Dead Retinas : Gang Of Wolves EP

Photos by Kate Hatfield

Photos by Kate Hatfield

Having impressed with their previous pair of EPs, UK hardcore punks Dead Retinas return with their third offering and a new vocalist. The departure of previous singer Sam Hendo left some questions as to how they would follow his strong presence but the Gang Of Wolves EP shows it was with ease as new frontman Will Walkden slaps down his own identity and brawl upon songs. There is also a seeming shift in sound and band, an emerging maturity and you could almost say seriousness to their endeavours now which initially stops you in your tracks to consider the move and then finds you basking in its overall success.

Dead Retinas has over past couple of years stood tall as one of the most promising and best emerging punk bands in the UK, their riotous live performances, which has seen them alongside bands such as Four Short Of A Miracle, Landmarks, Falter, The City Divided, Zsilent Z and many more, and their pair of previous EPs, Dead Retinas vs. The World and Dawn Of The Dead Retinas. The new release only confirms the earlier stance of the band and thoughts left over them whilst still suggesting there is much more to come from the Manchester four-piece, especially with as mentioned this more business-like feel to their music. Gang Of Wolves contains a trio of songs taken from the earlier releases now re-recorded as well as three new ones and it is the older tracks which show the more ‘sober’ approach to a still rebellious middle fingered devilry.

The release opens with Snow, a track which is staring at the ear from its first rhythmic beckoning through to the creative casting of sonica0144321436_2 mist by the guitar of Jack Thompson and the prowling throat growling bass of CJ. It is a considered start and caress of the senses which is arguably new for the band and continues even as the angst driven squalls of Walkden score and scar the walls of the song. Expelling a fire bred intensity as it moves deeper into its compelling heart, the song brings a vehement climax to its recipient, evocative and fearsome but wholly riveting. There is a post hardcore breath to the track which also makes a fresh flame to challenge expectations over the band and helps makes a tremendous burn of an introduction to start things off.

The following Crowns On Hounds entwines tightly around the body next, metallic sonic flames of guitar in league with a gruff bass swagger that is instantly enticing within the ever crisp and challenging rhythms of drummer Lee O’Connor. Venturing in to Cancer Bats/Pinhead Gunpowder territory with a snarl and vicious sonic lancing of the senses to the fore, the track is a deliciously abrasive and distrustful beast of a song where the vocals of Walkden, backed as impressively by the additional badgering of Thompson and CJ, graze the synapses as potently and deeply as the sonic scything elsewhere.

The next three tracks are the revisited songs starting with Just Because You Drink Jack Daniels. Doesn’t Mean You’re Rock n Roll. A mighty mix of punk, hardcore, and noise, the track chews the ear with discourteous riffs and a rapacious bassline urged on by the still abusive rhythms of O’Connor. The guitar draws on a blues whiff to ignite thoughts further whilst CJ finds a bestial predation to his notes that sets the senses back on their heels whilst only having a hunger for more. Veined by an irresistible Dead Kennedys like groove with more hooks than a loan shark, the track twists the passions around its intrusive little finger to leave only greed for more in its wake. The track is as impressive as first time around but with a rein on the chaotic approach which marked its presence on Dawn Of The Dead, takes on a more potent presence, something which applies to the other pair of recharged songs. It has to be said though there is still a part of the heart that misses the no idea if the band would explode into bedlam unpredictably that endeared them previously.

Both LSD (Listen Smile Disagree) and Pure Gold exhaust the passions with their insatiable provocations and again the pair build on impressive first appearances to show an evolution in attitude, craft, and antagonism, as well as proving that Walkden is a worthy successor to Hendo. The first is a mix of predatory urgency and flesh peeling riffs stalked by the always hungry bass, the gang shouts an anthemic air punching draw which softens the senses before the finale of brain melting acidic sonics take their spiteful and thrilling place. Its successor is prime punk rock, a nostalgic air filtering through its hardcore badgering. Gallows meets Liferuiner, the song is a thrilling blaze of jagged riffs and concussively jabbing rhythms ridden by pure vocal hostility.

The closing title track is a thoughtful and thought provoking slice of caustic temptation which like the opener suggests the direction the band is moving towards. Still steeped in hardcore bitterness and punk gall there is a melodic hue to the rancor that sees the band expanding their sights and passions if still within their aural loathing.

Gang Of Wolves is a fine intriguing and exciting release, answering and suggesting more questions for the future. Like an end of a chapter whilst opening up a new paragraph for the band The EP leaves only eagerness to hear and feel the evolving force that is Dead Retinas, still one of the best emerging bands and now maybe just that much more impressive.

Get Gang Of Wolves as a name your own price download from http://deadretinas.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DeadRetinas

8/10

RingMaster 12/08/2013

 

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Dead Retinas: Dawn Of The Dead Retinas EP

august band promo

If you are looking for niceties and sophisticated music to relax to then give UK punks Dead Retinas a wide berth as they only deal in abrasive antagonistic rock n roll which leaves you enflamed in attitude and sonic aggression. Earlier in the year the band impressed with their debut EP Dead Retinas vs. The World, the release a grazing and fiery treat of unbridled infection and invigorating adrenaline driven punk rock, but was a mere teaser for their mighty follow up, Dawn Of The Dead Retinas EP. Their debut left one fuelled by anticipation for what was to come from the Manchester quartet and they have those expectations not only quenched but seeming quite inadequate as an assumption now that the band has unleashed this sensational EP.

The first thing the release does is bring thoughts of The Dickies to mind simply from the titles of their two EPs, the band taking inspiration from movies just as the Americans did early on and both with a mischievous glint in their eyes. Musically though, despite both stirring up the senses with instinctive punk rock, they part company. Whereas the LA band were arguably the first pop punksters, Dead Retinas bitch slap the ear with a sound which is like brawl between Pinhead Gunpowder, Cancer Bats, The Hives, and Dead Kennedys. It is an irresistible brew which offers diversity within a uniform of middle finger defiance and tongue in cheek antagonism. Since forming the band has corrupted stages alongside the likes of Four Short Of A Miracle, Landmarks, Falter, The City Divided, Zsilent Z and many more, and all the time have been emerging as one of the most refreshing and promising punk bands around, the new EP only deepens that acclaim whilst showing the band is evolving and maturing as songwriters and musicians all the time and well on the way to being to the fore of UK punk.

Consisting of three tracks, the EP pounces on the ear drum with venomous spite and aggressive energy through LSD, a track ep 2 artworkshowing invention and psychotic imagination. It is a delicious psyche bruise which twists and turns into a bedlam touching sonic confrontation, an irrepressible captivation from start to finish. The song enters on grazing riffs, predatory bass leers, and thumping beats pounced upon by the coarse squalls of vocalist Sam Hendo. The track soon settles into a ferocious yet restrained form of sonic combat with Sex Pistols hooks from guitarist Jack Thompson latched to his ear scouring riffs and senses gnawing basslines from CJ Smith, the pair with Hendo combining for an anthemic gang shout chorus. It is a great rampage which is elevated further when the track slips into psychedelic tendencies soaked in a classic rock solo which loses sanity turning into a synapse scorching sonic acid. It is a ‘painful’ end which completes an outstanding song, though it is eclipsed by the even greater presence of Just Because You Drink Jack Daniels Doesn’t Mean You’re Rock and Roll.

The track is a fusion of psyche, noise, punk rock, and quite magnetic. Immediately the song is confronting the ear with a snarling bass, scything riffs, and the abusive rhythms of drummer Lee O’Connor which never let you off the hook from start to finish, those bass growls of Smith an eager devilish companion. There is a slight bluesy lilt to the guitar as Hendo sets one up for a fall with malevolent chuckles and challenging tones questioning the listener. With additional Dead Kennedys like riffs and the twin barracking of drums and bass the song just ignites rapture for its compelling sounds. With also a mix of Kabul Golf Club shagging Gallows to its breath, the track is a glorious riot of energy and sounds which fires up even greater expectations of the band ahead.

The release is completed by Swarm The Decks, an incendiary merger of enslaving rhythms, raw erosive riffs, and a scrap of vocals from all three vocalists. Like a quarrel with the Beastie Boys and Discharge it is an in your face agitator which without the contagious lures of the other pair still pulls up an equal satisfaction through its combative and challenging intensity.

You always expect and hope a band will improve release by release but Dead Retinas have taken big steps on from what was a strong and vibrant debut with Dawn Of The Dead Retinas. For all punk rock fans the band is a must.

https://www.facebook.com/DeadRetinas

RingMaster 18/12/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Zsilent Z – Menace demo

It was exactly one year ago that I had the pleasure of discovering Manchester punk/rock band Zsilent Z through reviewing a two track demo they had just recorded. The duo of songs Ordinary Joe’ and Twenty Miles were basic especially in production but showed great promise for the band with their undemanding punk sound. One year on and the band has shown with the trio of tracks that make up the Menace demo that they have evolved with strength and craft to take that early promise much further forward if still not to its final destination.

The music the band offers has not evolved too far from the first songs, it is still an unashamed blunt and eager pleasuring of the ear but now it is a much tighter and better crafted vehicle with which to run down the senses. The songs within Menace have a defined punch that was missing previously. They are not violent but have a certain aggression that makes one take notice and allow the abrasive melodies and acute ideas to bring their wickedness. The songs are still relatively uncomplicated but offered with a flair that engages and bristles with a welcoming taunting ease over the ear.

Happy Days is the most accessible track with its primitive and instinctive rhythms. The bass of Joe Nee and Freddie Pitts drums, hypnotic as they trigger ones natural beats. The guitar of Deaglan ORourke flashes behind this rhythmic drive before flaring up with some scorched melodies and hooks. As before vocalist Sean Gibson bounds into and through songs with his wonderful slightly uncultured tones adding an extra definition to the power of the song, of all their songs. His delivery is a cross between Jamie Lenman, Charlie Harper and Thomas Mensforth (Mensi) from Reuben, UK Subs and 70s punks Angelic Upstarts respectively, bands the sound of Zsilent Z also conjures with at times. The song is a slight departure to the music heard from the band so far and works a treat.

He Who Fights and Tasmanian Devil make up the rest of the Menace demo. The first is a riotous punk flare up with a good bluesy guitar poking its nose in from time to time. It dips into subdued moment though it is just building up the intensity and anticipation to the barracking elsewhere within the song. Crashing guitar, rampant drums, a bass that scowls with its lines, and Gibson brutalising vocally it is an excellent punk effort.

The second of the two is similar in style to He Who Fights but with more distinct flavours from the band’s individual contributions. They bring it all together with the essential group shouts and the belligerent sound of punk contempt to again pull off another song that riles up enthusiasm for more. As with the other tracks it fires up nostalgia for the great 70s punk bands but lines it with a defined modern touch of the band’s very own.

     Zsilent Z as well as the bands mentioned, remind of older bands The Lurkers and Dangerous Girls and a contemporary in Houdini within what is a distinct flavouring of their own. The progression from the first contact with the band is impressive and exciting and even though production here is also far better, one knows there is even more within the band’s current sound that is waiting to be unleashed. The thought of that and what is yet to come from the band ahead is thrilling and the wait for more probably impatient.

http://www.facebook.com/zsilent.z

http://zsilentz.yolasite.com

RingMaster 14/02/2012

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