Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Poet Interview: CORALIE ROWE

Interview with CORALIE ROWE

What inspired you to personify the darker sides of humanity into your poems, and what inspires the darkness in your verse?

I really don't know why I choose to write along the darker side of the imagination. I find the lyrical sense of the dark descriptive words to be enticing, they have such a great sounding flow to them, little small rhythmical nuances all of their own. I do believe that in itself is high on the list for the way I write. I also like my poetry to give the reader a sense of scenery and a storyline to follow… even if it is a completely bizarre twisted story and a bit scary. I admit I don't necessarily see the depth of darkness that some people have told me I am writing. I am creating poetry that is dark, yes, but to me they are words just telling a rhythmical story. I also dabble in other genres of poetry including children's, nature, emotions, really whatever comes to me in the moment. Though I do tend towards the darker verse.

Were there poets you read when younger whose work leaned toward darkness? Did reading their work make you want to do something similar?

Not really… I sadly will admit that I am not well read on classic dark poets or really any poetry bar childhood nursery rhymes and Dr. Seuss. It wasn't really something that was taught when I was in high school. I really have very little literary knowledge of poetry (now I feel like an imposter)… so I've thought about it and I would have to say my "poets" were more listened to than read. I would say my influences were brought about more by musicians.

How deeply do your readers perceive the dark themes you express through your writing? Are you generally surprised to hear about the depth they see in your work?

I have received some comments on a few poems I have posted on Facebook, majority of it is good but I do get the occasional reader that I guess takes it a bit too seriously and then asks why I would write a poem where some guys eyes pop out of his head… I write what comes to me… I honestly don't sit down and think hmmmm I might just write a poem about crushing a guy's skull, my writing process doesn't work that way, it's just what my imagination reveals to me as I write. The way the words work. I have learnt that people will read what they want, into anything, not just dark verse. What I intend for the words to say, others will read differently. Every person has their own interpretation, each has their own reality. I used to be surprised by certain comments, but they were generally the encouraging ones.

How important is creating scenery in your poems. In what ways does doing so enhance the stories you capture on paper and make your verses more enticing?

I enjoy creating a sense of the surroundings, I feel (well, I hope) that it makes it easier to visualize in the reader's mind what is occurring or about to. I don't want to write something and portray some guy just standing in a boring graveyard. I like to visualize it, how the trees would be swaying, and the effect of the shadows that are being cast on tombstones by filtered moonlight, the strange surrounding noises from the dark that send shivers up your spine. I like to believe it makes my verse more enticing to the reader by allowing themselves to immerse themselves fully in the scene I'm setting, to be able to sense that chill fickle breeze playfully teasing across their skin, while they are standing in the middle of a dark and foreboding place. Some of my poetry is quite basic especially the earlier stuff I wrote, though I do feel I have grown more elaborate with my poetic style over the past eighteen months that I have been writing.

As you are not influenced by any specific poet, do you feel your writing is something more original?

I really don't think I'm qualified to answer that question… I hope what I write, and the way that I write is different. Going by the other poetry that I have seen on Facebook since I started posting my own rambles, I can see that I have my own style but how original it exactly is… is kind of a moot question for me, as I am the person creating it, you would have to ask other people if they find it original… I will say that there are a lot of fantastic writers I have read on social media, since starting to write my own poetry, and all have their own unique style. I have always just tried to be true to the way I want to write, to pen it how I want to read it. And if others enjoy it as well … that's an added bonus.

How have musicians influenced you, and what are the reasons bands are more inspirational to you than poets?

I guess by growing up listening to what I consider to be a lot of great bands and musicians… there is poetry in lyrics, just as poetry can be quite lyrical in its own right. Musicians such as Janis Joplin, The Doors, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Guns N Roses, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and many more have all the rhymes and nuances that poetry can have, though it is set to some cool music. Listening to all these different artists, the music, the words, the different styles and meanings of the lyrics… how could it not be inspirational.

I can see how those bands inspired you, especially The Doors, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. But they all had lyrics that were thought provoking and encouraged your imagination. Jim Morrison always wanted to be known as a poet more than a singer. Does any line written by him and the other bands you mention prove particularly inspirational?

Are you saying my poetry isn't thought provoking or encouraging to the imagination? Hahaha. Maybe it isn't, unless you want bad dreams. I don't feel that it is any particular line of lyrics, more so the whole effect of certain songs, like Riders On The Storm. The lyrics are dark, but it is the combination of his words with the rainstorm effects collaborated into the actual song that brings it to a whole different level. The combination of elements is what speaks to me, the passion that they have/had for their work. The depth of what can be portrayed through all the different sounds. I know poetry is more limited in that aspect but I try to make my poems sound as rhythmical as I can.

Was Riders On The Storm the first song that you found more visual? Did you discover others that had the same effect on you

Yes and no, I'm sure there were plenty of others. Just that particular song was the easiest to pick to explain my thoughts on the different conceptual ideas in music and how they can be used. One other song that always stood out to me is Metallica's "One". Such a brilliant way to show the atrocities and heartache of war, and what is left after the fact. They depict it so well, not just with their lyrics but all the elements that they use in that song.

One was also a landmark video, as it was released in a time when most bands were filming “titties and beer” videos. Metallica added a touch of reality to metal videos and it has remained influential to this day. How did the video speak to you?

The video is mesmerizing, I was about fourteen when I first saw it and it really touched me. What they portray is an extreme end result for some poor young soldier… but it made me wonder how many soldiers actually ended up in similar (though not quite as extreme) situations. Not only being burdened with physical injuries, but also the sense of being trapped mentally. It is a brilliant song and powerful video.

Who are the writers whose work you have read on social media, and what speaks to you about them?

There are so many writers on social media, when I first started posting my own words I used to read a lot of different poetry (but there is sooo much). Some are amazing, a lot are mediocre. But I don't think it is my place to judge what other's write, poetry is a form of expression. Yes, some are more eloquent in the use of their words, but even the most badly worded poetry means something, even if it is only to the person who wrote it. I guess because of my own style I prefer rhyming verse, more so than prose, and the writes that I like show some of the writer's soul in them.

Whose poems specifically stood out to you when you began posting your work on social media? On which social media sites do you read the most engaging poems?

Three guys really stood out to me… DS Scott and his page 'Sulphur & Silk', Chris Hewitt, and his page 'Chris's Delusions' and last but definitely not least… Lemmy Rushmore. Their writing styles were well versed with not too bad of a meter… though Lemmy is fantastic with rhyme and meter, DS has some nicely twisted writes and Chris does a range of dark and thoughtful poetry. As for the media sites… there are just so many, and a lot of the other writers on Facebook especially tend to post to multiple groups, so you get to see a wide range of poetry (some engaging… some not so much) on any site you go into.

Did you feel inspired to contact DS Scott, Chris Hewitt and Lemmy Rushmore after reading their work?

I honestly didn't hold myself in any comparison to their writing and I'm not the sort of person to approach people. We were all in similar poetry groups on Facebook and would comment and like each other's poems, after a few months they contacted me.

Would you say movies are influential to you as well as musicians, horror, gore, slasher or otherwise?

I'm actually not a huge fan of horror movies, yes I have watched a few and some are okay, others are just a bit too far-fetched for me. I don't mind the blood and gore parts so much, but it needs to have a decent storyline itself otherwise I lose interest.

Name some of the horror movies with storylines that have kept you interested? When you watch horror movies, what do you look for in a storyline?

I don't watch many but a couple that come to mind that I have watched recently, are… Last House On The Left, the storyline itself was a bit brutal but realistic, loved the ending of that one, so funny. And the other is Rose Red… I love the house, and I find the existence of ghosts to be more believable (but not so much a house consuming them), I like Rose Red for the visual aspect of the home as much as anything else. I love old decrepit houses, they seem to have their own tales to tell. If I watch horror movies I prefer if the storyline has some sort of realism to it, not just a chop and kill theme.

What do you remember most vividly from the house in Rose Red? Are there houses in similar movies that made an impression on you?

The presence… I know atmosphere in movies is created by special effects, music and the rest, but certain homes, buildings have a presence. I was once able to walk through an old mental hospital that was to be demolished, (my partner's job) No, I didn't see any ghosts, but I certainly wasn't comfortable… some of the rooms, those ones with bolts on the heavy doors, the walls with only a tiny slit of a window set high above anyone's reach, they seemed to emanate a very angry presence. Also in what I guess would have been considered the common room, there was an atmosphere of sadness. Even though it had very large windows and was quite sunny, it was cold.

Can you quote some of the more memorable feedback your poems have received from your readers
?
The most memorable are for the wrong reasons… once I was accused of plagiarism in a poetry group on Facebook. I had worked extremely hard on this one particular poem inspired by the most magnificent picture I had seen, I emailed and sent messages to contact the artist to ask permission to use his picture to accompany my poem and waited weeks for a response and was extremely happy when he agreed I could use it. Then this guy reposted my poem saying it wasn't mine that he had already seen the same post before by another. After a lot of drama and conversation he admitted that he was wrong and apologized, that was definitely a learning experience. I had only been writing for maybe four months when that occurred.
The other, a lady told me that she hated to "burst my bubble" but was appalled at the bad grammar I had used in my poem and that as an English speaking writer I should know better (but put much less politely than that)… I thanked her for her comment and then informed her that there was no "bubble to burst" as I don't consider myself to be a professional writer. I write what I feel, whether it is grammatically correct or not… She actually inspired a poem, not that she knows that… and it was truly grammatically incorrect.

Who was the artist whose picture you based your poem on? Was you correspondence with him just one-off or are you still in touch with him?

Igor Zenin is the artist, and the picture I requested to be allowed to use is called "Dancing Trees”. The correspondence was with his sister and only once off. I have recently seen some new art by him as I still follow him via Facebook, his work is so beautiful and unique.

In what ways are Igor Zenin’s pictures unique alongside others who work in his field? Does he have any pieces you would particularly want to describe?

I personally just like his work. It's beautiful photography sometimes with a twist. My favourite picture of his is the one I wrote the poem for, you can see bare trees in the background shadowing through hazy muted sunlight and in the foreground you can see silhouettes of women in dance, the bodies of the women are the trunks of the trees which continue to grow out of their heads, they have branches for arms yet the rest of their silhouette, the legs and torso are completely feminine.

Quote a few lines from your poem based on Dancing Trees and explain how they fit the imagery in the graphic?

Igor Zenin’s picture is called "Dancing Trees", the poem I wrote is titled "Do Trees Dance?"

These are the 4th and 5th stanzas…

Long elegant limbs
Now empty and bare,
Still sway with the winds
With unabashed care

When a playful breeze blows
They move and they sigh,
Is this because they can't
Dance under watchful eye

In a way I'm just trying to capture an essence of what I see in the picture… the silhouettes are the trees caught in their pose, their arms as limbs with the bare remnants of leaves scattered on them. The female form of the dancers is the main part of the tree, with their legs and feet captured in a moment of dance as well. In the picture to me it looks as if they are almost playing musical statues and someone stopped the music so they are then frozen in time, yet you can still sense their desire to sway and dance.

Was your collaboration with Igor Zenin the only one you worked on, or were there others you were involved in?

That was the only time I have written to one of Igor's pictures. I was so inspired by it I just wrote what I felt, but as I had only been writing a couple months I honestly never believed that he would agree for me to use his picture with my poem. So I was and am extremely grateful that he allowed me to do so. I have noticed he has a new line of pictures out, which are fantastic. I need to go and look closer at them though to see if any inspiration comes to me.

Where can Zenin’s new photos be viewed on the web? So far have you found anything you could base some verses on?

He is on Facebook, but you may also view his work and the products he sells them on via Redbubble. I have seen many that have caught my attention. I really do love the pictures of the trees that he takes. I like the stark contrasts that he manages to capture, how the darkened wood is twisted and gnarled, creating unusual shapes within themselves, set against different backgrounds of sunsets, water, and snow. There are many pictures of his that I would like to try to write to, but I don't like to force my inspiration. I take it as it comes to me.

How visual and descriptive were your earliest poems when you made your first attempts to write?

I feel my earlier poems were still descriptive, just in a different way. A more simplified way. My vocabulary has grown so my writing naturally has grown as well. I look back at some of my earlier writes and see a lot of things that I wouldn't do now… but that is part of the learning process and finding your own rhythm.

How long did it take you to find your own rhythm and convey your thoughts more descriptively?

I really couldn't say. I didn't necessarily notice the change as it occurred, I just feel what I write now is better than what I wrote when I started. I don't think my style as such has changed that much, though now I do tend to elaborate a bit more. Try to set more of an atmosphere especially if I am writing a darker poem. To me, it is more just the placement of words in their lines and how I read them back to myself, like in my poem Do Trees Dance? In the last stanza which I showed earlier. Now when I read it back to myself I think I would change the placement of one word in the last two lines… “Is this because they can't/Dance under watchful eye” to “Is this because they can't dance/Under watchful eye.” It's not really anything big, just small changes like that.

Which of your poems do you remember from when you started writing? What about those poems did you decide you needed to improve?

I read back over my poetry occasionally, I have a few favourites. I didn't necessarily decide that I needed to improve or change the way I write, it just occurred the more I wrote. When I read my earlier poems, some I still really like, others I can see where I would now change the line ends and the placement of certain words. I guess as I wrote more my meter and rhythm improved and I can see the difference to my early work.

Which of your older poems are still favorites, and which do you think could have used improvement?

I think they are all favourites in their own ways, some have more meaning to me than others, but one of my utmost favourites would be 'Wickee The Unicorn" it was inspired by my daughter. She heard the song Women In Uniform by The Skyhooks when we were driving one day and she got so excited that it was a song about a unicorn, it inspired me to write a poem based off her translation of the song's title… and the song will forever be Wickee The Unicorn from now on. As for improvement in my poems, I find fault in nearly all my poems after I have posted or published them. As I reread them I sort of think I could have made that flow better or that word just doesn't sit the way it should, or the fact I've used the same descriptive word more than once. Just little personal quirks.

Do you have an intuition that these small changes will make the poems read better or are you just tightening them up?

A little bit of both, I'd say. Changing the placement of the words definitely changes the way I read a poem. I am really trying harder to make my poetry flow better, so as you are reading them you get caught up in the rhythm of the words as much as the actual story or subject itself. I personally find when I do read other people's writes that if I struggle to find the rhythm in their words, I don't enjoy the poem as much. I guess that is why I favour rhyming verse to prose, I like the melody that a good metered rhyme shows.

How closely did your poem based on Women In Uniform fit your daughter’s interpretation of the song?

Well she was only four when she heard the song, so her thoughts were only that it was a song about a unicorn. My poem is based off the title she gave me. I think it is a lovely little children's poem about a shy unicorn that would only sing when he was alone, but one day a friend hears him and encourages him to share his talent with others. Which he does and realizes it isn't so scary. It is my poem to my child to encourage her to do the same... to be true to herself, to have belief in herself and be proud of what she can do.
 
Can you describe what your poems are intended to evoke in your readers?

I really don't intend to evoke anything in anyone, I write pretty much for my own amusement or sanity, depending how you wish to look at it… if what I write touches someone that is great but not something I actually aim towards. My darker poetry I don't write to scare or inflict negative thoughts, it's just what comes to me. My more emotional/feeling writing has sometimes been based on friends, sometimes myself, sometimes just a random thought. I don't believe that what or how I write is really that great, but others seem to like it.

What frame of mind do you have to be in to write your darker poetry?

Strangely enough just my normal frame of mind, (not really sure what that says about me though). Random words just seem to pop into my head, a couple sentences that I'll think of, and then I just continue on from there. I never really know where I'm going to take my poems they tend to just come as I write. I have written to prompts... a picture or for an anthology… and even with them I don't have any set story line in mind when I start, I create as I go.

Have you written any poems for anthologies, or submitted any? If not is this something you’d do to reach more readers?

I have had seventeen poems published in five different anthologies and three poems in another yet to be released. One of which is the opening poem for the book (very proud of this fact). Most of my published work has been through JWK Publishing and JEA Press, and all of it has been darker/horror poetry. The majority of my published work is rhyming poetry but I do have a few prose works published as well. My favourite anthology that I have written for so far would have to be 'Toys In The Attic'. It's a beautiful collaboration of a lot of different writers and each poem and story has a corresponding picture to suit. And they specifically wanted rhyming poetry, which suited me just fine.

Name the anthologies your work has appeared in and explain how you published them through JWK Publishing and JEA Press. How much have all of them gotten around and attracted a readership?

Okay… the first anthology I was published in was just a small collection of poems put together by Patrick Royal, called Poems of the Horror Society III. It was a collection from writers in the group 'I Am Poetry' on Facebook. Then came Bones III, Hell II: Citizens, Cellar Door III: Animals, Doorway To Death, Toys In The Attic and the one yet to be released is Suburban Secrets: Ghosts And Graveyards. A friend got me onto the submission calls... the publishers send out the call saying what the subject matter is, how many words etc. I really wasn't that interested to start with especially after several rejections early on, but I persisted and obviously have succeeded on a small scale. I have absolutely no idea if the books sold well or not, or if they attracted any new readers to my writes. I do have a small Facebook page but I couldn't say if those books brought any new members or not.

Who are the other poets published in those anthologies with you? Where can those publications be purchased?

Lori R. Lopez, Mary Genevieve Fortier, Lisa Dabrowski, Mimi Rogers, Howard Carlyle, T.s Woolard, Lemmy Rushmore, David Schutz II and DS Scott to name but a few. There are also numerous authors and artists included as the anthologies are not just poetry but include great short stories and amazing illustrations. I know they are all on Amazon but which other sites, I'm not really sure.

How did it feel to have your writings published with so many authors? Which of the other writers are personal favorites?

Surreal and humbling, I really don't see myself as a poet or writer and to have my mere rambles published alongside so many other writers, is and was quite amazing. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I must have a small amount of talent when it comes to poetry, but it is still hard to believe that I have accomplished what I have without intentionally meaning to do so. I tend to favour the same style of writing that I do myself, as in rhyming verse. All of the writers are extremely talented in their own way, but my favourites are definitely Mary Genevieve Fortier, Lori R. Lopez, Lemmy Rushmore & DS Scott. I love the balance and rhythm that their poetry has, they are rhythmical stories in poetic form.

How many rejections were there before your work was published in the anthologies? Do you own copies of any of them?

I received five or six rejections, whilst also having some poems accepted. So it was a bit of a mixed bag. I think a lot of the rejections were based on the fact that what I had written didn't quite fit the genre of what they wanted for the anthologies, some were based on the style of my poetry though. Not all publishers like rhyming verse I have learnt, but that's ok. Live and learn. And yes, I do own a paperback copy of each anthology book I have been published in. My own little collection.

Since you have had so much experience at writing poems, how do you think you would do at writing fiction?

I have been asked this before, and I honestly don't know if I'd have the patience and persistence to write anything longer than what I do write… but who knows… if you had told me two years ago that I would be a published writer of poetry in several anthologies, I would have laughed. And I've persisted with this interview which is certainly the longest thing I've ever written. So you never know.

If you did decide to start writing fiction, would you take the inspiration as you do for your poems?

Probably. I know no other way. I have talked to a friend of mine, he does poetry, short stories and even scripts for some audio programs. He is writing a book... he has an 'idea' a 'concept' of what he wants to portray, he has his characters formed and growing in his mind, a fair idea of the plot, the twists and turns that he would like it to take, how he would like it to end. I don't write that way and I'm not sure if I could. So if I ever did attempt more fiction based writing, it would probably be very messy, random and unstructured. And no doubt it would still have spots that rhyme… I just can't help myself sometimes.

http://www.facebook.com/CRowes-Manifestations-227361550805522

-Dave Wolff

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Band Interview: UNICORN HOLE

Interview with John Nelson of UNICORN HOLE

I interviewed Chase Fincher of She Wants The D Pad recently and we talked at length about the new subgenre known as Nintendocore. Present your insight about this subgenre to the readers.
My understanding is that Horse The Band jokingly coined the term Nintendocore. They use a keyboard in place of a second guitar, and instead of using the standard metal synths - choirs and string ensembles and stuff - they embrace the more standard keyboard bleeps and bloops that bring retro video games to mind. This style really hit home with kids like me who grew up with a controller in their hands. Since Nintendocore wasn't exactly created on purpose, the genre isn't very well defined. I see this as a good thing. It basically means that you can take whatever style of music you like and combine it with video game synths and themes, and you've got your own take on the genre. Horse The Band happened to choose metal, and that's the route I took as well. Also, shout out to Chase! He's a cool guy, and his music is rad too.

For a genre initially named as a joke, Nintendocore seems to be gaining momentum as more bands are adapting this sound. How did this approach to extreme music speak to you and what made you decide to pursue it as a musician?
Nintendocore actually became really popular around 2005, and was at the height of its popularity during "the Myspace days." It died off for a while, I'd say around 2010, and has recently started to gain momentum again. There were always bands releasing music, even during the slow times, but the community is really hoping and fighting for a second wave of popularity soon. Gaming is more popular than ever, so it seems like a real possibility. As for why I was drawn to N-core, I'd definitely say the most straightforward answer is simply because I'm a huge fan of video games. I grew up playing Mario, DK, Pokemon, and Zelda, and I still do today (plus many more of course!). When it dawned on me that I could combine my passion for gaming with my passion for metal, it was just a no-brainer. I'd have to say another reason I was drawn to N-core is that metal tends to be so damn serious. Check any comment section on a metal song and you'll see people vehemently fighting over whether it's blackened death metal or technical black metal, or whether it's "true metal" or "Hot Topic stuff." Who gives a shit!? So I liked the idea of playing music that didn't take itself so seriously. It's a genre that's just about fun.

Do you think the “old Myspace” was in any way instrumental in the birth of Nintendocore, as musicians dabbling in it spread their work from profile to profile?
Horse The Band is the only band I know of who was signed to a major label and claimed the genre of Nintendocore. There are a handful of other signed bands that you could argue played Nintendocore, but the point remains. Myspace was definitely the canvas upon which N-core was painted, ha. If not for Myspace, I don't know how the bands back then would have ever reached any level of popularity.

Did Myspace really need to upgrade to version 3.0 or was it fine the way it was before?

I don't know which version is which, but I gave up on Myspace pretty much right away when they started making weird changes. I hate having to go there for any reason now, ha. Last time I checked it was ridiculously clogged with ads, and nobody seemed to be using it.

Who were the first Nintendocore bands you listened to? How active have those bands been and have they released any material?
The very first N-core band I heard was Horse The Band. Once I starting making my own stuff and got into the scene, I heard a lot of other Nintendocore bands, but I honestly never really listened to any of them much back then. Instead of dwelling on one band, I would just jump around different bands' pages and see what was new. I don't even think there were bands I checked consistently - just whatever was popping up on Myspace. I kinda regret that now, and today I listen to a pretty big selection of N-core bands and know them personally (well, over the internet). A lot of the N-core bands that were big when the genre first took off are no longer active, or are active in different projects today. I think the emphasis today seems to be on quality instead of quantity, ha.

What subgenre of metal is Horse The Band and how long have they been active? What sort of vision did you have when you started Unicorn Hole? Is this project influenced by traditional metal or underground metal?
It's not wrong to call Horse The Band metalcore, but they've dubbed themselves Nintendocore to be more specific. They've been around since '98, but their first official CD was released in '03. When I started Uhole I had a handful of bands in mind, one of which was Horse The Band. The others were more intense metal bands: See You Next Tuesday, The Number Twelve Looks Like You, and Anal Cunt somewhat. AC influenced the humor element and short song lengths, but not much as far as the actual music was concerned. The music was more akin to SYNT and TNTLLY - fast, spastic, and unpredictable, but with occasional refrains and melodic sections. There was definitely an N-core influence too, which mostly manifested itself in the lyrics and Nintendo sounds and melodies I sampled. I would say that very little traditional metal influenced Uhole's original sound. Over the years, however, the metal aspect has become more representitive of popular contemporary metal. The Nintendocore influence has also increased to the point that I feel comfortable claiming the genre as my primary goal now.

Is Horse The Band still releasing albums on CD or on the net? Which of their releases would you recommend?
They are still putting out music as far as I know. Their most recent CD was in 2009, but they're supposedly working on another now. I would recommend any of their music, really; they've always been a solid band. My favorite track by them is probably Birdo (about the enemy from Mario Bros 2), but my favorite CD is Desperate Living. You can't really go wrong with them.

How many full lengths has the band released altogether? Are there any sites where people can check them out?
Horse The Band has released four full-lengths, and a few DVDs. You should be able to find their music on any normal streaming site, or buy them physically online. They're fairy popular, as far as extreme music goes, so you won't have to dig for it.

How would you describe the song structure and lyrical content on HTB’s Desperate Living full length?
Their lyrics range from silly (like Kangarooster Meadows) to more serious and somewhat abstract (like Cloudwalker). Their song structures vary too- from the more traditional verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus, to no discernible structure at all.

Being that Nintendocore is not well defined yet, how much room for originality exists within this subgenre? Do you plan to bring anything new to it at this point?
As with anything, there are elitists who would attest that N-core does have very specific guidelines. I believe people are too concerned with genres and labels anyway. If the music appeals to you, then be a fan; it's that simple. I would argue that N-core is a genre where you can combine pretty much whatever style you want with video game influenced synths and ideas to craft your own brand. Most Nintendocore uses aggressive rock styles, but as long as the Nintendo element is there, I say it counts regardless! With Unicorn Hole I try to incorporate all sorts of music that I like: metalcore, technical death metal, post-rock, and occasionally some outliers like hip hop and carny punk. I believe I've crafted a novel take on the genre. Again, I do urge people not to be too concerned with labels, and to just write and listen to what they think sounds good!

Who are the N-core bands you’ve been keeping track of these days? Are they all contributing something different?
A lot of the active N-core bands of today are in a big group on Facebook, and we've put out a couple compilations over the past year or so. If you check them out, you'll have a good idea of which other bands I'm associated with. And yes, I'd say everyone brings their own flare to the genre. Also, if any N-core bands are reading this and interested in the group, just message me on FB and we'll have you added! nintendocorelives.bandcamp.com.

Are these compilations you speak of independently released? What label are they on and who are the bands involved?
The comps are not a part of any label, but they are released through the Nintendocore Lives blog. There are more bands than I care to list involved- just check out the comps! I'll point out that She Wants The D-Pad is on the newer comp, since you mentioned him. And a couple other favorites of mine on the comps are Poopmaster and Are You Afraid Of The Dog?

From where are Poopmaster and Are You Afraid of the Dog based? Is Nintendocore most active in the States or are bands from other countries experimenting with it?
Poopmaster is based in Germany, and Are You Afraid Of The Dog is based in Canada. I guess that kind of answers your second question too. I don't know if N-core is as big in other places, but it certainly exists. There's a big N-core scene in Russia and surrounding areas that some of us have stumbled upon. They share our stuff on VK (kinda like the European Facebook) when we release it, and write their own stuff too. There's a lot of talent there as well.

What Russian N-core bands are worth mentioning here? How much exposure has your project gotten on VK?
Muhrochka is the project that introduced me to VK. He invited me from Soundcloud, and I was surprised to see the following Unicorn Hole had there. Muhrochka's music is really moody and spacey. I got a message on VK a couple days ago from a project called Gurknakk, saying Uhole was their main influence to try Nintendocore. There are a lot of good acts there.

Are there other countries on the Western Hemisphere where N-core bands are based from?
I would be willing to bet you could find at least a handful of N-core bands just about anywhere. Other than the places I mentioned, I'm not sure of specific bands. You'd have to check Facebook or Soundcloud, etc.

Describe how you started Unicorn Hole and if you decided you would work with other musicians or do it solo. Where do you get your sound samples from?
Unicorn Hole was started to be a quick, easy outlet for my more obscure musical ideas. Because of this, I decided to make it a solo project. Group projects are a lot more work, and tend to take much longer to complete. The way I produced my tracks in the early days was simply to write songs in the tabbing software I use called Tabit, and then export the raw midi and add vocals. That was the whole process. Since I only wrote 30-second tracks, I would put out five or ten at a time. My first full-length is sixty-two tracks, ha. I did have guest spots occasionally, but it was limited to people who were at my house and could easily contribute. As for the samples, I used to just sample anything I thought would be funny. Most of it was clips from shows like South Park or Drawn Together. My video game samples would come from websites where you can download sound packs from games. I still use video game samples today, but I've dropped the random, funny samples. I feel like they're just cheap laughs, and when I listen to my old stuff now I get really tired of hearing the longer samples that I've heard so many times before.

How did you discover Tabbit and what made you decide you wanted to record with it?

I actually don't remember how I first found Tabit, but I'm sure one of my guitarist buddies showed it to me. I used it for Uhole's music at first, just because it was quick and easy, and had a unique sound. Obviously it was fake, but it wasn't supposed to seem real. Seth from Anal Cunt had a side project at the time that was an acoustic black metal band, where the drums were just someone slapping his lap. I was kinda inspired by silliness like that I suppose. My thought was "what's something wild I can do that'll be easy and fun?"

What were the reasons you chose to name your project Unicorn Hole?
This is a good question, and I don't think anyone's ever asked! Uhole started out a lot more grindcore oriented, so I wanted to start with a word to contrast with that extreme style- something like rainbow or butterfly or unicorn. I settled on unicorn, and then tried to come up with something from there. Unicorn Hole eventually came to me, and I liked it for several reasons. First, there's the ambiguity of it. It could refer to the hole of a unicorn, or a hole filled with unicorns, or perhaps something even stranger. Then of course there's the cornhole in the middle- childish slang for butthole. I liked the idea of childish terms for gross stuff, again, because it contrasts most band names in the genre, which go for shameless vulgarity. You know- stuff like Anal Cunt or See You Next Tuesday (CUNT). Cornhole is also a game played in the south, and I'm from the heart of SC (much to my dismay).
Finally, my favorite reason, is that it's actually a very subtle Zelda reference. In Ocarina Of Time (my all-time favorite game) there was originally supposed to be a secret area called the Unicorn Fountain. It was in the Beta build of the game, and you can find pictures of it online. It was removed, however, from the final version. Well in the 90's, the internet ran rampant with video game rumors and outright lies, and we didn't know the picture was from a beta version. Everyone saw the picture and was dying to find out how to get to it. People believed you could acquire the fabled Triforce in the Unicorn Fountain. Of course there were people claiming to have already done it, which fueled the fire. In the game there are secret holes that open up when you use bombs in certain places, and these holes lead to secret areas. So before we realized the picture was from an old version of the game, there was this cult following of hardcore Zelda fans looking for... the Unicorn Hole.

Do you think the name Unicorn Hole brings a kind of fantasy element to the band’s music?
I hope so, but I'm sure a lot of people just think of the butthole joke, ha. I'll take either. Humor has been an emphasis since the beginning of Uhole.

Were any demos released by you before your first full length? Are all the songs on your debut full length original pieces or are there also a couple cover songs?
I released a handful of demos and other small releases before my first full-length. My first demo was released in 2007, and was just a collection of everything I'd done up to that point. In 2008 I released a split with Cheerleader Concubine, and later a CD of grindcore-style Christmas covers. In 2009 I released a CD of covers from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Finally, my first full-length was released in 2010. I've never included a cover of a non-video-game song on a release, but I've done a couple and just posted them here and there online. I'll include a link to an anthology I released called The Hole Damn Thing that includes everything that exists from before my big style change, which naturally has all the stuff I just mentioned

Was The Hole Damn Thing released strictly for promotional purposes or can people review this anthology?
Anything of mine is open to review I suppose, but I would rather have a solid review of something newer I'd done. The Hole Damn thing represents the entire catalog of my old stuff, but nothing of my new style. Then again, a review of it would be pretty cool too I guess, ha. I love feedback, as any musician probably does.

How did your demos differ in sound and approach to your debut full length?
Really the only difference is the overall production quality, which was improved a good bit for the full-length. The writing wasn't much different; in fact, most of the tracks from my first demo made their way onto the full-length with a nice polish.

What tech did you have on hand to produce your demos for Unicorn Hole?
With Unicorn Hole I write all my music in Tabit- a simple guitar tabbing software. In the early days, I would export the midi from Tabit and convert it to mp3s. I would then record the mp3s onto a Zoom 8-track recorder my dad had bought, and record vocals onto the tracks with it. I'd use whatever mic I could find. My dad is a musician, so I was lucky enough to have the stuff I needed lying around. Then I'd export just the vocal tracks off of the Zoom recorder and add them back to the music on my computer, where I had a bit more control over the sound. The only difference in the process today is that my vocals are recorded directly onto my computer, and the midi is ran through virtual instruments rather than staying raw. And of course I have my own equipment by now, ha. I use Cubase for mixing and producing.

Do you generally feel sampling is too overused in extreme music, particularly grindcore and goregrind, these days?
I have a problem with sampling when it's done just for the hell of it. If a sample sets the mood for your song or matches the lyrics, then it's probably fine. But when bands add brootal samples to every song just because that's what you do in the genre, then yeah, it becomes an issue. You also have to realize that people get desensitized to stuff, so after the fifteenth clip of a woman screaming and being chopped up, we start yawning. And as I said, there's the issue of hearing the same sample over and over upon repeatedly listening to the CD. The music may not get boring, but the sample surely will. I'd say use them wisely and sparingly.

List some examples of sampling that did and did not fit the song it was recorded with.
I actually don't listen to a whole lot of music with samples. I have a friend who's big into goregrind and genres like that, so I'll hear them a lot when we hang out, but I don't really know what I'm listening to. Or I'll hear a random band on Youtube with a bad sample, but then forget who it was, ha. One example of a band who uses samples well in my opinion would be Stick To Your Guns. They always find samples that match the message of the song, and usually mix them in with the music, so you're not just listening to talking for twenty seconds before you hear the actual song every time. Affiance's No Secrets Revealed also has a sample that sets the stage and gets the listener pumped right off the bat.

Describe the lyrics you have written for Unicorn Hole from your demo days to the present.
My lyrics were very much grindcore lyrics in the beginning: this is stupid, that thing sucks, so-and-so is lame. I tried to always make them funny though, not just angry or vulgar for the hell of it. I had songs about video games back then too, but over the years I've just zeroed in on that theme. I think it's a lot of fun to write about something that I hold so dear, and that so many other people do as well. My most recent EP, "Songs Unsung" tells the stories of a few popular video games, but from the perspective of side-characters. It was a lot of fun thinking of how those characters would perceive the events of their games. My third full-length, which is just in the planning stage now, will be a concept album about a big war among the Nintendo characters. Pretty nerdy, yeah, but I embrace that.

Describe the amount of work that went into Songs Unsung. Was it released on CD or online or both?

Well, it involved 28 hours of driving! Confused? I met a guy online who would do real instrument covers of my midi songs, and the production on them was top-notch. I knew going into Songs Unsung that I wanted the absolute best sound I could muster, and that he could help me achieve it. He lives seven hours away in Florida, and was unemployed at the time. He couldn't drive himself, or afford a plane, so I drove up there and got him. I made the seven hour trips four times in total: there, then back, and then both again to take him home. We didn't only meet for the sake of producing my CD, but it was definitely on the list. Tyler had become a good friend of mine by then.
Aside from that, the actual writing and recording process wasn't too much different from previous efforts. Production took a little longer, and I made sure all the recordings were as perfect as I could get them. I also approached writing differently for some of the tracks. Only one of the tracks was written solely as Uhole writes, if that makes sense. The other four were planned for a specific purpose ahead of time, and written with it in mind. One was the single- written to hook listeners, one was molded after The Faceless and some more mainstream deathcore acts- to appeal to fans of heavier music, and a particularly challenging track for me was Stranger Danger. I challenged myself to use dropped D tuning (the highest I'd ever used), include clean guitar sections, have no breakdowns, and try to write something emotional for the listener. Basically, I pushed myself to branch out with Songs Unsung. It also features some of the first serious lyrics for Uhole, and I think I did a pretty good job showing the characters' points of view with them.

Could you perform with Unicorn Hole if you got a full band together? Would you be able to pull off live what you do on record?
Most of my recent stuff is in the realm of possibility, although that's definitely not the case for my older stuff. My buddy Tyler Hendricks does real-instrument covers of my songs sometimes, and he plays most of the guitar parts normally. He says some parts he has to play at a slower tempo though, and then speed them up. I don't pay attention to whether my music is possible or not, since I don't intend for it to actually be played (Granted, listening to my new style most people can't tell I don't use real instruments. I don't try to trick people- it's always in the description!). If I were to do a live show- and the thought has occurred to me before- I'd probably play the music through speakers, and just do vocals live. But I would get friends to come on stage and play with Guitar Hero guitars and Rock Band drums and stuff, just to make it a fun show. That's how I envision it. And this would be a small party thing at first; I don't expect to sell out venues this way, ha.

I was thinking a live show like you described would go over at private parties or perhaps in a promotional video.
Unless we put on a hell of a show I'd feel bad charging people for it at some venue. I'd rather just do it for fun with friends and stuff. And the video idea is something I've thought about too- I wanna get Uhole moved onto Youtube Fosho. It's definitely on the list for next year!

How long have you been into grindcore? Before you started Unicorn Hole did you consider doing straight grindcore? What grindcore bands did you most listen to (for me it was the early bands like Napalm Death, Sore Throat and Agathocles etc)?

I was never especially enamored with the genre. I liked what I heard, but didn't seek it out I guess. I heard stuff by Anal Cunt, See You Next Tuesday, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Massacre Of The Umbilical Cord, and probably a few others that I've forgotten about. Cybergrind was big at the time too, so bands like Wecamewithbrokenteeth were a bit of an inspiration too. I know a little by Napalm Death.

I’ve heard of a few cybergrind bands, but not Wecamewithbrokenteeth. What can you tell the readers about them?
Not much at all, haha. I just know I liked their music back when I started Uhole, and that they were fairly successful at the time, as far as cybergrind goes. I remember they didn't take themselves seriously either, which is a plus as I see it.

What was it like to grow up as a metal fan in South Carolina? I’ve heard a few accounts of living in the Bible Belt and not fitting in; I was wondering if you would relate some of your experiences.
It's just what you'd expect- about half the people who hear any extreme music dub it "the devil's music" right away. I was never offended by it; I just found it funny and ridiculous. You can show a dude being chopped up in a Saw movie, and the general public is fine with it, but when a song has screaming (even if it's a Christian metal band like For Today) it's automatic grounds for eternal hellfire. A lot of preachers around here tell kids that rock and metal are evil just because they aren't the genres the preacher likes, and since he's in a position of power, hey, why not force his opinions as fact? I've witnessed it a few times. Pretty sad.

What specifically have you witnessed when it came to preachers condemning music? Personally I see it as infringing on free expression; do you think they sincerely mean it or is it just to further their own authority as church spokesmen?
I can count the times I've been to church on one hand, and the times it was of my own volition on one finger. I've just had lots of people tell me their preacher/pastor/whatever said metal is the devil's music. If you listen to it, it leads you to evil stuff, and to hell, and blah blah blah. One example that particularly bothered me was an ex's little brother. He was probably eight-years-old and thus very impressionable. He heard I was in a metal band and informed me that I was going to hell. I told him there were Christian metal bands, and that whoever told him that is a closed-minded jerk, and naturally he said it was his preacher. I wanted to write the guy and tell him he was a piece of shit (diplomatically), but I knew there was no point.

Besides Stryper I have heard of many Christian death and black metal bands (Living Sacrifice, Mortification, Horde) that have been around for as long as their “evil” counterparts. Do you see fundamentalists overlooking them or no?
I think a lot of religious people do. Rise is a Christian metal label for Christ's sake (see what I did there?)! There's no reason to assume metal is Satanic these days- it's like racism to music.

A long time ago I read that the staff of a friend’s zine were being hassled by evangelists pressuring them to convert, and a friend of theirs stepped in and put a clean end to it. More recently a friend of mine discouraged someone trying to convert him with some verbal self-defense. So sometimes it is possible to intervene so to speak. Have you ever had to discourage attempts to convert you?
Not very many. In high school I would lie and tell people I was Christian so I wouldn't have to listen to the inevitable lectures. Now that I'm out in the world and mostly get to choose who I spend my time with, I choose people who are like-minded or who agree to disagree. There are a few people where I work who used to give me Jesus pamphlets around Xmas, but they've let off. I won't bother someone about his religion unless it's directly causing other people problems, but one lady at work did start a religious debate with me. It ended with her being unable to answer a lot of questions I posed to her, and with her understanding that I'm not going to give anyone a hard time about their choices. That was the most recent encounter I remember, and it was probably a year or so ago.

One of the most prominent examples of how metal fans are misunderstood in the Bible Belt is the story of the West Memphis Three, how they were incarcerated for at least two decades without sufficient evidence to convict them. It makes you wonder how much there have been similar situations in that area and elsewhere in the States, of varying degrees.
It's a scary thought. Atheists and people who like metal are definitely thought of as evil-by-default by most older adults in my area.

Did you see all three documentaries about the West Memphis Three (Paradise Lost I, II and III)? As those films cover the entire story from their conviction to their release, what are all your thoughts on them? There was also a movie made about it, but the documentaries generally seem to cover more ground.
I'm familiar with the case, but I haven't seen any documentaries on it actually. I'll have to check them out; you've definitely got me curious.

How do you anticipate Unicorn Hole expanding musically and lyrically on future releases? How soon do you expect to work on new material?
Unicorn Hole's music will evolve as I am influenced by more and more new things. I want to keep all the elements that are currently a part of what I do, while adding new elements as I discover them. Lyrically, Uhole will be heading into more serious and even emotional stuff- but again, while retaining the humor and sarcasm that I started out with. I really want Uhole to become even more so a band where you never know what to expect. And I'm always working on new material, ha. I'm writing for a couple little releases now, and will be starting my third full-length soon. Thank you so much for the interview!

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-Dave Wolff

Sunday, December 27, 2015

CD Review: FESTERING DRIPPAGE Fungally Infected Fistathon

FESTERING DRIPPAGE
Fungally Infected Fistathon
Grindhead
The band name, song titles and cover art promise an unforgettable slab of brutal death metal. Anyone versed in the genre will find a graphically descriptive cover enhances the listening experience (Cannibal Corpse is the most obvious example, though a multitude of other examples will also come to mind. When it comes to heaviness and brutality, this 2012 MCD doesn’t disappoint in that regard and this Australian band is determined to make an impression. The cover art mentioned above appears to have been painted and is a clear statement of what’s waiting inside. This and a 2010 demo are all that comprise their discography so far, with compilation and split releases including a four-CD compilation from Torn Flesh Records, Insufferable Noise. The mental pictures Festering Drippage summon are so clearly written they’re bound to attract the most hardcore death metallers of the Cannibal Corpse/Carcass variety. In these five tracks are verses so gruesome they’ll turn the stomachs of those less experienced in reading DM lyrics, which is arguably the point of creating a gore-soaked collection of songs such as this. Apart from the Deicide similarities (particularly in the vocals) this MCD is a memorable catalyst to spring the band into its own territory; they’ll reach it should they use their own license to expand on their style and compose and release material on a consistent basis. The lyrics are presented as narratives to classic gore flicks, and there is a sample sounding borrowed from a Jim Carrey movie to remind you not to take these songs to heart. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Fungally Infected Fistathon
2. Full On Fallopian Fungus
3. Suffocate The Defiled
4. Fingered To Death (The Fingerbang Fatality)
5. Menstrualbation

Thursday, December 24, 2015

CD Review: ORDER OF THE EBON HAND/AKROTHEISM

ORDER OF THE EBON HAND/AKROTHEISM
Behold The Sign Of A New Era/Generation Of Vipers
Ewiges Eis
http://www.facebook.com/eerec
http://www.facebook.com/OrderoftheEbonHand666
http://www.facebook.com/Akrotheism
This is a two song split released in 2013, featuring two mind blowing Greek black metal bands. Some background information: Order Of The Ebon Hand from Athens and Attica formed in 1994 and have released material off and on since ‘97. Their main discography is two full lengths (The Mystic Path To The Netherworld, XV: The Devil) and a split of Bathory covers with Macabre Omen (Two Years Standing Proud In Valhalla). They appeared on the seven inch EP Tribute To Bathory (Necroterror) and three compilations: Hellas Salutes The Vikings (Metal Invader), Order Of The Tyrants (Season Of Mist), Hellas: The Black Death Anthology 1989-2006 (Kyrck Productions/Armour). Their lyrics center on dark mysticism and their name was inspired by the game Magic: The Gathering. Akrotheism is a newer band, having formed in 2012 by former members of Astral Aeon after they disbanded. This spilt was their first time appearing on record; they followed this appearance with the full length Behold The Son Of Plagues (Odium) and a split release with Septuagint, Sphinx: The Great Enigma Of Times (Forever Plagued). This band writes about orthodox Satanism, esotericism, nihilism and human decadence, and like Order Of The Ebon Hand they write music that complements their lyrics. These two songs are raw, abrasive, hateful, pounding, uncompromising cult black metal that doesn’t let up for a single moment. There are major differences between these bands; the song by Order is heavily enhanced with keyboards and Akrotheism include theatrical breaks that offer a visual picture of what their song is about. But both bands are equally promising and my only complaint is that I didn’t get to hear more of them, I strongly recommend checking them out on Facebook and other social media sites where you can hear their work. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Order of the Ebon Hand - Behold the Sign of a New Era
2. Akrotheism - Generation of Vipers



Monday, December 21, 2015

CD Review: WEEPING BIRTH The Crushed Harmony

WEEPING BIRTH
The Crushed Harmony
Apathia Records
http://www.facebook.com/weeping.birth
Weeping Birth describes itself as “an extreme metal entity” out of Switzerland. This description kind of sums them up pretty well really seeing as it seems the band is very grounded in Death or Tech Death, and some Black Metal-but, they seem to pull from a wider scope of various influences that can be heard throughout the songs on this release. The fact that there is no “they” in the case of Weeping Birth only serves to make The Crushed Harmony even more impressive. This is because Weeping Birth is just one guy, Vladimir.  There is a bit of a Blackened Death Metal undertone to some parts, namely the opener (Atonality), and Life in a Blood Spasm. Sunburnt has an almost borderline djent or Periphery-esque type of riff to it in parts, but it’s done so in a way that these modern elements don’t come off as outside of the Death Metal or Technical Death Metal spectrum. And they don’t exactly call to mind a band like Periphery either when hearing them. I hear a few feint similarities to a band like Rivers Of Nihil or maybe even newer era Gorguts in regards to the technicality, and dissonant harmony factors that are scattered throughout. There’s also a lot of layers and dueling guitar type parts that offer some extra depth to these songs and the release overall.  The drumming is machine gun like and blindingly fast when it needs or wants to be, but can also settle into more of a groove while still keeping things interesting and dynamic. As for the bass, there’s moments where some melody and various runs and that sort of thing shine through which is nice to hear and always adds an element to the bass overall that keeps both the bass itself and the songs more interesting and balanced.  The vocals are brutal and also not one dimensional, but they are also focused on the goal, and the goal is to go for your throat. The thing that stands out about this release is the technicality and the quality of musicianship, but it also has staying power and depth. Vladimir seems to have a pretty wide artillery of weaponry here at his disposal, and it gets showcased as the album unfolds to the listeners ears. I think this release proves that it’s possible to incorporate more modern elements into the Technical Death Metal genre and still maintain the music’s “Death Metal” integrity. The bottom line is, this guy can flat out play. But, there’s also a strong sense of songwriting and craftsmanship on display here. That’s a balance that a lot of bands, especially within this genre, strive for but sometimes struggle to attain. It really doesn’t matter what you want to call it honestly. An “Extreme Metal Entity” works just fine. It’s heavy, it’s technical, it’s fast, it’s intricate, and it’s brutal. If you’re into Technical Death Metal, or Blackened Death, or Extreme Technical music- check this one out. It doesn’t disappoint. 9 out of 10 -Alan Lisanti

Track list:
1. Atonality
2. A Surface
3. Resurrection of  Resentment
4. Sunburnt
5. Hatefilled
6. Meant to Be Wrecked
7. Life in a Blood Spasm
8. Hollow
9. The Crushed Harmony


CD Review: UPON SHADOWS Between the Southern Cross & the Northern Star

UPON SHADOWS
Between the Southern Cross & the Northern Star
Independent
http://uponshadows.bandcamp.com/
Upon Shadows is a two-piece, all female Black/Dark Metal project hailing from Uruguay. The band features Natalia Arocena on bass, and Tamara Picardo on keyboards, guitar, and vocals. There is an interesting combination here of harsh vocals and Black Metal riffing with plenty of double kick in the drumming as well. But, at the same time-there is also a strong sense and presence of melody throughout the songs that adds another dynamic to the music. Essentially, at times it almost sounds as if the core of the songs represented on the Black Metal end of the spectrum are completely separate entities or pieces from the melodies laced throughout them. It's as if either one could work well on their own, and yet when combined together, they complement each other so well that it actually enhances the listening experience as opposed to taking away from it. The melodies also lend an element of atmosphere to the songs, and yet this is also evident in the Black Metal aspects of the songs too (just in a different way). If you could imagine blending complete chaos with a soothing sense of melancholy and darkness into one unique entity, you might have a fairly decent idea of what is being achieved here. Tamara's keyboard work and the other symphonic elements give these pieces depth. While her shrieking screams and Black Metal inspired riffs, as well as the drums bring the heaviness and harshness of what some might expect from a Black Metal aesthetic. And I think the bass work of Natalia manages to be the glue and an integral part of what drives these songs along. I think this is especially noticeable on a track like Poetic Tragedy Of The Instant where Natalia seems to let loose a bit more, but without sacrificing her part in holding things together and maintaining a presence that is an important part of the pieces that complete this puzzle. I'm not sure if this would appeal to die hard Black Metal fans, but it's worthy of giving it a chance with an open mind. I'm more of a Death and Doom guy myself, but I am familiar with a fair amount of Black Metal. I think this release upholds the Black Metal end of the bargain, but also isn't afraid of pushing genre boundaries farther or making use of melody. Some purists out there may not be into melody to this extent with their Black Metal, but it's certainly worthy of listening with an open mind. And, it doesn't sacrifice the brutality for these other. 7 out of 10 -Alan Lisanti

Track list:
1. Lethargic Loss of Ambition
2. Streets of Despair
3. Unjust Punishment of Fate
4. The Despair & The Fatidic Arrow
5. Poetic Tragedy of the Instant
6. The Music of All Things
7. Mirage
8. Andromeda
9. Vision from the Child


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Zine Review: HEADBANGER #12

HEADBANGER Issue #12 
headbangerperu@hotmail.com
This is the second issue I received while zine trading with editor Rafael Iturrino Ubidia. The other was issue #11 which is reviewed earlier in this blog with background information on the zine. These issues were released a year apart (the release date for #12 was February of 2014) and the front cover establishes Headbanger as having been active for 27 years. The editorial of this issue states Rafael had loads of interview and review material to publish but his computer was infected with a virus and he lost almost everything he had saved to file. The editorial also mentions a run-in of sorts he had with a known ripoff from his home country of Peru. Christian Felipe Paucar Toledo has screwed over a lot of people from what I’ve read on social media (ask Tchort of The Legion Of Tchort zine for example). I thought the layout of the previous issue was a little better, but the cult attitude and spirit hasn’t been diminished by any of the obstacles he has faced gathering enough reading material to release a new edition. Again you’ll receive insight not only about the bands but the scenes in their respective countries. The bands Rafael managed to feature this time are Abrahel, Baphomet Throne Hells, Black Vul Destruction, Beelzebuth, Empty Of Darkness, Infernal Pussy, Lucifier, Matteus, Master Of Cruelty, Masturbator, To Arkham and Vlad. Following these articles are five pages of reviews and a two page section featuring band bios. -Dave Wolff

Saturday, December 12, 2015

CD Review: MIKE LE POND'S SILENT ASSASSINS s/t

MIKE LE POND'S SILENT ASSASSINS
Mike Le Pond's Silent Assassins
UDR/ADA/Warner
http://www.facebook.com/mikelepondssilentassassins
If your clamoring for some old school influenced metal that kicks some serious ass you need to check out Mike Le Pond's Silent Assassins. Le Pond's solo effort is a gorgeous, expansive landscape of metal beauty. My first reaction upon hearing the opening track, Apocalypse Rider, was "take Accept, Maiden and Motörhead, put them in a cement mixer and spew it out all over an amazing production and boom - you've got it". The feeling was so intense I felt I could run five miles in the time it took me to listen to this song; it was so driving and compelling. And who among us doesn't miss these types of songs... The ones that make us throw back our heads and scream along.
On Red Death we get a taste (but just a taste) of how creative this project could have been when a Raga interlude melds into a crushing bass lead in; really innovative. But then the tune turns into more predictable metal fare. Would have loved to hear the band continue down this path a bit more and maybe mimic some of the Indian influences.
But please don't get me wrong - this is a killer product. Ragnarok goes right for your throat with nice harmonies and is echoed in the titular track, Silent Assassins. That one just about sent me over the edge. These songs make you want to get up and punch a hole in the wall. And this is where Silent Assassins shine.
We hear a few of the metal clichés here as well... The soft played guitar intros and such... But when this band starts out strong and stays strong all the way through they are really contenders. I am partial to songs that sound like a freight train going off a cliff, so the strong, tight and extremely fast openers get me off and running.
The Vocals provided by Alan Teccio are reminiscent of Rob Halford or a very young Bruce Dickinson. But there's something a bit more slick in his delivery - and for this outing it really works. There's one thing not old school about this album, it's the production. Let's be honest - those old metal albums left a lot to be desired sonically. Not so here. Jesus, the drums and bass are on fire and not only lay down a true foundation for the vocals and guitars but give the band a bedrock solid home where they can play around. None of it sounds happenstance. It's precise, logical and mathematical, and it's beautiful.
This album was released in 2014. I'm sad to learn I could have been listening to this powerful music for months already. Check it out.... -Heather Dawson

Track list:
1. Apocalypse Rider
2. Red Death
3. The Quest
4. The Outsider
5. Masada
6. Silent Assassins
7. Ragnarok
8. The Progeny
9. Oath Of Honor


Zine Review: HEADBANGER #11

HEADBANGER Issue #11
Headbanger Zine from Peru is well written and well printed and covers an extensive amount of extreme music. Issue 11 came out in 2012 and starts with an editorial explaining a long delay that preceded its release. Editor Rafael Iturrino Ubidia wrote that he does a great deal of traveling to support brutal music (he leaves his home country four times each year) and prefers to cover all the material as opposed to giving some of it to staff writers. The photo and bands listed on the front cover let you know what to expect inside. The title of this zine is fitting if there ever was a fitting title. It’s simple and tells all you need to know about it. I’d joke that you know a zine is purely underground when you check out the interviews can’t make out any of the band logos. But I can’t fault him for his dedication and the material featured is consistent. From the printing and layout, as well as the tone of the articles, I gather this is the kind of zine that would have been getting a big response from several countries in the 90s. This goes to show what I’ve heard from interviewees I contacted for AEA: there is still an audience for print zines and likely always will be no matter how many ezines and webzines there are. The bands interviewed in this issue are Ars Macabra, Bloodarv, Chaska, Devasted, Devilish, Kristenn Corpse, Malkavian, Marthyrium, Paganus Doctrina, Tengwar, Troops Of Terror, War Ancestry and Xerbeth. You get information about these bands and the underground scenes in their respective countries. Which is why it’s always good to feature bands from different parts of the world, especially now in the age of social media. Each interview is preceded by a paragraph or two providing background information so you get to know the bands before reading. Plus eleven pages of CD reviews, a host of advertisements of independent and fan run labels and various pieces of artwork complete a worthwhile issue. -Dave Wolff

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Article: The Fine Line by Alexander Kautz

The Fine Line
Article by Alexander Kautz

There have been many situations wherein, murderer's have claimed to have heard voices within, seducing their thoughts, breaking their wil, until compelled by this invisible menace, they commit heinous acts that leave even the most seasoned of authorities lost within unspeakable horror. The church considers such things within the boundaries of obsession and possession, while psychiatrists deduce multiple personality disorders, chemical imbalances and neurological dysfunction. Rather than argue with either the religious aspects or scientific diagnosis, why not consider the possibility of them both being correct? What if, the moment one is taken by either obsession or means of possession, there is a sudden chemical imbalance, caused by intrusive elements, and then the resulting neurological imbalance. It is scientific fact that all movement is produced firstly, by chemical and elecrtical impulse within the brain. Should these be affacted by a foreign element, the result would be, obsessions by invading foreign elemets, possession of rational faculties and the result, chemical imbalance and multiple personality discorder...
Taking this into consideration, how many of us can honestly say, that at some point within out lives, we have not noticed a sudden, even disturbing change wthin a once near and dear friend or relative? Have you, my friend, even asked yourself, why had you, for no apparent reason, thought, spoken or comiited some act of cruelty upon another person, simply for the perverse pleasure of doing it? If in fact you can be honest wth yourself and not deceived by something deep within you arguing the facts, you may still have a chance.
If there is truth to the existence of negative and positive, as science and gravity dictate, and within fact, the eistence of a soul, then my friends, how certain are we, that we really are who we believe to be, and are not being coerced by something else, existing within the shadows of who we believe we really are...
The next time that you react in a cruel manner to the suffering of another, or for no rational reason, are compelled to bitter words or cruel expression, consider the source. For within my understanding, the people that I call friend, are of good will and intent and would never willfully cause the suffering of another.
When you lay down this night and close your eyes within the darkness, do not fear what may lurk within the shadows all about you. Consider what might already exist, waiting within...
A pleasant evening to all and an even better day tomorrow.
Always
AZK

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fiction: Damned Appointments by Jerry Langdon

Damned Appointments
By Jerry Langdon

Dante described Hell as having nine circles. He was wrong. Hell has nine hundred and ninety-nine planes. Each plane is a hell unto itself and yet coupled in a mysterious way, like lovers. I think it is pain connecting us.
Satan is God here, Hell’s overlord. That is how it works here. Kings, queens, dukes, and duchesses rule the planes, and so on. We have a chaotic feudal system with chaotic laws.
There are always conflicts going on in the attempt to gain power. The stories I could tell.
Hell is not the lake of fire as we are taught, although there are lakes. Many lakes would fit the description that we generally refer to as a gas oven. It is not as if everyone ends up in a lake of fire for eternity. Time has no meaning here, but does flow strangely in comparison to time experienced by the living. One day here can last one hundred living years; or one hundred years packed into one living year. Eternity is an earthly measurement of time, so you might end up in one of the lakes but you will not be there for eternity. We have our punishment times, and our life as usual times. We have jobs just like you. We live in houses or apartments. We have family and friends. We live pretty much as we did before we landed here.
I work as a taxi driver. Yeah we have taxis. You are probably thinking where the hell are you going to go in Hell. The answer is anywhere but out. There is always someone trying to escape. There are ways out, but do not get caught. The cops will not let you go without a fight, and you probably will not win. Every once and again someone does escape. In such cases, hunters are sent after them. I would rather deal with the cops. I have dealt with a hunter once, well, not directly but I saw enough to get the big picture. I see the cops all over, demons that will smite you for looking the wrong direction at the wrong time. If one of them hits you, you will know it. They carry a wide range of weapons, from razor sharp whips to maces with heads the size of a basketball. They do not carry a badge to show they are police, but you know by the arsenal they carry around or by the vehicles they drive. 
Hunters on the other hand are not so easy to distinguish, and they know no mercy. They hunt down those that escaped; those that try to avoid their punishment periods.
Everyone here gets appointed times for punishment. Punishing everyone at once is not as easy as you think and Hell has many inhabitants. We get told when and where to report. If we miss the appointment, the cops come. If they cannot find us, they send out the hunters.
Hunters have their dogs to aid them in their hunts. I am sure you have heard of Hellhounds; if not, be happy. I have looked one in the eyes, eyes that burned deep into my soul. The pain was terrible, as if a million cats are clawing your flesh at the same time. I dream of them every night. Hellhounds burn nightmares into your soul. They are the size of a quarter horses, with rancid, burnt flesh full of gaping wounds infested with oozing putrid puss. Muzzles are filled with what I might only describe as octopus tentacles ending with mouths full of shark-like teeth.
Shit. I hear the Hellhounds now. It did not take long for the hunters to find me. Goodbye. I’ll probably be back, even if only for a moment.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Band Interview: SEDULOUS ROUSE

Interview with Roly Moore of SEDULOUS ROUSE

Sedulous Rouse was formed by ex-members of Blood Mason, Murder Hill and Cloth Tape. Did they know one another while you were involved in those bands?

Cloth Tape and Murder Hill had very similar line ups and both bands played with Blood Mason quite a bit so we all knew each other before forming Sedulous Rouse. Our drummer and bass player/vocalist were both in Blood Mason and our guitarist/vocalist was in Cloth Tape and Murder Hill.

Did these bands you were previously involved in release any material while they were active? If those bands are no longer around, is their material still available for people to check out?

Cloth Tape had two releases, one album called LIFELESS CULTURE and a demo which we handed out for free at shows. People can contact me if they want a copy of the album. Murder Hill released one CD titled FOREST OF THE ETERNAL SLAUGHTER and that can also be acquired by contacting me. Blood Mason released a couple of demos and an EP but sadly their debut album, which is a brilliant piece of heavy metal, was never released.

Do you get a lot of requests for the full lengths released by Cloth Tiger and Murder Hill? How much have those releases been spread around since they came out? Why was the debut full length recording of Blood Mason never released?

I don't get a lot of requests for either band. Releases were sent to various radio stations and international fans and we sold a lot of copies at shows, but neither band really followed up after those initial releases. I can't really say about the Blood Mason album because I wasn't a part of that band.

Did Cloth Tiger and Murder Hill get decent airplay and exposure to fans in other countries? At how many shows did you get to sell copies?

Cloth Tape certainly got some recognition in Europe through small distro networks and some Mexican company turned one of our riffs into a ringtone! Not sure how they found our music. Certainly wasn't official. Murder Hill never made any inroads internationally. We sold some CDs at all our shows. Probably 50 shows for CT and maybe 15 for MH.

Which European distros passed around Cloth Tape’s releases and how many copies were they
given to distribute? Was Murder Hill given any distribution in Europe?
The distro was a small German one. We only sent them 25 to start and that was all. MH had no distro in international territories.

Is Sedulous Rouse the first band you assumed the role of managing, or did you have managing experience previously?
I was the main organizer for my previous bands and I have taken on this role with Sedulous Rouse as well mainly because I enjoy it. However every decision we make is a group decision. We are older and wiser and know that all of us being in agreement is always going to work better.

What have your band managing duties entailed so far? In what ways did your experience managing your older bands been a help to you managing Sedulous Rouse?

Most of the managing duties have been around organizing shows and tours and liaising with venues and promoters. Running the Facebook page and answering emails and bringing any proposals we receive to the band for discussion. Promoting the band is a big part of it and I am always trying to think of new ways to give us more exposure and get our music to more and more people. We are a very democratic band so any ideas I have I always put to the band before taking any action so we are all always aware of what we are doing.

Do you network with independent labels and other bands to help promote Sedulous Rouse? How much has social media helped the band make a name for themselves?

We network as much as we can with labels, radio stations, fanzines and mostly other bands. Social media had been an invaluable resource for us. It has helped us spread our music world wide to places such as Lebanon and Mexico, Chile and the USA. Places we never would have dreamed of being heard in the days before social media.

When you first discovered social media sites like Facebook and the old Myspace, did you get the feeling it would expose you to wider audiences? How much has outlets like Bandcamp and Soundcloud helped you get exposure?

Social media has been brilliant for exposing us to wider audiences. We have networked with many bands and people who have become our friends. Soundcloud has been excellent for us. We have had people listen to SR in places like the USA, Japan, Chile, Mexico and Lebanon. And that is quite something when you think about it. In the old days that just wasn't possible.

How much did you learn about the underground scenes in those countries when you corresponded with fans on social media?

Well mostly we have learnt about bands and the shows they are playing in their respective countries. Lebanon is a country where they have a very enthusiastic scene but it is very small being in such a religious country.

Having a metal scene in a religious country is something that has been touched on quite a bit in AEA. The documentary Global Metal explores this subject to a good extent. Have fans from Lebanon discussed it one to one with you?

I have discussed the Lebanon scene with a promoter there. He told me that it is hard but there’s a dedicated and loyal scene. It is quite challenging to be doing a controversial movement in a country such as that but they have regular and well attended shows.

From the other interviews I’ve conducted with metal fans in Muslim countries and the interviews I watched o Global Metal, t must take tremendous courage to have a band in such places. I’d recommend Global Metal if you haven’t seen it.

I have seen Global Metal and it is one of my favourite music documentaries of all time. For me Global Metal shows quite clearly that metal is a language without borders and with no nationality. It speaks to all people no matter where they are or what their background. Information wise it shows us all that it can be done anywhere.

Did watching Global Metal make you want to visit any countries you haven’t yet been to?

I have a strong desire to visit the USA and see gigs there. Underground shows seem to be quite typical in most countries I have found.

Describe how Sedulous Rouse formed and began working on new material.

Personally I was not in a band for around five years after Murder Hill disbanded and after rediscovering my love for playing guitar my desire to form a band escalated very quickly. I ran into our drummer Dani at a metal festival and we spoke about our desire to get something going. About three months after that we started jamming with two other guitarists but soon discovered they were not as committed to doing it as we were so we carried on ourselves writing material and rehearsing. About two months after that our bass player Brendan came along to check us out and liked it so much he has been with us ever since and is now an irreplaceable part of what we are doing. Eight weeks after he joined we recorded our first release SEASONS OF TRIUMPH.

What were the reasons you took such a long hiatus after the disbanding of Murder Hill? At what metal fest did you catch up with your old drummer Dani? Are there a lot of metal festivals in your area?

After Murder Hill disbanded I was sick of the bickering between band members and just took the time apart to have a normal social life! Hehehe. Dani and I met up at the Soundwave festival here in Adelaide which is a big touring festival. We have quite a few local metal festivals such as NEW DEAD, METAL UNITED DOWN UNDER (which I am the local promoter for) and others.

How did you occupy your time during your hiatus from working in band situations?

When I wasn’t in bands I was pursuing my interests in playing sports with friends and just being a punter and going to shows. Still listened to a lot of music and went to a lot of shows.

What bands were you listening to during your hiatus? Did you discover any new artists in that time?

I listened to a lot of Orphaned Land from Israel and Opeth and Arch Enemy. Also bands like Dilinger Escape Plan and Mastodon, a lot of black metal like Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Immortal etc.

Did you retain any inspiration from the bands you were listening to while you were on hiatus?

I think I get inspired by all bands I listen to one way or another. Either by a style or by a theme. Mostly though I am just inspired to make and release music.

How has your experience playing in bands been a benefit to your new outing?

I think this time around we are all more open to new ideas and trying different things. The experiences I had being in other bands really has made me appreciate that what is important, is enjoying the music we make together and challenging ourselves to become better at what we do. Sedulous Rouse to us means striving to be better as a group as we grow as a band and this is how we approach basically everything that we do. Hence we believe that our new material is a step up in every way compared to our first release. This is important because we want to be able to achieve things that were not possible for us before musically.

Do the metal festivals you cited get large turnouts when they’re held each year? Do they usually involve local bands or do bands from outside Australia come to perform there? Are they usually held outdoors? How does word get around?

Metal festivals like Soundwave get 30,000 plus people and the more local events pull up to 500. Much smaller scale and generally only with Aussie bands but there was Goatwhore on the New Dead this year so they are growing. Black Conjuration a true underground event has had Revenge from Canada and Coroner on their bills. So there is the ability for that. Most of these festivals are indoors except Soundwave. The atmosphere is great especially at the local events because there is a real sense of community with the metalheads. These days a lot of the word is spread through Facebook. But also flyers and word of mouth like the old days.

What was the most recent metal fest you attended, and how sizable was the turnout? Have you ever attended fests outside Australia or, if not, would you ever plan to?

The most recent metal fest I attended was Metal United Down Under of which I was also the promoter. The turnout was lower than we had hoped. Was an excellent night of Aussie metal though, and the second one we have done. I have been two Hellfests in France which were brilliant and MetalDays in Slovenia.

Who were some of the bands that played Hellfest and MetalDays, and what about those fests made you want to go back?

At Hellfest I saw Europe, Twisted Sister, Gojira, Down, Converge, At The Gates, Napalm Death, Immortal and Inquisition. At MetalDays I saw King Diamond, Iced Earth, Meshuggah, Dying Fetus and Enslaved. Both festivals had amazing atmospheres and I met great people who became my friends. Also they were run for the fans.

Between fests organized my major indie labels and publications, and fests organized by and for the fans, which do you prefer attending?

I will always prefer a more independent festival than the corporate ones just because it is often more about the music. End of the day I want to see the bands I like playing live.

How would you generally describe the metal scene in Australia? Liam Guy formerly of Malakyte told me a lot about the scenes there and I wanted to get your input.

The metal scene in Australia is very healthy and there is a lot of excellent bands going around. It is not always the easiest scene because there is a lot of bands playing a lot of shows and it is sometimes hard to find available dates in small markets. But it is a very friendly and welcoming scene and we have all made lifelong friends through it. It has had a very positive impact on my life and I love being a part of it, putting on shows and seeing new bands.

Does underground music in Australia receive sufficient coverage outside the country, or would you like to see more coverage?

Underground music gets good coverage in Australia but like anywhere you have to know where to look. More coverage should always be welcome.

Who are some of the friends you have made for the long haul? How do you account for the scene having been around so long?

I am still friends with all the people I have been in bands with. That goes back to 1997 and the first incarnations of Cloth Tape. These are some of my best friends in the world. The scene is healthy and vibrant because people make an effort. There are always people who drive the scene. Promoters and bands who make things happen.

How many local clubs and independent record outlets exist near you? Do the record stores have extensive collections of band merchandise, CDs, cassette demos, etc?

There are a few local record stores and they have a great range of music fanzines and flyers etc. Also lots of local clubs as I live close to the city.

Which clubs and record outlets do you frequent in particular? Any rare releases you managed to find there?

We tend to go to Enigma for a lot of the metal in Adelaide but also Fowlers live. Record store wise I like Backwater Records and they have a lot of local hard to find releases. Bought the SEWERCIDE five track EP there.

Who are Sewercide and where are they from? How much material do they have out and how well known are their releases? How would you describe their style to people?

Sewercide are a thrash band from Melbourne Australia. They have a couple of releases out and have just toured America I believe. I would call their style fast dirty thrash.

How different is your local scene today as it was in the late 90s, for both good and bad?

I think the amount of bands is a lot bigger and I think the quality is better than back then. However I think the 90's was a very exciting time with a lot of people pushing the boundaries musically but still writing good songs. Today I think technical wizardry overshadows good songwriting, and that sux because technical wizardry is even better in a well written piece of music, in my opinion.

I know what you mean about technical wizardry, since I’ve heard bands that are not as technical write better songs than musicians who are more proficient. Are there any examples you can think of?

Personally I think Rings Of Saturn are technical in front of song writing. Whereas I think Animals As Leaders have the mix right.

Where are Rings Of Saturn and Animals As Leaders from? Do you own any of their material in your collection? How do their releases stack up to the rest of your collection?

Rings Of Saturn, I don't know where they are from. Animals As Leaders are from the USA. I have the latest Animals as Leaders cd and it is a brilliant piece of music. It is as good as any cd I own I think.

How do you and the other members of Sedulous Rouse usually go about composing material? How do you figure out what will come across as well live as in the studio?

A lot of the time I will bring a basic song structure to the band, we will work out if it works and what to do more of and what riffs to do less of. We have a rule, you can try anything and if it sounds good we keep it, if it doesn't we get rid of it. We have a very open dialogue about the music and basically anything goes if we all like it.

How much input does everyone in the band normally have into composing your songs? Is it consistent or does it vary?

We all have an equal say in the songs and all ideas are discussed as a group. As I write the basic structures though a lot of the main emphasis of each song does come from me. Some songs will be more of a group effort than others but I think that is just normal.

Describe the recording of Sedulous Rouse’s debut album. Did you record it independently or rent a professional studio?

The first Sedulous Rouse album was basically, the first eight songs we wrote as a band. Dani and I worked on them mostly with Brendan coming in at the end to record the bass parts. He learnt all the songs in eight weeks and then we recorded. We spent three days in a professional studio: Against The Grain in Adelaide and recorded with producer Andy Kite. It was done quite quickly but the songs had also come together pretty quickly so it was a very painless process.

What was it like to work on the first songs composed by the band with Andy? What equipment did you have to work with?

Working with Andy Kite was so easy. I have known him through the scene for a long time and he is an excellent person. He loves heavy metal and has produced a ton of Adelaide metal bands. He made the process very easy and hence we are working with him on the new album as well. We used ProTools for the recording with an interface a brand I can’t remember. That first release I played through an Engl head playing a Jackson V and also a Schecter C1 Custom FR guitars. We used a direct line to record the bass guitar and the drums are mostly Pearl and Yamaha.

Where did you first meet Andy Kite? Who else has he produced in the studio before and after he began working with you?

I met Andy back in about 2000 when he was starting out singing in a band called Of the Human Condition. He has produced Se Bon Ki Ra, Hidden Intent, Voros, Blood Mason, Beyond Mortal Dreams, Johnny Touch, Blood Mason, IN the Burial, Arcadia, Awaken Cicada, Devonera and countless others.

What have zine and webzine reviewers had to say about Andy’s production jobs for those bands? While Andy was producing your debut recording, did you learn any pointers from him on recording a full length?

I honestly have not read reviews of his work. But I do own a lot of his work on other bands released and I am always impressed with the quality. Andy basically lets us control the order in which we do things. He is very good with suggestions on how to make the process smoother though. And I think he gets the best out of us.

Do you and the band plan to work with Andy in the near future?

Andy is mixing our new album. We are happy with the work that he has done for us so far. Andy is mixing our new album. We are very happy with the work that he has done for us so far.

Name the songs you recorded for Seasons Of Triumph and describe what they were written about.

Death Shall Rise is about living a purposeful life for yourself. Enemies is about dealing with people who make your life hard by being better at it than them. Perpetrator calls out the people who are fake and use lies against you and calling them out on those lies. Silent Men is about how the role of men in society has changed and how a lot of men refuse to speak about their problems because of a perception that they can't because of men's crimes of the past. Funk Till Ya Jazz is just a bit of fun for us and something we like to do to mix it up. Without Sympathy is about stopping yourself from being sympathetic to those who refuse to help themselves no matter how much opportunity they have been given. Prickles Pickles is about our drummer’s cat, who can't make a sound but is the band’s unofficial mascot. From Her To Modernity is the sister song to Silent Men. It is about the changing role of women in society and how I think that the message has been distorted over time to be about power and not equality.

How much effort has the band put into promoting Seasons Of Triumph since its release?

We have all put a lot of effort into promoting the release from when we first played a show in April 2013. We have winded that down though, as now we are focusing our efforts onto the new album.

Were the lyrics to the tracks on Seasons Of Triumph written by you? What inspired you to take on the subject matter?

I wrote all the lyrics on Seasons Of Triumph. A lot of my inspiration is daily life and trying to understand a society that I think is very upside down in its thinking. There is some personal stuff of course but mostly it is about finding the strength every day to be stronger within.

What do you mean by saying society is upside down in its view? Did you get inspiration for any of your lyrics from any specific events in the news?

Society is upside down because healthy food is more expensive than junk food and people care more about celebrities than their own friends. Things like that. Not sure I could put any of the lyrics down to a specific event in the news but definitely the issues of the day have an effect.

How did you come to the decision to make your lyrics more reality based as opposed to the imagery many bands use?

To be honest it was not really a conscious decision. They lyrical ideas come to me I flesh them out and that is how it works. Reality is way more complicated than fiction.

How long on average does it take you to write lyrics? Do you consider how to express your thoughts on paper or does it flow naturally?

Usually the first draft of a set of lyrics takes about thirty minutes max. I like to get the flow going and just let it happen. For me it flows quite naturally and in that I am lucky. If it doesn't flow I tend to stop.

After writing lyrics, how do you go about working them into the songs composed by you and the band?
I don't write with a song in mind at all so after the lyrics are written I try and think of any riffs or music we have and think if it would fit with the lyrical content. Usually I have written music that goes with lyrics almost sub consciously it seems. We always work on how the lyrics should be phrased and used within the songs. So Brendan doing vocals helps a lot with this as well.

If there was a specific issue in the news that you had to write lyrics about, what would it be and why?

I think if it had to be a specific topic it would revolve around the hypocrisy in the media and from our politicians. That is something that really gets on my nerves. I hate seeing people blatantly lie just to makes themselves seems more popular.

How much more spin have you seen on television and heard from the media since you started writing lyrics?

I think the spin gets greater every week. More and more politicians are just blatant puppets for major corporations and only have their interests in mind when making decisions that affect the majority of the population.

What does the band have in mind for the next full length? How soon do you expect to begin work on it?

The next full length will have ten tracks and be just over fifty minutes long and will be a huge step up from what we have done before. Will feature dual vocals in almost every song with vocals. And there are two instrumentals. It is a much clearer picture of us as a band; where we are coming from and who we are. We have already recorded the album but we have not yet mixed and we are still working on the artwork. So it will not be released for a few months yet, but it will be the best thing we have done as a band and will make a real statement.

Sedulous Rouse

-Dave Wolff