I.C.O.N – The Blacklist

I.C.O.N_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

Six years on from their well-received and acclaimed debut album, UK’s I.C.O.N make another noticeable and even more potent imprint on the British metal scene with its successor The Blacklist. It is a brute of an encounter yet jammed with stirring melodies and sonic enterprise to temper and complement its muscular aggression. The album is not one to seriously tear up the metal/heavy rock landscape but in giving it an invigorating stirring, The Blacklist does a massive job.

From the release of their first album New Born Lie in 2009, I.C.O.N has continued to reinforce their potent reputation and increase a loyal fan base through a live presence taking in stage sharing with the likes of Breed 77, Blaze Bayley, Warrior Soul, Diamond Head, Furyon, Zico Chain, Witchfynde, and Voodoo Six amongst many others. Numerous festival appearances have only enhanced their growing stature too, with the release of The Blacklist now carrying the broadest potential to awaken major spotlights. Produced by Pete Troughton, the album is a tapestry of hostile exploits and melodic temptation cast in an array of individual proposals. Some tracks outshine others but from its first atmospheric breath to its final roar, the release provides one rugged, raw, and rousing enjoyment.

The album opens with A Room In Hell, a short instrumental gently and evocatively luring the listener into the heart and turbulence of The Blacklist. Guitars cast an enticing web of expression and craft whilst rhythms rumble like an encroaching storm, their shadows colluding with sonic persuasion in a potent intro to the release and the sinew stretched swagger of Feeding The Negative. Instantly riffs from guitar and bass are a gripping coaxing matched by the increasingly aggressive and agitated assault of beats. The growling tone of Reece Bevan’s bass additionally provides a great accompaniment to the equally gravelly vocals of Mark Sagar and a predatory contrast to the acidic and scorching endeavour of Scott Knowles’s guitar. In full stride and attitude, ground-breaking the song is not but like the album, in prime and inventive metal spawned rock ‘n’ roll, the track is a storming incitement and pleasure.

i-c-o-n-the-blacklist-1400_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review     The following Grindin’ Wheel, though appearing less confrontational, is a matching beast of provocation. As the keen swipes of Larry Paterson’s drum sticks hit skin and senses, a spicy groove is cast by Knowles, its revelry sparking a similar swing to riffs and subsequent rhythms whilst band vocal calls add an anthemic tempting to around increasingly imposing and impressing tones of Sagar. The song does its big part in the continuing strong and gripping start to The Blacklist and is instantly backed by the thrash seeded I’m The Venom, a song with a hint of bands like Metallica and Testament but flinging those flavours around like a baker with dough to create its own recipe of melodic/heavy rock infused antagonism. There is that familiarity though but it only makes things spicier around the uniqueness fuelling the incendiary solo which breaks free and the bracing vocal/rhythm collusion shaping all tracks.

Both Welcome To My War, with its deliciously barbarous bass insurgence and uncompromising drums swings, and Speak To Your God keep ears and appetite fully fed. The first of the two is just breath-taking at its start, an inescapable consuming of the senses and imagination which then loses its fullest potency once it settles into a more reserved and restrained prowl. The song still impresses and ignites full satisfaction to be fair but such its glorious opening, it feels a little like a missed opportunity unlike its successor which brawls and rages from its first breath. With a hint of a southern twang to its air, the track reveals its whole weight and weaponry straight away, simply increasing its richness with nagging riffs, riveting grooves, and a fiery solo, not forgetting virulent rhythms.

The slower, more controlled Devil’s Blacklist walks through ears with emotional expression and descriptive sonic hues, and though it maybe lacks the spark of its predecessors, it hangs a creative arm around attention to keep it fully involved before Wrong Way Back turns in a heavy and forceful stomp equipped with raw contagion spun by the skilled exploits of each member of the band. There is no avoiding the technical and accomplished craft from I.C.O.N, and how individually and united its members know how to write and deliver a fully rounded and attention grabbing storm of an encounter, no better proof coming than with Man of the North. From a cold and lonely canvas the instrumental builds an evocative landscape of solitude and beauty, its range of minimalistic textures to full blown tempestuous endeavour and ideation a relentless suggestiveness for the imagination.

The outstanding rampage of Deconverted descends on ears and air next, another thickly persuasive bass lead stirring up body and emotions for the song to bruise and ignite further, though it is another which maybe does not realise the potential hinted at throughout. It is still an excellent encounter though leaving the closing and tenacious sonic might of Drowning In Their Screams to bring this thoroughly enjoyable and invigorating album to a close.

For honest and uncluttered, as well as seriously accomplished heavy metal, it will be hard to find anything much better than The Blacklist this year we suggest. It is not flawless and as mentioned it does not fulfil all the promise hinted at, but you can only feel that there is a major classic lurking inside I.C.O.N as they evolve and grown further whilst this release persistently shows itself to be one powerful and seriously tasty encounter all metallers should take time to devour.

The Blacklist is available now via Metalbox Recordings digitally and on CD @ http://www.iconukonline.com/webshop

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RingMaster 16/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Hellbound Hearts – The Proximity Effect

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It was 2013 when UK rockers Hellbound Hearts caught our ears and imagination with their potential ridden and thoroughly thrilling Outside EP. It was one of those encounters which simply brought energetic and eager life to feet and emotions whilst impressively building on their already well-received self-titled EP of 2011, the year the band emerged. Now they have returned with their thumping new persuasion, The Proximity Effect, an EP which not only realises much of the promise of its predecessors but sets out a new recipe of inspiring adventure to be explored ahead.

The time between the last and new EP seems to have been a testing time for the York band; personnel changes, health issues, and recording issues thorns in building on their already potent presence and reputation. Now the trio of vocalist/guitarist Danny Lambert (ex-Terrorvision), bassist Craig McLaren, and drummer Billy James Mitchell (ex-Glitterati) have overcome all obstacles and unleashed their finest irresistible slab of rock ‘n’ roll yet. Already the band has unleashed their renowned live performances on the year, sure to continue in the vein which earned them success and high praise through performances with the likes of Black Spiders, JettBlack, The Treatment, Terrorvision, Sons of Icarus and Warrior Soul in the past. It is The Proximity Effect which will be the prime weapon in whipping up the broadest national attention though, something it has already begun sparking since its release.

Posters In The Sun descends on ears first, opening with a caress of raw but inviting guitar accompanied by a just as dirty riff, and soon finding heavy beats adding to the tempting. Once the dark tones of McLaren’s bass infuse their increasingly alluring enterprise, the track is stomping with punk attitude and rock ‘n’ roll voracity. Vocals bring their melodic roar to the web of hooks and captivating riffs soon after whilst Mitchell’s swinging sticks just seem to get more compelling and tenacious, much as the song. It is all coloured by a rock pop infectiousness which early on begins to blossom inside the encounter and ripen especially in its chorus. The song is the spice of addiction and makes one highly enjoyable and gripping start to the EP.

The following Ones And Zeros makes a just as imaginative entrance, a weave of melodic chords being accosted and complimented by a great resonance of throaty bass. Swiftly more aggressive than its predecessor but no less virulent, the song prowls and strolls across verse and chorus as a torrent of addictive hooks, musically and vocally, colour the first stage and a mellower catchiness lighting up the latter. Again there is a punk tenacity to the mix of metal and hard rock, resulting in a gripping blaze of sound around a host of creative and vocal temptations.

There is a grungier air to Bones next, a mellower essence which wraps around the alternative metal canvas. Equally though there is a raw aggressive edge to it all which lines the more voracious passages of the song. Riffs and hooks especially ignite thoughts and appetite whilst the punchy beats just keep it all caged in a slightly intimidating frame. Not as immediately infectious as the first two, the track is a growing and mighty persuasion revealing another new twist and flavouring to the band’s songwriting and sound.

Overall there feels a harsher nature, more volatile character to the EP than its predecessor. It never actually erupts in hostility but the danger is there and the songs all benefit from it, as shown by the closing Silence Falls. The last track has an open familiarity to it, bred from its pop punk and alternative rock collusion as much as anything, and is soon seducing with thick melodies and bracing riffs matched by addiction forging rhythms. Stirring up imagination and the pleasures alike with potent and magnetic enterprise, the song is a formidable and mouth-watering end to a similarly impacting release.

It may have been a turbulent 2014 for Hellbound Hearts but they are back, and on even more impressive form with a sound and creative adventure to match. If you are looking for feisty rock ‘n’ roll to invigorate your daily soundtrack then The Proximity Effect is a wise and thrilling choice.

The Proximity Effect EP is available now @ http://hellboundhearts.bandcamp.com/album/the-proximity-effect

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RingMaster 19/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Generation Graveyard – Lonewolves

Generation Graveyard Online Promo Shot

Preying on ears with the primal snarl of early Killing Joke, the punk fury of Amen, and the raw salacious bloodlust of Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13, UK metal punks Generation Graveyard has become one of the eagerly talked about new protagonists of the European horror punk scene, and it is easy to see why with the release of new EP, Lonewolves. The band’s official debut release, it is a predatory assault on the senses and a stirring incitement to thoughts and emotions. It is hard to say that it is going to be the most startlingly original thing you will hear this year yet the London quintet unleash their venom and antagonism with a blend of flavours and impassioned vitriol to stand apart from the crowd and excite with undeniably ferocious potential.

Since its conception in the latter part of 2009, Generation Graveyard has earned a strong and impressive reputation through their live performances which has seen the band share stages with the likes of Misfits, Anti-Nowhere League, The 69 Eyes, Black Breath, Viking Skull, Warrior Soul, The Defiled, and most recently supporting Breed77 on their full UK tour. Fusing rich essences of hardcore, rock n roll, black metal, and crust into their metal punk voracity, the band’s next big step hits potently out in sound and lyrical intent, casting hostility amongst things at life and urban isolation, society and social upheaval, and substance dependence. As suggested Lonewolves is not reshaping a scene but it does make it impossible to ignore or resist the band’s fury.

The release immediately stands intimidatingly over ears, stirring thing up with caustic riffs and short sonic taunts whose acidic discontent is punctuated by occasional thumps of rhythms. The entrance of Abominate/Desolate is a Generation Graveyard - Lonewolves EP coverslow enticement which almost preys on its recipient before opening up a broader wash of guitar incitement around a sturdy stride. Once the drums start rumbling along with beats which seem to coax further the already impressive vindictive bass flirtation, the track takes to full hostile flight within its still stalking gait and the similar stance of vocalist Max’s grizzled growls. Dark addictive grooves and surges of scarring riffs continue to flourish within the brawling presence of the song, but it is the almost deceptively menacing bass and spiral of melodic guitar enterprise which leave the lingering impression of the strong and potent starter.

Things kick up another gear in attack and pleasure with Human Hive, the song scurrying urgently through ears from its opening breath and teasing attention with heavily poking beats within a maelstrom of sonic causticity. There is a more open contagiousness to the song than within its predecessor, a lure providing a dangerous and virulent seduction. Sonic groans and ravenous riffs stalk throughout the track’s rippling body, adding intimidation to the web of infectious persuasion and adversarial endeavour honed into one gripping confrontation. With Max offering a Casey Chaos like combativeness to his tones and the guitars an unrelenting and varied squall of abrasing enticement littered with thick hooks, the track ignites an already open appetite with ease.

The Empty strikes next, again a song making an initial quarrelsome impression veined by sonic bait clad in riveting invention and enticement. The track stomps and bustles with attitude and impatient ire, eager to start a fight or incite a riotous commotion. It is a pleasing and easy to embrace slab of unfriendly provocation but lacks the spark and quite simply the addiction forging qualities of the previous pair. Nevertheless it is another strong lure into band and release before the incendiary punk storm that is Deletist savages ears. It is as raw and as vicious as it gets on the release, every note and syllable a raucous enmity whilst the rhythms just puncture the body with their verging on malevolent antisocial attack. Like the last song it lacks some of the lures of certainly its successor but counters that with pure venom and hardcore punk voraciousness.

The title track takes over to steal best song honours, its Misfits like opening the doorway into the epidemically anthemic roar of the song. Rhythms and riffs spare little time to size up their victim, jabbing and raging respectively with the hunger and rabidity of a restless social uprising. Hooks and grooves play incessantly with the imagination whilst the group calls to stand up and roar simply provide the icing on the ridiculously thrilling cake. It is a great finale to an increasingly impressing release though certainly on the CD there is also a bonus track, the Stereo Juggernaut remix of Human Hive which offers a more than decent stomp to fling limbs to.

Lonewolves is a dramatically healthy and intensely promising introduction to Generation Graveyard, one easily showing why the fuss from those in the know towards the band. You feel though that there is much more to come and be explored within the band ahead than shown on the excellent release, which makes their future rather exciting.

The Lonewolves’, EP is available through all stores on Monday 21st July.

http://generationgraveyard.bigcartel.com

https://www.facebook.com/GENGRAVE

8.5/10

RingMaster 20/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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‘GENERATION GRAVEYARD’ are Lonewolves, on 21st July‏

Generation Graveyard Online Promo Shot

LONDON NOISE CHIEFS GENERATION GRAVEYARD RELEASE DEBUT EP!

 

Hotly-tipped UK metal punks ‘Generation Graveyard’ are poised to break out to the nation with their blistering new EP ‘Lonewolves’, which hits stores on Monday 21st July.

Inspired by urban isolation, an outcast lifestyle and social upheaval, Generation Graveyard are candid and straightforward, refusing to bite their tongues and be pigeon-holed. With a vast cross-section of influences stemming from hardcore, old school rock n roll, black metal and crust delivered with a vicious punk venom, Generation Graveyard have established themselves as the antithesis to the UK music’s current alternative scene.

 

Conceived at the end of 2009 and hailing from London, Generation Graveyard are 100% committed to the execution and creation of their craft. Through widespread gigging and intense rehearsing, the rising five-some have finely tuned their live show, which has led to them being selected for support slots with names such as The Misfits, Anti-Nowhere League, The 69 Eyes, Breed77, Black Breath, Viking Skull, Warrior Soul and The Defiled. The Londoners have also recently successfully supported Breed77 on their full UK tour.

 

Now the stage is set for the lively noiseniks to firmly stamp their mark on the UK scene and they have the ammunition in the shape of their new EP ‘Lonewolves’. The record bursts out of the blocks with the pounding openings of ‘Abominate/Desolate’ which goes right for the jugular and it’s a real introduction to what’s ahead. The blistering punk rock fury of ‘Human Hive’ is next up, as it attacks your senses at breakneck speed. The stout ballsy vigour of ‘The Empty’ continues in supreme vein before the vibe shifts with the industrial guile of ‘Deletist’. The record closes with the anthemic and down-right fantastical ‘Lonewolves’. Miss this band at your peril!

Generation Graveyard - Lonewolves EP cover

-GENERATION GRAVEYARD UNLEASH ‘LONEWOLVES’ THROUGH ALL STORES ON MONDAY 21st JULY-

https://www.facebook.com/GENGRAVE

The Idol Dead – Dark Little Heart

The Idol Dead Online Promo shot

If you missed out on the initial release of Dark Little Heart at the tail of 2012 from UK rockers The Idol Dead then stand ready to leap on board with its reboot this week through the band’s own label RAAA! Records. It is a feisty and fiery slab of rowdy and bruising rock ‘n’ roll but one with all the insatiable charm of a lady of the night and the contagious strength of the common cold. The Leeds hailing quintet merges glam and hard rock with a voracious breed of punk resulting in an invigorating and immensely enjoyable rampage of sound and enjoyment. Admittedly its first contact courtesy of the opening song left a promising and pleasing suasion but one which left reservations in regard to its originality and finding a spark to ignite more than simple satisfaction. They were short lived concerns though, the second track bringing a voracious bait before the imagination which set thoughts and emotions on fire. Certainly the album stays away from forging a really distinctive new proposition, thoughts of The Wildhearts and Backyard Babies an undeniable comparison, but Dark Little Heart emerges as one rebellious stomp of rock ‘n’ roll which simply hits the sweet spot.

The Idol Dead began in 2008 and soon made a rapid impression on the local rock scene. Their reputation for explosive live performances went before them as the band played throughout the UK, sharing stages with the likes of Killing Joke, Sebastian Bach, Buckcherry, Evil Scarecrow, Blackfoot, Warrior Soul, Molly Hatchet, Hatebreed, Pitchshifter, Laika Dog, and Spear of Destiny along the way as well as enjoying great responses at numerous festivals. After the well-received Shooting Star EP, the band’s debut album Die on my Feet or Live on my Knees on their own label marked the band out and drew strong responses but it is through the crowd funded Dark Little Hearts that you feel that The Idol Dead will find access to a much wider attention and fevered spotlight. Inevitable line-up shifts along the way have seen the band adapt and grow so that the five piece of vocalist Polly Phluid, guitarists KC Duggan and Tim Jeffs, bassist Dan Sugden, and drummer Nish Gonsalkorale now show themselves to be a potentially explosive proposition within British rock.

As mentioned at the start of the review, opening track Blue Skies provides an appealing encounter but is somewhat underwhelming in its The Idol Dead Cover Artworkpersuasion due to there being little surprise or unpredictability to its otherwise potent presence. Certainly the passion and craft of the band is an open declaration whilst infectiousness is rife from the riffs to the thumping rhythms and from the impressive vocals to the united anthemic band calls beside them. In hindsight it feels like the band is playing safe to start things off, giving ears a well formed and boisterous yet easily accessible entrance into the album. The track is still a thoroughly pleasing offer though but soon left looking pale as the following song lights the fuse to a passionate and imagination stirring experience.

Six Feet Under is just glorious, from its initial flush of raw flame of riffs and inciting rhythms it is an instantaneous trap which has feet, senses, and imagination recruited with its punk ‘n’ roll bred contagion. Holding an essence of Misfits to its sinewed romp and passions corralling enterprise, the track drags out a hungry appetite for it and the album. Again it is fair to say surprises are scarce in many ways, though just the weighty temptation and resourceful triumph of the track alone makes a detonator to the expulsion of expectations whilst leaving thrills and spills rampant. It is a major highlight but one which itself is exceeded by the following Vampire. From an atmospheric intimidating ambience in the dead of night, the song erupts with scorching flames of guitar and moody rhythms matched by the dark throated bass. The vocals of Phluid equally have a sinister edge and leer to their tone which adds greater intrigue to the narrative of the outstanding song. The band finds an even more addictive toxin to the chorus and infection veining the horror punk like predation, sculpting a track even more immense and irresistible than its predecessor.

Both Dion and Hey Girl unveil superbly crafted and shaped bodies of hard rock bred enticement and though neither can match the heights of the previous pair, the songs feed compelling strides of rock ‘n’ roll into a hungry appetite. The first is much like the opener in that is has few moments of wrong footing assumptions but provides enough invention in its unrelenting catchiness to bring a wholesome appetiser to devour before the more substantial feast of its successor twists and rolls with its garage punk/hard rock fusion. The song takes mere seconds to have limbs and voice enlisted in its cause, giving them a vivacious ride of riffs and grooves with barbed rhythmic hooks before making way for the ferocious Bad Fiction. The punk sided heart of the band is an open brawl in the song, rapacious mischief and energy surging through riffs and adrenaline gifted rhythms. Vocally too the band snarls and incites but it and the sounds all come with a wink and a loud whisper of Generation X within the urgency and pent up roar which wants to rock rather than fight.

The pair of I’m Drowning, a captivating stirring ballad featuring the excellent guest vocals of Claire Cameron alongside the again strongly impressive Phluid, and the magnetic Bleed continue to keep imagination and emotions on their feet; both with a longer to convince persuasion but each evolving into easy to recommend highlights upon the album.

The closing stretch of the album is a little undulating but continues to thrill; the blues filtered You Don’t Know a sonic fire which misses finding the trigger which elevates other tracks so masterly and the closing Beautiful Disaster almost ending the album as it started with a less than imposing offering but a skilfully written and presented one which does enough to leave a contented listener. Between them though the band unleashes one final gem in the rabid punk spawned I Don’t Wanna, an unbridled charge of dirty and belligerent rock ‘n’ roll with all the lures and seduction to spring the inner punk in us all. It is a terrific provocation again proving the potential and already open quality of The Idol Dead.

With Dark Little Heart you are not going to find new pastures to explore but for excitingly accomplished and virulent rock ‘n’ roll, there are few around right now to impress more than The Idol Dead.

Dark Little Hearts is available on 5th May through RAAA! Records.

http://theidoldead.com

8/10

RingMaster 04/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Idol Dead reveal their ‘Dark Little Hearts’, on 5th May‏

The Idol Dead Online Promo shot

 

UK ROCKERS THE IDOL DEAD RE-RELEASE STUNNING NEW ALBUM!

 

Leeds rock crew ‘The Idol Dead’ spit out a heady amalgamation of infectious Rock ‘n’ Roll and spiky punk which tips its hat to the likes of Guns ‘n’ Roses, Foo Fighters and The Wildhearts. Pinning sledge hammer riffs against gargantuan choruses backed by thunderous drumming, The Idol Dead are poised to bring their sound to the masses in the shape of their blistering new album ‘Dark Little Hearts’, which is rebooted on 5th May, through the band’s own RAAA! Records label.

Born out of a mutual love for blistering riffs, The Idol Dead sport a varied collection of influences stemming from Rachael Stamp, Foo Fighters and Sex Pistols, to David Bowie and Queen. It’s no wonder that, given their eclectic tastes, the 5 piece offer something different – their own brand of big booted rock n roll!

Formed in 2008 and consisting of Polly Phluid (Vocals), Nish Gonsalkorale (Drums,) KC Duggan (Guitar), Tim Jeffs (Guitar) and Dan Sugden (Bass), the five-some soon became the best of friends. After honing their live set, the quintet began to play throughout the UK and swiftly earned a hearty reputation for delivering explosive live performances. The band have gone on to share stages with the likes of Killing Joke, Sebastian Bach, Buckcherry, Evil Scarecrow, Blackfoot, Warrior Soul, Molly Hatchet, Hatebreed, Pitchshifter, Laika Dog and Spear of Destiny, to name just a few.

The Idol Dead also have a strong DIY ethos which led them to form their own label, Raaa! Records. The label spawned the release of their debut album ‘Die on my Feet or Live on my Knees’, which was totally self-funded. However, the band decided to utilise the pledge platform for their sophomore album ‘Dark Little Hearts’, and within six weeks, they had what they needed in order to complete the album. Needless to say, The Idol Dead were simply blown away by the dedication and support of their fans.

Now with ‘Dark Little Hearts’ recorded and prepped for a national release, the sky is the limit. The band’s album certainly delivers on all fronts. From the urgency and cut throat riffery of ‘Blue Skies’, to the buoyant vigour of ‘Hey Girl’ and the radio friendly melodic brilliance of ‘I’m Drowning’, the five piece have everything in line and are set to battle it out for their place as one of the new breed of Brit Rock bands set to break in the UK!

 

Check out The Idol Dead live: 21st March – Sitwell Tavern, Derby; 30th April – The Duchess, York; 3rd & 4th May – Noize Level Critical, The Maze, Nottingham; 9th May – 360 Club, The Library, Leeds; 24th & 25th May – TBFM 5th Birthday Bash, The Snooty Fox, Wakefield; 31st May – The Riverside, Selby.

The Idol Dead Cover Artwork

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