Shattered Skies – The World We Used To Know

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With their acclaimed first EP having escaped our radar when it came out around three years ago, The World We Used To Know is our introduction to Ireland  bred progressive metallers Shattered Skies, and have we been missing out. The band’s debut album is an enthralling and thrilling creative emprise which avoids all the self-indulgences and over blown excesses the genre can at times coax out of a band. Instead it creates an epic drama of passion and invention with a technical adventure and skill to match, leaving jaws dropped in awe and passions lustfully inflamed.

Formed in the earlier moments of 2011, the now London based band swiftly gripped attention and critical praise with the Reanimation EP that same year. The time between releases has been filled with a host of reputation growing shows alongside the likes of Machine Head, Dimmu Borgir, Alice Cooper, TesseracT, Scar Symmetry, SikTh, Animals as Leaders, Twelve Foot Ninja, The Algorithm, After the Burial and many more, as well as performances at festivals such as Holland’s ProgPower and Bloodstock in the UK, two appearances at Britain’s Techfest and a trio of visits to Euroblast in Germany. The World We Used To Know will be the biggest lure to the world from the band yet and like for us, it is hard to imagine many genre fans and beyond resisting the fiery imagination and seriously accomplished sounds tempting from within the album’s fascinating walls.

As aflame with inescapable hooks and grooves as it is with breath-taking exploration, the release opens with the short and emotive temptation of Collapse Of Man. A provocative caress of Albumcoverpiano, the instrumental piece draws ears and thoughts into the release with a sense of drama which simply explodes in the following The End And The Rebirth. The band’s new single too, the song dances on the senses with a vibrant electro smile before ruggedly spicy grooves and matching crunchy riffs join the vivacious tempest. Instantly enticing whispers of TesseracT and Circles, the track casts its own uniqueness as it expands and glows with enterprise and invention. The striking melodic vocals of Sean Murphy are an instant treat, his ability and expression as dynamic as the sounds and ideation around him. It makes for a scintillating kaleidoscope of adventure spun on the skills of guitarist/keyboardist Ian Rockett and the simultaneously savage and addictive rhythms of drummer Ross McMahon and bassist Jim Hughes, quite simply it is a stunning start.

Things only explode with greater potency and ingenuity when 15 Minutes takes over, vocals and melodies again a sure seduction against the slightly carnivorous breath of the djent inspired guitar predation and rhythmic stalking. As mentioned before, each track has an inventive and sonic theatre to its songwriting and sound, one which over the first song and especially this has a feel of early My Chemical Romance to it. The track is sensational, a cantankerous croon of an incitement within a whirlpool of unpredictable and fluidly flowing experimentation.

Both the gripping enticement of Haunted and the inflamed serenade of Elegance And Grace keep album and ears burning brightly. The first is an angst fuelled weave of acidic grooves and stabbing riffs aligned to ever mesmeric vocals and harmonies. Its rhythms equally impose their strengths with ease, intimidating rather than coaxing the same plaudits in thoughts and emotions. Its successor is a smouldering romance of charm loaded keys and impassioned vocal expression in comparison. The song simmers and boils across a climactic canvas of riveting Muse meets Dioramic like endeavour, and as the last song engrossing ears and imagination with increasing strength and drama.

The guitars are back snarling and abrasing the pleasures in the following Show’s Over, though as discovered in all always Shattered Skies songs, they only provide one moment in evolving landscapes. Their bait and Meshuggah like growl is never far from the frontline of the song though, just in a constant and seamless flux of fresh sound and inventiveness. The track is an inescapable contagion, so much so that it is hard to think of many progressive metal bands which can rock body and passions with such catchiness to their enormous technical prowess as Shattered Skies.

As The Sea Divides is a tempestuous turbulence of sound next, its blustery guitar bred climate and inhospitable rhythmic trap the scenery for siren-esque keys and the soaring tones of Murphy to poetically and magnificently colour. A little longer to draw similar lustful responses as other songs, it grows to new heights with every listen, though it still misses the top step found by the last song and the outstanding Flipside which follows. Almost bestial in its prowling gait and sonic tempting, the track manages to be savage and impossibly infectious with a melodic bloom of voice and sound to put any crooner and pop band to shame. The song is quite delicious, a must be second single to our minds and another irrepressible reason why Shattered Skies will take the progressive metal world by storm, well this and ten other great reasons on The World We Used To Know.

     The pair of Aesthetics and Saviours seduce senses and emotions next, the first exploring the scent of bands like Tool and The HAARP Machine in a magnetic tapestry of emotion soaked expression and soaring harmonics. Unafraid to have a raw edge too, the song is also ridiculously catchy, something emulated by the darker squalling presence of the second of the two. An antagonistic cage of riffs and drums from the first second, it scowls and teases with scarring tenacity whilst within the raw frame keys and the stunning vocals of Murphy roar and soar.

The track is exceptional but so is the closing eleven minutes plus of the title track which brings The World We Used To Know to a mighty close. An epic journey and creative escapade in its own right, the song seems to draw on all the hearts of its predecessors as it draws a mouth-watering and bewitching soundscape all of its own. Everything about it is sensational and its lengthy presence seemingly over in a flash thanks to its wonderfully busy maze of startling craft and volcanic enterprise.

2015 has already in its brief time seen some quite invigorating encounters, the new 6:33 and Cold Snap albums coming to mind, and on that frontline of excellence Shattered Skies sits looking rather sensational with The World We Used To Know.

The self-released The World We Used To Know is available now @ http://shatteredskies.bigcartel.com/product/the-world-we-used-to-know and digitally @ http://shatteredskies.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/shatteredskiesofficial

RingMaster 15/01/2015

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Antigone Project – Self Titled EP

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Antigone Project EP is available now via Samla Music @ http://findiemerch.com/en/antigone-project-antigone-project/ and digitally @ http://dooweet.bandcamp.com/album/antigone-project

https://www.facebook.com/antigoneproject

RingMaster 07/01/2015

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Casting reflections and dispersing shadows: talking Johnny Wore Black with band founder Jay

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  2014 has been a big and flavoursome year for British melodic and alternative rock, and in no small part thanks to UK band Johnny Wore Black. The brainchild of London based songwriter/producer and stuntman (Les Miserables, The Dark Knight Rises, Fast and Furious 6, Fury ) Jay, the project on the back of a host of attention grabbing singles and videos over the past eighteen months or so, has released two acclaimed and enthralling albums this year. Walking Underwater Pt 1 and 2, the second released barely two week ago, encounters which and immerses ears and imagination in an evocative embrace, thought provoking propositions which infuse passionate creative roars with poetic melodies and fiery textures. Both albums reinforce the emerging stature and recognition of Johnny Wore Black as one of Europe’s most exciting and innovative songwriters and rock artists. With the kind sharing of Jay’s time, we delved into the heart of the man, band, and particularly the fresh majesty of Walking Underwater Pt 2.

Hi Jay, thanks for sharing time to speak with us.

My pleasure…thank you for listening.

You have just released second album, Walking Underwater Pt 2; how were feelings as the unveiling swiftly approached?

It’s always a strange time around release, in a way exciting and in a way a test of patience as in reality it’s about waiting to see how the product is received. As an artist, the reviews are important to gauge how good a job you have done!

Are there different emotions and expectations this time around after the acclaim and success of Walking Underwater Pt 1 earlier this year?

Walking Underwater Pt.1 was an opening, a beginning if you like so it will be interesting to see how Walking Underwater Pt.2 is received and how the journey develops in other people’s jwbnew1-hires2eyes and ears. It’s important to make music for yourself first and yet in reality, once released its journey becomes a public experience. My expectations are for people to enjoy it and find the right environment to use the music.

How should people look at the two releases, as two parts of one whole entity or the new release as an evolution and unique exploration from the themes and narrative fuelling the first album?

It is a new release of course, and yet a journey too. Honestly people will make of it what they want. Personally there is a journey there, a cleansing and an exorcism of past demons…to make way for new ones maybe?!

Before we look deeper in to the new album, can we ask about your history musically and other aspects before Johnny Wore Black?

Childhood poems then set to music when learning to play the Spanish guitar, pretending it was electric! Onwards, days in studios as birthday presents from my dad when I was fifteen and sixteen. Johnny Wore Black is the conclusion of life experience, being a singer songwriter, being in bands, and generally loving music.

What was the spark bringing the band to life?

The spark was a need to express my songs in a new way, to attempt to get closer to the music that turns me on and lights my fire!

The band name inescapably brings thoughts of Johnny Cash, is there a meaning behind the title?

I like the analogy of why Johnny Cash wore black, to identify with those less fortunate than himself. My dad called me Johnny and my grandmother Evelyn bought me a black suit, which I wore at my Dads funeral when I was seventeen. So, you see, life and all its shards of dark and light.

What would you say are your major inspirations?

A Perfect Circle, Karnivool, Tool, Depeche Mode, Metallica, Stone Sour, Johnny Cash…to name but a few.

jwb walkingunderwaterpt2Because of the success and potency of your first album anticipation and expectations of Part 2 are probably over demanding. Has this added any pressure for its creation?

In a way yes, but to be honest most of the pressure is self-inflicted. My goal is to make great music, who can say when that has happened? Really, I see it as a never ending journey.

With the close proximity to the release of the two albums, it is easy to assume both sets of songs or certainly many over both albums have been bred from around the same time. What is the time frame in that area and if they were written around the same period how did you decide which song went on which release?

I tried to put together songs that felt good together in order to create the story. There are songs here spanning a ten year period, hence why they needed to be cleared in order to move on.

Did you learn anything on Part 1 which you took into its successor to help its emergence or give it something different recording wise?

The process included working with guitarist James Coppolaro and drummer Simon Hutchby whilst David Ellefson and I also collaborated in more depth than before so that was a rewarding experience.

Listening to Part 2 we felt there was even greater personal intimacy to certain tracks than on the last; how close are the seeds of your songs to your life and experiences?

Some songs are closer personally than others but it’s interesting which songs individuals feel are intimate.

The album as you mentioned again sees you collaborating with David Ellefson, of course of Megadeth, in writing and playing. How did you guys meet and when did the link up musically begin?

We met backstage at Download in the UK some years ago. We started chatting music and immediately kind of bonded. I then began sending David songs in progress and he agreed to play on the first Johnny Wore Black single, All The Rage.

When you come to songwriting together, is it an even contribution or does David look towards the rhythmic side more?

It does vary per track. So far, on some David has sent riff ideas, like Firefly and on Gift of Desperation he sent a lyric, which I then developed. Writing is a very fluid process with no rules.jwbnew2-3-lo-res

There often seems to be a different kind of spark to songs you too have created together, not bigger or lesser than on other tracks, just strikingly different. What would you put that down to?

I suppose that’s just two minds rather than being the dominant decision maker however I’d be interested to ask you that question back and see what you feel is strikingly different about those tunes?

Tell us about the new album; is there a specific underlying theme to its lyrical explorations?

Each track has a different theme so really would need to answer this on a track-by-track basis. My lyrics explore people, the world and our continued need to understand.

How did the recording go; was it an all meet up situation or more technology driven coming together of the band for the album?

Some of the album was musicians in a studio, old skool style, and some via Skype and Dropbox. This was an international project via the USA, UK, Canada and Croatia.

Walking Underwater Pt 2 also features Croatian singer Sara Renar on the track Shine On and Loretta Heywood on a cover of her own track Winter in July. How did those guest appearances come about, especially with Loretta. Was she instantly open to you taking on her song?

Sara and I met on the set of Game of Thrones in Croatia some years back. We stayed in touch and I have followed her musical career. She has a unique quality to her voice I felt complimented Shine On, on the album. She was happy to contribute once she heard the song, and recorded her parts in a studio in Split, Croatia.

Now Walking Underwater Pt 2 is out there wooing the world, what is next in store for Johnny Wore Black, alter ego ha-ha, and band?

There is work to do, releasing singles and creating more music videos. We are having discussions about hitting the stage and seeking to break the back of the USA. Oh and by the way, another album is due next year, totally new material and bigger than Texas!

jwbnew2-hiresA big thank you for chatting with us again, any last thoughts you would like to share?

Just that I am truly grateful for your time and interest in Johnny Wore Black and thank you for providing a platform to help spread the gospel according to Johnny Wore Black.

And lastly I cannot go without asking about the film samples which graced the first album. Can you tell us about them and why you did not use them for the new release too?

The first ones were from a documentary my late father directed back in 1967 called The London Nobody Knows. The samples fitted the music, the songs and were a tribute to him. I will say, we are currently in discussion about producing The London Nobody Knows Revisited to mark its anniversary. I liked the idea of samples a-la-Floyd to be part of Walking Underwater Pt2 but decided to just focus on the songs.

Read the review of Walking Underwater Pt2 @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/johnny-wore-black-walking-underwater-pt-2/

http://www.johnnyworeblack.com

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 05/12/2014

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Quartered – Eyes And Ears

Quartered - Press Photo - Credit Tyler Branston

The first thing to say about the Eyes And Ears EP from Canadian band Quartered, is it gives no real evidence to why the band self-describes themselves as progressive metal. Now genres and tags never truly represent the complete sound of a band but unless we have misunderstood what progressive metal is, it is no way the suggestion we would give to the potent sound running through the band’s release. Now call it alternative metal with a metalcore tendency and you are closer to the captivating persuasion fuelling a highly accomplished and satisfying proposition. Though not something rigorously unique, the Vancouver quartet’s sound stands as an individual incitement for ears and thoughts but most of all, it is simply potential soaked and highly enjoyable.

Quartered has earned an acclaimed reputation locally and further afield since its four friends came together around six or so years ago. Taking inspirations from the likes of Deftones, Tool, and Thrice, the band has become accustomed to praise for their live performances which has seen them play with the likes of Lamb of God, Testament , Slapshock, Bif Naked, Kobra and The Lotus, Ninjaspy, and Over The Coals through numerous festivals, tours, and shows. Their 2010 album Walks Like A Ghost equally garnered strongly positive responses and ensured that once news of Eyes And Ears broke, anticipation was fiercely keen.

The release opens with the excellent Blink Blink Flash, a track swiftly stirring up ears and appetite with its raw sonic entrance and coaxing. The guitar of Jeff Wang scorches the small hairs on flesh as it heads to the senses, laying down fine bait before the vocal roar of Greg Williams explodes with energy and passion alongside the rhythmic incitement of drummer Scotty Miller. It is a formidable start which only seems to find greater intensity as Williams explores his excellent clean delivery and the bass of Craig Rudder unveils its throaty drama. Twists in the vocal attack and jabbing hooks increase the intrigue and potency of the song and though it never explodes as it hints it might, the inventiveness and unpredictable tenacity of the song easily ignites imagination and passions. It is easy to feel the Deftones influence even in a song which is distinct to Quartered and it does the impressive protagonist no harm at all.

The following Call Me Crazy is a mellower proposition, melodies instantly wrapping ears within an evocative ambience before post hardcore like vocal and riffery adds its antagonism. It is a pungent beginning which loses some of its lure Album Cover - Quartered - Eyes And Ears - 2014with the strong but not this time as striking smooth and melodic vocals, which in turn inspires a more relaxed pressure around them. When the song rages with nostril flared though, it is a mighty slice of provocation and another aspect to the promise of the band. Its successor Violent Love, like the first track, provides a virulent temptation and pleasure as a harsh caustic assault is merged with respectful and harmonious warmth. It works perfectly, the track at ease and full potency either snarling and gnawing on the senses or seducing them. It is fair to say that the band is not setting new templates with the song and their sound but for a thoroughly exciting and impressive incitement, it is an undeniable treat.

Speak of the Devil similarly provides a riveting and thrilling encounter, its melodic rock charm and more rugged angst fuelled passion a radiant and resourceful flame of craft and enterprise. Its captivation is succeeded by the infectious She Sees Colour, a catchy and emotive caress on ears which enchants and provokes satisfied emotions with Palms like vivacity. It is a song which again does not quite catch fire as it might but easily provides another major highlight on the increasingly impressing release.

Neither Take Me There Tonight nor Echoes can match what comes before, yet with its predacious touch and tone aligned to skilled musical and vocal design, the first of the pair makes for a compelling and persistently pleasing encounter. The second of the two is a flight of emotion and hungry endeavour which evolves from a gentle caress to a raw and caustic emotional rage. It also leaves thoughts and appetite hooked but pales against the qualities of earlier songs and the closing success of Ricochet.

The final song on the EP is the most groove infested encounter on the release, fusing that irresistible spice with the now expected excellently thought out and presented vocals amidst a commanding rhythmic framing courted by superb guitar invention. It is a powerful end to a strong and absorbing encounter. Though it is easy to feel there is more to come and be discovered by Quartered to really forge a unique place in metal, Eyes and Ears is an impressive step on the way and very easy to want to keep coming back to.

The self-released Eyes And Ears is available now @ http://quartered.bandcamp.com/album/eyes-and-ears

http://www.Quartered.ca

RingMaster 09/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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New Model Army – Between Wine and Blood

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New Model Army has never been slow in impressing and stirring up thoughts and passions since forming back in 1980 with their uncompromising and inventive sound, lyrical confrontation, and inspiring stage presence but it is fair to say that the Bradford band hit a new pinnacle with last year’s Between Dog and Wolf album. It showed as if fans needed reminding, that the band has become more impressive and essential with age, the rigorously acclaimed release being rewarded with being the UK band’s fastest selling offering and charting top 30 in UK and Germany. Now the band unleash the similarly outstanding and eventful 2 CD encounter Between Wine and Blood. Made up of six brand new songs on one disc and eleven live cuts of tracks from the previous album on a second, it is an invigorating continuation of the riveting creative plateau set out upon Between Dog and Wolf.

Following the potent release of the last album, NMA set out on the Between Dog and Wolf Tour to equal praise and success. Part two of the tour was scheduled for the spring of 2014 but due to drummer Michael Dean being diagnosed with blood clots in his leg and advised not to play shows, the tour was postponed until this autumn. The break enabled the band to hit the studio and to record 6 brand new songs for the mini studio album accompanying the live CD. The songs are bred from and continue the weighty impressive presence of Between Dog and Wolf, pushing and exploring further its creatively imposing and thrilling emprise. The tracks make for a compelling and enthralling companion to the live portion of the release. Recorded from the first part of the aforementioned tour at venues in London, Nottingham, Cambridge, Cologne, and Amsterdam, the CD sublimely reinforces and the power and impressive stature of the last full-length and the band live, easily capturing the raw and emotive energy which marks their songs and stage presence. Combined the two sides of the proposition makes for one of this year’s most enjoyable and striking incitements from a band as mentioned earlier just get better and better.

The new tracks start off with According To You and needs little time to consume ears in a slow yet heavy and throaty embrace of bass and guitar. It swiftly slips into a pungent stroll of predacious riffs and sonic enticement from the guitars of Justin Sullivan and Marshall Gill, whilst vocally Sullivan imposes himself with the distinctively confrontational yet expressive calm which has always marked his delivery. The grouchy tone of Ceri Monger’s bass brings another breath of drama to the prowl of the track whilst its flowing chorus is unafraid to dabble in rock pop without defusing the intensity and weight of the impressive opener. It is a stirring encounter, but emerging in hindsight as just the tasty appetiser for greater things to come starting straight away with Angry Planet.

The second track has barely time to coax the imagination before raw riffs incite a rampant stroll of anthemic beats from Dean, which in turn are caressed by a gentle but vocal melody and the ever riveting lure of the bass. Exploratory electronic breezes from Dean White enhance the dramatic evocation cast by the song for a stunning challenge where lyrics and vocals work on thoughts as magnetically as rhythms enslave limbs and the inventive sonic weave steals the imagination. Sure to be a crowd favourite ahead, the song builds and boils into a climactic finale driven by the discontent and unrest theming its narrative, ultimately cementing itself as a show and album stopper.

Guessing is equally anthemic in its individual stomp, beats and riffs an irresistible incitement over which melodies and sonic designs twist with flirtatious hues as vocals and the increasingly impressive bass endeavour of Monger, nestle 46f67d33-e5e6-4afa-b8eb-68050a268a25perfectly between the song’s antagonistic rhythmic drive and seducing creative enticement. Another to chalk up as a classic NMA proposition, the song is rivalled by the bewitching Happy To Be Here. An emotive folk embrace wraps ears as a sultry melodic temptation and ambience provides a mesmeric colour to the vocal draw of Sullivan and a courting acoustic beauty. An energetic bounce to the track just as rapidly emerges but is never allowed fully off its leash, the band instead simply breeding it into an infectious swing driving the provocative and intimate adventure.

The new material is completed by firstly the stunning Devil’s Bargain, again a tribal seeded bait opening up the track as keys build a haunting yet engaging atmosphere. It is an instant trap in which feet are unable to stay motionless as the body subsequently succumbs to the baiting. Thoughts and emotions are not far behind in their submission either, keys and vocals leading the resourceful and radiant temptation. As all the songs, there is a potent unpredictability and intrigue to every twist and shift of ideation in the track but skilfully explored with seamless ingenuity and passion. The closing Sunrise, the band’s new single, is a punk folk treat if it can be tagged as anything, which simply oozes irresistible melodies and spellbinding harmonies across a sinew sculpted spine. To be honest it is not the standout song on the release but still an easy choice to lead people into the album.

The live side of Between Wine and Blood just as tightly and swiftly grips passions and appetite, from the fist pumping thrills of the opening Stormclouds through to the closing contagion of Horsemen, band and CD steal total interest in ears and attention. The opening track sets the tone, pulling the listener into the middle of the tempestuous glory of song and occasion, skin almost tingling as ears are immersed in the passion and energy of the night it was recorded.

With every track a roar of intensity and passion delivered with the craft and snarl which has always been NMA, there is no point in the album where you wish to be anywhere else but certainly tracks like March In September with its fiery provocation, the impossibly addictive and brilliant Did You Make It Safe?, and especially the voraciously transfixing I Need More Time take the biggest plaudits. They are rivalled by the excitingly hostile shuffle of Between Dog and Wolf, a classic track and imperious live version in anyone’s book. As said though every song is a transport right into the heat of their recording and the evidence that there cannot be many finer bands live than New Model Army right now.

Mixed by Joe Barresi (QOTSA, Soundgarden, Tool and Hole), Between Wine and Blood is a must for fans and all with a yearning for impassioned and powerfully inventive rock ‘n’ roll, whether from the studio or stage. NMA also have a voice which never shirks taking on the world’s injustices and social wrongs and that as shown by this outstanding release, is just as masterfully engrossing.

Between Wine and Blood is available now on the band’s own Attack Attack label in various packages @ http://shop.newmodelarmy.org/ and https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/between-wine-and-blood/id907118636

Check out New Model Army’s current tour dates and more @ http://newmodelarmy.org/

RingMaster 02/10/2014

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Empty Yard Experiment – Kallisti

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   Kallisti is an album to which you have to commit time and attention but rewards with an enthralling journey for thoughts and emotions to deeply immerse within. The new release from Empty Yard Experiment, the fourteen track encounter is a transfixing and compelling proposition which never lets you comfortably settle into its exhausting textures and climactic structures but equally never relinquishes its grip and temptation on the imagination. A riveting web of progressive and melodic rock with just as rich veins of post rock and alternative metal, the album is an expansive landscape of consuming atmospheres and provocative emotion wrapped in a craft and enterprise which pushes Empty Yard Experiment to the forefront of progressive exploration.

Formed in 2006, the Dubai based band consists of musicians from the United Arab Emirates, Serbia, Iran, and India. Taking influences from the likes of Tool, Porcupine Tree, Nine Inch Nails, and Mogwai into their own invention, Empty Yard Experiment (E.Y.E.) has certainly on the evidence of this second album, forged a unique yet almost recognisably engaging presence and sound. It comes in an ingenious tapestry though which sets it well apart from the band’s influences and others engaged in a similar weaving of multi flavoured styles into sonic experimentation. With the band already earning acclaim through shows with the likes of Evanescence, Metallica, and Anathema, their Joshua F Williams (Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder) produced Kallisti has the quality and potential to thrust the band into the keenest spotlight. Named after the inscription on the ancient Greek Apple of Discord, Kallisti is a concept album themed by the threads of chaos and discord which permeate our lives and existence, its lyrical provocation as rich and intensely provocative as its sound.

The journey starts with Sunyata, an instrumental introduction which places melancholic keys from Gorgin Asadi and strings in a crystalline and slightly portentous ambience. It is an easily engaging opening cloaked in emotive shadows and swiftly has thoughts wrapped up in its restrained yet potent drama. The track builds up a sonic link between itself and the following robust and intimidating Greenflash. That threat is slightly defused with the great ragged rub of riffs which soon emerge and mellow vocals which instantly brings a whisper of Deftones or Palms to the otherwise predatory entrance of the track. As it opens up its rhythmic pressure and sonic ruggedness everything takes on a fresh, bordering on antagonistic, approach to the melodic temptation. The result is a song which flirts and melodically roars like a mix of Alice In Chains and Karnivool. As with most tracks there is so much going on that we can only give brief glimpses, each proposition within Kallisti an on-going exploration of an evolving soundscape.EYE_CoverArt_Kallisti

The outstanding track makes way for the dystopian ambience of Red, a brief instrumental clad in an emotively sinister ambience before it in turn slips into the reflective caress of The Blue Eyes of a Dog. The track is like a stark imposing breeze, its emotional intrusion at times a wispy elegance and in others a forceful wind all sculpted by respectful rolling rhythms, melodic experimentation, and emotional turbulence. The instrumental is a beacon for ears and especially imagination to find their own scenic visions within the track and album, matched to more sinister effect by the more disturbed There Will Never Be where keys and vocals unite for a severely troubled caress.

Entropy provides the loftiest peak on the album, the track an enslaving bait of sinew stretched riffs from Bojan Preradovic and the probing beats of Josh Saldanha within an atmospheric sonic glaze courted by a gripping throaty bass temptation unveiled by Kaveh Kashani. Vocals swiftly add their smooth and evocative tension as keys swarm tenderly over the senses with a smouldering breath of seduction. The song prowls as it seduces, expelling raw abrasing flames of sonic and emotive passion throughout for a climactic and absorbing flight.

Blue is another short cinematic slither of industrial bred scene setting before the transfixing beauty of Anomie immerses ears and senses, the skilled designs of guitarist Mehdi Gr a gripping narrative alongside the increasingly mesmeric vocal qualities of Preradovic. There is a sinister almost bedlamic eruption of discord kissed sonic ingenuity within certain twists of the song which simply adds to its engrossing intrigue and unpredictability. The following Lost In a Void That I Know Far Too Well has less of the second of those two aspects but certainly a wealth of the first within its soaring melody strewn instrumental landscape. The piece again has thoughts flying their own agenda before Untitled spreads its unique but easily accessible melodic rock revelry and provocative expression. Detours into cinematic glimpses of life and festivities wrong foots at first but opens up further exploration within the constantly surprising track which over time only enhances its suasion.

The dark cavernous depths of Sama make another short but impacting twist in the narrative of Kallisti before it seamlessly evolves into the melodic enchanting of God Has His Reasons, a self-reflection driven slice of melodic and harmonic beauty. Keys and vocals steal the ears but only because the striking canvas built by restrained rhythms and an inescapable web spun by the enterprise of the guitars and bass gives them a potent background.

A final short piece called Green leads into the closing triumph of The Call, a track from its initial rhythmic trap binding ears and passions in a nine minute travelogue of gentle and tempestuous emotional climates and rugged aural terrains. It is a final emprise for thoughts and feelings, a thrilling sonic gest to lose reality within.

Though many tracks work alone superbly, Kallisti works best as a whole even though that means greater attention and effort is needed. The rewards though are enormous as Empty Yard Experiment proves themselves to be one of the truly exciting emerging forces in melodic and progressive endeavour.

The self-released Kallisti is available now @ http://emptyyardexperiment.bandcamp.com/album/kallisti

http://www.emptyyardexperiment.com/

RingMaster 29/09/2014

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Escapethecult – All You Want To

ETC-band-2

All You Want To  is a persistent little temptation, an album which admittedly did not really blow thoughts and senses away initially but did engage them in a pleasing and intriguing proposition. Away from its aural embrace though hooks and melodies, rhythmic twists and grooves kept swerving around the imagination and memory, all leading back to and revealing themselves as being bred by the debut album from Escapethecult. The seven track encounter is still not an experience to leave you intensely awestruck but with its lingering and ingenious enterprise certainly enthrals as one of the year’s more exciting progressive metal propositions.

Escapethecult is one of those super groups you read about, a collection of established musicians taking time out from their more recognisable exploits to explore new hopefully impressive avenues, something the quartet does with ease from start to finish. The brainchild of Kamlath bassist Peter G. Shallmin, Escape The Cult came to life in 2008 with its founder drawing on the qualities of vocalist Matthieu Romarin of Uneven Structure, guitarist Mike Wead from King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, and Primus/A Perfect Circle drummer Tim Alexander to help realise his vision of creating a progressive metal audio/visual experience. It has been a journey for the band to this point and for Shamlin who talked about the album saying “It was a dynamic and exciting start, with blood, sweat and tears shed throughout the process and a long exhausted preparation for the attack. Every day was worth to make it real. We were sincere in our ideas that are embodied in our debut.

The gentle but resourceful entrance of opener Backfired, with a bass twang courting spicy guitar enterprise, swiftly catches the imagination and though it is not a dramatic start to the album, an intrigued appetite for the song’s offering is

Created by Igor Omodei

Created by Igor Omodei

drawn. The distinctive tones of Romarin bring a familiar and passionate texture to the emerging narrative of the song, one never forceful or in a rush to challenge ears and thoughts but leaving inventive tendrils of melodies and strains of sonic incitement to infest the passions. It is a potent and riveting start to the album, basking in the renowned individual skills of its creators whilst forging a compelling and unique suasion of its own.

The following Clandestine opens with a muscular and aggressive threat which is soon tempered by an evocative heat of sonic colour and warm vocals. There is still an intensive weight to the rhythmic potency of Alexander though to keep senses on edge and balance out the almost Queens Of the Stone Age like sultriness coating the melodic exploration of the song. Grooves are seemingly slight in their bodies yet make for the most addictive and as mentioned earlier relentless temptations, the outstanding second track one of those which makes the most re-appearances in thoughts away from its source, whilst the flames of guitar endeavour from Wead transfixes as they scorch air and senses.

A definite pinnacle of the album, it is soon backed up by the gentle croon of I’m Absolute. With an immediately delicious web of hypnotic bass flirtation and the similarly mesmeric vocals of Romarin, the song sways and immerses ears in a smouldering and jazzy emprise of progressive fascination. The beats juggled by Alexander further captivate and ignite an already invigorating breath to a song, which as the album as a whole, does not explode in the passions but worms its way seductively into the psyche to forge an even more intensive bond.

Both the melodically tender Feel The Flight and the rapacious Tired Of The Past provide an absorbing canvas to lose one’s thoughts within, the first adding tense riffs and restrained yet incendiary grooves into its impassioned but mellow landscape. It is another where particular elements fire up ears and the passions rather than an overall combination but that united blend provides the embrace and rich foundation within which the sublime twists and essences can impress. Its successor is a feistier encounter in sound and intent which boils with imagination and unpredictability, preying on and tempting the listener with a provocatively charged invention which snarls and seduces with equal predation. An exceptional track binding ears in a thrilling adventure, it also sows seeds which blossom at a later date, though that is something truthfully which applies to all songs, as shown by the brilliant This Time Will Come. Hints of Alice In Chains and Tool, which have flirted with other songs too, make a rich enticement within the masterful blaze of intensive melodies and sonic acidity. There is also an underlying snarl and angst fuelled growl to the track which simply scintillates within the impressive and constantly evolving invention as it pushes itself to be the pinnacle of the release.

Where No Grown Up Grapes brings the album to a fine close with its web of heavy vocal and sonic passion. It is another where it simmers without lighting fires but then in a twist of a chord or rhythmic shuffle finds an enslaving idea or slither of imagination to set thoughts and passions ablaze. That sums up All You Want To as a whole, it at times simply pleasing with skilled ease and then striking with sheer genius and expectations slaughtering ingenuity. It all makes for an album which leaves a rich impression and presence with even deeper laid lures which prey on the listener later. How frequently Escapethecult will be exploring ears and imagination ahead we will see with its members ‘day jobs’ etc. but anticipation and hunger for more is already breeding healthily thanks to All You Want To.

The self-released All You Want To is scheduled to be unveiled in September 2014.

www.facebook.com/EscapeTheCvlt

8.5/10

RingMaster 19/08/2014

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