Ambassadors of Shalom – Abdicate Self

Ambassadors of Shalom

     Thirteen tracks of mouthwatering old school punk with a crate load of hooks and barbed riffs to entice any appetite, Abdicate Self the new album from UK Christian punks Ambassadors of Shalom is a thrilling introduction to the band and its blaze of Evangelistic punk rock. Hailing from the North West of England, the trio of guitarist/vocalist Neil Roddy, bassist/vocalist Pete Field, and drummer Joe Wilson challenge and evoke thoughts with a hungry punk invention which just as easily ignites the imagination and emotions. The songs on the album are well seeded and versed in the ways of original punk rock, each providing a thoroughly satisfying anthemic bait, but also each comes with an individual adventure to bring an identity singular to the band.

    Ambassadors of Shalom was formed in the January of 2012 after an acoustic gig in Stoke community centre and from there took little time in grabbing the attention and passions of local fans. In August the same year, the band signed with Californian label Thumper Punk Records with Abdicate Self the new impressive offering. The album is one of those enjoyable encounters which seems familiar but just as potently finds a new intriguing presence. From the opening track Astray, the Tim Davies (Brohnis Music) recorded and produced release picks on the ears and imagination with a flurry of incisive and virulently effective hooks and riffs. The first song makes for an energetic antagonist from its first breath, guitars stirring up the air whilst the bass lays down a shadowed prowl which only recruits an immediate appetite. Crisp rhythms around the lead and backing calls of Roddy and Field respectively next engage before the song pulls all into an enthused riot of invention and contagion. It is a masterful and irresistible lure into the release, an invitation forcibly backed by the remaining vivacious body of the album.

     This Ain’t Home stokes up the hunger next with a starting anthemic bait of rhythms which the guitar subsequently crafts a 1908240_671390592925450_835805858_ncaustic sonic wash with bluesy flames onto. It is a sultry raw sound complemented by the charge of clean riffery and rhythmic enticement which splits the blaze of sonic heat. Though not as potent as its predecessor the song keeps the album rigidly in focus with ease before both Jesus Said and United We Stand offer their scuzz kissed storms of punk evocation. The first is a scowling yet warm mesh of stirring noise which crosses the senses like a mix of Angelic Upstarts and The Adicts whilst the second is an equally pleasing street punk brawl of anthemic vocals and coarse alluring riffs. Both songs have an intensity which draws attention and thoughts even if slightly lacking the richness of barbs and grooves found elsewhere upon Abdicate Self.

    Both the UK Subs/Crisis like Break ‘Em Out and the groove veined Opposite The Enemy keeps things boiling nicely, the pair forceful yet respectful slices of resourceful punk urgency and invention, before the release flicks up a gear starting with the ridiculously catchy We Don’t Need It. One of those songs you only need to hear the first line of the chorus once to be bitten and soon joining in with its declaration, it is a brief but meaty slab of punk beckoning setting up the emotions for the likes of the excellent Death By Love and equally impressive Blamethrower. The first of this pair scowls and stomps with a raw causticity to the vocals and a Sex Pistols like draw to its sound, and though arguably the song is the least unique on the album it is one of the most potent and eventful, not forgetting thrilling. Its successor loaded with the strongest imagination of the whole release is just as compelling, a Melvins like texture grazing the senses whilst hooks and seductive temptation teases like a mix of The Vibrators and Suburban Studs.

    A punk version of the hymn Nothing But The Blood follows and is an exceptional and unexpected treat before the album’s finest moments arrive, starting with the outstanding Julia. Hooks and a rhythmic dance of sinew soaked in ripe energy kicks things off before the song settles into an inciting and persistently shifting venture. Its groove and riotous hooks easily reminds of the Ruts whilst the surrounding less intensive but eager rock brew around accentuates the pull of those other incisive elements.

    The album is concluded by the exciting and rousing Victory before finally the combative and antagonist glory of the album’s best track, It Is Finished brings one impressively enjoyable encounter to a close. Abdicate Self is not only Christian punk at its best, but for anyone wary of that tag, it is punk rock at its best. Ambassadors of Shalom have unleashed a debut which sees the band closely tailing most other frontline punk provocateurs.

https://www.facebook.com/AmbassadorsOfShalom

8.5/10

RingMaster 12/02/2014

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James Stevenson – Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over

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With a long list of notable and successful musical exploits on his CV, guitarist James Stevenson finally uncages his debut solo album, Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over and a richly pleasing sultry slice of blues bred rock it proves to be. Hailing from London, the man has enhanced and fired up more bands, tours, and records than runs made by English batsmen this winter, but it is surprising in many ways that it is only now that his first full-length has emerged to make a persuasion, something it does with skilful ease.

Stevenson first made his mark when joining UK punks Chelsea in 1977, his addition to the band not the last time he would be called and thrust into the deep end when joining outfits over the years. Picking out some highlights on his long resume, Stevenson from playing on the band’s first two albums, numerous singles, and undertaking many tours around the UK and Europe, moved to featuring on Charlie Harper of the UK Subs first solo single Barmy London Army before joining Generation X. This was a short lived time as Idol a few months after quit the band to start his own solo career in the US. Stevenson then played in the emerging Kim Wilde’s backing band and formed Hot Club with ex-Pistol/Rich Kid Glen Matlock and ex Deaf School / Original Mirrors singer Steve Allen. Already we are missing out plenty of other projects and artists the guitarist was involved with to this point and will continue to as further choice moments in his career saw him after the band’s split joining Gene Loves Jezebel in 1985 to replace the band’s guitarist who had a nervous breakdown as their first US tour was underway. Filling in at the eleventh hour, Stevenson joined the band permanently at the end of the tour playing and helping write subsequent albums such as Discover, The House Of Dolls which contained The Motion Of Love, the band’s biggest UK hit, and Kiss Of Life which was released after the twins Jay and Michael Aston fell out and the latter departed the band. With the world of GLJ rumbling on with releases and messy disputes between the twins to simplify things, Stevenson also played with The Cult on their 1994 world tour, The Alarm on shows and recordings, on Gene October’s solo album which he also produced, and was part of the reforming of Chelsea.  This is just the surface of all the work Stevenson has been involved in over the years leading up to and around Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over, shows and tours with The Cult, GLJ and The International Swingers which also features vocalist Gary Twinn (Supernaut), bassist Glen Matlock, and drummer Clem Burke (Blondie, Slinky Vagabond, Magic Christian), on-going adventures.

Stevenson’s album confirms and builds on the promise of the The Shape Of Things To Come EP which came out earlier this year, opening track Suzi’s Problem an immediate heat of tempting melodic flames and sizzling persuasion. The gentle blues rock swagger which drives its breath is a compelling enticement soon flourishing to greater effect with smouldering vocals and harmonies alongside shimmering expressive keys. The potent guitar style of Stevenson shines within the evocative textures woven to add to the impressive and riveting start, an introduction which is gently anthemic and magnetically absorbing.

The following Go Mister! takes things up another plateau, the initial guitar bred bait and coaxing vocals harmonies provided as across the whole album by The Sexpistilettos, a shadowy radiance. There is a definite gothic rock air to the song, a blend of Sisters Of Mercy/March Violets seduction with a punkier intent fused into a stirring melodic rock allurement. The song is a masterful and irresistible encounter which lingers and almost alone provides the album with a potential heady stature amongst the year’s wealth of rock albums.

Both the blues rich Twilight Riders with its great heavy nagging riffs and melodic passion, and the slowly burning Come On People stroke the imagination, the second finding a funk bred lilt to its tempting which is accentuated in Give It Up, a track which shuffles and dances with the emotions through agitated rhythms and exotic melodic enterprise from keys and guitar, not forgetting the ever mesmeric harmonies. Though the songs along with the emotive Why Am I Still Waiting For You and the equally evocative Been A Long Time Now, fail to find the heights of the opening few songs they leave a healthy appetite eager to feast on the album time and time again.

Another major highlight comes in the sinewed shape of Naturally Wired, a track sculpted with a deliciously growling bass and fiery sonic endeavour cast into a thrilling dark and absorbing stretch of intensive rock ‘n’ roll. There is also an air of hard and glam rock wrapping the grooves and glowing keys which only ignites the passions further as the heat of the track sizzles the air.

Completed by the gentle temptations of the title track and the acoustic led Been A Long Time Now, two songs which again give imagination and hunger enough to find strong satisfaction within, Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over is a thoroughly enjoyable presence for ears and thoughts. To be fussy the vocals of Stevenson do not always manage to rival the sounds and there is a bigger leap between the pinnacles of the album and the other still magnetic tracks than one would wish, but the enjoyment it offers is full and long term. It may have taken time to get there but James Stevenson has made his debut album one to enthuse over and recommend wholeheartedly.

http://www.jamesstevenson.info/

8/10

RingMaster 10/12/2013

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Menace – Too Many Punks Are Dead

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Receiving its debut vinyl release last month, Too Many Punks Are Dead the new album from UK punk inciters Menace is another to prove that not only is there fight in the old dogs of punk but there is a passionate and creative rabidity still able to teach the genre a thing or two. When you place it’s re-release alongside the likes of this year’s offering from UK Subs, Steve Ignorant and Paranoid Visions, and 4 Past Midnight to name just three, it has been a potent year from the ‘old timers’ as they all continue to inspire generations. Menace predated most punk bands, forming in 1976, their uncluttered direct sound a spark for the likes of Sham 69, The Cockney Rejects, and arguably the Oi! movement from within punk, though they never did get the full credit they deserved when in full rage and since, but as their latest album shows the band has lost none of its contagious belligerence with maturity and time, and certainly none of its ability to sculpt addictive riots.

August 1976 saw the line-up of Morgan Webster, Noel Martin, Charlie Casey, and Steve Tannett come together soon followed by their debut gig at the now legendary Roxy. The show was attended by Miles Copeland from Step Forward and Illegal Records who signed Menace straight away. Though fans flocked to the band and their sound, they were basically ignored by media and label for whatever reasons leading to them splitting in 1979 after the release of their single Final Vinyl which contained the classic anthems Last Years Youth and Carry No Banners. After the split members of the band went on to play in Vermillion and the Aces before with a keen hunger around for Menace, the band reformed in the late nineties. A couple of EPs for German label Knockout Records and two albums via Captain Oi! in 2001 and 2004 followed to strong acclaim as was No Escape From Nowhere of 2008. Recorded and self-released as the previous album, in 2011 on CD only the well-received Too Many Punks Are Dead is a thumping bruising of prime genre invention and animosity, which with its limited edition vinyl uncaging, the release restricted to a pressing of 500, with 200 black, 200 red and 100 white vinyl copies, reminds us again of one of the genre’s important bands, past and present.

The first side of the album barges the ear with the dirty rock ‘n’ roll of Thank God I’m An Atheist, riffs and rhythms a predatory incitement providing the perfect canvas for the vocals to unleash their antagonistic narrative. The heavy throaty bass sound is an immediate lure which steals attention throughout song and release, its rabidity the intensive backbone the band swings hooks, anthemic grooves, and chants from. The track is a formidable introduction soon matched and exceeded by the outstanding I Don’t Care. With a touch of early Damned to it as well as a rich essence of Ruts, the song is a virulently contagious riot rife with inventive hooks and inspiring enterprise not forgetting compelling aggressive seduction.

Both the title track and its successor United match and drive the album deeper into the passions. The first is simply a respectful roll call of punk greats no longer with us, an impacting homage and reflection on so many who have shaped bands and punk rock as a whole. With a musical wrapping which ignites the primal rocker in us all the track is a tremendous exploit igniting nostalgia and hungry satisfaction. The second of the two swaggers in on an infectious tsunami of rhythms to which the guitars align blazes of rock riffs as vocals whip up thoughts and passions. The bass again brings an extra lick of the lips for its heavyweight prowling and as a whole the song and band again draws and exploits the primal pleasure and anarchy in us all.

As My Very Good Friend brings the A side to a close it is hard to remember Menace sounding this good and predacious musically and emotionally since those early days. The last track opens with a slow female and male vocal croon alongside a lone guitar, their reflective stroking capturing thoughts for a following ska punk eagerness to stomp through the ear. The track veers more on the punk side as it saunters along but with a healthy flame of jagged guitar to tease and coax the listener’s appetite, the track is a thrilling mix of Angelic Upstarts and The Vox Dolomites but uniquely Menace.

The second side immediately seizes the senses in a fury of belligerent punk revelry with firstly the rapacious Party Animal, another ridiculous infectious anthem, and then the excellent toxicity of Get Out There, niggling grooves an incendiary temptation within the bruising and intimidating viscous sounds. The tracks continue the impressive presence and stature of the release, the pair lingering imprints on the memory and passions as is the outstanding Busy which soon follows equipped with   that instinctively resonating bass call and addiction sparking hooks.

Leave Me Alone is a raw eyeballing argumentative squall, an agonistic encounter which stands toe to toe with its intended and pulls them into a mouthwatering call to arms before passing them onto the enjoyable acoustically borne rocker We Are The Boys. Both songs bring the album to a thrilling conclusion though there is still room for a bonus track, the brilliant One Two One Two, vintage punk at its ridiculously anthemic and riotous best. It is a brilliant end to a cracking album and though there is not quite a GLC or a Carry No Banners on it, the Rebel Sound released Too Many Punks Are Dead has a wealth of tracks to show the emerging punks of today how to craft and unleash real punk rock whilst showing Menace is as influential and irresistible as ever.

http://www.menace77.co.uk/

9/10

RingMaster 04/12/2013

 

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Steve Ignorant With Paranoid Visions – When…?

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It is hard to imagine any punk fan not being excited about the thought of Crass frontman Steve Ignorant and Irish punk legends Paranoid Visions raging together, and even harder to think they will not be blissfully satisfied by this striking union on When…?, their impressively magnetic album. The twelve track release is a thrilling encounter, a deep pool of rebellious anarcho punk and old school contempt fused into an antagonistic diversity bred of the now. The mouth-watering album album follows on from the acclaimed If Ignorance Is Bliss EP of earlier this year and powerfully realises the triumph forcibly hinted at upon the earlier three track provocation.

The seeds to the link-up between the band and Steve Ignorant can be said to have begun way back in 1979 when a 13 year old punk kid called Peter in Dublin received a reply to a letter he had written to Crass. It set a belief in the young lad that one day he would play with the vocalist of one of punk’s all-time major forces. That teenager, guitarist P.A.Y.E went on to form Paranoid Visions with vocalist Deko Dachau and the rest as they say is history, one still going from strength to strength for the band and their unique inventive sound. The If Ignorance Is Bliss EP brought that thirty year odd dream into reality whilst When…? simply places the alignment of greats into the list of punk’s finest moments.

The Overground Records released album opens with a mix of haunting and biting calls of the name of the title track. It instantly captures the imagination, especially once joined by the thumping terraces like anthemic rhythmic beckoning and short stabs of guitar grazing. The track is pure captivation from its opening seconds, the ever distinctive and delicious caustic tones of Deko igniting the passions as potently as the sounds. Add the in-the-face delivery of Steve Ignorant, the teasing caresses of Sarah Bellum and Aoife Destruction, as well as an inventive musical taunting, and the song strides forward as an immense and riveting start to the album. It alone breeds a hunger which greedily demands and ultimately receives across the rest of the release.

The following Join The Dots is rapping at the senses from its first breath, the rhythms of Paul Zapart nagging the ears whilst a sonic and voracious mix from the guitars of P.A.Y.E and Dan Sonyagrave snarls over the barracking bait. In full charge the song becomes a riot of vintage punk, the alternating and blended vocals of the main protagonists treating the ear to a welcome uncompromising bruising whilst the ladies add an infectiousness which is like Vice Squad and Dolly Mixtures does pop punk. It is a ridiculously addictive slice of punk ‘n’ roll which again leaves the passions flying and ready for the next confrontation which comes in the sizeable form of Brain-Dance. Once again the challenging rhythmic bait is skilful and contagious, the perfect hook into the equally incendiary groove and exciting vocal ear bashing from all quarters. Already When…? is like traversing the Alps, nothing but peaks and breath-taking times rampaging through the imagination and senses.

Lyrically as to be expected the album has no fear in taking swipes at all and sundry, the man at the top, you, me, all apathies, inequalities etc. No track pulls its punches whatever the canvas the narrative is sculpted upon, the virulently contagious United Left Annoyance and the acoustically carved Log On…Bog Off no exceptions. The first of the pair has one of those hooks which haunts thoughts and vacant moments with the toxicity always prevalent in the sounds of Paranoid Visions, its call a cousin to those conjured by Buzzcocks or any version of his band Spizz examined his invention under. Its successor it has to be said took time to convince, but all the time its smouldering almost deceptive sirenesque consumption of the imagination worked away within the slowly dawning victorious persuasion.

No Contrition brawls with and challenges thoughts and emotions next, the open causticity to sound and lyrical intent providing another healthy feast for appetite and passions to devour whilst basking in the continually impressive invention upon the album, whilst Charity Begins At Home with its opening sample a full on poke at Bono and charitable deceptions, is ingenious brilliance. Abrasive and seductive in a torrent of inventive and epidemically addictive enterprise, the track is the pinnacle of the release, the highest plateau in a parade of nothing but lofty suasions.

Both the UK Subs/Crisis tinted Changing Times and the brilliant Independence Day with a presence which is best described as early March Violets meets Crass meets The Pack, continue the wonderfully imposing and passions igniting stance of the album whilst the exceptional Sex Kills attempts to steal the whole show with its carnivorous riffs and bass predation alongside another pop punk infectiousness, well if pop was in the bands of The Duel and Penetration. The rich heights of the track is soon matched by Rock n Roll n Revolution, cantankerous beats and rapacious riffs fuelled by another blaze of insatiable invention and the staggeringly impression union of two muscularly creative forces.

Closing on ?….NEHW, an unbridled ferocious take on the opener, When…? is simply magnificent, a release which is exceptional at the first meeting and grows into one of the most potent, tantalising, and creative punk albums of the year. Outstanding…quite outstanding!

10/10

www.steveignorant.co.uk

www.paranoidvisions.weebly.com

RingMaster 12/11/2013

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4 Past Midnight – Life On The Inside

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It has not been an easy ride for Scottish punks 4 Past Midnight over the couple of decades the band has been creating prime genre provocation but thankfully the determination of the Glasgow quartet, though severely tested at times, has emerged victorious meaning we get to be buffeted and thrilled by the likes of their new album Life On The Inside. A thumping riot of grouchy punk rock and bruising rock ‘n’ roll, the fifteen track release is an exciting onslaught of passion and aggression which clearly shows 4 Past Midnight as still one of the most respected as well as recognised inventive bands within British punk.

Formed in 1989, the band was soon under strong attention and responses with their first release, the ten track Start Of The Liberation demo of 1990. Well received it led to live performances around Scotland leading up to the 1992 released Smash The Front. Again the album was keenly received and responded to but gigs were becoming harder to come by for the band, a situation which continued in both aspects with Pain, Greed And Death the following year. Acclaim was again garnered by the release but shows were scarce to put it mildly, a problem which remained as the likes of the 15 track cassette Midnight Escapades, the Get A Life single and EP The Fears We Hide were unveiled to greater attention over the next couple of years but no one seemed to want to put the band on in venues. At this point the band called it a day but renewed interest in their music saw them return in 1998 under the name Trickshot. The name change was not received well and the band reverted to their original title with The Ruff Demo and The Best And The Worst Of 4pm following, and for a while more shows promisingly did materialise but debut CD Jesus Christ Its 4pm Again in 1999 followed the earlier pattern, eagerly received but gigs came to a crawl.

2002 saw the band link up with Stu of S.T.P for a last charge on the punk scene. The Mental Ward EP and Trials And Tribulations ‎continued to gain success as did the Punkology compilation of 2008 though the 2006 SOS Records British Invasion Fest and a tour of the East Coast of the US with The Angst led to less unhappy experiences with the latter seeing the band fall apart whilst the release of their Guilty As Charged album never happened as the label went bust. Slipping forward slightly to 2011 and again through fan pressures and wants, vocalist/drummer Peter linked up with fellow band original rhythm guitarist Fred to have another assault on the scene with new members in bassist Stevie and lead guitarist Tam joining the band. The first result is the excellent Life On The Inside via STP Records, an album which leaves you breathless and hungry for much more.

The release storms from the blocks with the outstanding Broken. The track is an instant call of riffs and rhythmic temptation which expands into a hook cored slice of essential punk rock. The caustic enticement of the gravelly vocals and the infectious lure of the song are irresistible whilst the riffs scrub out an enslavement to compliment what is a deceptively familiar feel to the song. A lyrically emotive track which is like a mix of UK Subs, Angelic Upstarts, and Stiff Little Fingers in many ways, it makes for an immense start soon matched by the following Nightmare and its successor Any Other Way. The first is virulently contagious; its seduction starting from the first spirals of sonic engagement  and elevating through the catchy barbed hooks and bass prowling before the anthemic chorus locks in the passions and throws away the key. Snarling and confronting from its first aggressive note and syllable right through to its fiery finish, the track is the first of many pinnacles on the album. It is equally matched by the second of the two, the song a less antagonistic roar in the ear but one which still embroils feet, voice, and emotions in a riotous slice of punk rapaciousness.

The abrasive Crisis like Riot brawls with the ear next to again pleasing contagion soaked effect, though it does not quite match what came before and certainly falls before the might of next up Justified. The track creates another major highlight upon the album, riffs and drums building walls of addiction whilst the vocals climb their heights and senses with angry intent. A song about domestic abuse, it is a commanding punk ‘n’ roll provocateur with a furious energy which reminds of UK rockers Dirt Box Disco.

The album continues to exploit the already awakened passions through the likes of the outstanding Punk Rock Noise (4pm crew pt3), a track opening with a hook that is the close relation to that cast on Pretty Vacant and evolving into a ridiculously catchy terrace like anthem, the ferociously bruising Story Of My Life, and the dark compelling Hollie. The song about sexual abuse hits home hard whilst recruiting energies and emotions into another unmistakable potent triumph to follow predecessor, the more than decent Nothing Has Changed. All tracks stand out with individual character and passionate craft, though every song to be fair can be wrapped in that descript, as shown by The Truth Is Out There, the song an insatiable riot springing from TV show The X-Files.

The tracks and quality keep coming thick and fast, the dirty rock seeded attack of Trapped and the old school punk bred The Fight plundering the emotions to ignite another dose of rapture whilst What You Gonna Do has an Sham 69 oi snarl to its thumping rock ‘n’ roll confrontation to continue the cementing of Life On The Inside deep into the heart.

Bringing the release to an incendiary finale, Who Takes The Blame and How Does It Feel ignite ears and emotions with their ferocious riff driven anthemic persuasions, the first through another heavy slice of punk brutality sculpted with precise craft, epidemic hooks and rhythmic tension, and the closing track with its straight forward stomp of infection clad dirty rock ‘n’ roll.

4 Past Midnight has set loose one of the punk triumphs of this year, the last and maybe as far back as their previous attack. Life On The Inside is a gem you cannot help missing away from its muscular incitement and a band you all should petition local venues for to get them tearing up your town.

http://4pastmidnight.co.uk/

9/10

RingMaster 18/10/2013

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Keyside Strike/Rust– Olde Worlde-New World split 7”

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A rigorous bruising of dirty uncompromising punk rock, the Olde Worlde-New World split 7” is one of those releases which slaps you around the chops and lifts the spirits as only the purest form of the genre can. Featuring UK punks Keyside Strike and Australian aural rioters Rust, the five track EP leaves emotions and thoughts drenched in aggressive intent whilst basking in raw stringent punk at its antagonistic height.

Released via Rebel Sound Music, the raucousness starts with two tracks from Rust. Hailing from Sydney, the band formed in 2005 and Rustfeatures members from some of Australia’s most prominent punk rock bands from over the years including Crucified Venus, Crankcase, Rule 303, World War 24, and Black Rose. The band is no stranger to acclaim back home and further afield from live performances which has seen them veterans of three UK tours and recently their first around America, as well as sharing stages with the likes of Dead Kennedys, GBH, Peter & The Test Tube Babies, The Exploited, UK Subs, DOA, The Business, Sham 69, Rose Tattoo, The Varukers, The Vibrators and many more. With equally potent responses to their releases, especially the 2010 album Lean Mean Street Machine and Oi Oi Aussie Rock & Roll live, Rust now offer two striking tracks to Olde Worlde-New World, starting with Send My Love From England. An opening throaty bass croon immediately grips attention and more, its coaxing irresistible and soon joined by the caustic riffs and strikes of guitar within a punching rhythmic testing. With the kind of punk vocal delivery you almost expect with old school bred assaults, the track offers strong magnetic hooks and excellent anthemic moments to seize full vocal and body co-operation from the listener. It is a great start, a song with no surprises but one that ticks all the boxes for a deeply pleasing slab of punk antagonism

Their second offering is a cover of The Specials track Concrete Jungle, another undeniably enterprising and enjoyable swipe across the jaw. With a sinew driven rhythmic frame close to the original but more exploratory flames of guitar invention rousing the spirits within one of its creators most memorable stomps, it is impossible not to swept up in its riotous but respectful barging. Rust have taken the already punk element of the song and given it freedom to shape its own riveting romp with an oi rampancy, the result we suggest one of the best covers this year.

Keyside Strike    Taking over on the EP, Darlington trio Keyside Strike create tempests of punk infused with dirty rock ‘n’ roll, blues, hardcore, and psychobilly. Formed in 2002 their sound is one which stomps on the senses whilst plucking the passions with irresistible hooks, all within again a brawling maelstrom of roughly imposing energy and invigorating urgency. Their two albums and numerous appearances on compilations has made the band one of the true rock ‘n’ roll bands in the Northeast of England whilst their impressive live shows has seen them share stages with bands such as The Business, Murphy’s Law, Street Dogs, UK Subs, Demented Are Go!, Discharge, Madball, Demon City Wreckers, Stitch Hopeless And The Sea Leg and loads more across the UK, Europe, and America.

The band instantly snarl and rampage from within the split EP with Back From Hell, the track an avalanche of barbaric beats, caustic riffs, and squalling grouchy vocals. Immediately the fury is like a violation from a banding together of Motorhead, Offspring, Discharge, and The Pirates. With the song already making the fullest persuasion, the waspish niggling grooves and vocals tension honed into anthem causing chants only secure a long term appetite which is fed to even greater heights by the following Knives, the best song on the EP. Bulging drum beats open up the passions to gripping effect and are soon leading the senses into a psychobilly honed bait flavoured to greater potency by the menacing blazes of guitar and rising swells of sonic invention not forgetting a predatory bass stalk and great vocal gruffness which are simply enslaving. In full stride the song grips with infectious hooks and a vibrant jaw which flings the imagination and emotions around like a submissive carcass, whilst the Therapy? like carnivorous seduction of primal voracity breeds lustful addiction to the rioting predation.

The final offering is Youth (Y2K), a cover of a track by The Blitz and a closing slice of pure old school punk which you just cannot resist adding voice and fist strikes to as it ignites nostalgic rapture with its raw simplicity and uncluttered, uncompromising punk rock hymn. It makes a great finish to an excellent release featuring two bands which from strangers will trigger a wealth of new attention and for fans simply confirm what they knew for ages, Rust and Keyside Strike are two outstanding impressive punk bands.

https://www.facebook.com/rustpunk

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Keyside-Strike/146906715382167

8/10

RingMaster 10/10/2013

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In Evil Hour – The World Bleeds Out

pic by Helen Templeton Photography

pic by Helen Templeton Photography

A snarling insatiably commanding beast of a release, The World Bleeds Out the debut album from UK punks In Evil Hour is a sensational blistering of senses and thoughts from a band who know how to craft virulently contagious and potently provocative songs. A blaze of essential fresh punk rock with a lyrical bite which takes no prisoners within incisive swipes upon politics, society, and the apathy and ignorance that pervades modern culture, the ten track release leaves a fully exposed and hunger driven passion in its wake, whilst In Evil Hour steps forward as another irresistible voice declaring that UK punk rock is again leading the world.

Formed in 2003, the quartet from Darlington takes seeds out of inspirations from the likes of AFI, Amen, Black Flag, The Stooges, Bad Brains, NOFX, Bad Religion, Sick of it All, and Rise Against to name a few, into their own flavoursome hardcore punk. It is a sound which is not unafraid to load itself with infection soaked hooks and riffs but as an additive to tempt rather than undermine the sinew lined directly evocative heavy punk attack they conjure. Released through STP Records, The World Bleeds Out is a savage yet anthemic confrontation which allows hope and temptation to be as rife and alluring as the aggressive and spiteful creative toxicity which stirs up and incites the imagination.

Opener Divide And Conquer stands eye to eye with the listener as the rasping growl of Alice confronts the ears skirted by crisp and a0645899867_2antagonistic rhythms and swiping raw riffs. The track is soon charging for the jugular of the senses with rabid beats from Mike whipping the song on whilst bassist Mark and guitarist Gareth create a vitriolic and persuasive mesh of caustic might. With anthemic vocals in league with an equally demanding instigator in the chorus, the song is an outstanding and powerful entrance into the album.

     Far From Home takes up the fury next with a splattering of rebellious beats sparking the rest of the song into an initial rage against the senses. It is a great start but one which is left behind once the song settles into an incisive stomp of rumbling rhythms ridden by the continuing to impress, with greater strength as each song steps forward, vocals of Alice. There is a Wendy O Williams essence to her delivery which only enhances the lyrical expression and song attack overall, something which the music seems to understand and find inspiration from, this track gaining ever increasing intensity and rapaciousness with every syllable expelled with brawling strength.

Both As Seas Rise and Where You’re Left continue the immense presence of the album if not quite to the earlier heights set, the first creating a sonic scrap with the ear in which there is only one winner, especially with the deliciously catchy swing and barbed melodic enticement through the guitar skills and vocal harmonies and calls. Its successor is a scorching flame of guitar scalding and rhythmic bashing again steered impressively and skilfully by the vocals singular and as a riotous union.

The lethal swipe of animosity that is Little Death is a fifty five second storm of magnetic viciousness, a hardcore blitz which thrills from its first uncompromising breath through to its last. It moves over for the mutually outstanding Help Me Out, an acidic spiral of heavy rock guitar teasing and taunting whilst the rest of the band adds their particular predacious craft and incendiary invention. A bruising rock n’ roll rampage which leaves the passions aflame with greedy appetite it provides one more stunning moment amongst a great many on the release.

The instantly compelling bass lure to The Terminal brings in another exceedingly agreeable altercation, the band arguably more restrained in its proposition though no less direct and imposing lyrically and in presentation. The bass continues to steal the show on the track, its finest and most potent moment on the album where at times it feels like it is given a back seat place in the production, whilst as now expected Alice draws attention with her striking presence which to be fair often puts most other aspects in the shade.

The excellent title track grazes up the senses and passions with its own individual exciting and imaginative spat whilst the brilliant I Lost Years, where bass and guitar find another plateau to tease a new rapture out with their impossibly addictive rough charms. A Dead Kennedys like hook steers the passions whilst the surrounding body of the song is a mix of Angelic Upstarts/UK Subs and Penetration/AFI. It is a terrific creative and raucous adventure cementing the depth and quality of band and album.

With Murder Murder closing up The World Bleeds Out with one final tempest of contagion drenched excellence, a blend of Bad Religion and The Duel coming to mind as it steals another wave of ardour from the emotions, In Evil Hour emerge as one of the most impressive emerging forces in punk rock, and not just in the UK. A classic album from an extremely impressive band, not much left to say.

http://inevilhour.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/InEvilHour

10/10

RingMaster 17/09/2013

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The Terraces – Extra Time

TT2

Bringing forth the original breath of punk rock aligned to the voice of the people and their rebellious streets, The Terraces stand as one of the truest and undiluted bands snarling from within the genre. The Australia based quartet offers no diluted narratives and passions but the voice and energy of truth, the common man, and football grounds. Following their acclaimed and impressive self-titled debut album the band now unleash the Extra Time EP, consisting of six insatiable and belligerent slaps on the chops of society.

Hailing from the UK and the suburbs of Melbourne, the foursome of vocalist Gary Buckley (ex-One Way System founder member and bass player), guitarist/vocalist Dean Tsolondres, bassist Stephen King (ex-Rose Tattoo), and drummer Henry Hollingsworth are hitting the UK with their Punks of Mother England tour alongside Electric River as you read this which follows up a successful debut tour across the country last December including the band supporting Cock Sparrer and Rancid. With the album and now new EP giving more fuel to a greater anthemic fire for their live shows expectations that the band will elevate to the top favourites of UK punks and the worldwide echelons of the genre are hard to suppress.

The Blast Records released EP opens up with the industrial sound of the street which breeds an introduction for Britannia of jangling 945042_10151540814527794_709494224_npungent riffs and equally rich expressive vocals from Buckley. Soon into its stride with the guitar of Tsolondres lighting sonic flames across the muscular stance, the track takes no time to make its call on thoughts and voice, enlisting their assistance in the contagious chorus whilst feet dance to the tune of the contagious hooks and thumping rhythms. Carrying a UK Subs lilt to its sinews and Dropkick Murphys breath to its attitude the song is instantaneous addictive bait from band and release.

The following Who You Looking At stomps from its first second, the persistent groove carrying a whisper of the Sweet to its swagger, honestly, whilst the oi bred romp from its heart merges Sham 69 and Cock Sparrer whilst being honed into something distinctly The Terraces. It is an infection clad bruise which bounces with the passions in tow leading to a climax which instantly brings up spices of The Saints and The Outcasts to its snapping invention.

Billy opens with an undefined familiarity, its invitation recognisable but impossible to pin down whilst elevating the persuasive lure of the song to greater depths. Like The Living End meets Serious Drinking, the track shifts and twists its drive through to the emotions and thoughts, the guitar crafting a fiery web veined by punchy rhythms and stalked by the husky laced scowling vocals of Buckley who certainly here with the sounds offers a Mensi (Angelic Upstarts) feel. The song completes three brand new songs on the EP and is the best of the trio though all only confirm the rising stature of the band whilst heightening the appetite upon them.

Next comes an exceptional cover of The Clash classic Complete Control, and though it is fair to say the band do not muck around with it too much they deliver a thrilling and fresh take on the track without losing any of its toxic declaration. Injected with extra adrenaline and spite it is old school majesty thrust into the antagonistic selfishness of the now to emerge as a renovated anthem for today which despite the power and quality of the rest of the songs steals top honours.

The final pair of songs are two which have been revisited by the band, though neither Care About Nothing nor The Hustler leap out as having had a major overhaul from their album appearance. Both stomp and nudge the passions into another riot of energy and greedy union, the first a barracking prowl with blues flair to the guitar flames and predation to the rhythmic and vocal chest prodding and the closing song simply pure contagion, riffs and hooks taunting and dancing on the ear whilst the group vocals open up another virulently infectious reaping of limbs and voice from which resistance is futile. Reminding of Dirt Box Disco it is the perfect end to an exciting reminder of how good this band is.

If The Terraces have yet to feel your feet, attitude, and energy romping alongside them then Extra Time is the perfect turn-style into their honest punk rock arms.

https://www.facebook.com/TheTerracesRock

8.5/10

RingMaster 15/08/2013

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Reigniting passions and fight: An interview with Yap of One Minute Silence

PIC by Stefan Ferreira

PIC by Stefan Ferreira

 Like so many the return of UK rap metallers One Minute Silence bred a big sense of excitement for us when the band announced their return after a seven year absence a couple of years ago but it was the release of their first new material which came just a few weeks back that things took on real hungry proportions. The Fragmented Armageddon EP  was an absorbing and inciting confrontation that showed the band had lost none of the fire and fight inside its creativity and thoughts. Given the chance to find out more about the returning force we asked vocalist Yap about things like the cause of the ‘hiatus’, the spark that brought the band back, and of course the new EP as well as more politically shaped questions. Here is what he shared with us…

Hi Yap and thank you for sparing time to talk with us at The RingMaster Review.

I know we were not alone in having a strong twinge of excitement at not only hearing of the return of One Minute Silence but your first new release in a decade, the Fragmented Armageddon EP. Did you have any sense of the appetite for your return and hunger for new OMS sounds?

In a small nutshell – I went on a journey to ground myself, and came back grounded. I felt more focused as a person, more grown up.  I had ideas, but everything in the OMS camp is of an organic process, so it was just all about waiting to see what would happened when we regained our collective music head.

Can we first ask about the decision back in 2003 to put the band on the back burner? What was it that brewed and led you to that decision?

Like I said, I needed to go on a journey. I felt squashed in the music industry and in life in general. I was unhappy inside

Was it originally planned as a hiatus with thoughts to return at some point?

I had no thoughts of anything to be honest. I didn’t know what planet I was on, or where I was going. I just dropped the ring into the fires of Mordor and I left.

What filled the time of OMS’s member in the subsequent seven years?

All the guys kept their heads in music. Massy spent a lot of his time learning to produce his own sounds. And Glen, being the musical madman that he is kept himself busy mastering his mile. I subsequently went on to make a couple of albums that fell under the name Pink Punk. It was hardcore slam poetry produced by John Hendicott.

So what triggered your return in 2010 and was it an idea which found a receptive response with you all?

PIC by Stefan Ferreira

PIC by Stefan Ferreira

It was a slow burner in regards to us finding our flow again. We were all fresh in our heads, but on different roads musically. It was just a feeling burning in my belly that I wanted to explore I guess, and the guys felt the same way. It was very refreshing for us in many respects too though; being away from it all for so long and so on. It didn’t feel stale is what I am saying.

Always being a band to provoke and bring political and world issues to the attention do you think the time away brought a new and inspirational fuel to your personal and the band’s fire as much as anything musically seeded to spark your return?

Back in the day I was a young man carrying a lot of internal anger, and this shaped the sound of my words. I feel I am a better fighter now mentally as I carry no anger in my soul. This gives me more focus, and so I hit harder and better than ever before. It has allowed me to throw punches in the Zen sense, and direct my words with more precision if you like.

As the new songs on Fragmented Armageddon shows you do still have that fire in the belly not only musically but lyrically and politically but do you think it is much harder now to make an impact on the younger generation with so many seemingly seduced by the inane reality shows culture and the force feeding of primetime blandness musically and entertainment wise into their psyche?

I think there are a lot of blind people out there, but as the recent student marches have shown, there is also a healthy awakening. I think people are ready now more than ever for the truth. People need to be. The ship is sinking after all, and no one can shout conspiracy when the water is almost above their nose.

Why do you think each subsequent generation over past decades arguably lost the instinct to question and fight the wrongs of society, as the likes of bands like yourselves, Amen, RATM, UK Subs, Refused, Flogging Molly etc. have not lost their snarl and passion to inform and bring things to attention.

Generations have always been a mixed bag. Some listen and take action against the corruption of the day, while others march the line.

Do you think the unrests you pointed at and we are seeing across the globe will eventually translate into something similar in size in the so called more democratic countries like the UK and wake up the sleeping generations?

Chaos is coming. The four horse men are saddling their horses. It’s only a matter of time. We can’t stop what’s coming now. All we can do is our very best in the face of it. Millions will die. There’s nothing anyone can do about that fact. All we can do is keep promoting the truth until we find balance as a species. It’s a long road.

922931_561590037195380_1533141906_nBack to the music, Fragmented Armageddon contains two new OMS tracks, Fruit From The Lie and Pandemic Schizophrenia which immediately squashed any doubts that the band may have lost any of its potency creatively and passionately. Did you have any similar questions of yourselves about that aspect when first reuniting and writing?

To be honest I felt we were ready to write our best music.

There is also open evolution in your invention and sound bringing in new flavours and imagination to the songs, what inspirations or new ideas have you explored this time around with your songwriting and music?

I am glad you noticed. I am a more rounded person now in every respect. I have been out on the circuit trying to bring some of my philosophical ideas into the world arena. I believe I have new ideas that will help open the world of philosophy to a brighter day. My work in linguistics and psychology has brought me to a new door in my head, and once it opened everything changed. Obviously my lyrics would be an extension of my new broader perspectives.

Did the different musical ventures the band’s members investigated in the ‘time off’ also bring fresh avenues for your imagination to contemplate with your new material?

Yes, in many ways. I have a much broader understanding of sound now, as do all the guys in OMS.  However, trying to incorporate our new ideas took time.

Are the two songs a strong representation of what your next album will feel and sound like, can we get excited yet?

Yes, they are a good indicator. We have many great songs in the pipeline. All we need now is the finance to get it all together. Time and timing as Massy likes to say.

Have you approached the song writing and recording of the songs any differently to your previous albums and EPs?

In some respects yes, and it other respects no. It’s very hard to corner it.

Your line-up contains new drummer Martin Davies, how did you link up with him and what has he brought to the band which is not openly clear on the tracks for us outsiders?

Martin has been working with Glen for the last few years, and so Glen brought him to the bands attention. We knew from the first best he was our man. It’s quite astounding to listen to him in action in the studio. There’s nothing he can’t do on the kit.

You are currently working on your new album so can you give any spoilers for us about it?

PIC by Stefan Ferreira

PIC by Stefan Ferreira

It will represent the zeitgeist of our times.

Other than the album what is on the near horizon of One Minute Silence?

We are waiting to see where the wave will take us. It’s all easy and in good flow. We are just a bunch of happy people, and if we get to finish another album, well then great. If we don’t, I will sit in fields pondering the universe regardless.

Once again a big thanks for chatting with us.

Have you any last thoughts you would like to leave us with?

We were touched by the response we got on our return. We hope we find our way back to the live stage. We hope we find our circle in the pit. Peace to all.

Thanks Pete.

Read the Fragmented Armageddon EP  review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/one-minute-silence-fragmented-armageddon/

Pete Ringmaster

The Ringmaster Review 23/07/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Goldblade- The Terror Of Modern Life

photo by Wullie Marr

photo by Wullie Marr

This year has already treated us to some exceptional and passionate punk adventure through the outstanding new releases from UK Subs and Dirt Box Disco; the legends bringing not only their sound but equally the genre into a startling and exhilarating new peak and the ‘new kids on the block’ showing punk n roll can be a masterful contagion bringing riot and fun into an irresistible union. Now we have the thrilling new Goldblade album which stands somewhere in between the two, the release an exceptional thirteen track brawl which snarls and provokes thoughts and senses whilst unleashing prime punk rock irresistibility. The Manchester band has always challenged and stood tall before injustices and social destructions but The Terror Of Modern Life, their sixth album, just might be the quintet at their most potent and venomous yet, quite possibly their finest hour.

The Overground Records released album is a titan of hooks, riffs, and attitude, a combative riot of energy and passion which leaves aGoldblade-the-terror-of-modern-life-296x300 deep mark whilst showing others how to be a potent inciting weapon against complacency and apathy, musically and socially. It opens with the mighty This Is War!, and instantly casts a web of belligerent and carnivorous bass corrosion over the ear. Bassist Keith Curtis immediately owns the senses, the barracuda throaty tone of his bass glaring eye to eye with the listener whilst aggressively seducing and intimidating. As the guitars of Peter Gorgeous and Andy Taylor sculpt out their share of the air with sonic precision and infectious flaming, the compelling canvass is set for vocalist John Robb to prowl and make his, as ever, enjoyably imposing and striking declaration. Complete with grooves and hooks which reap seeds in the same well of virulence as those conjured up by the likes of Buzzcocks and Dead Kennedys, and enslaving rhythmic excellence from Rob Haynes, the track ignites a fierce fire and hunger for the album with ease and makes a shout as one of the best punk songs in a long time.

It also sets a high bar for the rest of the release to emulate yet seemingly it is a simple test as the following Psycho Takes A Holiday and the staggering The Shamen Are Coming show. The first of the pair is a scorch of rock n roll with anthemic enthusiasm and undiluted melodic enterprise, its uncomplicated punk fuelled dance upon the ear as mischievous as it is energetic for two minutes of easy to ride and devour enticement. The second song is another startling highlight, a track which whips the passions up into a frenzy of rabid excitement. As soon as the opening scrub of acidic riffs, soon accompanied by the ever primal bass growl, lay their acerbic touch upon the ear greedy anticipation is sparked and sated impressively by a breath-taking mix of post punk and pure punk alchemy. Like a mix of The Adicts and The Diagram Brothers, the track twists and taunts the ear with scintillating flesh flailing sonic and rhythmic invention. As impacting as it is the scarring is subsequently soothed by the adjoining expression of group vocal harmonies and discord swept melodic caresses. Earlier it was said the opener was the best punk song in a long time, the fusion of all mentioned within The Shamen Are Coming ensures it stands as its equal.

The dub infested Serious Business swaggers in next with a loud whisper of Ruts to its courting, though as with all references they are mere colours to the distinct Goldblade flavour, whilst both We’re All In It Together and Someone Stole My Brain get the job done with straight forward accomplished craft, the first an uncomplicated old school punk bruise and the latter with another predatory tempting with again that delicious carnally bred bass spine making pure persuasion within sinister grooved riffs. With a maniacal hunger to its chorus and a compelling lure to the continual aural bulldozing offered, it is another immense treat which makes its predecessor, sandwiched between two such great songs, seem a little underwhelming despite its open strengths and appeal.

Through the likes of the all impressive Sick / Tired, They Kiss Like Humans, Act Like Machines, and the raw abrasion Guilty the album slips a little but only because of the excellence of the mountainous pinnacles it unearths. These and every song on the release are undeniably stirring and deeply pleasing assaults on the senses and thoughts but a few when placed beside a track like the immense and epidemically hooked The World Is Fucked Up Nowadays just have to take second place on the glory podium. This last song has a breath which leaves distrust and sonic malevolence on the tongue, but spiced up by impossibly tasty grooves which again would have made Shelley and Diggle drool back in the day, it leaves the strongest rapture making play with the emotions.

Completed by another furnace of ardour inducing punk majesty in the brilliant Hey You! Elastic Face, the ever caustic tones of Robb grazing up emotions whilst the barbed discord laced hooks fire up every other aspect of the listener, and the oppressive and threatening title track, a song which is dark, heavy, and intrusive like the world spawning its intent and ripples with essences of The Pack within its merciless consumption, The Terror Of Modern Life is quite brilliant. Simply it is an album which takes band and genre onto an explosive new anarchic plateau whilst fusing vintage punk and new uncompromising creativity into one frighteningly scintillating fury.

www.goldblade.com

10/10

RingMaster 19/05/2013

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