Beauty In Chaos – Beauty Re-Envisioned

With their debut album, Finding Beauty in Chaos, an acclaimed release last year, Beauty In Chaos has returned to its contagious adventure for their second full-length, Beauty Re-Envisioned. Revisiting those earlier tracks though does not mean that the new release is simply an easy echo of songs which have already enticed keen attention, indeed what we found was a whole fresh exploration based around a mix of dramatic remixes, bold new visions and alternative versions of those original encounters.

Beauty in Chaos is a LA-based collective led/curated by guitarist Michael Ciravolo (Human Drama/ Michael Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel) featuring a host of renowned luminaries and unsurprisingly Beauty Re-Envisioned is littered with them. For the album Ciravolo admitted “I basically handed the keys to the car over to an amazingly talented cast of producers, engineers, re-mixers, DJs and artists… giving them near total autonomy to throw the puzzle of ‘Finding Beauty in Chaos’ on the floor and reassemble it as they hear it.” What has emerged is a proposition in its own right aside of that first offering, one bringing new bold characters and potency to songs which over past months had already become good friends.

 Beauty Re-Envisioned opens with a snarling MGT Remix of the Beauty In Chaos take on the T-Rex classic, 20th Century Boy. With Al Jourgensen’s rapacious tones enticingly scowling across its infectious electronic bounce and harmonica scorched canter, the track reveals itself  as virulent as it is feral and proving an immediate impossible to refuse invitation into the album which swiftly further rewards with the glorious embrace of Man of Faith. The Preacher Man Mix again has the ever potent tones of the Mission’s Wayne Hussey, one of our all-time favourite vocalists, and The Cure bassist Simon Gallup at its heart, the track a quickly addictive slice of shadow wrapped melodic rock as seductive as it is voraciously rousing.

Canadian duo Ummagma add their creative touch to Look Up next, the band’s instinctive atmospheric craft and radiance soaking the inescapably absorbing song around the temptation of vocalist Tish Ciravolo while the Collide Mix of Un-Natural Disaster springs even stronger alternative /industrial metal ferocity and intensity into the dUg Pinnick, Zakk Wylde and Ice-T embracing track. Both songs had us fully and greedily hooked as too the acoustic version of Storm with Ashton Nyte at its vocal helm. Written by The Awakening frontman and Michael Ciravolo, the song finds a new earthier intimacy and emotive depth without losing a sense of the catchy virulence in the original’s veins.

The alluring beauty of I Will Follow You featuring Evi Vine and the mutually fascinating draw of the Robin Zander (Cheap Trick) and Michael Anthony (Van Halen) contained Drifting Away in their respective Cotton Socks and High Water mixes only entangled pleasure and imagination, each making a less striking impact initially but only more hungrily consumed by the listen while the Kitty Lectro Mix of Man of Faith offered up a more eighties post punk/electro pop energy and enterprise to the already devoured encounter with similar force of appetite involved.

The enjoyment of Mr Hussey’s voice did not stop there as immediately his tones infused power and emotion to The Long Goodbye (Au Revoir), the track not exactly stripped back to its core but certainly exposing its melancholic heart with greater clarity as emotive piano, evocative strings, and sonic intimation wrapped intense vocals.

I Will Follow You returns with its IVaD Mix as in turn does Storm via the Vampyre Mix, again offerings which left pleasure full before another slice of 20th Century Boy sees Rolan Bolan and Wayne Hussey united in a great southern kissed, glam nurtured funk ‘n’ roll arousing which just had us bouncing.

Beauty Re-Envisioned is completed by the crepuscular Eclipse Mix of I Will Follow You and the compelling Fall & Sway Mix of the Ashton Nyte featuring Finding Beauty in Chaos, another two tracks which had little difficulty entrapping ears and enjoyment.

We will admit we are not naturally drawn to remixes and especially releases based on such collections but such the quality of the songwriting behind the tracks here and the rich imagination in their evolutions Beauty In Chaos have again simply enslaved.

Beauty Re-Envisioned is available now @ https://beautyinchaos.bandcamp.com/album/beauty-re-envisioned

https://www.beautyinchaosmusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/beautyinchaosmusic/   https://twitter.com/MichaelCiravolo

Pete RingMaster 20/09/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The RingMaster Review gets together with Spanish hard rockers JJ Friends in interview

Hello and thank you for taking the time to talk with us.

Can you present the band for the first time and give us some background on how everything started?

JJ Friends was born from the idea of Jose Jarque (voice) who after several bands decided to focus efforts on creating a group in which the closest musician friends participated. JJ Friends was born, 11 songs were written and the sound was worked on, a raw sound, pure hard rock with influences from the 70s and mix of 2018, a challenge that I think we have achieved.

Our style is pure hard rock.

How have those previous experiences with bands impacted on your creativity now and in the style and direction of the band’s sound?

All the components come from different backgrounds, with a wide career, between 20 and 25 years in rock. The impact is the power to make our rock more serene, more worked and with everything learned in the scenarios.

Our style is hard rock, we love it, we feel good, why change? No, we will not change; maybe we can play with more metal parts or more pop parts, but always with the hard rock base.

What inspired the name of the band?

Friendship…being able to work with great friends and what better then to translate it into the name directly.

Was there any specific idea behind the formation of the band and also in what you wanted and your sound to offer?

Yes, the main thing was to gather those friends with whom we felt the same for rock and from the beginning we wanted to achieve a sound, powerful, seventies but at the same time modern today, I think we achieved it with a mixture of riffs and sounds.

…And now?

The idea of our band is the work, we create the themes, we polish them in the rehearsals and once finished, we continue working on them, re-polishing, until we are ecstatic with the subject.

Since its inception, how would you say its sound has evolved?

The band has little tour at this time, it only has one year of life, but it has evolved giving way to new songs within hard rock, more compact, more real.

Do you let things grow and evolve organically or deliberately look to try new things?

We are rock sound, we must listen to ourselves, and we are completely organic.

Probably throughout the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any that has particularly impacted not only on the music of the band but its member’s personal approach to and ideas about creating music?

Really like everyone we have musical references, ranging from Beatles, Rolling Stone, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Motley Crue, Scorpions, Van Halen, and in what gives us now the music we can name, Inglorious, Black Stone Cherry, The Dead Daisies, Richie Kottzen, and many, many more.

Is there a process in the composition that usually guides the writing of songs?

Previously we started with a riff; from there we composed a base melody and started to work on it, a thousand changes of structure, melody, etc. … until leaving a complete and compact base, then as indicated above, work without rest in the song.

Where do you most often draw inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

All themes are the product of our experiences, both personal and visual, sentimental etc. … a hard day of work, the feeling for our music, lack of love, love, party, etc. …Even a theme in which we reflect the feeling of the first minutes of being a father.

Are you a band that enters the studio with songs in their final state or do you prefer to develop them while recording?

When we enter the studio we have or try to have everything defined and very worked; really in the studio we go very fast and do not earn too much money with us studies, hahaha.

Tell us about the live side of the band, probably the band’s favourite aspect?

The party, we are a band that has fun on the stage, we try to give the warmth to the public, we want them to enjoy as much as we do; on stage we are partiers, we involve all the public and we want them to sing with us.

It is not easy for a new band to have a regional impact, let alone nationally and farther away. How are you finding it?

We are still in the process, it is a very difficult road, we know it, but we will not stop until the end.

Once again, thank you very much for sharing your time with us; something you want to add or reveal for the readers?

Give them the grace for your work and for including us in your magazine, we are delighted and we want JJ Friends to be heard in all corners of the planet.

Check out JJ Friends further @ https://www.facebook.com/JJ-Friends-969137536525542/

Pete RingMaster 17/01/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

StormWolf – Howling Wrath

StormWolf is a band from Italy who has just released their debut album in the shape of Howling Wrath. Though formed in 2014, the release will be the first real introduction to the Genoa heavy metallers for most and makes one powerful statement even for those of us without a natural infinity for their chosen genre.

Starting out as a studio project formed by vocalist Elena Ventura and guitarist/principal songwriter Francesco Natale, StormWolf eventually found its way to current line-up of bassist Francesco Gaetani, guitarist Dave Passarelli and newest member in drummer Tiziana Cotella alongside the founding pair, the latter joining the band last year. Fusing classic and fresh heavy metal with essences of the blues and their own individual imagination, the band released Swordwind in 2015, an encounter primarily destined just for labels, radio, fanzines etc. It was a well-received encounter followed by StormWolf earning the opportunity to open for to Lacuna Coil and Necrodeath among their live successes the following year. With their current line-up in place, the band set about creating their official debut, Howling Wrath last year with its release coming through Italian label Red Cat Records.

It opens with The Phoenix, the track rising up through stirring winds with immediate sonic flames and enterprise. Ventura swiftly commands attention and impresses with her vocals, though the amount of words she tries to get into certain lines of the chorus is maybe too much a mouthful but no issue, while Natale and Passarelli weave a similarly magnetic web of sound and craft around her. With firm rhythms creating a thick and alluring spine and Natale further conjuring on his guitar, the track gets the album off to a potent and captivating start.

Winter of the Wolf is just as eager to engage the listener, riffs and rhythms climbing and rapping upon the senses driven by the rapacious energy inspired by the guitars. There is a caustic edge to the track too which only adds to its quick appeal but tempered by the melodic tendrils and twists which bring an array of worldly spices. As it marches through ears or tenaciously smoulders on the senses, the song seals keen attention with Ventura again escalating the persuasion.

Next up, old school hues line Marathon, band inspirations such as Van Halen and Judas Priest an easy guess as the song boldly strolls with familiar flavours and blossoms around them with StormWolf’s own imagination while Fear of the Past mixes up its attack and adventure with zeal and invention. Both tracks hit the spot though maybe not as fully as Swordwind which throughout had bodies bouncing and vocal chords indulging as its anthemic battlefield unfolded.  An unexpected slip into calm and melodic elegance only added to its success, that and the already notable prowess of Ventura, Natale and co.

Through the blues scented, hard rock lined Lightcrusher and the riveting instrumental weaving of Thasaidon, the album only tightened its hold, the second of the two especially outstanding while Soulblighter brings a feral almost primal graining to its part predacious fully compelling trespass. Though not quite matching the heights of many before it, the track offers moments of real magnetism.

The final trio of All We Are, One False Move, and Me Against the World unleash their own highly agreeable lures, the first a Maiden-esque fuelled anthem, its successors respectively a melancholic romance of a ballad moving in a funereal march and a ballsy rock ‘n’ roll romp. The latter pair both are bonus tracks upon Howling Wrath and each a Lizzy Borden cover, the penultimate song one of the major highlights of the album.

It is easy to hear why StormWolf is beginning to draw broader acclaim and attention their way with more surely to follow through Howling Wrath. As mentioned, heavy metal especially classic does not exactly spark real excitement here but the Italian’s album was full enjoyment from its first to last breath which says it all.

Howling Wrath is out now via Red Cat Records /7hard Records.

 https://www.facebook.com/Stormwolf.it/

Pete RingMaster 29/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Max Pie – Odd Memories

MaxPieBand_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

Fair to say their name is still as dislikeable as it was when we covered their excellent album Eight Pieces, One World album two years ago but musically the Belgian metallers still rock the juices out of us as proven by new encounter Odd Memories. Max Pie fills their third album with all the essences which made its predecessor a surprising and compelling proposition but it is with bigger and bolder imagination and creative energy. We are no major heavy/power metal fans here to be honest but once again Max Pie has given us one thumping and rousing time.

The band was formed in 2005 by vocalist Tony Carlino taking inspirations from bands such as Symphony X, Van Halen, Toto, Queensrÿche, and Dream Theater into their emerging ideas. A slightly unstable time in personnel graced their early years before Max Pie released debut album Initial Process in 2012. Fan and critically acclaimed it was surpassed by Eight Pieces – One World a year later in presence, sound, and praise. Its release was followed by the band playing numerous festivals and undertaking tours with the likes of Symphony X, Evergrey, Fates Warning, Avantasia, and Queensrÿche. Now they return with, as the last album, the Simone Mularoni mixed and mastered Odd Memories and simply their finest, most inventive proposal yet.

The album opens with its title track; an instrumental ripe with a foreboding atmosphere and epic textures all cinematically imposing on the imagination. This type of beginning is becoming a common practice across varied metal offerings but when done right, as here, it makes a potent invitation into any release. As the track slips into the following Age of Slavery, a sizzling electronic coaxing colludes with rampant riffs and a melodic embrace of keys. The thick commanding rhythms of drummer Sylvain Godenne shape and invigorate the track further, framing the growling vocals of Carlino perfectly. The frontman’s diverse delivery is as magnetic as ever, some elements more powerful and potent than others but like the music, a constant lure that likes to stretch and push both song and musician. As the guitar and keyboard craft of Damien Di Fresco builds and expands its enterprise, the track blossoms into a sturdy and fiery encounter to really kick things off.

It is also, in many ways, a relatively straight forward and maybe expected proposal from the band, the new exploration showing itself more from Odd Future on. Keys breed the first mesmeric caress on the third track before guitars and the wonderfully dark throated bass of Lucas Boudina bring their hues to the emerging and stirring landscape of the encounter. Once vocals join, the song settles into a melodic roar and sonic flame of melodic and heavy rock ‘n’ roll, their union a heated and tenacious arousing of ears and thoughts veined by sparkling, and at times understated temptation from the keys. It is when things go off kilter with a glorious stretch of discord kissed invention and melodic bedlam that the song really comes alive and if there is any moan it does not play in this great moment long enough.

MaxPieOddMemories_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review     Promised Land opens on a vivacious escapade of keys quickly encased in storming riffs and rhythms, it all quickly blooming into a virulently contagious slice of rock pop with classic metal and progressive rock hues. It has single running through its potent craft and lusty veins, every second of the track a bold and rousing incitement for body, voice, and emotions. Such its power and lure, it gives next up Love Hurts a hard time trying to follow it, and as mesmeric in melodic beauty within tempestuously emotional and physical terrain that it is, it never quite finds the same full-blooded personal reactions as its predecessor. It is undeniably superbly crafted and woven though and does leave only fully satisfied thoughts before the darker, ravenous excellence of Don’t Call My Name takes over. The guitars alone are predatory with their creative rummaging of the senses whilst the keys float with celestial temptation above them and the uncompromising rhythms spearing it all. Reaping the ripest elements of technical and progressive metal, band and track pulsate as they gnaw on ears, adding melodic and harmonic balm to the increasingly irresistible voracity on offer. With Carlino also on fine form, the track is the pinnacle of the album, reason alone to eagerly approach Odd Memories.

The acoustically brewed Hold On slips in next to transfix and from a slow start to its persuasion grows into a big favourite. Whether by chance or intention, it has a Bowie-esque essence to it, a floating whisper in quieter moments which does it no harm. It is a scent soon out flamed by vocals and the sonic blaze giving the song rich crescendos and a breath-taking finale before Unchain Me takes the listener on another tumultuous ride of rugged metal and tantalising electronic adventure.

No prizes in guessing some of the scenery within Cyber Junkie, its electronic and industrial endeavour a potent spicing to another song offering a compelling fusion of bestial metal and melodic flirtation, the former steering the ship with invigorating success. As Don’t Call My Name before it, the track is a masterful web of varied and diverse styles in one predacious provocateur, thoughts of bands from Anthrax to Armored Saint, Dream Theater to Skyharbor coming to mind across its exciting and again show stealing soundscape.

The album is finished by The Fountain Of Youth, a song which either a raging storm of a canter or a gentle caress enthrals and sparks only the keenest attention and support from ears and emotions. Like a couple of other songs it takes longer to get all of its hooks inescapably entrenched but with its additional symphonic elegance and emotively hued strings, the song has seduced long before realisation notices.

Wrapped in the excellent artwork of Didier Scohier, Odd Memories and indeed Max Pie have caught us again with a tempest of sound and invention driven by craft and passion. This time it is bigger, more adventurous, and confirming the band as one of progressive power metal’s finest.

Odd Memories is available from June 19th via Mausoleum Records @ http://www.maxpie.be/shop.php

http://www.maxpie.be/   https://www.facebook.com/maxpiemusic

RingMaster 19/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

The Mezmerist – The Innocent, The Forsaken, The Guilty

Mezmerist-Forsaken-1500x

    The Mezmerist , a project which few have heard of and even less has music from, is the centre is attention from the newest release of Shadow Kingdom Records. A reissue of two EPs the band recorded back in the mid-eighties; The Innocent, The Forsaken, The Guilty is an intriguing and riveting insight to a band almost lost to time with a background as interesting as its engaging sounds.

The band was the project of Thomas Mezmercardo, a young guitarist taking influences from the likes of Van Halen, Black Sabbath, and Mahogany Rush into his own ideas and creativity. With a sound which merges psychedelic and classic/heavy metal driven with a strong mix of vocals highlighted at times with falsetto squalls and expression, The Mezmerist released The Innocent, The Forsaken, The Guilty in 1985, the ‘double EP’ release filled with tracks recorded over two sessions two years apart.

The first notable thing about the release is that the 1983 4 track EP section features Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward alongside Mezmercardo and bassist Roger Abercrombie. As Ward was with Sabbath at the time his contribution was un-credited for legal reasons on the 500 copied pressing, which with the band holding on to a great many of the copies has become very collectable with those in the know and selling on eBay for extreme high prices. Mezmercardo himself has been a sought after and hard to find man since for many interested parties in re-releasing the EP, but finally tracked down and coming to an agreement with Shadow Kingdom for its reissue, which took five years to come to pass even from that point, the described as ‘ by far one of the best cult classic metal albums you’ll ever hear’, is finally available for all.

Whether the release does fit the label’s declaration is debatable but certainly it is an engrossing and enjoyable step back in decades which is very satisfying to have encountered. The first quartet of songs come from that previously mentioned 1983 session featuring Ward and starts with The Forsaken, a caustic atmospheric confrontation with the droning hum of destruction soaring its skies and stark chilling winds wrapping their cold intimidating tendrils around the spoken narrative of Mezmercardo. It is an excellent intro to the release though arguably what follows is an anti-climax to its ruinous suggestion as they seem to steer away musically from the menace and aggression laid down.

The following Dead Ones Cry No More is instantly expelling a scorched heat of guitar and sonic persuasion, a sizzling psychedelic haze on the wasteland of its predecessor. A Middle Eastern temptation lines the immediately skilful and entrancing guitar work framed by the appealing bass prowl and strong rhythmic craft of Ward, though neither of those steal the glory from the guitars or attention from the vocals of Mezmercardo whom when hitting those high levels takes a little getting to use to, his lower cleaner presence more preferable for personal tastes. The song is a sultry caress which opens up the appetite for the next up Arabian Nights, another song reaping those seductive eastern essences to fine effect.  There is a Led Zeppelin/Sabbath feel to the sound which draws in the emotions potently though this is tempered by the vocals which at this point has for these tastes, lost their flavour.

Victim of Environmental Change completes the first part in more than decent style though feels far more of a demo than the other tracks, before the three songs from the 1985 session take their place before the ear. With a line-up of Mezmercardo, bassist Steve Conrad, and drummer JR, as soon as Kingdom of the Dead steps forward there is a breeze of freshness and clarity over the previous songs. The bass has a swagger and mischief that has lips licked whilst the drums are easily an equal to what Ward offered previously. The vocals also have a greater control and persuasion with Mezmercardo staying to a less acidic delivery which with a raw and unfussy breath really works well with the great sounds around them. The track has a doom clad crawl and stalking to its presence whilst guitars and bass twist and turn with enterprise and invention.

No Family, No Friends has a definite punk stroll and snarl to its riffs, their hungry belligerent course seared and entwined in defined and potent sonic spirals of imagination and skill whilst the rhythms again cage it with eagerness and craft. Like the song before it is an excellent taunt for the passions and easily the pair steal the honours on the release.

Completed by the instrumental The Jam Song, a track which feels like it says, an improvised playtime for the musicians which flows and courts the imagination with ease, especially the underlying surf rock dance to its controlled charge, The Innocent, The Forsaken, The Guilty is a release all heavy metal fans should take a look at. A cult classic…maybe not, a thoroughly entertaining and flavoursome treat…undoubtedly.

www.shadowkingdomrecords.com

www.shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com

7.5/10

RingMaster 04/09/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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Derek Buddemeyer: Afterthoughts

   Afterthoughts is one of those albums which needs numerous plays to explore its many diverse corners of sound as well as the thoughts and emotions it incites during its engagement. The release from rock guitarist Derek Buddemeyer unveils a little something more within its expanse of instrumental pieces with each encounter whilst lighting different imagery each time too and though it is not always as consistently successful, it is a rewarding and enjoyable engagement which is easy to return to and often.

Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, the musician moved to San Jose, California at an early age and found musical influences which included The Beach Boys, Hall & Oats, and Barbara Streisand. As a young teen, Buddemeyer then discovered the likes of Van Halen, Def Leppard, and Stryper, inspirations which led him to buying a guitar at 15. Another move this time to Southern California drew him to the sounds and skills of George Lynch, Steve Vai, Warrant, Scorpions, Skid Row, Metallica, Megadeth, Testament, Anthrax, and many more. Taken by the heavier and rawer sound, as well as the melodic imagination borne from such artists, he evolved his own blend of melodic hard rock with sinewy veins and pop metal warmth. Debut album Afterthoughts, which is released through the Jerry Dixon and Erik Turner of Warrant owned Down Boys Records, is the vibrant result of his inventive ideas and honed craft, a release which breathes with enterprise and rich and full sounds.

The album starts with a storm of a track in the mighty Wicked Little Sister. The track immediately fires up the heart with flesh grazing riffs, insatiable energy, and a melodic teasing which smoulders with skill and sonic manipulation. It is an adrenaline soaked piece which is unrelenting in its purpose and inspiring in the open invention driving its course. Amongst the ten tracks which make up the release there are a trio which stepped to the fore instantly upon first listen, the opener heading that impressive first thrill.

The album is a varied little pleasure which investigates and ventures into numerous premises and soundscapes of sound. From the metal rush of the first song the album strolls into the progressive and metal expression of Breathing In The New, the powerful guitar adventure an invigorating and expressive heat supported by electro showers of sound. Then the title track takes over, it another of the great  pinnacles within Afterthoughts. It is a symphonic wrap with emotive keys and a brewing epic atmosphere which surges thoughts and senses through a striking escapade of melodic elegance and lush imagination. Whereas the previous songs were guitar driven this song is a delicious weave of keys and sonic beauty which leaves one basking full of content in a flush of strings and dramatic grace.

As the likes of the magnetic New Groove with its gentle and sunny coaxing of the ear, the classy and refined Morning After, and the fiery Lift Off with its burning temptations, reveal their creative and distinctly individual gaits, the album is a continuing captivation. Occasionally as with the brief presence of the last of these three songs, it feels like a track is written with the thought of soundtracking a cinematic moment so often depart without a defined climax but it only adds to the imagery incited during their usual dramatic breaths.

The third of the previously mentioned greatest heights attained by the release closes the album up. Sandstorms is an immense piece of writing which seduces the senses with its Eastern promise and intrigue setting imagination. Completed with coarse riffs and snarling guitar rubs shadowing the majestic melodic whispers, the track is an evocative delight.

For personal tastes and no other reason, there are moments on Afterthoughts which do not quite rise up to spark the same enthused ardour as at other times, like the mechanical rhythms and shallow electro  drizzles in some places, but it is a minor niggle in the overall quality of the album and does not deter from offering the recommendation to check the album if you are looking thoughtful and inventive instrumental melodic rock.

https://www.facebook.com/DerekBuddemeyerFanPage

RingMaster 20/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Hard Riot: Living on a Fast Lane

If you are looking for some good and honest hard rock with a strength and appeal that refuses to be ignored then you can do a lot worse than taking a listen to the debut album from German band Hard Riot. Released via Pitch Black Records Living on a Fast Lane offers up eleven slices of very satisfying rock ‘n’ roll that hits the spot without venturing into distinctly new realms. The release though carries an exuberance and vitality that the more one gives it attention the more infectious it becomes.

Formed in 2006 in Heilbronn the quartet of vocalist Michael Gildner, guitarist Andreas Rockrohr, bassist Mario Kleindienst, and Carmine Jaucci on drums, are open with their influences proudly using them to flavour their own ideas and creativity. The album offers up large doses of the likes of AC/DC, Def Leppard, Scorpions and at times Van Halen but there are also other spices that peer out from within their sounds, varied rock elements that bring thoughts of Metallica, Aerosmith, and Staind. This goes to make an album that consistently engages and welcomes the ear even if it offers no real surprises or startling originality. For impressive and enjoyable rock music though Living on a Fast Lane fits the bill easily.

2009 saw the band release their self-financed 5-track EP The Hidden Truth to good acclaim and last year the band ventured into the studio to record their debut album with producer Vagelis Maranis. With the band signing to Pitch Black at the beginning of this year and the release of this fine album coming this week  there is a feeling and promise that the band should gather up a much stronger deeper response and fan base than ever before.

The album offers a good variety within its walls, the band at ease and skilled whether bringing a power ballad like Tears In The Rain or dragging the senses to their feet to rock out with the likes of the southern rock tinged opener Get Ready. The production ensures that each element of the band is heard to its fullest ability but also seamlessly fits side by side to makes songs that eagerly connect. It is fair to say that hard rock  is not the favoured genre of choice here at the RR, but there has to be a full admission that Living on a Fast Lane had voices loud and limbs air playing on more than one occasion.

Standout tracks include the great stomp fest Hellfire Rock where drums and riffs light up the inner rocker from the very first note and the excellent No Surrender. The first is infectiously anthemic and one of the songs where an avoidance of joining in is impossible. It scoops one up with an irresistible explosion of power riffs and melodic invention around compulsive gang choruses and pulse racing energy. The second of the two though with a fuller classic metal intention is similar in triggering a full response from the listener. The song is hungry and eager to provide a feast of hard rock elements and sounds that though expected are brought with a skill and urgency that can only please.

The album has a strong flow and consistency making sure there is never a moment one is looking to move on early. The likes of the slow and well crafted Nothing But You and the impressive metal veined Hard Way Down providing more highlights whilst the bluesy Black Widow is a supreme piece of rock music. It as elsewhere does not break down doors into new pastures but is simply siren like even for those that leave hard rock as a choice low down their preference list.

Living on a Fast Lane is a great release offering all the elements that makes a good and easily returnable to rock album. No it is not startlingly unpredictable or inventive but it is one of the most satisfying and eagerly digestible releases so far this year and makes Hard Riot a band to investigate.

RingMaster 08/03/2012

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