Thursday, August 31, 2017

CD Review: BRIQUEVILLE II

II
To be released September 29, 2017
A band shrouding itself in mystery to invite the unsuspecting into their dark recesses, Briqueville present their music and stage persona as one essence. Unlike Mataniak whose performance video Touch Of Silence I reviewed this month, this band personifies a purely occult ritual that must be encountered personally and contiguously to be appreciated. The question as usual arises of what the band have to offer underground music that is all their own. With songs lasting from eleven to nineteen minutes, their ritual slowly and progressively takes hold of you until you are completely immersed. The mystery they bring to the stage is based on an impersonal sense characterized by the donning of ritual robes and masks onstage and even during rehearsals, to call attention solely to their compositions. This sounds simplistic but once you hear their material you’ll get a sense of substance over style you hadn’t expected, but in many ways it takes patience. The band is as minimalist musically as aesthetically, constructing most of their material on a single note and taking complete license with it. Conceptually they’re the same; their imagination was sparked during a chance meeting when a stranger passed them a news article he had kept in his possession for seventy years. II is their second full length, following their self-titled debut album from 2014, and if you thought Sunn O))) were heavy you have to see how well Briqueville surpasses most doom metal bands. I had to turn the volume down while listening so as not to disturb anyone within earshot. The musicians comprising the band were involved in other situations in their local jazz, metal and electro scenes, and in addition to their minimalism you hear noise, grit, atmosphere and the shadowy themes you sometimes hear from jazz music. If you listen closely enough you likewise might hear Pink Floyd. Often a song goes from one mood to another that seems strangely detached from the last. In each section the riffs and progressions are repetitive to the extent of somnolescence, then comes an unexpected break into a new section. It all makes sense however when taking in the complete picture. The more you listen, the more you realize how each new section builds on the last. Each section of each song contributes to a narrative that is breathtakingly dramatic and allows for an appreciation of the catharsis you experience in the end. This catharsis cannot be fully comprehended until you listen to this album for yourself. Do so late at night with all the lights out. Pre-orders are available at Pelagic Records. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. AKTE V
2. AKTE VI
3. AKTE VII

EP Review: DEATHRONED The Curse Of Power

The Curse Of Power
Independent
Paris; widely regarded as the quintessential city of all that is fine, splendid and regal due to its beloved association with romance, high art, fashion, glamour and.. thrash metal? Oh, goodness, most certainly not, or at least not as far as we traditionally know. Nonetheless DEATHRONED, the Paris-formed power trio consists of Arno Mazzari on vocals / guitars, Julien Caudmont on bass / backing vocals and David Caudmont on drums. Formed in 2012, the group have released two recordings thus far; a demo titled 'Fallen in Vain' and an EP titled 'The Curse of Power', the latter of which I will be focusing on due to the fact that above all else it's quite an underrated release. An EP, yes, but it's incredibly strong for what it does. The cover art sets the atmosphere with its semi-futuristic urbanized dystopian landscape, not totally dissimilar to NUCLEAR ASSAULT's 'Game Over' as far as imagery goes. However, on to the real question; - is the music as daunting and shambolic as the album cover represents? Maybe not, but it most certainly isn't akin to taking a cruise upon the River Seine. At a compromise it's a mixture between the two; the controlled nature of the structures and the superficial frantic mania that emanates from it. They're a very well put together sort of group and I'm really fond of how they piece their tracks. Musically they're a hybrid between KREATOR, EXODUS, DEATH ANGEL, SODOM and perhaps early METALLICA. Very thrash-oriented but in a European sense. You can hear that they don't originate from the nation of which the genre was formed as it quietly seeps through the design and architecture of the riffs. I think in many ways they're one of the best modern groups as there's something very likeable about them. Arno Mazzari, or, simply "Arno" has a unique style of singing which almost has a whistling quality when he reaches the high notes. The riffs are typically quite choppy and they rely a lot upon staccato which in turn influences the nature of the song as the vocal melodies are pieced around such ideas. 'Cut You Down', for instance, is a track that I can imagine being their signature song as they're a group that have very anthemic choruses due to their high level of rhythmic immediacy. Obviously with it being an EP it's not an ample taste as to how the group will handle a full-length in the future but it certainly provides listeners with a sense of optimism. -Jaime Regadas

Track list:
1. Intro
2. Cut you Down
3. Liberticide
4. Terrible Disgrace
5. Deathroned

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

CD Review: MORDATORIUM Obsessed With Death

MORDATORIUM
Obsessed With Death
Independent
Death metal exists in many forms. There's the raw, the technical, the slow, the fast and all of which come in between. MORDATORIUM are a group that will please fans all across the death metal spectrum, particularly those of the Swedish acts of the early 90s. Their new LP, 'Obsessed With Death' is a strong, compact release consisting of nine stellar tracks with immediate hooks. They're the type of death-metal band I personally like. They don't showcase an excessive usage of blast-beats, in fact I'd be lying if I said there was a real blast-beat section in the album. Instead they place more emphasis on solid mid-paced grooves that you can slot yourself into. Everything about the group relates to the standards they've set for themselves and whether that's a good or bad thing is purely subjective. I wouldn't say they're profoundly unique and they're not going to be instantly recognizable on a death metal playlist but seldom one finds a group in that category that do indeed have their own distinct identity due to the confines of the sub-genre. For what they do, however, they're a fine addition to a death metal compilation of sorts and there's definitely a few songs I'd add into a playlist. 'The Culling', for example, is a really good slab of intensity and 'Murder Castle' draws from the lyrical themes of 19th Century serial killer H.H. Holmes. Fundamentally driven by several changes in its verses and choruses it proves a solid piece. All of the songs are good for what they are but at this point in time they don't have a quality that sets them aside from other groups. What I do find interesting is that there are flashes of polyrhythmic interplay between the rhythm section and the riffs that drive it. Most times it works really well though on some occasions it can sound a bit disjointed and choppy. 'Beheaded', for instance, is led by a verse in which the rhythms seem to be at a constant battle with the guitars. If the discrepancy in timing is a direct reference to the track's title, ie. the rhythms being the body that carry the song and the guitars being its head then I can definitely see its artistic connotations, though I'm not entirely sure if the subject of decapitation has really evoked such a high level of intricate representation in the past. Andrew Oosterbaan, the group's chief guitarist and bassist also handles vocal duties. I can definitely hear a lot of Tom G. Warrior in his melting pot of influences. On drums you have Pearl Kacew who seems to have established herself as the group's spine. I really can't imagine any reason why a death metal fan wouldn't enjoy them. Good songwriters, decent lyrics, catchy riffs and songs about serial killers is, at least for me, a defining quality of what constitutes traditional death metal. Overall it's a strong record and there wouldn't be a single track I wouldn't add to a compilation album. -Jaime Regadas

Track List:
1. Rampage
2. Obsessed With Death
3. Beheaded
4. The Culling
5. Biting Cold
6. Murder Castle
7. Overmind
8. The Gallows
9. The Butcher
10. Catastrophe (Bonus track)

Monday, August 28, 2017

CD Review: RIOT Inishmore (Bonus Edition)

Inishmore (Bonus Edition)
Inishmore is one of three albums Metal Blade is re-releasing from Riot as special editions; the others are their 1998 studio effort Sons Of Society and their 1998 live recording Shine On. These albums were released on CD and vinyl format for fans and record collectors June 30, remastered by Patrick Engel and featuring bonus material. Released in Japan in 1997 and the U.S. in 1998, Inishmore was chosen for re-release for being an important representation of classic American power metal. Considering this I personally would have liked to see Metal Blade re-release their earliest discography (1981’s Fire Down Under, 1982’s Restless Breed) as they were among the first American metal bands (with Twisted Sister, Virgin Steele etc) and I missed said recordings the first time. The band formed in 1975 and released their debut Rock City two years later. Over the years they perdured through a substantial amount of lineup changes and a few personal tragedies, until the lineup stabilized in 2013/2014 with vocalist Todd Michael Hall, guitarists Mike Flyntz and Nick Lee, bassist Don Van Stavern and drummer Frank Gilchriest. As Riot V they released Unleash The Fire in 2014 but nothing new has been recorded by them since then. The label’s web site says they have a handful of shows scheduled for October and the band’s web site says they made some summer festival appearances (Bang Your Head, Skulls Of Metal); for the most part it’s been quiet with them at present. Metal Blade are still treating the band quite well reissuing their albums from the 90s in the hope of generating new interest. The bonus edition of Inishmore is fitting to introduce new fans to, especially if you like classic metal, power metal, prog/classical metal, Celtic music and Irish folklore. I’ve long been attracted to the latter so I jumped at the chance to check this album out. Inishmore is an ambitious effort for the band, that at the time of its release consisted of Mike DiMeo on vocals and Hammond organ, Mike Flyntz on lead and rhythm guitar, Pete Perez on bass, Bobby Jarzombek on drums and Mark Reale on lead and rhythm guitar, 6 and 12 string acoustic guitars, backing vocals, mandolin. Hammond organ and string arrangements. Reale who also produced the album passed away in 2012 but his work with the band is exemplary. Retaining their late 70s/early 80s roots, the band is incredibly tight and balance the subgenres cited earlier with musicianship deserving of comparison to Yngvie Malmsteen. The bonus tracks, namely 15 Rivers, Red Reign and Irish Trilogy, stand well next to Angel Eyes, Kings Are Fallin, Cry For The Dying and Turning The Hands Of Time. Inishmore is available on Digi-CD and four vinyl editions: black, night blue/violet marble, lime green and exclusively to the States, red. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Black Water
2. Angel Eyes
3. Liberty
4. Kings Are Falling
5. The Man
6. Watching the Signs
7. Should I Run
8. Cry for the Dying
9. Turning the Hands of Time
10. 15 Rivers (Bonus Track)
11. Red Reign (Bonus Track)
12. Gypsy
13. Irish Trilogy - Inishmore (Forsaken Heart)
14. Irish Trilogy - Inishmore
15. Irish Trilogy - Danny Boy
16. 15 Rivers (Acoustic Writing Demo)

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Film Review: Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End Of Evangelion (1995) by Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Genre: Animation, action, drama
Date of Release: 19 July 1997 (premiere)
Company: Gainax
Directed by: Hideaki Anno (also writing credits for the screenplay) & Kazuya Tsurumaki
Starring (as voice) in Japanese Version: Megumi Ogata, Megumi Hayashibara, Yûko Miyamura, Kotono Mitsuishi, Yuriko Yamaguchi, Fumihiko Tachiki, Akira Ishida, Motomu Kiyokawa, Mugihito, Takehito Koyasu, Hiro Yûki, Miki Nagasawa
Starring (as voice) in English version: Spike Spencer, Amanda Winn Lee, Tiffany Grant, Allison Keith, Sue Ulu, Tristan MacAvery, Aaron Krohn, Amy Seeley, Laura Chapman, Brett Weaver, Kurt Stoll, Kimberly Yates, Tom Booker, Keith Burgess, Riley Barber, Jason Lee, Taliesin Jaffe, Michael Ross, Dave Wittenberg, Maria Kawamura
The End Of Evangelion is considered the “true ending” of the TV series which was broadcasted in Japan in 1995 –and ending in 1996- for all of the anime followers who have seen the show it’s one of Anno’s masterpieces.
It’s a mix of many things, like drama, psychology, religion, human relationships and experiences, mecha all put together in a stable and cohesive package with just the right amount of action.
The story is quite promising, because it gives a true feeling of ending contrary to the TV show’s finale.
The voice acting is amazing, more specifically Asuka’s seiyuu (voice actor/tress) in the battle scenes -personally my favorites of all time- the color palette is on standard colors most of the time, rarely using other effects, like sepia or black & white.
The progression of already well established characters done impeccably and with a flawless execution, the music -by Shiru Sagisu- is fitting at all times, especially in the battle of scene of Eva-02 VS Massive Production Evas. One of the best examples of it is on that battle where you can see the contrast of the action, the struggle for victory and classical music with Bach’s Air on G. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Lyric Video Review: ANGUERE N.O.I.A.

ANGUERE
N.O.I.A.
From their 2017 EP Cadeia
The Brazilian punk group ANGUERE have released a new single titled 'N.O.I.A' taken from their EP 'CADEIA'. Musically it is a short, abrupt slab of angst which succeeds perhaps a little more in evoking the mind as opposed to other senses. Like many punk groups, the sound isn't in any manner of speaking "dulcet", but neither is the subject matter expressed in the lyrics. The accompanying video is a brutal slap-in-the-face to humanity as you witness harshly disturbing scenes of homelessness, third-world poverty and children living in precarious conditions. It's obviously not a feel-good punk group, rather a group that takes their issues seriously and make bolder statements. Speaking from a strictly musical sense, they write catchy riffs that are perhaps more tempo-fluid than your average modern punk band. There are no blast-beats here and it's something you can really lock yourself into groove-wise. The production in the drums is crispy and the guitars are nicely quantized. Due to its length it's not the most suitable introduction if you're hoping to get into the group but nonetheless it will provide a decent starting template for those interested. -Jaime Regadas

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Film Review: Don't Fall Asleep by Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Genre: Horror, short
Date of Movie Release: USA, September 5th, 2016
Movie Company: 3 Count & Go Films
Directed by: Paige Troxell
Produced by: Michelle DiCeglio as a producer, Kim Gunzinger as an executive producer, Diandra Lazor as a producer, Dakota Thomas as an associate producer (credited as Dakota A. Thomas), Paige Troxell as a producer
Starring: Diandra Lazor, Chad Hewitt, Colleen Dunne, Travis Horseman and Casey May
Don’t Fall Asleep is a fan-made film that takes place on the aftermath of the original Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and before A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987).
The black and white color palette for the start sets the melancholic atmosphere as the music (made by Lito Velasco) acts as a fitting complement. Afterwards, the colors palette is switched back to standard colors and held like that for the rest of the film.
The human nature of “I don’t believe unless I see it” is one of the pivotal points of the movie.
Usually we’re all accustomed to not believe in the “supernatural” phenomena, like ghosts, demons, spirits,etc and tend to disregard it, however what if those -within the movie universe- are indeed real and it’s seen on many movies like The Ring, Case 39 and many others where the reality & the unreal mix, breaking the thin ice boundary. That is the situation that each of these movies makes us consider.
The character development is gradual, doesn’t feel forced, the struggle between sanity & insanity is well accomplished acting wise but to me what really complements it majestically is the music, exquisitely composed with the lighting.
There were a couple of scenes that were quite dark like the group meeting scene and sometimes we can barely tell what’s happening due to the sheer speed of what happens, however the environment & the rest of elements really do fit in the theme with the atmosphere making it a coherent solid mix.
The ethereal plane of dreaming is a wonderful theme to explore and I feel it never will get old since it appeals to the most vulnerable spot for all of us. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Single Review: RED ELEVEN You've Been Warned

You've Been Warned
Independent
It's rare you find modern groups willing to interpolate old and new musical styles, which is why it is so interesting and fresh when an innovative group such as RED ELEVEN appears. Their single 'You've Been Warned' is pop-punky with its common usage of driving guitars. Complexity rears its head as there are elaborate arrangements in the percussion redolent of Neal Peart at his choppiest and most organic. Elements of RUSH are also in the common presence of synth-pads, always audible in the background. They're difficult to pinpoint but most certainly on the "lighter" end of the rock spectrum and a unique group. They owe to their influences but don't wear them on their sleeves. Vocal-wise there's diversity to singer Tony Kaikkonen; you get a full conglomeration of singing styles from his standard raspy quality to where it sounds like he's impersonating Mike Patton from early FAITH NO MORE. The band find their identity and there's a lot of versatility. The video is quirky and I must say I had difficulty relating to it. You've got tons of black-and-white footage against a red silk curtain as a quintessentially exuberant film from the Fifties. Everything takes a more sinister edge as the footage becomes consumed by inferno, much to the apparent dismay of the protagonists. Does it have anything to do with the song? I can't answer as I didn't write it. What I can say is this is experimental pop-punk with a frequent tendency to escape from the confines of 4/4 into unorthodox time signatures, giving them aesthetic credibility with a sensitivity for angst and artistic credibility in their efficiency. -Jaime Regadas

Film Review: Death Note by Roberta J. Downing

Horror
August 25, 2017
A Netflix Film
Director: Adam Wingard
Producer: Jonathan Eirich and Brendan Ferguson
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Lakeith Stanfield, Nat Wolff, Jason Liles and Margaret Qualley
Light, a high school boy, finds a mysterious book titled Death Note that fell from the sky. The demon or Death God has rules but the jest is that who’s ever name you write in the book dies. Light decides to go on a crusade of justice and write the names of people who have done wrong that he feels doesn’t deserve to live. It isn’t long before “L” who is a specially trained investigator is hot on Light’s trail.
Death Note has been popular for many years in Asian countries however Netflix with the help of Adam Wingard who is very well known for his horror movies, decided that it was time to bring the animated series to the silver screen in a non-animated way and with a bit of a different twist.
There have been a few mixed reviews since it was previewed at the San Diego Comi-Con earlier this year however, I think that those who gave it negative reviews are far more fixed on the anime series rather than something that was adapted for those in the United States.
Defoe delivered the Death God’s voice and personality flawlessly and I mean the voice was believable from the raspy voice right down to the evil laugh.
Having never seen the animated series that was so popular in the Asian countries, I can honestly say that this is a movie that I found to be very memorable, it held my attention and I loved how Wingard embedded some scenes from some other horror movies in the back ground on the television.
Light decides he’s going to use this book to rid the world of those who have committed crimes such as murder, rape, robberies and the like rather than to use the book for nefarious reasons. Little does Light know that even trying to be the hero also comes those who would hunt him down to stop him, label him as a murderer or worse, betrayal by those who would want to take possession of the book to do worse things like taking revenge.
I think that perhaps people should watch this as it is rather than compare it to its counterpart. Though some things are the same most is not and since when is adapting something to fit another culture such a bad thing?
I look forward to watching this movie many times over the years! -Roberta J. Downing

This review can also be read at Roberta J. Downing's blog.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Lyric Video Review: MAUSOLEUM GATE Solomon's Key

Solomon's Key
From their upcoming full length Into A Dark Divinity (Cruz Del Sur Music) scheduled for release September 8, 2017
Before reading about Mausoleum Gate and watching their latest lyric video, I thought they were another extreme metal band. However Solomon's Key sounded more like a retrogression to the pre-Black Sabbath era of occult rock. By now you have likely heard of Ghost and the pagan rock and metal bands like Dead Can Dance, Inkubus Sukkubus and Fields Of The Nephilim have been popularizing since the 1990s. But what I am referring to here is a movement that began in the late 60s/early 70s with dark psychedelic bands writing lyrics laden with occult and horror imagery. It’s an unsung but important chapter in the evolution of rock. The subgenre gestated at a time when Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist were successful in Hollywood and the indie industry was rife with too many exploitation films to mention. There was an almost obsessive attraction to this theme besides a plentiful amount of bands exploring it. Few of them broke aboveground but if you search Youtube you’ll find a host of them. Coven, who recently reformed for a new generation of fans, was the most well-known of these bands and are often credited for their long reaching influence on metal. By now you’re wondering what Mausoleum Gate’s role in this is. Hailing from Finland, they started as a classic metal band, composing raw, rousing songs in the vein of Deep Purple, Iron Maiden and old Virgin Steele. The band has a Youtube profile of their own, mostly live clips and rehearsal footage, and fans on Youtube have uploaded their older material (including their 2013 single Obsessed By Metal and their 2016 single Metal And The Night). I’d recommend checking some of that out first to get a feel for their evolution. While listening to their material from their early albums to the preview of their new album Into A Dark Divinity I could perceive a creeping progression from metal to occult rock. The latter was especially evident in the b-side to their 2016 single, a song called Demon Soul with an intro reminding me of Lucio Fulci’s movie Zombie. Solomon's Key shows Mausoleum Gate as an entirely different band next to their previous recordings. Not only are the lyrics reminiscent of the occult rock era but there are flutes and keyboards to enhance its psychedelic direction. Telling the tale of a magician who seeks ultimate power at the risk of insanity and damnation, the song is accompanied by graphic art from Yod Multimedia that enhances the vast expanse of darkness the magician is exploring in this tale. Into A Dark Divinity will be released in CD, vinyl and digital format; visit the video link for more information. -Dave Wolff


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Single Review: PORTRAIT Mine To Reap

Mine To Reap
From their upcoming full length Burn the World (Metal Blade), scheduled for release August 25
Three years since their last studio release, Portrait have released a new single titled 'Mine to Reap' from their upcoming album 'Burn the World', which is set to be released on August 25. Since their formation, the group have experienced critical acclaim from numerous sources. The group aren't without their negative critics, however. Some are quick to brand the group as "King Diamond copyists" - but is that really the case? Vocals aside, the structural quality of this particular song is a far-cry from the conceptual theatrics that King Diamond as a group are renowned for. In actual fact there's a stronger sense of realism here in the overall mood that the group conjures up as opposed to myth and fantasy. There's also a bit of a thrash-oriented groove going on, something the group may not have embraced to the fullest on one of their previous albums such as 'Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae'. It's a tad wordy and it probably reinstates the group with a new sense of direction that they haven't really had to this degree before. The sound is indeed more direct and there's probably less sections that rely on time signature / tempo changes. If anything it's probably more Mercyful Fate-influenced than King Diamond but even so it's more of a modernized twist and they seem to have discarded the eerie vibe that was quite prevalent at the beginning. Overall the song itself probably isn't overly shocking or exciting from a standalone perspective but it definitely sheds a fascinating light upon what the group have to offer and definitely leaves one wanting to hear more. -Jaime Regadas

Live Video Review: MATIANAK Touch of Silence

Touch of Silence - live Red Line Tap 5-12-2017
Filmed by Frank Garcia at Heartland Cafe Red Line Tap, Rogers Park, Chicago, Illinois USA
Chicago’s Matianak profess to be “bringing black metal to a whole new level.” Citing Gorgoroth, Carpathian Forest, Ulver and Old Man’s Child as their influences, they set ancient folklore about ghosts and witches, serial killer accounts and real life murders to music carrying that dark instruction from the bands listed above (also Mayhem, Enslaved, Death and Dissection). Their performance is a ritual consecrated to all things gruesome, hair raising and ghoulish with animal bones, animal skulls, candles, inverted crosses, occult decorations and horrific stage gear designed and built by Arelys their frontwoman, lyricist and manager. Reading their Facebook biography and background information while watching this capture of a show they played in their hometown last May gives me the feeling their stage presence, costumes and prop arrangements are kindred to their perceptibility. It seemed I watched something less of a show and more of a melodrama of unified pageant and personality. It was by chance I came across the band on Frank (Arte Mortifica) Garcia’s Youtube and I must have immediately perceived something nonstandard about them but I was engrossed with the band and particularly Arelys whose demeanor mingled attributes of zombies, vampires and the cannibal tribe of Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno. She is an imposing frontwoman as she creeps and saunters around the stage, glaring at the audience with barely concealed malevolence. The musicians backing her resemble a cult fresh out of the Necronomicon. Their music is a throwback to mid 90s black metal with death metal crunch added in a brief refrain. The video was filmed in black and white with professional equipment which captured the band and their song with clarity so sharp it could be included in a documentary about extreme metal in Chicago if Garcia ever decided to produce such a film (he certainly has enough live footage to start with). Touch of Silence is one of two clips from this show (Bolthorn and Discarnate were also on the bill); the other is a song called Hypnotic Torture which is likewise attention grabbing. Matianak have an interview for Pitts of Metal Chaos posted to Youtube if you’re interested in checking it out. -Dave Wolff

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Lyric Video Review: BURIED AND GONE A Frozen Heart

A Frozen Heart
Single from their upcoming debut album The Final Hour (Inverse Records) to be released September 27, 2017
Another highly melodic band spawned from the utmost emotionally gut-wrenching area of the psyche is to be advertised and promoted through the one and only Inverse Records. The group in question is Buried And Gone. Their new single, 'A Frozen Heart' is a blending of pop sensibilities, visceral lyricism and dramatic riff passages. Genre-wise they sound like they have aspirations to fit into the Emo category, which I'm sure is something the majority of readers may dismiss from the get-go due to the strong and frankly unfair level of vehement hatred the Emo subculture receives as a whole. There are qualities however that set them aside from being categorized. The vocals aren't your stereotypical post-hardcore ones, of which a large percentage of its singers have that polished, autotuned and slightly Americanized style. What gives this group a bit more of an exotic edge is that they're Finnish but choose to have their lyrics in English. The song is three-minutes long and verse-chorus driven although it actually encompasses a lot of moods for its structurally limited time. It's all 'punchy' for lack of a better word and its punchiness has the ability to strike many a chord with one's emotional core. They place emphasis on soulfulness and you really hear the incandescence seep through the material. Even the video, a lyric video, is actually forthright and declamatory. They have a keen desire to express themselves and have managed to do so within this conglomeration of melodrama, anguish and angst. -Jaime Regadas

Track Premiere Review: INVERTED SERENITY Mechanical Gods

Mechanical Gods
Official track premiere from their third full length As Spectres Wither (Independent) to be released October 6th, 2017
Inverted Serenity is a progressive death metal band from Canada, Winnipeg and Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba to be exact. Since 2009 they have released two albums and a host of singles and lyric videos. The most recent single Mechanical Gods came out to preview the October release of their new album, As Spectres Wither. So far Inverted Serenity are not signed but this may well change if Mechanical Gods is typical of their next effort. The first moments of this track shows them as brutally heavy as they come, but it becomes clear they’ve been reaching for a stratum of their own regarding resourceful invention. Their songwriting reflects an unconventional concept they have cultivated and expanded upon since the starting point. As I appreciate bands who operate by their own guidelines Inverted Serenity are awarded points for originality. Their lyrics are an exploration of philosophy and enlightenment combined with science and nature. A small taste is provided as the verses are included beneath the clip. It’s not indicated who in the band penned the lyrics but they give the listener much to consider, about men creating their gods for centuries and the dilemmas our ancestors have left for us by doing so. Detractors who expect to hear the “fuck god” rant are in for a smackdown from left field they didn’t see coming, in which references to technology come into play with the religious themes. The progression from fragmented brutality to cold, blast-laden atmosphere and back again makes for many inventive arrangements the band willingly investigate, examining and analyzing each result that made it into the song. You could say the songwriting process is scientific in and of itself, going father to make its point, right up to the track’s desolate, solemn conclusion. -Dave Wolff


Label Interview: GORECYST RECORDS


GORECYST RECORDS
Interview with Devin Joseph Meaney

When did you found Gorecyst Records and what was your purpose in doing so?
I started Gorecyst Records in 2006. I drew the original logo and artwork in eleventh grade art class, and the purpose was to release underground CD-R's and dub-tapes in my high school. Now I mostly release mix-tapes and dub-tapes, but I also release the occasional CD and online download compilation. At one point Gorecyst was also a webzine, but in the later years of the label we have been focusing more on tapes. Gorecyst is a D.I.Y label dedicated to my love for the underground.

When did you think of founding an independent label and how well known were you planning for it to be?
When I first started, it was just meant as a hobby for pushing tunes at school years ago. It is still only a hobby. But I really enjoy supporting the underground anyway I can. The idea was inspired from the slew of micro labels available on the net. I figured as long as I continued to do things on a small time basis I could pull it off. That was eleven years ago.

What were you doing before you got the idea to start a label, as far as supporting your local scene? How much of a scene exists where you are as far as record outlets and clubs?
Before I started the label I was only fifteen so aside from jamming and playing in basements and garages the label was my main outlet for supporting the underground. The scene is small where I live. A few bands spring up here and there.

How many issues did the webzine incarnation of Gorecyst were released? Were the same bands on the label interviewed or did you contact other bands?
The zine was a compilation of stuff I did online plus a bit of new stuff. There were only ever a few issues. Now I do everything online. I tried to keep it updated at least once every two to three days.

You are mostly into grindcore and goregrind. Were these genres primarily supported by your label at the start, or were you willing to support others?
When Gorecyst was first created, it was made mostly for goregrind and grindcore music. Now I release noise, thrash, black-metal, death-metal, and punk. You name it, I release it. I would much rather release demos and EPs. Full length albums are not my strong point. Short demos and EPs are where I generally work my best magic.

For what reasons do you prefer demos and EP releases to full length albums?
I like demos and EPs because they take less time to transfer over to tape. Anything between fifteen and twenty minutes is "perfect" for how I release music.

How long were you into grindcore and goregrind before you started Gorecyst? Who were the first bands you listened to?
I started listening to grindcore and goregrind when I was about fourteen years old. I listened to metal and death metal since I was a preteen, but for gore and grind I was first introduced through Braindead Webzine. There are too many bands to name, but a few that I stumbled upon were Gut, Haemorrhage, Impetigo, Gruesome Stuff Relish, Regurgitate, Unholy Grave, Maggut and many others.

Many grindcore bands from England such as Napalm Death were heavily political lyric-wise. What was your view of those bands and their subject matter? Do you prefer political lyrics or lyrics based on horror (such as Carcass)?
As far as politics go, I am not a politically motivated individual. With that being said, grind will always be protest. Don’t like something? Write a grind song about it. I do tend to lean more in the direction of horror based lyrics. Carcass was not one of the first bands I listened to. I have heard quite a few bands before listening to Carcass, but they are without a doubt pioneers within their own realm.

Which grind and goregrind bands write song lyrics you like most of all?
My favorite types of lyrics are the ones that pay tribute to old horror films, or alternatively create a "creepy" atmosphere. I'm not a fan of porno-grind lyrics and stuff like that. I look at good goregrind like a horror movie for my ear-drums.

How did you start spreading word about the label in search of bands to distribute? Were there musicians at your high school who were in bands or did you have to look elsewhere?
We spread word for the label in high school, through webzines and old school MSN messenger. These days we can be found on Facebook. We never really did release bands from our school, we were more about bringing foreign bands into our area. In 2006 our first release was a CD-R titled "where?" by a noise artist named The Masked Stranger. Aside from my own personal musical creations, that was the only release from a member of our school. Myspace was also used to find and promote bands years ago.

Have you been managing Gorecyst Records independently or do you have people handling the responsibilities with you?
I do a lot of it but I do have people who help me. I co-release a lot of my stuff as free downloads with various underground labels. Friends of mine also help with art and various other duties. Every single person that gets a tape will forever be a part of GORECYST RECORDS.

Has Braindead Webzine remained active since you discovered it? Where was it based and how many subgenres did it feature? How did you first hear of the webzine?
Braindead Webzine as far as I know is still active. It was mostly for gore, grind, noise and brutal death metal. The first time I heard of the zine was scrolling through Google one night when I was in junior high school. I’m not sure as to where the zine is based, but it is all done by a man named Pierre. He is an amazing artist and has a goregrind solo project called "Blue Holocaust". It is amazing stuff. I have only ever spoken to Pierre a few times.

What underground/independent labels have you worked with to release your material?
I have worked with Tornflesh Records, TrashFuck records, SBT Records, Spettro Records, Nihilist Records, Distrozione, No Tomorrow, Southern Moonrise Productions and Seven Times More Scary. I'm sure there are a few others I am forgetting.

Are those labels mostly based in the U.S. or were some from overseas? How much did their distribution help your label?
A lot of the labels are from the States but some of them are from away. Distrozione and No Tomorrow are from Italy I believe. I think SBT Records is based in Canada and Europe. All these labels were great at helping spread the noise
.
Do the artists helping you with Gorecyst design logos or album cover art?
I meet people either online or in person. Mostly online when it comes to grind and stuff. Sometimes I get people to make me art and sometimes I do it. The tapes I create are all done in an old-school way so for cassettes I usually throw a cover on it. My friend Betty Rocksteady has done some art for me in the past. So has The Masked Stranger.

Describe the artwork designed by Betty Rocksteady and The Masked Stranger. Where on the net can their work be viewed?
There are various places on the net where they can be found. They each have their own distinct style, but it always worked for Gorecyst.

From where does your affinity for black metal come? As definitions of true black metal vary, what do you look for in the genre?
As far as black metal goes, my friend Neal really enjoys it. We hung out and wrote music together for years. His tastes were passed down to me over time. Personally, I really enjoy bleak and depressive sounding black-metal with chaotic vocals. My favorite black-metal project from Cape Breton (where I live) is a one entity project known as Cernunnous.

Does Cernunnous have official releases out? Describe the project’s videos to readers who haven’t seen them?
Cernunnous put out a three track demo a few years ago. Not long after, two singles were released. Eventually, these five tracks were compiled and released as a free download on SBT RECORDS. It was also put out in limited supply on GORECYST in the form of a simple xerox dub-tape. We are hoping to release new material soon. When it comes to Youtube videos, there are various clips available on the net. I suggest everyone checks them out themselves to get their own opinion.

Tell some more about The Masked Stranger and how much of his material you helped distribute and is still available.
The Masked Stranger has put out various releases. Aside from "where?” a few years later we put out his EP "Under Ain". I am unsure if The Masked Stranger has been up to much in the last few years but the guy behind the project was playing in a black-metal band called Thaumiel for a while. He is also the member of a power-electronics band, but I forget the name of that project.

How much of a response did Under Ain and where? receive? What is The Masked Stranger’s lyrical content? How long was Thaumiel functioning as a band and releasing material?
Both of those releases turned some heads in the underground. His lyric style varies. He would be a better voice for his style and inspirations. As far as I know, Thaumiel has at least one EP that is still available. They may have more but I am not sure.

How many of your projects were distributed through Gorecyst? Did you and The Masked Stranger ever collaborate? Can your solo projects be purchased or streamed?
Pretty much all of my projects were put out on GORECYST in some way. Proctophobic, Acute Onset Psychosis and Casket Sludge are a few of my projects I have released. The Masked Stranger and I have worked together in Proctophobic and Casket Sludge, along with various random recording binges. I would love to record with The Masked Stranger again. Someday it will happen, but no current plans are in the works. A lot of my music is available online. Nothing new as of now.

Which of your solo projects have gotten the biggest response? Describe the differences between those you mentioned?
My only solo projects are Acute Onset Psychosis and Meaney (RIP). Meaney was an old grind project and I still plan to do some AxOxP in the future. Both projects got a bit of publicity. Proctophobic and Casket Sludge were more popular.

How much are you currently promoting Gorecyst on the internet and how much do you plan to do so in the future?
I have not been promoting much as things have been slow. As soon as I get more on the go I will work on promotion a bit more.


-Dave Wolff

Monday, August 21, 2017

CD Review: MOULDERED Chronology of a Rotten Mind

Chronology of a Rotten Mind
Normally I'm cynical concerning modern death-metal groups due to several factors. Often it's that the production is too polished or too unbearably lo-fi, or just that the songwriting is plain and rehashed. Mouldered are indeed a modern death-metal band but I actually like them as they aren't tarnished with the same negative qualities. 'Chronology of a Rotten Mind' is a short but pleasantly compact album. The production is somewhere in between the realms of glossiness and grit to avoid sinking into the pit. It's something they've managed to do efficiently and I'm admittedly proud to make that statement; I don't feel they've garnered the attention they deserve. Now for the burning question: Do they have an unmistakable quality which makes them instantly recognizable? The answer is a solid no. Usually I'd use that as a whipping post but for this group I make an exception. On the surface one might say they're generic; while that statement may be true they have something other groups don't have: - the ability to write decent songs. They're bloody good songwriters, particularly in 'Mind Control' which features exciting choppy breakdowns and high-velocity double-bass fills. All of the record is pleasing as the riffs that define it are quite catchy. While there's nothing extraordinary about the inner stylisations Mouldered have set for themselves there's talent particularly in their percussive side. Mouldered is a band I will champion as they've managed to take the late-80s aesthetic of Death, Immolation and Necrophagia and combine it with high displays of rhythmic diversity. They're the epitome of a strong and functional group. -Jaime Regadas

Track list:
1. I'm Legion
2. Death
3. Mind Control
4. Succubus
5. Prision
6. Zombiefication
7. Genocide
8. Chronology Of A Rotten Mind

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Film Review: Demonic by Roberta J. Downing

Horror/Paranormal
September 2015
Dimension Films
Directed by: Will Canon
Starring: Dustin Milligan, Cody Horn, Megan Park, Aaron Yoo and Maria Bello
I love horror- in fact it is my favorite genre of movie however the one thing I find the most abhorrent is when a movie is not linear. I detest the back and forth mixing of time. Now with that said, I don’t want anyone thinking that it was a horrible or bad movie off the bat.
This is definitely one of those movies that at the end you will find yourself saying “I didn’t see that coming” and that for a horror/paranormal movie is quite refreshing.
What’s not to like? Abandoned house, dead bodies, satanic symbols painted on the floor, a team of amateur paranormalists and their equipment and as a bonus- possession?!
This movie was great because as it progressed it caused me to have questions about the who done it, is this demonic passion, is it a hoax, who did the murders and so forth. I don’t want to ruin the movie for you but if you can handle all the flip flops between the past and the present, it is worth the watch!
We all know that there is always at least one person who survives in a horror movie and this is no exception but this is that time where you will literally have one of those, and pardon the expression here, wtf moments!
I will admit that there are a couple of actors in this movie who perform less than adequate (I guess they all have to get their start somewhere) and for some reason we have come to expect that from most of the paranormal movies but overall, I found that even they had their contributions. I do also have to say it is nice to finally see Megan Park (Grace Bowman from the Secret Life of the American Teenager) back on the screen.
IMDb has this film to be released October 2017 however it is already playing on Netflix and Youtube which leads one to wonder if the movie was released in 2015 instead.
Watch the official movie trailer here.
I would have to give this movie 3 of 5 stars. -Roberta J. Downing

This review can also be read at Roberta J. Downing's blog.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Artist Interview: JESSE MOSHER

Jesse Mosher and Spike Polite of Sewage
JESSE MOSHER

If memory serves I first saw you performing with the New York punk band Sewage at 2015’s Tompkins Square Riot 27th Anniversary. Was this your first performance with Sewage? Are you and frontman Spike Polite longtime friends?
I met Spike early in 2014. I got him an acoustic set with a few bands at the now defunct Ding Dong Lounge at 106 and Columbus in NYC. I used to do a lot of shows and a few DJ nights there. Over the past few years I must have painted with Sewage a dozen times. The Knitting Factory, Hank’s Saloon, last New Year’s at Lucky 13 in Brooklyn. I think twice at Tompkins with Sewage. Just last month we did two shows together in Italy and Slovenia. Spike is the real deal. We have a lot of good hangouts over the past few years. He's really inspiring and always pushing himself. He's a brother for sure. He was the last person I saw before I moved to France in January.

I noticed NYC punk is still thriving despite the forced evictions of clubs in the 2000s and 2010s. Did you expect so many closings would happen when Giuliani began his Quality of Life agenda? How do you account for the scene continuing?
I didn't live in New York during the Giuliani era. I was in San Francisco and Boston at the time. As far as having a scene endure, a lot if it is up to the brave souls who book shows and turn warehouses, basements, etc into venues. It's an essential part of any scene that a few people continue the underground venues. I had the Rock Loft in San Francisco in 2012 and Do You Wanna Dance in Gerritsen Beach Brooklyn for four months in 2013. Some kids who played at both clubs went on to host house shows and warehouse shows, which continues the opportunities to have bands develop relationships, communities, and groups. Another element that has helped the New York scene endure is touring. New York bands are exposed to different styles as they tour Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America. Those Rock N Roll scenes are much younger, and have real contributions to make to the genre. Likewise in New York you are lucky enough to be a magnet for these same bands from around the world who play in New York all the time. The first 30-40 years of a country’s Rock N Roll scene are its most vital, and encountering those bands is inspiring.

In what ways have U.S. punk from the 1970s to the 2010s been vital? On the same idea, if you watched Patti Smith’s final CBGB appearance online, what are your thoughts on her encouraging artists to continue being original and creative?
Aah those first years, the greatest in any art movement. I would say most of the original aspects of Punk revealed themselves in the 1970s to the 2010s. It started with the Velvet Underground, Stooges, New York Dolls and Patti Smith, got codified by the Ramones, Sex Pistols etc. Then it got an identity with Black Flag, NoFX etc. in the 1980s. The 1990s were the first commercial breakthroughs with Green Day, Rancid and Offspring, but the new ground was being broken more by Sublime and Nirvana. With the rise of Goner and Burger Records and the international bands, I think it's more original and diverse than ever but still underground. It's encouraging to hear The Mean Jeans, Surfer Blood, or Fidlar's music used in films and TV. I think the Ramones’ Budweiser ad broke that open for punk bands to have their songs used commercially. That's the best paydays for music these days.
The first years are the most vital because of intent and commitment. The intention and commitment of early or outside contributors has a purity that is impossible to match as time goes on. Think of it this way, literally millions of musicians worldwide can play the difficult music of Mozart, Beethoven and Debussy, but none can write its equal today. After the original era, art becomes academic in one way or another. The same is true of surrealism, jazz and other forms that have been well explored by this point. As long as there are talented misfits and poor kids there will be evolving punk rock. In my opinion it will turn into an academic form when it becomes more about fashion and too many established rules. In that way the future of hardcore, Oi, and Ramonescore bands are limited in their potential growth because they rely too much on established ideas. I think that punk rock emerging from the Burger and Goner scenes, Italy, Arabic communities, Africa, Indonesia, Wales and Japan has a lot of potential for growth, and few established norms.
Patti Smith is a great philosopher and giver of advice. She and Iggy are some of the oldest, most original and influential American artists. Listen to what they have to say; it's mind-expanding and important to take advantage of their experience. Always listen to your elders. Making art is important for personal and societal reasons. For 99% of people it is entertaining to others and personally important, gratifying. But even more important is a few hundred people in each era push the limits of creativity and create new forms. Without that it's all academic exercise and society is eventually doomed. The talent and originality is there but the world’s attention is focused on nostalgia and perfection instead of innovation. I know what I'm doing is a new form of painting and performance that will eventually be recognized, I just hope I'm alive to see it happen. Either way it's fun to be the first and only person with a new fleshed out concept. If a thousand people copied me today, I'm thirty years down the path of developing this form and even if they followed my path exactly, I would be gone before they could catch me, too fast, too far, too long a road, too many dead mentors.

Why do you think original statements in music and fashion are imitated and copied that much?
I think those originals get copied more often because they are really good. Also being an original doesn't lend itself to perfection. There's a lot of unfinished ideas that are later perfected by others. Perfected ideas have less wiggle room to improvise on and therefore, are cited less as influences than some rawer ideas. I heard someone say they liked the pure music with the mistakes and all because the bravery of artists who push performing to the breaking point. Maybe it's the bravery to go their own way that's inspiring.

How many times have you appeared at punk shows in Tompkins Square Park?
I think I've done four or five shows at Tompkins Square Park. Three of four days at the Riot Anniversary shows and one or two other times at the same spot. Once was with A New Bug from Long Island, once with Sewage and a few times with Hammerbrain, Gas Wild and whoever else was playing. I first heard about the show from Spike Polite who invited me down to paint in 2015.

What were you doing in Boston and how long were you there? What was your involvement in the industry at that time?
I was in Boston in 2000 and 2001. I was working at a lamp restoring shop and had a studio where I made serigraphed screen prints. I was printing without a press and changing the colors constantly to make original work with the prints instead of reproducing ideas. I sold the prints at shows, festivals and through promoters for large shows with Beck, BB King and others. I wasn't involved in punk rock or punk rock scenes until 2009 at the earliest. I'm an artist who is drawn to work with other artists, musicians. I work in phases, so when I'm done with an idea, city, and band I just move on. I've worked with a lot of artists in a lot of scenes but never belonged to any. I always tried to make it clear when I was working with CJ Ramone, The Adolescents, or now The Jabbers, that punk rock was their thing, I'm just a committed artist learning from masters not to copy their thing but do my own thing. I'm not nor do I have any intention of being a musician. My thing is my own, like Picasso owned cubism, Jack Kerouac with his style or the way Lester Young owned improvisational jazz. I've always sought out the greats and originals for guidance and wisdom but never wanted to be a part of any scene or do what anyone else was doing. What I know about local music in Boston is there are way too many bands for the few clubs they have. I used to go to the Middleast, Harper's Ferry, the Paradise and the Orpheum Theater when I lived there, mostly to see national acts and touring bands.

What was the San Francisco scene like when you were running Rock Loft? Did you have a criteria for booking bands?
San Francisco was really great in the past, I think it peaked in 2011. The new influential bands from there are The OCs, Hunx and his Punks, Ty Deal, Shannon and the Clams, and No Bunny. They are punk in a way but original. The scene around Burger Records has been described as "what happened to Rock N Roll "by the late great Kim Rowley. The Knockout, the Hemlock, Parkside are the spots. For a while there everyone creative was meeting up at a place called the Revolution Cafe. Gentrification really put a beating on the local Rock N Roll scene, and all the acts I mentioned above are international touring bands now. In 2011 you could see them with a crowd of 50-100 people.
At my club I booked whoever to keep it mixed. No rap or electronica if I could help it. We had some Canadian bands but mostly USA bands at the Rock Loft. I like a mix, so acoustic, singer song writer, psychedelic rock, country, blues, classic punk, HC, surf, classic guitar driven rock, etc. Always the best parties when I had a mixed bill. I played oldies and surf rock in between sets, usually three to four bands. I let underagers drink, smoke cigs or weed, whatever. It went well, I only had to toss one person out of close to 1600 who came to shows there and it was a coworker of mine. We never sold beer. People just bring a reasonable amount of alcohol I found if you advertise BYOB. I made a poster for the front door, neighborhood, and advertised at the Green Tortoise hostel cross the street, which would draw 20 international people every time. Usually forty to eighty people came. We were only open Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, because those were dead nights for music in SF usually, and the techno club underneath us was closed.

Why did you decide to move to Brooklyn in 2013? How many bands did you book to appear at Do You Wanna Dance?
I decided to move to Brooklyn in 2013 for a change. I was tired of SF, had been working with CJ Ramone for a few years and wanted to do more with him. I also wanted to work with as many friends of Johnny Thunders as I could. I had just finished a documentary I filmed in Orange County about the making of CJs first solo record, Reconquista. I wanted to do an underground club in Brooklyn, and CJ helped me get it off the ground by supplying guitar and bass amps for the backline and playing the opening show where we previewed the film, CJ Ramone King Cobra The Making Of Reconquista. It was fun while it lasted but I lost a lot of money on it. We did 25 shows, about 100 bands played there. I'm done with doing a club now, it's out of my system. Now I'm all about pushing my personal limits as a performer, filming everything and doing interviews, and TV. The Damned (Dave and Captain Sensible) really took a shine to what I’m doing when I did a tour with them and CJ in CA in 2015. After a few show run I and The Captain went out to eat in SF. He gave me a great piece of advice that I'm following to this day. "Work with as many different people as you can." That's what I'm all about these days as I'm preparing for the next phase of this adventure, maybe the last untried idea in Rock and Roll performance, which I'm starting the first solo performances of next month here in France. One original idea is not enough, you must build many on top of each other to really be original, and this next one is a doozy.

How involved were you in the making of The Making Of Reconquista? What other collaborations were you doing with CJ Ramone?
I was along for the recording of Reconquista to film and help out. Me and Paul MacKay filmed 65 hours of footage over three weeks on two cameras. We had a 1080p Sony Handicam and an early 720p sports camera of CJ’s. We filmed 65 hours of footage or rehearsals, tracking and about ten special guests. It took about 500 hours to edit, just me and Paul with another 50 hours at least of editing by CJ and Paul. Paul and I edited up a 50 minute film; CJ and Paul edited it to a 22 minute version which was released as a double CD/DVD first printing of the record. I think 5000 were made and sold, but I'm not sure. Paul and I also did runs for meals, dropped musicians off at the airport, made coffee, ran errands etc. We gave Billy Zoom a memorable ride home, and talked about Willie Nelson. It was a great experience painting two days of Rehearsals with Jose Medeles, Steve Soto and CJ. The film and trailer are up on Youtube.
I collaborated on some paintings with CJ in 2014. We made up maybe fourteen skateboard decks to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Ramones in 2014. We shot them with an SKS and a Shotgun making 12 gauge and 7.62mm holes in them. We used an old stage shoe of CJ’s to make American flags on the decks. They looked great and we sold about ten in 2014-15.
At various times I sold and consigned his records in NYC record shops, helped him pack and mail records and merch from the crowdfunding for Reconquista and did various building projects at his house. Lots of cool discussions and laughs over the years, whether it was tour, work or just hanging out. They don't make rockers like that anymore. CJ is one of the last legit rock stars, from when musicians were bad assed.

When performing with Sewage and other bands, do you bring your own artwork onstage?
I've been making paintings with bands since 2005. I have made about 2,000 since then at 783 shows. I usually perform with between one to five bands or sets a night so it's over 2,500 bands now. Punk Rock is how I would define over half of the bands, but Blues, jazz, country Bluegrass, psychedelic, Reggae, classic Rock bands are the rest. No electronic or Rap groups. I either start and finish paintings in Black and White, or begin them in soundcheck, or continue paintings I started with other bands at other shows. After five minutes the paintings are identifiable, but are really more like drawings. The depth required of a painting takes many more thin layers. A finished painting for me can have up to thirty layers in certain parts. It's necessary to fully layer up the paintings to sell, or exhibit them in art shows after. What I'm doing in performance is following the beat and rhythm of the instruments with the brush and my body language, even in the motions that are used to pick up more paint from my palette (a pilot’s aluminum flight case that I have used for the last 400 shows). My paintings are based on photos, or video stills, but I don't look at the photos hardly ever on stage so each painting takes on an aspect of self-portraiture, to the extent it doesn't look like the subject. All paintings are constructed of found Plywood or screwed together fragments of wood I find in the immediate vicinity of where I live. The paint is white wood primer, which I find or buy by the gallon. The black paint is a mix of exterior enamel (the kind you find on metal railings) water based, mixed with some ingredients to thicken it and make it dry faster. I have about 10¢ of materials into each finished painting, and have reused several tons of wood that would have ended up in the landfill. I have made 2,591 paintings so far. (I have kept written records for the last sixteen years so my numbers on this are good).

Who are some of the personalities you have drawn portraits of? What is your criterion for choosing likenesses of artists?
I have made about 700 different portraits. Many of Jesse James, Chuck Berry, Dee Dee Ramone, CJ Ramone, Johnny Ramone, Johnny Thunders, Howlin Wolf, Amy Winehouse, John Stabb, Chief Red Cloud, GG Allin, Link Stay, Jerry Garcia, Lightning Hopkins, Graham Parsons, Ryan Adams, Sid Vicious, Dave Vanian, Johnny Cash, Joan Jett, Guitar Wolf, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Pigpen, too many to list. Maybe I've only painted 400 one time.

Describe the work you and the Jabbers have been doing together. How did you meet them and how familiar have you become of their history as GG Allin’s backup band?
I grew up hearing about GG and the Jabbers; he was an underground legend in New England. I had a friend Paul that used to go see him, Paul brought me to my first show, Buddy Guy in 1991. He told me about them then.
I met Chris Lamy (guitar 1980-84 and the reunited Jabbers since 2000) first at a CJ Ramone/Shonen Knife show in Boston at the Middleast in June 2015. It was the last show of an 18(?) show tour that I painted, sold merch, roadied and drove on. I was really on fire painting that night. Warren, the Ramones Crew guy/Marky's old tour manager, brought him to the show. We talked and hit it off and he invited me to paint at the GG Allin birthday bash in August. I did a rehearsal with them in mid-August in New Hampshire that was really a top experience for me. We played in a garage for two full sets of 45 minutes. No breaks between songs. The band plays in a circle with the singer Wimpy (the original Queers singer) and sometimes me in the center. The energy in the center of the room was amazing, and the feel was only comparable to the two Iggy and The Stooges shows I've painted at. It's heavy and really jams at high intensity. I did the show at the Shaskeen Pub in Manchester with the Jabbers two weeks later and it was incredible. I painted in front of Chris Lamy on a platform and blocked people who were jumping on the stage from knocking his mic into his teeth. Very wild amazing show. I got knocked over three times standing on stage. I really regret not filming it. I filmed the end of another private show we had in New Hampshire in August 2016. It's on YouTube and you can see the circle formation in full effect.
I visit the band when I can. A few times a year I go and stay with Michael O'Donnell (drums 80s, 2000-now) or Chris Lamy. Chris is coming to visit me in France next month, and I will see the rest of the band in November or December in New Hampshire. I have tons of respect for Alan, Michael Chris, Harlan and Wimpy, who I know, and the amazing Rob Basso who I only know through Facebook. I consider the Jabbers to be like family.
Chris Lamy made my logo for me (he is a talented Graphic Artist for many years now in Portland, Maine) and I've worked at Michael O'Donnell's Family Farm stand in Exeter, New Hampshire. I'm helping them connect to a record label in Italy to put out some records, and tour with them when they come to Europe in the future. They are my favorite American band these days.

Talk about the shows you did with Sewage in Italy and Slovenia. Any particularly memorable experiences over there?
It was a great adventure with Spike. I did three shows on that run, two with Spike in Udine, Italy and Adjovcena, Slovenia. The show in Udine was late; maybe 2:30 am. I kicked a beer all over some fashion punk kids while Sewage was covering "Bite It You Scum" [GG Allin]. It was in a hot tent after thirteen hardcore bands, so it was a smaller crowd then the peak. Maybe a hundred people were still standing. Some kids jumped onstage and flopped around at one point. I filmed some and there was a festival videographer who filmed it all and it's up on YouTube. I remember the Wailers and Gun Club had played the festival in past years from the old posters, because we mostly hung out in the AC backstage area. We had a nice lunch the next day with the festival organizers and other bands. It was just over the border into Slovenia, but there was no border checkpoint, because Italy and Slovenia are both in the E.U. We swam after. The Italian Sewage (drums, bass, guitar) were cool kids. The drummer Lorenzo was like a naturally coked up squirrel, entertaining. The show in Adjovcena was smaller but had a great sound. It was a club called Baza. They treated us really good there. The first band was good I remember. Rock bands from Yugoslavia are on a high level of intensity and power from the first to last note. MDC played there a few weeks later on their European tour, but we were the first American band there I think.

Discuss your move to France and your experiences there since you settled in.
I've had my sights set on France and Europe for a long time. I got my passport in 2011 to go to Colombia with CJ Ramone for shows in Medellin and Cali, but first used it to go to France in 2015. My wife is French but was illegal in the US from 2011-2014. We went back to see her family and do a twenty date tour in March, April and May 2015. I performed for over 5,000 people and got great press and treatment. I went back two more times for 32 shows that year. It would have been 40 shows but I fell out on the third tour and had to cancel dates with Kepi Ghoulie and Chixdiggit as I was in the hospital. I owe my life to France as I was able to pay cash for two operations that would have cost fifty times more in the US. Long story short I almost died and had to stay in bed 95% of the time for ten months. I'm about fifty shows into my comeback now, have gotten my old chops back and continue to improve on my pre-surgery performances.
Last October with the political and social situations deteriorating in the states, we got one way tickets to France. The price went up five times overnight after the election. My wife was three months pregnant at the time; the anti-immigrant rhetoric was really messing with her and the baby's health. We were planning on moving to France in a year or two but whoever won the election, there was too much negativity around illegal immigrants, liberals, Intellectuals and other groups for it to be worth staying. Best decision I've made.
We got here in January, but I had to go back to New York in March. So many people from NYC were leaving for France that the French consulate had to start a waiting list four months long for a long stay visa, so I had to come back in March. It's not on the news but many people are leaving America now. Over here they are calling it The American Exodus. Mostly families, scientists, artists, intellectuals, professors.
My beautiful daughter Ann Mosher was born on May 8th, V-E day they call it the U.S. She was a little small at first but is thriving here now, a lover of music and her new world. My whole family has health care (for the first time since the 1990s for me). We got a nice bonus from the French government for the baby's birth, paid maternity, and I'm in the process of registering as an artist for the government of France, which has many benefits and is a status that doesn't exist in the States. The quality of life here is high, from good to vacation time etc. Rent is 8% of what I was paying to live in an unheated basement in Bushwick. I highly recommend it.

In your view does Trump’s presidency have to do with so many people relocating from the U.S. to France? Why do you think it’s not being reported on the news over here?
I think a lot of people with the connections, or know-how to make it in other countries are leaving. There's an open appeal from The French government for American, scientists, artists and intellectuals to move to France. America is just not very supportive to the arts, and Sciences under Trump. If you want to you can always find a way to move to another country. I would guess it's not on the news because the U.S. never had an exodus problem before and it doesn't want the bad press about it. Internationally the narrative about what's going on in the world is different than the narrative of the world as described in TV news in America. It's a more complex and information heavy news/reality than the perspective that I was told when I lived in the states. You have to know more than ever to understand the world today, but there are many simplistic explanations (propaganda) being pushed on people who don't have the time to do the research to understand the bigger issues.

Is there a punk scene in France as well as other scenes where you have been able to pursue your art?
The punk scene in France has all the traditional punk subgroups represented, but like most of Europe the underground scene is strongly anti-Fascist, with many of the shows happening in Squats, CPA squats and partisan strongholds etc. I did a show with some New York Hardcore style French bands in Grenoble a few weeks ago with lots of SHARPs and Antifa people there. A modern Garage Rock/Punk scene is maybe bigger in France, but I haven't toured around France enough to tell. Bands like Fuzzy Vox from Paris are great examples of this scene. I've had the most success with bands from Northern Italy I think. I've done almost forty shows there the last three years, and am constantly inspired by bands from Milan, Brescia, Parma, Bologna, Piacenza etc. Ernest's Liver, Riccobellis, Latte+, Disco Monstro, Merry Widow, Impossibli, Snipers, Mighty Goose, Chromosomes, Yonic South, CGB, Ononda, the Island of Wales, and many, many other bands. Painting has also been epic at shows in Slovenia, Bosnia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Wales over the past few years. Wales in particular has really original bands like Not Since The Accident, Gung Ho, 2 Sick Monkeys, Pizza Tramps and Fish Face. I think Wales is isolated enough that the bands have developed to be more original, with their own pressures and standards. In all the slightly out of the way or forgotten places, punk is thriving.

Considering all the punk scenes you have visited worldwide, did you ever expect it to become as wide spread as it is today? In what ways have you noticed those scenes are similar and different?
Yeah I always figured it would last. It has an apocalyptic vibe to it that's real popular worldwide. Punk has a connection to societies in decline; it's like a primal scream of a group outside the mainstream, with cheap, worn, used gear and aggressive energy. As long as there are those people in the world there will be punk music.

Are there scenes in other countries you want to visit, such as Africa and some Muslim countries?
There are a lot of places I want to go and paint with bands. Asia in general fascinates me, as far as bands, Indonesia, and the Philippines are newer scenes, but Cambodia and Vietnam have had rock n roll since the 1960s. Japan is the biggest scene for sure.
I have investigated a little about touring in Africa, but aside from the 1970s-80s punk scene around Durban South Africa, I haven't heard of much. Lots of Hendrix inspired music coming out of Mali; Tinarawen is the biggest touring band.
Iran has some great bands I've heard, and there is a yearly international blues/Rock Fest in Lebanon, where Lord Bishop plays.
There's a lot I don't know about eastern European punk rock. What I've heard out of Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Croatia in particular are tops. The compilation Bombardje New York (Bombarding NY) has all the classic 80-90s bands on there, pure stuff. I will be doing more shows this year in the Balkans, Czech Rep, Poland, Germany, Wales, Italy, and France of course, with two big European tours with American groups in the works for March, April of next year. With my solo shows, I will continue exploring smaller places like Guernsey, Wight, Man, Isles, Sardinia, Corsica, Iceland, and the former Soviet Republic over the next few years. I hope to get to all the countries of Europe over the next five years.
I haven't seen too many Muslim or Gypsy kids in punk bands, but I see teenage Muslim girls doing a punk rock look a lot. It seems like the generation of Muslim girls in particular are rebelling in a punk direction. Leather jackets, I saw a girl in my neighborhood with a CBGB miniskirt and a hijab. I think it's a little early for the bands to come out of this trend, but I'm sure there already started practicing.

Are there new punk bands based in the U.S. you have discovered you would help to endorse for the readers?
I haven't been in the habit of seeing touring bands from the States as much as I was when I lived in the U.S. Some good touring bands from recent years are The Mean Jeans, Audacity, King Kahn and BBQ, Radio Moscow, Ferocious Few, Slam Dunk (Canada). When I lived in Brooklyn, I mostly concentrated on painting with local bands, touring or not. Out of close to two hundred shows in NYC, my favorite groups to paint with were The Bowery Boys, Sewage, Felon, King Bee and The Stingers, CJ Ramone, Alouth, Hammerbrain and Johnny Black Band.

Do you prefer performing with bands at large clubs, smaller clubs, outdoor shows or squat parties?
Every club, stage or bar is different. The feeling you get is different. Because I'm video recording everything, I like all of the spots for different reasons. Having no room to move or being trapped in a corner is the worst. It doesn't really matter if I'm on stage, on my own riser stage, in front of the stage or what, just having enough room to move is what's important. Standing on concrete is the most tiring but makes for fast performances. A wooden floor is the least tiring, and probably my favorite. Outdoor is great for the crowds and fresh air. Clubs have a great compressed energy, but are hot and stuffy too. Over a hundred degrees it can be much harder to do the full set without running out of gas at the end. The constant mix of venues is one of the things that keeps it interesting, and keeps the videos different.

Considering all your experience in punk, how do you think it will be remembered decades from now?
Punk will go down as one of the most influential forms of Rock N Roll. I hope people see it as a form of realism, and maybe one of the most honest forms of art of these times. It's the truest and most honest form of art that best captured an era, and was remembered most after. Punk has its roots in the streets and the struggle; as long as that endures it will be a living breathing thing.


-Dave Wolff