Semitt Falls: Monkey See, Monkey Do Doo

An album which exiles predictability and narrow directions, Monkey See, Monkey Do Doo the debut album from UK band Semitt Falls, is a mightily impressive and intriguing gem. Ever twisting and evolving the release makes expectations redundant and guessing what is ahead pointless such is diverse and potent invention. For those who need to label bands and tag their sound Semitt Falls will be a nightmare, they are a band which makes music which hits their own sweet spot however it is inspired and ends up sounding. This is proven by the album, a collection of songs which follow no pattern or set course but are linked through immense quality soaked in the deepest contagion. If you need an initial description of the band, their bio says ambient/meta/drum and bass, but as the songs show that merely scratches the surface.

The Manchester band formed earlier this year, when following the demise of post-hardcore outfit Halt Under Heavy Fire, Paul Kendrick (guitar, vocals and programming) from the band linked up with ex-Fortune Favours Nothing member Danny Houghton (drums). The pair brought in another previous member of Halt Under Heavy Fire in Jay Kane (vocals and synths) alongside ex- Son of Shinobi Craig Gilroy (vocals and bass). Combined the quartet has created an album which not only marks the band as one of the brightest and inventive in British rock music right now but one bursting even greater things ahead.

The album descends upon the senses with the stirring and riotous opener The Warrior. Muscular and stormy it is a feisty dazzle which ignites the passions and energies most releases leave untouched. The drums of Houghton bring one to their knees with power and tight control whilst the keys explore and immerse one in a scorched and blistering weave of melodic majesty. With the muscle of Silent Descent and the acidic tones of Enter Shikari to it, the song is a tremendous and attention grabbing start.

Still trying to catch a breath after the initial introduction the next song whips it away again before it can be consumed whilst offering the first example of the perpetual diversity which wonderfully fuels the sound of the band. Late For Drum And Bass Reasons is the best track on the album by far which considering the quality elsewhere is a mark of how good it is. The band ruptures drum and bass sounds whilst filling the fissures with incisive melodic rock and ragga tinged beats. Twisting and winding around the ear like a sonic python the track leaves one lost in a sizzling groove of manipulative imagination amidst a corruptive maze of wickedness. Illegally addictive the song leaves the atmosphere sizzling and senses smouldering with its electronic force and corrupting power. Think Pendulum, Hadouken, and Shrikes in an unbridled mosh with Skindred and Collisions and you get a whiff of the goodness inciting every pore.

The melodic De.Fi.Ant with its heated melodic ambience confronts the ear next It is a track which is again pleasingly muscular at times yet enchantingly peaceful in others, a seamless blend skilfully created and brought throughout the track. The lead vocals of Kane as with the previous tracks show a range and ability to play with multiple deliveries which is outstanding and like the music keeps things on a consistently shifting edge. Though over three minutes long the song feels so brief, a sign of the perpetual enjoyment it offers.

Tracks like We Hid The Sun with its more post hardcore tones and Displacement, a song of mesmeric beauty wrapped in raw shadows, continue to leave one full of admiration, surprise, and satisfaction. Normally with a band which brings so many distinctly different sounds and ideas you thing a group unsure of their direction and intent. This never occurs with Semitt Fall, everything so instinctively right and perfectly fitting you know it is a band simply conjuring music which fires up their unique creative inferno with skill and incisive invention.

Ending with the pulsating The Loneliest Spaceman, a song which has a rock air reminding of a Thrice or Hundred Reasons wrapped up in surging electro energies, the album is one of the most startling and enterprising releases in a long time. It is a towering beginning giving Semitt Falls a lot to live up to in the future though it is hard to imagine they are not up to it.

http://www.semittfalls.com/

RingMaster 21/08/2012

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Interview with AJ Reeves of Ourfamous Dead

By Gavin McQuarrie

The past year has seen many bands emerge to grab firm attention and distinct acclaim for their sound. One such band that has easily garnered praise is UK electro rockers Ourfamous Dead. Their debut single and the following I Am Human EP brought them impressively into hungry ears and the eager focus of a great many, something their  forthcoming new single Claws at the Door should easily increase. We had the chance to let fly at band founder, songwriter, and vocalist AJ Reeves with questions to find out more about the band and their music.

Hi Guys, many thanks for chatting to us.

First of all can you introduce the band?

Hi there, the live band consists of Simon Green on Bass and Vocals, Robin Speight on Drums and vocals, Rich Jennings on guitar and vocals, Callum Knight on guitar and myself (AJ Reeves) on vocals.

How long has Ourfamous Dead been going and how did it all start?

Ourfamous Dead is coming up to 3 years. It started with myself writing and recording songs in my bedroom then taking it to a live situation with a live band. We then took to the local scene. Since then I relocated to Leeds to take everything to a larger audience.

Is the band your first musical endeavours?

I suppose it isn’t really, I’ve played classical piano since I was around 6 years old and I’ve played in a few small local bands prior to Ourfamous Dead.

The band name makes one think of people who have gained more fame and acclaim after their demise, but what is the story behind the name?

It passed the two week test. The worst thing about a band is creating a band name. Basically I figured if you write it down and come back to it at a later date, if it doesn’t suck as much as the others then it’s the one.

Your music is quite distinct combining elements of punk, hardcore and electronica. What are the major influences that have helped you arrive at your finished sound?

Firstly I wouldn’t say this is our finished sound. There’s going to be a lot on the album that’s different from anything we’ve done before in terms of sound and arrangement. What’s led to the sound of the work that’s out there at the moment primarily is a mix of the stuff I was listening to at the time. I was trying to establish the band and gain a fanbase so I guess I was trying to fit in with a specific music genre or scene. I don’t regret that but it is not the way I want the band to continue.

You sit between and link the likes of Enter Shikari, Silent Descent and The Browning whilst offering a punk infused energy to set you apart. How do you see yourselves though?

It is strange, by the time I’ve recorded a song I’m usually sick of it so looking back in retrospect is pretty difficult. At the moment I would just say we’re different. Especially if you come to a live gig. We’re currently only playing 3 of the songs we’ve released. The rest are new and completely different but still very much us.

You are about to release your new single Claws At The Door, a formidably excellent song. Tell us about the song and its background.

Basically this song is around 2 years old. I wrote it first as a piece of music with no lyrics, so primarily it had no meaning at all and it was only a “thing”. The band then learnt the music and we began playing it live and I would just make up lyrics for it at each gig. As the lyrics developed it became more apparent it was about the duality of man. And that is essentially what it is. I only finished the lyrics for the song when I was stood in the vocal booth laying down the vocals. That’s your OFD fact of the day.

How has your music evolved since your debut promo a year ago through to this new release?

A heck of a lot. I am human was written almost three years ago (claws at the door isn’t too far behind that either) and I’ve already had a lot of material for the album and beyond. I basically wanted to test the water with I am Human to gauge the response it received. I was pretty happy even though I view the EP as being somewhat immature. I felt the need to write songs that were aimed at a specific genre. I looked at popular bands at the time and aimed to write songs that they could have written. It is not exactly what I wanted to do but I figured it would build an audience. Now I am writing stuff that people aren’t ready for and I’m slowly breaking that sound into our music. The debut album will be a transitional album. What comes after that will define us. or so I feel.

How are your songs constructed from seed to the finished result?

I often come up with the music first. Lyrics are definitely last.

Your outstanding EP I Am Human took you to the awareness and acclaim of many new fans and the media such as magazines like Rocksound. Obviously all bands hope this will be the case with each release but did it exceed your hopes the response you got?

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting too much from it. Id chosen those four songs with diversity in mind. A kind of showcase of the different routes the band could take. As I said earlier I was testing the water with it. I have so much material written and nothing properly released so I just drew a line under it and thought we needed to start somewhere. At the same time I didn’t want to select some of the newer material. Who wants to ride the fastest rollercoaster at the theme park first? the rest will seem substandard after that. That’s exactly what I did with I am Human.

Live you have shared stages with the likes of The Blackout, Funeral For A Friend and Gallows, which shows the varied styles you can easily sit alongside. Is there a certain crowd other than your own fans of course that take to your music over others?

I’m not entirely sure. We definitely don’t go down well in Castleford. We accidentally played a gig there some time ago and the people In attendance didn’t know what was going on. We played four songs, nearly got into a fight and left.

As you mentioned earlier there is an album in the works. Is there a date for its release yet?

As of yet, no. I don’t want to put a date on it because I don’t want to release anything sub standard again. Even though a lot of the songs are there, they are still being crafted. That as well as funding. I don’t want anything to leave that isn’t industry standard. To get that standard isn’t cheap and funding a band as a student is difficult. Even between the five of us  is still tough and we’ve done a lot recently. We just bought a van for the tour and the video single package was done too. At the moment we are waiting to see where we are after the tour to see when we can commit to a date.

What treats and new things will we find within album walls?

Less hardcore influence, darker synths and percussion, same accessibility.

You are about to start a UK tour with The Sun Explodes, another favourite here. It should be one explosive and thrilling series of shows. The anticipation for you must be high?

Indeed, we actually played our first gig the other night, it was great. The final night is pretty close to my home town (and is TSE’s home town) so it should be busy. I am looking forward to seeing some old faces and of course the TSE lads are awesome guys.

You have a reputation for lively and high intensity gigs; this is the arena you really enjoy as a band?

It is indeed. Its great writing music to go together in the studio but afterward we have to re map everything so it works live. It is an exciting prospect bringing all the songs to a live audience and we really love doing it!

In a time where more and more show promoters only put on bands who guarantee fan attendees, how have you found it to this point trying to play to more and more people?

It is an uphill struggle, constantly. 90 percent of promoters don’t care if you’re the best underground unsigned band in the world. They would rather have a covers band play if it meant  50 ticket sales than support real music. Everything is a popularity contest these days. “Tag your band on here and get all your chummy mates to “like” us and your post. The band who gets 10000000 likes (and get people looking at our Facebook page) can play.”

It is backwards. We hate spamming shit everywhere because we know people get sick of it. We therefore have to do things the hard way. The old fashioned way. Get out there, play your music, get a real following. Your music speaks for itself that way.

Most promoters don’t even promote anymore. The amount of people who say “yeah you can play, how many ticket sales?”. We’ve done a few of these before and the promoter hasn’t done anything. One of them literally just left the bands to it. No posters, no advertisement, nothing apart from a Facebook status half an hour before the gig. The two bands that played did all the promoting, brought their fans through and made the promoter his money.

How do you feel about the internet and its wider base for music, something that brings great positives and equally large negatives?

Yes basically the internet has given the modern musician a medium for getting their name and music out there. In that respect it is great, its free. The other side of the coin is, it is now nearly impossible to make money out of your product, your music. People can get your music for free one way or another and CDs are pretty much obsolete. If you can’t stay ahead of the game and think of other ways to keep people interested, you are always going to fall behind. Basically the good and the bad cancel each other out in my opinion. We embrace the good but don’t rely on it. We still do things the way bands always have before the internet. This was good old fashioned hard work. Get out there constantly gigging, getting our heads down out in the cold flyering etc….

After the tour and working on the album, do you have more in store for the rest of the year?

More gigs, more records, possibly another music video.

And hopes?

Some funding would be nice, as would someone to back us. Someone in the industry who believes in what we’re doing.

Again thank you for taking time to talk with us and good luck with the tour and single.

Would you like to end with any last words for your growing army of fans?

Thanks for the continued support!

Read the I Am Human EP review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/ourfamous-dead-i-am-human/

And the Claws At The Door review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/ourfamous-dead-claws-at-the-door/

The Ringmaster Review 17/04/2012

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Silent Descent: Mind Games

The debut album Duplicity from trance metal band Silent Descent had fans and media alike enthusing and drowning it in critical acclaim to set the band as one of the rising forces in UK metal. Now they return with their follow-up album Mind Games and it is fair to say the septet from Dartford has set the bar even higher. The album bristles with intense energy whilst pulsating through dazzling and mesmeric sounds that envelope and sends the senses into welcome spasms of rapture. It is immense and continued evidence of the gripping further promise of the band.

Silent Descent formed in 2006 and set about forging their love of Scandinavian melodic death metal with trance elements to create a unique and compelling sound. They soon established themselves as an impressive new force with Duplicity two years later alongside being declared ‘Top Unsigned Band’ by KERRANG! Radio.  Since then they raised their stock with stunning live shows whilst sharing stages with the likes of Skindred and Alestorm as well as earning strong acclaim from their appearances at the Bloodstock Festival 2008 and the Download Festivals of 2009 and 2010.

Mind Games is a powerful release that feasts upon the senses with deliberate intent to consume and agitate, its blend of  heart thumping aggressive intensity and bewitching yet intrusive electronic manipulations and soundscapes a full and greedy experience that one cannot resist diving deeply within. From the opening synth led instrumental Overture there is an instant siren pull, the brain mesmerised by the expansive sounds though aware that soon a violation is going to crash the peace. Psychotic Euphoric is that intrusion, an intensive examination of the ear as it burns the flesh through thunderous rhythms and scorched guitars from Tom Callahan and Jaco Oxley. As a balm the flowing warm synths of Paul Hurrell caress the damage as do the clean vocals alongside Tom Watling who just as impressively punctures the ear drum with his bile encrusted growls.  The blend is perfect between the glittering trance sounds and melodic metal directness. The band brings Pendulum into an In Flames mix and then twists it upside down into their openly unique concoction.

The title track raises the temperature further. Its groove playing the emotions like a conjuror whilst the drums of Jerry Sadowski cane the ear skilfully and with perfect control. The dark immense riffs fuse a compelling union with the escalating work of Hurrell and Kipster with his DJ/Samples invention, but it is the heavy handed malicious tones that make the track as powerful and irresistible as it is.

Bricks is the first track where bassist Jimmy Huang is more distinct, his menacing prowling riffs bringing a depth and sinister essence behind the flowing smooth melodic majesty of the vocals and keys whilst the black metal scrawling vocals of Watling again is instinctively and eagerly challenging. Four tracks in and there is a certainty brewing  that the album is going to continue to deliver to its every end the high quality and consistency so far. The excellent imaginative Coke Stars and probably the most inventive song on the album, the emotive and explorative electro expanse of Devoid, plus the provocative immense Sober Thoughts soon provide the evidence,  holding  on to and improving the great heights and invention already reached.

Mixed by Pontus Hjelm (Dead By April) and on some tracks by hard dance DJ Technikal, plus featuring vocals from Sarah Jezebel Deva, Mind Games is a deeply enjoyable and impressive album. To be fair at times the distinction between songs is not as defined as one would have hoped, there being a similarity that invades the creativity but as the songs are of such quality it is just been picky to be honest. The craft and thought in the music as well as the realisation is stunning.  Silent Descent certainly lead the way in UK trance metal, the album pushing its boundaries with possibly only The Browning and their brutal merciless take on the genre being a step ahead across the globe right now. Go grab Mind Games you need its infiltrating splendour in your lives

RingMaster 17/04/2012

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