, but the interpretation and delivery of the music has always stayed exciting and new. Everyone has brought something unique to the table that puts an imprint on the band, and becomes part of the sound and style.

RAT – Each new member brings with them something different which the band can use to expand on its main theme. So basically the band changes when its members change. With a band that’s been around this long, “improvement” is relative. For a band to improve it has to evolve and continue to be a positive creative outlet for all involved. Each album and lineup has done this; therefore making every effort the band puts forth a positive addition to its continuing career.

Is losing a member something you can ever get used to, especially if they have been part of the band’s life for a fair amount of time?

HRD – When it’s someone who was responsible for a major musical component it can be frustrating. I now look forward to the mystery of what we’ll be gaining rather than what we’re losing. We’ve never had a member leave on bad terms, it’s just that this group can be incredibly taxing to be a part of, and we all completely respect anyone’s decision to retire. We all have responsibilities and careers outside of the group as well, sometimes they take us places the band can’t go.

LUM- Every new member is a growth, but every loss is a tragedy. It’s a unique part of the sound that won’t be present in our future endeavors. Luckily, we console ourselves by the fact that we are truly a “club” of sorts and old members are never far away and usually willing to come back and moonlight from time to time.

How would you say The New Jacobin Club has evolved most predominantly over its existence, in sound and live?

HRD – The music angle is weird, I think it’s the delivery that has evolved the most. The delivery is dependent on the diverse line up of musicians in the group.  I tend to write songs with the group in mind, to play on everyone’s strengths and make the most of our instrumentation. So what we’re working on now will be sonically very different from what worked well with the line up we had for Wicked City, or the punky power trio that we were in the 1990’s.

As for the live performance, I think it evolved hand in hand with the sound. As we grew as musicians and songwriters we began writing more and more elaborate parts. It forced us to concentrate more on our musicianship. We’ve all improved with age, and the comfort zone of our technical ability has widened, allowing us to put more emphasis and energy into the performance. You could say that as the music evolved, the side effect was a more commanding and confident live show.

How does the songwriting process work within the band?

LUM – It’s definitely a collaborative approach. A majority of the ideas both musically and thematically are put forth by

The Luminous

our founding father, The Horde, but everything is laid out on the table in raw form and all of us get a chance to add our own unique spin on the idea and we collectively morph it into what you see on stage and hear in the recordings. And as our avid fans can attest, we are never “done” with an idea. Our records show how our changes in line up and personal taste have driven us to re-vamp older tunes into something that inevitably comes “alive again.”

Your last album This Treason is where we came across you, a release that it has to be said left us open mouthed with awe and pleasure. How long was it in the making?

HRD – It started in late 2007 with one song – the title track.  Then it turned into 4 songs that were linked together, for a possible EP.  By summer 2009 we were performing half the album live on tour, and it helped the process a great deal. It was a year of writing and rehearsing and another year of recording and assembling the elaborate package that included the promo video, live show, documentary footage and concept artwork.

This Treason is an involved yet easy to digest concept album, can you tell us about its theme and inspiration?

HRD – In 2007 the remains of a man who had been hung, drawn and quartered were found in an English abbey graveyard.  Speculation was that it was a portion of the mutilated body of Sir Hugh Despenser the Younger, executed for treason n the early 1300’s. He was accused of sleeping with and manipulating King Edward II, “sowing discord” between the King and Queen. The story is so involved I don’t even want to start. It’s full of plotting, backstabbing and revenge, not a single character involved could be said to be any sort of hero, although we do make Hugh out to be a sort of sacrificial lamb for a world lost in its own wickedness.

Since 2007 there has been a lot of attention drawn to this enigmatic medieval villain. A fairly well received historical fiction novel was written about his family (“The Traitor’s Wife” – Susan Higgenbotham), which I was only made aware of when our album was about to be released. A UK writer, Jules Frusher, is currently working on a book that focuses more on the man himself, and I have corresponded with her on several occasions since we were both eager to exchange opinions on the subject.

Was this the first album to be made this way or did Retake the Throne and Wicked City also have a theme?

HRD – Retake the Throne and Wicked City both had unifying themes. Retake the Throne was about the evils of ruling political bodies and the ignorance of the masses to their oppression.  Victor Hugo’s depiction of the urban masses in “Notre Dame de Paris” as well as the French revolution was the main sources of inspiration, but in no way did the album tell a story.

Wicked City was a little more of a concept album. It is about the western world as a theocracy, a ruling class using religion to excuse their brutalities and atrocities. We covered a lot of ground on that one, from the Russian Revolution to witch hunts in colonial America.

Is it different to write an album with a distinct connecting theme compared to one made up of unconnected songs, especially lyrically?

HRD – It didn’t seem that different, it almost seemed natural. It was like having a story first, then fleshing out the script. When we decided on a whole concept album and not just a 4 song cycle, it progressed incredibly quickly. I laid down the storyline as a sort of song by song narrative with what lyrics already existed and made booklets for each band member so we could finish the complex soap-opera like tale as a group.

The album as it unveils its tracks feels like an aural play, or maybe theatre is the best term, is that how you look at it?

HRD – This Treason is a tale told from the point of view of different characters, each with their own story – making it more of a rock opera than just a concept album. In fact, the way the songs describe events slightly out of order is kind of like watching Pulp Fiction – the stories all cross each other’s path but viewing them in chronological order would not make sense.  We like to think that it is a larger story told episodically, which is how we treated it live, like a theatrical compilation of one person plays all tied together with a common background story.

The one description of your sound and band that is famously used is that you lie “Somewhere between the realms of mid-era Judas Priest in a straightforward rock/metal style and newer era Misfits vocally and visually.” With a sound that is vibrant with much more than that in our view how would you describe yourselves?

HRD – That was from an American magazine, Metal Mania or Metal Maniacs, around the time “Retake the Throne” came out almost 10 years ago. It’s probably time we stopped allowing ourselves to be described that way. I think the anthematic element in our songwriting and the way we deliver pop and rock sensibilities in a barbaric and colorful way is our signature. We have evolved far beyond “horror rock” to still easily describe ourselves that way.

LUM – We’re a Pandora’s box. Untold horror, ecstasy and wonder are found within and will manifest differently depending on who does the unleashing.

What are the personal influences that have made the biggest impact on yourselves as musicians and the music you create?

HRD – There’s so much – it would be impossible to name any that I would consider a general influence on the band as a whole. Killing Joke is a big one for some of us; we even covered Love Like Blood live and on our 2008 Final Entertainment Show EP.  Conceptually and musically I think they’ve been pretty important too. Canadian visionaries like Forbidden Dimension and Voivod are both also massively big influences in terms of inspiring our plans for a unified musical, visual and lyrical theme.

In addition to the traditional instrument set up there is the haunting and emotive sounds brought by the electric bass of Luminous and Poison Candy on the Theremin.  Did the songs you were writing guide you in this direction or the decision to add them came first?

HRD – Luminous first joined us on stage in 2009 before we began recording. We had lots of orchestral arrangements planned for some songs and we wanted to see how having a live string instrument on stage would enhance that rather than just hear it through a synth or backing track.  The theremin was originally written into the instrumental “Kronos Devours His Children,” but then we found a couple other spots for it so we could justify having it on stage when we performed the album live. Candy also plays some baddass tambourine and provides some backing vocal harmonies.

This Treason also contains a DVD combining a live performance with interviews and backstage extras, do you feel this was important to in a way make a personal connection with fans, showing the band as people and something all bands should do at some point?

HRD – Yes, and also to give fans elsewhere on the planet the chance to be at one of our shows. It was also almost a necessity, we aren’t just musicians in the studio, we are performers as well. We wanted to give people a live performance they could take home with them. I know a lot of bands are scared to do that sort of thing – to put their technical imperfections and personalities on display like that, but I think it does give the fans a sense of really having been there. I would hope that people watch it and not only think “I’d love to see this show in person” but also “I’d love to hang out with these weirdos.” Some of our biggest fans have turned into good friends over the years.

Your shows are events, more than just simple gigs they are a full theatrical performance. One assumes from the beginning it was different, so how and when did the shows evolve into the full experience they are now?

HRD – The band had toyed with theatrical bits on stage as far back as 2003.  Our first shows with extra theatrical performers in 2008 were not true collaborations, the sideshow and burlesque dancers performed separately and not with the band. It was summer 2009 that we came up with the first unified stage show – the “Cannibal Circus Roadshow”,  Rima and Firecrotch Jones call it a “psychodrama.”  As the band expanded as well as the membership of the Angry Teeth, bigger and more involved stage spectacles were added. We needed big stages with proper backstage areas to safely perform, so it was a pain in the ass to tour with. For our stage show to promote “This Treason” in 2010 we had a dangerous number of people on stage.

For shows as you said you expand with the addition of The Angry Teeth, can you tell us about them? They were a completely separate troupe before the band or evolved because of and with The New Jacobin Club?

TNJC with Angry Teeth

HRD – The Angry Teeth were a group that broke away from a larger act. They wanted to do more bizarre and theatrical things instead of just traditional sideshow tricks. They still do perform occasionally on their own.

How do you find first timers to your shows react with the combination of your music and energy being punctuated with the disturbing visuals of The Angry Teeth? How many leave in shock haha?

HRD – A surprising number of people that come to our concerts are there out of curiosity, and later tell us something like “that was WILD! When are you playing in town again?” And the coolest part is they are not there because they are fans of metal or goth or freakshows, they just came out because they heard it was a great show.  I think the shock factor in what the Angry Teeth do lies in the reality of it. We have a saying that we like to remind people of – “Gwar is not real, we are” The machetes and swords are real. The syringes and sledgehammers are real. The costumes are real, the armor is real. The fire and torches and chains are real. And when someone bleeds, it’s real. I think the audience picks up on this and they aren’t cheering out of shock or awe, but in the same way you cheer on a fighter who refuses to stay down.

Watching the DVD that accompanied your album This Treason, the visuals the Angry Teeth bring onstage seem connected to the song that surrounds them, so do you all as one decide on what the girls bring to a gig at those points or do you trust and give their ideas full independent rein?

LUM – As can be imagined, there is no “standard” way that those girls do anything. They’ll bring forth an idea that they’re really excited about pursuing and we’ll try to work it into our set or we’ll express a visual that we want to convey and they’ll devise a way to make it happen. It’s always a work in progress making the different genres of art complement one another, but we really enjoy pushing the boundaries of “the experience.” At the end of the day, we aim to entertain. That’s what it’s all about.

Do you change the live show from gig to gig or play the same show across a tour or series of gigs as with for example, around the release of This Treason?

HRD – Typically we prepare a stage show for a series of concerts, like a touring theatre production. The more elaborate ones are conceptual collaborations with the Angry Teeth that usually see some sort of disturbing or enigmatic story unfold with the music. The “Cannibal Circus Roadshow” tour 2009, “Acts of Treason” 2010 and “Moral Adventurers” in 2011 were like this. A few elaborate shows are only performed once, like the infamous “Ragdoll Tea Party” show we did in late 2009 some of which appears on the DVD included with This Treason.

Home city is Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, not known for its musical heritage around the world. How is it for music and how has it if at all, helped shape your music and direction?

HRD –In a smaller more secluded community you stick out that much more. I think it trained us to be unafraid of making a spectacle of ourselves. Groups from bigger cities have such a conservative attitude about what’s cool and what’s not. We have absolutely no inhibitions. I would say that’s what Saskatoon gave us.

Our hometown did get some major press in Rolling Stone when the Sheepdogs (from Saskatoon) made the cover last year. They wrote an article on what Saskatoon was like and made it sound like a northern backwoods village full of drunks, prostitutes, hockey hooligans and really seedy bars with horrible music playing in them. Perhaps there are a few bits of truth in that, but the music and arts scene here is unbelievably vibrant. Bands from the bigger Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver often comment on how busy and diverse the scene is here despite our small size and population. Amigos Cantina, the club that we filmed “Inside the Cannibal Circus” at was named by the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Council) as one of the 20 most important live venues in Canada.

With the size of Canada and vast distances between some cities how easy is it to expand beyond your home area through the country let alone into the world?

HRD – It’s tough. It sucks. Sucks sucks sucks. We are a 5-6 hour drive away from any city that would be considered “big.” Any band that tours Western Canada puts some serious mileage under their belts just to play a handful of shows. We have recently begun to be more aggressive with our online presence to balance that out.

You have shared stages with the likes of Nashville Pussy, Groovie Ghoulies, KMFDM, and VOLTAIRE, a distinct diversity of sounds. It is not a surprise your own diverse sounds fit such a range but how did the individual artists fans take to you?

HRD – Or did you mean how did our fans take to them? Haha…I’m kidding, sort of. The guitarist from Nashville Pussy is from our hometown; they’re loud and obnoxious and breathe fire, so we fit in fine. Interestingly enough, the only time I’ve ever heard that we didn’t fit well on a bill was with KMFDM.  They’re more techno-based, and we were actually playing in front of a sizeable audience who had never heard of us. We have several different species of fans – the punks, the metal dudes, the goths, the garage rockers, the artsy types; our appeal to all sorts of different people is what gives us our healthy draw.

Rat King

From the band and all its public face, the world only knows about you as musicians and the band personas. How important is it to you to have that distinct image and privacy too, or is it ‘merely’ another part of the drama and theatrical power of The New Jacobin Club?

RAT – For me, it’s an extension of the theatrical element of the band. I use it to separate my everyday self from the stage in order to achieve the best performance possible.

What has The New Jacobin Club got in store for 2012?

HRD – we’ll take some time in spring to write new songs and promote our new EP “Left Behind” with some western Canadian tour dates during which we will also be trying out some new material on stage. We always tour with new material before we record it. There are plans for a sort of 15th anniversary compilation, probably containing some new tracks, but it is still in the early stages of conception.

Thank you so much for letting us into the world of The New Jacobin Club. It has been a pleasure.

Before you ending would you like to leave a last thought or comment?

HRD – It is more than a pleasure for us to talk with you. We value our fans outside of Canada immensely. In the digital age we can easily monitor our popularity outside our country, and the UK as well as continental Europe has given us a lot of encouraging support.

And lastly how about giving us something to intrigue about the people behind the personas that make up The New Jacobin Club?

HRD – We are a multi-discipline artistic endeavor. We embrace everything. Within our group we have a painter and art teacher, a radio personality, a film director, a dance instructor, music teachers, a freelance journalist, a post secondary math instructor, illusionists, and the obvious performance artists that you see with the Angry Teeth. Members of this band also participate in other groups that play country and bluegrass, synth pop, experimental post-rock and Renaissance music.

Read This Treason review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/the-new-jacobin-club-this-treason/

Read The Angry Teeth Interview @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/interview-with-raunchy-rabies-of-the-angry-teeth-freakshow/

RingMaster 06/02/2012

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The New Jacobin Club – This Treason

Though This Treason from Canadian shock rockers The New Jacobin Club has been out for over a year,  it and the band are new discoveries here at The RingMaster Review and because the find is so immensely enjoyable a review though late was an inevitable outcome. The first question was how on this internet connected earth it has taken until now for a band this good and formed in 1995 to capture these eagerly searching ears though the fact they have is all that matters.

Since its rise from the depths of its original conception in the dark creative minds of the original trio of which vocalist/guitarist The Horde remains, The New Jacobin Club have released four album and various EP’s, cassette singles and contributions to compilations, the first official release by the trio coming in 1998. The debut self titled album arose in 2001 and was the first to have bassist/vocalist The Swarm within the band’s dark ranks. Second album Retake the Throne was the moment the band really started to divert ears and eyes their way as college radio and international media began taking notice then in 2006 third album Wicked City and the single from it ‘Creeping Flesh’, pushed the band further out from their own home shadows as their undeniably eye catching live shows and wonderfully darkly intrusive sounds toyed with more and more senses. This Treason takes the band even further out into the masses with a wonderfully flamboyant theatrical wicked essence combined with impressive striking heavy intense sounds and senses treating dark gothic creativity.

Alongside The Horde and The Swarm the band consists of guitarist The Fury, Brother Vitruvius on keyboards, drummer Rat King, plus The Luminous and Poison Candy on cello and theremin respectively. Together they have created a gothic punk , rock metal veined tour de force concept album which takes the listener into its eager and black bloodied depths as it explores the relationship and events surrounding the true life and death of England’s notorious warlord Sir Hugh Despense and his relationship with King Edward II, or as the band’s website calls it ‘A morality play set to music’.

Having read The New Jacobin Club being compared to a mix of Judas Priest and modern era Misfits there was an uncertainty as to what they would sound like and maybe a little fear too not being an enjoyer of classic heavy metal. There was thought s that maybe they would be a band bringing the overblown pomp and excess of 80’s artists who over indulged with concepts and rock operas or maybe another Gwar type beast where they venture to close to ridiculous to win real credibility, though there might have been the warped corruption from the likes of Macabre to enjoy too. As the title track opened the album the theatrical grandeur was there, the welcoming soaring keys inviting with a flourish but then came a delicious grumbling bassline and gothic keys taunting the ear. One minute in here was one hooked, captured and trussed up victim to the merciless bombardment of pleasure feasting upon the senses. Tumbling riffs and dominant rhythms seize the ear as incisive hot guitars slither through  and the suggestion of sweet insanity  comes with the theremin intrusions. The track and subsequent songs have a little of everything and sounds from numerous sources but it is all distinctly The New Jacobin Club.

This introduction to the album and the tale to unfold could not be more satisfying and as subsequent tracks play and unveil the people and the events in the life of and leading to the death of our lead protagonist in the opener we are treated to an array of sounds, skill and pleasure. ‘Private Hell’ is a more heavy rock based track with Jerry Only like vocals, and gives reason for the often used comparison previously mentioned. The cello of The Luminous swarms and soars all over the track wonderfully and lifts it to even greater heights.

The musicianship of all is stunning as it offers up sounds and influences of bands like the two previously mentioned and often stated The Damned, Christian Death, Killing Joke, The Birthday Party and Maiden but others less expected spices oozed out too. ‘Countess Scorned’ offers up a taste of Wall Of Voodoo whilst the punk fuelled ‘The Fall’ is expanded with a heady mix of Asking Alexandria  and Alien Sex Fiend, and throughout one is reminded at moments of bands like The Mission, Southern Death Cult and fellow gothic bands. The best track of all on the album ‘Like Dogs’ which brings an irresistible mix of psychobilly spawned rock with a blend of The Cramps, Calabrese and Danzig.  A triumph that ignites the passions within and takes one on a primal dance around the length of its mighty display.  All proof that This Treason offers up a mesmerising array of sounds and despite referencing many it is all uniquely The New Jacobin Club once given their inimitable touch.

There really is not anything negative to be found about the album, even the meandering 13 minute epic ‘All Mourning Long’ with its abyss spawned bedlam that eats away at the senses and throws torment and despair by the moat full at the listener is wonderfully effective despite its testing soundscape and alarmingly hypnotic caustic aural assault.

The album comes in a cd/DVD package with an included live performance that corrupts as it engages and shows the band as dominant and irresistible on stage as they are aurally from the studio, and why The New Jacobin Club has graced shared stages with the likes of KMFDM, Nashville Pussy, Groovie Ghoulies, Voltaire and Discover Channel’s Guinea Pig show. Eventful, dramatic and most of all wonderful, everyone should have one.

http://www.newjacobinclub.com

RingMaster 06/01/2012

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