Oktopus

‘Worlds Apart’ release 1st April 2016.

Not often, are you led on a journey, so incautiously complex and chaotically structured, that it allows its destination to end so satisfyingly. It is comparably as rare to have found yourself spun around continually with such venom and yet not crave a foundation that is more stable and forgiving. Oktopus throws you around with all the might of an unapologetic eight-armed animal, yet leaves you intriguingly wanting to explore more. Never has a name epitomised their artists musicianship so aptly.

Oktopus

Oktopus not only throw you around with musical merriment, but an octopus, classified officially as a cephalopod, is an invertebrate, which means it has no back bone and this Birmingham trio, consisting of Alastair Bell on lead guitar, Samuel C. Roberts on Bass and Tim Wilson on drums, could also be considered Instrumental invertebrates as they have a sound that flows with flexibility . With an ensemble of progressive rock, electronic punk and jazzed up funk, they simply rip up the text book, with a freaky fluidity.

‘Worlds Apart’ is the artists first album release since the change of their name and lineup. The band used to go by the name Progoctopus and had released a debut EP ‘Transcendence’ before Alastair replaced previous vocalist, Jane Gillard, and they resultantly and cleverly in my opinion, decided upon shortening their title.

DISCORD (APPROACH) is an ominous opener. A short starter of a course, that as equally, many will find disconcerting to the palate, to as many that shall find it reassuring and calming. I’m not totally convinced that the band have any intention to instil an emotion, rather they set a mood and let the listener examine their own imagination. I see it somewhat as an invite into the unknown and an adventure into something as compelling as it is curious.

The first release off the album and the first full track, EYES OPEN, is a marauding monster of a song. It takes you and shakes you in to a state of comfortable confusion. The heavy mix of progressive rock, repetitive rifts, jazz styled bass and frenzied drumming should leave you slightly unbalanced. Oktopus however finds a cohesion in its chaos with arrangements that are completely complex in their composition. Alastair’s distinctive vocals shine through the abnormality and the new sound is set.

The title track WORLDS APART is very much of the same ilk and a sublime manifesto of jazz infused prog rock. It is littered with unashamedly unique and inspiring arrangements, all pulled in by the classy confides of Samuels contemporary bass. A special note has to go out to the spiralling guitar solo that see’s Alastair in the prime of his art.

After a completely manic and high energy start you’re beginning to question whether the powerful trio can keep up this level of unrelenting arousal throughout the entirety of the album. THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY TROUTMONTO (PART 1) soon reassures you that there is no chance of the three of them loosing any steam. More frenzied combinations of rhythmic raucousness is delivered. With no lyrical story telling, this three minute instrumental allows all three members off the leash to litter a busy track with all their hearts content and prove just how competent musicians they really are. A break from all the antics of absurdity is wilfully offered, however in the form of a short sound bite of musical valium. HARU provides a melodic midpoint mildness. A mix of mystical pipes that calms and restores a semblance of rest.

THE HAND ON YOUR SHOULDER, at least to begin with, continues this more gentler theme. It’s a more softer approach, with a more traditional jazz feel and tippy tappy guitar. The peace does not last long though and is broken by an all consuming chorus of impressive vocals which pull you back into the Bands true grit. There is reference to the strength of a soldier in this track, which got me thinking that if fate flung me into the front line, there could be no better soldier placed by your side than Tim Wilson whose drum sticks fire frenzied, machine like bullets, that rip through the air with feverish vigour. This man has astronomical talent and is simply a pleasure to listen to. As are the backing vocals, that adds a fine accompaniment to what is arguably the strongest song of the CD.

Never less, the final track of the album MINOTAUR is a rip roaring one. It leads you down a punchy and punky Alice in Wonderland type rabbit hole. It twists and turns and lends to the ears, some remarkably inventive mid sections. This is a potently powerful finish. The Rifts are raised, the drumming is as consistently explosive as ever and the bass holds less illusions of a ring master attempting to construct some control over a couple of rather ferocious lions.

Oktopus - 'Worlds Apart'

You may just feel like submerging yourself in the deepest and darkest deaths of the earths ocean after an introduction to these completely crazy individuals. However I suspect that if Oktopus find you, they will grab you and fling you on an exciting expedition which you won’t easily forget!

Track listing: 1.Discord (Approach) 2.Eyes Open 3.Worlds Apart 4.The Adventures of Jerry Troutmonto (part 1) 5.Haru 6.The Hand On Your Shoulder 7.Discord (Descent) 8.Minotaur

Review by Rod Grainger.

These Wicked Rivers

These Wicked Rivers II – EP Review.

They have returned, with another great EP! Derbyshire based rock band These Wicked Rivers are due to release their second selection of musical art which will not disappoint. These Wicked Rivers ‘II’ will be a great addition to anybody’s music collection with a selection of songs that will make you want to let your hair down and rock!!!

These Wicked River - EP II

These Wicked Rivers ‘II’ starts as it means to go on, with ‘Wicked Rivers Blues‘ being the first track on the EP. This track is smooth and prepares you for what’s to come. With more catchy tracks like ‘That Girl‘ and ‘Testify‘, these songs will appeal to anyone who has a taste for rock, with great vocals from John Hartwell, face melting guitar from Arran Day, thundering bass from Jon Hallam and last but not least amazing drums by Dan Southhall, this EP has a amazing sound that can be enjoyed by rockers of all ages.

The EP will be launched on 28th April 2017 at the Hairy Dog in Derby, so if you are out and about in the Midlands area, get yourself down there for a good night. This band don’t just Know how to release a good EP oh no, they also know how to put on an awesome show!!

So don’t just take my word for it get, check these guys out and don’t forget to get your copy of ‘II’ and get ROCKING!!!!

Watch ‘These Wicked Rivers’ performing ‘Don’t Pray For Me’ LIVE at Skegness Rock and Blues 24/01/2016

Track Listing is as follows: 1.Wicked River Blues 2.Stones Painted Gold 3.That Girl 4.When The War Is Won 5.Testify 6.Put Me On Trial (For Who I Am) 7.Don’t Pray For Me

Visit These Wicked Rivers online & share your experience.

Review by Matthew York.

Hils Ovation

Tonight’s Hils Ovation gig see’s me heading back to the O2 Academy3 Birmingham for a night in the company of Glory Fades, Inclosure, Beckon Lane, Lynus and the amazing, Captain Horizon! And it was Glory Fades who had the pleasure of getting tonight’s show underway and I can’t begin to imagine what the mix of nerves and adrenaline must have been like for them, as this was also their first ever live performance aswell! In the company of a keen and supportive audience, the bands rock rolled freely and it was easy to be caught up in the great vibe and enthusiasm that was obvious throughout their set. As far as new and up and coming bands go, I think Glory Fades are set for high times indeed and I shall definitely look forward to seeing them again.

Brandon Paskin - Glory Fades

Our second set of the show was delivered by the Birmingham based band, Inclosure and the first thing that jumped out at me about this band, was that for three guys, they pack an impressive punch! Lead guitarist Jordan Parton has the kind of on stage energy that is addictive to watch and he also has the skills to match as tonight, the riffs just flowed from his strings. The band have quite a few gigs coming up over the next few months, so make sure to check out their Facebook page for details of all their forthcoming events!

Jordan Parton - Inclosure

With Crimson Star sadly having to step down from tonight’s line up, it was pretty cool to have the Nottingham based band Beckon Lane added to tonight’s bill at such short notice, especially as this was their debut gig in Birmingham aswell. First impressions generally pave the way for future interest and with such a full and resounding heaviness to the bands sound, I think it’s fair to say that Birmingham welcomed them warmly with open arms. May 5th will see Beckon Lane taking part in Nottingham’s Metal 2 The Masses Semi-finals, so all the very best wished to these guys on the road to Bloodstock.

Lewis Phillis - Beckon Lane

Our next band of the night were Lynus and it’s always a pleasure to catch this band live as they really do seem to have found that magic ingredient that simply makes them stand out on just about every stage they set foot on. And tonight’s set from the band had an extra bonus aswell in the form of two new tracks in their set list ‘Feeling Nothing’ and ‘Foot in Mouth’ which are new releases this year and if these songs are anything to go by, 2017 is going to be a pretty outstanding year for Lynus!

Justin Griffiths - Lynus

It’s been said a hundred times over that the West Midlands has a thriving music community but one band whose contribution makes it all that much richer are our headliners of the night, Captain Horizon. With this being their first gig of the year, to say I had been looking forward to it is an understatement but as always, the music was well worth the wait. Tonight’s awesome set list included many songs spanning across the bands nine year existence but the ultimate highlight of the night for me was to hear the title track of their 2011 EP, ’Radiostasis’ as this song really is in a league of it’s own.

Steve Whittington - Captain Horizon

A line up such as the one we saw tonight, is one that simply works well together and I’m pretty chuffed to be able to tell you that you can catch Glory Fades, Lynus and Inclosure all together again, when they will be supporting Free Sun Rising at The Giffard Arms Wolverhampton on May 13th – so get that date in your diary!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.