Vie Jester – All In Jest

It was around two years ago that L.A. trio Vie Jester grabbed ears and impressed with the Etches In Aether EP, a collection of multi-flavoured and imaginatively sculpted melodic/alternative rock bred songs. Recently drummer Cliff Conway got in touch to introduce the band’s latest offering, All In Jest, to our ears. Another EP sized clutch of songs, it was gratefully received especially once discovering the new adventure and maturity shaping the band’s sound and even more striking new offering.

As much as it left a greedy appetite for the Vie Jester sound, Etches In Aether is forcibly eclipsed by the exploits of All In Jest. Everything about the band has grown and matured with its five songs giving dramatic evidence within their skilfully woven episodes of enterprise and imagination. Magnetically melodic but with a snarl which may ebb and flow but always lurks to add greater depth, All In Jest is an inventive roar unafraid to lyrically take a bite at intimate and social issues.

It opens up with new single Please and one of the best starts to any release this year. The track is immense, rising from a calm but portentous melodic yawn into a muscular yet inviting spire of sonic nagging. The guitar of vocalist Kyle Guerrero needs mere seconds to tempt, his powerful vocal prowess just as swift in persuasion once gracing a song already revealing an unpredictable and adventurous body. Vocally backed by both Conway and bassist Jaime Salas with matching potency, Guerrero’s niggly citric tendrils addictively persist though stepping back nicely at times as the track blossoms from one twist and idea to another with increasing magnetism.

It is a magnificent start which hints at bands like Voyager, Tool, and Karnivool in its own individual adventure; a blend echoed in the equally creative Sunburn & Moonshine. A gentle melody wraps its suggestion around ears first, harmonic whispers adding their elegance before Guerrero’s expressive tones join the already bubbling adventure brewing within the catchy encounter. Embracing an engaging intimacy as it brews up emotive crescendos, the track just seduces ears and attention. It does lack the tempestuousness of its predecessor but replaces it with melodic flames and warm infectious tenacity for similar if not quite as spectacular success.

Enigmata follows quickly catching expectations unaware with its electronic tempting as vocals gather. The same essences continue as they are joined by the imaginative enterprise of guitar, rhythms, and vocals; the song evolving with every passing note and idea with enticing endeavour. Its relative calm and boisterous expulsions are similarly gripping whilst the array of flavours and textures within its body only captivate. It has the boldness guiding the whole release to the fore but with its richest invention in play as the song explores it simply demands plaudits.

The release is concluded by firstly The Punchline, an ethereal caress with volcanic tendencies, and lastly through the rousing endeavours of Colourblind. Both tracks keep pleasure and ears intensely involved with the second of the two especially gripping with its stylish touch and creative tapestry framed by Conway’s rhythmic prowess. It is probably fair to say that neither quite lights the major fires in personal passions as those before them but both inflame an already installed appetite for the Vie Jester invention whilst pushing the new craft and imagination shaping their sound.

Vie Jester has always deserved greater attention and they should get it with All In Jest; certainly they and it warrant a moment of your concentrated time.

All In Jest is available now @ https://viejester.com/album/548219/all-in-jest

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Pete RingMaster 07/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Bad Llama – Apocrypha

UK band Bad Llama emerged early last year and swiftly poked eager attention with the release of first EP Shedding Skin and its lead single The Wolf You Feed from fans and media alike. Now ahead of their upcoming follow-up EP, Crooked Empire, the Burton upon Trent quintet ups the ante with the release’s first track, Apocrypha.

It is a powerful and rousing encounter which demands attention whilst revealing a new maturity and intensity in the band’s multi-flavoured sound. A list of Bad Llama’s inspirations reveals an eclectic mix ranging from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Incubus, and Tool to Korn, Faith No More, Rage Against The Machine and Bring Me the Horizon; a mix equalled in the metal and heavy rock bred enterprise of a sound also bearing the spices of progressive and industrial nurturing. As previous releases suggested, what emerges is a sound distinct and becoming more unique to the band; Apocrypha another definite potent step towards that originality.

Recorded with producer Gavin Monaghan, Apocrypha moves in on ears with an almost predacious atmosphere and similarly swinging beats, its threat dissipating slightly as Kyle Jordan’s expressive tones step into the web of suggestion cast by the guitars of Dan Houlbrooke and Sam Wyatt. The gnarly snarling bass of Lewis Hutchings though keeps the intimidation flowing; a delicious texture prowling the sonic temptation continuing to entangle the imagination of song and listener as Gaz Waddell’s beats bite.

It is a captivating mix in a song which grows and blossoms in thought and enterprise with every passing second. Apocrypha is a masterful proposition, skilfully crafted and emotionally intense which it is hard to see not stoking up attention for Bad llama and anticipation for that forthcoming EP.

Apocrypha is self-released November 10th.

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Pete RingMaster 04/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

First Signs Of Frost – The Shape Of Things To Come

Pic Ben Ashton

The Shape Of Things To Come is the first EP since British rock band First Signs Of Frost emerged from a hiatus a couple of years back; its title as much a declaration of the fresh blossoming sound and creative chapter within the band as the themes it explores across five absorbing tracks.

Formed in 2004, the quartet of guitarist/vocalist Owen Hughes-Holland, guitarist Adam Mason, drummer Will Gates, and bassist Dan Oehlman grabbed keen attention with their debut EP, In Our Final Chapter. 2007 saw Daniel Tompkins join up as lead vocalist before the acclaimed release of first album Atlantic and a period see the band play alongside the likes of Deaf Havana, Enter Shikari, Architects, You Me At Six, We Are The Ocean, Senses Fail, Devil Sold His Soul and many more. Before the fuss had settled around the release, Tompkins left to join TesseracT. His departure left a gap the band struggled to fill; thus their hiatus until Hughes-Holland resurrected the band in 2015. Linking up with Mason again as well as bassist Andy C Saxton (ex-Cry For Silence), vocalist Daniel Lawrence (ex-Kenai / All Forgotten), and drummer Alex Harford, the London quintet immediately sought to explore and push their sound to new imaginative heights with The Shape Of Things To Come the first glimpse of their success.

Immersing inspirations from the likes of Deftones, Tool, Further Seems Forever, and Glassjaw into their invention, First Signs Of Frost swiftly lures ears with opener Meat Week. Its atmospheric calm is a quick enticement, the gentle caress of guitar a matching lure before the brooding air also there sparks a bolder expulsion of sound. Lawrence’s vocals immediately impress, his melodic expression matched by the colluding warm and wiry textures of the sounds around him. An infectious energy is equally as persuasive within the song, every element bold without being forceful but making a strongly emotive and technically alluring temptation on ears and imagination.

The following White Flag potently backs up the great start; its enterprise similarly resourceful and ear catching without making over aggressive trespasses upon the senses. There is elegance to the First Signs Of Frost sound which charms as the craft of the individuals captivates; again making for a gentle almost smouldering seduction carried in a contagious and skilfully conjured proposal.

Latest single Look Alive Sunshine is next up with its own individual melodic rock venture veined by djent scented progressive metal intricacies. There is jaggedness which bites as the vocals and melodies hug the senses; a union which grips and lingers even if the song just fails to touch the plateau of its predecessors before the evocative climate and atmospheric ambience of Atlantis drifts in with the superb vocals of Lawrence and keys to the fore. An instinctive emotional intensity rises within the song, simmering down again before repeating its cycle within the graceful serenade.

The EP closes with Sharks; it too an initially serene coaxing but one soon revealing its djent nurtured teeth and creative volatility within a subsequent sea of melodic and technical but emotionally inflamed tranquillity. It is a fine end to a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable release. The Shape Of Things To Come feels like the first step towards something bigger and bolder but is a full pleasure in its own right; a mix which makes First Signs Of Frost a band which just has to be followed closely.

The Shape Of Things To Come is out now via Basick Records and available @ https://basick.supplies/collections/first-signs-of-frost or http://music.basickrecords.com/album/the-shape-of-things-to-come

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Pete RingMaster 15/08/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

White Noise Radio – Cosmos

Offering an eagerly tenacious union of hungry riffs and resourceful grooves, Cosmos is the second EP from UK outfit White Noise Radio. The band’s ear catching alternative rock owes plenty to inspirations ranging from Porcupine Tree and Karnivool to Incubus and Opeth but proven across four eventful tracks to carry a host of distinctive and potential carrying attributes likely to set the Bristol quintet a couple of steps  aside from the crowd.

Formed in 2014, White Noise Radio has forged a potent reputation and stature across the South-West, pushing broader awareness with their self-titled debut EP last year. Recorded at the legendary Sawmills Studio in Cornwall, Cosmos is poised to draw greater attention the way of the band with its captivating tapestry of melodic and sonic enterprise around a clutch of choruses which simply demand involvement.

The EP opens with the excellent Siren, a song instantly baiting ears with a fine percussive lure, their clipping touch an inviting dance to which melodies and the dark throb of Mark Detre’s bass add even greater potency. Soon the song opens up a teasing web cast by the guitars of Antoine Maas and Ben Lampard, a draw intensifying in weight and trespass before the lead vocals of Lampard grace a mellow breath coming forth within the encounter. There is still a dark edge to the song, the rhythms of drummer James Gill and Detre almost as portentous as they are progressively funky. It is a bold and compelling mix, only increasing its snarl and draw as the song blossoms across a more tempestuous yet controlled and always evolving landscape, with adventure in its creative hills.

Without knowing their influences it is not too difficult to guess the touch of bands like Karnivool and Incubus but similarly that individual character of the White Noise Radio sound is apparent and just as vocal within the equally striking Gone Inside. The wiry riffs of its entrance again make for a richly appetising lure, the guitars and bass seductive and sinister as they continue their invitation whilst subsequent mystique lined grooves flirt alongside before a heavier breath sweeps through it all. As its predecessor, the track twists and turns through a revolving spiral of aggression and intensity, each bringing new textures and drama to easily embrace as the five-piece technically and creatively weave with increasing dexterity.

Latest single, Dawning is next, the song a calmer proposal with a celestial tone to its melodies and bouncy energy to its rhythmic enticement. Vocally Lampard again swiftly impresses, his guitar play also engaging alongside the suggestive flare of Maas. A mellower encounter in comparison to the first pair, it too has a fire in its belly which erupts in sonic bursts and though for personal tastes lacking the final bite and boldness of the first two songs, the encounter has ears and appetite bound in no time.

Wires bring things to a similarly collected close, its Tool-esque tranquillity almost deceitful of the emotional and fiery energy waiting to break at certain times. Throughout there is a dark almost predacious edge to the bass and riffs, a fine tempering to the spiralling sonic lights of the guitar and the ever harmonious and inviting tones of Lampard just as magnetically backed by Maas. With a Bush like scent also seeping from the song, it makes for a fiercely gripping conclusion to a firmly pleasing release.

White Noise Radio has not quite found their unique voice yet but Cosmos suggests it is coming whilst offering songs which quickly get their highly enjoyable hooks into the psyche. The fact the EP only gets stronger and more impressive over listens just adds to the fun.

The Cosmos EP is out now and available @ https://whitenoiseradio.bandcamp.com/album/cosmos

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Pete RingMaster 18/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Simpletone – Angels’ Share

the-simpletone-band-pic_RingMasterReview

There are some releases which just demand success. Whether they get it in the increasingly fickle attention of the modern music fan is never a given but Angels’ Share, the new album from British rockers The Simpletone, does all the right things to make that commanding statement.

There is little we can share about the 2010 formed band other than its line-up is made up of John Davison, Craig Seymour, Glenn Eastoe, and Tom Cahill, it hails from St Neots in Cambridgshire, and has previously released the albums, Rampenny in 2012 and Dark Matter two years later, both seemingly well-received propositions. A UK tour with New Model Army in 2014 has been one of many live highlights for the band built on their stirring fusion of heavy and melodic rock with grunge, stoner and numerous other essences. It is a mix of flavours making for a striking proposition and imaginative proposal in Angels’ Share and songs which just roar with anthemic majesty and fiery enterprise.

The first of the ten cuts gripping ears and an early appetite for the band’s invigorating rock ‘n’ roll is Outta Control. Instantly a spicy groove winds around ears, leaning in closer as tenacious rhythms and riffs join its opening bait. Effect coated vocals equally lures keen ears as the song swaggers along with steady but rapacious grooves and a suggestive melody. The restraint stopping the track from exploding as it hints it might throughout is an inspired move, the song teasing and almost taunting along its enterprise shaped body. The heavier throb of bass and flames of harmonies only add to the lure of the song with guitar craft similarly as magnetic.

The following Love Street (Modern Mystery) keeps the rich enticement going with its punk folk lined stroll, simple but potent riffs colluding with swinging beats as vocals paint a suggestive picture. Its catchiness is a swift persuasion rapidly backed by the boisterous antics of the guitars as the track carries on the great variety already showing in the band’s sound, diversity more than confirmed by their mighty new single Storm Chaser. At over eleven minutes it is an epic persuasion which serenades the senses with melodic and harmonic caresses initially before building a bolder energy amidst an addictive rhythmic prowess. Weaving strands of space and progressive rock among other textures into its ever evolving adventure, the song is a kaleidoscope of melody heavy rock drawing on an array of decades while creating its own fresh, individual, and ever changing landscape of imagination. Like a mix of Skyscraper (the nineties UK band), Life of Agony, and Voyager, the track barely feels like its length and relentlessly has the listener compelled.

angels-share-cover_RingMasterReviewThe fact that next up Black Box still manages to eclipse it slightly shows the quality of its own exceptional design. A spirit stoking beast from its first touch, the song canters with muscular tenacity and fiery invention bred to virulent proportions as its mix of hard and heavy rock consumes ears and imagination. The track is exceptional, as punk in many ways as it is feisty rock ‘n’ roll with a drama of character and craft that demands attention and involvement.

Fire in the Sky steps up next with a growl in its basslines and a contagious swing in its rhythms, guitars and vocals dancing within their addictive tempting as soulful blues lined grooves bring an incendiary heat to the proposal. Like a seventies inspired union of Therapy? and Reuben, to try and offer a comparison, the song forcibly hits the spot before making way for the slower stoner-esque prowl of Nehemiah, an incitement pulling sludgy textures into its increasingly exotic and suggestive theatre. It is seriously compelling stuff, another song blossoming through an array of twists and flavours as it grows in ears.

The melodic charm of Day by Day is a similarly riveting proposition, the graceful yet sinewy instrumental finding a place between XTC and Tool as it seduces the imagination, setting it up for electrified air and nature of As Above so Below. Courting ears with a rapaciously formidable core in its raw riffs and bold rhythmic, the track wraps it in a melodic spiciness and mellower harmonic seducing which echoes elements of bands like Bush, Alice In Chains, and Sick Puppies yet sounds little like any.

If we tell you that Easy Come lacks the same galvanic sparks of its predecessors do not mistake it for a weak link within Angels’ Share; the song a highly persuasive slice of rock ‘n’ roll with guitar craft which shines like a beacon as the bass uncages a funk inspired personality. The fact the track is outshone by others is down to their might, a strength revelled in again by album closer Hunters. Whether by coincidence or design, there is a Horslips feel to the song certainly early on, and of fellow Brits KingBathmat but as across the album, things are soon woven into an addiction of sound and creative hooks roaring The Simpletone.

It is a glorious end to one treat of a release which deserves all the praise and attention it should and surely will get. Angels’ Share is another rousing encounter to add to our lustful favourites of 2016 list and no keener a recommendation we can offer.

Angels’ Share is out now across most online stores and on iTunes @ https://itunes.apple.com/album/id1169473074?ls=1&app=itunes

http://www.thesimpletone.com/    https://www.facebook.com/thesimpletoneband/

Pete RingMaster 16/11/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Defy The Ocean – Elderflower EP

DTO_RingMasterReview

Ignore the post rock tagging when seems to accompany UK duo Defy The Ocean as their sound is so much more than that. Well not exactly ignore as it is one prevalent texture within a proposition which commands attention but as their new EP Elderflower reveals, the band is as eager to embrace alternative and melodic rock as they are grunge and many fiercer flavours. It results in a sound which captures the imagination across seven intriguing tracks within Elderflower, songs which are a mix of sheer bewitchment and less dramatic adventures but all offering company that only firmly satisfies.

Defy The Ocean consists of vocalist/guitarist Chris Theo and drummer/guitarist Marcos Economides, a pair which met at high school and began jamming together at the respective fifteen and nine. Having gone their separate ways the duo reconnected and musically linked up again in 2009, Defy the Ocean emerging from their songwriting and playing. Their first two singles were released in 2010 with the Myopic EP unveiled late 2012; its well-received release followed by the single Gold & Green the following year.

Working on Elderflower since then, Theo and Economides have pushed their sound to another level, weaving soundscapes of dramatic textures within melancholic atmospheres coloured with matching emotions. Equally they have drawn on more virulent forms of rock to add an inviting catchiness which whether subtle or forthright is another potent draw on ear and imagination.

The EP opens up with Rest, a sombre introduction sharing its shadowed heart through the first melancholy hued strains of guitar. As more creative detail appears, the song comes to life, its emotive intensity as dark and troubled but shaped by melodic suggestion and graced by the excellent vocal harmonics of Theo. Ebbing and flowing with energy and raw emotion, the track grips ears, seizing the imagination as forcibly in less than three minutes of striking enterprise.

elderflowercoverart_RingMasterReviewThe following Veil equally opens in calmer sorrowful waters, wrapping downcast yet vibrant melodic strands around ears as a dirtier bass line walks the shadows bringing a portentous air to the blue but radiant captivation. Along its body, the track continues to grow in layers and ear snatching textures, as with the EP as a whole needing numerous listens to appreciate the levels and nuances making up an ultimately enthralling body with increasing impressiveness following every venture into its riveting downcast landscape.

The EP’s title track comes next, casting a theatre of emotion and sound with essences of bands like Tool, Pelican, and Grenouer in its tempestuous landscape. Both Theo and Economides entangle each other’s enterprise and technical prowess, rhythms a rousing often destructive element as sonic adventure links up with rawer trespasses for one infectious tempting.

Brine follows with its own thick canvas of dramatic sound and emotional turbulence, Theo vocally emptying the song’s heart as the guitars cradle his dejection. Again it is beguiling stuff if at times lacking the last few sparks that lit up its predecessors, though to be fair there are moments it radiates like a creative sun to dynamically pleasure the senses before Vessel soulfully caresses ears with its atmospheric despondence and warm understanding. The most adventurous track so far, it transports thoughts into exotic places over time, always sharing compelling emotion and an understated yet powerful catchiness which just as potently fuels the impressive tones of Theo and his and Economides’ invention.

The piano bred instrumental of Poisoned leads into final track Bones, its brief heavyhearted beauty the appetiser to the woeful and epically shadowed closer. With moments of melodic clarity and stormy intensity, all swept across by the vocal and harmonic elegance of Theo, the last song is emotional turbulence within a musical tempest and quite beguiling with greater command on the passions with every listen.

Within Elderflower, Defy The Ocean merges recognisable essences and textures with their own stirring invention. It makes for a masterfully powerful release becoming more striking with time shared.

The Elderflower EP is out now @ http://music.defytheocean.com/album/elderflower

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Pete RingMaster 20/10/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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