Practical Lovers – Agony


Practical Lovers_RingMaster Review

Glorious is the only word for Agony, the debut album from UK synth pop duo Practical Lovers. It might be soaked in melancholy, be the outpouring of frustration and torment bred by lost and unrequited love, but the album is simply a majestic tapestry of skilfully cultured shadows and the beauty lying within all emotions.

The band is the union of singer songwriter Jack Wiles and his long-term musical partner Mark Connell. Originally it was intended as a solo project for Wiles with a collection of songs written “in an attempt to vent some of his frustrations with love in the 21st Century.” After introducing the idea and songs to Connell, the pair creatively united and stepped forwards as Practical Lovers, this around late 2010. The band signed with Nottingham based label I’m Not From London Records the following year, releasing a couple of singles over the next three whilst earning a rich reputation for their live performances. Now they unveil their eagerly awaited debut album, a stirring incitement of vintage synths and analogue drum machines bound in nostalgic radiance, heavy and seductive emotions, and compelling enterprise.

artwork_RingMaster Review    Every track within Agony is a love song; the dark side of and fallout from inspired explorations for sure, but all seeded in love. They come with an intimacy which feels like they are echoes of their creator’s heart and experiences and makes it easy to emotionally connect with, whilst each is presented within sounds which are as infectious and hopeful as they are similarly solemn to their lyrical pleas. From the opener band and release has ears and imagination chained, and emotions basking in the pleasure given.

Put It Bluntly tempts ears with a few dark pulses of synths whilst brewing a more feisty lure in the background, that swiftly coming forward and blossoming on the strains of a deliciously grouchy bassline. The inescapable enticement of Wiles’ wonderful dour lined and magnetic tones soon adds another rich texture and hue to the already invasively infectious encounter. That element of nostalgia is often eighties spawned and here on offer is a Paul Haig meets New Order coaxing with a touch of Interpol to it, a mixture only adding to the thrilling virulence of the song.

The following Never Again brings some fiery guitar to ears, the fizzy texture invitingly colluding with poppy synths as Wiles and Connell avail an already greedy appetite of their individual prowess. The fevered stroll does not hang around, offering a bubbly simmer over two minutes of inimitable bait before Inside Job provides another diverse and fiercely captivating string to the bow of Agony. Like The The in league with The Smiths, with Wiles vocally as throughout the album creating a vocal presence somewhere between Morrissey and Ian Curtis, the song is a plaintive serenade, a vibrant croon which whips up ears and emotion within seconds and increasingly involves the listener with every passing second.

A similar hue glows within Full of You next, though the track again reveals a distinct character of its own as synths smoulder and caress with emotive expression. The mix of vocals, presumably from the two artists, adds another riveting texture, though it is Wiles and the Smiths blessed earthy elegance that seals the deal between lustful ears and song, an ardour just as eagerly given to the Joy Division coated Nobody There which follows and straight after that the post punk scented brilliance of The Work Around. Hints of Blancmange and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark emerge from within the outstanding track, and in many ways, having seen OMD live in their first days, there is a definite resemblance between the bands if not exactly in overall sound.

No Reply slips into the dark corners of its emotive heart next, that Joy Division suggestion again an easy offer as the track morosely yet enticingly prowls ears before its big success is eclipsed by the skittish energy and devilry of Restless. Think Fad Gadget meets early The Correspondents with Editors in tow and a clue to its irresistible endeavour is close to the mark whilst for Textbook Romance maybe John Foxx era Ultravox and early Cure is a good hint. To be honest, for all the references sparked, each track is a thrilling proposal unique to Practical Lovers, just enhanced by a great weave of recognisable colours, whilst the second of this pair also unveil its warm party on the senses with a hopefulness arguably not explored as fully elsewhere.

The album closes off with firstly the insatiable contagion of Falling Down and finally the melancholic serenade of Grave of Romance, a song impressing initially and just seducing the passions to greater effect over time. Both also provide another aspect to the multi-faceted sound of Agony, an album which is blossomed from some of the harshest and deepest felt emotions possible but is anything but agony to listen to.

Practical Lovers is one of the finds for our ears of 2015 and Agony one of its most thrilling and invigorating releases.

Agony is released November 27th digitally and on limited edition cassette tape through I’m Not From London Records @

Pete RingMaster 27/11/2015

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Masters Of The Radio – Origin of Radio


Masters Of The Radio is another band which tangles nostalgia and new strands of sound into fascinating and highly enticing slices of modern invention. It is an increasing trend it seems, especially within electronic and synth pop, and capable of producing some rather flavoursome and enjoyable propositions such as the UK band’s Origin of Radio EP. We had a striking taster of it with the single Radio Forever, released a few short weeks back, and now get the whole increasingly captivating meal with its four tracks of electro pop drama.

Hailing from Widnes, Masters of the Radio was founded in 2008 by vocalist/writer Paul Ventux. The line-up within the band has changed a few times over the years but this past January saw Ventux enlist new personnel in the creative shapes of bassist Taylor Manwo, drummer Murphy the Destroyer, and keyboardist Mr Darklight. The combination has ignited a spark in the energy and impetus of the band it is fair to say, one fanned by the aforementioned single and now in full flame with Origin of Radio.

10406701_10153744529814392_6293799804298505228_nThe EP opens up with You’ll Never Be Famous, a darkly hued song which from its first breath brings a noir lit landscape to its ambience and emotion. Within that though keys cast melodic warmth and intrigue which feeds both the light and darker elements of the song as rhythms almost prowl around the scenery. They carry no ill intent but certainly offer more depth to the shadows within the song. Despite those shades, it is a vibrant and catchy proposal bred on seeds of bands like OMD and early Human League, and swiftly has feet and imagination wrapped up in its presence.

The magnetic instrumental adventure of The Drive comes next, the steely bass lures of Manwo sparking appetite and imagination first and continually across the piece whilst Giorgio Moroder flavoured keys cast a seductive and lively spatial incitement sure to immerse thoughts whilst the bouncy rhythms will have bodies courting the dancefloor. A flight of melodic temptation with cinematic enticing, the track is a bewitching waltz ripening the passions up for the closing song. Before getting to it though there is the brief interlude of Intermission/Coming of the Light. Whether an introduction or warning, not too sure how to describe it honesty makes us admit it is skipped with most listens from a hunger to get to the enjoyable devilry of Radio Forever.

Like a mix of The The and Paul Haig, the song flirts straight away with an irrepressible melodic smile and an infectiousness to match. As melodies broaden and greater creative colour soaks the twists and vivacious rhythmic shuffle of the song, that early contagion just increases especially in the inescapable call of the chorus. It is a tremendous end to a thoroughly enjoyable release, and still the song which most suggests that Masters Of The Radio has the potential of seeing big horizons come their way ahead.

The Origin of Radio EP is available now

RingMaster 28/04/2015

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The Slow Readers Club – Cavalcade

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After a clutch of increasingly impressive and fascinating singles across last year moving into this, anticipation of Cavalcade, the second album from UK indie rockers The Slow Readers Club was high and excited for a growing sea of fans, including us. Each of the quartet of songs offered was a riveting teaser and evidence of the band’s upcoming release and diversely sculpted sound respectively. Those propositions still shine like flaming beacons as they sit within the walls of Cavalcade but are matched by a collection of new to the ear tracks which simply seduce ears and imagination.

Hailing from Manchester, The Slow Readers Club have been no strangers to acclaim these past months. Their singles have drawn frequent praise and support from fans and media alike whilst their live presence has seen highly successful shows with the likes of Catfish & The Bottlemen, The Struts, Reverend and the Makers, and The Sunshine Underground as well as well-received appearances at Tramlines Festival, Party in the Pines, and the Blackthorn Festival. Journalist and frontman for Goldblade John Robb predicted that 2015 would see The Slow Readers Club breaking through to become one of the most important bands to emerge from Manchester’s music scene in recent years. Everything has backed up his suggestion and certainly Cavalcade has brought the year one of its major triumphs.

Picture 2     Creating an emotive and cinematically coloured mix of indie and electro pop, The Slow Readers Club has an embracing and immersive sound which places the listener into the scenery and heart of each song’s narrative as if physically there. Instant evidence comes with album opener Start Again. Its opening cauldron of electro temptation is an immediate potent lure, one only intensifying as a throaty bass line links with choppy guitar riffs and the equally magnetic vocals. It comes with an eighties electro pop breath, as most songs, yet creates a suggestive web of new and unique tempting which is best described as B-Movie meets Interpol but is solely The Slow Readers Club. The embracing keys of Aaron Starkie and the imaginative guitar enterprise of Kurtis Starkie weave an inescapable persuasion, their vocals similarly richly alluring though to be fair every aspect of the song is a lingering incitement, the almost dirty tones of James Ryan’s bass and the punchy beats of drummer David Whitworth equally irresistible, and when it is all united what emerges is a sublime piece of pop alchemy.

Impressive as it is though, the song is surpassed by the following I Saw a Ghost, surely the bands best song to date though it is seriously challenged by other tracks on the album. The band’s recent single, it opens with voice and beats casting a swift and dramatic proposal, one caressed by the warm evocative texture of keys. It is not long before the again wonderfully heavy voice of the bass is aligning itself to the lighter hues of guitar, each contrasting and enhancing the other and the evolving proposition. The entrance of the bass also seems to inspire a heftier energy to Whitworth’s swings, creating a captivating merger of light and dark tones and also as a physical persuasion. The track is sensational, once more seemingly bringing differing decades of pop into alignment for a seriously compelling and intoxicating slice of anthemic tempting.

Forever in Your Debt has a darker emotive air to its presence, from its first breath the bass casting a solemn yet inviting tone to the song and continued by the impressive vocal expression and qualities bringing the song’s premise into ears and thoughts. Bubbly guitar and atmospheric keys add to the brewing drama, every twist revealing new shadows and corners to eagerly explore whilst sound wise there is a post punk like essence tempering the potent heat of melodies and hooks.

Three songs in and variety is as open as the connecting prowess of the band’s imagination, the mesmeric Plant the Seed giving further swift proof. Like a blend of Depeche Mode and Bronski Beat, the song is a transfixing croon of dark electro and synth pop, entrancing ears before leading them into an almost visual passage of intimate reflection and radiant persuasion. A track which impresses from the first play and only grows more potent, it is emulated by the melodically and emotionally climatic Days Like This Will Break Your Heart. It is a brooding inventive roar of an encounter which is almost volcanic in its intensity and sonic landscape. Both tracks continue the immense flight of the album perfectly but are put in the shade a touch by the outstanding Don’t Mind. It is one of those serenades which linger with unrelenting persistence, a lively and evocative caress which just connects with situations we have all been through whilst providing an absorbing soundtrack. With a touch of Black/ Colin Vearncombe to its croon, the song is seductive balladry at its most sublime.

The album’s title track is next and needs little time to bewitch as spicy guitar endeavour fuels a feel of The Smiths at its beginning. It’s reserved but potent start soon builds into a thicker and more dramatically hued theatre of emotion and sound where spices of The The and The Associates flirt with the band’s ideation. The track adds to the growing list of the major moments on the album, and there are so many, before making way for Fool for Your Philosophy to reveal its tangy electro enterprise and dark drama. The almost sinister rhythms of Ryan and Whitworth are worth the price of ‘the ticket’ alone, as too the exceptional vocals whilst the vibrant and energetic dance of keys and melodies are a fire in the enthralling darkness of the song.

Both Grace of God and Here in the Hollow hold body and emotions tight, the first a beautiful intensive flirtation with a Frankie Goes To Hollywood charm and vivacity to it whilst its successor, from an enticing simmering start, grows into one glorious anthem of sound and emotion where vocals again are the mighty instigators to the irresistible theatre of the song sculpted by colossal sounds. We mentioned some songs rival I Saw a Ghost for the pinnacle of the band’s songs to date and this is a definite contender.

The enthralling and emotively fuelled Secrets provides an excellent pungent drama next before things are brought to a close by Know the Day Will Come a song which makes a slow and decent enough start but erupts into another creatively incendiary exploration for ears and emotions. It is a thumping end to a quite exceptional album.

Expectations were high because of the band’s previous singles but The Slow Readers Club has surpassed them and themselves with Cavalcade. The bare fact is that it will be astonishing if you find a better rock pop album in 2015 then this modern classic.

Cavalcade is available now, digitally @ and on CD/vinyl via

RingMaster 14/04/2015

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Masters of the Radio – Radio Forever


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Fresh from installing a new line-up, UK synth rock band Masters of the Radio release new song Radio Forever, a rather flavoursome taster of the band’s forthcoming EP scheduled for later this year. Taking ears and passions back to an eighties landscape of electro/synth pop yet embracing a modern indie adventure in its magnetic body, the track is sure to get you, if not quite in the Summer mood certainly adding a touch of Spring to your step.

Bred in North England town Widnes and formed in 2008 by vocalist/songwriter Paul Ventux, Masters of the Radio raised a constantly growing and loyal following despite going through several line-up changes over the years. This month saw a new stability come to the band with new members, keyboardist Mr Darklight, bassist Taylor Manwo, and drummer Murphy the Destroyer linking up with Ventux. Refreshed, re-kitted, and with a tantalising sound to match, the quartet is set to make 2015 their year, an aim getting off to a potent start through Radio Forever which is taken from the EP mid-year planned mentioned earlier.

The song from its first breath has ears and imagination engaged through an eager simmer of electro coaxing, a lively bait soon taking crisp rhythms and a great dark lined bassline in tow. The swiftly joining vocals of Ventux similarly charm and invite the listener to embrace the song’s warm dance. As melodies broaden and become more creatively colourful in tandem with the growing infectiousness, especially around the almost mischievous chorus, it is impossible not to think of bands like Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, The The, and Paul Haig; the track seemingly drawing on particular essences of each to colour its melodic and evocative romance.

Radio Forever continues to flirt with and swing along its catchy landscape, every passing second becoming more irresistible to feet and voice, and most of all emotions. It is hard to imagine many not tapping a toe or offering a humming addition to its presence at the very least, and certainly easy to expect that a great many will be queuing up to check out the band’s future offering. We will see you all there.

Radio Forever is available now

RingMaster 28/01/2015

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Antigone Project – Self Titled EP

Official Picture

Creating electronic rock with seemingly a healthy influence of eighties synth rock and new wave, French band Antigone Project recently released their debut self-titled EP. It is a proposition which merges numerous potent flavours into atmospheric flights of sound, each soaked in evocative ambiences and embracing as many nostalgic essences as it does fresh endeavours. The release grows on the ears and psyche, making a strong first impression but evolving into an even more stirring proposition over time and plays. It is fair to say that it did not quite ignite a fire in the belly even then, but like a lover’s caress it coaxes and lingers for a thoroughly enthralling and enjoyable proposal.

The Antigone Project is the creation of vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Frédéric Benmussa, initially a solo project formed in 2002 and expanded over time by the addition of lead guitarist Nik Nonotte, bassist Manu Ventre, and drummer Fred Monaco. With shows alongside the likes of Moriarty and many festival appearances subsequently under their belt, the Paris quartet has continued to evolve and hone their sound over the years, fusing French and English sung songs into an attention luring collection of songs inspired from the likes of Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, Radiohead, Joy Division, Tool, and numerous more. Last November the band released this, their debut EP, and the Florent Livet (Phoénix, Housse de racket, Bloc Party) mixed and Antoine “Chab” Chabert (Daft Punk, Justice, Detroit) mastered proposition was swiftly drawing acclaimed loaded reactions.

As The Voyager spreads its elegant charm across ears it is easy to see why the release has been keenly embraced so far. With radiant and vocal melodies emerging from keys as a spoken narrative whispers in raw tones, the song is soon sparking the imagination. It eventually erupts into a magnetic flight of sonic intrigue and suggestiveness as rhythms roll across its broadening a1738344167_2scenery before settling into a more restrained grazing of evocative vocals from Benmussa and matching sounds. Predominantly though there is a spatial air to the track, a vast soundscape of aural drama and sonic adventure which drives the music and sets the release off in striking style.

The following Lux Machinae bubbles with electro vivacity from its first breath, a darker yawn of keys the only shadow to the track’s melodic dance. Benmussa again immediately impresses with his vocals whilst musically the song has a flirtatious essence of bands like Blancmange and Depeche Mode to its character. Rawer tones from the guitar also infuse the flavoursome tapestry of the song, helping create an almost fiery heart and presence especially in the raucous finale where vocals are as emotionally aflame as the rich sounds around them.

Diversity is openly available on the release as shown again by the guitar led entrance of Egolist. The track glides into an eighties bred sway of sound from that initial coaxing bringing a definite Visage flavouring to the French language delivered temptation. A relatively gentle stroll from the start with a slightly brooding texture to its persuasion, it breeds an increasingly intensive drama which subsequently fuels every emerging aspect of the impressive and riveting romance with the senses. It is the peak of the release but straight away backed by the celestial seduction of Alphabot. Keys once again take charge as they steer the song, creating a soaring sonic expression nicely tempered by a great darkly lit bassline. There is a feel of Interpol and UK band Silhouettes to the emotively crafted croon which only aids the seduction enveloping ears and imagination. The song does not leap from the speakers but binds the listener into a long term and persistent tempting which is just as potent as the more immediate thrills of other songs.

The EP also comes with a trio of bonus tracks, starting with the rhythmic jungle and melodic incitement of Eko. The song explores another avenue to the band’s sound, its body taking on an indie and rock rawness to stand aside of its predecessors. The track is a riveting look into another corner of Antigone Project’s sound and invention, and definitely is more than just a bonus treat, much like God Played A Trick On Us which equally explores new territory with an underlying folk lilt to its emotive balladry. As it simmers with increasingly livelier intent, keys and guitars create a magnetic cradle for the alluring vocals. The song reminds ears in many ways of Colin Vearncombe and his project Black, rivalling anything else on the EP before the outstanding Infinite Pulse provides a closing weave of electronic tempting. Its sizeable enticement comes complete with a bass lure surely inspired by The Cure as well as vocal and melodic theatre bred from seeds of The The. It is a striking end to an excellent introduction to the Antigone Project who, in bridging nostalgic and modern sounds in their unique yet welcomingly familiar way, you can expect to see in more intensive spotlights from hereon in.

The Antigone Project EP is available now via Samla Music @ and digitally @

RingMaster 07/01/2015

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Savage Nomads – Jaded Edges

savage nomads

Ever since coming across their debut single The Magic Eye, UK rock band The Savage Nomads has continued to impress and ignite the imagination with each and every release. At the same time they have evolved their presence and sound into one of the most impressive and exciting, yet weirdly still widely unrecognised, forces around today. From their starting point their debut album the inventive and thrilling Coloured Clutter, and the stylishly imaginative Tension In The Middle EP of last year, only continued to establish and elevate the London quintet in the passions of a great many whilst picking up strong acclaim along the way and drawing the eager attention of the likes of Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Matt Johnson (The The), and Robyn Hitchcock. Supporting The Jim Jones Revue as well as Big Audio Dynamite on their Justice Tonight tour, at the request of Mick Jones, has done them no harm either but the band still remains in the shadows for a great many, well until they release new single Jaded Edges we suggest.

The song is exceptional and sees the band leaping up not just another level but many with the development and  honing of their already distinct sound into an even more potent and mesmeric persuasion. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Cole Salewicz, guitarist Josh Miles (who has moved from bass within the band), bassist Rory Jones, guitarist/keyboardist Benjy Miles, and drummer Petr Matousek, The Savage Nomads has stretched their imagination and invention to compelling lengths to sculpt their finest moment by far. If the single does not trigger a wave of mass hunger for the band then maybe the nation truly has gone too far into the Cowell dark side.

Whereas previous releases were more post punk clad, Jaded Edges brings a stronger new wave essence into what is basically straight rock ‘n’ roll with a taste of garage rock. Imagine Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster and Baddies in a creative riot with The The and Lloyd Cole and The Commotions whilst Department S and Nick Haig add their thoughts and you get a strong flavour of what the single offers. From its opening bass groan and reserved yet swirling keys, the song instantly infects the ear and beyond. The vocals of Salewicz stand out straight away also as they rest easily on the senses, his almost Tom Verlaine like persuasion a smoother and richer textured temptation showing another evolution from the more Mark E. Smith offerings in the early days of the band. The song itself has a swagger which is deliciously confident and teasing whilst the melodic dance and coaxing of the song is gleefully mischievous within the addictive rhythmic cage.

Despite all of their previous glories, Jaded Edges is easily the most enthralling and masterful piece of songwriting and invention to come from the band’s imaginative creativity, and as it is just one of apparently 25 songs penned by the band in a 9 month immersion in their south London studio, anticipation for what is to follow which includes a series of videos and further singles, is already hungrier than a shark on land. If Jaded Edges does not start the rise of the band to greater plateau of awareness and recognition there really is no such thing as justice.

Jaded Edges is available mid-September from


RingMaster 05/09/2013

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WVM – The End Is Only The Beginning

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    The End Is Only The Beginning is the upcoming album from multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, performer, programmer, and visual artist WVM and also the EP which is an appetizer to the imminent album. We are taking a look at the five track EP and it has to be said that the album simply cannot come soon enough. Bringing together a stirring and enthralling mix of industrial, metal, gothic rock, and fiery electro, WVM has created a sound and release in The End Is Only The Beginning which incites only the hungriest appetite and passion. It is a tremendous force of invention and invigorating creativity which is as accomplished and as happy to caress and seduce as it is to ravage and violate, both extremes greedily welcomed when fused together this impressively.

The EP we assume is the recording debut of the Los Angeles based artist, but is a release showing the craft and touch one would expect of someone well-endowed in experience and know how on how to bring the strongest potency to his armoury. Whether his history is one of numerous endeavours or actually is his first appearance in any form, the stature of the songwriting and its stunning realisation is immense. Mixed by Sean Beavan (Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson), whose private studio Blue Room Studio WVM was given access to for the recording of the vocals, the EP can be best described across its length as Nine Inch Nails meets Gary Numan and The The with additional flames from Marilyn Mansion, Depeche Mode, and Fear Factory, individual tracks offering different permutations.

The opening pair of tracks on the EP immediately exploits the appetite for muscular enterprise and resourceful melodic persuasion 3461690930-1with expressive and riveting creativity. When Universes Collide, one of three tracks featuring Josh Freese (Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle) on drums, instantly chews on the ear with raptorial riffs and exhausting rhythms before expanding its sinews to allow the emergence of scintillating electronic washes and equally excellent vocals, the tones of WVM clean and expressive yet with a steel to match the forceful sounds. Into its stride the track is a mountainous march of epic atmospheres and impacting intensity which engages an anthemic breath to its incendiary presence. It is an adrenaline coursing encounter in contrast to the slower more deliberate prowl of The Echoing, though both tracks are equal in their potent impact and invention. The melodic and vocal embrace of the track has a smouldering heat to their contact whilst the heavy stance of the track alongside a Ultravox like electro inducement, consumes with a weight which devours and rewards with mutual greed.

The outstanding Black Sun makes its entrance upon electro affected vocals and a brewing ambience which is warm yet provocative of something larger to come. What does rip from its expanse is a thrilling weave of electronic elegance and ingenuity forged to a heavy rock spine complete with metallic lures and hooks. Across its sizzling twisting invention and unpredictably shifting stances, the track reminds of John Foxx era Ultravox with the ravenous energy of Pitchshifter and further magnetic sonic temptation of Celldweller, whilst the guest appearance of Chris Vrenna (Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Tweaker) on drums only drives its vigour deeper.

For A Better Tomorrow steers its presence towards electro pop with a definite eighties lilt, though again the rhythms and vein of the song still holds intimidation and weight to charge up the desires of any metal favouring fan, the beats of Freese showing no interest in taking it easy on the listener. The melodic caress of the synths is bewitching and with the compelling menace courting its charms, the likes of Trent Reznor, Numan, or even Thomas Dolby spring to mind.

Closing song Escapism, again with Freese adding intense bone to the sublime industrial encircling of the senses, roams around and preys on the passions with the strongest NIN influenced presence on the release whilst aligning those flavours to its own carnivorous snarl and persistent sonic taunt. It is an exceptional end to a tremendous EP in quality and endeavour. WVM is on the path to great things one can only surmise with this outstanding release whilst the full album of The End Is Only The Beginning cannot come soon enough.


RingMaster 15/03/2013

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