(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Lead Journalist/Writer, RiffRelevant.com)
If you are like me and are even remotely tapped into alternative music from outside of the U.S. then I’d wager you’ve encountered this band at some point. This band being Pretoria, South Africa’s Ruff Majik of course, a band I myself discovered a year or two back. Even though it’s a claim now hard to prove, I have reviewed nearly all of the band’s prior releases so I damn sure was not gonna miss this one.
The music created by Johni Holiday (guitar, vocals), Jimi Glass (bass) and Benni Manchino (drums) aka Ruff Majik is impressive. To be honest, it is quite stripped down and raw but only so in a fantastically executed way. Burgeoning with bluesy fuzz and garage rock elements throughout, the trio traditionally record their efforts in a single take. No breaks, no overdubs and studio tricks..nothing but the three in the studio with whomever else – in this case Evert Snyman – and knocking the shit out live.
What they have collectively knocked out here is The Hare And The Hollow and whatever you do, do not call it an EP. The guys are adamantly clear about that aspect too, going as far as to issue the following on their Bandcamp page:
“This is not a 3 track EP. It is part one of a 4 part album called Seasons, which will be released piece by piece at the change of the season, every season, over the coming months.”
That approach is somewhat similar to the last series of studio offerings from the lads, the trilogy of The Fox, The Bear and The Swan. Now here we are with yet another creature-related title capturing the Ruff Majik ruffians bringing down the house with their laying out of a Lo-Fi, live-in-your-face smack down of scorching rock and roll.
Groove-generating guitars wail and wallow about, emitting thickened riffs once “Harpy” rolls out. Kit-smashing drums and thundering bass lines soon meld into one rutted groove as Holiday’s nasally inflected vocals narrate their tale. The vibe is akin to one derived from say, Black Sabbath-meets-The White Stripes..a bit of doom, a bit of blues.
With the follow-up cut “Gone Down In The Woods Today” not far behind, things quickly so south by way of some heady flavoring. Mellow, melodic emanations nearly hypnotize you but right before you go under, everything explodes with a flurry of tumultuous drums. The retro-vibed fury is enough to shudder your soul as this superbly engaging selection strikes. The isolated bass lines found rumbling about 2/3 way through are simply solid as stone itself but what comes after is truly surprising.
“Breathing Ghosts” takes on a life of its own, a dizzying, blistering foray into music teetering on thrash territory. It’s just enough to really throw you for a loop when these dudes unexpectedly slam on the brakes and take things headlong into some amazing fuzzened doom. From there they alternate between sultry grooves and explosive, metallic-edged intensities. Eventually they begin to taper things down..lesser and lesser, lighter and lighter as they go. Things eventually devolve down and ultimately come to an end with some resonating feedback.
And there you / we have it! Well, kind of anyway because you really don’t have-have it, you know, like own it, until you purchase it. You can do that immediately at this location or if you need some aural convincing, stream Ruff Majik‘s “The Hare And The Hollow” via Bandcamp below.
Source: Riff Relevant