Thursday, August 17, 2017

Single Review: AMERICAN WRECKING COMPANY Everything And Nothing

Everything And Nothing
Title track from their new full length on Pavement Entertainment
If you're on the search for intoxicating, energetic metal with high immediacy I'd strongly advise you to look no further than American Wrecking Company, no doubt a group that has managed to build a cult following. Their new single, 'Everything And Nothing' is crushing. If 'amps to eleven' was ever on the verge of losing its meaning and credibility this song carries the flag for this apophthegm. Everything about it is bold and direct and you get a thrill listening to the all-pervasive crunching quality ever so prevalent in the riffs. They're a group that aren't the easiest to pinpoint but I'd say they fit into something of a progressive hybrid of punk and metal. It isn't visceral to the degree that one may consider it tied to the constrictions of primordial emotion. There is, in fact, a cerebral quality that would be enough in my estimation to prevent certain sectors from deeming it too 'brash' or 'loutish', among pejoratives one has a tendency to vouchsafe. Intricacy rears its head in a stylish, understated manner. It is set in 4/4 throughout and consistently remains in the key of B. What is most interesting is that it's based around a singular series of notes with a tendency to employ different variations which unlike other instances this technique most certainly doesn't become stale. The group emanates an all-encompassing display of energy and enthusiasm. -Jaime Regadas

EP Review: CASKET ROBBERY The Ascension

The Ascension
Right before I went to bed, I remembered that I was sent "The Ascension" by Casket Robbery to review. After sipping on a few radlers whilst listening to CD's that were sent to me by NIHILIST RECORDS, I threw on Casket Robbery for the first time. I cannot pin-point a genre on this, but it is some very loud heavy-metal. This is a really short one, as it consists of only three tracks. Even though it may not be long, it still packs quite a blistering punch. The timing is on-point and the production is highly professional. Crunchy, slammy guitars mixed with nice bass and powerful vocals. I will for sure be checking in again to see what these guys are doing in the near future. Beautifully done, nice job everyone. Always remember to support the underground. Great bands like this spring up from time to time and it is always a positive thing when it happens. -Devin Joseph Meaney

Track list:
1. Pockets Lined With Flowers
2. The Ascension
3. Lilith

Article: God Gave Us Nothing by Joseph A. Zuchowski

God Gave Us Nothing
My rant today is about the phrase, "Our God given rights." and why I feel it demeans the struggles we have as a nation gone through to secure those fragile things. To the best of my knowledge, none of the founders ascended some mountain top, or went out into the wilderness had a divine encounter and return with a divinely written constitution. Nope, sorry, didn't happen. God did not give us our rights, we created them. The framers of the constitution argued, revised and voted on every one of them the same way we do our laws today. Those who use the phrase should really take a good look at the Book of Job: God can give than God can reclaim (The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away) It also demean the blood and pain that was suffered by many who were not originally covered in the early days of our nation. Women, and Native people were not considered citizens, and blacks barely so but that was for population purposes for statehood and then again it was only adult black males. Anyone familiar enough with basic European history knows that as time was progressing we were turning away from such concepts which permeated history. If you read the bible, rulership is divinely appointed the ever infamous "Divine Right of Kings." Our nation's Constitution make the source of our government's authority very clear in the first three words "We the People" no religion is to be promoted or prohibited by the government, and no person is to be made to believe in anything they do not wish to. Also no religious test are to be given for any public office of the United States. Another point, the existence of God cannot be logically proven, sorry all the arguments have been used up and it comes down to a matter of faith. If you gave proof you do not need faith, in fact looking to prove God's existence undermines faith, it shows the person is lacking in it and needs to have it bolstered. As I said when the Constitution was penned the majority of the country's population was marginalized. Let's look at things logically. Would a Civil War have been necessary if a perfect divine being was responsible? No, because the moral repugnance of that state would have been as obvious to an all perfect being as it is to us so slavery would have been abolished and full citizenship would have been available over two hundred years ago; women would have had the right to vote. And most importantly a perfect document would never have ended revision. When you say "God given" you are asking me to accept pro facto that there is a god, chiefly a particular variety and nature of god. Again I repeat: there is as much evidence for Yahweh as there is for Odin or Zeus or any of that lot. Case in point: the bible does not deny the existence of any other god, in the Hebrew Scriptures we are often told that "You will have no other god," not that there is no other god. Yahweh was developed through the course of time from a tribal to a universal god. The bible is a political book, political in the sense that the books included in the Hebrew and later Christian scriptures were designed to promote a particular world view. I recommend “The Bible On The Cutting Room Floor," "The Lost Books Of The Bible" and "Lost Christianities” to fully understand this. Submitted for your interest.
The purpose of my rant was to show how if we believe that our rights come from more than human minds, that the idea of democracy has its roots in human development. From ancient peoples debating around a fire on how the best way to handle a situation, or the early attempts at a semi democracy of ancient Athens, Rome, the Councils (things) of the Germanic peoples, are well documented. What is the danger in believing our rights are "God given"? The notion that a Supreme Being has chosen a nation or people to bestow a system guidance upon, that somehow these "rights" are perfect and above questioning revision and if necessary to be excised if they are no longer valid. The idea that people who have these rights are now morally obligated to impose them on others. Even to the elimination of those people and their cultures. We are as a species tribal, but the truth is we are one species with cosmetic variations of melanin, and that's about it. We have created our societies and all the good and ills that come with them. Many will say because Thomas Jefferson wrote "all men are endowed by their creator with the rights of life, liberty and happiness" which is only a variation of John Locke's "Life, liberty, and pursuit of property" only proves a belief in a creator, Jefferson's a Deist, basically as Dawkins puts it sexed up naturalism. Now one more point. What if I supported "God given rights (laws)” and my name was not said "Joseph" or as I prefer it "Joe" but Yousef Ibn Adama, would you still say I was right?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

CD Review: VARIOUS ARTISTS Grind Slut Mind Fuck

Grind Slut Mind Fuck
Nihilist Records
I recently received a parcel in the mail from NIHILIST RECORDS. Within that parcel was a compilation pro-CD called ''GRIND SLUT MIND FUCK''. Due to my previous affiliation with this label, I was expecting the majority of the tracks on this beast to be different variations of noise and grind. Although there was a fair portion of noise, there was also a decent amount of high-production extreme metal. A few of the bands released on this compilation have also been released in some way or another on my D.I.Y label Gorecyst Records. Over half a decade ago we put out a split tape that featured Zombie Raiders. A few years later we released a BLASPHEMATION dub cassette. Both of those projects were featured on this compilation and it is really nice to see that both these projects are still active and involved within the underground scene. This is without a doubt one of the better releases put out on NIHILIST. Everything on NIHILIST is worth listening to, but this compilation CD is a gem within the label's collection. NIHILIST RECORDS is run by ''Cire Narg'', and you can find him on FACEBOOK and other random locations all over the internet. We met in 2010-2011 when his band BLASPHEMATION and my old band PROCTOPHOBIC were released together on a split disc. In conclusion, NIHILIST has only been a label for a few years, but Cire is working hard at bringing the sounds of the underground to your virgin ear-drums. Buy this album and others to support the dark abyss that is NIHILIST RECORDS. I guarantee you will not be let down. -Devin Joseph Meaney
P.S: My old blackened gore-grind band released a ''Greatest Hits'' CD on NIHILIST RECORDS. For only a few U.S dollars, you could also own that piece of ''art''. NIHILIST RECORDS FOR LIFE.

Track list:
2. ULCER Exhorting The Swineherd (Demo)
3. GRAVEHUFFER Prince With A Thousand Enemies
5. ENBILULUGUGAL Choking On Filthy Flesh
6. EMBRYONIC DEVOURMENT Gravitational Oblivion
7. BLISTERING DEFILEMENT Telekinetic Dismemberment
8. UNEXPLAINABLE Killer Within
9. GENERICHRIST Kill Your Parents
11. ZOMBIE RAIDERS The Crater Lake Monster
12. BLASPHEMATION Stomped Into A Sludge
13. ELEPHANTKNUCKLE Nighttime (Outro)

Video Review: PSY:CODE Stay Disappeared

Stay Disappeared
From their 2017 full length Mørke (Pavement Entertainment)
Twelve days after releasing their single 'Leech', the ever-impressive Psy:code returns with the incredibly different, unexpected 'Stay Disappeared', featuring a highly emotive yet disturbing animated video for accompaniment. Unlike the riff-driven nature of Leech, the driving figurehead at the vanguard of this track is the appearance of sustained piano voicings. It is a slow song that cannot escape initial comparisons to Steven Wilson due to a thought-provoking video that adds a new level of meaning to the song. It wouldn't have been possible at all without this. Depicting the harrowing patterns we see so often in contemporary urban living, the visual symbolism of individuals tied down and inevitably categorized by superficial statistics such as background, profession, sexuality and race, - each 'number' or, at a stretch, 'homo-sapien', has to resign to the fate of their heads' being supplanted by paper-bags to join the parade and contribute to the beautiful ebb-and-flow of urban flow. Within this chaos you see the band members depicted in 3D animated form, giving the whole thing a surreal, fantastical feel. It is a stark criticism of alienation which leaves one devoid of individuality and ability to express oneself. - And yes, the visuals depicting this are duly stunning. Of course you're not here to hear about the video per se but the song. Admittedly I found the video most impressive about it though the song is good. It takes until the end before the crushing guitars barge in for it to really be considered a 'rock' song. - But whatever it is in terms of classification the quality it retains is of sophistication and maturity from a group willing to push boundaries. -Jaime Regadas

Sunday, August 13, 2017

CD Review: EXTERMINATOR Total Extermination (Reissue)

Total Extermination (Reissue)
It has been an awful long time since I delved into the labyrinths of first-wave black metal but when I read about Exterminator I was intrigued to learn of their connections to that short-lived eighties movement. 'Total Extermination' is an album that has been widely sought after by fans of this niche genre, and while I too considered myself to be fairly literate as far as first-wave BM groups go I was surprised to discover that there was indeed a group from that era that I was unfamiliar with. Originally released in 1987 but re-released on August 5 via Greyhaze Records, the album is almost a definitive staple of how average extreme metal band sounded at that time: - Raw, unpolished, under-produced and not that great in all honesty. But what I like and what many others will like is that it's self-confessedly mediocre and almost kind of glorifies it in a humorous way. Don't get me wrong, - they're a product of their time and they were part of a movement that was pretty much characterized by a juvenile kind of enthusiasm in contrast with the now overtly cringe-inducing allusions to Satanism and the macabre. But in those days it wasn't so cringe-inducing because it hadn't been done before and it was still a moderately new thing. It's not a crime to say that if a lot of those groups ala Hellhammer (pre-Celtic Frost) and NME were around now they wouldn't be romanticized or bestowed with the same coloration, - and that's not particularly a bad thing but rather an inevitable consequence seeing as these type of groups paved the way for the more sophisticated brand of black-metal that would blossom in Scandinavia a couple years later. But this album itself obviously isn't very good - the riffs aren't memorable and nearly all of the crash-cymbals aren't synchronized correctly. The rhythms are sloppy and the solos are frenetic, detuned, dissonant and at times grating. Though having said that almost all extreme metal groups from the eighties were kind of devoid of the ability to solo properly and melodically, - (and if you disagree try singing me a Slayer solo from that era - I'll be waiting!). But nonetheless it's an inoffensive record if you're into this type of thing and it's an enjoyable album to listen to analytically for the sake of introspection. But overall it's a fairly dull twenty-nine minutes of material if you're unfamiliar with the scene it came from and of course the groups who were later influenced by it. -Jaime Regadas

Track list:
1. The End
2. Nightmare
3. Exterminator
4. Marchando Para A Morte
5. Voyage To Hell
6. Speed Metal
7. March Of The Exterminator
8. Pro Inferno Vou Te Levar
9. Haunting The Church
10. Fighting Against The Sky Angels

Single Review: DARK WATERS END Congenital Vice

Congenital Vice
From their upcoming full length, Submersion, to be released October 7 2017 (Independent)
When in quest for a resurgence of energy after waking up, 'Congenital Vice' by Dark Waters End proves to be an exemplary aid in that regard. It's a very progressive song in nature. Its elaborate production showcases the heavy guitars in full oscillation from left-speaker to its right. One hearing it initially may consider it too messy or involved, but that's just the nature of the group's beloved complexity. A wordy song, yes, but there's also a lot of technical efficiency in the solos. The drums are all over the place and there are so many subtle changes going on due to the common alterations of atmosphere and velocity. I can hear a slight Voivod influence in their manner of constructing a song, albeit without the eccentricity and excessive employment of diminished scales prevalent in their sound. Overall it's a strong and diverse release from Dark Waters End and a storming addition to one's metal collection. -Jaime Regadas

Saturday, August 12, 2017

CD Review: ELKENWOOD Elkenwood

Since Liam Anthony parted company with the Australian thrash band Malakyte he has taken on several projects, like publishing the Dampman and Shadowsix comic series and becoming the drummer of this folk metal band that formed in 2014 and released the debut single Uncreation a year later. This song is the introductory of their debut full length, and is accompanied by three more epic compositions of black/folk metal. Interviewing him in 2016 I uncovered a fair helping of background information on these projects and his other band Dragonsmead, a power metal act that presents tales of swords and sorcery inspired by Manowar and Rhapsody Of Fire. Drummer Anthony, vocalist/guitarist/pianist Gareth Graham and violinist Amanda Terry, are also involved in Dragonsmead so they spend a lot of time working, practicing and performing. You’d assume this would be a help to the material recorded for this album, and their extensive experience together shows. From the six minute to ten minute songs, it runs smoothly and doesn’t sound too tedious or time consuming. The first track I cited (with guest appearances by Dalton Quade Wilson on acoustic guitar and Sid Falck on drums) features a long, theatrical lead-in establishing their penchant for writing songs that resemble heroic narratives by their nature. You can tell a considerable amount of thought and preparation went into these canticles and the musicians involved have a way of drawing you into the atmosphere laden sweeping majesty they create for this track and those that follow. Old Satyricon meets Like Gods Of The Sun era My Dying Bride would be a fitting analogy. The songwriting and its execution invite you in to explore as long as you wish, and once you’re there you may find you want to visit many times. I have to note how uplifting the band’s interpretations of black and folk metal are, even in their most somber moments. This is mostly because of the interplay between the piano and violin, and the guitars of Nic Williams who contributes most of the atmosphere (not to mention the choral vocals occasionally appearing in the background. This aspect creates a refreshing balance for the harsher elements of the musicianship. The themes of fantasy and vast emptiness are arranged to show beauty in darkness in a way that is completely unique to them. The darkness is illuminated from within its deepest depths, where you would usually expect something far more malevolent to be lurking. Lana Ritchie’s cover artwork touches on all this but to fully experience it you really should check out the songs. More than this each member of the band is presented with an opportunity to shine with equal sharpness and clarity, whether they’re backed by the other musicians or given a moment or two to play solo. Gareth Graham and Cazmeth Moon collaborated on recording, mixing and mastering and knew what they were doing when it came to bringing the band’s most promising qualities to light. Head to Elkenwood’s Bandcamp page and give this album a listen. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Uncreation
2. Winter Cometh
3. Hemlock & Wolfsbane
4. The Elk, The Wolf & The Cloaked Companion

Friday, August 11, 2017

CD Review: GRAND DELUSION Supreme Machines

Supreme Machines
This album has good strong vocals. The guitar riffs are amazing and I dig the hard pounding drums. The bass is tight, and pairs well with the cello on Trail of the Seven Scorpians. The mixture of classic old school metal and a modern hard rock makes for a unique sound on an incredible musical journey. I like how their sound takes me to the late 70s/early 80s era of rock. Telling a story with the songs is another point I really like. In my opinion, it shows more substance in the work. Grand Delusion wrote all of the tracks on this album themselves. They started up in 2011, and hail from Northern Sweden. Per Clevfors-lead guitars and backing vocals, Mikael Olsson-bass and keyboards, Magnus Rehnman-drums and backing vocals, Bjorn Wahlberg-lead/backing vocals and guitar. Featuring Axel Thorell-cello on Trail of the Seven Scorpians. -Deanna Revis

Track list:
1. Just Revolution
2. Mangrove Blues
3. Trail of the Seven Scorpions
4. Imperator
5. Infinite
6. Ghost of the Widow McCain

Video Review: WHITECHAPEL Bring Me Home

Bring Me Home
From their full length Mark Of The Blade (Metal Blade)
Shot and directed by Mathis Arnell for Naughty Mantis
Rock music has always had strong compatibility with raw visceral energy spurring from abandoned emotions and feelings. Whitechapel's 'Bring Me Home' is a perfect example. The song is a five-minute rollercoaster that deals lyrically with themes of loss and associated grief, agony and associated echoes of suicide, and finally overcoming such a tough emotional battle with a sense of empowerment and revelation. Musically the song is downtrodden, defeated, dejected and inexorably dark throughout the affair but there are sparks of illumination lurking amidst the darkest void. An unconventional song to a degree for its being led predominantly by a sustained bass pattern and oneiric vocals. The chorus is huge and a lovely contrast to the bleakness of the verses. There's diversity in almost every minute detail of the track, from soulful singing to almost yearning cries exemplified in the harshest moments of this ordeal. The drums are demonstrative but not bombastic, as the last thing the song needed was overwhelming elevation. There are ebbs and flows within its personality but overall the thread that binds it is of introspective brooding. To have interpolated a variation of extreme highs-and-lows would have been unnecessary so I'm glad they didn't do such a thing. Although I found the song immensely appealing I'm not ashamed to admit as a complete body of work it almost pales in comparison to the stunning visuals in its accompanying video, and that's certainly not a bad thing. The video adds so much colour to an already fine piece of music and gives it a remarkable grounding and thematic relevance. One finds it touching - from the heart-breaking clips of the young boy's emotional turmoil yet incredible innocence with the grown man's outpouring of emotion and melancholy. From the emotive war-stricken, dilapidated landscape to the minimalistic shots of sitting-room contemplation the spectacle oozes remarkable evocative thought. A visual and sonic treat throughout. -Jaime Regadas

Thursday, August 10, 2017

CD Review: LAST RITES Nemesis

If somebody asked me to describe the Italian group Last Rites in two adjectives, the first words that would come to mind would most certainly be 'solid' and 'consistent'. Active since 1997, the group is noteworthy in the depths of metal as they're hard to pinpoint musically. Their newest album 'Nemesis' is scheduled for release today and it is overall a strong album. Where my definition of 'strong' comes from is something I'm not quite sure about. They don't really conform to previous standards one can use as a template. Nonetheless the album is as heavy as it is melodic and that's a quality I always admire. They're sometimes put into the death metal category but the only quality on this record that would remotely appertain to death-metal would probably be the vocals and the occasional fast sections. Besides, they put thrashy mid-tempo fist-pumping accessibility over extreme speed and technicality. They're often labelled as 'technical' but this album is pleasing to fans of technical and non-technical metal. The zenith of their technicality is showcased in their guitar solos which often feature diminished scales, glissando arpeggio licks and sweep-picking. Time-signature wise it's mostly 4/4-driven and there's a lot of adherence to conventional songwriting formats. Not like that's a negative thing, - because they're actually accomplished songwriters. Tracks like 'Realm of Illusions' feature a lot of staccato riff patterns whereas 'Fallen Brother', the longest track, features a highly impressive outro titled 'Glory to the Brave'. They abandon distorted guitars as their sole instrumentation and go incredibly left-field with the interpolation of a grand-piano sequence. Then it builds upon a vast array of electronic soundscapes before settling as the flute takes the lead role. - Thrash metal at its most representative? Certainly not, - but the great thing is that they're not afraid to show how multi-faceted they are in their songwriting. Admittedly I would have liked if there were a few more sections like the ending of 'Fallen Brother' to prove to their listeners their plunge into mellow territory isn't just a one-off. But even the album cover is a good indication they're not confined to fitting into preconceived expectations. There's a cosmic atmosphere not totally unlike something predecessors Atheist would have done to avoid the stereotypical realms of cover art. As a whole 'Nemesis' is an immensely satisfying affair; my personal favourite has to be '26.04.86', nicely representative of an album which thrives upon never-ending guitar tracks and perennially driving percussion. -Jaime Regadas

Track list:
1. Paradox of Predestination
2. Architecture of Self-Destruction
3. 26.04.86
4. Ancient Spirit
5. Fallen Brother - Glory to the Brave (outro)
6. Human Extinction
7. Realm of Illusions
8. Souls' Harvest

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Band Interview: THIRTY SILVER

Interview with Drew Smith of THIRTY SILVER

You announced your latest release Welcome Home will be your last since Thirty Silver is disbanding. Explain the reasons the band is breaking up.
It was just time. It sounds trite, but Joe and I hit a point where we had to sit down, talk, and realize that we both wanted different things, and that it didn't make sense to continue playing music together. We had recorded Welcome Home, and we wanted to go out on a high note by putting that out before we split.

How long had you and Joe been working together? Were your differing personal tastes in music getting in the way of your songwriting, or were there different goals you had in mind?
Joe and I had been working together for almost four years; he joined a band that I'd started in 2013, then he and I decided to start Thirty Silver in early 2014. I think a mix of factors contributed to the split; partially personal taste in music, and that leading to different goals for what we wanted to do. Joe is an amazing metal drummer, and the past year or so my interests have drifted more towards more straight up rock and roll and blues music.

Were you always a fan of blues and rock while working as a musician? What rekindled your interest in it?
I grew up on the blues and rock and roll, in addition to all the punk and metal I listened to. So it was a natural inclination to go back to it. Being in a band and meeting a lot of other musicians, I got turned into artists like RL Burnside and T. Model Ford by some of them that I became friends with, and so my interest in hill country blues especially really started to spark.

Describe hill country blues and how it differs from traditional blues.
I think when most folks think of traditional blues, they're thinking of things like Delta and Chicago blues, which I love, don't get me wrong. Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Robert Johnson, they're all great. Hill country stuff though is steadier, it's a lot more focused on the hypnotic groove and less on the chord changes. It's music that's meant to get you moving. You're looking at guys like R.L. Burnside, T. Model Ford, Junior Kimbrough, and them; dudes that weren't as famous because they didn't really leave Mississippi. But hill country and delta blues aren't entirely separate; they're like cousins, y'know? Almost brothers. I like all kinds of blues music, so it's all gone into the blender for me and I can just hope that I do it some justice.

What was the band you began in 2013, and what led to Joe becoming their drummer?
I was in a band called The Silent Order in 2013, it was more of a noise/alt rock band; Joe stepped in to do drums after the previous rhythm section, a bass player and drummer, left.

Was The Silent Order your first working band? Was any material recorded and released by them?
The Silent Order was the first band I was in that really accomplished anything. We only recorded one EP, Opportunity In Chaos, that isn't available anymore.

How many songs did The Silent Order record for Opportunity In Chaos? How many copies of this EP were pressed upon its release?
The Silent Order did seven songs for Opportunity In Chaos; I want to say we probably did like 75 copies of the EP, and people seemed to like it. We were just starting out so it's kind of hard to gauge. Some of the songs stuck around in our set list even after we started Thirty Silver; Holy Dust and Hangman's Joke, off Welcome Home, are actually two of the oldest songs I've written.

How many copies of Opportunity In Chaos were distributed to fanzines and webzines for review?
I sent out a lot of advance downloads, it's been years, and I didn't hear a lot back. It's always a grind in the beginning to get started, which is something I try to tell people when I meet new folks starting out.

Describe the songwriting and recording process of Welcome Home? Was it recorded independently or at a studio with professionals assisting you?
We recorded Welcome Home in the same space where we recorded our last few CDs, which was a converted practice space in Charlestown, Massachusetts with our friend Dave Sage, who's an amazing live engineer. We then sent the tracks to be mixed and mastered by Dan Bee out in Iowa, who's also worked on the last few CDs we've done. As far as soundproofing it so we could use it for recording that was strictly a band effort.

How much practicing and recording equipment was moved into your practice space? Will you and Joe still be using it with new bands or looking elsewhere?
We had a drum set, a rotating cast of amps and guitars, and some interfaces and microphones. I'm not sure what Joe's going to use it for, but all my stuff is out of there while I look for a new base of operations.

How many bands had their material engineered by Dave Sage? How many of your full lengths did he contribute to?
I'm not sure how many other bands Dave has worked with. He's getting off the ground with engineering but has a background in live sound, and I love that we're able to work together. Dusk and Welcome Home are the only two CDs I've had the pleasure of working on with him with Thirty Silver, but I'm definitely looking forward to working with him in the future.

Had Sage helped Thirty Silver for live performances? How often did the band get to perform?
Dave had actually run sound for us once or twice, and had hopped onstage with us a few times for a couple of Misfits covers at benefit shows. All total, Thirty Silver had just shy of 150 shows in the three years we were together. We toured through the Midwest, upstate New York, New England, the tri-state, and a few shows in the south.

Do you have any performances uploaded to Youtube or other sites? Recall some of Thirty Silver’s more memorable shows.
I don't know that we have anything uploaded to YouTube that's live, at least not on our old channel. I like to think a lot of our shows were memorable. Big ones that stand out for me are one time on tour, we were the openers for a couple of popular local bands, and we were running late from a flat tire on the road. When we got there and threw my board and guitars onstage, the next band having told us already that we could just borrow their drums and roll, I turned around and realized that the place was totally packed out. That was a good feeling. A room full of strange faces to entertain. And back in 2014, we played one of my favorite little clubs up here in Cambridge, Club Bohemia, for a memorial show to a friend who'd passed a few weeks earlier, and the energy was great; everyone was a friend, everyone was there for her memory, and it was amazing.

How many demos, EPs and full lengths were released by Thirty Silver altogether? Will you keep them posted to social media sites for streaming?
Thirty Silver managed a pretty prodigious output. We had three full-length CDs, two EPs, plus a handful of other songs. The last two EPs, Dusk and Lost Saints, and Welcome Home, our last full length, are gonna stay up on Bandcamp for streaming and download, but all our merch is sold out. People should go grab 'em.

Why did you decide only to stream your last three releases instead of all your releases?
We'd decided with our first two CDs to purposely make them limited releases, so it just seems to make sense to keep the streaming and downloading offline for them. Nothing against those two CDs, but it was a decision we made when we were recording them, and one that I'm fine with sticking to.

You planned a brief tour to support Welcome Home upon its release, but ended up doing a single farewell show. How and why did the scheduled tour fall through?
All I can really say is that a decision was made not to do that tour, and to go through with it would have felt like cheating everyone out of something authentic, which is the last thing I'd ever want to do to people.

Describe how well Thirty Silver’s final performance was received. How much word of mouth advertising went into it?
The last show went pretty well! We played with some old friends and a touring band from South Carolina that I'm friends with. The whole show was sweaty, raw, loud, and real. It was a great time. And we told everybody they should be there; those who made it, enjoyed it.

How much independent press did Thirty Silver receive? Did your farewell performance receive favorable reviews?
We got some independent press, but I never paid too much heed to how press we were getting. If folks were talking about us, great. If not, we were doing it to make music and not to get talked about, so it didn't really affect me that much. Since the last show crept up on us like it did, we didn't really get coverage on that, but the folks there enjoyed it.

Are you involved in any new projects since the disbanding of Thirty Silver? Do you plan a solo project or are you considering working with other musicians?
I’m actually working on a solo project blending blues, rock, and punk called Hidden Knives. I haven't actually been working on Hidden Knives that long. I've been turning over the idea for a while, because there were always things I was coming up with that didn't really fit into the context of Thirty Silver anyway. But with Thirty Silver splitting up at the end of June, it just seemed like the time to kick it into gear and get rolling. I'm actually still figuring out just what I want to do. I'm open to working and collaborating with people who are comfortable working with a bandleader; not everybody is and I get that. I am treating it like a solo project with valued co-conspirators.

How much do you think Hidden Knives will differ from Thirty Silver this early in its development?
I mean I think they're both going to share some serious DNA, but Hidden Knives is just a lot closer to what I'd like to be doing at this point in time. Going back to the roots of everything and updating it, playing a 21st century kind of blues. One thing that drives me nuts is that people get it in their heads that the blues needs to stay frozen in the form it had in the '50s and '60s, when the greats from those days were playing modern blues for themselves, and I don't see any good reason to be chained to staying in that same mode.

How did you come up with the name Hidden Knives? Is the band name intended to mean anything?
I definitely have a story behind the name and an intent, but I honestly much prefer that people draw their own conclusions as far as what the meaning is.

Has anyone contacted you with an interest in working on Hidden Knives with you? How much additional input would you be open to from new members?
I've actually had a lot of people step up and say that they wanted to work with me, on Hidden Knives and other things I might have in the works, and it's been really heartening. I think every musician brings something different to the table, so I'm open to input from other folks who are playing on things and have skin in the game. I think it'd be stupid not to at least be open to the possibility that somebody has a better idea than I might have.

Are the people who contacted you about joining the band experienced musicians or fledgling newcomers?
Mostly experienced musicians, folks I know through life and my own trip through the music world. I certainly won't discount somebody just because they're new, but I've been lucky enough to get offers from some folks that I love and respect who have busted their asses in music already and are great musicians. Everybody who's offered is somebody that I respect the hell out of as a musician, I'd say that's about what counts in my book. 

What connections do you see between blues, punk and rock that would strengthen Hidden Knives’ sound?
Rock and punk and metal and funk, soul music, rhythm and blues, even hip-hop, have all grown out of the blues. Willie Dixon, who was an amazing blues songwriter and musician back in the heyday of Chess Records, said "the blues are the roots and the other musics are the fruits", and I really find that to be true. The way I see it, the blues is like a microcosm, you can find everything in it, and everyone can find something. Even Greg Ginn from Black Flag has said that he considered what he was doing to be the blues, just his very personal blues. And that's the thing for me. If you look at it long enough, you can find entire worlds in it. Willie Dixon and the blues loom large over rock and roll. Dixon had a huge role in the success of Chess Records, whose influence is still trickling down to this day. He sued Zeppelin. He's right in the DNA of rock.

How much blues influence have you noticed in classic and modern punk? Do you see any of it in metal?
I think that for me anyway, the blues influence is there, even if there's a reaction against it by trying to avoid it completely. But maybe that's just my bent way of looking at it. But a lot of punk is the blues, to me. The "standing against the world" kind of stance, the progressions. English punk growing out of pub rock helped, too.

Explain what Chess Records is and how much material can still be found from that label.
Chess Records was a record label out of Chicago back in the '50s and '60s that was responsible for putting out a ton of great Chicago blues artists; Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, Chuck Berry, Buddy Guy, Etta James...just a ton of 'em. They laid a lot of the groundwork for rock and roll. You can find almost anybody that was on Chess these days, and I'd say that if you're into rock and roll, you should dig into the back catalog there.

What is the story of Willie Dixon suing Led Zeppelin? What were the reasons he sued them and what came of it?
I love Zeppelin, but at this point it's pretty well known that they nicked a lot of things from older blues artists. Dixon ended up suing them over using some of his music and his lyrics without credit for two of their songs; it's the reason he's credited on "Whole Lotta Love" now, actually.

Is it better for a band to progress and grow on their own terms as opposed to changing to become people pleasers?
Growing and doing your own thing. Trying to please people solely for the sake of pleasing them has never, in my experience, worked out well. I'm sure it's worked for somebody though, and maybe this is why I'm where I'm at and they're where they're at! But no, I mean for me, I'd keep doing what I was doing if nobody else liked it, just because it's what I do and what I like. You have to be true to yourself first and everything good will flow from that.

Artists who grow on their own terms have far more longevity than those concerned with pleasing the people. Many musical trends and genres that became trends died out after a few years while artists not as well-known still attract fans.
I just think that chasing trends is a fool's errand. I think following a pack and sniffing after accolades and pride is a dumb way to do anything; I know people that do that, start bands and start tailoring them to be what they think people will like, and those bands inevitably end up being, in my opinion, not good.

How many songs you have written and composed for Hidden Knives so far? What is inspiring the lyrics of these songs?
Right now I've got about a dozen or so songs written and arranged for Hidden Knives. The inspiration is coming from all sorts of places. I am definitely going to wait for people to hear what I've got to say.

-Dave Wolff

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Video Review: SINICLE Damnation

From their forthcoming full length Angels & Demons
An unlikely conglomeration of ornate animation and raw heavy metal has proved itself a worthwhile experiment with the Los Angeles power trio Sinicle's new video, 'Damnation'. The video is taken from their upcoming album 'Angels & Demons', scheduled for release  September 22. The song itself is perhaps a little too short if you're using this track as a template to base your opinions of the group on. However there are elements the group manage to articulately get across in two minutes. Their defining nature is the high level of angst and grit the group relies upon. The music is tight and the rhythms are nice; the tonality of the instrumentation is lovably messy, particularly the guitar tone which is quite bonkers. While watching the video one is plagued with the inevitable question of whether its animated and seemingly jocular appeal holds compatibility with the themes expressed in the music, but strangely enough it DOES work. You get visual flashes of stick-like figures descending from the sky; it's a mixture of creepy and trippy which compliments the demanding nature of the visceral, heavy music. It's a strange combination but there's something about it that leaves one feeling oddly rejuvenated. -Jaime Regadas

EP Review: BLOOD OF ANGELS Rise Of The Fallen Gods

Rise Of The Fallen Gods
Hollywood Collective
It is early in the afternoon and I was sent ''RISE OF THE FALLEN GODS'' by BLOOD OF ANGELS. This is a short three track EP, but I promise it will not steer you in the wrong direction if you are a fan of death-metal. There are also hints of black-metal and power-metal, so fans of those sub-genres might also take a liking to this. The three tracks are titled MISCREANT DEEDS OF LOKI, ODIN'S WRATH and FINAL WAR. As you could probably tell, these tracks are based on Norse mythology, which is pretty cool. Your standard death-metal with a twist, I would say. Blasting drums, brutal gutturals and violent yet melodic guitar work. You know how this game works. ''Metal that will melt your ears'' hailing from Florida. Give these guys a listen, they deserve it. -Devin Joseph Meaney

Track list:
1. Miscreant Deeds of Loki
2. Odin's Wrath
3. Final War

Book Review: ARACHNOPHILE by Betty Rocksteady

By Betty Rocksteady
New Bizarro Author Series
Spiders. Sex. Adultery. All of these things combined make up some of the innards of ARACHNOPHILE, the seedy debut novella written by the talented BETTY ROCKSTEADY. This is a hard book to review without bombarding you with spoilers, but I will do my best. Alex has arachnophobia, but he still manages to live a decent life... until a giant spider decides to move in next door. His girlfriend is not a fan of his fears, and she convinces him to become ''friendly'' with the newbie living across the hall. Alex finds that he is deeply attracted to the giant carnivorous arachnid, pushing things to spiral out of control from then on.
This is a short novella, but once I picked it up, I could not put it down. An obscure masterpiece from a ''not so'' amateur writer. This novella is a part of the NEW BIZARRO AUTHOR SERIES. Check it out, you know you want to. Betty even designed her own cover art, her talent is monumental.
Would you make love to a spider? I hear that it is quite delightful.
Check out other works by BETTY ROCKSTEADY here. -Devin Joseph Meaney

Monday, August 7, 2017

EP Review: PUTRID OFFAL Anatomy

It is almost time for bed and I was sent ''ANATOMY'' by PUTRID OFFAL. This short release is great! They market themselves as death/grind , but I can hear some gory influences as well. Fans of (early) CARCASS and THE COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINERS will lap this one up like a dehydrated puppy dog at the pond. I find most of the modern death-metal can become pretty boring after a while, but PUTRID OFFAL is just what the doctor ordered for me. The two studio recordings alongside the re-recordings are great. Hell, even the live tracks tacked on at the end are well worth listening to. Just one more band putting FRANCE on the map. This band has been around since 1990, and I have heard them before. This release has managed to grab my attention though. I will be listening to more PUTRID OFFAL in the future. These blood-splattered hymns need to become permanent in my anti-musical collection. Good job PUTRID OFFAL. Stay sick. -Devin Joseph Meaney

Track list:
1. Anatomy
2. Didactic Exploration
3. Rotted Flesh [2017 re-recording]
4. Gurgling Prey [2017 re-recording]
5. Requiem for a Corpse [live]
6. Purulent Cold [live]

EP Review: PERVERSE FUNERAL HOME They Won't Stay Dead

Just when you think modern horror couldn't get any more perverse and insalubrious a group like the aptly titled Perverse Funeral Home comes along to deny that belief. 'They Won't Stay Dead' is an incredibly short affair with the longest track being an intro that isn't representative of the group as a whole due to the fact that the other four songs are entirely different. They're a very nutty group, at first listen, - almost a bit disconcertingly unconventional as they've concocted this quite absurd horror concept to accompany the music. Although it may sound strange the most interesting factor of the album for me was the "intro" song titled 'The Funeral is About to Begin', a very mood-setting song that bases itself around a series of repeated notes. Although purely ambient in nature it's a very interesting piece as it starts off relatively small and expands into something much larger in which there's a lot of varied instrumentation while the song builds itself up with the grandiloquence of an orchestra as you can actually hear the new additions that emerge at each interval. Church organs, synth strings and marimba-esque instrumentation are the prime components of this grisly ordeal. One begins to wonder seeing as the remaining tracks are shorter if in fact this is all the group have in their proverbial bag of tricks. But alas one quickly realises it is indeed a game of two halves when the self-titled track appertaining to the name of the group comes on and you hear the inevitable arrival of the blast-beats which permeate the remainder of the record. One small criticism I have to make about the group as far as their death-metal quality is concerned is that all of the retrospective instruments stick out like a sore thumb, almost as if there's too much distinction between what is going on which at times has a tendency to make it sound like separate pieces altogether. The drums are fantastically quanitized although there's a sort of mechanical aspect to them which were gained perhaps during the pursuit of perfection, leaving one unsure of whether they're programmed or not. What I like about the group though is that they've an identity and they're not bound to doing one thing all the time and I think the addition of samples adds something quite tasteful to the conceptually-driven nature of the band. I think it'd be nice to hear the ambient side of the group coalesce with the extreme side of the group in upcoming releases, though, seeing as a lot of existing extreme groups have this tendency to rely on atmospheric music which serves merely as an introduction before bursting into electric frenzy. I think however we're reached a time in the music world in which groups can start experimenting with the two simultaneously without any degree of shame. Overall it's a promising and interesting release for the group and it's a guilty confession to admit that I really find the whole identity of the group quite intoxicating. (And disturbing.) -Jaime Regadas

Track list:
1. The Funeral Is About to Begin
2. Perverted Funeral Home
3. Terror From Beyond
4. Masturbating In Her Spleen
5. Zilf

Video Review: PSY:CODE Leech

From their third full length Mørke, released August 4, 2017
It's a rare scenario when you listen to a song for the first time and become instantly interested. Psy:Code are a group that have managed to evoke that phenomenon with me today and hopefully others, too, on account of their newest single 'Leech' from their third album 'Mørke'. The music is syncopated and jaw-droppingly heavy in terms of tonality although question marks remain over whether the group fit into a 'metal' category. I really don't see the purpose of categorization as far as Psy:code goes seeing as the qualities that define the group are more important. The qualities in question are the fact that they've a firm clasp upon the necessary paraphernalia that is almost pre-requisite for having a keen melodic accessibility. The studio production here is crisp-clear and there's a lot of layers behind the enveloping of quantized rhythms. Verses are quite gloomy and the chorus stands alone with a coloration of optimism which I'm not sure was one-hundred percent part of their initial plan but it sure works efficiently. Sporadically the emergence of synth-pads mark their territory in a non-conspicuous or overly obtrusive manner while in terms of vocal arrangements there's a lot of complexity in the multi-tracking of the voice. The accompanying video is quite nice, too, or at least incredibly well-produced and professional and the lighting works quite elegantly. The 'hardcore' fanatics of underground metal may be a little bit averse to the excessive quantity of staccato riffs and breakdowns within the song, - and the fact that they're a group that write decent and wholesome melodies that aren't obstructed by lo-fi production standards unlike other groups. Nonetheless I really like it - it has a lot of energy and it's ballsy as hell. Yes, it may be streamlined, - but when the biggest criticism one can have of a group is merely the fact that they're accessible it's a sign the group is doing well. I think they're a band that don't aspire to be anything they're not. They just simply… be, which in my opinion is great. -Jaime Regadas

EP Review: LYNCH PIGS The Art Of The Squeal

The Art Of The Squeal
The Long Island scum rockers Lynch Pigs have five new reasons to bitch about taking offense to them, if your preconditioned politically correct mindset obstructs you from seeing their dark humor. If you’re a Mentors and GG Allin fan (as my review of their EP anthology Forced Entry/Livin’ Dirty indicated), The Art Of The Squeal isn’t as severe but a worthy successor to the ground those artists paved in their heyday. But don’t expect to be too desensitized as this band has a blow or two ready. Discovering Lynch Pigs was like a breath of fresh air for me. When they opened for the Murder Junkies in 2016 I had no doubt I was being presented with the trashy, sleazy debauchery of NYC’s East Village they brought to the Long Island suburbs. This chance meeting couldn’t have happened at a better time, when it seemed the local underground was permanently buried for some time. Tower Records, Slipped Disc and Empire Records were gone as were long running zines like Under The Volcano. For the most part it seemed to all be over, when the 2010s saw new bands crawling from the sewers into the local club scene. As you can gather from their interview, and from their Youtube channel, Lynch Pigs represent the exact opposite of what is expected of Long Island bands, with unglamorous musicians who resemble bikers rather than pretty boys, a scruffy vocalist barking and growling politically incorrect lyrics, women strutting their stuff with crude sexuality and musicianship intended to send fans of Bon Jovi and Justin Bieber run screaming out of the club. Their show is the closest you’ll come to the old Avenue A without actually being there, and again they capture the experience in all its filthy glory here. The EP sounds recorded live in a rehearsal room. Instead of being detrimental to their sound it enhances the dynamism they project onstage. You will feel as if you’re there watching the band practice in preparation for one of their shows. The lyrical content is as raw as the sound, kind of like sleaze rock with all its accessibility and mainstream friendliness rubbed away with sandpaper, but still designed to raise a smile or a wince depending on the mood you’re in. This is just the band to suit your sick, twisted tastes. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Make Me Cum
2. Gross Up Close
3. Need A Drink
4. Bourbon & Blow
5. Wife Beater

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Single Review: NECRORITE Necronomicon Ex-Mortis

Necronomicon Ex-Mortis
We know this isn’t the first time a song was dedicated to Sam Raimi’s horror classic The Evil Dead since its 1981 theatrical release and its ascendancy to cult status. It was done by Necrophagia, Deicide, Mortician and countless other bands since the 80s. Now that The Evil Dead has spawned two sequels, a stage musical, a remake and a TV series featuring Bruce Campbell it wouldn’t surprise me if this was to continue in the future. It’s one of the most celebrated movies in underground metal, and it has become a tradition of sorts to pay homage to Raimi’s vision. What more can be said about an independent film that inspired underground death and black metal bands far and wide? Necrorite’s Evil Dead tribute Necronomicon Ex-Mortis was recorded in June and given an exclusive Bandcamp release on July 2. Being that Necrorite is based in Rumania (the drummer is from Mexico) they have a purist attitude and distinguishable ties to death metal from 1986 to 1992. All the thumbprints of early DM are highlighted in this five-and-a-half minute track: clouded, porous guitars, rasping, distorted vocals, callow, coarse percussion and a gnarled bass sound. Production-wise Necrorite is comparable to old Sarcofago, Beherit and Blasphemy; the energy those bands channeled into their material is indicative of the energy displayed here. A brutally scant lyrical approach correspondingly attains the classic DM theme, laying bare the movie’s occultic events with a clear impression the band studied the narrative with dedication: “Evil resurrection/Demons from beyond/Kandarian invocation/Naturom Demonto/Human possession/Evil is unleashed.” Note the inclusion of the term Naturom Demonto which the ancient book the ill-fated friends discover in the old cabin is referred to in the screenplay. This attention to detail shows the band’s alacrity and extreme fondness for horror. At Necrorite’s Bandcamp profile you can stream an EP, an anthology and two split releases with Necroven and Necrophile. And new fans of The Evil Dead can check out Sam Raimi’s 1978 short Within The Woods, a low budget early version of The Evil Dead featuring Bruce Campbell and Ellen Sandweiss. And remember, “you’re only cursed by the evil spirits if you violate the graves of the dead.” -Dave Wolff