Monday, September 25, 2017

Live Video Review: WARBRINGER Remain Violent

Remain Violent
Performed live at The Forge, Joliet, Illinois USA September 20, 2017
Warbringer is accompanying Dark Tranquillity on their Septermber/October North American tour and samples of a recent Illinois appearance are uploaded at Frank Garcia’s Youtube channel. Garcia filmed a song from Warbringer, Dark Tranquillity and Withering Soul at a Joliet club called The Forge last September 20 (the Canadian band Striker is said to be sharing the bill, but there is no video of theirs if they took part in this show). Garcia is still consistently posting fan’s eye views of visiting bands playing in his home state, and there are many more recent clips to peruse at his channel. My first impression of Warbringer when they started playing Remain Violent, a selection from their latest full length CD Woe To The Vanquished, was that they must be Slayer fans. The opening strains with their drum accents and lead passages called Hell Awaits to mind, and to a certain point those impressions carried throughout. I heard some elements of old Exodus and D.R.I. too but fortunately the similarities don’t’ dominate their musicianship too much. They bring enough of them in to incite their audience to get into the spirit of things, and the strongest tactility they display is the common eagerness and devotion to thrash metal that bands with the most longevity exposed at their hungriest. Mind you, this one song is my first exposure to Warbringer and it would be best to listen to their new album in its entirety before forming an opinion. For fans of old school thrash it’s a suitable introduction to this band since their capacity of compelling the listener to become enthusiastic about what they’re hearing is quite palpable. Remain Violent is reportedly about Trump America, again a sensitive topic Americans are firmly divided on. But as we know thrash bands have long chosen their positions about such topics, something that was inspired by punk and hardcore when the first crossover bands appeared around 1985 and ’86. Garcia captures the band’s live essence to where you feel you’re present for their set. All this has generated an interest in hearing the song as it was recorded in the studio as well as the rest of the album. -Dave Wolff

Sunday, September 24, 2017

CD Review: EVIL SEX PARTY E.S.P.

E.S.P.
Independent
The simplest way to begin this review is by stating this musical project applies to those who can appreciate something so left-field that categories aren't enough to describe how contradictory their qualities are. The project is EVIL SEX PARTY and they're an ambient group than anything else, though this isn't a project one can passively listen to as muzak. If one attempts doing that they'll dislike it and lose concentration. This one has to voluntarily, actively absorb. It doesn't sound awfully fun but the benefits are rewarding. They fuse sounds together to create one unified whole. The key is not to focus on the whole but the pieces the whole is composed of. The album is titled 'E.S.P.' and consists of seven pieces. First track 'Commencement' is the lengthiest track and admittedly it took me long to comprehend the group. For the first two minutes I was listening to this conglomeration of odd machinery samples and waiting for something to actually kick in (Spoiler alert. It doesn't.). Indeed, one has to use their imagination to a degree to put themselves into the zone. Once you get past the fact that it's "noise" and sounds the same to unaccustomed ears you can disassociate from the experience by focusing on one sphere of the sonic field. In doing so it becomes a great deal more interesting. 'Tangle of Flesh' is, on passive-listening, another uneventful short interlude. On a vigilant scale it is full of activity and you can hear the first real introduction of an instrument. In the distance you can faintly hear electric-guitars but it is advised not to focus on it for too long because you'll find you have missed other happenings. One begins to encounter the most "musical" piece. In 'Liturgy' you can hear something not too short of a melody. It is electronically-driven, arpeggiated (or square-wave if you want to be fancy) synthesizer tones. 'The Body and the Blood' features the most diverse array of sounds though I couldn't quite recall it after listening to the record. 'Transmogrification' is a pretty number whereas 'Communion' is utterly terrifying and the peak of the album. I'm 99% sure this piece is based upon the group's name as the human moaning that penetrate one's eardrums are redolent of an "evil sex party". Respite and its sacred offerings have never been more appreciated upon hearing 'Retreat to Light', a track to alleviate the tension the listener experiences. It is indeed an experience I'd recommend. Seemingly minimalistic, but maybe not quite so in reality. All the layers unfold and it becomes apparent EVIL SEX PARTY is something, to quote the group, to "listen at your own peril." -Jaime Regadas

Track list:
1. Commencement
2. Tangle Of Flesh
3. Liturgy
4. The Body And The Blood
5. Transmogrification
6. Communion
7. Retreat To Light



Film Review: 28 Days Later by Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Drama, Horror
Date of Release: November, 1, 2002
Director: Danny Boyle
Movie companies involved: DNA Films, UK Film Council
Produced by: Robert How as line producer, Andrew Macdonald as producer
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Megan Burns, Brendan Gleeson, Ricci Harnett, Stuart McQuarrie, Noah Huntley
Plot: A group of animal rights activists break into a lab and release monkeys from their cages to rescue them, despite warnings from a scientist that the monkeys are contagious.
As a result of the animal rights activists' actions, a virus that the monkeys had contained rapidly spread across Great Britain and infects numerous people. Jim, who fell into a coma following a bicycle accident shortly before the virus was released, emerges from his coma and finds that London is deserted. He realizes that he is not alone, as within the city there are those that have been infected and those that have not. Jim manages to find more survivors and they head out to Manchester, where a group of British military personnel offer protection of any survivors from the infected. However, Jim and his colleagues have no idea what they're in for.
Review: The movie shows us that any unhealthy fanaticism towards whatever cause it is isn’t good. The foolishness of breaking free the monkeys and the infection afterwards is the proof.
In the movie you can appreciate the struggle of survival in a very hostile situation, the rage virus isn’t forgiving. It’s what I could call a perfect virus because it DOES NOT kill the host really but takes over, filling them with an out-of-this-world anger.
It’s a different take on zombies actually yes they eat your flesh but unlike others they don’t eat your brain nor are really zombies since technically they still are alive.
Hope, desperation, anger, loneliness and lack of mercy towards others.
Those feelings are explored on the film; some characters even represent them in my opinion.
It is a movie I liked watching and could actually relate to the characters, the acting is quite good, the suspense is done just right and the disgusting truth about the soldiers is well built-up, it’s a shame people resort to such measures regardless of circumstances.
There is a sequel for this movie, called 28 Months Later which is also quite good, a good movie that will keep you in suspense and eager to see what happens.
Sometimes the hope is indeed the last thing to be lost. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Film Review: Cloud Atlas by Roberta J. Downing

Drama, Sci-Fi, Mystery
Released: October 2012
Written and Directed by: Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski
Produced by: Stefan Arndt, Grant Hill, Tom Tykwer, Lana and Lily Wachowski and many others.
Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Zhu Zhu, Keith David, and Susan Sarandon
A multifaceted web of how the actions and deeds of just one person can impact other people in the past, present and even the future. Ebbing and flowing from a single act of love and kindness can inspire others centuries later to start a uprising or how a man so full of greed can in another life time become one who gives all he has.
I have to say that I’m not often a fan of the flashing forward and backward in a movie however, in order to be able to tie the past to present and future this was necessary-ish. I honestly believe that the movements could have been done much smoothly than they were yet I did find myself drawn into the web of many lives the movie spanned.
This movie not only covers many lives but also many different issues such as slavery, racism and the proverbial evil being an ever constant battle. It goes to show that love and hate, loyalty and betrayal, death and rebirth are just different sides of the same coin. It also has aliens beings that seem to be stranded and viewed as different, almost God like with their technologies.
It was interesting, to say the least, watching how each actor played their parts for each era. There were times it was akin to watching Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde with the different transformations each character would undergo on another life time.
I do have to say that this film was especially long and there were times when I actually kept thinking that this is a good place to end the movie. Yes, there are some lulls in the film and I think most of that had to do with the flashing forward and back a multitude of times.
Lastly, I think all in all this was a very good movie but I do think that it might have been better perhaps a part one and part two. -Roberta J. Downing

Single Review: THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER Matriarch

Matriarch
From their new full length Nightbringers to be released on Metal Blade October 6
Detroit, Michigan’s own The Black Dahlia Murder, named after the 1947 unsolved murder of Hollywood waitress Elizabeth Short, have gained unforeseen popularity since their debut full length Unhallowed was released in 2003. Like Cannibal Corpse, they have fans in their camp who assert their inability to release a disappointing album. Nightbringers is their latest effort which is due to come out next month, and things are reportedly shaping up in anticipation. Pre-orders for the album are being said to have sold the highest number of copies in the history of Metal Blade records. It appears the label has worked particularly hard to push the band, and from that alone those efforts are beginning to pay off. The band is likewise channeling huge amounts of energy to promote Matriarch before its release on several social media and streaming sites. There has also been web activity including an interview with vocalist Trevor Strnad on Metal Sucks where he demonstrates his vocal technique. This is a comedic interview and not exactly intended to teach vocalists about the discipline of extreme metal vocals like other instructors, but it’s good for levity if your day hasn’t gone well. Matriarch is the second preview from Nightbringers; the first was a promotional video for the title track released last August. That video was filmed at a show the band had recently played and demonstrated the tight heavy groove they perfected through the 2000s and 2010s. The lighting the video captured from that show was fitting for the lyrics that assailed the misuse of religion as a ‘convert through fear’ mechanism. The lyrics of Matriarch is a graphic description of a serial killer and the fate of his pregnant girlfriend. This is delivered in full on slasher film mode, utterly intended to shock and horrify. The less hardened listener will have to keep reminding themselves it’s only a song but if you’re attuned to gory lyrics this song is ideal for entertainment value. The breakneck pace, blast beats, time changes, meticulous guitars and lead solos sound of the natural progression the band is said to develop by. The musicianship continues to reach new heights and sounds close to impossible to play, but there is no evidence of the band attempting to showboat their abilities or become too grandiloquent in their accomplishments. Metal Blade pre-orders are available in several vinyl and CD formats you can choose from. October sees the band touring to promote Nightbringers with guests Suffocation, Decrepit Birth, Necrot, and Wormwitch. -Dave Wolff


Saturday, September 23, 2017

EP Review: ANTZAAT The Black Hand Of The Father

The Black Hand Of The Father
To be released September 25, 2017
I recently heard of Antzaat when Surtur of Immortal Frost mailed me an advance copy of their debut EP. By now I can count on this label for quality extreme metal, as past promo packages from them have included Doedsvangr, Oath, From The Vastland and Astral Winter. These bands and the others on IFP will convince many it’s a label worth taking heed of. The label’s latest promo package with Antzaat’s CD and another CD from Drawn Into Descent arrived unexpectedly, and I figured there wasn’t much to lose by checking it out. This is not the first time I’ve made this observation, but The Black Hand Of The Father instantly brought me to when black metal began to mature and grow around 1996 to 1998, and began to realize the potential of the early Norwegian and Swedish bands. More elaborate progressions, selective addition of atmosphere and the earliest inklings of the ‘epic’ exposition writers topically associate with the genre. I listened to The Black Hand Of The Father several times and each time it grew on me a little more. The EP is limited to five hundred copies on compact disc so I’d suggest ordering a copy as soon as it’s made available. It’s also being released in digital download format if you prefer listening on your computer. Either way there should be a demand for it once the favorable reviews start circulating. The Belgian band takes all the archetypal fundamentals of late 90s black metal, magnifying them to a magnificent potency. Atmospheric presence, sunless and clouded, is imbued into their musicianship with a meticulous process so The Black Hand Of The Father has enough of an ethereal ambience without making it sound too oversaturated. The band knows what they are doing in this department as they hint at the immenseness of the universe they create, giving you enough to use your imagination and showing how much potential they have to progress. Equally stunning is how they ride roughshod through their songs, striking without warning from the start. The fuzzy guitar, distorted bass and hammering drums equalize ambient black metal, symphonic black metal, war metal and depressive suicidal black metal. Fans of everyone from Bal Sagoth to Maniac Butcher will be conscious of Antzaat’s drawing power. I should mention the time changes written into these songs which are executed in a steady, unforced manner. Circle Of Leeches is a fine example of this and one point from which the band should continue to sharpen their skills. Visit the band on Facebook for updates on shows and events they will be participating in. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Disciples Of The Concrete Temple
2. Rite Of The New Dawn
3. Circle Of Leeches
4. Hierachy Of The Battered
5. The Black Hand Of The Father

Friday, September 22, 2017

CD Review: SINICLE Angels & Demons

Angels & Demons
Independent
The long-awaited anticipation of SINICLE's new album, titled 'Angels & Demons' has finally reached its zenith as it has been officially released as of today. It is a real rollercoaster of dynamics and versatility as they strive to showcase the soft tones of melodic pop which is neatly embroidered in swarms of crushing heavy-rock passages. My first real introduction to the group was the song 'Damnation', the second song of this album. It featured an animated music video I distinctly remember being fascinated by due to its strange context. The notion I can take away from listening to the entire record is that they're a very unconventional group; forever coalescing harsh and raw musical offerings with polished bursts of neo-psychedelia. The real highlight for me is the title-track and its video; which is gripping both sonically and visually. It is a dark and brooding song in nature which evokes the feeling of a struggle with the self. It's one of the most professional videos I've ever seen by a group such as themselves who aren't getting nearly enough the attention they rightly deserve - and if you're on the off-chance hoping to see a fully-grown man drenched in black ink then you won't be disappointed. 'Death Coast' is definitely one of my favourites due to its reliance upon grooves. It features a mid-point section that wouldn't seem out of place in a COCTEAU TWINS record but primarily the song seems to showcase a death 'n roll inspired feel. 'Rabbit Hole' is a fast-paced ditty which I can only imagine to be a representation of the woodland creature protagonist on a sprint. 'Baltimore' is probably one of the album's focal point numbers due to how angst-ridden and aggressive it is. The group do have an experimental facet as they are keen to shock listeners with short instrumentals. To be even more precise they'd probably be considered "moments" above anything else due to how short and minimalistic in style these passages are. 'Esoteric' is fourteen-seconds long and consists solely of choppy guitar voicings which occur in rapid succession intermittently. 'DEER XING' is noise accompanied by phased harmonics whereas 'Miller Time' is a track I have a feeling is actually based upon an extended theme they originally wrote but had to shorten. It's an interesting piece but quickly disintegrates into the unknown. The final three numbers, 'Broken Silence', 'Free Like Me' and 'Operations Activate' are where the group seem at their most relaxed and focused. I think it's a strong record and would recommend anybody to give it a try because thereare moments that could virtually appeal to any type of listener. I'll be surprised if this isn't their breakthrough album. -Jaime Regadas

Track list:
1. DEER XING
2. Damnation
3. Death Coast
4. Angels & Demons
5. Miller Time
6. Rabbit Hole
7. Baltimore
8. Esoteric
9. Broken Silence
10. Free Like Me
11. Operations Activate

Film Review: The Terminator (1984) by Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Action, Sci-Fi
Date of Release: 26, October, 1984
Movie Company: Hemdale, Pacific Western, Euro Film Funding, Cinema ‘84/Greenberg Brothers partnership
Director: James Cameron
Produced by: John Daly as executive producer, Derek Gibson as executive producer, Gale Anne Hurd as producer/co-writer
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn and Linda Hamilton
Plot: A machine sent from 2029 to 1984 to prevent humanity to raise up in the future so it can win the war of Humanity vs Machines. His main Target? Sarah Connor, the mother of the Resistance leader. Humanity sent a lone hero, Kyle Reese to protect Sarah, can they defeat… The Terminator?
Review:
A classic, a cult film that started a franchise which expanded along the years with a masterfully crafted lore and a estable development.
The movie’s pace is quite enjoyable the characters are well-built. The best part is how it’s clear it’s an old-school style of film, more specifically for using the method of stop motion & animatronics, today mostly it’s just CGI.
Personally I think this is one of the films that you must have in your films-to-see list, it’s epic and shows us old school ain’t bad always.
A must-see for any sci-fi fan, it has a sequel, Terminator 2 which is also highly recomendable. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Single Review: CANNIBAL CORPSE Code Of The Slashers

Code Of The Slashers
From their upcoming album Red Before Black to be released on Metal Blade November 3, 2017
There seems to be a consensus among death metal fans that Cannibal Corpse is incapable of making a bad album. Twenty-nine years and fourteen studio efforts (including the monumental Eaten Back To Life, Vile, Gallery Of Suicide, Gore Obsessed and Kill) have gotten the band tremendous amounts of respect underground and aboveground. They have done so simply by sticking to their guns, touring ceaselessly and consistently setting new guidelines in the far-reaching world of extreme metal. Releasing the debut single from their next full length Red Before Black, they prove yet again a band can refine and better themselves while not losing sight of the brutality they want to infuse in their material and what their fans want to hear. Code Of The Slashers is guaranteed to please gore-soaked devotees of the band who expect nothing less than what they have routinely delivered since day one. Need I say more about this? The band also hope to share a bill with Slayer in the near future and I won’t be the least bit surprised if and when it happens. Again the band worked with noted producer Erik Rutan who helmed Kill, Evisceration Plague and Torture and his experience with them pays off here. The band made a promotional video for Code Of The Slashers that plays like a horror short, much like those independently produced and uploaded on Youtube channels. Those horror fans who like seeking out indie producers active on Youtube and those of you who saw Soylent Green will appreciate the imagination that went into the video, even if we instinctively know the turnout before it appears. It involves something of a dystopian future and a question of how to feed the brainwashed masses. The video was directed by Zev Deans of Panorama Programming, Christopher Raymond was director of photography and Beatrice Sniper did makeup and special effects. The band themselves intended the clip to be a tribute to Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Salem’s Lot, Poltergeist, Freddy’s Nightmares, Tales From The Crypt) who passed away last August. Starting in the end of October Cannibal Corpse will be touring Mexico, the U.S. and Europe. You can order tickets for some of their tour dates through Metal Blade. -Dave Wolff

Single Review: UPON SHADOWS Fatal Stigma Of The Realist (feat. Matti Torro on drums)

Fatal Stigma Of The Realist (feat. Matti Torro on drums)
To be released independently October 18
Natalia Arocena and Tamara Picardo return again with a single due for release next month. I have covered this band extensively and can’t think of a single instance when I was let down. I’m pleased to report there is no compromise to be found in their new song Fatal Stigma Of The Realist; in fact their vision appears to be growing more horrific and nightmarish as they continue composing material. The production here is flawless and brings out the atmosphere and subtle nuances they intended for this piece. Mika Pohjola was in charge of mixing and mastering this single when it was recorded at Oulu, Finland’s Soundmix recording studio. His work on it was the first thing to make an impression on me, though it goes without saying Upon Shadows and the term “beauty in darkness” are inseparable by now. The guitars and keyboards work incredibly well together, going far beyond simply complementing one another. On this song they really send a cold frost up your spine traveling straight to your brain and transforming your sense of self-awareness into an endless plain of ice. The piano, atmospheric guitars and backing vocals supporting the musicianship add multiple layers of this penetrating frigidity in a way that the band hadn’t previously accomplished. The vocals are much creepier than I remember from their older compositions. If you thought the demonic voices in The Exorcist and The Exorcism Of Emily Rose were perturbing you really should listen to Tamara Picardo’s vocals. It sounds like centuries decayed fingernails tearing pieces out of your brain matter, one clump at a time. Picardo is backed by bassist Arocena and drummer Matti Torro who both contribute greatly to the single’s depth and atmosphere. The band’s approach to playing this song fits subject matter that results from an equally intensive process of thought. The lyrics explore their concept of what they call “the inevitability of foreboding” which can be loosely explained as experiencing disconsolateness as well as bliss. Knowing one can’t exist without the other and knowing how finite mortality is, you can be sure this song makes its point. Ricardo Arocena’s artwork designed for the cover and the presentation of the video made for the song is compared to Oscar Wilde's The Portrait of Dorian Gray, something for readers of philosophical horror literature. Besides this I would recommend checking out Picardo’s beautifully executed dark ambient EP Hidden Terror Of All Dreams which was released in 2016. -Dave Wolff

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

CD Review: POKERFACE Game On

Game On
Molot Records
Pokerface are a band from Russia that has been featured before in this zine and plays a mixture of death and thrash metal and this is a review of their 2017 album "Game On" which was released by Molot Records.
A very heavy and melodic musical sound starts off the album and you can also hear all of the musical instruments that are present on the recording and after awhile death metal growls and screams start to make their presence known along with the faster sections also bringing in a great amount of blast beats.
A great amount of thrash influences can be heard in the guitar riffing and melodic singing can also be heard at times which also adds in a touch of power metal along with the songs also bringing in a great mixture of slow, mid paced and fast parts and when guitar solos and leads are utilized they stick to a very old school extreme metal style and while the music has a lot of 80's and 80's influences it still sounds very modern at the same time and clean playing can also be heard briefly.
Pokerface creates another recording that remains true to the death and thrash metal mixture of their previous release, the production sounds very professional while the lyrics cover Satanism, Anti Religion, Aggression and Blood themes.
In my opinion this is another great sounding recording from Pokerface and if you are a fan of death and thrash metal, you should check out this album. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "The Bone Ripper" "Blackjack (Demonic21)" "Bow! Run! Scream" and "Game On'. 8 out of 10. -Loki Astaroth

Track list:
1. The Bone Reaper
2. The Fatal Scythe
3. Play or Die
4. Blackjack (Demonic 21)
5. Straight Flush
6. Cry. Pray. Die.
7. Creepy Guests
8. Bow! Run! Scream!
9. Jackpot
10. Game On



This review can also be read at The True Bringer Of Death Zine. -DW

CD Review: BELDAM Still The Wretched Linger

Still The Wretched Linger
Beldam are a band from Virginia that plays a blackened mixture of doom and sludge metal and this is a review of their 2016 album "Still The Wretched Linger" which was released in June by Horror Pain Gore Death Productions.
A very heavy sludge metal sound starts off the album along with some grim black metal screams and the music also mixes in a great amount of doom metal elements and all of the musical instruments have a very powerful sound to them while death metal growls are also added into some parts of the songs.
Melodies can be heard in some of the guitar riffing and some songs also bring in a small amount of clean playing and some of the tracks are very long and epic in length and the solos and leads bring in elements of stoner metal and all of the songs stick to a very slow musical direction from beginning to ending of the recording.
Beldam plays a musical style that is mostly rooted in sludge and doom metal while also having more of a black metal vocal approach and a touch of death metal, the production sounds very professional while the lyrics cover death, despair, and decadence themes.
In my opinion Beldam are a very great sounding blackened mixture of sludge and doom metal and if you are a fan of those musical genres, you should check out this band. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Needles" "From Cradle To Grave" and "Beauty's martyr". 8 out of 10. -Loki Astaroth

Track list:
1. Needles
2. Blackened Violet
3. The Foundling
4. From Grave To Cradle
5. Salamander
6. Her Unbearing Abyss
7. Beauty's Martyr



This review can also be read at A Different Shade Of Black Metal Zine. -DW

EP Review: DUST ANGEL Lunar Mach V

Lunar Mach V
Independent
When Circus Of Power released their first album in 1989 I thought they were New York’s answer to Guns N Roses, with the tattoos, the street chic, the unlovely depictions of struggling for recognition among less than savory characters and most of all, the conviction in their music. Both bands introduced this reality to middle America and changed many a perception in the process. Between them, Iggy Pop, Velvet Underground and the New York Dolls there were many instances in which the Brady Bunch view of real life was encroached upon in stage presence, lyrics and attitude but there is something about Dust Angel that intimates these accounts with increased impenitent intrusion on perceptions of punk rock as a small gathering of embittered suburban kids who assume a rebellious role. Released back in April of 2014, Lunar Mach V is the stuff of pirate radio, a statement that is legitimately precarious. You get a feeling of unease just listening to it, as if one of those unsavory characters is lurking down the street from your home, or perhaps right outside your front door. The closest I’ve heard someone come to this effect was Lydia Lunch on albums like Uncensored/Oral Fixation which revealed the ugly side of humanity in a way that lingered with you long afterward. Lunch said striking out on your own is no pretty picture, and Dust Angel will relate the same message to you. Whether the soundtrack is punk, punk/rock and roll, hardcore punk, pop or metal there is no distinction between the songs in terms of the unwholesome squalor communicated through the guitars and the tight bass/drum ensemble behind them. The vocals assumed a semblance of someone who left home at an early age and saw a lot of things. Hustling, drug addiction, violence, lust, and other things seemingly too horrible to discuss at social gatherings. A line from Lucky 7 would likely sum up the theme this EP personifies: “I’ll wind up in heaven or hell, you never can tell.” But you really should listen to it for yourself to comprehend the reproduction of life on the street. The songs here are intended to be part of an upcoming conceptual album set to be titled The Life & Times of Stig Rotsky Revisited. Be forewarned this is in no way typical college radio pop-punk. -Dave Wolff

Track list
1. Love Is Between My Legs
2. Lucky 7
3. In The Thirsty Hour
4. Temptress
5. Necrophilia

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Single Review: GWAR El Presidente

El Presidente
From their upcoming full length The Blood Of Gods out on Metal Blade October 20
This single from The Blood of Gods is nothing less than what we come to expect from the powerhouse known as GWAR. Once again we get the loud, hardwired, in your face metal we love. They say what we all think and, feel and they are definitely not afraid to do it. This song is the same words a large majority of all of us, what we think and how we feel. The Berserker Blothar- lead howler, Beefcake the Mighty- bass guitar,vocals, Pustulus the Maximus- lead guitar, vocals, Balsac the Jaws 'o Death- rhythm guitar,vocals, JizMak da Gusha- drums, Bonesnapper- bodyguard, crappy vocals, Sawborg Destructo- annoying nemisis, annoying vocals. The Blood of Gods is the first album released by GWAR since the passing of former frontman Oderus Urungus in 2014. And I am sure he is smiling upon them with pride for this badass masterpiece. -Deanna Revis

Film Review: Cloud Atlas by Roberta J. Downing

Drama, Sci-Fi, Mystery
Released: October 2012
Written and Directed by: Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski
Produced by: Stefan Arndt, Grant Hill, Tom Tykwer, Lana and Lily Wachowski and many others.
Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Zhu Zhu, Keith David, and Susan Sarandon
A multifaceted web of how the actions and deeds of just one person can impact other people in the past, present and even the future. Ebbing and flowing from a single act of love and kindness can inspire others centuries later to start a uprising or how a man so full of greed can in another life time become one who gives all he has.
I have to say that I’m not often a fan of the flashing forward and backward in a movie however, in order to be able to tie the past to present and future this was necessary-ish. I honestly believe that the movements could have been done much smoothly than they were yet I did find myself drawn into the web of many lives the movie spanned.
This movie not only covers many lives but also many different issues such as slavery, racism and the proverbial evil being an ever constant battle. It goes to show that love and hate, loyalty and betrayal, death and rebirth are just different sides of the same coin. It also has aliens beings that seem to be stranded and viewed as different, almost God like with their technologies.
It was interesting, to say the least, watching how each actor played their parts for each era. There were times it was akin to watching Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde with the different transformations each character would undergo on another life time.
I do have to say that this film was especially long and there were times when I actually kept thinking that this is a good place to end the movie. Yes, there are some lulls in the film and I think most of that had to do with the flashing forward and back a multitude of times.
Lastly, I think all in all this was a very good movie but I do think that it might have been better perhaps a part one and part two. -Roberta J. Downing

Monday, September 18, 2017

Film Review: The Exorcism Of Emily Rose by Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Drama, Horror, Thriller
Date of Release: 9, September, 2005
Movie Companies involved: Firm Films, Lakeshore Entertainment, and Screen Gems
Director: Scott Derrickson
Produced by: Paul Harris Boardman as producer, Beau Flynn as producer, Andre Lamal as executive producer, Gary Lucchesi as producer, David McIlvain as executive producer, Terry McKay as executive producer, Tom Rosenberg as producer, David Rubin as line producer, Tripp Vinson as producer, Julie Yorn as executive producer
Starring: Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Jennifer Carpenter
Plot: A lawyer takes on a negligent homicide case involving a priest who performed an exorcism on a young girl that was possessed and ended up on her death, her name was Emily Rose.
Review:
Well it’s one of those “jewels” where you can find excellent acting –especially the possession & college paranoia scenes- Jennifer really nailed it if you ask me. The gradual possession is the best part since it starts as a little thing slowly escalating into a full-blown situation. It’s also based on a real story, Anneliese Michel’s. If you got free time and like paranormal/horror themed movies, this is an enjoyable one, for a time that is. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

CD Review: PERIHELION Örvény

Örvény
To be released November 10, 2017
An oneiric voyage through the galaxy is an apposite description for the dazed tones of PERIHELION'S third studio album, titled 'Örvény', which is set to be released on 10 November 2017 via Lyon-based record label Apathia Records. Their unique conglomeration of wistful cosmic psychedelia and aggressive post-rock is akin to one's pleasant voyage through space being interrupted momentarily by an asteroid strike. Which would of course come as a surprise though it doesn't take long until the initial impact of the collision is cushioned by the serenity of the traveller's later experiences. This, although obscure, is the only way I can figuratively describe the sound they express. It is soft and atmospheric, rarely "metal" by the standards the genre sets. It is in fact more inspired by a conceptual theme which gives the seven tracks a conjoined aspect. All of the lyrics are in Hungarian though critics shouldn't be put off by this; once you begin listening to it you become entranced into a hypnotizing haze and become a shimmer of rotting energy, a gradual form of decay as the fading light flickers in one's stream of consciousness. It begins with 'Kihalt égi Folyosók', which is probably one of the heavier numbers. You've got emphatic snare 'n drum interplay the permeating substance held through the ordeal are raindrops upon raindrops of ambient guitar swells, cushioning the congealed material underneath until you realize it's the equivalent of shrouding a stone with a blanket. 'Bolyongó' is more "dynamic" in comparison due to its more intricate percussion. It's a rock song but it's around this point that you begin to realize you gradually sink into a pit of tranquility and the rock music stylizations become less pronounced. 'Fényt!' is probably the one I enjoyed the most. It has an intro that is a little too long for my liking but it quickly finds its soul in the form of good chord progressions. The title track is long and sprawling yet it does evoke interesting thoughts. For me they're a group that rely more on atmosphere than anything else; - and admittedly I'm not the biggest lover of that. A lot of it does feel like "jam sessions" and it can feel meandering but I like that there's a strong resilience in the group's desire to play the way they wish to. 'Romokon' is nice enough but doesn't truly interest me from a structural point of view. 'Ébredő Táj' is a better track for me personally because there's a lot more highs-and-lows in the dynamics and versatility. I think they're a group that are kind of on the fence between being a 'rock' band and an 'ambient' group. I feel in many ways they're too ambient for a rock fanbase and too "rocky" for an ambient fanbase. Perhaps it is the intention of the group to combine the sonic qualities of both but you don't get an awful lot to work with. It is important to give them a listen though because they ARE diverse and I can imagine one's opinion will differ from the next. -Jaime Regadas

Track list:
1. Kihalt égi Folyosók
2. Bolyongó
3. Fényt!
4. Örvény
5. Romokon
6. Ébredő Táj
7. Bardó

Film Review: Dark Song (2016) by Roberta J. Downing

Drama, Horror
Released: April 2016
Directed and Written by: Liam Gavin
Produced by: Rory Gilmartin, Eoin O’Faolain, Hannah Thomas, Kimberly Warner and others
Starring: Mark Huberman, Susan Loughnane, Steve Oram
A young lady and a broken occult practitioner put everything on the line including their souls to do a ritual that will give them whatever they desire. Based on a real ritual that Alistair Crowley did at Loch Ness he called The Dark Song.
I didn’t find the film particularly scary although it did have a little suspense scattered here and there. The film mostly focuses on the relationship of Sophia who isn’t handling the grief very well and Solomon who is suffering from the DTs from lack of alcohol consumption.
Mr. Solomon suspects that Sophia is not being totally honest with him about her son and gives the impression that the murder was maybe not as it seemed. Sophia seems to not care for Solomon at all as he comes off as brash, bullying and quite abusive as we see him time and again degrade her in ways even she didn’t think were possible.
The ritual is quite intense with drinking human blood, water torture, sex and that’s just the middle of it. Of course we have the white chalk with symbols on the floor, magical books, lots of bubbly potions going on so it does give us a much better view on Crowley and perhaps what his real intentions were when he created the spell. -Roberta J. Downing

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Single Review: GWAR El Presidente

El Presidente
From their upcoming full length The Blood Of Gods out on Metal Blade October 20
As long time fans probably know, Gwar is a band that has survived a lot since releasing Hell-O in 1988. It goes without saying that the untimely passing of founding member Dave Brockie aka Oderus Urungus left a void in the worlds of shock rock and underground metal that is felt to this day. As much as the body of work he left behind, the Dave Brockie Foundation was created to keep his memory alive. And the fifth annual Gwar-B-Q in Brockie’s Richmond, Virginia hometown held a Viking funeral for the Oderus character. The band decided to continue and three years after Brockie’s passing they are preparing to release their first album since 2013’s Battle Maximus. Fuck This Place was the first video made to promote The Blood Of Gods, and was released in Brockie’s memory. This song and the performance where the video was filmed (most likely during the Vans Warped Tour) shows what Gwar have always excelled at: critiquing popular entertainment and the goings on we see in the news with their own brand of blood and gore soaked black humor. Wherever he is, I would think Brockie would be proud to know the band is persevering as musical and visual innovators. According to Metal Blade records, The Blood Of Gods represents a “massive battle between Gwar and the forces of all that is uptight and wrong with the world… from politics, pollution and organized religion to fast food and factory farming.” After three decades their vision remains of addressing the ills and corruption of the world around them, conveying their message through the metaphor of human beings as a parasitic infection. A minute sample of what Gwar slaves can expect from their new recording, their second preview of their new album El Presidente contemplates the political climate of Trump America and the public division prevalent among Americans since Trump’s election. In the tradition of America Must Be Destroyed and War Party, they pull no punches and leave no stone unturned when it comes to offering scathing and sardonic social commentary. In the age of media spin and the “fake news” controversy in which it’s progressively harder to decide what the truth is, it’s satisfying there are still musicians out there who are unafraid to air their viewpoints without the pop music escapism dominating the airwaves. Gwar is touring from September to December in support of The Blood Of Gods, and Metal Blade is updating news on their activities regularly. -Dave Wolff

Film Review: Iron Man by Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Action, Sci-Fi
Date of Release: April, 14, 2008 (premiere)
Companies involved: Marvel Enterprises, Marvel Studios, Paramount Pictures, Legion Entertainment, Dark Blades Films, and Fairview Entertainment
Director: Jon Favre
Produced by: Victoria Alonso as co-producer, Ari Arad as executive producer, Peter Billingsley as executive producer, Louis D'Esposito as executive producer, Ross Fanger as executive producer, Jon Favre as executive producer and director, Kevin Feige as producer, Eric Heffron as associate producer (as Eric N. Heffron), Jeremy Latcham as associate producer, Stan Lee as executive producer, David Maisel as executive producer
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow
Plot: A rich man, Tony Stark is kidnapped by a terrorist organization, after getting mortal shrapnel wound to his heart he’s saved by a man named Ho Yinsen, who creates a device to keep Tony alive.
Tony refines it and eventually escapes, creating the first Iron Man suit also known as Mark 0. When he returns to civilization, he refines the suit into the Mark 1 and the Iron Man odyssey starts, the road to shredding the ghosts of the past away and what it entails begins.
Review:
It’s a very interesting take on the comics, the fact that RJD is the one chosen as Tony to me it’s quite a good thing, personally speaking, and I can’t imagine the Iron Man franchise without him as Tony.
The acting is quite impressive, most specifically in the struggle scene for a heart or the hate in Stark eyes when he found out of the terrorist’s further work using his weapons.
The visual effects like the HUD on the helmet and t he fighting scenes are also remarkable.
However I didn’t liked Terrence Howard’s work as Rhodey didn’t felt connected unlike his successor on IM 2 & 3.
All in all it’s a must-see film if you’re new to Marvel and their work, even so since it’s the start point for the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) which then expands into many other films that are related to each other. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Adaptation Review: H.P. Lovecraft’s The Picture In The House

H.P. Lovecraft’s The Picture In The House
Read by Andrew Leman
Score by Fabio Frizzi
To be released October 13, 2017
I have been meaning to read more of H.P. Lovecraft for some time, and after hearing about this release from Cadabra Records now would be a fitting time to start. Likewise I have been raving about this independent label for the contributions it has made to classic horror literature in recent years. My latest review on Cadabra Records’ behalf was for their adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound Of The Baskervilles last July. Andrew Leman’s reading of The Picture In The House will fuel the interest I’ve taken in Lovecraft after The Shadow Over Innsmouth. Lovecraft wrote The Picture In The House on December 12 of 1920; its first publication was the July 1919 edition of The National Amateur, which came out in the summer of 1921. In my research I found the short story adapted at several Youtube channels including Free Ebooks, Ghastly Tales and Chilling Tales For Dark Nights. Some film versions of the piece were even made; one by Gary Lobstein Day 304 Productions was the official selection of the 2009 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival. Cadabra’s adaptation is particularly special since stage/screen/audio actor Andrew Leman is the founder of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society and was involved in film versions of Lovecraft’s writings: The Call Of Cthulhu, The Whsperer In Darkness and The Testimony Of Randolph Carter to name a few. Here he is joined by Fabio Frizzi, a renowned Italian composer who has written the soundtracks for the indie milestones Zombi 2, City Of The Living Dead, The Beyond, Manhattan Baby and most recently House Of Forbidden Secrets. This historical meeting of these two horror industry icons feels like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to catch, like a solar eclipse or the appearance of a comet. Leman and Frizzi collaborate on a reworking of a classic about cannibalism in an isolated New England backwood home that predates Tobe Hooper’s original Texas Chainsaw Massacre by half a century. The tale depicts a trip through Lovecraft’s Miskatonic Valley in New England, seeking shelter from a coming storm the protagonist meets an old, ragged man speaking in a very old Yankee dialect. There he finds a rare book that was in the old man’s possession for many years, more than he would have expected to live. If you haven’t read this story, you should acquire this release to see what happens. My infatuation with cannibal fiction has remained through the years from when I watched the indie films of Umberto Lenzi and Ruggero Deodato to when I started reading Lovecraft and Shirley Jackson (The Summer People). As I’ve said the efforts of Cadabra Records are exemplary for fans of splatter flicks and extreme metal fans. The grim foretoken at the beginning (“The haunted wood and the desolate mountain are their shrines, and they linger around the sinister monoliths on uninhabited islands”) is given funereal ebullience on this release. It is available in a deluxe LP edition with art by Jeremy Hush, an eight page booklet, liner notes by S.T. Joshi, notes by Fabio Frizzi and much more. A limited “blood”-filled edition will also be made available from Cadabra. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. The Picture in the House read by Andrew Leman
2. The Score by Fabio Frizzi

Friday, September 15, 2017

Film Review: Ultraviolet by Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Action, sci-fi
Date of Movie Release: march 3, 2006 (USA)
Movie Company: Screen Gems, Ultravi Productions
Director: Kurt Wimmer
Produced by: Wan Allen as line producer (as Allen Wan), John Baldecchi as producer, Pauline Chan as producer, Rita Fung as line producer, Sue Jett as executive producer, Tony Mark as executive producer, Wai Sum Shia as line producer, Louis Sit as co-producer, Charles Wang as executive producer, T.C. Wang as executive producer
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Cameron Bright, Nick Chinlund
Review:
A colorful one, the struggle is palpable. The special effect like the flaming sword, for example, the holographic decoy, it appeals, same as the fight scenes but it just isn’t enough to make it a classic.
I’ll be blunt, it isn’t THE film, has some continuity errors with stuff like wearable items for example. And other little things
The story is decent, an anti-heroine type in a quest with an emotional twist when 6 is introduced, the characters are developed a bit fast for my taste especially Violet’s as not really much info on her is provided.
It’s a film you can watch maybe 1-2 at most 3 times before getting bored, not a bad one not a memorable one either. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Single Review: RAM Gulag

Gulag
From their upcoming full length Rod to be released on Metal Blade November 3
Groups with a sound consciously appertaining to the roots of traditional heavy metal are currently widespread in popularity in the heart of Sweden. Don't let that modern commercial appeal put you off, though. RAM are a step-above many of their Swedish contemporaries; partially because they've been around much longer and are intransigently bursting with high experience in songwriting. Their upcoming LP 'Rod' is expected to hit the market on November 3, 2017 and has already elicited tons of mixed responses prior to its release date. A semi-concept story spanning across six songs from the beginning of the B-side to the end will definitely attract advocates of existing heavy metal concept records. It is based upon what I can only estimate to be a fictional character by the name of "Ramrod". Nonetheless the A-side of the record has garnered public attention, too, particularly with the release of their single 'Gulag', which is a mid-paced rocker which drives its self from the beginning to the very end. Seven-minutes long in its totality; the track builds itself upon a common musical theme and a constantly simultaneous display of solid yet slow tempos and galloping riffs; a rhythmic trait also found in groups like RATT and DEMON. What I particularly admire about this group is that they, unlike many other modern acts, don't try to consciously emulate what was happening musically in New Wave of British Heavy Metal sub-culture of the Eighties; - instead, they opt for a more individualistic quality which I find to be very bold. They don't fit into the pigeonholing of "trad-metal" because one hears a lot of modern influences in their stuff, too. I can hear they're clearly influenced by JUDAS PRIEST, SAXON, DIO, and perhaps DEMON but that's as far as I'd consider their NWOBHM roots to go. I'd say they've much more in common with CRIMSON GLORY as opposed to IRON MAIDEN and they're probably closer to QUEENSRYCHE than ANGEL WITCH. They're a unique amalgamation of American and European styles and I'd say they're probably one of the most prolific and unyielding groups for building their own identity. -Jaime Regadas

Thursday, September 14, 2017

CD Review: EXHUMED Death Revenge

Death Revenge
To be released October 13
If you’re prepared for your eardrums to hemorrhage like Dick Van Patten in High Anxiety (but in a good way). Exhumed’s Death Revenge is to check out when it’s released next month. The San Jose, California band have been through the death metal revolution since 1991 and are the likely originators of the term “gore metal” from their 1998 album of the same name. All that time they’ve remained dedicated to the cause, faithfully releasing an endless succession of demos, singles, splits and full length CDs (six in all) of brutally heavy music. Aside from a six year hiatus from 2005 to 2011 they’ve left a mark on extreme metal that cannot be erased, and with a reformed lineup, recognition from major magazines and a track record of touring and fest appearances they’re stronger than ever as Death Revenge will reveal to everyone. Achieving their recent underground success from the grassroots is further testimony to the staying power of DM bands and their refusal to bow to trends. Exhumed establish their maturity with the album’s opening track Death Revenge Overture, a classical piece with undertones that make it sound like it would work as part of a soundtrack to a horror movie. There is another piece like this appearing midway through the album, Gravemakers Of Edinburgh. As an intro to the second half of Death Revenge it offers more of a transcendent interpretation of the material, giving it additional weight and depth. The Anatomy Act Of 1832 which makes its presence known toward the end opens with another classical intro before the song begins with a melodic feel matching the emotion of the classical instruments. As for the songs I haven’t touched on, Defenders Of The Grave, Dead End, Unspeakable, A Funeral Party and Incarnadined Hands crush like Grave, Unleashed and Bolt Thrower did at the start of their careers, with much more quantities of energy, melody and precision. Exhumed’s adherence to the early 90s ethos of playing brutal music holds up well after two and a half decades have passed, proving there are no rules to play by The band will be touring with The Black Dahlia Murder, Suffocation, Decrepit Birth and others in November and making an appearance at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest in San Bernardino, California on November 5. See Earsplit for the latest news on these dates and check out the band's promotional video for Lifeless below. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Death Revenge Overture
2. Defenders Of The Grave
3. Lifeless
4. Dead End
5. Night Work
6. Unspeakable
7. Gravemakers Of Edinburgh
8. The Harrowing
9. A Funeral Party
10. The Anatomy Act Of 1832
11. Incarnadined Hands
12. Death Revenge



Single Review: ENSIFERIUM For Those About to Fight for Metal

For Those About to Fight for Metal
From their upcoming full length Two Paths to be released on Metal Blade September 15, 2017
http://www.metalblade.com
ENSIFERUM; a group that has been highly revered amidst the corridors of folk-inspired metal for almost two decades have released a fist-pumping single titled 'For Those About to Fight for Metal', which is taken from their newest studio LP 'Two Paths' which is set to be released on September 15 2017. It is a highly cinematic five-minute event which features a ton of lavish orchestral passages and folk-influenced melodic interchanging. The choruses are anthemic and driving. It becomes apparent immediately upon listening to the song whether you're a new listener or a long-time advocate of the group that they owe much more homage to a more dated and medieval folk tradition as opposed to contemporary folk songwriting. The perennial drive of the storming double-bass accompanied exquisitely by high-energy choir voicings act as a clear indication that this is a very "warrior" themed type of song. Whether it is "viking metal" or not is subjective. I personally think there's too much dynamics within the music for it to be categorized within the aforementioned subgenre although others will obviously disagree. It's a song that will interest new fans and old fans of the group alike and is a very wholesome flag-bearing track for the modern metal community. I can see this being quite a big hit. -Jaime Regadas

CD Review: ARGUS From Fields of Fire

From Fields of Fire
The album, released September 8, 2017, is the bands fourth full length album. The band hailing from Franklin Pennsylvania is currently on tour in Europe with High Spirits. They have a classic metal, old school with a high energy modern sound. They are epic, doom metal. The track 216 really spoke to me. It says to brave the flames you need peace within the soul. That is so true in most any situation. You have to be at peace within yourself. Argus (not to be confused with Argus from Tampa Florida) is made up of Jason Mucio-guitar influenced by Marty Friedman among others, Butch Balich-vocals influenced by Ronnie James Dio as well as others, Kevin Latchaw-drums influenced by Tommy Lee and Dave Lombardo just to name a couple, Dave Watson-guitar influenced by Tony Iommi just to name one, and Justin Campbell-bass gets his influence from Les Claypool and Geddy Lee and others. I definitely recommend this album. Make sure to listen to No Right To Grieve and You Are The Curse, and all the rest of the album. It is a good one and worth the listen. Also check out Dead Horse Trauma and Generator. -Deanna Revis

Track list:
1. Into The Fields Of Fire
2. Devils Of Your Time
3. As A Thousand Thieves
4. 216
5, You Are The Curse
6. Infinite Lives Infinite Doors
7. Hour Of Longing
8. No Right To Grieve
9. From The Fields Of Fire

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Film Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Roberta J. Downing

Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure
Released: December 16, 2016
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Produced by: Simon Emanuel, Kiri Hart, Finni Johannsson, John Knoll and others
Written by: Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy (Screenplay)
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Spenser Wilding, Daniel Naprous, and James Earl Jones (the voice of Darth Vader), Ingvild Deila, Anthony Daniels and others.
Plot: The Rebel Alliance makes a bold plan to steal the architecture plans for the Death Star which is a new weapon that has been developed and unknown what destructive powers it may have. That action is the set up for this impressive story.
Throughout the Star Wars saga we are all given clues and hints of people, places and events and Simon and Kiri certainly did their best to try to fill in the gaps that would give us a “Uh huh” moment or even a moment of everything now makes since sort of like putting the last few puzzle pieces together. Or at least that’s what Gareth tried to do with a script that was poorly written.
Edwards tried his best within the confines of the, well let’s call it as it is, a piss poor script and from that the film was just eh.
I expected to see a film that flowed and was easy to follow and yet in reality the film was like watching something that was just bits and pieces.
The actors did a wonderful job in their roles given the confines of a less than acceptable script they had to follow. I’m not sure how much leeway the actors had in making the role their own or improvising and I think this is one film that I can honestly say- the movie wasn’t horrible or bad because of the actors.
I will admit ‘some’ of the action scenes are pretty intense but a couple of those compared to the entirety does not a movie make.
I am an avid Star Wars fan, having read the books and watched the movies so for me, the screenwriters did not really accomplish putting all the puzzle pieces into place and I certainly did not get the “Uh huh” moment. Instead, I was left with “what the hell was that.”
I rate this a 2 out of 5. -Roberta J. Downing

This review can also be read at Roberta J. Downing’s blog. -DW

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

CD Review: TOMMY STEWART'S DYERWULF Tommy Stewart's Dyerwulf

Tommy Stewart's Dyerwulf
As you would guess, Dyerwulf is fronted by bassist Tommy Stewart, best known for his work with the US thrash band Hallow’s Eve and the US heavy metal band Warrior before them. Other projects Stewart has been involved in are the black/death metal band Lestregus Nosferatus, progressive doom metallers Bludy Gyres and a solo project he founded in 2015. This latest endeavor of his began in 2016 as a bass/drums ensemble, with no guitars or synthesizers, with drummer Eric Vogt completing the lineup. Tommy Stewart's Dyerwulf is touted as doom metal, but I can see listeners of industrial and depressive suicidal black metal appreciating them as much as doom metal fans, perhaps even more so. The dank ambience and banausic monotone has a certain despondent attraction all its own; while some may initially find it too plodding and redundant, something about the grievous presentation of these songs beguiles you to stay. Whether it’s Stewart’s ghostly vocal style, or that he and Vogt recorded the entire album live, or that the material has such a basic and bare bones sensibility. Or it’s more likely that all these attributes joined together beget an apocalyptic style that has more in common with what it would be long after a catastrophic event that wiped out every living creature on earth and nothing was left in all the world except decaying structures and charred landscapes. Behold! Your World Now Burns, Through A Dead Man's Eye and Horrorshow fit this illustration of the end of all things, and there is even a cover song from The Monkees reworked and reinterpreted to correspond with the decrepitude the band bring into being. Porpoise Song as it’s included here sounds like the final gasp of life everywhere. The dispirited attitude is reflected in cover art by Jeff Grimal that yields a minute sample of the murkiness within. An album like this may be an acquired taste but if you’re so inclined you’ll get a great deal out of checking it out. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Lilith Crimson Deep
2. Behold! Your World Now Burns
3. Through A Dead Man's Eye
4. Porpoise Song [The Monkees]
5. Horrorshow
6. The Man Who Sold Rope To The Gnoles
7. Prince Of Fools
8. With Darkened Eyes

Band Interview: HEPTAEDIUM

HEPTAEDIUM
Interview with Florent Lambert

Hello folks! We're joined here today by HEPTAEDIUM, a group that have displayed an incredible fortitude in their unyielding willingness to push boundaries over the last few years and a group that I'm personally very fond of. Thank you for joining us here at AEA! Now, for the sake of our readers, take us back to the very beginning. When was the project formed and how was the project formed?
Heptaedium was formed in 2012, I felt the need to express myself and experiment news things musically speaking. I opened a laptop, eat some baguette and began producing some random tracks. In 2015 I released "Kawai!!" and from then I can't stop... my consumption of baguette has doubled.

What is the current line-up of the project?
I'm the only musician/composer in the band, because I want to be the only mind behind the music. But an old friend of mine plays guitars for live gigs. 

Your first two studio albums have managed to elicit many positive responses; not only from sectors of the metal community but also from fan communities as diverse as electronica, Chiptune, synth-wave and ambient. It's rather apparent to us that the project could be described as an ever-evolving melting pot of modern styles. Was it a conscious decision of yours to combine as many modern genres and cultures as possible?
It's a conscious and an unconscious thing. The mix of all the kind of music that influences me is what makes the identity of my music but it's not a goal to put "everything" in it. What I mean is it starts from a desire to make something that please me without giving myself artistic borders. If tomorrow I feel the need to make an album of Symphonic-Brutal-Zumbafitnesscore or something more "Roots" with less genres but without leaving what makes Heptaedium what it is, I will do it. It depends of the moment, the "needs" of the song, etc...

Who / what were your biggest influences at the beginning?
Life! My environment, the baker near my house, people in general, everything surrounding me. Musically speaking, the artists/bands that helped me build myself, I would say: Slipknot, Meshuggah, Hate Eternal, Enslaved, Agalloch, Veil Of Maya, Periphery, Motionless Battle, The Algorithm, Venetian Snares and Oyaarss to name a few. You can add to that my love for Science Fiction stuff like Blade Runner or Ghost In The Shell or my love for NES Video Game music like Solstice, Metroid, Castlevania etc. and I think you have a good part of my major influences.

One thing that really interests me is the project's perennial fascination with Japanese terminology, aesthetics and culture. It's very rare that you find groups associated with metal contemporaneously associated with terms like 'kawaii', - but for me personally I think that's great albeit a tad eccentric. How exactly did the Japanese influence creep its way into the group?
As a 90s child, Japanese pop culture have had a great influence in my life in general. When you're a child, you're fascinated by stuff like anime, Video games, cars and girls! And when you grow up a little you discover that it's also some values like fighting spirit, respect, fun... girls! And what has an influence in your life has an influence in your music, whether it's Japanese pop culture or something else. We are what surrounds us.

Now, I'm guessing as a project you're very pre-occupied with the upcoming release of your third studio album. Tell us a little bit about the album - what is it called and what is the current planned release date?
The album is called "How Long Shall I Suffer Here?” It's composed of 10 violent and glitchy tracks. It will be out October 6.

Is there any particular lasting impression you're hoping to make with the new album?
I’m not really thinking about that, I’m making this album in great part for trying to say something to someone important for me. I mean... I don't have the pretention to make anything to be honest. But if I can make extra-money with it, it's already a good thing I guess.

Now, I'm probably one of the few outside the HEPTAEDIUM camp that has actually listened to the album in its entirety prior to its release date. One particular quality I've noticed is that there's a lot of newly-found pessimism in the song titles and it's probably your darkest album atmospherically so far. Was that an intended choice?
It's more like a fatality than a choice I would say. Music is a tool that allow me to express myself, to catalyze what I'm feeling at a precise moment in time.

Will there be any touring to coincide with the release of your new album?
Some few gigs here and there but nothing special for the moment.

Now from what I've heard you used to be signed to a label called Kitty on Fire but you've recently switched to the more well-known Apathia Records. What exactly was the reasoning behind this change?

One question I've been dying to ask is if there's any particular significance behind the name 'HEPTAEDIUM', and what exactly does it translate to?
Yes, there is a real signification behind the name. It's the contraction of two Latin words, "Hepta" and "Taedium", the number seven and the disgust. Without much details, this number is like a curse to me.

Are there any future plans in stall for the group i.e. a fourth studio album?
I'm currently composing an EP of 7 tracks which is scheduled to be released in February 2018.


-Jaime Regadas