Johnny Wore Black – Walking Underwater

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     Having richly impressed with a quartet of singles which were as emotively potent as they were compellingly crafted, UK rock band Johnny Wore Black finally release debut album Walking Underwater to complete the seduction and seal the long term capture of the passions. We say finally as it seems like it has been a long time in making, though maybe it is just the greedy anticipation which was bred from the first single that made it seem so. The ten track release is a mouthwatering and enthralling evocation of melodic rock with tinges of metal. At times it simmers and coaxes with lively emotional embers and in other moments blazes with sonic flames and vivacious endeavour, searing the hairs lining the ears. Whichever the character of songs, each one engages and absorbs senses and thoughts with a suggestive spark and provocative texture for a quite mesmeric and thrilling adventure.

     Johnny Wore Black is the solo project of former Hollywood stuntman Johnny Jay (Jay Coen). The former leading force of The Jay Harley Band, the London based songwriter/producer has carved an invigorating and eagerly accepted presence with his refreshing sounds, in the last couple of years especially with the release of exciting singles which sparked a greater acceleration in his rise within the British rock scene. Jay has equally built a strong reputation with his collaborations, one which has specifically been spawned through Johnny Wore Black being a union with David Ellefson from Megadeth. Walking Underwater again brings the writing and musical skills of the pair together, their union ripe with organic power and commanding suasion. Produced by Grammy Award winning producer David Bottrill and featuring clips from his Jay’s father’s seminal 1960s documentary The London Nobody Knows, the March 28th released Walking Underwater is Part 1 of a bigger entity, with the second 10 song part scheduled for this coming autumn, each containing two of the four outstanding singles which have already marked out the project for hungry attention.

     The encounter opens with Different Shades which bursts into the ears after the first of the evocative samples taken from the coveraforementioned film, each splice of cinema making a highly stimulating impact and link between songs. The track initially entices the ears with a single melodic dance on the imagination before further guitar caresses gently add their stroking alongside a velvety dark bassline aligned to firm beats. It is an instantly riveting beckoning which increases its lure as the strong and expressive vocals of Jay weave in with the lyrical narrative. That earlier mentioned smoulder is at work from the start of song and album, its mesmeric touch and seductive breath permeating thoughts and feelings whilst brewing up to a muscular finale with an almost accusing edge to its passion.

    It is a magnetic start to the release soon matched and surpassed by All the Rage. The song is the first of the previous singles from Johnny Wore Black, the debut release which was originally released in conjunction with Help For Heroes to raise funds for Help for Heroes and Combat Stress. Once again the entrance is restrained and poetically alluring, a sonically crafted melody and evocative atmosphere wrapping the senses before the vocals and fuller breath of the track encloses the ears. As throughout the album there is a melancholic feel to the track but one which never snuffs out the light and hope of the song or its ambience.

    Up in Flames, another previous single follows next, it a slice of rock/metal excellence which still makes the strongest persuasion even after a horde of listens. Riffs and rhythms make a firm and compulsive frame for the contagious draw of excellent vocals which combine with the melodic weave of imagination, glowing feisty bait poised to erupt with its metallic sinews and infection soaked energy across the resourceful and flavoursome stroll of rock ‘n’ roll. Everything from the bordering on sombre initial coaxing to the climactic eruptions is perfection; the track one of the best heavy/melodic rock compositions in recent years.

   Both So Dusted and The Battle continue the impressive temptation, the first an atmospheric reflection of shadows with a warm melodic breeze for company and the second from a shimmering summoning of the imagination, evolves its shadowed heart and sonic portrait into a darker unleashing of fiery passion. The pair though very different in appearance, share mutual melancholy which coats every note and seeps from each syllable offered by the heart bred tones of Jay.

   The acoustically shaped One & the Same steps up next to seduce and spark the listeners thoughts, the gentle sway and gait of the song lapping the imagination like waves on a lonely beach, one left in a shadow draped view with hypnotic aural scenery. Its slow pervading beauty is succeeded by the similarly chilled atmosphere of Cold Water, though as with all the songs there is enough warmth and melody spawned adventure to inspire hope to temper the lyrical dark. Though the pair of songs takes a little longer to secure the lingering ardour bred by other songs, the outcome is just as powerfully the same.

     The intrigue and mystique brought by What I Am entrances next, its noir almost sinister climate a deliciously rich hue to the pictorial mix of vocals and floating melodies. One more the contrast of shadows and light, emotionally and musically, is an open canvas for the listener to reflect and imagine within, the word alchemy applicable to the depth and power in his songs Jay achieves with the blend again gloriously shown in One Love Song. The track seduces from first breath to its last, a catchiness spawning from its chorus complementing and tempering the almost invasive dark eloquence and reserved yet potent drama of the song. It is a beautiful song if not stealing best track honours certainly sharing them.

    The closing Outside Looking In unleashes the sinews which have had to play second fiddle for the most to the scintillating melodies and inciting evocative textures which predominantly breed the album, not that the track lacks any of their fascination either. The song is a galvanic stride of energy and power with sonic captivation and melodic ingenuity. It offers a tremendous end to a scintillating release, one which gives melodic rock a new spellbinding creative fire to embrace. With essences comparable to bands such as A Perfect Circle, Deftones, Tool, and Porcupine Tree but sounding very little like any of them, Walking Underwater and Johnny Wore Black are one of the must investigations of the year now and ahead. Roll on Part 2 is all that is left to say.

http://www.johnnyworeblack.com/

9/10

RingMaster 27/02/2014

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Johnny Wore Black – Gift of Desperation

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Continuing a powerful emergence with UK melodic metal, Johnny Wore Black is poised to release new single Gift of Desperation, a song which cements the project as one exciting and creatively potent encounter leaving thoughts and imagination aflame and pleasure a fiery reward.

Johnny Wore Black is the creation of London songwriter/producer Johnny Jay, the former leading force of The Jay Harley Band. Across previous singles and tracks, Jay has built a formidable presence garnering strong acclaim which the new release only will add to one assumes. Renowned for his work with musical collaborators Jay linked up once again for Gift of Desperation with David Ellefson from Megadeth who contributed to previous releases Up In Flames and debut single All The Rage, a track released in conjunction with Help For Heroes to raise funds for Help for Heroes and Combat Stress. Co-written by Jay and Ellefson, the single out on October 15th is an enthralling teaser for forthcoming album Walking Underwater which is out early next year. It is also being released to accompany Ellefson’s biography, My Life With Deth, an eye-opening no punches pulled account of his journey from thrash metal legend to Lutheran minister.

The track is a provocative instigator of emotive and passionate reactions, its presence a vibrant mesmeric blend of intense shadows and gift-of-desperation-johnny-wore-black-cover-1600pxmetallic sinews around melodic flames which inspire adventure and contemplation in thought and emotive response. A pulsating dark lure opens up the song behind a singular guitar beckon, their tempting soon joined by a throaty bass call and an intimidating yet welcoming atmosphere. It is a relatively reserved introduction but one with plenty to provoke and suggest a tempest is brewing behind the excellent vocals of Jay and richly hued guitar play. Though the song never does explode into the hinting storm it never allows senses and thoughts to rest, continually engaging them with a riveting melodic tonic and rhythmic incitement which pulls the strongest hunger in their direction.

Themed by an exploration ‘of the harsh realities of finding a way out of the darkness’, the Grammy award winning producer David Bottrill mixed Gift of Desperation is a smouldering and irresistible bait to the artist and forthcoming album, another temptation which surely will see the first full length from Johnny Wore Black under the strongest anticipation.

The single is accompanied by a video also featuring David Ellefson which was filmed in London.

http://www.johnnyworeblack.com/

9/10

RingMaster 18/09/2013

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Johnny Wore Black – Noise

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     Having already captured the imagination and emotions through previous singles All The Rage and Up In Flames, UK rock band Johnny Wore Black unleash a new fire of rock fervour in the stirring shape of Noise. The new single taunts and persuades with a might of intense passion and instinctive craft which easily commands the ear to leave a lingering grip and rich satisfaction long after its parting.

London band Johnny Wore Black is the brainchild of songwriter/producer Johnny Jay, the former leading force for The Jay Harley Band. Debut single All The Rage, a track released in conjunction with Help For Heroes to raise funds for Help for Heroes and Combat Stress, was an immediate provocation to awareness and critical acclaim for the project, with the equally imposing and incendiary Up In Flames further raising the temperature around the band and its powerful sound. Jay is renowned for his work with musical collaborators and the previous singles featured the skills of  David Ellefson from Megadeth in their striking presences. Noise has been mixed by David Bottrill (Stone Sour, Muse, Tool), with a video produced by Paul Solomons to accompany it, and comes with all the weaponry to take the band on to the widest recognition.

The song is about social networking and its impact on modern society. Regarding the track Jay revealed it was, “an awareness of how we seem to be losing the ability to communicate with each other in ways that were once most natural.” He continues to say “I was sitting in a cafe watching two people arguing about the fact they weren’t paying enough attention to each other as they were too busy focusing on their mobile phones, and the song developed from there.”

The track opens with a delicious wash of emotive and melodic elegance. It soon sees the guitar caressing the  listener with thoughtful cover_design1400enterprise whilst the bass adds its individual textured shadows to walk alongside. Once the song is settled upon the senses the vocals of Jay begin the narrative with inviting warm expression and sinewy tones which lead into a chorus which is as anthemic as it is emotionally antagonistic. A brooding breath stalks the song throughout with the melancholic strings offering a sinister yet vibrant and inviting temptation to match the muscular lure of the song. Though in sound the bands are apart, the song finds that compelling persuasion and depth which marked Metallica’s Black album so impressively, and also suggests that something promising those heady heights from the Brits in the future is not beyond the realms of probability.

Though it never explodes into a blaze of fire, the track is a prowling and inciting presence which ignites the passions and sets itself up as one of the most addictive and potently lingering tracks to emerge this year so far. A kind of a cross between Stone Sour and Soundgarden, Noise is an outstanding gateway into an emerging creative force in UK rock, the exciting Johnny Wore Black.

http://www.johnnyworeblack.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 06/04/2013

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Johnny Wore Black: Up in Flames

Up In Flames, the second single from Brighton based band Johnny Wore Black, is one of those songs which just ignite a lustful need to know and hear more about the artist behind them. It is a stirring slab of rock music which fires up (I could not resist) the imagination whilst thrilling the senses with sinewy strength and melodic enterprise.

Formerly The Jay Harley Band, and led by Jay (Johnny) Coen, Johnny Wore Black found great critical acclaim with debut single All The Rage, a track released in conjunction with Help For Heroes to raise funds for Help for Heroes, and Combat Stress, and given a remix re-release for Remembrance Day 2012. The track brought them strong attention and coverage through the likes of Metal Hammer, Revolver, Music Week and ITV News. The new single is sure to enjoy the same responses to its muscular and well-crafted thoughtful enterprise whilst brewing great anticipation for a forthcoming album.

Like its predecessor, Up In Flames features David Ellefson from Megadeth on bass, his distinctive touch adding extra spice to a flavoursome treat. The song rises into life like feisty embers, its sonic emergence behind a precise guitar opening into a restrained stroll. Riffs are firm and compulsive yet reserved alongside beckoning vocals and teasing melodic mastery, all enthralling as they wait for the lighting of the touch paper to the surging energy which fuels the infectious chorus. The track has the same immense presence of Deftones atmospherically fused with the warm elegance of A Perfect Circle, the impactful passion of Tool, and the melodic hunger of a Soundgarden. It is a strikingly impressive sound which feeds all appetites for muscular rock through to powerful and passionate incitement. As expected the hypnotic invention of Ellefson stands out but no more so than the fiery guitar craft and the anthemic presence to the chorus and excellent vocals as a whole. The climactic moments building to the incendiary outbursts too are equally contagious and irresistible, making the song an insatiable pleasure from start to finish.

As mentioned Up in Flames alone makes the eagerness for debut album Walking Underwater intense but after hearing the outstanding track Noise, a new song from the band which was sent through with the single, the wait to taste its delights will be without doubt impatient. There are a few bands in the UK on the brink of major recognition at home and worldwide, to that list you can now add Johnny Wore Black.

http://johnnyworeblack.com

RingMaster 25/11/2012

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