Threatmantics – Shadow On Your Heart

As we have suggested before, originality can be found in numerously various places within music but uniqueness is more of a holy grail as each decade passes. One band which radiates the latter is Welsh outfit Threatmantics; well certainly their third album, Shadow On Your Heart deserves that declaration and as frustratingly it is our own introduction to the Cardiff quartet we will eagerly generally tag them with it too.

Like mischievous troubadours, Threatmantics weave tales and musical adventures with a fusion of art and folk rock; though that alone only hints at the essences which make up their deviously tantalising sound. It is a proposition which embraces the hues of bands such as The Cardiacs, XTC, This Heat, Mr Bungle and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci in various ways and places throughout Shadow On Your Heart but essences only spicing the band’s hard to pin down music and imagination.

Recorded with French producer Anne-Sophie Ouvrier, Shadow On Your Heart opens up the theatre within with it’s title track; initially tempting with snarly riffs before breaking into a smiling melodic saunter. Those few seconds alone had ears fully intrigued and attentive, the viola of Heddwyn Davies a summery lead alongside the earthier moves of Gareth Middleton’s bass and the crystal touch of Andrew Rhys Lewis’ guitar. Davies’ vocals are just as magnetic with their bard-esque character, a swing to their lilt matching that of the outstanding start to the album.

First Things is next up and just as much a tease of musical lures from its first breath; viola and rhythms colluding in instinctive temptation before vocals bring their own invitation to the immediately infectious brew. With a controlled but rousing burst of chorus and unpredictability in every move and twist in its drama, the song is aural devilment led by the equally catchy swinging beats of Huw Alun Davies. Echoes of Zanti Misfitz and The Cardiacs shimmer within the riveting encounter before Now You Are Gone reveals its own individual magnificence. Middleton’s bass is a delicious grumble, the guitar of Lewis sonic nectar while the vocals of Davies just recruit participation in the virulent saunter.

Who Is Afraid Of Patrick Wolf? is folk encrusted rock ‘n’ roll so easy to be enslaved by; a Horslips like scenting adding to its indie natured entangling of ears and appetite while Cold Warts darkly serenades with a Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci flavoured breath. Both tracks were as irresistible as those before, the second of the two adding Cardiacs meets post punk ingenuity to its kaleidoscope of multi-decade sourced antics.

The band’s new single follows, Dangos Dy Ddannedd a darkly lit seducing with volatility in its belly and melodic bedlam in its instincts. Increasingly intensifying in fever and pandemonium, it makes way for the McLusky natured mayhem of Krystal Pystol. A rousing ruckus of punk infused noise it in turn breaks from the speakers to allow the calmer breath and charm of Under The Sun to caress the senses. A rugged stomp emerges from its slightly disturbed tranquillity to manipulate and escalate an already in place satisfaction with the song’s exploits.

The album closes with the impish folk ‘n roll of Mother Folker From Hell, a song alone showing the array of flavours employed in the Threatmantics imagination and lastly the sludge thick chunter and feral crawl of Little Johnny. Imagine the mutant offspring of 12 Stone Toddler and Melvins and you get a sense of the sublime end to one glorious album.

Like us for us there may be many to whom Threatmantics is an undiscovered thrill so we suggest making Shadow On Your Heart the moment the rapture begins.

Shadow On Your Heart is out now through Ffatbyrg Records @ https://threatmantics.bandcamp.com/releases digitally and on 12” vinyl, with a limited edition, numbered run of hand printed covers by acclaimed Welsh artist John Abell.

https://www.facebook.com/Threatmantics/   https://twitter.com/threatmantics

Pete RingMaster 05/03/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Hey Colossus – The Guillotine

As proven time and time again with UK outfit Hey Colossus, the only thing expectations can assume is that any encounter with them will be thickly compelling and singularly distinct in theirs and the surrounding musical landscape. And so it is with new album The Guillotine, a release taking the sextet’s sound to a new terrain of adventure and unpredictability whilst bewitching body and imagination like never before.

Formed in 2013, Hey Colossus have persistently nurtured and evolved their sound and its exploration; from the earlier lo-fi sourced, psychedelic and heavy noise rock bred triumphs of Radio Static High and In Black And Gold, the two albums which really drew thick attention the way of the band through the more hi-fi live causticity of Cuckoo Live Life Like Cuckoo, nothing has ever stood still or relaxed into one realm of imagination. Within those albums, there was an open quest to push things further and further.  The Guillotine is no different, a creative emprise of brooding tones and dark atmospheres woven into trespasses of the imagination and physical arousing of body and spirit. Using hindsight, there has been hints to this new vein of fertility within previous releases, especially those just mentioned but glimpses of something startling and vigorously thrilling which trespasses us now.

The Guillotine sees the controlled and new mesmeric tones of Paul Sykes to the fore, his presence almost like a storyteller and as boldly alluring as the sounds and voices found within the collective ingenuity of Rhys Llewellyn, Roo Farthing, Robert Davis, Joe Thompson, and Timothy Farthing alongside. The album begins with the tantalising dark psych rock of Honest To God, a track which is pure alchemy. Its initial wiry psych shimmer breeds a post punk lined meander as a slowly strolling guitar and bass grooves saunter across the awakening web of temptation. Every aspect is a rich lure, accentuated by Sykes’ gentle but dark vocal swing. Like a nostalgia kissed mix of Spizz Energi, Zanti Misfitz, and The Three Johns, the song teases the psyche with its seductive fingers while brewing up a raw energy which erupts with scuzzy zeal. Revolving through each stage of its perpetual metamorphosis, the song is pure manna for noise/post/psych punk hungry ears and appetite.

The exceptional start is swiftly followed by the fuzzier venture of Back In The Room, a track rolling on hypnotic rhythms and fizzing upon the senses with its three guitar pronged shuffle. The dual attack of vocals is just as magnetic, a collusion resourcefully driving the volatile proposition with a hint of The Birthday Party adding to its arousing shadows and increasingly rabid head. The song is part nagging dirge and part raw but multi-textured seduction united in a thorough captivation which eventually makes way for the gentler climate of Calenture Boy which smuggles its increasing delirium through ears while a smouldering climate is equally blessed with a sonic psychosis which sizzles with increasing heat second by second.

Its raw croon is followed by the mercurial enterprise of Experts Toll where beats dance with flirtatious trespass as the bass throws its own captivating dark steps into a jungle of craft and skittish imagination. The song’s relatively calm opening and agitated dexterity is subsequently given to more forceful inclinations, the track twisting into a heavily stomping, dirtily intensive brawl of enticing sound cored again by those unruffled vocals before Potions casts its own somnolent charms around ears like a melodic narcotic shaped with stout rhythms and veined with willowy psychedelic tendrils. As its creative elixir thickens so does its intensity but moving through the stages of evocative density with a calm and fluid ingenuity.

Though every track within The Guillotine had us locked into its snare, certain moments simply steal the passions; Englishman the stealthiest, glorious one of all. A stroll of senses clipping beats, broody basslines, and teasing riffs, the song simply bewitches. Scything melodies and infection loaded vocals only add to the irresistible bait enslaving ears and imagination which though not necessarily in matching sound, creates a tapestry rich in the attributes of XTC, Melvins, Talking Heads, and Fugazi; all twisted and reenergised by the unique imagination of Hey Colossus for total bliss.

The album concludes with firstly In A Collision, another brooding trap of sound and creative cunning as shadowy as it is instinctively catchy, even when its once darkly mellow body and atmosphere ignites with dirty raptorial virility. Raw beauty from start to finish, the song is succeeded by the album’s title track, an even more predatory proposal drenched in melancholy, antipathy, and sonic mesmerism with the bass at its earthiest, carnivorous best. With the guitars as potent in elegance or being abrasively bracing, the song is a final captivation to get hooked on and lost in.

The Guillotine is simply magnificent, leaping to the frontline of favourite releases of the year so far with its manipulation of body and imagination while proving Hey Colossus as one of, if not the, most exciting thing in the weaving of noise around.

The Guillotine is out June 2nd through Rocket Recordings and available @ https://heycolossus.bandcamp.com/album/the-guillotine

https://www.facebook.com/heycolossus/    https://heycolossusband.wordpress.com/    https://twitter.com/HeyColossus

Pete RingMaster 02/06/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Japanese Fighting Fish – Swimming with Piranhas

Photo by Scott M Salt Photography

Photo by Scott M Salt Photography

The highly anticipated third album from British aural dramatists  Japanese Fighting Fish is uncaged this week, a release which not only confirms that there is no other proposal like the London based quartet but shows the band hitting another plateau in their breath-taking sound and invention. There are few with the musical craft and adventure to match an imagination as daring as it is inimitable but Japanese Fighting Fish have it all in abundance and in full enthralling flow within Swimming with Piranhas.

Formed in Leeds in 2009, Japanese Fighting Fish had a great many hooked, including us, by the release of debut album Just Before We Go MAD two years later. A release experimenting with South American rhythms as raw vocals and dirty guitars played, its compelling success was eclipsed by its successor, the punk infused Day Bombs of 2011. Releases and years have seen the band draw comparisons to the likes of Faith No More, System of a Down, QOTSA, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Primus, and Frank Zappa, but as evidenced once more by their latest triumph,  Japanese Fighting Fish really do stand alone in character and sound. Mastered by Tim Young (Massive Attack, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Elbow, and The Beatles ‘Love’ Album), Swimming with Piranhas is the band at its most eclectic yet and offering a collection of funk infested, theatrical exploits; quite simply rock and roll with the devilry and boldness of creative insanity.

Inspired in title by the real life wild experiences of vocalist Karlost Thompson and drummer Al Sweetman whilst staying in Ecuador with a Quechan tribe where they took a dip in the Amazon River, Swimming with Piranhas has ears and imagination swiftly gripped with its opening title track. A lone spicy groove teases first, it soon joined by broader sonic sighs and boisterous rhythms as the song increasingly expands into a hip swinging, rhythmically riveting magnet. Once the familiar, ever expressive and captivating tones of Karlost complete the line-up of creative cast, the imagination is taken on a beguiling off kilter ride. With kinetic beats and baroque scented organ shaped theatre adding to the ever shifting gait and mood of the encounter, the opener is sheer captivating as fiery and infectious as it is thought provoking and a great sign of things to come.

art_RingMasterReviewThe excellent start continues and hits another level with Egyptian Sunrise, the song a sultry tango of exotic mystique upon the driving throaty bassline of Matt McGuinness and the swinging bait of Sweetman. Impossible to resist getting physically involved, the song leads the body a merry dance with the imagination caught up in the creative tones and lyrical incitement of Karlost. Also swathed in the equally suggestive invention of Gareth Frederik Ellmer’s guitar, the song is a mouth-watering exploit soon matched in creative theatre by Provocative Cat. Funky with Parisian hues, the song flirts and dances with ears as the bass masterfully groans and Karlost paints the imagination like a vaudevillian showman.

New single For Queen Marilyn comes next, sauntering in on a raw riff and rumbling beats as vocals spread their instinctive drama and ascending energy. Soon its rapacious rock ‘n’ roll is ablaze with intensity amidst a hearty roar, switching between calm and volatile waters before making way for Close The Gate. An encounter which seems to mellow as it reaches climactic moments and erupts when you expect it to slip into alluring calms, the unpredictable song is a twisted treat but one soon outshone by previous single U Ain’t Gonna Win This. An exploration of split personalities also making a “homage to boxing greats like Ali, and Rocky “, the song is a fleet footed shuffle with another deeply contagious gurning  bassline from McGuinness courting the vocal waltz of Karlost and band. Taking addiction to a fresh level, the track mixes sweltering melodies and grungy textures with sonic guitar splatters and a virulent carnival-esque bounce.

Hard To Resist is a matching enslavement of body and appetite, its lazy yet snarling bass swing and gripping croon just two of the irresistible elements in what must be the next single. The track is glorious, reminding of little know eighties band, Zanti Misfitz as it throws its creative temptation around. A slip into a deranged XTC like pasture only adds to the fun and increasing seduction too.

Another funk sculpted adventure follows in the shape of I Got Time; its Red Hot Chili Peppers like romp infused with a Talking Heads like prowess, while On A Fall sonically shimmers as the eager beats of Sweetman fuel the pulsating balladry of voice and Ellmer’s resonating guitar enterprise. Increasingly more provocative and gripping with every listen, the track is yet another thrilling twist in the varying style and sound within Swimming with Piranhas.

The album is brought to an equally exciting and inventive close by firstly Dr. No-Sense and its noir spiced and increasingly bedlamic intensity. It is followed by the similarly deranged but skilfully reined imagination and creative resourcefulness of I Caught You Wandering for a bewitching end to another superb offering from Japanese Fighting Fish. Swimming with Piranhas takes the band and their one of a kind proposition to a whole new plateau, not just for them but for the British rock scene. Why Japanese Fighting Fish is not a name on so many more eager lips already is a bit of a mystery, now they might just be with this beast of a proposal doing the persuading.

Swimming with Piranhas is released 17th June across most online stores.

http://www.japanesefightingfish.co.uk/    https://www.facebook.com/Japanesefightingfishuk   https://twitter.com/jffuk

Pete RingMaster 17/06/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Strangler Figs – Attack Of The Strangler Figs

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Having been seduced by the decidedly warped drama and infectiousness of their recent single Attack Of The Strangler Figs, there was no option than to next look at the EP of the same name . The result of talent and imagination in collision with creative mischief, the offering is the thrilling work of UK art rockers The Strangler Figs. It contains three songs which seduce ears and thoughts alike, a trio of carnivalesque adventures creating the kind of warm devilry which would suit a Tim Burton soundtrack.

The folkish theatre, almost circus like character to the band’s music has its seeds in the psychedelic rock and visual feast of Circus Maure, which band founders, vocalist/guitarist Joe Pickering and double bassist Joel Hanson were previously a part of, touring the likes of Europe, Israel, and Canada, where it headlined the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal for seven nights in a row. Their time there also saw the pair writing together, before leaving and uniting to form Leicester based The Strangler Figs. Weaving in inspirations from the likes of The Doors, Radiohead, Muse, and David Bowie into their evolving invention, the band swiftly lit up the local live scene, their first year together marked by headlining Oxjam and playing the biggest festivals in Leicester. EP and single has helped begin the spread of their presence and reputation much further afield, awakening media and fan attention on a broader scale and as the EP opener alone plays with ears and thoughts, it is easy to see why.

10419942_1592620724306431_4813869709891100291_n   The title track opens up the festivities, a lone reflective guitar around the individual voice of Pickering the first intriguing act of the song. They are immediately joined by a warm caress of keys cast by Freddie Pickering and slow evocative beats from James Lyons. With most of its elements in place and the narrative bringing theatrical colour, the song lifts up its knees and starts a lively stroll through ears and across the imagination. A little jazzy, a little funky, and a lot seductive, especially with the backing vocal lures of Rosie May Price adding to the inviting hues, the song unveils an agitated adventure of sound and ideation. Thoughts of The Jazz Butcher whisper loudly from this point on, and indeed The Strangler Figs sound definitely has a potent elements of the eighties artist to its playful resourcefulness. The song is in full contagious mode in no time, inciting feet and voice to join its devilish merriment.

The great start continues with Help me Please, the song also starting with a gentle kiss on the senses but reaching a more vivacious gait within a few more seconds. The tempting of organ and guitar, both provided by both Pickering brothers, unite in a simmering aural tale of drama and shadow wrapped emotions, this matched by his voice and the dark feel of the narrative. With mini crescendos which just grip the body, the song ebbs and flows in energy whilst stirring up the passions with its unpredictable darkly hued majesty; though do not mistake the song for anything other than a vibrant stroll of folk pop revelry. Think Tankus The Henge meets Mojo Fury and you get an idea of its excellence in sound and enterprise.

The EP closes with Hugga Wugga, an immediate seduction of noir lit textures and theatre led by the excellent throaty lures of Hanson’s double bass. Keys and beats soon align for an exotic shuffle whilst guitar and voice bring a snarl to the party, tempered by the siren-esque backing vocal smooches of Rosie May Price. Once more as the song flirts and swerves around within its jazzy landscape, an eighties essence licks ears. Whereas The Jazz Butcher raised its hints before, and does a little here also, Zanti Misfitz springs up in thoughts as the track ignites the imagination. Just light whispers but enough to give a nudge of the lesser known band.

The song is glorious, as is the EP. There is no wondering why the band has caught the attention and eagerness around their home city, just of how far the band can spread their charm and how soon. A long way and swiftly is our suggestion sparked by Attack Of The Strangler Figs alone.

The Attack Of The Strangler Figs EP and single is available now at most online stores.

http://www.stranglerfigs.com   https://www.facebook.com/thestranglerfigs

Upcoming live shows…

Orange Tree, Leicester – April 30th

O2 Academy, Birmingham – May 1st

Riverside Festival – Leicester – June 6th

RingMaster 25/04/2015

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