Friday, May 24, 2019

Track Review: 6HOST WITHASIX "Forgive Me" (Independent) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Artist: 6HOST WITHASIX
Location: Cape Breton Island
Country: Canada
Genre: Hip hop
Track: Forgive Me
Label: Independent
Release date: May 23, 2019
I have not mentioned 6host WithaSix on this site in quite a while, but with this newly released track, I figured that now is a good time to bring him to light once again. As he always was, 6host is a talented young hip-hop artist from Cape Breton Island, and his tracks without question have the ability to make you bob your head in a rhythmic motion to his clearly talent-filled and genuinely unique music. While this track is not my all time favorite of his songs (my favorites are still ''Born For The Art'', ''Drugs For You'' and ''You Can't Go Back..'') the message held within seems to be sincere and heartfelt. I too have dealt with the pain of depression in the past and I can for sure relate to the turmoil that it causes. As always, I am very happy to hear new music from 6host, and as always, I look forward to hearing more from 6host in the future. If everyone on this island (Cape Breton) had as much talent as this young man, nobody would be looking for work because we all would be living off of our forever escalating record sales. I hope to hear a new full-length album (or even an EP?) come from 6host within the near future, and I can guarantee him at least one sale... my copy. In closing, I will say one thing. We have all sinned, and we all have a chance (if not multiple) to be forgiven. Great job, 6host! Much love from one of your biggest fans. -Devin Joseph Meaney

Serialization: "The Arcane Warrior’s Apprentice" by Roberta Downing: Chapter Six

The Arcane Warrior’s Apprentice
Novel by Roberta Downing
Cover artwork designed by Jerry Langdon


Chapter Six

It was two days before the master and his apprentice were to leave Draconos and three days before the circus. There was another visiting arcane dignitary staying at the compound and Bell had to change rooms. It was not to her liking. It was too warm- not hot just warm.
The little miss went down for breakfast. She sat at the table but did not eat. This really wasn’t out of the ordinary for a child to not eat but it was strange behavior since she did not eat dinner the night before. She excused herself and went to her room.
She got back into bed and pulled the covers up over her head. The room was warm and the covers made it seem almost unbearable for her. About an hour later, her master comes into her room because she failed to show up for combat practice. As soon as she heard the knock she folded the blankets down to her chest to expose her head.
“Bell, I’m only going to say this once. Get up, get dressed and get yourself down to the practice area. Now.” He commanded. She moaned and rolled over.
Her eyes were closed but she could hear him walking across the floor. He placed his hand on her to lightly shake her. She moaned again. RavenDance was concerned. He felt something wasn’t right. He placed the back of his hand gently across her forehead. It was warm. He thought to himself that she has a fever.
“Bell? Are you feeling alright?” he asked. She just moaned. He left the room. She covered her head with the blankets and fell asleep.
She didn’t really feel bad but she didn’t really feel good either. The room was too warm for her and now the blankets made it worse.
A while later the arcane priest and her master came back in. The priest uncovered her head and checked for a fever. It appeared that the little miss may indeed have a fever.
The priest spoke. “There have been reported cases of this throughout the city Arcane Warrior. I’m afraid she may have contracted this disease while at the imperial feast. I will do what I can for her but you must know, that in most cases, this disease proves to be…have you the address of her next of kin?”
“Is there nothing we can do?” RavenDance asked.
“Other than praying?” he shrugged his shoulders. “There is a tea that has been rumored to help. Do you want me to prepare the tea for her?”
“How long does she have?”
“Oh I would estimate the disease is well into its course now. This disease is wretched. I would say if she doesn’t have the tea now then you may be writing her parents to inform them their little girl has passed away within a day. Shall we at least try the tea?”
RavenDance sighed. “Yes. Yes, of course. Bring her the tea right away.”
With that both of them left her room. Bell was scared and thinking she was going to die and she was mad because if this disease kills her it will have robbed her of her chance to kill that demon that keeps haunting her.
The priest and RavenDance come back into the room. RavenDance lifts the little girl’s head up and he sits behind her holding her up.
“Apprentice Bell, please drink this tea. It will help you get well. I am sorry it will taste quite horrible but it will keep you from succumbing death.” The priest said.
RavenDance held the cup of tea in his hand and pulled it close to her mouth.
“It’s best to drink it all at one time Apprentice” the priest stated.
Bell plugged her nose and drank the whole cup down at one time. Oh by Arcanos it was most nasty. She was gagging. The priest left a bucket by her bed. RavenDance stayed with her.
The tea caused her to become violently nauseated and she was now holding the bucket in her lap as her head hung over it. This lasted all night.
By morning the retching had stopped and she went down for breakfast. She was starving so much so that she had two heaving helpings.
“Master, can we stay for the circus? Pretty please?” She asked.
“We might as well. We must make sure you have your strength back to continue on after that because we have to make up for lost time. In the future, least you wish to become violently ill again, don’t come down with a case of circitis.”
Everyone at the table except for her laughed. She felt embarrassed and a little mad but this is exactly like a trick that Clef would have pulled on her. Remembering that, she laughed too.
They arrive at the circus. There are games to play with weird prizes. The big top was not colorful at all. What kind of circus master uses dark red and grey she wondered. They enter the big tent and take a seat. RavenDance was acting strange. He was jittery. Bell thought him to be excited or perhaps nervous.
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls may I present Darklyn’s Circus Macabre. Where you’ll be dying to leave! I give to you our circus master, Darklyn” said a tall man with alabaster skin.
Bell found this to be a most interesting circus. She recognized the man who announced the circus master as a real vampire. There were knife throwing acts and tight wire acts. Some of the actors were losing limbs and one lost a head. RavenDance was tapping on the hilt of his sword.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
He replied, “I don’t like the undead. They too are our enemies at times.” She didn’t care; she was having a great time.
“And now ladies and gents, we need a participant from the audience to help us out with this next act. To make this fair, we have taken all the occupied seat numbers and put them into this glass jar” said the vampire. “Now our not so honorable ring master will pull one number out of the jar.”
The circus master or ring master as he was sometimes called was a jester who seemed to prefer dark red and grey rather than the traditional bright colors. His jester hat was most interested and disturbing at the same time. His hat was adorned with tiny skull bells that would jingle when his head moved. His face and hands was skull like so either he was an undead too or he had someone who did a great make up job on him. Darklyn was holding a shovel that had a carving of a skeletal elephant in his hand.
The ring master dipped his bony fingers into the jar and pulled out a piece of paper. He said “Would the person sitting in chair ninety six please come on down and join me. Again, chair ninety six.”
Bell Singer just happened to be sitting in that seat. She jumped up and went down into the middle of the ring. She stood beside the macabre jester.
She could hear him in her head. He said “Hello Ding-La!” With her mouth a gape she turned her head with a questioning look on her face. “Oh don’t worry Ding-La! I can find you anywhere! Hahahahaha!”
“Well who is our willing victim, I mean participant?” he asked.
“Arcane Warrior Apprentice Bell Singer” she replied.
“Well young apprentice, how about you help us with some juggling. You can juggle can you not? You are a Singer after all!”
“Um. Yeah I can a little.”
As she stood next to the macabre jester one of the crowns surrounding her belly button began to itch.
“Great! This is Zane the Zombie. Zane meet Apprentice Bell.” He said that in such a way as to imply to the zombie that she was food. The audience laughed.
They begin to juggle and pass the colored balls back and forth. Zane’s left hand falls off. The audience laughs. Zane eventually loses his right arm and Bell wins the so called contest. As a prize, Darklyn hands her a shadowy scale.
“Use this only if you are really in serious trouble. I’ll come help you.” He whispered in her head. She returned to her seat and put the small scale in her money sack.
Poor RavenDance wanted to leave this dreadful place as soon as he could however his apprentice would not have that. He was forced to leave the big top with her to go play games for prizes.
Bell knocked down all the bottles in the bowling game and won a beautiful ornate miniature casket with directions on the bottom. The directions say “Only open at night and in a closed room. Do not have open windows or doors. Not responsible for contents after opening.” RavenDance took that from her placing it in his pouch for what he deemed as safe keeping. Bell finally announced she was tired and wanted to go back to the compound.
“Don’t ever make me endure such a spectacle again, young Bell. I will not have the restraint I showed tonight. Understand?” He said.

Monday, May 20, 2019

EP Review: PREGNANCY "Demo 2013" (Independent) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Band: PREGNANCY
Location: Melbourne
Country: Australia
Genre: Goregrind
EP: Demo 2013
Label: Independent
Format: 100 copies limited edition CD-R (sold out), streaming
Release date: January 3rd, 2014 (re-released on vinyl by Nerve Altar and Grindfather Productions August 2017)
Once again my window is splattered with depressing rain, so I have been spending a bit of time scrolling through Youtube for new tunes. During this search, I happened to come upon this EP, the debut release from the Australian goregrind band Pregnancy. From what I read on their Youtube bio, Pregnancy is a gore outfit including members of Internal Rot, Doubled Over, Roskopp, Contaminated and a handful of other bands. I am a fan of Roskopp, so I can for sure anticipate that this is going to be good. I hit the play button, and a wave of vicious grindage shattered my eardrums like a tsunami of splattery awesomeness. Dismal pitched gargling gutturals adorn this release, set alongside with brutal drum blasts and guitars tuned so low that it is hard to decipher what notes are being played. I let the EP play through a total of three times, and I was far from unimpressed. These guys rule! Something that is worth mentioning is that the production quality on this release is great. I listen to a ton of grind and gore, and anyone who is involved with these genres knows that lo-fi is the norm within this scene. Still, it is nice to hear grind with high quality production. Another thing worth mentioning is that the cover art is severely creepy, and is able to stand with the art put out by the greats. Clocking in at around ten and a half minutes, this EP is only short, but it is without question highly enjoyable and put together very well. I highly suggest that fans of this style of music give these guys a listen. Grindcore is love... but goregrind is life! -Devin Joseph Meaney

Lineup:
Aaron: Bass, vocals
Darcy: Guitars, vocals
Christoph: Drums

Track list:
1. Hypodermic Rabies Vessel
2. Lactating Noxious Chunks
3. A Backing-Up of the Bowels
4. Gestated in the Colon
5. Ocean of Piss

Video Review: MELANIE MAU & MARTIN SCHNELLA "A Touch Of Evil" (Progressive Promotion Records) by Dave Wolff

Artist: MELANIE MAU & MARTIN SCHNELLA
Location: Osterode am Harz, Niedersachsen
Country: Germany
Genre: Acoustic
Video: A Touch Of Evil (Judas Priest cover)
Label: Progressive Promotion Records
Release date: March 1, 2017
While surfing Youtube for another Judas Priest cover I had listened to previously, I came across this one, became curious and decided to give it a chance. Just to see how it sounded. As it turned out this was smart, as I was unprepared for a well-executed treatment of Judas Priest’s “A Touch Of Evil”. If you know the version from Painkiller, you should know the cover is far removed from it, almost to the point where it’s a different song. If you like metal and Celtic music in the vein of Loreena McKenniitt, this is essential listening from musicians who deserve a lot of recognition. Martin Schnella, one of the artists who arranged the cover, runs a Youtube channel where he and his cohorts cover songs by Iron Maiden, In Flames, Nightwish, Blind Guardian and others. His other projects Flaming Row and Moon Safari have videos there, but they are years old so I am not sure if those projects are still active. In 2002 Zwan did an acoustic cover of Iron Maiden’s “The Number Of The Beast” for the 2002 movie Spun. I mention this because both covers are acoustic pieces that completely reinterpret the originals and both gave me a similar feeling. But while Zwan’s Iron Maiden cover is a straightforward acoustic piece, Schnella’s Priest cover is deep and multi layered. It’s done not just with acoustic guitar and vocals but a full ensemble. The re-arrangement of the song with percussion, violin and traditional instruments is a testament to how seriously everyone involved took infusing the cover with their vision and the respect they showed for the original. Melanie Mau lends vocals with an insinuating feel that radically alters the mood, often singing with different notes than Rob Halford’s. The depth added by the variety in instruments is breathtaking. Acoustic guitars handle the synthesizer sections of the original song; bass lines are added for harmony; energy builds, wanes and builds again; vocals overlap; there’s interplay between the guitars, vocals and the other instruments. It’s simply a brilliant reimagining of a JP song that you can’t help becoming immersed in. Listening to this made me want to hear some of the other songs at Schnella’s Youtube profile. -Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Melanie Mau: lead vocals
Martin Schnella: Acoustic guitars, vocals & percussion
Niklas Kahl: Cajon & percussion
Lars Lehmann: Bass guitar
Jens Kommnick: Cello, uilleann pipes & whistle
Eric Brenton: Violin

Split Full Length Review: CEPHEIDE/TIME LURKER "Lucide" (Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions) by Kelly Tee

Band: CEPHEIDE
Country: France
Genre: Atmospheric black metal
Country: France
Genre: Atmospheric black metal
Split Full Length: Lucide
Label: Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions (France)
Format: CD, digipak, streaming
Release date: May 3, 2019
When a dark and unnerving sound amalgamates with a sound full of mystery and intrigue; a 3 track Split is created, and is one of impressive proportions.
Time Lurker, a French atmospheric black metal solo artist joins forces with the French enigmatic duo, Cephiede to create a disturbing metal experience which has been clearly designed to captivate the listener for the entire 33 minutes. This type of metal will hurl you deep into a place, which is void of light, saturated with insanity and fueled by torture.
The first track from The Lurker, "No One Is Real" offers a slow burn intro throwing a false sense of security toward the listener. All securities are soon removed, when this track spirals into spasms of heavy and confronting melodic heavy riffs, frantic blast beats and double kick percussion on a canvas of agonized and tormented screams, creating an extremely haunting vibe, one which seems to propel an unsettling warning toward caution. As the track tempo increases, so too do the impressive and ambitious ambiance. The terrorized faded screams, which are relentless on this darkened number enhance this moody black metal track superbly. Prepare for a trance-like state within this solid music composition.
"Unstable Night" is very appropriately titled and is a portentous and menacing track right from the start and holds right through to its completion. Think vicious blast beats on steroids and brooding guitars as The Lurker hits the lows vocally to beastly levels, delivering a pitch-black experience. The black metal shrieking and yells that are within this track are inexorable, frightening and beautiful all in one. A track fired by insanity and things that go bump in the night “Unstable Night” is special listen and will evoke a feeling of uncertainty.
Lucide is the one and the only track on the Split by Cephiede, however, make no mistake, the duo have filled this 19-minute black journey with all their mystery, atmospheric beauty and heaviness to a point of pure black metal satisfaction. As to be expected in a 19-minute song from a band such a Cephiede they create a sense of euphoria and story. Lucide is riddled with guitars creating sounds of a very ominous and gloomy nature, which is malice at times and intended to knot the stomach. This track is chaos and contempt, meets beauty and ambiance with a fantastic heaviness, creating an epic track with a big mood.
Overall this Split was enjoyable, dark and extravagant in sound and you will somehow find splendour among the echoes of trapped souls, distressed minds and torture.
A Split to close your eyes, listen intently to, and escape! Once you are there, you may or may not want to return. -Kelly Tee

Lineup:

CEPHEIDE
Gaetan: Vocals, guitars, drums
François Saint Voirin: Lead guitars, bass

TIME LURKER
Mick: All instruments

Track list:
1. Time Lurker: No One Is Real
2. Time Lurker: Unstable Night
3. Cepheide: Lucide

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Demo Review: STYGIAN SKY "Stygian Sky" (Independent) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Location: Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Country: Canada
Genre: Death/thrash/progressive metal
Label: Independent
Format: Digital, streaming
Release date: November 1, 2008
Recently I was privileged enough to catch heavy metal legends Anvil live in concert. Along with Anvil, the band Stygian Sky was the opening act for the night. Both bands were absolutely phenomenal live, and after the concert, I spent some time listening to releases from both acts. Anvil is an amazing band, but Stygian Sky is much closer to my personal taste in music, so I have decided to give their 2008 demo a review. This demo includes four vicious tracks. The songs held within are titled ''Here I Stand'', ''Over My Dead Body'', ''Such Prominent Endeavors'', and ''Tides of Consciousness''. Pulverizing vocals and heart-stopping bass meshes with pummeling drums and heavy yet very intricate guitar work. One thing that deserves a mention is that this demo reminds me of early releases from the well-known death metal band Death. These guys are a local band from my island (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia) but they push forward with an onslaught of metal fury that could stand along with any of the better known acts from Canada... or the rest of the world. I sat back for a bit and tried to decide what my favorite track on this demo is, but I honestly cannot pick one. Each track is ''more than awesome'' and is for sure worthy of a listen! Just like their live performances, this demo makes me proud to be a Cape Bretoner and I suggest that anyone and everyone far and wide checks this demo out for themselves. Brutally heavy and as tight as thieves, this demo is without question one of the best metal releases put out within the cape. Totally sick! 10/10 -Devin Joseph Meaney

Lineup:
Cliff Gouthro: Vocals
Jason Burke: Guitar
Colin Capstick: Guitar
Dave Grant: Bass
Craig Joyce: Drums

Track list:
1. Here I Stand
2. Over My Dead Body
3. Such Prominent Endeavors
4. Tides of Consciousness

Ed. note: Stygian Sky’s latest single “Dreaming The State Of Reality” was released December 21, 2018. -DW


Saturday, May 18, 2019

EP Review: HEINOUS "Exoneration Thru Exhumation" (Independent) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Band: HEINOUS
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Country: USA
Genre: Goregrind
Label: Independent
Release date: May 22, 2017
Rain is pelting against my window and I am just finishing up listening to ''Exoneration Thru Exhumation'' by HEINOUS. I have always enjoyed this band, and from what I can hear, this EP pushes forward with as much violent fervor as their other releases. The guitar work and bass is on point, the drums pound along with vicious blasts and rolls, and the deep pitched gutturals are just as chaotic and unruly as ever. The audio samples of serial killer/hitman Richard Kuklinski add a certain eeriness to the tracks, and I can for sure acknowledge that these guys deserve a place in the annals of goregrind history. I will also mention that the artwork for this EP is genuinely creepy, and the artist without question has a talent for the style of art portrayed. This release was recorded March 2017 at Master's Chambers by Jeff Owens, and can be found (along with other merch) at www.disrocker.com. While writing this review, I am now on my third play through. HEINOUS is a great band and anyone interested in grind and gore should for sure give these guys a listen. The audio assault that commences once you hit play on the first track rides through the entire EP, giving the listener a sincere taste of forceful underground medicine. Great stuff, guys! -Devin Joseph Meaney

Lineup:
Andrew F: Bass, vocals
Cody P: Guitar
Wex: Drums

Track list:
1. Bile
2. Meathook
3. Bludgeoned
4. Rot
5. Guillotine

Friday, May 17, 2019

EP Review: HANDS OF GOD Blueprint For Self Destruction (Flatspot Records) by Sarah McKellar

Location: San Jose, California
Country of origin: USA
Genre: Hardcore, metalcore
Label: Flatspot Records
Release date: May 6, 2019
Hands Of God is a Californian based hard-core band based in San Jose, California- established in “Blueprint” is the opening track to “Blueprint for Self Destruction” has a slightly chaotic, dystopian feel to it, appropriately setting the tone for the oncoming aggressive onslaught. “No Mercy” introduces the listener to the high energy and hard-thrashing sound of Hands of God while still remaining slightly melodic and losing none of the customary aggressive tone. “Sacrifice” is a chunkier, riff- heavy, thrash inducing track, adding another layer to the onslaught. While not as melodic, there are technical aspects are to be appreciated. “254A” has some of the dystopian feeling from “Blueprint” but is much more aggressive and continues to progressively display more intensity. “Ethnic Decay” displays more of a distortion and riff heavy approach- displaying more of Hands of God aggression and sheer energy. “W.M.D” concludes “Blueprint for Self Destruction” with an intense, melodic yet technical finish. I genuinely look forward to hearing more of Hands of God- their technical hardcore approach and sheer energy and aggression ensure a brutal release in “Blueprint for Self Destruction”. -Sarah McKellar

Track list:
1. Blueprint
2. No Mercy
3. Sacrifice
4. 245A
5. Ethnic Decay
6. W.M.D.

Full length review: BIG|BRAVE A Gaze Amongst Them (Southern Lord) by Sarah McKellar

Band: BIG|BRAVE
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Country: Canada
Genre: Experimental rock
Full Length: A Gaze Amongst Them
Label: Southern Lord
Release date: May 10, 2019
Big|Brave is a three piece experimental rock band located in Montreal, Quebec, established in 2012. Avant-garde with post- doom and sludge elements, “A Gaze Amongst Them” is their fourth full-length release. Combining distinctive and strong clean vocals with dreamy and slightly depressive experimental rock- “Muted Shifting of Space” starts this release off with an ear-catching sound. “Holding Pattern” continues along this experimental rock feel with a more pared back and emotive approach, while still remaining melodic and mysterious with a slight trance element. “Body Individual” extends more into avant-garde experimental rock with heavy use of synthesizers adding to the mournful feel to this slightly chaotic track. A melodic, mournful and highly experimental track in “This Deafening Verity” combines synthesizers with the distinctive strong vocals that are a hallmark of Big|Brave. Concluding this release, “Sibling” has a post-sludge doom feel to it, providing an ominous and heavy end to “A Gaze Amongst Them”. Experimental, emotive and avant-garde- I genuinely look forward to hearing more of Big|Brave. -Sarah McKellar

Lineup:
Robin Wattie: vocals, electric guitar, amplifiers.
Mathieu Ball: electric guitar, amplifiers.
Loel Campbell: drums
With:
Thierry Amar: contrabass
Seth Mancheter: synthesizer

Track list:
1. Muted Shifting Of Space
2. Holding Pattern
3. Body Individual
4. This Deafening Verity
5. Sibling

EP review: 30XX "PRISS" (Independent) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Band: 30XX
Country of origin: Japan
Genre: Cyberpunk, electronic goregrind
EP: PRISS
Label: Independent
Release date: June 12, 2017
It is just after ten at night and I am finally getting around to doing a review for PRISS by 30XX. This is some severely obscure tuneage, but I can honestly say it is highly enjoyable to listen to. I can for sure hear a very strong gore/noise influence, but I can also hear what seems to be some form of electro or minimalist E.D.M. From the first to second track the music switches from splattery goodness to something that you might hear at a rave. The only way I can explain the first portion of this release is if C.S.S.O, Gore Beyond Necropsy and Last Days Of Humanity had a baby. The fetus birthed by this ménage à trois would represent how the first track ''NO FUTURE'' sounds to me. The second track ''2033'' is harder to explain, as I don't listen to this particular style of music often. Still, it was quite interesting and entertaining none the less. I have always enjoyed a good anime so the cover art for this is visually pleasing to me. This is apparently the very last 30XX release (this is the first time I have heard of them) and a discography release is apparently on the way soon. I will for sure have to check this out, as this style has me very intrigued. In closing, I will say that this release may not be for everyone, but for fans of music that is ''out there'', I suggest you give this a listen. The EP is short, so if you don't like it the horror will be over soon. -Devin Joseph Meaney

Lineup:
Goreman X - Cybernetic Aural Mutations
ベヘズト в е н е ѕ т Gχ - Biotech Abomination Engineering
N.0N// - Pulverizing Chaotic Forcewave

Track list:
1. NO FUTURE
2. 2033