Varsovie – Coups et Blessures

Comprised of Arnault Destal (drums, lyrics, music, arrangements) and Grégory Catherina (vocals, guitar, music), Varsovie is a band which has just released one of the year’s most compelling propositions so far in the shape of third album Coups et Blessures. It is our introduction to the French outfit and the beginning of a very attentive affair with their individual post punk/dark rock inspired sound.

Formed in Grenoble in 2005, Varsovie released their first EP, Neuf Millimètres the next year and were soon playing shows and touring outside of their homeland, playing the likes of the Drop Dead Festival in Prague, the Crimson Night in Münster, and the Creeper Fest in Vilnius. 2010 saw debut album Civil Status released on Infrastition Records with its successor,  L’Heure et la Trajectoire coming five years later. Both were well-received propositions and took the band to new European shores and shows. As mentioned though, we had managed to escape their presence until Coups et Blessures and if it is an echo of things past we have definitely been missing out.

Released through Sundust Records, Coups et Blessures quickly shows itself a dark and invasive trespass of the senses and imagination but with an instinctive catchiness which swiftly gets under the skin. It is a virulence of sound and intent which is certainly predacious in tone and touch but equally contagious. Maybe unsurprisingly, given the band’s name which translates as Warsaw, there is a Joy Division-esque feel to the band’s music and similarly one of Polish post punks Siekiera who seem to have been an inspiration to the pair, yet it is inescapably individual to Varsovie. The first song immediately beats on ears to grab attention while teasing with a melodic lure. This potent lure unites with a gloriously dark contagion loaded bassline and in turn the potent tones of Catherina; magnetism rising with each addition as the song almost menacingly pulsates upon the senses. Its fusion of post punk and raw rock ‘n’ roll continued to grip and imposingly seduce as twists and turns added to a tremendous start to the album.

The following Revers de l’aube has a far darker air from which a rhythmic web swiftly entangled ears and appetite, Destal in two songs already proving his craft a dynamic and deviously compelling aspect within the Varsovie sound. The track envelops the imagination like a frenetic fusion of The Three Johns and The Birthday Party pulled into the distinct individuality of Destal and Catherina; the result an incitement just as enslaving as its predecessor and one soon matched by the darkly lit Va dire à Sparte. More controlled in urgency as emotive and physical shadows align vocal and melodic intimation, the track prowls ears whilst all the time enticing eager attention especially with guitars, bass, and its instinctive drama.

Killing Anna is similarly hued; dark and intense but with a persuasive swing enhanced by the tantalising wiry exploits of the guitar. A sinister air soaks the encounter, its noir lit character a tenaciously smouldering gothic suggestion resembling a mix of bands like Sex Gang Children, Dead Can Dance, and Artery. Transfixing from its first breath, the track is superb; addictive from the off and almost matched in heights by Le Lac. The bold mesmeric rhythms of Destal fuel song and attraction, a strain of punk bringing attitude to the rock ‘n’ roll bred, resourceful sonic clamour.

That punk ‘n’ roll courted trespass is even more pronounced in next up Intersections, an intensive and slightly irritable tapestry of sound and flavour challenging and tempting in equal measure before Discipline reverberates on ears with tenebrific emotion within an invasively haunting atmosphere. Neither track quite sparked the reactions given to their predecessors but each adds a captivating variety of edge and imagination to the release which could only be hungrily feasted upon.

The final pair of Chevaux échappés and Feux complete Coups et Blessures in fine style, the mesmeric first a nagging temptation of dark sound and emotive hinting prowling the senses and imagination while its successor provides a melancholic reflection which simmers with an underlining volatility before erupting into an infectious canter with melodic flames licking at its intense drama spawned body.

With the album totally sung in French, a language we have yet to master, it is impossible to share the lyrical content of Coups et Blessures yet the hearts of songs and their emotional intensities are inescapable. The album is a magnet, fascinating and virulent at every turn and Varsovie a band we wish we had come across before and will have ears clamped to hereon in.

Coups et Blessures is out now through Sundust Records; available @ https://varsovie.bandcamp.com/  and https://www.sundust-records.com/en/349-e-shop

http://www.varsovie-propaganda.fr/    https://www.facebook.com/varsovie.propaganda/

Pete RingMaster20/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Loom – Self Titled

Photo by Kurt Fairbairn

With quite simply raw rock ‘n’ roll nurturing its heart, the debut album from UK band Loom takes ears through every shade of punk rock you can imagine within its ten track confines. It is an adventure which has the imagination fired up, ears burning with ardour, and aggressive tendencies bubbling to the surface in a striking and rousing incitement of a self-titled proposal. Each song as suggested reveals a new aspect in its furious landscape yet brews a united character distinct to a band and release which just commands attention.

Leamington Spa hailing, the trio of Tarik Badwan, Matt Marsh, and Joshua Fitzgerald took little time in attracting ears and praise with their early releases including a pair of well-received EPs within their first year. The second of 2013 featured six covers of songs from the strongest inspirations for the band in its early days, The Jesus Lizard, Bad Brains, Pixies, GG Allin, Misfits, and Warsaw. Alongside the other encounters, it sparked support from the likes of Zane Lowe and Daniel P Carter at BBC Radio 1as well as laying the first steps in a springboard for Loom live to support The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park and tour the UK and Germany with artists such as Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Queen Kwong, and Turbowolf.

The band’s first album is not slow in suggesting those influences in its multi-flavoured roar, as mentioned each song distinct from the next but there is a vein of unique Loom-ness running through all which we would suggest goes beyond the cohesion of aggression suggested by its press release. It opens up with Lice, a sonic itch you just cannot scratch enough to escape from. Its initial glaze to an instantly robust sound has a gothic/indie rock spicing, coming over like a blend of Leitmotiv and The Victorian English Gentlemens Club before its grouchy rock ‘n’ roll instincts burst free. It is a glorious nagging of the senses and imagination taking magnetic twists along its contagious enmity of sound and attitude.

The great start continues as firstly Hate imposingly shimmers with electronic radiance upon grunge bred antipathy to be followed by the rousing exploits of Get A Taste. There is a whiff of Pere Ubu for these ears to the first song but a thicker Nirvana like causticity to its nature and again niggling potency. Embracing garage punk confrontation too, the track stirs ears and appetite with ease, a triumph matched by its successor with its old school punk meets seventies garage rock growl as demandingly catchy as it is openly crotchety.

Grunge colludes with post punk for the feistily prowling Leopard, guitars winding spicy tendrils lined with delicious discord around ears as rhythms reveal a rapacious nature to their drive before Salt entangles the imagination in a fusion of Joy Division post punk and the irritable punk rock of The Stooges with just a tang of psych rock bewitchment. It is an enthralling mix opening new aspects with each passing flick of a chord and sonic detour yet throughout a fluid tart snarl never deviating from its quarrel.

Seasick bawls as its stalks ears with predacious intent straight after; indie rock merging with raw hardcore ill-temper in a track which steals the passions within seconds. Vocals are as unpredictable and instinctively volatile as the sonic flames cast by the guitar and indeed the rhythmic jabbing around them. With the bass a brooding threat within the tempestuous joy crowding and seducing ears, the track makes a big play for best track glory but is quickly challenged by the muggy grunge venting of Bleed On Me and eclipsed by the glorious dark deeds of the band’s latest single, Nailbender. The latter is a compelling caliginous seduction of gothic and punk metal; like Type O Negative fused with Descendents and 1919 yet still emerging as something unique and gripping to Loom.

The punk grouse of Barbed Wire grabs something from all decades of punk since the sixties whilst in finishing up the album Slowly Freezing Heart crawls across the senses in a kaleidoscope of sonic toxicity and shadow loaded rhythms united with vocal psychosis. Both tracks are treats greed gets the better of composure over while bringing one superb album to a memorable and rousing end. Listening to Loom you get the feeling that the band creates on instinct, not searching for a sound but letting it find them and infusing their music with its own unique character. The album reminds of numerous artists across its riveting body but never comes over as anything other than the offspring of Loom, the first of many more belligerently sculpted and physically visceral gems we hope and suspect.

The Loom album is released May 19th via Silent Cult across most stores.

https://www.facebook.com/Loomband/    https://twitter.com/loomband

Pete RingMaster 17/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Hellrad – Things Never Change

FRONT COVER_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

The sound of US sludge metallers Hellrad is like toxic lava. It crawls over and consumes ears, blisters the senses, and devours all before it in an atmosphere of unbridled hostility. It also, with weighty persuasion and hellacious intensity, leaves the listener basking in a network of scorching, seductive grooves and intimidating rhythmic slavery, it all colluding for one fierce volcanic treat.

Hellrad began in the August of 2014; the Philadelphia quartet formed by guitarist Mike Hook (Eat The Turnbuckle, Bad Luck 13) and drummer Robert Lepor (Brian Candle). The pair swiftly enlisted bassist Herb Jowett (Javelina, Lick Golden Sky), and with an album’s worth of tracks emerging from their songwriting, completed the line-up with vocalist Dirty Dave Repenning (Off Duty Death, Warsaw). Their sound is as dirty as it is ugly, as angry as it is uncompromising, but aspects aligned to a violent creativity which emerges as wholly contagious. Recording Things Never Change at Permanent Hearing Damage Studios with Steve Roche, Hellrad have unleashed a proposal which is not quite a game changer but it is certainly an uncomfortable and uncompromising fresh breath to the sludge/stoner scene.

From the uncaging of its opener Street Zombies, the album reveals depths of sound and a cast of textures which are as much ravenously doomy as they are voraciously noise rock inspired, a blend perpetually brewing in a cauldron of sludge predation. The first track comes in as a warning siren, its portentous air sparking ears and imagination though their expectancy is soon engulfed in a lumbering and slowly brewing tempest of binding grooves and scything rhythms. It is a stalking rather than an onslaught, yet it has the intensity of a sonic tsunami smothering and stirring up everything in its path. The vocals of Repenning are just as rapaciously delivered, a squall of ire and emotion and as addictive as the roar growing around him. Lyrically little is given away by his raw delivery across the release but his psyche ripping presence is all about texture and emotion, and in that he, as the webbing of enterprise around him, is primal magnetism.

The following My Jihad’s Against My Mind keeps the impressive and intrusive start going, its rage and intent a much more urgent and volatile persecution of body and thoughts. Riffs and rhythms again create an unforgivingly caustic canvas for grooves and vocals to spread their almost rancorous bait, and once more the victim is blissfully immersed in echoes of a cancerous world and destruction. The closing tonic of stoner bred lures of guitar, rather than a respite to the torturous adventure seeding them, is the flowing link into another merciless ravaging. Dope Fiend Jesus manages to be even more raw and filth clad than its predecessor but also more seductive with its flirtatious melodic enticing and passages of mellow aggression. It is deliciously fearsome stuff carrying the whiffs of classic stoner and sludge bands but quickly corrupting and twisting them into something rabidly distinct to Hellrad.

Homegrown Terrorist is one of those sonic and social statements you do not ignore. Everything from its opening sample to the insidious sprawl of Repenning’s tones and the barbarous presence of the bass to the violent swings of Lepor, create an unshakeable trespass physically and emotionally. Its brutish incitement is only enhanced by the venomous sonic vines unleashed by Hook, their virulent enticement, rather than a temper to the existing savagery, an incitement to more threat. It is a template just as addictive in the hard-line predatory saunter of Fucked Up, another unrushed violation which waits until it is ready before unleashing a scourge of sizzling sonic enterprise and poisonous intent bred in an exacting embrace of intense rock ‘n’ roll.

The rhythmic nature of 15 Years and Counting is at times almost meditative, certainly hypnotic though there is no peace or calm to be found in the ruinous landscape of the song. The infectious and anthemic bait of Lepor is only reinforced by the carnivorous tones of Jowett’s strings, both forging the irresistible dark spine within the tightly entwined mix of melodic enticing and inhospitable noise pollution. The track enthrals and thrills before making way for the groove fest of Smoke More Crack. The salacious slab of rabid, dirt spawned rock ‘n’ roll is the final confirmation of the immense and addiction forging properties of band, album, and their severe concoction of sound.

Things Never Change is a punishing treat and Hellrad the nastiest, most vicious exponents of aural castigation, and we for one cannot get enough.

Things Never Change is available now digitally and on CD @ http://hellrad1.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/Hellradphiladelphia666 

RingMaster 24/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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