Sunday, October 13, 2019

Interview with Dustin Weddle of SUN DESCENDS BLACK by Dave Wolff

Interview with Dustin Weddle of Sun Descends Black by Dave Wolff

You grew up on old school thrash, death metal and grind; early Napalm Death, Brutal Truth, Sodom, Possessed, Hirax and so on. How is it that those bands had such an impact that people still appreciate them into their thirties and forties?
I think that people just continue to listen to the things they grew up on, and the people that grew up during this type of music's early stages are just growing older. I'm not quite 40, I’m only 35 but “Dookie” Dave (drums) and Wade Vandegrift (vocals) are in their forties and definitely still listen to extreme metal. It’s not a phase you grow out of; it’s something that sticks with you.

Did you expect the bands you grew up with to last this long, have the vast impact they had on music and amass huge cult followings?
Maybe not the huge cult followings. It’s kind of cool to see that with the internet and all these bigger festivals now in the US that an obscure cult band from Finland or wherever can come over here and play to massive crowds of people. People are always going to want some kind of aggressive release, now especially.

How much did death metal and grind fill the void left when thrash bands tried to be more commercial and faded away for a while?
I think that death metal and grindcore filled a void where people wanted to hear extremely heavy, ugly music as opposed to the more commercial thrash that was going on. There are always going to be people that share an affinity for the far extremes of anything, whether that be music or film or art. Commercial music is intended for the masses, extreme music is intended for the outsiders, the people that don't want anything to do with what the masses think, say, or do. It fills a void for the people that aren't satisfied with the status quo.

How much have the death metal and grindcore genres progressed and matured since the first bands began recording?
Like anything, it evolves and progresses as time moves on. I tend to like the old school death metal and grindcore bands because that is what I originally connected with. I can appreciate bands blending new things in but the kind that I like still has that old school foundation. That being said, there are bands obviously like Gorguts and Ulcerate who have taken things to a whole new level and are speaking in a whole new language. Bands like that interest me quite a bit.

What era of death metal and grindcore does Sun Descends Black capture in their songwriting?
I would say the late 80s, early to mid-90s-era death metal and grindcore bands are the ones we all share a predilection for as a band. Albums like the first Brutal Truth album, "Slumber of Sullen Eyes" by Demigod, the first few Napalm Death albums, "World Downfall" by Terrorizer, "None So Vile" by Cryptopsy, etc., etc. 

What is the local scene in Little Rock, Arkansas like and how much contact exists with scenes across the US and the world?
The Death Metal scene here is very small; next to non-existent. There are a couple of new bands that have cropped up here lately along with us, so we'll see where that goes. The metal scene here has historically leaned more towards the sludge side of things, with bands like Rwake and Deadbird being from the area. The sludge/doom scene has always been alive, but some of the other styles of metal come and go. There are stalwart Death Metal veterans Vore in Fayetteville (Northwestern Arkansas) that have been playing extreme metal since I was a kid first going to these shows. Part of the reason for starting this band was to build up some kind of death metal scene here, since not many others are currently doing it.

Are the other Little Rock death metal bands interested in building more of a scene? If Vore is well known across the US, would they work with you toward that goal?
Yeah, we know the guys in Vore. We are in the early stages of these bands coming back around here. We will be playing an all local death metal show next month with newer local bands Pantheon and The Weeping Gate. There is an audience here that is hungry for this type of music, so I think it will continue to grow. Sometimes it takes a few people to take that first step and a chain reaction starts. We'll see what happens; it’s a small town but I've seen some magic happen here.

Has doom and sludge been active in Little Rock as long as death metal? Are there black or goth metal bands circulating there?
Doom and Sludge has been one of the few vibrant metal scenes here. There has really only been a very small death metal scene here since the beginning and often times, none at all. It is a small town, so the genres are more mixed usually at shows. Ash of Cedars and Nightspake are a couple of black metal bands from here, but there are not really any active bands doing that style.

Is Little Rock home to indie labels or zines that help promote underground music, or do bands have to look elsewhere for exposure? How do local clubs and music papers regard the bands?
It’s a small town so the local clubs and music papers are generally friendly to the metal scene. It hasn't always been this way, but now more than ever we have support. The venues and music scenes are mostly run by people that all know each other, so there is a collective support for heavy music in general for sure. There are no labels or zines here at the moment, but maybe someone will pick up that torch if the scene can grow. Show attendance has its peaks and valleys like anywhere, but right now it’s mostly good.

Does Sun Descends Black get to do interviews with zines outside Arkansas? Name some of the zines that featured the band recently.
So far the only interview we've done has been for Decibel's website.

Tell the readers some more about this local death metal show next month, and where on the internet they can look it up?
It’s happening at Vino's Brew Pub in Little Rock Saturday November 9th. It will be The Weeping Gate, Pantheon, and Sun Descends Black. All newer death metal bands from the area. Pantheon has only played one show so far as have we. See or search Facebook events for details. We have known some of the members of The Weeping Gate and Pantheon for years, I'm sure we will play many shows together in the future. 

Your debut EP released last July has some dark elements, even atmosphere similar to Norwegian and Swedish black metal. Was this intended when you entered the studio?
The black metal elements I think just seeped their way in naturally. I also play in Ash of Cedars and Nightspake, which could've on some level influenced the darker, more black metal elements of the songwriting. I think the darker toned elements just come more naturally to me when writing. Ash of Cedars has an EP available from a while back, but the band is not very active. Nightspake is releasing a new album soon.

Where can people listen to the EP Ash of Cedars released some time ago? How many releases will Nightspake have out with the new album and will it be available on streaming sites?
The Ash of Cedars EP can be heard at Bandcamp. Nightspake has three releases that can also be heard at Bandcamp. There will be a new Nightspake album called "Death Knell" in the next few months.

How much distribution is your debut EP getting since its release? Do you distribute it independently or through distros?
So far it has been locally distributed, we self-released a small run of tapes and have only a handful left for upcoming live shows. Guttural Topics (a record label/zine based out of Florida) will be releasing the EP on a cassette re-release as well as a Digipack CD early next year. The label got in touch with Dave and it went from there. We can only hope for the best in any case.

Discuss the songs on the EP and who penned the lyrics. Where does the inspiration to write come from? As far as you know, do your listeners relate to your songs?
The lyrics were written by Wade our vocalist. He's a big horror movie buff and Dave is into war and apocalyptic themed stuff; that is what Wade draws from.

List the songs and explain what each of them are about? What horror movies did Wade base his lyrics on?
The songs are “Prelude to Extinction/Apocalyptic Design,” “Desolate Earth,” “Turning Point,” “Beginning of the End,” “Sculptures of Death,” “Wither” and “Graveworm.” I can't speak for Wade on the lyrics for each song, but they all involve themes of nuclear destruction and societal downfall. End of world scenarios and such. Some others are more horror based, exactly what movies I'm not sure.

Who will be doing the artwork for the re-release and digipak editions of your EP? Is the packaging going to be the same as the first release or different in any way?
Christophe Szpajdel did the logo artwork for us. We will likely use the same layout. Dave has known Christophe since the 90's death metal tape trading scene days, so he got in touch with Christophe and got the logo done. We have additional art that will be used in the future for a long sleeve shirt design that Christophe created. We will likely work with him again in the future, but may also try a different artist for the next release to keep things fresh.

Where outside Little Rock do you plan to play shows? Are there new projects you want your listeners to know about?
Our drummer Dave isn't in a position to tour so we are a bit limited on what we can do live. Mostly local and regional, but we are definitely open to one-off shows outside of the state. As far as projects, Dave's Death Metal band from the 90s, Shredded Corpse, will be having some of their music re-released early next year on Guttural Topics in the Digipack CD format. We will have these available at Sun Descends Black shows as well as our Bandcamp merch store when they are available. I also have a progressive sludge metal band here called Sumokem that I play bass and synth in. We will be releasing our new full length early next year as well. You can hear Sumokem at this Bandcamp link.

-Dave Wolff

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Full Length Review: ANCKORA Virus (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Band: Anckora
Location: Moscow
Country: Russia
Genre: Industrial/cyber metal
Full Length: Virus
Label: Independent
Format: CD
Release date: March 31, 2019
Similarly to The Kovenant, Spineshank, Deathstars and Illidiance, Anckora incorporates cyber, post-industrial and electronic themes into modern heavy metal. The penetrating future-oriented experience that emerges from this reflects the Golden Age of science fiction writing and the transitional period before the New Wave of science fiction writing. That period was crucial for the development of sci fi writing, as sci fi cinema of the last twenty years owes at least a partial debt to the imagination of Campbell and Bradbury. Cyber metal’s development beginning with The Kovenant in 1999 was likewise crucial as it branched underground metal out into new territory, creating more opportunities for bands to ride those waves. As Anckora retained some of the symphonic goth metal they started with in the late 2000s, they have potential to advance in this manner. From the first track to the last, their statement on “Virus” can be read of mankind as a virus infecting the earth, having built a consumer society with no thought beyond the immediate future. The new is obsessed over at the expense of the old, and the masses are unconcerned with what could happen in years to come. And they’re already part of the cold mechanized dystopia that Campbell and Bradbury hinted the world could become, and Anckora hint the world could become in their songwriting. The cover art comparing human DNA to the innards of a computer hints at the album’s prominent symbolism: war, life and death, media, human beings as cyborgs, and self-aware AI uncertain whether it’s a living being or a machine. The organic and electronic elements of “On the Edge,” “Alive,” “In The Fire,” “Steel Bird” and “Paris – City of the Dead” (a dedication to John Erick Dowdle’s 2014 movie “As Above, So Below”) represents this conflict, especially in the vocals which sound mechanized and mournful. It’s interesting to note that humanity is implied to prevail in the end with “The Voice of the Soul,” likely to remind the listener to retain their humanity. I wonder what James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger would think of this album. -Dave Wolff

Katrin Antares: Vocals
Jon Priest: Guitars
Andrey Lanchikov: Bass
Peps: Drums

Track list (Russian):
1. Вирус
2. На краю (Romantic Version)
3. Живой
4. В огне
5. Машина (Virus Mix)
6. Полночь (Virus Mix)
7. Стальная птица (Special Version)
8. Париж - город мёртвых
9. Голос души (Virus Mix)
10. После

Track list (English):
1. Virus
2. On the Edge (Romantic Version)
3. Alive
4. In the Fire
5. The Machine (Virus Mix)
6. Midnight (Virus Mix)
7. Steel Bird (Special Version)
8. Paris - City of the Dead
9. The Voice of the Soul (Virus Mix)
10. After

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

EP Review: FIRST DAYS OF HUMANITY Caves (Independent) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Country: USA
Genre: Goregrind
EP: Caves
Label: Clostridium Difficile Recordings
Format: Digital, streaming
Release date: February 3, 2019
While listening to First Days of Humanity, I am transported to a world where mammoths roam free, and Neanderthals bang their drums with the bones of sabretooth tigers. I can picture early humans sitting around a camp fire, fashioning arrow heads and making attempts to create the first grindcore/gorenoise abominations in existence.
With all that said, this is some seriously good stuff! This is pure homage to bands in the vein of Last Days of Humanity and Golem of Gore. The sound of this EP can be likened to ''In Advanced Haemorrhaging Conditions,'' a 2005 release put out by Last Days of Humanity. The splatter is strong with these guys, and fans of goregrind and gorenoise can expect a plethora of grunts and gurgles that can only be expected from the vile.
With snare-heavy blasts and vicious guitar backing the vocals, the music within this EP is put together very well, and I can say without a doubt that First Days of Humanity has gained at least one new fan. Please excuse me as I dig out my chisel, as I now need to etch this review into a cave wall, permanently showcasing this band for millions of years to come.
Awesome tunes! Grind or die! -Devin Joseph Meaney

Track list:
1. Fashioning Weapons out of Bone and Sinew
2. Depictions of Violence on the Cavern Wall
3. Feasting from the Mammoth's Skull
4. Poisoned During Attempts at Foraging
5. Fears of Being Attacked in Your Sleep

Monday, October 7, 2019

Poem: "too soon" by Jeremy Void

too soon 
Jeremy Void

I feel depleted.
I’m 28-years old stuck
sucking up the fumes
of a life deleted.
I thrived and I strived for
mayhem only it came to me
when I least expected it
and the beast surrendered its soul to me
eaten and beaten
I cut through and through to the core
of my own fukking problemssss….
my own demise is coming
I’m beside myself
I’m dying and I’m trying and
I’m deciding but I’m deranged
and you know how that goes
I aim for dementia.

The world was mine::::::
but I bit off its head,
and thus I died
when my time came too late
but now it’s in bed.
I slept with the reaper
the grimmest of grins moaning
outta pure unadulterated hate….
I lust for disaster, I desire a temper
tantrum. I live for madness,
only the madness
came too soon and too soon

I became a
disaster case.
That’s it I’m sold
to the highest bidder.

Poem: "Actaeon’s Hounds" by Alison Stone

Actaeon’s Hounds
Alison Stone

Fur, hooves, antlers didn’t fool us –
we knew his scent at once,
its undertones of arrogance
and wine. Years we chased
game for him in all weather,
paws bleeding from brambles, and not one
Good boy or scratch behind the ears.
If the prey escaped, he drove
his boot into our bellies, our soft snouts.
He never even gave us names.
When we smelled his fear, the wolf
inside us triumphed. His flesh
opened like a kennel door.

Poem: "Thrusting" by Sky Claudette Soto

Sky Claudette Soto

There is an iniquity of peace deeply surrounding mine heart ... deeply penetrating my equilibrium thrusting..thrusting.. within through temperate soul and in faith ,God..Goddess wherefore thou'st lay in wheaten ,freeing of grain
Freeing of wine ticking through oust time in a sullen joy wakened by and embodied through oust enlightenment thine taste upon mine sweetened mouth flyeths over my body draped in sacred seals ,seven days seven candles ,I a dendrophile of the woods
Sacred spirit, who has cometh forth
Unto thee presenting gifts of a euphorious heaven strewn into the flames of thine universe, I harvest my soul in this great time

Written by Sky Claudette Soto
Copyright 2019, First American Publishing Rights Only!!

Poem: "Exit Wound" by Tony Sokol

Exit Wound
Tony Sokol

So here we are in the land of good n plenty.
Just chock full of nuts
ready to throw stones at their steel and glass houses
and pass the blame to us.

We're a nation of crazed lone gunmen
looking to hit our mark.
Every 40 years or so we need a national trauma
just to keep us sharp.

But don't just take my word for it.
I just make it up and make it rhyme
the only thing that sets me apart is
I might throw in a suspended 9.

So give it up for our newly elected masters.
Give up your rights, the left, your cock and balls.
It's kind of comforting to know that when the bad guys win
It makes no difference at all.

Poem: "Departures" by S.C.C.


Why do some leave early?.
Because their mission is done? Because someone kills other?...
I'll never understand...
I'll never understand why do good ones go first into the afterlife...
I personally don't get why...
In my life I've met many beautiful people who were young and were "called home" as some say, angels without wings as some have called them...
It's just unfair... It saddens me to see them go and not being able to do much about it...
Like for Rosalie who never told me she had breast cancer and left one day after one last "normal" conversation with me...
I'll never understand...

Poem: "Sweet Liberty's Hell!" by Rich Orth

Sweet Liberty's Hell!
Rich Orth

Astonishing facade... masques truth
Oh, how it patronizes
Oh, how beauty disguises
Devises waves so soothing
'Fore inconsistency surrounds youth
...drowns you with lies

Syncopated sorrows
Pound upon once silent shores
Eroding all my morrows
Corroding simple thought

Suffocating tomorrows
Wherest I am alone
She...tempest in the teapot
Burgeoning systematic boil
Evaporates all likelihood
Of salvation... of kissin' blessed soil

Just once more....

So simple... the thought...

Consecrates deepest essence

In irrelevant irrelevancies

Smiling inconsistencies

Shun mirrors reflection

Deny sanctities inflection...

Conviction...guilty I plead

Sentence ended in exclamation

Proclamation.... Farewell to arms

To charms of Sweet Liberty's hell...

Of her coinage given to Charon

Desperation caused me felled

Conclusion... simply foregone

Poem: "Eye To Eye" by Natasa Nikolic

Eye To Eye
Natasa Nikolic

I try to run, without a chance
Yesterday's ache still in my knees
All of my thoughts are in a heap
Luck, will you come back to me?

I look away, but he stares...
All eyes look this way and they stare...
The thousand-eye beast
Lingering seconds

The pen is open, feathers fly
With commotion, beaks to the sky
Soulless whispers drowning past....
All is white and shadows never last

Is everything turned grey,
Silver-coloured skin and scale
Nose turned up and I fly
Powderman is calling now