Heel – The Parts We Save

Heel_RingMasterReview

Amongst many eagerly anticipated offerings this year has to be the debut album from UK alternative rock quartet Heel. Having impressed with their first EP and even more so with subsequent releases as well as a striking stage presence, Heel has been one of the bands enveloped by increasing acclaim over recent times. It has put some strong expectations of The Parts We Save upon them which the London band has appeased with ease. Maybe at times the album does not quite fulfil all the potential within it but for rousing, imagination sculpted rock/pop contagiousness, the album persistently hits the spot with adventure and charm.

Formed in the winter of 2011 from guitarist Daniel and vocalist Margarita’s songwriting sessions, Heel quickly began working on their first EP once its line-up was completed by bassist Fred and drummer Nick. Produced by Justin Hill (Sikth), their opening release quickly grabbed attention and praise. Its success was subsequently pushed further by its successor Stranger Just The Same in 2014, an encounter also recorded with Hill. With video/singles luring play on the likes of Scuzz TV and Kerrang, the band set about working on an album, flying out to Japan`s legendary Geimori studio in Sapporo to record The Parts We Save with Daniel and Margarita producing.

Mixed by Ben Grosse and Paul Pavao (Marilyn Manson, Disturbed, Depeche Mode, Ben Folds, Thirty Seconds to Mars, etc.) and mastered by Tom Baker (Beastie Boys, Deftones, David Bowie, B.B. King), the album swiftly shows the growth in the band’s magnetic sound and its maturity in songwriting as opener An Apology sets to work stirring up ears. The first single from the release when uncaged last December, the song immediately consumes the senses in a sonic lure from which a bass led swagger within sultry caresses of guitar bounds. Its catchiness is instant and only strengthened by Margarita’s alluring vocals. Carrying thick drama to its rhythmic design and exotically seductive grooves, the track also develops an infectious No Doubt like charm which lies agreeably upon Heel’s own web of melody and imagination fuelled tenacity.

'The Parts We Save' Cover Artwork_RingMasterReviewThe excellent opening to the album continues with Selfish Burn which again has that Gwen Stefani and co spicing to its feisty pop ‘n’ roll. Throaty funk infused bait from Fred’s bass provides a potent spine to the song, an agitated smoulder of sonic and melodic resourcefulness laying upon it whilst Margarita’s tones again add a lusty freshness with a tinge of mischief to the temptation. Though seemingly crafted from the same template as the first and next up Yellow & Bliss, each song reveals its own individual and forcibly enticing character. The third track, and the band’s brand new video/single, is a lively shuffle with skittish rhythms and an animated gallop of chords and hooks beneath a breeze of warm harmonies and psych rock tinged enterprise, and quite irresistible.

Nothing New strolls in next with a melodic smile on its face and a devilish bassline at its heart for another inviting slice of impassioned pop rock whilst Shatter is a tender flirtation initially, which brews up into a spirited canter of jangling guitar and animated vocals aligned to mesmeric harmonies. By its close, the gentleness of the song is a near on surge of energy and passion, and increasingly bewitching.

The mellow croon of Cool allows body and emotions to settle; well at first as soon it also raises its enthusiastic agility and creative zeal to lead feet and hips on a merry dance egged on by virulent rhythms. A vibrant and catchy mix of textures and energies, the song has pleasure flowing, running right into the path of the outstanding Keep Running Back To Me. A tapestry of dynamic rock ‘n’ roll as punkish as it is bluesy, as feverishly tenacious as it is rapaciously heavy; the track is like a mix of My Baby and Spinnerette with a touch of Throwing Muses to it and quickly ignites appetite and emotions.

The dark drama of Live This Forever takes over, the track also a heavier proposal with a punk/grunge breeding to its invention and a fiery attitude to its emotive heart. It prowls, almost stalks ears as it unveils its shadow rich theatre, again grabbing eager involvement in its proposal before Fake Love twists and turns with its pop punk infused 4 Non Blondes like rock ‘n’ roll to great success.

Finishing with the tantalising melodic breeze of Streets Full Of You, a final harmonic and emotive kiss on ears with its own line in imaginative shadows, The Parts We Save is an encounter with plenty of eagerly lingering moments. Some songs are a more instant and imposing arousal than others, but each only provides rich enjoyment and an appetite for more from a band still growing into its skin of originality but establishing itself as one of Britain’s brightest propositions.

The Parts We Save is released March 4th via iTunes and Amazon.

http://www.heelband.com/   https://www.facebook.com/Heellondon   https://twitter.com/heellondon

Pete RingMaster 04/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Vajra: Pleroma

Having already been captured by Vajra through their track Inside The Flame which was featured on The Bone Orchard Radio Show, there was a lot of biting at the bit hoping to have the chance to hear and review their debut album Pleroma. From that song alone our anticipation and expectations were probably unjustly high not that it was a problem as the album simply blew everything imagined away. It is aural majesty, a beautifully crafted and emotively driven piece of wonder. Admittedly the list for album of the year candidates is longer than the waiting list at an NHS hospital but Vajra are there at the fore with their stunning introduction to the world.

The seeds of Vajra began with its founder composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist, Annamaria Pinna during her self-imposed exile in India. The daughter of a former monk and school teacher, Annamaria was encouraged to look at, learn about, and question assumptions about the world including her own, her creativity and music borne from and continuing that premise. She also has a neurological condition called synesthesia, which results in one sensory stimulation opening a secondary involuntary experience, in the case of Annamaria she attaches colour and shapes to sound.  How it impacts on her songwriting one cannot imagine but certainly her music is nothing less than enlightened imagination and melodic mastery.

With sell out gigs including shows at The Bowery Ballroom, The Mercury Lounge and The Bowery Electric in NYC, licensing deals with The Discovery Network, MTV, Showtime and Bravo, and their music being played across 200 radio stations nationwide in the US and of course across the internet, Vajra is on an unrelenting rise. Alongside Annamaria bringing her vision and music to realisation upon Pleroma, there are the skills and talent of drummer Blake Fleming (ex-The Mars Volta), bassist Doug Wright (The Dirty Pearls), and guitarist Will Dahl (ex-Harley’s War), together the quartet exploring and expanding the passions of progressive rock and welcoming hearts.

The theme of Pleroma is an exploration in paradoxes (east vs. west, soft vs. pummelling, female vs. male), with songs which are enveloping and inciteful suns of melodic rock woven with Eastern Indian themes and sounds. Grammy-award winner, Sylvia Massy (Tool, System of A Down, Prince, Johnny Cash) co-produced and mixed the tracks whilst mastering was handled by Tom Baker (NIN, Foo Fighters, Ministry, Prince), the resulting understanding and clarity as important as the invention within.

The album opens with the wonderful Inside The Flame, a song which wraps its tender arms around the senses with melodic beauty whilst squeezing throughout with anthemic intensity to increase the wanton pleasure. It opens on a brewing atmosphere, slightly haunting but soon with shadows lit by bobbing bass tones, fiery guitar play, and the stunning voice of Annamaria. Her voice is that of an angel and devil combined, her tones warm caresses or heated squalls forged with feisty and forceful power. The song itself rises and ebbs throughout, always with a sirenesque call no matter if consuming the heart with subtle whispers or blood surging sonic anthem. The bass of Wright is glorious, a moody and prowling presence whilst the rhythms of Fleming ignite all primal and instinctive urges and passions.

As mentioned the song was a deeply rooted fever before the album so a fall was a possibility from then on in but no chance. The following Almost One slowly treads its way through the ear with shimmering keys behind the provoking bass and precise guitar touches. Once more the vocals lead to drifting thoughts and imagination as the lyrical content is unveiled with heart and expertise. Though not as dramatic as the first track the song is an absorbing melodic summer which heats and thrills evenly across the senses.

The darkly ambient instrumental India makes way for the immense Blind, a song which prowls with layers of rippling muscle and explosive sonic heat. It is a towering piece of vision and creativity, its heart a pulsating living passion driven with brooding rhythms, evolving flaming guitar juice from Dahl, and showers of golden vocal harmonies and feeling. It is irresistible, a sunspot of aural wonder veined with spires of intensity.

Pleroma just moves from one slice of majesty to another, every track a perfect combination of ingenuity, sounds, thought, and heart. The likes of the evocative Intuition with its hypnotic heartbeat, the smouldering 3.14, and See Through, a song which sways and glistens with crystalline delight within its firm breath, lead one down further diverse roads of sound and thought to the same result, total joy.

Closing on the magnetic lure of The Apple, a shifting storm of building emotion and energy, Pleroma is quite glorious. Its soundscape is a perpetual emotion generating journey of expression, reflection, and investigation. At times it is a shadowed meditation and in others a towering fire of spiritual might which flames with burning passion. It is extraordinary and wholly delicious. The last line of their bio states ‘Vajra’s music will leave you spellbound’. Hell Yeah!

http://www.thevajratemple.com/

RingMaster 17/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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