The RingMaster Review picks its favourite metal, rock and noise releases of 2018

Across its busy year 2018 unleashed a horde of gripping and rousing metal, rock, and noise driven releases. Here we pluck out those covered by The RingMaster Review which had the juices flowing most lustfully of all…

1. Black Space Riders – Amoretum Vol. 2

2. Coilguns – Millennials

3. KEN mode – Loved

4. VNDTA – Pale Glow

5. Mammüth – Outlander

6. Black Space Riders – Amoretum Vol. 1

7. Eryn Non Dae. – Abandon Of The Self 

8. The Great Sabatini – Goodbye Audio

9. U-Foes – No More No More

10. Dead Register – Captive

11. Naberus – Hollow

12. Bailer – Self Titled

13. Hostile Array – Self Titled 

14. In Vain – Currents

15. Vantablack Warship – Abrasive Pulmonic Speak

16. Skulk, The Hulking – Afterbirth Of A Nation

17. The Ugly Kings – Darkness Is My Home

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

19. The Castor Troys – Legends Never Die

20. Owl Company – Iris

21. Deville – Pigs with Gods

22. Arcaeon – Balance EP

23. Maudlin – Sassuma Arnaa

24. The Senton Bombs – Outsiders

25. Verni – Barricade 

The Ugly Kings – Darkness Is My Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pete RingMaster 25/04/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Ugly Kings – Promised Land

With their debut album slated for release early next year, Australian rockers The Ugly Kings recently provided a rather flavoursome teaser for it with Promised Land. Offering two tracks cast in the band’s “power blues” sound, the EP weaves a temptation as atmospheric and haunting as it is bold and fiery, both songs rich in a potential suggesting that forthcoming full length just has to be checked out.

Formed in Melbourne in 2011, The Ugly Kings draw on the inspirations of bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Black Keys, Muddy Waters, BB King, Black Sabbath, Dead Weather, and Royal Blood for their sound. It is a mix which brought the band’s mini-album, Of Sons, praise carrying attention in 2015 and now makes a striking invitation within Promised Land.

Though you can quibble whether a two track release is an EP or single, there is no denying Promised Land inescapably grabs ears and appetite with its title track. An opening sultry stroke of guitar courts the imagination though it is the instantly striking tones of vocalist Rusty which really hook attention; his potent presence backed by the imposing drama brooding beats of Andy. As further elements unite, the song raises to yet another level, hitting a majestic stroll which initially is almost predatory before becoming a celebratory fire of energy and suggestion.  Its masterful cycle repeats, increasing its hold on body and imagination second by second; the guitar of Christos creating a web of fiery temptation as the bass of Nick makes a grumbling, almost irritable trespass easy to greedily devour. Imposingly infectious and skilfully manipulative, the track is glorious and reason alone to explore that future album.

Even so, personal tastes just took to companion song, Wash Me Of My Sins, with instinctive lust. Like an aural equivalent of a flickering sepia hued film, the song shimmers with the twang of guitar and those ever compelling vocals. Its slow crawl is a shadow wrapped enticement more rejoice than funereal leading to an energy fuelled, spirit arousing canter which still embraces a reserved intensity in its dark country/psych rock canter. With a harmonic tapestry of voices around the ever compelling presence of Rusty, the song seduces listener involvement and imagination with sublime ease; just stealing best song honours and uniting in suggesting that the next encounter with The Ugly Kings is not to be missed.

Promised Land is out now and available @ https://theuglykings.bandcamp.com/album/promised-land

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

Pete RingMaster 31/10/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright