Friday, November 17, 2017

Full Length Review: SOLFERNUS Neoantichrist

Release Date: October 13, 2017
Co-release with MurdHer Records
Solfernus, originating in the Czech Republic, started out in 2002. It would take until 2007 when I was finally introduced to their album Hysteria In Coma. As a lover of Black Metal, I was instantly taken with this band and their unique sound. Some tracks on the album I reviewed, Neoantichrist, even have a Spanish guitar feel to them. The album's track list transitions well and the entire album was pleasing to the ear. Of the tracks, my personal favorites were Between Two Deaths, Neoantichrist, and Stone In A River. Ever the fan of Satanath Records, I've actually grown the collection of bands I love by using Solfernus as a reference for new artists to obsess over. Paul Dread's drumming style is phenomenal, I've always admired a fantastic drummer. I'm convinced that Neoantichrist is my favorite Solfernus album yet. So, all in all, I absolutely loved the album, the percussion, and the artist as a whole! -Astrid Viridian

Track list
1. Ignis ~ Dominion
2. Glorifired
3. Mistresserpent
4. Pray For Chaos!
5. That One Night
6. Between Two Deaths
7. Once Upon A Time In The East
8. My Aurorae
9. Neoantichrist
10. Stone In A River

Full Length Review: JASON AARON WOOD Emanations

To be released November 24, 2017
This is the sixth solo album of this one man band, and is due for release on November 24, 2017. The 8-string guitar is phenomenal! And Jason's voice and amazing guitar work go hand in hand. This album is raw. It is loud. It is in your face! The melodic lyrics, the deep growls, and mind blowing guitar solos are a perfect balance. Jason Aaron Wood is a guitarist, vocalist, composer, and music educator, As well as being an accomplished solo artist, Jason is currently guitarist of Ol Sonuf and Tonesboden. From the Washington DC Metro area, he began his journey with guitar at age twelve, inspired by classic metal and classical composers. As for me, I am inspired to listen to Jason's previous works, and own Emanations when it is released. -Deanna Revis

Track list:
1. Emanations
2. Enchanter, Destroyer
3. Hero's Plight
4. Identity
5. The 7th Tower
6. The Great Pestilence

Full Length Review: AD PATRES Scorn Aesthetics

Scorn Aesthetics
Release Date: September 3, 2012
I very much enjoyed this album as well as the group. I particularly liked how their sound is reminiscent of older metal stylings while still being current and complex. -Astrid Viridian

Track list:
1. ...
2. The Lock
3. Scars of Compromise
4. Circles of Red
5. To the Fathers
6. Scorn Aesthetics
7. In Vivo
8. Emphasize Nihility
9. Anti
10. All that Remains

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Article: Safe Space Isn't About Consent by Karin Webb

Safe Space Isn't About Consent
Article by Karin Webb

If we intend on creating safe spaces (especially for women and minority people) to explore our sexualities openly, we have a lot of work to do. When I say “we” I mean everyone, but I especially mean all men, people who aren’t minorities, and those who have more privilege within their minority communities than the people they are sharing space with.
Everyone loves sex and kink and parties, right? It feels so good! A room full of oxytocin, adrenaline, and dopamine gets only more intoxicating the more people are added to the mix! And of course you have thought ahead, of course you have considered who to invite and not invite, you’ve written your party rules and sent them out for all to see. Consensual play is one of them, in fact you have it BOLDED in the email sent out to everyone: CONSENT IS SEXY — CONSENT OR GO HOME — CONSENT OR BANISHMENT FROM THE FOLD!!!
But do you mean it?
Do you? Are you willing to put your body and this idea between predators — especially those predators who are people you know well — and the victims and/or survivors who they have harmed?
As mastermind of this environment, as host/co-host/producer/involved friend/moderator/Dungeon Master/partygoer… are you willing to involve yourself (maybe painfully) in the processes of teaching friends, keeping in check, mediating, cutting ties, working towards remediating those people who fuck up, being supportive and attentive to those who’ve been harmed in your space, and choosing between close friends who you’ll completely and unequivocally support? Are you willing to put the notion out there that your group/party/event stands up for and gives resources first and foremost to people who deserved to maintain their autonomy, and consider a violation of that tantamount to violation of the event itself and your own reputation? Are you ready to not only kick out, but detain and question those who have abused your open space and vulnerable friends? Are you willing to be vocal about your commitment to survivors of assault and their needs over the reputation of your event or a perpetrator’s privacy? These questions are ones you should not just kneejerk say “of course” to.
Close your eyes and imagine throwing your best friend out of your house and having to mediate clearly and firmly their ban on your events because they molested someone at the party — someone, perhaps, you don’t even know, or someone who you don’t personally like that much, someone who you think is loud and obnoxious, or overly sensitive in general. Now try again, this time run through your mind what it will be like having to do these things with someone who is very useful to you, someone who is a good client, who has given your community many resources, who owns the property you’re using, who pays your rent, who has some type of power over you in the non-party world. Are you sure you have the stomach to act steadfast in honor of a victim in your safe space still?
Safe space isn’t about consent, it’s about the shape and resilience of the container itself.
It is unfortunate that to experience our sexualities and sensualities we often need protection and safeguards in place to allow us, for just a moment, to let go of the walls we’ve built up over the years and past abuses. It is only honest to acknowledge that at the moment we do let go we are vulnerable. We are vulnerable to people without boundaries, without socialization surrounding sexual boundaries, without clear thinking, and without respect. Vulnerable to people who drink too much, who are on drugs, who have decided to drug someone else. We are vulnerable to peer pressure, to bullying, to force, to surprise attack. We are vulnerable to grabbing, staring, and invasion of personal space by people who don’t think casual touch is worth asking about. We are vulnerable to a slew of things we haven’t considered possible, much less the ones we knowingly brace ourselves against. If you want to create safe space for this vulnerable and fragile process of letting go, you must also be actively involved in the aftermath when molestation (unfortunately too frequently) occurs.
How do we do this?
Let’s talk about that.
Safe space is about listening. Let’s look at that from the ground up for a minute. It is because we do not listen to our victims that we become predators. Perhaps we have not been listened to ourselves, and so that practice has become a habit we perpetrate on others. Perhaps we aren’t listening because we have blocked our sensibilities with the unbalancing reality of inebriants. Perhaps a million other reasons, it doesn’t matter what they are in the end. It is because there is a dearth of listening that we have gotten to this place of frequent abuse to begin with.
The perpetrator of an assault is not listening to their victim. We, as community and responders to the situation, must first and foremost be willing to listen to victims and survivors. This, of course, means we need to listen to women. We need to listen to black and brown people and others who aren’t white skinned. We must listen to queers, transgender folk, and to sex workers. We must listen to people who are in shock, angry, tearful, overtly emotional, quiet, afraid, reactionary, and confused. We must to listen to them about what they’ve experienced and their needs, and we must learn to action around their words first.
This means we must be quiet. We must be willing to sit in a corner and hear what is being said, and we must learn to untangle our own fears, personal triggers, “yeah, buts”, and agendas from what we’re being told is needed in any given moment. We must not decide that because we’ve been through this before that we know what to do. We can let those experiences inform us, but we must listen to the people in the moment that is happening right now in order to be present enough for responsible action and actual help.
This scratches the surface about how to create a safe space for open sexuality, but it’s the most important tool we can learn to use I think. Also:
• Have an experienced sober Dungeon Master or two committed to being present where there is play.
• Have Moderators or Party Officials who are introduced at the beginning of the party and available to be pulled aside at any point to be talked to if someone is feeling uncomfortable or if something that needs to be dealt with happens.
• Have an opening circle where participants introduce themselves quickly, or at least have the host address everyone and lay out the rules and expectations of the event.
• Consider having a cut-off time for arrivals. This works great if you have an opening circle as everyone can be expected to participate. Even if you don’t though, closing the door and sealing the space from outsiders, intruders, or people who are coming late and possibly inebriated helps control the space itself.
• Make your parties sober and commit to throwing out anyone suspected of being under the influence, or have a “If you’re too inebriated to drive, you’re too inebriated to consent” rule.
• Have “no play” zones where no play is happening (the kitchen or wherever food is is great for this) so that people who are feeling uncomfortable or triggered or needing a time out or to escape someone’s attention in a play space can comfortably exist without question about why they aren’t playing.
• Have a plan clearly in place about what to do if something happens. Know how the situation will be dealt with, and who is commited to deal with it.
• Have a buddy system in place where everyone at the party comes with another person, with the understanding that if your buddy gets thrown out you do too no matter what is going on. This helps create accountability in terms of people only inviting people they think will be responsible, but it also ensures that if someone is kicked out for being drunk hopefully their buddy isn’t. Ask that people check in with their buddies throughout the night…
• Have a committed designated driver or sober crew at the party who can bring people home or to safety or simply be more aware when they see odd behavior.
• Have people at the party who are trained in how to deal with an assault when one occurs.
• Have a follow-up plan for victims and perpetrators already in place.
These are only a few suggestions.
Consent can only happen once someone has deigned to ask for it and decided to listen. Consent is a popular word and an important practice which feels like a row of shining stars: THIS PERSON IS SUPER CONSENSUAL, A+++! It is not, however, what creates safe space alone. Of course, we must get positive enthusiastic consent to play. But first we have to ask questions, we have to listen, we have to be willing to accept responsibility for what is happening around us. We must listen to people we aren’t used to listening to. We must learn.

This article can also be read at The ABC’s Of Kink, credited to Creature. Reposted with permission. -DW

Full Length Review: THE CRUCIFIER Voices In My Head

Voices In My Head
Punishment 18 Records
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Voices In My Head is an album I would have listened to regularly if it had been released in 1986. If anything for the stamp The Crucifier places on the thrash genre. It reflects the time when no two bands sounded alike and each had a distinct approach. Looking up their influences on Facebook I found Razor, Sacrifice, Rotting Corpse, Aggression, Exodus, Exhorder, Dark Angel, Blood Feast, Vio-Lence, Sacred Reich, Metallica and Slayer among a few others. Listening to the album I found no indications of this band copying the formulas those bands established in the 80s; rather reinterpreting and conveying it their own way. The curse of generic thrash has missed The Crucifier completely, and you can hear this for yourself. As the band is based in Athens, Greece they write and compose without the additional pressure of trying to measure up in the American market. Voices In My Head is their first full length since Cursed Cross was released in 2006 (their debut full length was Merciless Conviction released in 2002). Following it was a series of compilations and splits: Thrash Metal Blitzkrieg Vol. 3 with Violent Attack, Disaster and Crimson Steel, the split compilation Two Shots Of Thrash Metal with Bywar, a split EP with Hate Your Fate (reviewed this past March by Reggae) and a split CD with Wanton Decay where they re-released Cursed Cross. Voices In My Head is likewise the first full length they released that I got to listen to, even if I am a latecomer I can say the band’s handling of the sound, attitude, fortitude and stamina of classic thrash is impeccable. Unlike 90s retro thrash and the current thrash resurgence, Voices In My Head sounds like it was done by a young band setting out to blaze the trail for bands to follow. It could easily have been one of the many albums I acquired through cassette trading. I appreciate how the album starts with no preliminaries or introductory track, just a brief drum fill before Within Insanity is underway. The closest The Crucifier come to sounding like Slayer in any noticeable way is the subsequent drum fills, along with the fadeout solo, but again they don’t rely on simulating the exact scales, chops or chord progressions of any other band you’ve listened to for years. The production has a compressed quality, especially in the machine gun riffs delivered by the guitars and the cadenced lead and backing vocals, that does much to put the energy contained in their songwriting across. This is most effective in Open Your Eyes, Happy Face Man, Forgive And Don't Forget. Born To Be A Slave, Imaginary God and the title track. I urge thrash fans everywhere to acquire a copy as soon as possible. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Within Insanity
2. Open Your Eyes
3. Problems
4. Happy Face Man
5. Forgive And Don't Forget
6. Born To Be A Slave
7. Imaginary God
8. Fake Truth
9. Voices In My Head

Monday, November 13, 2017

Serialization: A Darkness Within by Alexander Z. Kautz (Chapter Four)

A Darkness Within
Fiction by Alexander Z. Kautz

Chapter Four

Having cleaned up the fragments of my broken tea glass and made another, I once more seated myself, tending to my notes and organizing my thoughts.
It was now my firm belief that evil as we knew it, was not so much that which existed within a single act, but that which through the illusion of time committed numerous crimes again humanity.
In this sense, the house on Crowley Street like so many others like it, were guilty of unspeakable evils, going almost unnoticed through the facade of time.
Who, having only lived a single lifetime would suspect, or by any other means, even take notice of these events, unless accidentally falling upon recorded incidents?
These thoughts and many others did I include within my notes, careful to change names, dates and details in order to avoid others stumbling upon the old place.
Maybe this had all been within my sister's design of things? She had always known that I had a passion for Victorian homes and an endless love of folklore and the occult.
Perhaps, in some way, unable to do much more than safe-guard the place and making all the information readily available through her own records. Knowing fully that I would inquire, she had left the responsibility upon me?
So many questions, doubts, fears of the unknown. Maybe this place, this sepulcher of suffering, sadness and death. Also held secrets, answers?
If nothing else, it would become the story that I had always dreamed of writing. A tale as within the autumn of my years, all the pain, loss and suffering of a lifetime would open a portal into the past. A revelation of evil and finally, redemption within doing so.
It was while doing the final editing, that I glanced up, noticing the dawn's gray arrival through the large kitchen windows. My head swam and eyes burned. A dizzying haze of nausea over-coming me as I moved from my seat, wandering into the living room. And remember, nothing more...
I awoke on the couch from a morning of dark and disturbing dreams, feeling as though I had not slept in days. It was day five within the old place and I was beginning to feel as though I had already been there a lieftime.
It was another rainy and dark afternoon as groaning and rubbing at a stiff neck, I crawled from off the sofa and clambering to my feet, stumbled into the kitchen.
Washing my face in the sink and filling a glass with water, I fumbled through a cupboard, half blindly, finding and taking my heart medication.
It was later than usual, but at least I had remembered. Making tea and taking a seat at the table, my attention soon returned to the notes of the previous evening.
"Okay, first thing's first." I thought aloud, sniffing at myself and wincing, said,
"But right now? You need a shower and some clean clothes."
Without having realized it, this had been the first time since taking over the house that I had actually showered?
I had been using the main floor facilities for quick wash up's, but somehow and over the course of events, failed to attend to even the most basic of needs?
The shower on the second floor was beautiful. A large tub with lion's feet. The brass faucet’s rising from out of a swan's body, the pipe forming the neck and the open mouthed head becoming the shower spout.
The hot water had done me a world of good and as the steam wrose all about me, I felt as though I could remain in there forever.
For a few brief moments I had been carried away, becoming part of a dream in some other reality.
The warm mist enveloping me as held within the shower curtain, the world blurred into a flowing and pleasant, soap scented fog.
Closing my eyes I leaned into the gentle, warm spray, my every sense relaxing.
A sudden and nauseating stench caused me to step back, retching and throwing a hand before my face. It was not uncommon for old plumbing to harbor some nasty little clog of one kind or another.
And so, opening my eyes, I intended to lean down to have a look? The blackened and rotting thing stood before me in the tub, Pale, thick worms and maggots wriggling from out of its rotting flesh!
Caught within the sheer horror I gawked as it moved toward me, putrid, green, decaying filth pouring from its every orifice into the tub at my feet!
The very breath caught within my lungs as gasping and drawing nothing, I choked! Before I could even raise an arm within defense, the shower spigot plugged, then suddenly began vomiting black, rotting, filth all over me!
Shrieking, I fell backwards, ripping down the shower curtain and screaming like I had never done before!
A moment later it had all vanished and I lay within the tub, shivering uncontrollably!
Covered by the torn shower curtain, I struggled to one side, staring wildly into the late afternoon shadow's! It had happened again... Caught somewhere between that state between waking and dreaming, something had found me in the cold twilight....
The late afternoon rain came down in little more than a drizzle as tightly gripping my umbrella in the chill gust, I paused to glance up into the dismal, cloud filled heavens.
Halting only momentarily, I pulled up my collar and slipping into black leather gloves, slowly made my way across the grounds of the old house.
The lot was listed as having been just under four acres. Though my sister had maintained the forward landscaping and lawns, the rear of the property was densely brushed. Much of which had been claimed by long thorny, blackberry bushes, becoming almost entirely inaccessible.
In any event, I cautiously followed the property line back, scrutinizing the earth for any evidence of possible burial or markers.
The trees had grown close together as the creeping vines, though having lost most of their leaves, still bore long, wicked thorns.
The earth was damp, moss having crept into some of the darker places. And as I walked, weaving and stepping over and around obstacles. I had the growing sense that from somewhere within that deep thicket, someone or some thing was now watching...
Pausing to nervously look back, I became aware that I had traveled deep enough into the dense brush that I could no longer see the pathway out. Or would anyone from outside be able to see me...
Squinting in the bitter cold, I turned once more while slowly making my way further inward and ever deeper.
The air was heavy with the scent of both cedar and decaying vegetation as struggling through a particularly dense area, my leg became ensnared within those damned blackberry vines!
Helpless, I fell to the ground. Cursing and muddied, I slowly moved to get up. Becoming absolutely still as laying there, caught a glimpse of an old and moldering piece of wood resting just beneath the bush?
Reaching outward, I clutched it tightly and after a brief struggle, managed to pull if free from beneath the vines where it had been concealed!
"My God...." I held what was most certainly the decaying remnants of an old grave marker. The inscriptions of which, had long rotted, fading away into little more than a white smear.
Placing it down, I retrieved a long stick and poking through the thicket, soon discovered the moss covered remains of several others, cursing while saying,
"Sweet Jesus--Linda. It's true. They're all still buried back here..."
After having showered once again, much more quickly than before, I was soon dressed and back downstairs just in time to catch the phone!
It was Keiko, our conversation brief, I explained that I had been resting and that all was well.
I told her with some slight amusement, that I had begun doing some writing. Having taken advantage of that silly nightmare to create something worth maybe a laugh or two?
She seemed relieved, even pleased to know that I was safely preoccupied. I had not lied to her but simply refrained from disclosing any upsetting detail's.
I had full intention of telling her everything once we were together again.
After saying good night, she once more offered to return home on the next available flight. I had explained that it was unnecessary and that I would see her shortly, regardless.
We had parted on better terms as hanging up, I hurried back to my writing.
Still unnerved about having my back to that hallway, I moved into the kitchen. Preparing a pot of Jasmine tea and using the notes, committed both events, thoughts and nightmares into their proper perspective.
It had all come together so quickly, easily falling into place far faster than I would ever have imagined? My thoughts raced, heart sank as writing within memory of my dear sister's final passing.
Though I had regretted not having been there. The doctor's had assured me that what had remained of her at the end, would have been unaware of my presence or that of any other.
Still, the thought of her alone in that hospital room tore at my heart. Tears filled my eyes as I wrote and wondered if, through some merciful act, she had found peace and forgiven me?
As the words fell so did the tears, staining both pad and heart within those last moments. Thunder boomed in the distance and the lights flickered within the old house. A lump forming in my throat as I now considered the possibility of the power failing and being trapped there, within utter blackness...
"That storm is getting a little too close for comfort." I sipped at my tea, looking out the window and into the pouring rain, thought aloud as I often did when alone, saying,
"You’d better be ready old boy, or you'll be sitting here alone--in the dark..."
Hurriedly retrieving candles from a kitchen drawer, I prepared a large ten stem candelabra that I had found on an end table in the living room. Placing it upon the kitchen table, I wasted no time within lighting them!
There was a sudden, brilliant flash of lightning that seemed to engulf the house! A moment later and the power had failed as all fell into utter darkness.
"Oh no...." The words came in a whisper from my now dry and parched throat as within memory, I said.
"The breaker box is in the basement... And, there is no damn way, that I am setting foot down there, especially right now..."
Moving from the table, I took the candelabra while making my way back to the safety of my chair before the hearth. Tossing several logs upon the fire, I trembled while gazing into the blackness all around me.
The place now took on a sinister life all of it's own. The trees being swept in a strong wind, scraped and clawed at the roof and window's.
Cold gusts moaned down the chimney as long shadows crept from all corners!
I would be lying if I claimed to have not been terrified at that moment. For no sooner had I turned the chair, dreading having my back to that dark opening in the corridor, than did I sense a movement within that blackness?
Ever so slowly did I turn, holding the candelabrum high while looking back over my shoulder into that pitch black hallway.
As I did this my eyes froze as did my entire body! The breath catching in my lungs and stopping dead. For there, standing in the entranceway was the tall figure of a woman dressed in blood soaked, streaming veils of white!
A pale blue mist traveling all about her, she drifted from without a dream! Arms extended, grasping fingers! From the face of death did she now smile, staring through blackened and empty sockets!
I wailed in horror as she flew across the room at me! In a moment of mindless, sheer terror, I flung the candelabrum at the shape!
The heavy brass candle holder passing through the ghastly phantom before crashing heavily to the floor! The candles breaking and extinguished through the violent effort!
Left alone with only the light of the hearth between myself and the blackness, I dared not go into the kitchen to look for a flash light! Instead, huddled near the hearth, I stared, silent and wide eyed into the surrounding blackness!
Though I could not see anything, I could feel them.... Those things, waiting somewhere in that blackness, waiting for the fire to slowly fade!
Dear God! I had forgotten to stock more wood for the hearth!
Panicking, I desperately searched, fumbling around the hearth for something to burn! Finally pulling the small end table closer and smashing it against the floor, immediately shoved the broken peices into the fire!
Not enough! That's not going to last! I needed light! More light! But no, it was too dangerous to try to reach out for anything else! All the furniture was too far from the fire's protective glow! The light, I had to stay in the light! They could come no closer, dared not!
Then I heard it, that familiar clicking, grinding, creeping, crawling, coming from somewhere within the darkness of that corridor...
Oh dear God! They were coming! They knew I was there! Knew that I was trapped and helpless! The fire, it was slowly going down and would soon be little more than embers... Oh God, it would not be light yet for hours!
Slowly, that cold blue mist crept from out of the corridor just as it had within the nightmare! The sounds of groaning, whispering, growing louder as the shadows moved just beyond sight!
I could make out the shapes, yes, the shapes of that shambling, crawling, seething mass of death and decay!
The children, dear God have mercy they were coming for me!
Shrieking loud and long I fought against that blackness! The ice cold touch of eternity, chilling, freezing the flesh from my bones!
I struggled, crashing heavily to the floor from where I had fallen asleep in my chair by the now cold and dark hearth.
Gawking, gasping as I crawled around in the pitch black house, the storm having caused a power outage as I had slept.
I scrambled blindly into the kitchen, fumbling through a drawer and finding a flashlight, switched it on!
"Oh my God..." Clutching a hand to my breast and feeling the pounding of my racing heart, I fought to catch my breath. Speaking quietly while attempting to calm myself, said,
"Calm down it was just a nightmare. Whoaaaa. The last thing that we need right now is another heart attack.”
Breathing slowly and deeply a new fear wrose within me. As feeling that familiar pressure within my chest and shortness of breath. A sharp pain began biting from somewhere in my left arm.
I knew that somehow, I had to calm down or possibly become the next victim of the old place. And then I suddenly realized it!
"My medication. Oh, dear God! I fell asleep and forgot about it again?" The words left my lips as turning, I stumbled while making my way into the kitchen. Hurriedly filling a glass with water and struggling, choked back the pills.
Time seemed to stand still as waiting there within the blackness, I leaned against the counter while listening to the fearful pounding of my heart.
"Easy old boy--you're going to be fine, just breathe." I spoke in little more than a whisper, closing my eyes and attempting to force all other things from my mind, said,
"Everything is just fine now..."
Thunder cracked, booming from high above the house as shaking the very foundations, the lighting flashed, shattering the darkness and blinding me within it's force!
The sound of torrential rains battered against the old structure, creating stream's that covered window's, rivers flowing from out the drains!
It was as though nature's full fury now rained down upon that dark and sinister place! And yet, as it had once stood for so many years did it now stand oblivious against natures force!
With it's jutting peaks cutting like dagger's into the night! Strong, dark and defiant unto all things stood the house on Crowley Street!
Was I housed safely within it's blackened walls? Or merely as Jonah had been trapped within the belly of the beast!
Stop this! Stop it! You’re driving yourself over the edge! It was just a few bad dreams and stories of the unfortunates who had once occupied the place! Andrew, get a grip man! Your heart--can't you feel it flutter, choke, becoming feint under the pressure? You must-- stop it now!
"No more! Stop it--stop it-stop it!" I cried out! Falling to my knees as I threw my hands over my ears, squeezing my eyes tightly closed and attempting to block out both senses and all thoughts!
I have no idea of just how long I had remained in that manner, but when finally I had removed my hands from upon my ears and opened my eyes, the storm had passed.
Only the darkness, the stillness of the night and nothing more... With my heart having calmed, I crawled across the floor upon hands and knees climbing into the soft cushion's of the couch as the silence took me....

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Video Review: VALENCE He Tried To Kill Me With A Forklift

He Tried To Kill Me With A Forklift
Official video for their new single
Starring: Paul Gale
Director: Theodore Schaefer
Director of photography: Will Hart
Producers: Theodore Schaefer and Michael Barnett
VFX supervisor: Michael Barnett
Editor: Nik Damants
Release Date: August 18, 2017
The opening guitar fingering is interesting with the drums helping create the anticipation, certainly a clever and talented guitarist. The drums were quite precise and clean a good thing in my book. Sometimes words are not needed; sometimes the flow of the music is more than enough. I’d use the song for a show’s intro and for a critical scene, not a battle but something like the main character finds something very relevant. In general it is a quite solid track with an energetic drumming a skill full guitar and a catchy bass line, it’s a band I’m going to start following after this single, clearly no waste. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Full Length Review: AMERICAN STANDARDS Anti-Melody

Release Date: April 28, 2017
Since their 2011 inception the Phoenix, Arizona (USA) post-hardcore band American Standards have displayed a work ethic as fiercely determined as the eight tracks recorded for their fourth full length Anti-Melody. The bio I was emailed with the Bandcamp link said the band premiered Anti-Melody online with Revolver Magazine, Alternative Press and Lambgoat besides touring with Every Time I Die, Norma Jean, Atreyu, Knocked Loose, Zao, Emery and building an 80,000+ web following in the process. This is especially impressive considering personal tragedies befell some of the band members while scheduling studio time. These are reflected in the musicianship and vocals on the finished product; one should approach this with great care remembering how personal the material sounds to those in the band hit hardest by the upheavals in their personal lives. Too often such incidents are used to sell records, and yes it’s disgusting because the personal impact it has on people is overlooked too often (I don’t “hate” money but I do hate what people do to gain at the expense of others). What I appreciated about Anti-Melody even more than its blistering fusion of hardcore, thrash and nu-metal and the new songwriting methods the band aspire to, is the series of incisive diatribes about human nature in some form the impact of greed when critical thinking is removed from the picture. A fitting example of this is Writers Block Party, which was seemingly written about the public’s desire for the media’s “violence fix”. From torture porn horror to the latest serial killer documentary. It used to be thirty-six channels to present it, now it’s in the three figure range, not counting internet outlets. “And the crowds want more/They want violence before the storm/The clouds came in and the lights went out/We were guided by the roar.” The message is in fact still relevant, more than ever. Church Burner, Bartenders Without Wings and Danger Music #9 share similar sentiments about the impact the vested interests of big businesses have on us. Carpe Diem, Tomorrow and Cancer Eater explores said impacts from the viewpoint of the viewer, the consumer and the small man at the bottom. As for the musicianship I hinted at, there is a coarseness and range of emotions I’ve rarely heard from post-hardcore or nu-metal bands, making this album edgier than most. American Standards filmed promotional videos for Writers Block Party and Carpe Diem, Tomorrow which can be viewed at their Youtube channel. -Dave Wolff

Track list
1. Writers Block Party
2. Carpe Diem, Tomorrow
3. Church Burner
4. Bartenders Without Wings
5. Danger Music #9
6. Cancer Eater
7. Broken Culture
8. Chicago Overcoat

Friday, November 10, 2017

Article: Sex Crimes No Longer Acceptable by Roberta J. Downing

Sex Crimes No Longer Acceptable
Article by Roberta J. Downing, November 10, 2017
More than 10 years have passed since Tarana Burke started the Me Too campaign to bring awareness about the sexual abuse that women are subjected to. Now with Alyssa Milano giving it a reboot with #metoo, tens of thousands of women are coming forward to show the world that something must be done to stop the sexual harassment and abuse.
It just isn’t women who are coming forward. Corey Feldman has been saying for years that he was abused as a child and has recently come forward and publicly named his abusers. This is a huge step for the victims and the start of the downfall for the abusers in Hollywood.
What can we do to make people more aware? What can we do to change the behaviors of these sex offenders?
Firstly, if this has just happened to you, report it to the police. File charges. Secondly, check the federal and state laws on the statute of limitations for sex crimes and if the crime is within the time frame, file charges. Lastly, do as Corey Feldman has done and publicly name your abuser.
It is time for men and women who have been sexually abused, assaulted and harassed to stand up and hold those who have kept you silent due to threats or even your own embarrassment accountable for their actions.
The time has come where men need to alter their actions, thoughts and behaviors toward women. We do not live in country where women are owned by men nor are they second class citizens and children were married off at a very early age. We also do not live in the past where women were treated as such. As human beings we should be changing and evolving into someone and something better than what we are.
Just because we are subjected to a president who likes to “grab women by the pussy” doesn’t mean that it’s wanted. Acting and thinking that way is not only outdated, criminal but it is also no longer acceptable.
It doesn’t matter what a woman wears, how she puts on her make up or how attractive she is. Those are no longer a reason for the bad conduct.
We know that pedophiles are mentally wired wrong and that there is no permanent cure for their perverse attractions. Can we not say the same for all rapists and the majority of sex offenders? Perhaps they are mentally wired wrong as well. But can the non-pedophile sex offender be rehabilitated or cured? Would behavioral modification work? Perhaps those are things that can be studied and put into practice even though it would take time, effort and money to do.
None-the-less, these types of actions and behaviors are no longer acceptable. Soon, there will be nowhere for men and woman who commit these heinous crimes to hide as more and more people are coming forward to report and name those who commit these heinous crimes.
Those types of misconduct are no longer acceptable. Not in the church. Not in government. Not in Hollywood. Not anywhere. It is time to grow up and take responsibility for the way in which we think and act and how we speak and treat others.
Let there be no shadow left in which to hide!

Film Review: Epic Movie by Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Date of Release: January 25, 2007
Movie Companies involved: Regency Enterprises (presents), New Regency Pictures, Paul Schiff Productions, Twentieth Century Fox
Directed by: Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer
Produced by: Jason Friedberg as executive producer, Rodney Liber as executive producer, Arnon Milchan as executive producer, Hal Olofsson as associate producer, Paul Schiff as producer, Aaron Seltzer as executive producer, Pat Thompson as producer: Paris
Starring: Kal Penn, Adam Campbell, Jennifer Coolidge, Faune Chambers Watkins, Jayma Mays
Plot: A bunch of really different orphans gather on a magical trip to find more about themselves but end up in a mission against the evil ruler on-duty, as a family.
Review: Another great job by a masterful duet, it’s hooking from the start, the formula is still funny and actually kind of leaves the viewer wanting more and more. The fact that is put together in a funny yet clever way is a good point. For example Aslo’s scene where he makes a comment regarding how they missing one is yet another funny scene. I can’t get enough of it, actually going to re-watch it friends this week since it’s just too funny not to share. All in all I’d say it’s quite solid on character development and it never gets old. One of the downsides though is the fact that you can’t take the characters seriously at times but it’s a comedy so I can kind of understand it. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Film Review: Date Movie by Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Comedy, Romance
Date of Release: February, 17, 2006
Companies involved: New Regency Pictures, Epsilon Motion Pictures, Regency Enterprises
Director: Aaron Seltzer, Jason Friedberg (uncredited)
Produced by: Dawn Carter as producer liaison, Jason Friedberg as producer, Arnon Milchan as executive producer, Jack L. Murray as co-producer (as Jack Murray), Paul Schiff as producer
Starring: Alyson Hannigan, Adam Campbell, Sophie Monk
Plot: The story is about a girl, a hopeless romantic after the prince charming and… some funny turns and twists along the road
Review: From the first minute I saw I was hooked, it’s just too funny, the acting is incredibly good, the parodies involved just fit really too well. It has twist and turns and wink here and there, really well placed and honestly it’s a movie I could re-watch endlessly on a weekend, it never gets old. One of my favorite twists is Andy’s introduction; Jane’s face is just priceless, just as the mind-reading scene. It is a movie I highly recommend to anyone that has no clue what to do in a weekend and that just wants a laugh… or a thousand. It’s one of those movies that are easy to follow and enjoy, you actually see it before you realize you did. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Rehearsal Demo Review: UNSPEAKABLE Expulsion Of The Triumphant Beast

Expulsion Of The Triumphant Beast
Release Date: October 6, 2017
Unspeakable is a new band emerging from the depths of St. Louis, Missouri (USA). A rehearsal demo released last month, Expulsion Of The Triumphant Beast is their second release after 2015’s Under The Black Spell. The band’s bloodsoaked occult black metal has drawing power if you like Bestial Warlust, Fimbulwinter, Destroyer 666 and Blasphemy. Their influences reach farther back than those bands actually, but I’ll get to that in a few moments. The uninitiated can take it as fair warning, because once the opening riff of Nuclear Meditations gives way to its unadulterated violence there is no turning back. From this alone, you’re conscious of a hunger for conquest those bands I mentioned from the glorious nineties established as essential to their material. The guitars sound as if flanger has been added to their distortion (I was informed this is not the case, it is just the recording equipment the band used); this presents a feel of being dipped in flames as you’re barbarically battered by the laborious bass and drums, flayed alive by the vocals and unnerved by images of demons returning from the netherworld bringing nightmares, wars and eventually the end of the world itself. And there are still four more tracks following this wanton destruction. Fevered Dreams In The Witch House is partly inspired by early hardcore; Expulsion Of The Triumphant Beast and Obsessed By Visions Of The Final Epoch Of Man return to the first track’s war metal theme, with brutal hammerstroke accents. To complete the rehearsal the band add a cover of Unspeakable by the 80s black/thrash band NME. Before listening to it I made a point of checking out the song in its original version. Doing so gave me a greater perspective of the statement the Missouri band intended to make here. Being that NME was heavily inspired by Venom, Hellhammer and Discharge I see a connection between Unspeakable and this early 80s flavor both musically and lyrically, though the section in NME’s version quoting from the Satanic Bible was absent from Unspeakable’s version. Expulsion Of The Triumphant Beast is available in cassette format and limited to 100 copies so contact the band as soon as humanly possible. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Nuclear Meditations
2. Fevered Dreams In The Witch House
3. Expulsion Of The Triumphant Beast
4. Obsessed By Visions Of The Final Epoch Of Man
5. Unspeakable (NME Cover)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


Interview with Vadim Morwran

For those who never heard of you, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
Hello world! SPHEREDEMONIS is a Moscow based band formed in 2013 by members of NORTH DIAMOND, DOMINIONS and NECROPOLIS PARK. Today our band has played a lot of shows in the cities of Russia, released a full length album, made some concert videos and singles. Our music combines such styles as death metal, deathcore, symphonic metal and technical death metal.

How would you describe your musical sound?
Our music will appeal to those bored with Death Metal and Deathcore. We experiment with fast guitar riffs and odd timing, extensively use groovy breakdowns, low male growling and clean vocals. Some of our tracks also have symphonic inserts.

The band has been around since 2013 but waited until 2017 to release their first full length. Can you tell us a little bit more about the earlier years?
Until 2013 each member of our band already had extensive experience in other musical projects. We have known each other for a long time, because we crossed paths in other projects. By 2013, Vadim Morwran accumulated a lot of new music that did not fit stylistically into his current projects. Therefore he decided to create SphereDemonis. The same year the band recorded their first single “The Priest”. The single received many positive reviews and we ventured upon a bold and ambitious step – the recording of a full-length album. In the beginning of 2014 we presented another welcomed song “I Choose You” which was supported by studio footage. During the recording process Evgeniy Gortsovskiy (vocals) quit SPHEREDEMONIS due to him relocating. After a while a talented musician and poet, Nephilim (the front-man of SACRUM FRAUS) joined the band. He wrote the lyrics for the remaining songs and recorded vocals. In the middle of 2015 the album was recorded and Nephilim quit the band to focus on his main project SACRUM FRAUS. In 2016 thanks to the masterful work of Georgiy Shchelbanin (DEVIANT NATION STUDIO) the album was finally mixed and mastered. That year a new vocalist Alexander Spartanskiy joined the band. We recorded another song with his vocals, commenced concert activity and started looking for a label. In April 2017 the debut album “The Revelation Of The Pyramids” was released by More Hate Productions.

Your lyrics cover 'Sumerian and Akkadian Mythology', can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in these topics?
The history of ancient civilizations and their mythology always seemed an interesting topic. Sumerian civilization is one of the first developed civilizations on Earth, which mysteriously appeared and mysteriously disappeared. Their ancient texts describe amazing things about the creation of the world and man. All this seems interesting and gives us many opportunities to write lyrics.

What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name SphereDemonis?
SphereDemonis consists of two words in two languages and means the sphere of demons. The sphere of demons is the area around us where the dark forces are concentrated. Actually, it's just a word that does not mean anything.

What are some of the best shows you have played so far, and how would you describe your performances?
This summer we had a tour of the Crimea. In every city of the tour we tried to make a grand show. In general, we spend a lot of time on staging movements. Therefore, each show is very important for us. Even in the smallest club with a minimum number of people on the dance floor, we make a great show and lay ourselves out 100%.

Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
We plan a winter tour of Russia. We hope this year and next year we will have many great shows.

On a worldwide level, how has feedback for your music been from deathcore, symphonic metal and death metal fans?
Our release received many positive reviews in various zines and social networks. Based on statistics from YouTube, social networks and Bandcamp, our release received a lot of comments, likes and replays. And I think this is a very good result for a debut release.

What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects that some of the band members are a part of?
They are trying to develop their musical projects. But everyone has to spend most of their time on SphereDemonis.

Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
We hope in the future we will have more than one release, have more great shows, tours, and fans in different parts of the world. We have already started writing new material for the next album. I don’t know how long it will take to create it, but we will try to record it as soon as possible. For the new release we are focusing more on technicality but there is also a melodic component. The sound will be more aggressive and there will be less symphonic inserts. So, there will be a lot of interesting things!

What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
We all have diverse musical tastes. We can’t say these bands influenced our music, but we would like to specify the following bands whose music is close to us: Behemoth, Kataklysm, Abiotic, Rose Funeral, Meshuggah, The Black Dahlia Murder, Septicflesh, Betraying The Martyrs, Vesania, and many others.

What are some of your non-musical interests?
Sports, traveling and partying with friends.

Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
First of all, thank you for the interview! We invoke everyone to listen to more metal, watch musical videos and support your favorite bands. A lot of your favorite bands exist only thanks to the activity of fans. Many thanks to all! Stay strong, stay true, stay metal.

-Loki Astaroth

This interview is also posted at Variety Of Death Zine. -DW