The beating of shadowed wings and inflamed hearts: introducing Darkstone Crows

Darkstone Crows_RingMasterReview

Hailing from Mississauga, Ontario, Darkstone Crows is a fresh metal bred fire on the Toronto music scene with a sound which simply demands attention. Now as they prepare their debut album for release later in the year, the quintet is beginning to poke at ears and spotlights further afield. With thanks to the band, we take a look into the heart and creative passion of alternative metallers…

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started and what brought you all together?

Chanel Martins-lead vocals, Nick Sawicki and Jiv Marshall-guitars, Russ Shipman-bass and backing vocals, Matt Skypas-drums.

Jiv and Elle started the band back in 2014 and went through a bunch of line-up shuffles. Russ joined in July 2014, Matt was February 2015. Nick replaced our last guitarist in January 2016. We’re just a group of friends making metal music, we want to do it the best we can and not cut corners, really make a work that we can be proud of, that means something.

Have you been/are involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

Russ, Matt and Nick have been involved with bands before, and Chanel has been singing since she was four years old. We all bring something from our experiences to the table but we’re learning a lot as well so our personal style has evolved with the music we’re making.

Russ: I’ve been in a ton of bands before Darkstone Crows, but I would have to say that my first real band (Get!Wise punk-metal, 2008-2013) was very influential on my ethics and approach to songwriting. I learned to jam and to listen to the other players in the band, to build and to lock into groove. I wouldn’t say that any other band I’ve played in before had any direct impact on what I’m doing now.

Elle: No bands, but I’ve been heavily involved with a lot of contemporary music and lessons since I was four years old. Discovering metal definitely made my previous training and experience have an impact on my current endeavours, in a backwards way.

Jiv: Nothing really.

Nick: Prior to the band I was just working out in the gym and studying hard in school. I write and produce a lot of my own music as well, so I was into that before this.

Matt: I was involved in a small band before, nothing too serious, but it set my mind on where I wanted to go and led to where I am now.

Any particular story or inspiration behind the band’s name?

The shared inability to utter a complete sentence without stumbling over our swollen tongues…The name was discovered by accident. Jiv stumbled over her words while saying the original idea “Dark Storm Crows” and said “Darkstone Crows” and we all liked it.

Photo by Carey Costa

Photo by Carey Costa

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

As the initial birth of the band was Jiv’s brainchild, her original concept follows:

Jiv: Initially we were called “Pariah”, and the meaning behind the name was to represent a band that wrote songs for people who felt like social outcasts. Even though Darkstone Crows still speaks of injustices lyrically, we identify with a broader collection of movements and issues with many varying opinions. For me, I was very engrossed by the female punk movement of the 1970’s, so I wanted to create an all-girl punk band. My musical approach was very raw and simplistic. But obviously, as musicians grow and change the music changes with them, especially when all the different members offer their own influences. As we grew together, our exposure to different music exploded, even as our vision, direction and music did too.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

The same things still drive us and many more things as well, we’re constantly finding inspiration around us, and there’s a real drive to succeed and explore, to push boundaries that keeps driving us forward.

[Equally, things have] definitely evolved, but not to the point that we lost sight of what the end goal was. We want to travel the world, bring our music to as many people as we can, make our mark too, and have fun doing it.

How would you say your sound has evolved since starting out?

Our sound was very raw and stripped down, influenced by a lot of older rock and metal; from bluesy rock/metal in the early days to the pseudo-progressive alt-metal it is now, though we haven’t removed many elements of our early sound, but sculpted around them and experienced different types of rock and metal and how they can meld together tastefully.

Has it been an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

A bit of both inherent in the evolutionary process; we’ve become better musicians and writers so that was a very organic growth and a natural evolution. We naturally started writing differently as we expanded our playing, but there was a definite wish to push in different directions that we acted on. The better we got, the more comfortable we got, the more our music grew in complexity. Of late, since our initial guitarist left and Nick joined, we have been deliberately shaping our sound. He’s especially good at listening to ideas and improvising, so that has been a big step forward.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approaches and ideas to creating and playing music?

Lamb of God, Disturbed, and Periphery definitely cap the list, to a lesser extent Halestorm, Slipknot, System of a Down, and Tool have been big influences on our sound.

Definitely Halestorm, Slipknot, and Periphery, all those bands are wild performers and incredible musicians as well, truly inspirational.

Is there a process to the songwriting which generally guides the writing of songs?

Just try not to think too hard, and keep our minds open and concentrated simultaneously. Gold nuggets of music could come from the strangest things and at the weirdest moment. It could be an elbow knocking the strings a certain way that produces unique feedback that kicks off a whole song, you never know.

Usually we start with a riff and build around it, adding other parts that fit nicely and connecting the different parts afterwards. Once we establish parts and the vocal melody is written lyrics are drafted and we start fine-tuning.

Where are inspirations to the lyrical side of your predominantly songs drawn?

 Photo by Rachel Carys Gosling

Photo by Rachel Carys Gosling

Anything around us, in our world, any thought, any emotion, cause and effect, pertinent global issues like the environment, war, famine, and poverty. Personal struggles with alcoholism, drug abuse, homelessness, ire, rage, depression, euphoria, and victory. Our songs are very dark in mood, however not necessarily darkly worded (although more often than not darkly worded).

Predominantly Jiv, and Russ write lyrics, Jiv takes ideas from injustices she see in the world around her, the media, while Russ’ lyrics hit closer to home and tend to be more metaphoric in content.

Give us some background to your latest release.

Our newest release, our first full length album, is going to be available later this year (we’re aiming to release it in October). We’re currently recording and producing the album ourselves and it’s going to be massive. This album is very different from our debut EP (Darkstone Crows, June 2015), it’s much sleeker, the songs are more complex, and we’re incorporating far more instruments, as well as some feature performances. You’ll experience a more broad sonic adventure that delves into many facets of rock and metal. Our first EP, which was recorded and mixed by Dr. Sean at TRH Studios in Scarborough, CA, is much more raw; recorded stripped down and very loud. There is a punk aesthetic to this EP, hiding behind the pounding rock beats and shredding guitar solos. Definitely an honest, solid debut, perfectly illustrating the drive and hunger we were feeling at the time.

Would you give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

The album’s themes are directed at injustices around the globe, from the environment to civil rights, as well as a couple that delve into the human mind and touch on addiction or mental illness.

[In regard to the first EP] Hell To Pay was written in opposition to police brutality (this was written back in 2014, before any major organizations like BLM were even founded). Easily the darkest song on the record, and still one we play today. Sidewinder, so named after the missile and the desert snake. An apt title, as this song was written near the conclusion of the coalition occupation of Afghanistan that began with the World Trade Center attacks in 2001, loosely referencing 9/11 conspiracy theories but more importantly expressing outrage at a protracted military occupation. Deadhead is an ode to street kids and the homeless struggling to scrape a living and fight their demons every day. Fathoms is our salute to the men and woman who come out to our shows, who we’ve met and befriended, partied and laughed with. It’s about the feeling of hitting the stage and having really awesome people love what you’re doing, and scream the words back at you over the PA system.

Do you enter the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

For the most part we write before the studio. Only recently, with a home studio being acquired, were we able to implement recording into the writing process. It has many benefits, not the least of which is it’s now almost impossible to forget parts! It’s worked both ways for this record, plenty of trial and error, but with such high costs to record in studio we like to be prepared to nail those takes.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

Our live shows are full of energy, we try to project our excitement onto the crowd, even joining them in the pit occasionally. We’re constantly in motion and want to turn up and just go for it. If you come to our shows, expect to meet at least one of us in the crowd. We aren’t afraid to get close to our audience, mosh with our guitars, whatever it takes to get everyone having a good time. We try to put on a bombastic show, something memorable and huge. Showmanship isn’t out-dated yet, right?

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

Every scene has an opportunity for a band, the trick is making your mark and being able to leave for a bit, tour around, and come back to find your mark still there. You have to make an impression on people, really work the excitement out of your audience.

Toronto has exploded recently, not on the metal front, but in the general vein of music, so that’s generated a kind of Mecca for producers and label reps. That being said, these guys aren’t necessarily looking for a metal band, which is cool because we have more to offer than just grinding riffage and double bass. We definitely have our foot in the door, but we’re still growing as a unit and brighter horizons await.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

It can definitely be a tedious task, continuously having to type updates and promote shows, mail out merch, upload photos/songs, the list goes on. But, if you love something, you’ll deal with the boring and the crap times because it will come back to you in the end. Social media is definitely helping us at the moment, not only are we diligent about it but we have the right people for the job. Matt is a brilliant graphic artist and designer and Elle is a promoter and Event Management student. All things good must come to an end, but global reach on social media hasn’t gone bad just yet. Bands these days should definitely invest the time into learning how to mould social media, it is invaluable. Anything has the possibility to become negative if overused or utilised improperly, the trick is the learn all you can about using social media and keep your content professional.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

We’ve had it under wraps for a couple months now, but we are featuring the amazing Lindsay Schoolcraft, keyboardist/vocalist of UK metal band Cradle of Filth, on two tracks from our upcoming release. So we’re pretty excited about that. Beyond that just more music and we’re beginning to shoot more videos as well, so following our YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiJ2zCXgHfsnUurrge-UyoQ ) and Instagram (@darkstonecrows) will keep you up to date on that stuff.

http://darkstonecrows.wixsite.com/darkstone-crows   https://twitter.com/darkstonecrows   https://www.facebook.com/darkstonecrows

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 19/08/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Antigone Project – From Its Room

Antigone Project _RingMasterReview

Hailing from the creative belly of Paris, Antigone Project made a potent first impression with their self-titled EP late 2014; a debut which has only strengthened its persuasion over time and listens. It was stirring and eventful tempting, a fusion of provocative flavours which has been lifted to a whole new plateau with its successor, the From Its Room EP.

Embracing the emotive qualities of post and progressive rock in electronic and guitar conjured soundscapes whilst equally drawing on the eighties inspired post punk /synth rock essences which marked its predecessor, the EP is a bolder and more immersive adventure exploring persistently evolving and evocative rock landscapes within tempestuous sonic climates. The leap in creative maturity and indeed experimentation between releases and their individual characters is as open as the wealth of textures woven into the EP’s six striking tracks, and as thoroughly enjoyable as that first offering was, From Its Room simply leaves it in its shadow.

Antigone Project is the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist /songwriter Frédéric Benmussa and a project initially intended as a solo venture. Formed in 2002, the band expanded over time with bassist Manu Ventre and drummer Fred Monaco alongside Benmussa upon the latest encounter. Inspirations to the band includes the likes of Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, Radiohead, Joy Division, Tool, and numerous more, spices which were an open spicing within that first release but far less prominent in the unique proposal of From Its Room.

art_RingMasterReviewThe EP opens with First Rush, an immediately provocative mist of keys and sonic suggestiveness surrounding the senses as the song simultaneously brews up a dramatic and tempestuous climate. Benmussa’s soaring tones soon launch across the brooding canvas, his alluringly harmonies entwining with the floating wash of keys. Both powerfully draw ears as riffs and rhythms brew up within them, the imagination firing intro leading the listener to the following creative theatre of The Black Widow. Tangy hooks and sultry surf rock bred grooves engage ears and appetite straight away as the song’s sinister but seriously alluring character blossoms. As Benmussa’s voice brings another beguiling texture into play, the track’s exotic mystique and post punk charm enjoyably increases, addictive rhythms courting the surrounding adventure cast by guitar and keys. The track is stunning, an early favourite and highlight of the EP which alone shows the new diversity of sound and creative boldness soaking the release.

A live version of Trismus comes next, the band opening with grungy guitars as gothic hued keys rise up around them and the darker lure of the bass. Earlier Radiohead was mentioned as an inspiration to the band and here there is no escaping their scent as again a sweltering sonic colouring with surf/psych rock shading escapes guitars and harmonies as cinematic drama and haunting essences collude. It is a beguiling, imagination igniting immersion of the senses and thoughts, soon matched in creative endeavour by the following Sphere.

In three parts but meant as one musical movement, it begins with MoonSphere where gothic toned keys enclose ears as poetic melodies slip from the acoustic prowess of Benmussa, both expanding their temptation with an array of warm and imposing textures as vocals and rhythms bring their contrasting elements. There is a touch of The Cure and The The to the song, that previously mentioned eighties feel showing itself in a song seemingly as much Nine Inch Nails spiced. The track’s infectious union of shadows and melodic persuasion, a dark and light side, leads into the rousing revelry of VenuSphere. Straight away the track erupts, bounding along with tenacious rhythms aligned to a just as frenetic sonic and melodic resourcefulness. Inescapably though, it is still bred from the same emotional heart as its predecessor even when involving ears in its salacious temptress like festivity. Again a skilful collusion of contrasting shades and textures, this time honed into a virulent spirit arousing canter of electro rock/pop, the track sets flows straight in the final movement in the piece, PerfectSphere.

A darkly shadowed and almost portentous coaxing of ears and imagination, its riveting theatre and emotive tapestry of sound beguiles as it inflames and though as the other two, the song does work as a single proposal, Sphere has to be played as one whole flight of sound to ensure the fall through its cinematic and fascinating depths are felt to the full.

From Its Room is a thrilling new experience with Antigone Project; as suggested a major step on from their certainly impressing debut but one still seemingly like it is only part of the way towards something bigger and bolder, of which anticipation is already brewing.

The From Its Room EP is out now digitally through iTunes and on Ltd Edition vinyl via Season Of Mist @ http://shop.season-of-mist.com/vinyl/antigone-project-from-its-room-lp

https://www.facebook.com/antigoneproject    https://twitter.com/projectantigone

Pete RingMaster 05/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Dead Air Republic – With Extreme Prejudice

DAR_RingMasterReview

We all know how criminal it is when the most untalented of people get their fifteen minutes of fame and attention on TV shows and through money driven exploits of others whilst there are real and extremely talented people going majorly unrecognised or remain never known. Listening to With Extreme Prejudice, the new EP from Canadian rockers Dead Air Republic, it is really brought home. As adverts begin on UK TV announcing the next instalment of as many Britons as they can find with less talent than a blank piece of paper, something no doubt replicated on every continent, here is a tenaciously creative band breeding prime rock ‘n’ roll which is going unnoticed by most.

With Extreme Prejudice is the chance to buck the trend in some small way whilst treating ears to six tracks of multi-flavoured and impassioned rock and metal roars. Dead Air Republic was formed in 2008 by musicians returning from a long hiatus from making music with fire in their creative bellies and determined passion in their emotive energy. It is a fire and intent which inflamed their well-received self-titled debut album released in 2013 and now energises the Ottawa hailing quintet’s new encounter.

As individual as their sound is, it is also easy to pick out suggested inspirations as the EP involves ears and the imagination from its first breath. One band though does unexpectedly coming to the fore quite often and that is US band Resin, they another unrecognised talent sharing an ability to write and sculpt truly anthemic hooks and swinging grooves within emotionally tempestuous proposals. It is a pleasing hue emerging swiftly within opener Just Another Bullet. A great steely groove welcomes ears and entices an early appetite straight away, crisp rhythms and snarling riffs quickly adding their bait as the song evolves and creatively grumbles. Once the sandy tones of vocalist Marc Bourgon gets in on the act, the track is in full magnetic swing around the gripping collusion of Mike Derstroff’s beats and a highly infectious bassline from Ben Barnes. Grooves and melodic flames spring from the irresistible swagger in motion, guitarists David Maltais and Richard Bent adding their sonic enterprise and backing voices to an increasingly impressive incitement. The track is superb, rock ‘n’ roll to ignite the spirit, involve the body, and get the juices eagerly flowing.

DAR_Front_Art_RingMasterReviewExample 1 strides in next with its own web of grouchy riffs and sonic tempting, Bourgon again quickly impressing with his expressive delivery with the band backing him in potent vocal kind. As with its predecessor, there is something familiar to the song and sound yet mostly indefinable as it adds great spice to the fresh stomp lighting the senses. Certainly there is a touch of Tool to the track, but again a colour in the Dead Air Republic palette which becomes more dynamic and unpredictable with every inventive minute. Anthemic to the core, the song continues the already mighty presence of the release in ear and thought before making way for the darker drama of The Waves.

The third track emerges on an atmospheric air with portentous edges to its raw sonic lure before things settle into a melancholic stroll with that slightly unsettled electronic ambience still working away. Guitars and vocals proceed to share melodic and harmonic angst as rhythms add a firm but unassuming hand within the disturbed climate of a song. Becoming more buoyant and energetic over time, it is a another potent shade to the band’s invention which without quite making the same impact as the first pair on personal reactions still had ears and attention transfixed across its imaginative body.

The air is mightily stirred again as Good at Never rides in on a great nagging tide of riffs. Their immediate addictiveness only breeds greater persuasion as the song rises up into its own irritable and snarling grunge/punk contagion. Again hooks and grooves spew a virulent potency which alone has the listener fully involved with vocals and the raw anthemic heart of the song coaxing a physical involvement which carries on into the classic rock and metal blaze of Buzzkill. It is easy to hear the influences of bands like Maiden and Sabbath within the fiery and vigorous bellow of the song but again essences only employed with the distinct imagination and touch of the Canadians.

Giving the listener a great heavy metal fix and more, the EP turns to its heavier rock ‘n’ roll side for closing track Enough of This Mess. Still metallic strains are a spicy part but spinning a sound seemingly fostering a liking for bands such as Pearl Jam, Seether, and again Tool, the song creates its own unique and highly persuasive adventure.

The track is a fine end to an outstanding release which deserves the fullest of attention. Whether it sparks that success time will tell but rather than be numbed by something posing as entertainment whether on TV, Radio, or the like, we suggest taking a punt at turning off the switch and embracing real and exciting times going by the name of Dead Air Republic.

The With Extreme Prejudice EP is out now across most online stores.

http://www.deadairrepublic.com   https://www.facebook.com/Dead-Air-Republic-169929886356153

Pete RingMaster 30/03/3016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Lithium Dawn – Tearing Back The Veil I: Ascension

LithiumDawn1_RingMaster Review

Whether people describe Lithium Dawn as progressive rock or progressive metal, the Californian band’s sound somewhere in between, neither suitably describes the sonic kaleidoscope that turns new album Tearing Back The Veil I: Ascension into one of the year’s major treats. Creating an emprise of aural imagination built upon a vast array of styles and flavours, band and album fascinate and enthral throughout their second full-length. The album’s canvas is certainly seeded in progressive adventure but from there it blossoms into an evolving adventure sure to excite fans of anyone from Karnivool and Tool to TesseracT and Opeth to Circles and Voyager, and that still barely covers all of the lures laid by the outstanding Tearing Back The Veil I: Ascension.

The successor to debut album AION of 2012, Tearing Back The Veil I: Ascension is the result of new growth and bolder invention fuelling the Lithium Dawn sound. Formed by multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Ondrej Tvarozek and drummer/programmer Matt Benoit, a pair who first met way back in 2004 on an online message board, the band released their first album to eager praise, it recorded with the help of new member bassist/guitarist Jens Marcelis. It was a potent start from which the band has impressively blossomed further, all the thick evidence there within their stunning new release.

The album opens with the track Tearing Back the Veil and instantly wraps ears in djent inspired predation aligned to flowing and suggestive keys spun by Aaron Gage. There is immediate drama to the start which never abates even as the track’s atmosphere becomes mellower yet cloudier and its air more sultry and exotic around the impressing tones of Tvarozek. That theatre also comes with a classic rock toning, a scent colluding with Porcupine Tree like elegance and Periphery like technical ferocity as the track evolves within the ears.

LD DIGI COVER FULL_RingMaster Review   It is an enthralling and gripping opening to the album matched by the tantalising majesty of Ascension. Emerging straight out of the alluring breath of its predecessor, the song is quickly weaving into its creative agenda reggae spiced melodic and rhythmic temptation with pulsating echoes of dub ingenuity. Potently backed by the voice of Gage, Tvarozek quickly has ears bending the way of his inviting delivery whilst the senses become enveloped by the intimately haunting yet celestial ambience of keys and guitars. The track is an engrossing endeavour with creative snarls making another seriously enticing aspect to the crystalline character of the track.

The individual craft of the band is as stirring and impressive as the sonic poetry they cast and welcoming to additional enterprise like that of guest guitarist Sithu Aye who brings a gripping solo to Point of No Return. The song twists and turns as it seduces ears and imagination, the great volatility of its jagged scenery and imposing attitude perfectly merged with its harmonic heart and melodic tempting. Confrontational and seductively immersive in equal measure, the track is a tapestry of creative imagination and emotive exploration spun in a web of diverse flavours and tones. At times it is jazzy, in other moments an emotive croon, and at times even an aggressively imposing incitement, but from start to finish it simply beguiles.

An already happy appetite for the release is made greedier still by the following Decimator, a primal but majestic involvement of the senses which flows seamlessly through again contrasts in texture and sonic attitude to entice and thrill. Throughout it can be as bestial as a Meshuggah offering and as warmly seductive as an instrumental flight with Heights, and with another guest in Plini providing a potent solo, it powerfully intrigues and pleases before making way for the darker shadows and emotion of Selfcollapse. Immediately a hue of turbulence lines its opening tempting, gaining thicker persuasion as guitars and bass sculpt a tempestuous canvas for vocal flames and the mesmeric lure of keys to share the track’s evocative narrative upon. Again there is the sense of a predator to the nature and tone of the outstanding track, prowling and urging with invasive bait as a melodic haunting permeates thoughts and emotions.

The pair of Synchronicity, with its otherworldly serenade, and the lively lapping of the senses that is Tidal keep ears and pleasure full with their unique natures and imaginative portraits in sound whilst Spires cradles the listener in melodic arms and inviting melancholic strings within another multi-coloured immersion of sound and ethereal temptation. All three absorb and transfix, successes matched by the mazy entangling of contrasting yet fluidly aligning textures and sonic colours that is Labyrinthian and after that by the mystique charged, sonically fiery B’ak’tun, which is set up firstly by the shamanic coaxing of short piece Incantation. As proven here and time and time again across the album, words only give a glimpse of the richness in sound and invention making up the tracks within Tearing Back The Veil I: Ascension, and as shown by B’ak’tun too, just when you think you have it all, another listen unveils a little more to the alchemy conjuring such intensively immersive incitements.

The album is brought to a close by the gentle romance on ears of Horizon and finally the brief atmospheric grumble of Edge of the Earth, confrontation and beauty merged for a closing instrumental exploration. It sums up the whole album, contrasting tones and layers wrapped in evocative expression to spark mind and body into full involvement.

To simplify it all, Tearing Back the Veil I: Ascension is a gorgeous album; one demanding of your time and concentration but rewarding with one of the year’s biggest triumphs.

Tearing Back the Veil I: Ascension is out now @ http://lithiumdawn.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/lithiumdawn

Pete RingMaster 09/12/2015

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Unified Past – Shifting The Equilibrium

Unified Past_RingMaster Review

The two years between previous album Spots and its successor Shifting The Equilibrium has taken US progressive rock band Unified Past to a new level. It is fair to say that previous offerings from the band have garnered acclaim and impressed, especially the excellent Spots but the band’s new album is a stirring adventure in songwriting, sound, and imagination which walks a new plateau. The time has also seen the trio of guitarist/keyboardist Steve Speelman, drummer Victor Tassone, and bassist Dave Mickleson expand with the addition of vocalist Phil Naro, another potent new breath to the Unified Past temptation.

Formed in 1984 by Speelman and Tassone, New York hailing Unified Past has increasingly garnered acclaim with their rich mix of sound and live presence. A sextet of albums over the years has earned the band the reputation of being one captivating and fiercely accomplished proposition, each release, as Spots to Shifting The Equilibrium, seeing sound and band grow in craft and invention, not forgetting success. Equally individual experiences has seen original band members working and playing with the likes of Chief Big Way, Belladonna, The Colin Tench Project, Oceans 5, and Reaching Ground Project. Naro too has a spicy pedigree behind him having worked with Peter Criss, Lou Gramm, Carmine Appice, Billy Sheehan, and Brian May amongst many. More impressively though is the creative and musical unity the foursome have developed; Spots impressed but Shifting The Equilibrium comes with a new roar of striking invention.

artwork_RingMaster Review The album begins with Erasure Principle, a flight of melodic exploration across a sinew woven landscape. From its first breath crystalline keys lay an inviting haze within which the guitar spins a web of sonic enticement. Straight away there is scent particular to Unified Past washing the track and the emerging tapestry of sound, a flowing fusion of seventies and eighties rock with a modern progressive imagination. Naro swiftly impresses as a new vibrancy from his voice hits the song and sound, his tones dramatic yet honed to sit perfectly with the music around him. Inspirations to Unified Past include artists such as Dream Theater, Rush, Yes; each open spices to the album but as here, primarily just adding rosy hues to the band’s own distinct endeavour.

It is a potent start to the release but soon eclipsed by the even more striking Smile (In the Face of Adversity). Keys again bring that colour of nostalgia to the expressive weave of guitar whilst vocals melodically seduce as a quickly bred drama stirs ears and appetite with an epic tone merging intimidation and fiery beauty into the diverse kaleidoscope of sound and craft shaping the outstanding track. Keys wise a whiff of The Stranglers’ Dave Greenfield adds to the perpetually blooming excitement and theatre, but as in all proposals within the album, everywhere you look and turn the quartet is creating an intricately involved, fiercely imaginative, and wholly contagious incitement.

Etched in Stone takes over next with an orchestral air to the creative intimacy of its persuasion, again the band skilled at mixing contrasting layers and depths of sound as Naro reveals the lyrical heart. The bass of Mickleson is seriously compelling, its dark grouchy tone a predacious edge to the captivating maze conjured by Speelman via guitar and keys. The further into its adventure the imagination goes the more cosmopolitan and mystical the song becomes, a middle eastern flavouring joining the endearing bait offered throughout and though it is an eleven minute flight, such its rich and busy invention, the track seems over in a flash.

It is a fascinating quality to all tracks, their meaty lengths more like fleeting moments as busy adventure grips ears from within the whole emprise of Shifting The Equilibrium, the slightly shorter Peace Remains in the World another example as its Tool meets Porcupine Tree meets Pink Floyd like tempestuous calm, hooks and seduces ears and appetite from start to finish. A carnivorous funk tempting from Mickleson especially hits the spot, its creative belligerence matched by the resourceful swings of Tassone as melodies, acidic and warm, entangle around them.

The instrumental majesty of Deviation from a Theme (of Harmonic Origin) transports the listener into an exotic labyrinth of suggestiveness and provocative sound, proving that it is not only the addition of Naro which has been a blossoming aspect to the Unified Past proposal.

The album is completed by the vast soundscape of Today is the Day, a bewitching enticing of melodic scenery and evocative textures in a constantly evolving experience for song and listener. Like a link-up between Yes and Voyager, it is an enthralling and gripping end to a mighty temptation.

It is weird to say after the length of the time that Unified Past has been around and frequently impressing so many, that Shifting The Equilibrium is a coming of age to the band’s sound but in some ways it is though. Bottom-line though is that it is a highly flavoursome and skilfully varied slice of progressive rock hard that even more are going to get a potent kick out of.

Shifting The Equilibrium is out now digitally and on CD via Melodic Revolution Records @ http://melodicrevolutionrecords.com/album/shifting-the-equilibrium

http://www.unifiedpast.com/Unified_Past  https://www.facebook.com/Unifiedpast

Pete RingMaster 24/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Deadly Circus Fire – The Hydra’s Tailor

DCF_RingMaster Review

Casting a creative and impassioned roar which just gets richer and more compelling with every listen, The Hydra’s Tailor is a majestic beast of an album; a release that invasively seduces and cantankerously snarls. The second album from UK metallers Deadly Circus Fire, it has been the source of much attention and highly enthused praise already, so time we thought to get involved in its acclaimed proposal and fair to say disappointment was not on the agenda.

Fusing persistently unpredictable explorations of progressive metal and rock with just as magnetically carnivorous textures, The Hydra’s Tailor is already no stranger to drawing keen attention, just like the band’s debut album The King and the Bishop which was heartily embraced by fans and media alike. Drawing on inspirations such as Tool, Mastodon, and Deftones, the London based Deadly Circus Fire laid down a fiercely inviting teaser for this their latest emprise of sound and imagination through a couple of eagerly welcomed singles and since their release, they have signed with Musicarchy Media for the release of the crowd-funded, The Hydra’s Tailor as well as share stages with the likes of Crossfaith, Funeral For a Friend, and Bleed From Within across the UK and Europe. Right now they are lighting up European venues supporting Skindred on their Pump Up The Volume tour, just as The Hydra’s Tailor does the same to ears and speakers.

Artwork_RingMaster Review     The album starts with In Darkness We Trust, its keys spawned melancholic air embracing the immediately enticing and impressing voice of Adam Grant. The duet is bewitching, a solemn yet magnetic coaxing into the heart of the album and second track Animal. Riffs instantly begin prowling ears as it opens up predatory scenery, vocals again a potent enticement as the firm swings of drummer Paul Igoe resonate and the guitar of Save Addario spins expressive sonic enterprise around the still ravenous riffery. Grant again strikes with compelling vocals, his presence backed as resourcefully and potently by the tones of Mike Enort, whose basslines are no slouch when it comes to casting dark temptation either. Whereas the opener was a minimalistic treat its successor shows the shape of things to come with its unpredictable and seamlessly diverse landscape, it also a triumph in its own right.

The following Where It Lies expands from an acoustic flirtation into another mesh of wiry guitar tendrils and emotive flames, ebbing and flowing in aggression and intensity but relentlessly seducing in charm and adventure. As vocal craft and imagination shadows every step made by the ideation building the track, a scent of bands like Circles and Palms lay upon the fascinating encounter, Karnivool too in the song’s mellower moments but all spices to something already showing Deadly Circus Fire uniqueness.

Victim is another entering with an antagonistic glint in its creative eye, rhythms and riffs aligning their rapacious natures as Metallica-esque grooves line the emerging tempest. This time there is a whisper of bands like Bloodsimple and Lamb of God to another song which needs little prompting to evolve into new pastures of tenacious ideation and compelling craft, subsequently an air of Porcupine Tree and Tool just as suggestive across the outstanding incitement.

Another pinnacle comes with the stunning blaze of Devil’s Opera, a track as infectiously catchy as it is mouth-wateringly involved. It takes ears, emotions, and the imagination on a heady ride of united enterprise and individual exploration, a flight which twists and turns with an inventive turbulence that only ignites the appetite to greedier intent towards album and band. It is a forceful yet respectful invasion of the senses continued in Rise Again, it too aligning riffs and rhythmic rabidity with a fire of sonic invention and emotion driven melodic expression guided by the superb voice and delivery of Grant.

The brief instrumental tempting of Martyrs provides a relaxation for the senses next and a new spark for the imagination to play with before the exceptional House of Plagues groans and grinds ears with guitar endeavour around an enjoyably volatile blend of vocals. That bestial intent continues as melodies catch flame and rhythms jab with the stealth of a predator, all contrasts uniting in a scintillating emprise of emotive and provocative ingenuity, one that gets more ravenous and thrilling over each passing minute. Amongst so many within The Hydra’s Tailor that linger and relentlessly lure constant attention, as the album itself, the track is pure addictiveness as it takes best track honours.

Through the bold air and wonderfully fluid and varied tapestry of Aeden and the climatic atmosphere and soundscape of the album’s title track, The Hydra’s Tailor continues to enthral and tempt lustful reactions, its namesake another especially mesmeric blaze of dexterous songwriting and skills matched in sound. Both songs add thick layers to the epic nature of the album with the next up Turning the Tide equally as mighty with its agitated rhythms and sonic swirl of discontent. Equally within its stormy nature though, melodies brew, calm emerges, and bewitching harmonies entice to engross and excite before the turmoil returns in similarly exhilarating style.

The album is closed by the celestially lit, intensively aired Universe; a song which soars and bullies its way into ears and the psyche whilst leaving a great resonance and glow from its respective merger of harsh and tempestuous textures with absorbing beauty. The song is just masterful, repeating the major success cast before it across The Hydra’s Tailor with its own impressing adventure.

The good things heard and read about Deadly Circus Fire barely do the band justice, and now having been infected by The Hydra’s Tailor it feels safe to say if there are those yet to feel the power and prowess of the band the chance of finding reactions breeding the same kind of enthusiasm as us here, is high. There is only one way to find out of course and that is one of the heartiest recommendations made at The RR this year, go explore.

The Hydra’s Tailor is out now via Musicarchy Media @ https://www.musicarchymedia.com/project/the-hydras-tailor/

http://www.deadlycircusfire.com   https://www.facebook.com/deadlycircusfire

Pete RingMaster 17/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

Dorje – Catalyst

Dorje _RingMaster Review

Catalyst is the perfect name for the new EP from UK rockers Dorje, its sound and songs the sure spark to major attention and a greedy appetite in a great many for the band’s inventively fiery sound. It is an offering lying somewhere sound wise between Soundgarden, Audio Slave, Alter Bridge, and Tool but with a freshness and invention which across its five tracks shows exactly why there is a rich buzz around the quartet.

Technically impressive and captivating with a sound built on rousing grooves and inflame melodic imagination, Dorje imaginatively draw on varied flavours from the likes of blues, jazz, metal, and a diverse mix of muscular rock ‘n’ roll. What emerges is a rich and enjoyable persuasion that is unafraid to merge recognisable hues and flavours into the band’s own skilful textures and magnetically resourceful enterprise. Catalyst roars with this impassioned recipe, and though it may not blow ears and the passions away, it certainly leaves a hungry appetite and intrigue for more in its wake.

DoejeCover-Bright_RingMaster Review   Written is first up upon the band’s second EP and straight away a guitar stirs up attention with its raw and slightly grizzled coaxing. In a swift breath or two, the dark throaty bass lures cast by Dave Hollingworth join the expanding flames springing from the of guitars of Rabea Massaad and Rob Chapman, with the latter’s vocals make an equally strong impression as they join the captivating sinew driven mix. The beats of Ben Minal cage it all in a restrained but potent frame as Hollingworth’s craft continues to be a dark magnet in a song blossoming an off-kilter and delicious passage of imagination soaked avant-garde adventure. It is a moment reinforcing early recognition of the great unpredictability which also lurks within the band’s potent tempting, a twist turning a strong track into something special especially as it continues to add riveting spice to the remainder of the impressive song.

The potent start continues with the EP’s title track, the song as its predecessor, making a controlled and alluring start but soon, once it has found its creative feet, brewing into and expanding into an imagination fuelled exploration. Admittedly the track never ventures as boldly as the opener but entangling familiar and fresh enterprise in a technically sculpted web of enticement only leaves ears and pleasure full; a hungry satisfaction wanting more and duly fed by Aeromancy. Encircling the senses in another maze of technical prowess and heavy rock predation as emotive as it is rapacious, the song blazes away as it takes the listener through its multitude of layers and robustly dynamic textures.

A more relaxed embrace and enticement comes with the excellent All next, the band creating an enthralling croon as provocative as it is progressively charming and holding a touch of UAE band Absolace and Porcupine Tree to its enticing flavouring. As expected, the song carries an attitude to its breath and predatory air to its invention which invigorates the warmer side of its infectious character, both sides closely colluding as the track works its way to a tempestuously compelling and exhilarating climax.

Closing track White Dove is a more formula heavy rock bait of sound which personally did not whip up the same excitement as those before it yet leaves only fill satisfaction behind with its old school meets grunge feel. It is an eager slice of the kind of rock ‘n roll which never fails to go down well though, an inflamed storm ensuring Catalyst leaves a potent last impression.

Dorje are cultivating something very flavoursome and indeed striking as the Catalyst EP powerfully reveals but equally there is open potential of broader and bolder things to come which means current rich enjoyment is leading to keen anticipation for what comes next, a reaction as ripe as the pleasure found in this new roar.

The Catalyst EP is out now via most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/dorjeband http://www.dorje.tv

Pete RingMaster 10/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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