Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Full Length Review: NOCRUL Eye Of Terror (Khrul Music)

NOCRUL
Country of origin: Hungary, UK
Genre: Black metal
Release date: November 1, 2017
To express how I feel about this band, let’s see. Brutal in the best possible way. Stemming from my love of melody, piano and guttural vocals that send shivers down anyone’s spine. Each and every member of this band shows a form of musicianship I can only describe as painfully beautiful. I know, it may seem as if I’m describing some soft melodic experience, and to some maybe. With razor edge guitar and vocals, drums that can send a man or woman into a frenzy, this Hungarian black metal band has been added to my phone’s favorites list next to legends such as Burzum and Mayhem. In fact I have listened to The Eye Of Terror three times before I did this review, and will be a lot more in the days to come. Take a listen to this Hungarian black metal treat for the ears! -Patrick McGuigan.

Band lineup:
Khrul: Music and production
Noctis: Vocals

Track list:
1. Let The Ground Be The Grave Marker Of The Heroes
2. 13th Black Crusade
3. The Great Shame Lives On
4. Dark Purpose Of Madness
5. Destroy The Golden Throne
6. Hadex Anomaly
7. Forces Of Chaos

Monday, February 26, 2018

Vampire Interview: RONIN COSTA by Dave Wolff

Interview with RONIN COSTA

I was recently introduced to you by Tim Bey of the e-magazine Real Vampire Life. Have you known him for some time?
Me and Tim have known each other since I was introduced to the vampire group Clan Resurrectus about four years ago. Before that, I was part of an Italian group of real vampires. Since I had to move in the States I initially started as a translator between the two. A bit after I became accepted as a family member. Me and Tim were in the same Clan; after I joined and became an elder he offered me a position as correspondent and translator for Real Vampire Life News. We have worked on many projects connected to the Clan and he helped me a lot with drama between two groups of real vampires in Italy. He's a great mediator.

How is the history of vampire mythos viewed in Italy?
We live close to countries like Romania and Serbia that have tons of folklore on vampires. Our myths mostly come from them, but we do have one from the time of the Roman Empire that has nothing to do with vampires but was connected to them. The striga was a witch that would mostly curse children making them wither away. Often if they thought you were a striga, after your death they would proceed with burning rituals to avoid a return to the living. The church later shaped the characteristics of vampires in Europe, such as fear of crosses, holy water and garlic. Being in close contact with the Vatican, even though we did not have a vampire tale from our country, you can imagine the vampire was pretty much alive. All done to feed the fear of citizens and have control over them.

How prominent is the vampire culture and lifestyle in Italy at present? What differences are there between it and the vampire culture and lifestyle in the U.S.?
As of today vampire culture is very much alive in Italy, but there are major differences with the vampire culture in the States. In Italy we don't have clans and houses, no covens, no churches. Most of us still have to get over the fact that some of us can also be more than just a real vampire or a wolf kin. But we're getting there with time, thanks to the contacts we have with groups in other countries.

How did you first contact Clan Resurrectus? How actively were you helping them correspond with your group in Italy?
At the time I joined Clan Resurrectus I was part of a group called Il Tempio Oscuro. I have been known for doing much research and since I spoke English I was appointed to help the leader of the group remain in contact with the Clan. It was a moment where the clan was very present in our lives; it was actively helping us dealing with some problems we had with another group by the name of LIRV. Since then one way or the other, regarding the Italian situation I have been actively interacting with the clan, first as an outsider, and later on as an Elder of the same. In the last year and a half, after a big escalation that led to a period of quiet between the groups, and my declaration of neutrality I have been the only Italian correspondent for Tim. Sometimes I still talk and give advice to the leaders of those groups while maintaining my neutrality.

At what age did you become interested in vampires and vampirism? How much have you learned about real vampires and wolf kin? From what sources did your knowledge come?
I've been interested since I was a little kid. I've done research in folklore and real life cases before understanding that I was a real vampire. So I started with old tales and tried to connect them with real life cases and science. It's only after I became aware of energies and began having astral projections that I began to open my mind to the possibility of something more. Since my awakening I have never stopped studying. There isn't much around but living it with a good sense is easy to find respectable information between all the fantasy based ones. I don't think I know all that is to know yet, but I think I know most of what is necessary about vampires and wolf kin, and therians and otherkin.

What have you learned about vampires and wolf kin from your studies? What work have you done to develop as a real vampire since making your personal discovery?
We are all human beings to start with, contrary to what movies and books say about us. We have a different energy intake and for this reason we have a need to "feed" or recharge. As vampires we have been able to categorize different ways to feed, from blood (sanguinarian vampires), from energies (psychic vampire), and both (hybrid). For the latter I want to specify that can differ from many, though a Sang or a Psy can "learn" to feed the other way to help cope with the need for energy. The hybrid has two different type of energy needs. As we are made of tons of different chemicals, energy is not all the same. Having many types of energies here we understand it's easy to find other categories for Psy vampires: who feed from sexual energy, from touch, from the elements and nature, from someone's Aura and so on. If we avoid feeding, it can make us unwell, from being nervous and angry, having depression, headaches, being more prone to get sick than usual etc. With this I'm not saying we are almost immune to illness. We are still humans, but consciously taking energy helps our health. Have you ever heard the saying, ‘as above so below’? What happens in the astral is reflected in the material. If our astral body is fed and full of good energy this will affect our material body. We're stronger than we look, we have one or more senses more developed than others, prone to psychic senses also (clairvoyance, clairknowing, thelepathy etc). We have night hyperactivity, sensitivity to sunlight. We see better at night (no super power here. It's not like seeing during the day, but the light doesn't hurt our eyes and we're able to distinguish better what's around us and perceive our surroundings than any other person). Some of us have what is called a beacon; they sense others like themselves, even those unaware of being a vampire, and most times we look younger than we are. There are many more characteristics, but we would go on a more personal level. Some real vampires can also be wolfkin or Therians in spirit and this is called (and I learned this only recently) being a Canis Lupos. Being a wolf kin or a Therian is more of a soul/energy thing and being a vampire doesn't exclude that in spirit you could be something totally different. In movies wolfkin are represented by werewolves eternal wars between them and vampires are depicted, In reality we are connected instead, like we go hand in hand. I have a wolfkin friend and when he's with me he feels me, he's charged when I am charged, touching me makes him hyper. I'm learning from him now what I thought I knew on wolfkin but never found so prominent in someone. He's loyal, instinctive, strong though he's skinny. When he's happy he does involuntary this little growl and you can hear it's realistic. If you close your eyes you could well imagine being with a wolf pup. So for the moment I'm putting aside what I know on wolfkin to not undervalue what I'm learning through him.

How does your education in those matters reflect your personal journey?
As of my personal journey, we all go through multiple awakenings. Every time I go through them I meditate and try to learn with an open mind. It's a never ending process. I'm a hybrid; I thought of being a Canis Lupos after having a dream in which I was a lupoid. When I woke up I felt my astral body was the lupos in my dream body. But getting to know my friend and the fact that it hasn't happened again, it could be just that I'm spiritually connected to one, so before claiming to be something I may not be I prefer researching the topic. Recently I discovered through my frequentations of the BDSM community that I thrive with sexual energy. Just being there with all that arousal charges me with no need to engage anyone. And thanks to SHIBARI, a Japanese practice that was once used to tie up prisoners and later on as a sexual/sensual practice for the sensation that can give to the suspended person, I have seen I'm able to connect more with the people around me, forming through empathy and a deep connection with the person tying me up, feeling what he's trying to give me, and sometimes being transported in the astral.

If there are no vampire clans, houses or covens in Italy, what sort of groups exist there?
We have two or three big online groups. One of them (LIRV) organizes events and is down with a television series about real vampires. The others don't really meet unless they are friends. They are not organized in clans and houses because we are too many to handle. LIRV has different groups for every region called houses and clans but it's totally different from the States. They did good to put them up but the titles are different. In the states The Clan is the major group, inside of it there are houses and so on. This means if they wanted to make it the same, LIRV should be the clan. All the groups and houses have their own elder so most of the groups would have to change their names. Instead of patriarchy, matriarchy, elders and councils we have presidents, vice presidents and national advisors, et cetera. It works and they did a great job since the association recognized by the state.

What is the LIRV and what events do they organize and host? Are these events widely publicized in local media? What is this vampire based television show that LIRV is involved with? How does it enlighten the public about vampires?
LIRV is short for Italian Real Vampires League. It's a big group mostly of real vampires with whom I worked for a while. Their events are parties for real vampires, gatherings of a sort. They're not publicized in the local media but in their groups and forums. Their president Davide Santandrea is working real hard on making this TV series, as well as movies and a web series about real vampires, drawing from his personal experience and devising fiction to bring up social problems like hate against homosexuals, bullying etc. It's not airing yet but we're waiting for it to happen because no one has ever done this before and it could help a lot in making people understand we are simply humans, not monsters.

How many articles about vampires and vampirism have you written for Real Vampire Life since you joined the staff?
I have been dealing with life as of late and I haven't been writing much. I mostly translate interviews done with Italian vampires. I have written many articles for LIRV magazine and for the Clan. At the time we had built a research group to collect info we could find on vampirism, energies, psychic abilities, and more. But it's in my bucket list to write more for Real Vampire Life as soon as I have something concrete on what I'm experiencing at the moment.

Which of your articles for LIRV do you remember most clearly? What information do your articles offer that others don’t?
I clearly remember one I wrote on red flags. I took to heart letting people know of the dangers of believing in false vampires since to this day many believe we have the key to solve their problems and we are givers of eternal life. My last work for RVL was the translation of an interview with Davide Santandrea and his Vice Maria Angela on their projects with LIRV.

Why do you think people still have preconceptions about vampires, aside from the obvious depictions in TV and movies?
We are often associated to abusive people doctors call emotional vampires. Or they connect us to depravation, since a big part of us also drinks blood. We get connected with hate cults and it's not funny. There's still a big fear to even let your close friends know about you.

Do you do anything to actively dispel those preconceptions of vampires and vampirism?
I showed people who know me I remain the girl they always knew. I showed them small tricks to feel my Aura so they would understand there's more than the physical body to know. I preferred writing and educating whoever wanted to know more, throwing hints to make people curious about the topic, then explain more evaluating how far I could push it.

Would you be interested in expanding your writing career by penning articles for more websites in the near future?
Maybe not in the near future because I'm going to be in Germany till October and I won't have time. When I'll get back, why not? It's been a while that I promised to keep writing and it would be a shame not to.

What are the differences between clairvoyance and clairknowing?
Clairvoyance is a gift that uses one of our astral senses. Just as the material body has sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound, our astral body has its own. The more you are connected to your astral body the more you are able to use those senses. They have been commonly called gifts because it's not that easy to use them even if we all have them and could get to them with hard work and practice. Our astral senses give us what we call clairvoyance (sight), clairaudience (sound), clayrgustance (taste), clairtangency (touch), clairscent (smell). We also have clairknowing or clairsentience (clear sensation or feeling). The difference between the two is that with clairvoyance you "see" with your astral eyes, people with this gift often are able to visualize almost perfectly in their mind what they're seeing and could see events that happened or still have to come. Clairknowing is more of a gut feeling. It comes as a sensation like a deja vu. Your heart skips a beat and you feel like you know what's going on because you've been there already. Time in that moment is continuous for you; past, present and future are the same, but often you can't be sure till it happened. Sometimes you know by only knowing, things won't happen so at those moments you could be in doubt, but here we go into the deeper topic of "parallel universes and different timelines". These gifts are not time followers. You could get to know, see, feel, taste, hear of smell something from the past, or the future. It's rare to find someone able to understand this when it happens spontaneously, but with practice someone can teach himself to see more, deciding the "when" to see.

How much research have you done into the possibility of parallel universes, as they may relate to clairknowing?
The topic of the multiverse is a bit long to explain. Luckily scientists and quantum physicians are actively studying. It was a main research topic for a long while, It's not only related to clairknowing; we can make a ton of hypotheses. But let's only scratch the surface to have a general understanding on why always doubt what someone sees or feels when their gifts start buzzing until what they saw actually happens to prove they had the right feeling.
Take for example, you're talking to someone and all of a sudden get the feeling that the person will do something like making a glass fall from the table. You know exactly how the event will go what the person will say, everything or almost. That moment could happen in a parallel universe but with a different ending like the person grabbing the glass not making it shatter on the ground. Therefore you can almost never know if you saw or felt something that was going to happen in your reality or in the other until it happens. It's like we are on a timeline, though time is infinite and we humans made past present and future to help us cope with our existence. So let's draw a line.
Every action we take has infinite results. All those results can happen in infinite parallel universes. Draw many lines going forward so it looks like rays. All those rays have moments where more rays will form and so on. The results of the actions we make, though we keep going on only one of those lines, still exist, even when in this reality they have not happened. Someone who can see more doesn't know for sure which one of these possibilities they saw. And though they predicted what happened, it's not exactly what they predicted but a similar variation to what they saw. I hope everyone can follow my line of thought. This can also happen backwards but it can be confirmed just by looking through history of what you felt really happened, instead of waiting for it to happen. You can sense something that happened in what we call the past. But until you've done proper research you can't know for sure and h you could have seen something that happened in another of those infinite lines.

Many science fiction TV shows and specials cover those topics on infinite universes. Which ones have you watched recent that might have something to them?
I don't really watch TV shows, but one movie explained vividly how time and space are null in multilevel dimensions. It's called "interstellar".

Describe the plot and storyline of Interstellar and explain how it gave you a greater understanding of the multiverse?
The movie talks about Earth, there are too many dust storms for human to grow crops and the government is trying to find a solution to save humanity. The protagonist is a former shuttle pilot and he now lives in a farm. His daughter is also big part of the story. His daughter thinks she has a ghost in her room, so he teaches her to keep track of everything this ghost does and one day she notices that through the dust storm, her ghost left her a message in Morse code. It's coordinates to the military base where the government is trying to find a solution. While there they obviously get cought and later on decide to send the protagonist through a wormhole with the hope of finding an other habitable planet. He leaves his watch to his daughter and leaves earth. In his journey with the other astronauts he learns how to safely send people to this new planet they have found even tho has extreme living conditions is still better than earth. In the meantime on Earth the government decides it's better to send embryos in space with the hope of colonization instead of saving all humanity cause they thought it was impossible to pass the wormhole. I don't exactly remember how it happens but somehow the protagonist ends up in a different dimension, where space and time does not exists. While there he goes tho through his daughter timeline and discovers that he can actually interact with his daughter room and tries to send her messages through different times in his daughter life discovering that he himself was his daughter ghost. The scene is really explicative, doesn't leave anything to the imagination. Thought that dimensions, he sends her the answer on how to save humanity, his daughter has become a scientists and she is able to get the message and help realize what her ghost told her. After this happens he finds himself on place where him, still young, encounters his daughter, now an old lady. I think I can explain all I want how for me this movie explains the multiverse, but only watching it can really be the solution to understanding why it left its sign in my mind.

What do you think of the videos supposedly filmed firsthand and uploaded to Youtube, that suggest alternate universes? Are most of those real or faked in your point of view?
I think they’re mostly faked. Scientists have been able to theorize on the multiverse on a molecular level and started having results in the micro level. Reaching results of big proportions, with little to no equipment, on an amateur level, is pretty much impossible. One thing I believe is true. The Mandela effect. Most of those "glitches" can be verified, while others are made up by people that are looking too much into this theory. I believe in the Mandela effect because I have been observing minor glitches. Years ago I had an extracorporeal experience. I felt like an invisible wall passed through me. After that happened, for a month or so, I've noticed a few things have changed, like my town or the behavior of my friends. I clearly remember my favorite coffee shop had its name change, a minor change of two letters; in that month my best friend kept arguing with me for no reason, and a few other things happened. I don't know how but one day my coffee shop had the name I remembered again. No one noticed the change, my friend stopped arguing with me, and all was back to normal. I can't explain what happened, but I can theorize it had something to do with the Mandela effect. I thought I was going insane for a while, but after a full month it never happened again? If I was insane wouldn't this go on forever? I still hope I'm a bit crazy; one thing is studying something and another is experiencing it firsthand. There's still that part of your logical; brain that wants to feel safe because we still can't understand how much we don't know of the world we live in. It's scary.

Getting back to your earlier statement about SHIBARI, can you explain your study of this practice in greater detail?
Regarding SHIBARI, I initially liked the aesthetics expressed in art and photography. I didn't know how it felt and why people loved being tied up, unable to move. In November my friend, photographer Matteo Stradiotto, introduced me to the practice. His friend Andrea Bernardi with whom he is working on a project of SHIBARI Kinbaku, was the one who tied me up the first time. And that's when I understood. The moment I stopped touching the ground, a sensation of warmth and safety rushed through me, I did not know where I was anymore and it did not matter because it was a beautiful place. I experienced what is called rope-space. In those moments thanks also to my vampirism, I'm able to really go somewhere else. It's like a forced state of trance. Being compressed by the ropes with all of your body weight allows your body to produce endorphins, and literally make you rope drunk. Another thing made me love the practice. Being really empathic I'm already sensitive to other people's emotions. While I'm tied up even more, there's a connection with the Rigger (who ties you). Especially when they pull you down and they begin untying you. If they take the ropes off softly, I'll feel their kindness, their need to not hurt me. If they take them off with energy like Andrea does, I feel how strong he is. Whenever he touches me that energy gives me adrenaline and excites me. Doing kinesthesiology, a practice to learn your muscle response, where even without asking questions with your voice but only by touching a person this person's movements will give an answer, I have learned about this exchange of information through touch. In those moments so much information is exchanged through touch, and with the forced trance and being empathic, I'm learning to use this practice to thrive in my vampirism. Since then I try to participate in more SHIBARI meetings (there are specific places where people learn in safety with experts), or to go as a bunny (a person who gets tied up) for classes and workshops. I have also been a rope model for my friend Matteo and I wish to be a bunny for a long time. This I consider an awakening, because before trying this I was at a dead end on my research. Luckily there's always more to learn.

How much more study have you done to continue learning about SHIBARI recently?
It’s an ongoing process in which I experiment on myself. I have met different types and I'm trying to learn about the various styles. For example a style called Naka is a sensorial experience; the rigger doesn't just suspend you but transports you into it beginning with sensory deprivation and using something to cover your eyes to make you use more all your other senses. The suspension in itself is really tight and has to hurt a bit to send you for sure in rope-space. Another style of which I don't remember the name now (it translates into "gentle rope") is more to cuddle and relax you and gives particular attention to the aesthetics of the knots. There's so much to learn still and so much to understand on how and why it helps me in dealing with my vampirism.

Where do you generally see the connections between SHIBARI and vampirism?
At the moment the connections I have been able to find are mostly on hyper empathy. Thanks to this it becomes easier to feel the people around you, their state of mind, what they're feeling. Because of hyper empathy I once felt I wasn't myself anymore, but also the people looking at me and I could see myself through them. It was a short moment, but I think keeping on doing SHIBARI I'll get to touch the reason this happened and see how to consciously repeat the experience. I also found out in moments of low energy, no concentration, moments in which it’s hard to provide for your thirst, that being suspended helps me get grounded. A fundamental exercise when dealing with energy cause it equilibrates you, making it possible for you to not unconsciously feed on people in ways that can be considered dangerous. It's never good to drain someone because you're not able to control your intake of energy. This can make people take a step back, could even make you fight with good friends. Even though they don't realize it, their subconscious is aware of the attack and it will make them feel discomfort with your presence. I have to do things slowly because right now, it being a new experience, I still have little control over my intake during those moments. I even get high on those energies. The problem is, the more I take the more I have a chance to have a bad drop the days after, just like someone gets high eating their favorite food and gets a stomachache cause he ate too much. I would like to introduce another Psy vampire to the practice and get more "data" from their experience to start drawing a basic line to build a statistic. Before adding a new subject I gotta understand all this to be able to give safety tips to whoever joins my experiment. It's going to be a long process. But I think SHIBARI could be very helpful for advancing in ones gifts as a vampire if used with caution.

Rigger: Andrea Bernardi
Model: Ronin Costa
Photographer: Matteo Stradiotto
Would you ever consider writing articles about SHIBARI and its relationship to vampirism, if you haven’t already?
I haven't written something about it yet. I want to know more before writing. I could already write something based on my personal experience, but I'll do it when I'm more experienced in handling my vampirism between the ropes.

Are there any other projects you are planning to undertake in the near future?
For the projects, well right now just this one to research on SHIBARI and go back on writing. I take life as it comes, so whatever life will throw at me I'll take it, who knows. Maybe next project will be trying a deprivation chamber, I heard it can send you in astral projection.


-Dave Wolff

Full Length Review: CAVE BASTARD The Bleak Shall Devour The Earth (Accident Prone)

The Bleak Shall Devour The Earth
Country of origin: USA
Genre: Apocalyptic death metal
Release date: Friday, March 23rd 2018
The official report is The Bleak Shall Devour The Earth has been in development for three and a half years. If you waited that long for a band’s debut release you’re likely hoping you’re not disappointed. Until it comes out you can hear a demo and a split with BLKOPS at Cave Bastard’s Bandcamp profile. Cave Bastard is comprised of current and former members of other underground bands; as such it’s a given that experience is on their side. Cattle Decapitation is the only band I’m familiar with whose members are involved in Cave Bastard; other bands mentioned include Ritual Torture, Bridge Jumper and Temblad. Since Cattle Decapitation delivers in the brutality department I decided to give The Bleak Shall Devour The Earth a chance. My first impression is the album is not bad if you don’t mind early death metal, occasionally dissonant with gritty production, suffused with Carnivore, Sepultura and Amebix. My second impression is a conceptual theme was masterminded to give The Bleak Shall Devour The Earth a narrative feel. The advance promo from Earsplit doesn’t include the lyrics so I can’t describe the images the music is set to. All I can reveal is there are pictures of corruption, atrocity and inhumanity and the narrative is to continue on future releases. Going by the presence and demeanor of the songs I can conceive a series of global catastrophes that transpired over many years, and a new governmental force installed to keep order, only to make matters worse somewhere down the road. Perhaps scientific experiments of some kind are part of this narrative, or the aftereffects of experiments that took place in the past, I’m just speculating, but the songs resonate of a bleak and desolated future and I’m eager to see what the band had in mind when writing the lyrics. I get this most strongly from Throes Of The Devourer, Neo - Genesis, Methane Epistaxis, Massacre Reaction, Trapped In A World Of Formlessness and Purity Through Oblivion. The Bleak Shall Devour The Earth was recorded last October at Audio Design Studios in San Diego, California. Billy Anderson recorded and mixed the material, drawing on his experience with Neurosis, Brutal Truth and Cattle Decapitation. The front cover art was designed by Varises Otak. -Dave Wolff

Band lineup:
Steve Pearce: vocals
Nick Padron: guitars
Chase Ferguson: guitars
Troy Oftedal: bass
Marlon Matthew: drums

Track list:
1. Throes Of The Devourer
2. Neo - Genesis
3. Methane Epistaxis
4. Massacre Reaction
5. Trapped In A World Of Formlessness
6. Martial Asphyxiation
7. Purity Through Oblivion
8. Liar Betrayed

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Full Length Review: WET BOX Vita In Aeternum (Independent)

Independent
Country of origin: Canada
Genre: Post punk, indie, grunge, existential dredge
Release Date: February 9, 2018
Wet Box from Canada is another example of how grunge should have headed instead of being repackaged by the mainstream industry. I get much more from listening to the first couple of songs on Vita In Aeternum than I did from what was considered grunge before it turned into pop-punk. This goes back to the late 1980s before MTV picked up on the genre and made it a trend and fashion statement. I have a tendency to run this point into the ground, but the fact is you can’t be upper middle class and underground without risking the rug pulled out from under you on several levels. Wet Box points out the world of difference between forthrightness and slumming. Or honesty and jumping on the latest bandwagon. Vita In Aeternum represents sidewalk walking as opposed to going to Starbucks for a latte, and the idea that a genuine ‘fuck off’ is preferable to contrived politeness. I borrowed the tag “existential dredge” from the band’s Bandcamp profile because it sounded good and besides, there might be more to the description than it having a nice ring. I’m thinking of the relationship between the cover artwork (designed by Catherine Hennigar) and the first song’s similarities to the Jaws soundtrack. Does this symbolize man’s predatory leanings, or something even deeper? I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to decide. But I can say the songs have menacing themes to them, especially in the lyrics and vocals, that make Hole sound tame in comparison. Vita In Aeternum is more for fans of Lydia Lunch and Teenage Jesus & The Jerks than 4 Non Blondes and The Cranberries. It may come as a surprise that vocalist Dawn Collins is into yoga, according to what I heard from Devin Joseph Meaney who passed the Bandcamp link to me. You can read about this at Darkside Yoga and Dawn Collins Yoga at Facebook. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Johnny
2. Prophet
3. Ditch
4. Master
5. Wet Box
6. Tide
7. Babies
8. On
9. Savasana

Friday, February 23, 2018

Full Length Review: SACRED LEATHER Ultimate Force (Cruz Del Sur Music)

Ultimate Force
Country of origin: USA
Genre: Heavy metal
Release date: February 23, 2018
I was sent ''Ultimate Force'' by Sacred Leather. I had a few links to choose from, but these guys stuck out as the band that I needed to review. I knew instantly after listening to this for thirty seconds that I was going to highly enjoy this. These guys sound like they are directly out of the early to mid-eighties! Wailing guitar solos and thrashing rhythms blaze against the backdrop of well-played bass, well done ''80's style'' vocals and tight drumming. All of these tracks are heavy, but the one that stuck out the most to me at first would have to be the track ''Dream Searcher.'' Although written like a ballad, they still maintain their heaviness and aggressive leads. My favorite track after listening to all of this would have to be the last track, ''The Lost Destructor/Priest of the Undoer.'' Nine minutes of pure throw-back awesomeness, I would suggest this one to any fans of the genre or any form of heavier music. I can honestly say that while listening to this I was taken back to the age of twelve to fifteen. In my early years I was given a plastic bag filled with old cassettes from my cousin. These tapes really helped to mold my musical interests for years to come, even though these days I put my own spin on things. Still, this really has taken me back, and anyone into this kind of stuff should really check this out. It is Stellar! -Devin Joseph Meaney

Track list:
1. Ultimate Force
2. Watcher
3. Power Thrust
4. Dream Search
5. Master Is Calling
6. Prowling Sinner
7. The Lost Destructor / Priest Of The Undoer

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Full Length Review: NOVAREIGN Legends (M-Theory)

Legends
M-Theory
Country of origin: USA
Genre: Progressive power metal
Release date: February 16, 2018
Novareign! Stellar power metal. I can hardly describe this. Into the thunderous battlefields my brain charges. With mind burning cover art of warriors worthy of battle, this band roars into my ears with flashing guitar solos and shredding riffs worthy of Valhalla’s acceptance!. Although at some points the vocals can fall a little short, but the vocalist has the voice of a demigod, shrill and loud! I still find myself clawing for the next song. As I reach for my beer, tossing my head up and down this band brings a fresh kill into the room and I can’t help but dig in. So many try to slam a power metal album down, like a Nordic rune stone to be worshiped by the locals, all I can say is. This was worth my time. It should be worth yours .This new generation power metal deserves its chance at glory! It comes with an atmosphere. Acoustic guitar at some points can in my opinion call out a sadness, but then pull out courage. Something I could listen to in a dark time, but have it pull me out... help me find courage to face what comes ahead. Strength comes out of this. It empowers. I love this. Take a listen! -Patrick McGuigan

Track list:
1. Call On The Storm
2. Mace Of A Fist
3. Beyond The Cold
4. Heavy Heart
5. Skyline
6. To Wander The Stars
7. The Builder
8. Black As The Dead Of Night
9. Legends

Full Length Review: SUFFERING 11 (Independent)

11
Independent
Country of origin: UK
Genre: Black/doom metal
Suffering’s interview has been available for reading here since January. As I sought information about their debut album, Sturmgeist Forniator Insultus mostly preferred it to be a mystery until its official release. The date is still unannounced but I was sent an advance stream with a complete track list and cover art (designed by Enchanted Woodland). One thing Insultus did reveal about 11 is, it was produced, mixed and mastered by contacts from other bands (Luke Bowers of Opium Lord and Greg Chandler of Esoteric). As such it comes across as a truly independent by-musicians-for-fans effort listeners should be able to relate to. The production is simultaneously raw and clean, balancing chaos with order, old school with new school. It’s not so raw that everything sounds like a blur, and the musicianship is easy to assimilate. Regarding the band’s doom metal elements, the dirges written into the material have a grandiose quality, reminding me of old Hellhammer and Celtic Frost. I heard hints of Slayer and Dark Angel with 90s black metal in several other songs. Listening overall is like experiencing a forbidden ritual devised and filmed for a horror film of the Hammer variety for the sudden mood changes between tracks. A more apt comparison may be John Carpenter’s In The Mouth Of Madness which I watched for recreation recently. That movie didn’t do well financially, but it did present ideas about Lovecraftian fantasy merging with the real world in a modern context. In some ways I received the same impression from 11 and the manner in which it was presented. Only while the movie beclouded the lines between fiction and reality, Suffering create their own reality and make the line clear. The element of fantasy here is apparent from the beginning. The first track Shanshu is preceded by an introduction like a Laveyan satanic ritual, building tension and leading you to anticipate the moment when it finally kicks in. Upon doing so it reveals scalding, mind-shredding blackness with a few well-placed dissonant chords and percussion that is extremely primal. The turn it takes from that track to Diary Of A Street Walker has a profound effect, going from searing rage to the deepest despondency. You get more variance in moods with The Eternal Dance, Deviant Women Of The Barren Plains, and especially the epic Rebirth Through Cursed Dirt. 11 is theatrical and ceremonious without laying it on too thick; Suffering make use of their resources and experience as musicians to spawn something with familiar influences and enough innovation to be recognizable on its own. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Shanshu
2. Releasing The Eleven
3. Diary Of A Street Walker
4. The Eternal Dance
5. Conjuration Through Black Horns
6. Deviant Women Of The Barren Plains
7. The Cult Of Lilim
8. Rebirth Through Cursed Dirt

Monday, February 19, 2018

Promotional Video Review: STEEL PANTHER Death To All But Metal

Death To All But Metal
From the full length Balls Out released on Universal Republic Records January 1, 2011
Country of origin: USA
Genre: Glam metal
Video release date: June 16, 2009
When I randomly found this video posted at a friend’s Facebook profile, what made me interested was the song title. The first time I heard of the band was seeing their appearance at Comedy Central’s roast of Gene Simmons a few years ago. Now I don’t normally listen to this style of music but I got more of a kick out of watching it than I expected. If you like parody-based heavy metal bands like Bad News, Tenacious D and the immortal Spinal Tap this is right up your alley so to speak. What’s more, the parody angle is presented with the crude locker room humor of the Mentors, which people still find entertaining in that non-PC way. Steel Panther started as Metal Shop in 2000 and to date have released five full albums (Hole Patrol in 2003, Feel the Steel in 2009, Balls Out in 2011, All You Can Eat in 2014, Lower the Bar in 2017) and a handful of videos. Again this is not my usual cup of tea but I couldn’t help but laugh while listening to the lyrics and watching the antics in the classroom setting chosen for the video. It hearkens to the likes of Twisted Sister’s I Wanna Rock with a dash of Troma Entertainment added for good measure. I’ve made a lot of comparisons here (though I forgot to mention Kevin Smith) but they should give you an idea of what you’ll see. There is also an appearance by actress/comedienne Sarah Silverman as the school principal who falls under the band’s spell and get freaky. I find her a hottie so seeing her was a pleasant surprise. What I liked most of all was the Metallica reference written into the song and the band hilariously trashing corporate pop icons Goo Goo Dolls, Enimem, Dr. Dre, Papa Roach, Blink 182, Britney Spears, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Sheryl Crow, 50 Cent and Kanye West, and the labels that pushed them to mass popularity. I would recommend this and a live video I found of the band’s Hellfest 2017 appearance. -Dave Wolff

Full Length Review: THE CRUCIFIER Voices In My Head (Punishment 18 Records)

Voices In My Head
Country of origin: Greece
Genre: Thrash metal
Release date: September 5, 2017
Nostalgia hit me instantly when I listened to The Crucifier. 36 minutes of new wave old school thrash! It brought back the feeling I got when I was a kid. Sitting in my room kicking out legends of thrash on my tape player. Voices In My Head packs a punch with their heavy rhythm riffs and fast paced shredding guitar. Hearing something like this in 2017 was a fresh wake-up call telling me there is hope! Personally I’ll be looking forward to hearing more from these maniacs of new wave thrash. Voices In My Head speaks for itself! -Patrick McGuigan.

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

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Trailer Review: THE ALLINS (Toolbox Film/Beat Film)

Official trailer 2017
Movie directed by Sami Saif
Produced by Toolbox Film in association with Beat Film
I wonder if the same people who refer to GG Allin as a legend today hated him, feared him and trashed him in the press while he was alive. Favorable reviews of him were few and far between when I started buying his albums in 1988 and ’89. When I interviewed Merle Allin (GG’s brother and Murder Junkies bassist) he said people feel less threatened by him after his fatal overdose in 1993 and know they can make money off him. This is an issue that goes back to the 70s with Malcolm McLaren’s Cash from Chaos scheme. Is punk about the money or making a statement about society, or spreading information you don’t read about in national newspapers (like The Shadow and Maximum Rock N Roll)? With GG Allin you got the feeling that nothing is sacred. As he stated on Jerry Springer: “Rock and roll is not about what you look like, who you hang out with, how much money you make, what kind of car you drive. Rock and roll is the fury from within you. Rock and roll is revenge, rock and roll is your enemy, and I am your enemy.” GG represented rebellion for rebellion’s sake, as clichéd as that sounds. So to present an unbiased view of his life and career without exploiting his memory you’d have to find the right director. From watching the trailer of The Allins I gather the documentary is presented from the point of view of Merle and GG”s mother Arleta Allin who opens up and makes a real effort to show a side of GG the fans and the media did not see. As Arleta had a close personal relationship with Kevin (as he was known offstage) she makes it clear early in the trailer she didn’t like fans and/or bandwagon jumpers coming to her New Hampshire hometown and desecrate his headstone. Merle didn’t care for it either; we see him approaching a guilty party and smacking him with an acoustic guitar. The trailer hints at the contrast between life as GG Alin and life as Kevin Allin which I would like to see more of when viewing the documentary. The last film I watched about GG that I liked was Todd Phillips’ Hated which touched on his youth and upbringing; this one may well be more intimate and personal when it comes to depicting his family life and the earliest years of his musical career with his first band Malpractice. I may wait until it comes out on DVD but it’s something I’m looking forward to seeing. -Dave Wolff

Seven-inch Review: ARMS RACE The Beast (La Vida Es Un Mus Discos - UK/Painkiller Records - USA)

The Beast
Country of origin: UK
Genre: Hardcore punk
Release Date: February 8, 2018
I have a day completely to my elf and the first thing I do is listen to this 7'' sent to me. This is not that bubble gum stuff you hear on the radio, this is real hardcore punk. Deep aggressive vocals assault your ears in a good way, yelled over sometimes fast and always deep and violent guitar riffs. The bass is low and chugging, the drums perfectly keeping organized chaos on time. Available on vinyl and a cheap download, I highly suggest checking these guys out, as this is some seriously talented stuff. This release was really short, so I do plan on looking into these guys more in the future. I need more of this, as today has really brought on a desire to listen to more punk rock. ''The Beast'' by ARMS RACE is a catchy little blast of hardcore and I'm glad that it was sent in my direction. It makes me want to look into the band more. Good job, guys. This was a fun time. If you can afford a vinyl, by all means order one. If not, give this a download. It all helps in the end. -Devin Joseph Meaney

Track list:
1. Zealot
2. 24 Hours
3. The Beast
4. Distort Britannia

Friday, February 16, 2018

EP Review: CRYOSTASIUM Starbound (Satanath Records/Grimm Distribution)

Starbound
Release Date: October 16, 2017
Format: Jewel case, Vinyl-style CD, 500 copies, 4-page booklet
Country of origin: USA
Genre: Psychedelic/dark ambient black metal
I throw on the ''Starbound'' EP by the band Cryostasium, and what I hear is what I consider to be really talented musicianship. This EP is almost entirely instrumental, which is odd for me. Still, I would without a doubt check out more from this one man band of Cody Maillet in the future. The drums switch from loud and on time to being a back drop for relentless atmospheric carnage. Aside from your standard black-metal riffs, the best way to describe the guitar work on this release is ''spooky'' or ''eerie''. There is something completely alien about this release, but it works perfectly with the sound Maillet is going with. Nearing the end of this release, I feel as if I am about to be abducted by satanic aliens on a quest for sustenance. My flesh and blood would nourish their voracious appetites... along with the flesh and blood of the entire human race. Usually my favorite part of a release involves the music, but for this piece what strikes me the most is the cover art. I really enjoy the style used, and if this had not been sent to me, I probably would have checked it out on my own anyway if I came across it. Atmospheric mastery from Boston, Massachusetts, USA, this release is available through SATANATH RECORDS (Russia) and GRIMM DISTRIBUTION (Belarus). Listen to this release, or else Maillet might send to you an aquatic monstrosity, its teeth and terrible jaws sent to consume your entire waking existence. This is great black-metal and I will for sure listen to this again. -Devin Joseph Meaney

Track list:
1. Starbound
2. Magnetic
3. Melancholera
4. The Eye
5. Adventurine



This review can also be read at The Dev Man Express. -DW

Sunday, February 11, 2018

EP Review: DARK ARCHIVE Cultivate Our Blood In Aeon (Inverse Records)

Cultivate Our Blood In Aeon
Release Date: January 31, 2018
Country of origin: Finland
Genre: Black metal
It is before 5 pm on a Sunday and I was sent ''Cultivate Our Blood In Aeon,'' a new release from the Finnish black-metal band DARK ARCHIVE. Released January 31st 2018 on INVERSE RECORDS, this piece quickly assaults my ears with morbid satanic revelry. Featuring five tracks, this release is what I consider to be the ''perfect'' length EP. Not too long, not too short... just perfection. My ears are telling me that the drum tracks are produced by a machine, but I could be wrong. If these beats are created by a man sitting at a drum set, then I can honestly say that he is probably a cyborg and the human race is probably going to end soon via cyborg takeover. As you can guess by now, the drum tracks are phenomenal and they are well adjusted to the songs. The guitars are bleak, yet they have extreme drive, pushing along with the drums to create a diabolical atmosphere. Vocally, you have your standard black-metal rasps and demonic vocalizations, but they are done well with an obvious tinge of finesse. On a final note, I will also mention that within the morbid darkness there is also beautiful acoustics and piano work, a nice touch amid the constant shrieks and blasphemy. As far as black-metal goes, this release is entirely on par. I suggest you pour a glass of fine red wine, adorn your most expensive suit and head to the loneliness of your bedroom where you can bathe in black-metal and your own mild narcissism. I give this release a 9.9/10, only taking the 0.1 off the top because the band did not mention whether their drummer is a person or not. (I kid, I kid. This is great. 10/10) -Devin Joseph Meaney

Track list:
1. Cultivate our blood in Aeon
2. Closure of Empyrean delirium
3. Godfear Eradication
4. Unohda ei ikinä
5. Essence of Death

Article: 'Trump Claims Lack of Due Process' by Roberta Downing

Trump Claims Lack of Due Process
Article by Roberta Downing, February 11, 2018

Trump takes to twitter to claim there is no due process for men who stand accused of sex crimes and domestic violence. He’s gone as far as to state “People’s lives are being shattered and destroyed by mere allegation. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused- life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”
The tweet is the first response concerning the MeToo movement, where men and women who are victims of sexual assault, rape and domestic violence are standing up and naming names and despite the fact that several government officials have committed such acts and been found guilty, Trump has claimed that he has “grabbed women by the pussy” and he surrounds himself with men who have committed sexual crimes.
Women are responding to his comment saying that it makes them sick to their stomachs that POTUS would actually say such words. My very own comment to his tweet is “Due process? I cannot believe you would dare say that! It makes me literally sick to my stomach! Where is the due process for the victims?! Stop protecting your sexual deviants and make them accountable for their actions!”
Sarah Lauridsen responded by saying “I wonder if the women you abused felt like you shattered their lives through your violence and callousness.” Others are citing a full page ad that Donald Trump paid for in 1989 calling for the death penalty of teenagers for their violent crimes before they had even gone to trial.
The fact is, people’s lives are being shattered everyday by people who commit heinous sexual and domestic violence acts. The victims are left broken, beaten, frightened and most can never seem to put those brutal and hateful acts behind them. The victims have to live and relive what happened to them on a daily basis and moreover, most of them enter into the mental health system and usually diagnosed with battered wives syndrome or PTSD. They are placed on medications to help them to manage the nightmares, flash backs, panic attacks and depression and while some might seek counseling most do not.
While it is most certainly a possibility that some men are being falsely accused in the wake of the MeToo movement, some are wondering if perhaps the movement has gone too far. For those who are part of the crusade and making their voices heard and calling for accountability, perhaps the cause hasn’t gone far enough.

Promotional Video Review: ORPHANED LAND All Is One

All Is One
Title track from the 2013 full length All Is One released by Century Media June 24
Director: Shahar Hamo
Country of origin: Israel
Genre: Mideastern folk metal
Video release date: July 16, 2013
As I still often do, I heard of Orphaned Land purely by chance. While surfing Youtube I ended up watching a video of an ABC TV clip Israeli heavy metal band rocking for peace which included an interview with vocalist Kobi Farhi. In the video he was talking about his band touring with the Palestinian band Khalas, in an effort to heal the long standing animosity between the governments of those two countries. I’m sure when this piece was aired it came as a shock to viewers who still believe metal fans are drunken boors who can’t communicate intelligently. Those of us who know better will see Farhi’s interview has none of that oversimplified conception. As most bands from underground scenes are, he is unassuming and candid as he discusses what he intends to achieve though the tour (also covered by The Independent in February 2014). This made me want to watch the promotional video for All Is One as parts of it were in the broadcast. Finding it at Century Media’s Youtube I saw the song and the video are nothing short of brilliant, with a message that fits their style. If you like precise guitars, native instrumentation, Middle Eastern vibes, melodic, sophisticated vocals, symphonic metal-like choruses, flawless production, atmospheric shots without overdone computer animation and women seductively belly dancing to the song’s rhythm, I urge you to support this band. Back to the message the song conveys, it couldn’t have come at a time when it needed to be said by someone, and since metal has been known to bridge cultural gaps for years, I see infinite potential on Orphaned Land’s part to take it farther. I have to give Farhi props for having the guts to call it to the public’s attention in spite of the media spin and “fake news” controversy surrounding world affairs. Orphaned Land just released a new full length Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs on Century Media last month; it is said to be a concept album and is receiving a lot of press attention so go get it. -Dave Wolff