Thursday, April 30, 2020

Single Review: Aliaga "Crepitación del Lenguaje" (Independent) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Band: Aliaga
Location: Lima
Country: Peru
Genre: Blackened grind
Single: Crepitación del Lenguaje
From their upcoming EP to be released in 2020
Label: Independent
Format: Digital
Release date: May 1, 2020
I typed in the Youtube search bar ''black metal 2020.'' I was listening to grindcore, and then hardcore, so I figured it was time to listen to some tracks of the blackened variety. When the results of the search came back, one of the first tracks that showed up was the new single ''La Crepitación del Lenguaje'' by Aliaga. It was listed as a fusion of grindcore and black metal... ''blackened grind.'' My old band Proctophobic was blackened grind, so this intrigued me. I needed to check this track out.
After listening, I have a few things to say. The production quality on this is great, first and foremost. The vocals are dark and vicious, paired with heavy, foreboding guitar, immaculate drumming, and a genuinely chaotic atmospheric tinge.
When it comes to blackened grind, my friends and I were doing that 15 years ago. But with that being said, this newer stuff I am finding is produced much better, is tighter overall, and really pushes the sub-genre in a direction that is much more wanted and accessible.
Aliaga hails from Lima, Peru since 2019. This track is taken from their upcoming EP, expected later this year. The only other thing I will mention about this single is that it sounds more modern than the really old-school grindcore and black metal from back in the day. Still, this is a highly enjoyable piece of music and I encourage other people to give it a listen. It's blackened grind! You know you want to! –Devin Joseph Meaney

Lineup:
Giancarlo Melgar: Vocals
Eduardo Yalan: Guitar
Daniel Santome: Bass


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

EP Review: Brute "Livin’ Right" (Edgewood Records) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Band: Brute
Location: Perth Amboy, New Jersey
Country: USA
Genre: Hardcore
EP: Livin’ Right
Label: Edgewood Records
Format: Digital
Release date: April 3, 2020
Continuing on with my hardcore spree, I stumbled upon ''Livin' Right'' by BRUTE. Will these guys hold up to the tracks I spoke of in my last review? Let's see!
First off, again, this is pretty standard hardcore. Nothing new or innovative here, but again, all the tracks are played with precision and mastery. Although the sound emitted from my speakers is not a new one, It is quite enjoyable to say the least.
Tight guitars. Tight drums. Aggressive vocals too! On the topic of the vocals, the ones on this demo kind of remind me of the lead singer from The Descendents. Now that I think about it, a lot of the songs on the demo remind me of The Descendents. To be more specific, I am reminded of their ''Milo Goes To College'' album. This is not a bad thing... I have always enjoyed this band, so it is nice to hear something similar in 2020.
BRUTE resides in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, USA. This is my first time hearing of them, but I would for sure listen to them again in the future. This is a quick five track EP, so it won't take up much of your time. Give it a listen. If you are a fan of hardcore I'm sure this will suit your fancy. Keep at it, BRUTE! –Devin Joseph Meaney

Lineup:
Hubba: Vocals
Avery: Guitar
Alexis: Bass
Matt: Drums

Track list:
1. Forfeit The Fight
2. No Return
3. All That's Proven
4. The Beginning
5. Livin' Right


Demo Review: Fyzical "Demo 2020" (Triple B Records) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Band: Fyzical
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Country: USA
Genre: Punk, hardcore
Demo: Demo 2020
Format: Cassette (first pressing 50 copies; sold out), digital
Release: March 19, 2020
I had been writing material for a few other zines, but realized it has been a while since I submitted anything to Autoeroticasphyxium. In an attempt to remedy this, I promised myself that the next time I got to the computer I would review something.
When the time came to sit down to write my review, I realized that I was not really feeling like listening to goregrind or grindcore like I usually do. Earlier in the week I had been listening to some old hardcore bands for the sake of nostalgia, so I figured I should try to find something new from this genre.
After a brief search on Youtube, I came to the 2020 demo from FYZICAL. Boasting four short tracks, I figured hell, this is perfect. I was planning on sleeping soon so this is just the right length. Not too long... just enough for me to get a solid wave of vicious hardcore wrapped around my cranium.
This sounds like your standard hardcore, but it is all played well. The guitar work and the vocals and the drums all flow together epically, and help prove that this short demo (under eight minutes) is well worth a few listens. I would not be surprised if fans of other genres such as metal liked this, too. It is recorded well and it is quite heavy overall, so, why not?
Give these tracks a spin! –Devin Joseph Meaney

Lineup:
Brock Stephens: Vocals, guitars, bass
Cameron Leininger: Drums

Track list:
1. Intro
2. Die In Your Arms
3. Life In A Grey Area
4. Why Not Now?


Monday, April 27, 2020

Full Length Review: Beastial Piglord "Viorensilt" (Slorebs Castle Records) by Dave Wolff

Band: Beastial Piglord
Location: Kinston, North Carolina
Country: USA
Genre: Extreme metal
Full Length: Viorensilt
Label: Slorebs Castle Records
Format: Digital (streaming on Bandcamp and Youtube)
Release date: April 26, 2020
Hudson Conner continues to release Beastial Piglord material at an alarming rate. It’s only April and “Viorensilt” is his sixth full length release this year. Every time I listen to a new album by this project it sounds different from the last. But I think Hudson is not so much trying to redefine his work or extreme music as he writing what he feels at any given time. Which is not to say his writing overall is not innovative, because in doing so he creates something honestly diversified, distinctive and unpredictable. For this recording he wanted to compose doom metal and stoner rock-oriented songs with more groove and more of a circumscribed guitar sound. There are even intermittent hints of early grunge from before the genre was milked dry. Given Hudson’s penchant for experimental noise, distortion and subtle effects “Viorensilt” is not what you’d expect to hear from a doom metal band. “Viorensilt” was released a day or so ago and I can already tell it has its own temperament. The song structure is a little more orderly than I remember from "Pulling a Thread from the Fabric of the Universe," "Disourminth" and "Cosmicism and Neuselore" with the same random changeability of those releases. From the cover artwork conceptualized and designed by Cross to “The High Priestess” which opens the album, you’re looking at the world as its habitually envisioned by Conner, through a black light filtering out brightness and ebullience. Leaving a gloaming twilight made all the more prodigious and inconsolable by repetitive, almost mechanical, songwriting, creepy spoken word, bellowing howls, reverberating echo and grating production. More than just being doom and stoner at its most elementally primitive, it expresses suffering and wrath at its most rudimentary and visual. It’s a vision of the underworld in which everything is inanimate and lifeless, and what was once thriving in the corporeal world is now crumbling and decomposing to dust. Nothing burns here since there is no matter that can be consumed by fire. This is where the darkness of “Viorensilt” is generating from, and again, you have to play it loud to fully feel the intended effect. –Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Hudson: All vocals and instruments

Track list:
1. The High Priestess
2. Mortselth Friv
3. Lossless
4. Elsewhere Nothing
5. Ode Lillian
6. Some Other Terrible Fate
7. Fields Of Forel
8. Comeuppance


Saturday, April 25, 2020

Full Length Review: Kolossus "The Line Of The Border" (Satanath Records, The Ritual Productions) by Dave Wolff

Band: Kolossus
Location: Genoa
Country: Italy
Genre: Black metal
Full Length: The Line Of The Border
Label: Satanath Records (Russia), The Ritual Productions (Netherlands).
Format: Compact disc, digital album
Release date: March 19, 2020
Helliminator of Kolossus has been a solo musician since he recorded three demos for an industrial black metal project he did from 1994 to 2004 or ’05 called T132. I looked up this project and couldn’t find any information about those demos, so I don’t know if they’re even available anymore. Maybe they were released on a limited basis because of financial constraints and/or because he wanted to keep a certain amount of secrecy, but I’d check them out sometime if I had the chance. It was a long stretch between T132 and his newest project; in 2018 he and fellow Italian multi-instrumentalist Albrecht Schwarzimmer of Manon released a split CD, and last month saw the release of his debut album “The Line of the Border.” Being from Italy Helliminator could have easily taken inspiration from sources as diverse as Cultus Sanguine, Necrodeath, Opera IX, and Bulldozer. Instead, he looked to the beginning of the Norwegian black metal revival to brainstorm ideas; bands like Emperor, Enslaved, Borknagar, and Helheim. Listening to an Italian re-interpretation of Norse black metal, with many hints of the Italian approach to the genre, he seems to rediscover the seditious stoutheartedness of the former while managing to secure the influence of his home country so they harmonize together. This is especially so in the themes of religious conflict between ancient paganism and Catholicism that are part of the narrative of “The Line of the Border.” The Bandcamp link that was passed to me by Satanath Records doesn’t include lyrics, but the song titles suggest religious conflict is a substantial part of the concept here. This is gorgeously, seductively rendered as the album takes you from somber, sepulchral passages to tumultuous compositions with solid, frenetic drumming, anamorphic bass, somnolent guitars, eerie whispers, mellifluous vocals, and anguished fry screams. All this adds to an album with a feeling of immenseness, of expansiveness and magnificence that expresses an ages-old conflict in a convincing way. The effect is subtle but quite profound, making “The Line of the Border” well worth the effort of seeking out. –Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Helliminator: Vocals, all instruments
Emanuele Prandoni: Drums
Vicotnik: Guest vocals on “Norge”
Daisy: Guest guitar solo on “Journey”

Track list:
1. Abyss
2. Fog
3. Chains
4. Sin
5. Journey
6. Reborn
7. Shores
8. Norge
9. Glimmer


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Split Review: Obroa Skai/Ysidro (Independent) by Jorge A. Trejos

Band: Obroa Skai
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Country: Canada
Genre: Screamo, dark noise
Band: Ysidro
Location: San Diego, California
Country: USA
Genre: Post punk, alternative
Split CD: OBROA-SKAI / YSIDRO Split
Label: Independent
Format: Streaming (Physical format TBA)
Release date: March 28, 2020
Two of the bands with the weirdest names have teamed up to release a 4-song Split. Authored by OBROA SKAI from Alberta, Canada, and YSIDRO from San Diego, California. This sonic snack was released on May 28 on different digital platforms such as Spotify, Bandcamp, and some other well known streaming sites. I listened to their music on Bandcamp, although it is planned to launch in physical format; I think a 7-inch vinyl treatment would do him good. Anyway, the first 2 cuts correspond to OBROA SKAI (I just google the name and it seems that it is inspired by a planet-library taken from the Star Wars universe), they were recorded in November 2019 and its style is an infusion of Screamo (This is how the band describes themselves over their Bandcamp profile) and Harsh Noise. Precisely, this can be heard on the first track “Solastalgia”, a song with a long section of noise and experimental sounds that are quite disturbing. Meanwhile, over the second cut "Holocene Extinction", the Screamo parts, take over the control again. Likewise, we can also listen to some cool passages that resemble the sound of Sludge a la EYEHATEGOD and the likes; showing slow beats and pungent guitar feedbacks, which manage to create a petrifying feeling that I love. Without a doubt, they make you want to listen to more OBROA SKAI, sooner the better. Hopefully, they will be able to release new music before the empire strikes back. The next turn is for YSIDRO, their name makes me involuntarily remember The San Ysidro McDonald's Massacre perpetrated by James Huberty in the early '80s, and I wonder if it's related? I don't know, but I think about it because the group is from San Diego / California, and Ysidro is a district of that city. On the other hand, what I am convinced of is that their music is an intense and melodic type of Hardcore and post-punk blend. The voice is one of the best of the whole ensemble and the bass is also deserving of a standing ovation since you can hear it rumble as much as the guitar crunch, acquiring a notable prominence in the mix. The entire Split was recorded in California at Soulsick Studios by Alex Jacobelli, a seasoned producer of indie bands. The cover is signed by Matt Harrison and there is not much more info about this production, hopefully, the launch of this Split can be made in physical form, on vinyl or CD, I hope some underground label will give them a hand with that. –Jorge A. Trejos

Lineup:
(Obroa Skai)
AK - Bass & Vocals
CL - Guitar/Nightmare Box & Vocals
DS - Drums

(Ysidro)
(No information given)

Track list:
1. (Obroa Skai) Solastalgia
2. (Obroa Skai) Holocene Extinction
3. (Ysidro) Haight
4. (Ysidro) IAWUIAC

Interview with James W. Rudderham of Trash Brain by Devin Joseph Meaney


Interview with James W. Rudderham of Trash Brain by Devin Joseph Meaney

Hey Mr. Rudderham! Please take a moment to introduce yourself and your band Trash Brain.
Howdy! James W. Rudderham here, but you may call me Jim, Jimmy, or Jimbo. I play bass and sing in Trash Brain. Trash Brain is myself, Ally Parsons on guitar and vocals, Dale “Diesel” Fahey on lead guitar, and Tanner “T-Baby” Leudy on drums and vocals... we all do a little singing!

How long has the band been active... and what are the goals Trash brain hopes to achieve in the coming future?
We have been active since early 2018 with a total of two hiatuses (the current one being pretty self-explanatory)... before we all got stuck inside we managed to record an album, so in the coming months we will be working to finance and release it on cassette! We just released our debut single “The BLOB” on Bandcamp with a bonus B-side. Every download helps! Other than releasing music we can’t wait to get back to playing gigs and dancing.

How many shows have you guys played? Locally or away?
Trash Brain have played many local shows in the Sydney area over the past two years. Some notable venues are (were) The Upstairs, Governors Pub, The Black Diamond, and the Undercurrent Youth Centre... We even played at the notorious Capri at last year’s Gobblefest! We played a total of one away show in Moncton NB for the No Funswick festival. The gig was at a place called Pink Flamingos that primarily operates as a drag bar. It was awesome and we got to see lots of killer bands. Plus there was pinball and the movie Gummo was projected on the wall while we played.

Aside from Trash Brain... what other bands and projects are you involved with?
I sing for a heavier band called Cap Gun in Sydney. Check out “World of Pain” on Bandcamp! I’m also in the middle of figuring out how I can make a one-man movie... so we’ll see what comes of that.

What are some of your favorite bands?
I’m a big fan of New York bands from the 70s like KISS, Ramones, New York Dolls, the Heartbreakers... I consider the original Alice Cooper band from Detroit to be one of the finest bands of all time. I’m a big fan of Judas Priest, Girlschool, Thin Lizzy, Macabre, Prince, Dayglo Abortions, Acid Witch, Midnight, Roy Orbison, Misfits... I’m not really somebody who hyper focuses on one genre, I more so go for a band at a time. I find a band or artist I like and I listen to them until I find or revisit something else... more often than not there is electric guitar involved. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of X (Los Angeles) and Helloween.

And what other activities give you the inspiration to write music?
I guess admiring other artists would be a big one, we all have influences. As the primary lyricist in most of the bands I’ve been involved in I find inspiration in many things to write about ranging from VHS tapes to tragedies to Chinese food to aliens to my personal well being. There’s always something you can describe to a melody, no matter how serious or silly.

What are some goals you have with music and other creative projects for the near future? (Aside from releasing a tape and a one-man movie)?
More gigs off the island would be great. I would love to start jamming the large catalog of songs planned for the next TB album... we also made mention of doing a show to raise funds for our album where we would perform a set of originals followed by a set of covers. Hopefully, things get well and we can see that happen soon.

What are your all-time favorite movies?
My top ten movies are:
1. Clerks
2. Halloween (1978)
3. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
4. Blue Velvet
5. Videodrome
6. Total Recall
7. Wayne’s World 1 & 2
8. Suspiria (1977)
9. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
10. The Toxic Avenger

If you could force two celebrities to birth a baby, and then train him/her to be an artist of some kind, who would those two celebrities be, and why?
Ahh, I would choose for the Ramones to have had babies that were trained to mimic their every move so I could see them live...

Any final comments for our readers? (You can drop links and promos here).
Please check out the new jams on “The BLOB” single from Trash Brain @ trashbrain.bandcamp.com and follow our social media to keep updated on our foolishness. Thanks Devin.

Thanks James aka Jimbo aka Jim aka Jimmy! It was nice chatting with you!

–Devin Joseph Meaney

Monday, April 20, 2020

Full Length Review: Haissem "Kuhaghan Tyyn" (Satanath Records) by Dave Wolff

Project: Haissem
Location: Donetsk, Donetsk Oblast
Country: Ukraine
Genre: Melodic black metal
Full Length: Kuhaghan Tyyn
Format: CD, digital
Release date: March 22, 2020
The Ukrainian musician Andrey Tollock should have noted labels like Nuclear Blast, Season of Mist, Candelight, Osmose and Metal Blade knocking his door down to have Haissem on their roster. When you hear his new effort “Kuhaghan Tyyn” you’ll realize this is not a statement made lightly. Since 2016 he has created profound, eclectic black metal comparing with many prolific, accomplished bands, having released four full-lengths and two EPs with Haissem and one full length with his project Sunset Forsaken. Haissem’s latest “Kuhaghan Tyyn” is nothing short of epic storytelling, tales of heroic legends comparable to the classical legends of King Arthur and Beowulf. “Black Tide Dominion” takes you on an odyssey in which you’ll visit exotic, faraway lands and meet heroes and villains you hadn’t thought could be devised by human minds. Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Hungary and Romania have legends and folklore of their own, dating back many centuries. Coming from that part of the world Tollock would naturally spawn trailblazing albums reflecting the tales of his ancestors. “Kuhaghan Tyyn” is not only epic but timeless and unbounded by nationality, and can enrapture you whether you’re into black metal, melodic death metal, symphonic metal or traditional heavy metal from any country. Some of the bands I was reminded of were Moonspell, Amon Amarth, Enslaved, Deceased, Ancient, Dissection, Borknagar and Ihsahn. The songs comprising the legend of “Kuhaghan Tyyn” are as narrative musically as they are lyrically. Featuring just enough rawness and atmosphere, they have crafty, finespun traces skillfully added, as if stories within stories are buried deep within the legends he is creating. I’m stunned by Tollock’s drive to try new things and how well he’s able to experiment with new methods of broadcasting his influences through his songwriting. There’s musicianship you haven’t heard much from other bands, no matter how intently you have to search for it. Even more impressive were the arrangements of fry scream and melodic vocals, especially the female vocals suddenly appearing in “Кuhаҕан Тыын.” This is a project you’ll want to listen to countless times and whose past releases you’ll likewise want to seek out. –Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Andrey Tollock: Vocals, all instruments

Track list:
1. Black Tide Dominion
2. Arcanum
3. Aokigahara
4. Кuhаҕан Тыын


Poem: "Report" by Alison Stone

Report
By Alison Stone

The waning moon makes me feel vulnerable,
like watching a woman
with a slice carved from her side.

The American moon’s transgender,
formerly the German moon-god,
their sun-goddess’s spouse.

Flaming and fabulous,
our Mr. Sun dazzles in science-based
hot pink and fuchsia scarves.

What sense of entitlement lets me
dilly dally, skygazing,
lost in the diversity of myth,

dumb as a fetus
to procrastination’s many
evidence-based ills?

Poem: "Vision of colors" by Sky Claudette Soto

Vision of colors
By Sky Claudette Soto

I have seen Spiders Redder than Red weaving webs upon this earth,strewning, beyond dimensions
I move towards ,dual flames ignite, and orbs have gravitated towards I ,
As I am in my truth honoring my soul in numerous of ways ,
Positioned forth I am towards a realm of spheres,
As I peer down , I observe those of a joyous nature gallavanting in thy fallen leaves
That have been strewn like twine from thine universe on a crisp autumn night
While sipping ever so graciously a gorgeous concoction seasonally prepared of pine needle tea thy freshest of pine I had ever seen whilst seated on a walk bridge, coveted in autumnal leaves in an ever so resilient and gregarious vision of colors as Palo Santo emerges from the corner of my eyes my eyes of devotion.

First American Publishing Rights only
Written by -Sky Claudette Soto
Copyright -2019-2020

Poem: "Final Rest" by S.C.C.

Final Rest
by S.C.C.

As I lay here...
My bloody body torn to pieces...
Laying in a pool of my very own blood...

A glorious battle that finally was too much for me...
My weapon shattered by me, my shield cut in half...
I can only look up,barely conscious...

"It's time to rest, finally" I think as I close my eyes for a final time.
It isn't long till I just know that I am truly dead.

I see all people I met...
All the friends I made and family
And by them I seat..
Tonight I shall feast on Valhalla

Poems: "my fingers" by Hannah Marshall

my fingers
By Hannah Marshall, 2019

my fingers
slide
into the valves
of your heart
pumping
to keep time
to the beat
of mine

Poems: "Clouded Clarity/Clear Cloud Commodity" by Alan Lisanti

Clouded Clarity/Clear Cloud Commodity
By Alan Lisanti

The problem with instinct is that it faulters and
dilludes in the mind of the survivor
into something...else,
That fine line between paranoia and
Precaution
The jester, the joker, and the fool.
The realist, the seeker, and the truth.
Coalesce into a continual conundrum
Where doubt and certainty merge
Into an hour glass that empties and fills
Despite what side is up
Despite the deliberate and predictable cycle
And to try and identify an end
Is no different than every new beginning
And to try to decipher a beginning
Is an end that wears both masks
Without a tell or a hint of a difference
And now, you have been assigned
The task of separating the sanity from the insanity
And now your mission and motive
Lies in separating the insanity from your sanity

Poem: "The Abyss That Is My Heart" by Jerry Langdon

The Abyss That Is My Heart
© Jerry Langdon 2019

Hear the cries
As they rise
From the endlessness
Of total darkness.
Where agony reigns
With unsurmounted pain.
Face the peril
That is infernal.
Eternal torment waits
At dark gates.
One last choice left,
To wish for death.
As you begin to plummet
You will never forget
The beauty of the light
Traded for eternal night.
When love eternal
Becomes pain infernal.
That is my heart
Being ripped apart.
One last choice left,
To wish for death.
In an impertinent attempt
To make misery exempt,
Repent to the relentlessness
Of endless darkness.

Poem: "My Little Black Heart" by Kay Irvin

My Little Black Heart
By Kay Irvin

Love, my Darkling
Moon's spellbinding Muse
Delight this Soul
However you choose

Big eyes you have
No one can compare
You dazzle and lure
What big smile you wear

Before you waits
Sacrificial lambs
Long daggers palm
The tall, black door slams

Be still, my little black heart
There's much beauty in the dark
Share it with me
Be still, my little black heart
All which beats, I give to you
Do what you will

Perfumed air drifts
Patchouli and sex
Worshippers vie
Flesh altars for hex

Cabernet kiss
Rocking, black lair thrills
Low music grinds
And the chalice spills

Be still, my little black heart
There's much beauty in the dark
Share it with me
Be still, my little black heart
All which beats, I give to you
Do what you will

Poem: "Dark stars burn the brightest to Moth's" by Skitz J. Fitch

Dark stars burn the brightest to Moth's
By Skitz J. Fitch

A moth floating around in the void lonely but not alone , Dark hellish glow only visible to me I float ever closer for heat.
You the Dark Star emitting such a dangerous blaze to burn all and consume that which is the light until there is no more , Little did you know you are brighter than any star to this moth and I was willing to incinerate in your beauty.
Fire is to be avoided to those that know better but a dark flame is more dangerous for it can not be seen by all . I gladly except my fate and I will burn here with you if you let me until I am nothing but ashes .

Poem: "No Salvation" by Roberta Downing

No Salvation
By Roberta Downing

The water looks so inviting
It becomes you
Welcoming you into its deceivingly warm sea
Then drags you down into its icy grip

Reaching for a life line of a friend
One that you helped and gave time to
Only to find that friend isn’t who you thought he was.

It’s a bad time.
Stop typing.
Concerned with the rocket ship to take him higher
Not caring that she sinks lower.

Lower still until she found the sand at the bottom of the great sea
That has swallowed her whole.
Dark.
There are so many dangerous things in the dark.
There is no salvation from betrayal or for the fallacies of a friend.
There is no salvation as she takes her last breath.
Her body convulsing from the throws of death
Yet he climbs higher still.

Poem: "Bleed the Marrow" by James Kenneth Blaylock

Bleed the Marrow
By James Kenneth Blaylock, 6/30/19

the prismatic colors dimmed dramatically whenever the loving odyssey disintegrated

say no more exclaimed the wise old owl
but the cute little turtles were listening...

nothing last forever wherever upgrades
are sought to be bought, erase heaven

the lofty cost will never be cozy to your
uncomfortable bones, bleed the marrow

because cancer causes the epidermis
to turn white and cold, numbness grows

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Fiction: "A Case of Insomnia" by M Teresa Clayton

A CASE OF INSOMNIA
Fiction by M Teresa Clayton

The night has come. Tiptoed in without a sound, he just looked up and there it was – blackness. Tonight, there would be no moon to give a hint of light to the surroundings beyond his bedroom window where he lay waiting to see if perhaps he could return to the other side… please.
No, it would be another night of tossing and turning and overthinking that would eventually drive him to madness again and again. This was becoming his life now.
The days were where he found his slumber and the nights his anguish. He would tell them all that he suffered from insomnia, but it was a lie. He slept fine during the light of day because his mind was too weak to spend another moment in the spotlight of faraway laughter, the mulling about of the neighbors as they visited over fences and helped each other out with project after project, the distant sound of music playing and kids enjoying an afternoon swim.
Not one more day could be endured of the immeasurable pain of loneliness and despair – the game of smiles, nods and “have a great day” resounding in his ears like fingernails on a blackboard; making his skin crawl.
What the hell is a great day? Define that, please… Is it being alive, then I’m having one I suppose, he would think to himself. No, being alive does not make the day great – it just makes the day.
He preferred sleeping during the hours when most people would be alive and having great days, so he wouldn’t have to really see what a great day looks like anymore – he knew.
A great day is filled with meaningful relationships where people come together to enjoy each other’s company and talk, sip tea, share lunches, talk about their wives and their children and their jobs… maybe play the nines – buddy up for a game, feel the sun on their faces and rejoice with a “It’s so good to be alive”.
He no longer saw his kids, had long lost his wife years ago to another man while he worked to make a living, so they could continue… towards what? Going where?
He had hated golf back then and most every other sport, never was ‘one of the guys’, preferred to spend his free time with his family though his family was always busy doing life.
It began to set in towards the end of their marriage – the unfocused and half-assed efforts at work that eventually got him fired. The long naps on the couch after mowing the lawn and having a light lunch. Waking up for dinner, then some television that only served to become background noise to his constant thoughts of ending it all, then another nap.
She would summon him to bed but then that stopped too once she realized that he would not sleep at night – the tossing and turning would just keep her awake and she had a life to wake up to – and it did not include him.
He sat there on the couch, thumbing through channels of religious rhetoric, home buying networks, infomercials that were an hour-long, and reruns of old black and whites he’d seen a hundred times.
So, he would eventually turn the television off and sit there in the darkness, his mind racing with thought after thought and nothing truly worth thinking about.
She left in the fall of that year when the nights would be so much longer.
The internet provided some comfort as other insomniacs complained about the lack of sleep and the frustration of not being able to find rest… were they any different than he? Were they just making up excuses for a life not worth being present for in the light of day?
Night people are different – they are depressed, anxious, unhappy, unfulfilled, lifeless souls – or they were people with various illnesses; mental and physical.
Didn’t make any difference to him, he had found some respite in being among people like himself. All these people were lost, out of rhythm with the rest of the world, out of sorts, out of their minds, out there where no one really knows them, and no one really knew him.
There were many nights when he thought about getting the gun out of the drawer, inserting a bullet (just one) and inserting the cold hard end of it into his mouth. He would make a game of it, catch a bit of a thrill, and try to revive some of that excitement, that verve he lacked.
Tonight, he would begin the game and the excitement mounted unexpectedly as he opened the drawer, took out his twenty-two, inserted a hollow tip into the chamber and spun it around.
Slowly, his hand shaking, he inserted the gun into his mouth and took a deep breath. He pulled the trigger – click – nothing.
Tonight, he would live and think about how close he came to be putting an end to it all. The thrill shook him to his core and produced a long-forgotten feeling between his legs – it felt good.
He decided to take advantage of this opportunity and pleasured himself for the first time in what seemed like a lifetime ago.
The next day came and went in a blur and again that evening he picked up his gun and inserted it into his mouth – click – one more night to live and one more night of incredible orgasm at his own hand.
And the same continued night after night for four nights. On the fifth night, he took the gun and inserted it into his mouth, pulled the trigger and felt the pleasure of his last orgasm as the bullet made its way into his brain and out the other side.
They found him several weeks later lying in his own dried up blood and cum – the stench of his rotting body had alerted the neighbor who reported a foul odor emanating from his house. The neighbors had all gathered ‘round to try to find the source when one thought perhaps they should call someone. They called his ex-wife… who, along with the children made the gruesome discovery.
Now his ex-wife takes sleeping meds to get to sleep at night and block out the horror of that reality and, so she can function normally, or as near normal as possible, day after day.
One of the kids is slowly losing her mind and no one is even noticing – she keeps smiling and nodding and offering “have a good day” to everyone.
The other child, he is sleeping during the day to escape the horror of that moment of discovery, now all too aware of how loud the sun is, how hard it is to escape the light of day and hide his feelings from prying questions… he gets up, goes to school, comes home and takes a nap until dinner is ready, eats around the peas on the plate despite his mother’s insistence that he eat his vegetables, then returns to his room where he turns on the television and listens to the noise without paying any attention… as he returns to another late nap.
Everyone goes to bed and now he is awake and alone. The freedom to not be seen in the dark, no questions, no pretenses, just the night. He turns on the computer and catches up with his other insomniac buddies online. They will never know his reality. They will never ask him the questions that need to be answered. They will never see him cry or tear at his hair or cut himself just to feel alive!
Cutting himself, yes, that feels good and always turns him on in some perverse yet totally acceptable way. Cut, cut deep, watch the blood flow over his hand and onto his dick as he jerks off to completion and feels absolutely alive!
Each night the cuts get longer and deeper and a little closer to where people might be able to see them now. He had managed for months to keep his cuts high enough that his shirt sleeve would hide the wounds but now he was needing more to feel good, to enjoy the moment of pleasure – just one small moment in his hell where he could feel alive and find release.
Tonight, he took the Exacto knife and placed a new blade into it – closed it tight with an extra twist – placed it at the base of his thumb and pushed it in as deep as it would go. Then he watched himself pull the embedded blade up to the blue line that pulsed excitedly at his wrist – he was alive and extremely turned on by the experience as he continued to follow the blue line up the entire length of his arm to his elbow where he stopped to watch the blood shooting forth from his arm in waves along with some strange pleasure he felt in his groin… then everything stopped. The pain of existence stopped, the knowing stopped, the pictures in his mind stopped, the pretending stopped, the excuses stopped, insomnia stopped and there would be no morning.
His mother found him. His sister heard the scream and rushed into a new scene where the blood smelled fresh and musky and her brother lie pale upon the floor with an Exacto knife hanging out of his arm and a strange smile on his face. The room was covered in blood as if someone took a can of paint and threw it against the walls and onto the floor.
She didn’t scream – she simply took her mother’s hand and led her to the couch and made the 911 call. She smiled as she greeted the officers, nodded to them and told them he was upstairs in his room. She sat silently next to her mother who was also silent, and both waited until the body was removed and then proceeded to answer the myriad of inane questions asked by the officers.
When it was finished, she smiled again, nodded her head and offered “have a nice day”.
She knew that it was never going to end – mother would soon take her life with the pills and she would be all alone. There really was no reason to be all alone – her family was somewhere out there in the darkness and she knew she wanted to follow her mother there too if that is what she would indeed do.
Her stepfather had stopped coming home after work soon after her father died, and this would just make him step further away… no, it was just her and her mother now and she would not be left alone.
She watched night after night, counting the pills her mother took and then quietly hiding the bottle, so she could try to sleep.
Then it happened, mother had taken more than half of the pills in the bottle and she knew she was on her way to the dark side. She emptied the rest of the pills, along with all the other pills she could find in the house, into her little hand and took mouthful after mouthful until she fell into nothingness.
It was done. The family was now together again perhaps or maybe they are forever lost to each other – no one here knows –it was so tragic and unnecessary they would say. Eventually, the subject was retired to the once a year anniversary where the neighbors would gather and tell the story to their children as if it were an urban myth made up by some idiot to scare them.
The sun comes out every day and the neighbors greet each other with their smiles and waves – the sounds of dogs barking and children playing fill the air. You can hear music in the distance and the smell of chlorine from the pool full of children at play in the yard two doors down.
Tom and his buddies have gone to the golf club for a game of nine to get some exercise and talk about their jobs, their wives and kids and the newest gadgets they have acquired. Everyone smiles and nods their heads to one another and offer each other a good day.
Meanwhile, the insomniacs wonder whatever happened to that one guy who called himself “Just Joe” on his profile and that other kid who came on late at night, what was his name? He was cute but strange and some said he was a cutter. Oh well, hope they are okay while the rest of us talk all night about our insomnia, our problems, the injustices in our relationships and the world in general.
In a strange way, we are still smiling at each other, nodding our heads and wishing each other a good day… but this in the virtual world where no one puts guns into their mouths, cuts the length of their arteries or takes handfuls of pills. No, here in the virtual world of insomniacs people just disappear, and it is assumed they have found their rhythm again and have rejoined the day people. We’ll miss them.

Fiction: "Love Kills" by Jeremy Void

LOVE KILLS
Fiction by Jeremy Void

Chapter 1: Riot Girls

Tick tick, tock—the clock stops. The lights flicker. I hit the Jack Daniels. The train lurches and jostles. Motion. Forward fucking motion. The Jack Daniels feels smooth going down. I’m alive. Passengers mob the doors. If only they knew what I know. Life 101. The Jack Daniels in my hand. Life swirls around me. People lost in oblivion. They herd like cattle inside the subway train. Lights flashing. The world going black black black. Wake up. You’re almost there. My eyes surge open. I tuck the bottle inside my bag and lift it up and stuff my arms through the straps. The train tilts and swaggers. I smack the tape, blink—the pink light flares up. Next stop is mine. I stare out the window as happy people in their happy lives go about their happy night. I hate each and every one of them. The streetlights stream past me like confetti. I grip the rail, dreaming. Dreaming about the knife slicing her throat. The sight of the blood oozing and gushing from the open wound. I lick my wet lips. I pat my pocket to find that my switchblade is still there. Nice and steady. Nice and easy. It won’t hurt a bit. Almost there. The train stumbles and jerks. The doors slide open with a ghastly whisper. I release the rail and start for the opening. Life happens around me. Swirling like water caught out in a storm. I’m floating. Skip and gallop down the steps. I trip but catch myself as I make my way down Huntington Ave. The heat feels nice on my face. The air smells like hate. I dream about using my knife on each and every one of them. Bastards, all of them. I breeze through with a gusto. People move to let me pass. They can sense the sheer weight of my anger festering out in the open like that. Up ahead, lights. People. Punks: hair, bright colors, and shiny leather. I see them festering there outside the doors of the venue. I pat my pocket; it’s still there. I break into a swaggering charge, winding past the bystanders, pushing and shoving—I’m almost there. The Punks crowding the entryway look at me as I barrel toward the venue; I pull out my switchblade, press the button, and the blade slashes outward, and I hit the short stairway in a charge, crest it with absolute ease until my feet tangle up and I rock back and go straight down rolling, my body mashing each step, and my chin clanks the concrete at the bottom. Jeremy, what are you doing here? she says. The sound of her voice causes the anger to fade out of me like a deflating balloon; I just lie there and see a blurry face faze into sight above me, the edges sharpening as it gets closer to me, and closer until I can make out her worrisome complexion. Jeremy, are you okay? Then the anger comes back to me but the confidence I felt earlier, that bold desire to cut this chick’s throat when I caught up to her at the show, stays in the dark, and now I’m angry again—I mean, since when does she care if I’m okay—and I start screaming: WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU CARE? YOU’RE THE ONE WHO DITCHED ME. WE WERE TO MEET UP IN HARVARD SQUARE AND BELL TOLD ME YOU HAD RUN INTO THAT CUNT AND DECIDED TO TAKE OFF WITH HER TO THIS FEMINIST CUNT SHOW. I look around me and see there are mostly butch women here wearing big steel-capped boots and army jackets and all their heads whirl to face me and they’re glaring hard, but I don’t care, I’m fucking pissed, and rightfully so. I try to stand up. But the seesawing ground makes it rather difficult to do so. I push against the ground. I sway. I stumble and rock and tilt but eventually catch myself as I stand there as still as possible, but still swaying, and I feel unstoppable, my index finger slashing at the air as I shout and bark, and the angry riot girls standing around, their grins are getting fiercer and crazier at the sound of my voice, but I don’t care, I’m on fire tonight. She whips her head behind her and says, Jeremy, we’ve gotta go. WHERE? I shout. SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN HERE, she says. She grabs me and yanks me away. I go without a fight but still keep shouting cold threats, boldly defying the language barriers, as she pulls me to someone’s car. Then I notice I’m flanked by two other girls I know and a big guy I also know. I’m still screaming, though, flaring at the mouth, swinging my index finger around like it’s a sword. A car door opens and I’m thrown inside. My screaming doesn’t stop. She sits in the passenger seat, the two other girls sit beside me—I’m pressed up against the left window—and the big dude sits behind the wheel. My screaming persists. The car starts and rolls forward. I’m still screaming. Grab the Jack Daniels from my bag and take a hit. The girl to my right says, Don’t you think you've had enough. I take another hit and spit it in her eyes. What the fuck! she says. I continue to scream. The girl to my right grabs my bowler hat off my head and says, You’ll get this back when you shut the fuck up. I reach for it, she moves it farther away, I reach for it, and she says, You’re not getting it back. I punch her in the face then, hard; she gives me back my hat and I put it back on, and I feel satisfied then and I’m mostly silent for the rest of the ride.

Chapter 2: Boylston Street Punks

The car stops. My head rests on the window. Outside the world is lit up with red and green lights, crisp buildings stabbing the night sky, people flocking the streets, flowing and ebbing as doors open and shut. Cars glide past us, headlights beaming like lasers. It might be nighttime but it looks almost like daylight, with an ominous tint to conceal the freaks and the creeps and the cretins who lurk in shadows wielding clubs and knives, tucked away in hidden places of the mind——and then the doors open, my head remains pressed on the glass. My own door opens then and she stands out there and I fall straight through, hit the curb and roll over onto my back and start laughing. Get up! she demands. I reach out my hand for help but she just looks at it, rolls her eyes, and says, Go fuck yourself! I sit up and stagger to my feet. I follow her and the two other girls and the big guy across the street. Horns honk. For a moment we’re in the spotlight as stalled cars blast their headlights at us. A car soars past, cuts left, and through the open window someone shouts: FREAKS. I whirl. I hold up my middle finger and start shouting: WHY DON’T YOU SAY THAT TO MY FUCKING FACE, YOU ASSHOLES! She says, Shut the fuck up! Fuck you! I reply. There’s extreme hostility in the air. Besides for our crude bickering, the whole group stays silent. Across the street is the band practice space that BSP (Boylston Street Punks) uses for their hangout spot—they’d broken in and made it their home a while back; I’ve been here a few times already. Every now and then there’s a new lock on the door but one of their members who might as well be a monster he’s so big, would just reach out and grip it in his baseball mitt-sized hand and rip it right off the door; with a heavy, metallic clunk the lock would snap in half from the sheer force of this monster yanking on it. When we get there, we notice the door is left askew, and the five of us slip on through. She and I go up to the second level where BSP are sitting on the stairway drinking whiskey and beer and smoking pot like they always do. The big dude who drove us is right behind us. From down the stairs I can hear a gentle sobbing, and some mild chattering. I look around for the other two girls but I can’t find them. I peer around the banister and catch them sitting there on the basement floor; the girl I had punched is sobbing and the other girl has her arm wrapped around her back in a comforting gesture. Jeremy is such an asshole, what the hell is his problem—more sobbing—he has no right to hit me like that, I did nothing to him. It’s okay, Jeremy’s just riled up right now, you’ll be okay. Suddenly my stomach flips over and I feel horrible for the way I had acted. Right now I’m fairly calm, or calmer than I was, and the thought of me causing someone to cry, sends me into über remorse; and then I hear a heavy thunk and my head spins and I see a knife lodged in the wall. One of the guys from BSP retrieves his massive hunting knife, plucking it from the wood, steps back to give himself some distance from the wall, grips the blade in his thumb and index finger and middle finger. He rocks the knife forward and back, forward and back, forward and back, and then sends it flying and spiraling into the wall; the blade connects and slides into the wood. You’re an asshole! I mutter under my breath. Retrieving the knife from the wall he turns and says, What d’you say? I called you an asshole! He guffaws and cocks the knife and lets it fly and it cuts into the wall so smoothly, lodging itself deep into the wood. You’re a fucking asshole. He says, You better shut the fuck up or—— Or what? I shoot at him. The guy with the knife chuckles and shakes his head and chucks the knife again, but this time the handle clonks the wood, hard, and the knife rebounds, bouncing in a haphazard, twirling design, spinning and wobbling and whirling and arching right past my face—I have to arc my back and turn my head so that the crisp blade wouldn’t take off with one of my ears on its spastic plunge. You’re such a fucking asshole. Whatever, he says. So we all get good and drunk, hours slur past us, time amounting to nothing because here in this world nothing exists except for sheer chaos and extreme intoxication; and when we are almost ready to leave, all five of us who aren’t members of BSP, conjuring on the ground floor now, I see the guy with the knife whispering something to the leader of BSP, an ex-convict who’d recently been released from the clutches of incarceration, and whose back is currently facing me. The guy with the knife looks at me, smiles, and walks back up the stairs. Then I take a straight shot to my eye; it had come out of nowhere. I stumble backwards and shake my head before realizing who my attacker is: the leader of BSP. He fakes left and slugs me with his right and my bowler hat goes spinning off my head. He hits me again and I drop down on the hard concrete. Then I start laughing; I can’t control it. This guy hits me, and I laugh and laugh and laugh as he hits me again and again and again, punches plummeting into my face one after another. I scramble to get my bowler hat off the floor, he kicks me in the back, I grab the bowler hat in my hand, turn over, and he punches me in the face. Punch after punch, laugh after laugh, and everybody watches it happen, watching me get beaten, watching me laugh as I get beaten. My nose bursts and I can taste the blood dripping into my mouth. I’ve got a gash on my forehead. My lip is split in five different places. I chipped at least one tooth in all this. And all I could think to do is laugh; I laugh and laugh and this only serves to make him madder and madder and the blows come down harder and harder and I laugh harder and harder, my vision blinded by the blood stinging my eyes. He slams his fist into me again and again and again. Then stops. I rub the blood out of my eyes and see him standing over me with a steel baton raised high above his head, posed for him to bring it down across my dome. But she is standing beside him, holding his arm and telling him to cut it out. I get up covered in blood and notice everyone is gone; it’s just me and her and my attacker. The rest of BSP has vanquished. I stumble to the door, feeling fairly sober now after the tension the attack has caused me. I reach the door and push it open and fall straight through onto the side of the street, hitting the pavement like a beached fish, and the girl I had punched says to me: Jeremy, you might want to go to the hospital tomorrow, you probably have a concussion.

Chapter 3: She & I on the Train

It’s just the two of us now. I cry and I can’t stop crying….

Fiction: "Mud and Twigs" by Alexander Kautz

MUD AND TWIGS
Fiction by Alexander Kautz

It wasn't that he didn't love the child, because he truly did and with all of his heart. He had carried and rocked little Amanda through the night, prepared food and changed countless diapers without so much as a single complaint. So great was his love for the little girl, that when his wife began cheating on him, he hadn't said a single word. It was obvious just within the cold manner to which she treated him. The way that she expected things rather than appreciated them. And there were also those extra hours that she had worked, unable to explain why she hadn't been paid for them? Oh, he knew all too well, but wouldn't risk losing his daughter.
It was during one of those evenings, as Clarisse worked late and little Amanda slept soundly in her crib, that Bill had pondered life. He had sat before that old roll-top desk, staring out the second-story window of his home office, alone and utterly destitute. He had made every attempt to offer Clarisse as much support as possible with life and the baby but had been told that he was doing "too much", even smothering her. So, frustrated, he had left her alone to give her space and in doing so, accidentally become estranged. Her family had insisted that all would be fine and that all couples with very young children experience this type of confusion. In fact, her behavior had even been excused as "postpartum depression." Poor thing, she was so confused that she had to sneak around with some other guy because "she" needed attention. Bill had never been more alone or lost in his life, but the sadness and fear of losing his daughter in an ugly divorce kept him hanging on.
"Eight years together--," he sipped at a cup of tea, leaning back in his chair and gazing out into the dark heavens.
"Eight good years and now this. I don't know what to do, say or even feel anymore. What did I do, what did the baby do to deserve to get caught in this mess? Bill Collingswood--you're a fool... Oh God--I'm losing my mind here..."
The phone rang and he jumped, grabbing at it before the sound would awaken the baby in the next room. He had always left the door open so that he could hear her. Answering, he recognized the somber toned female voice. It was Clarisse's mother and she'd had a few too many again. She wasn't a bad woman but used alcohol in an attempt to hide from her own broken life.
"Bill--," She coughed, lighting a cigarette, "is Clarisse home?"
"No--," he sighed deeply, speaking softly so that the baby wouldn't hear him, "she's um--working late tonight, again."
"I see--," she paused, taking a sip from a glass of wine.
"I called her office--and Bill--they are closed after five. So what's with this--late shift crap?"
"Donna--," he fought the urge to just put out all his grief.
"When she comes home, I'll make sure to get her to give you a call."
"How's my little grand-baby?" Donna made conversation, "have I ever thanked you for giving us such a precious little baby girl?"
"That's very kind of you--." he sniffled, rubbing at his eyes as tears of frustration within the thought of losing the child, now caused an ache in his heart.
"She means the world to me too."
"Everyone can see that dear--," she paused in thought while taking another sip of wine. “How are you doing, are you okay, really?"
It was obvious that she had her own suspicions and her concern was sincere. After his own mother had passed away from lung cancer a few years ago, he had felt very alone.
"I'm, managing--," he forced a laugh, "you know how it is with babies. Just when they start settling in at night, they start teething and well, it's been a lot of long nights."
‘"You're a good man Bill--," the tone of her voice carried certain remorse, "and a wonderful husband and father. Clarisse is lucky to have you."
He struggled to avoid sarcasm. After all, this was still her mother and he could not afford to make things even worse.
"You really are too good to me Donna--," he sipped at his tea, wiping the tears from his eyes, "I'm doing a barbecue this weekend--will you be coming?"
"Of course I am dear--," she laughed, "I wouldn't miss a chance to see little Mandy."
"That's fabulous--," he looked around his little home office.
"I'd better get going, I have to check on her and tidy up around here a little. There are baby toys and goldfish crackers all over the place. I keep finding new hiding places.”
"The terrible two's are only a few weeks away--," Donna chuckled. "You take it easy Bill. If you ever need to talk, you know that I'm here for you?"
"You're the best, thanks--," he hesitated, "I'll get Clarisse to call you as soon as she gets in tonight."
"Thanks so much--," Donna sighed deeply, 'have a good night and kiss Mandy for me."
"I will. Good night and thanks for calling." he hung up the phone, instinctively wandering out of his office and standing in the doorway to the baby's room, looked in on her. As always, she slept on her back with arms outstretched, head tilted to the side and within the glow of her little night-light, he could see the peaceful expression on her face. There was a warm calm in the room and as little Amanda pulled at the top button of her pink onesies, he smiled to himself. Dear God, how he loved her. It hurt to even think about what might happen if he brought anything up with Clarisse about her recent activities. He had been so disgusted that even the last time she tried to start something romantic, he had declined. Not due to lack of interest, but loathing for what she had become. Did he love her anymore? She was the mother of his child, how could he avoid it?
A sound caused him to turn, listening as he moved into the living-room. The house was rather large and creaked and groaned as it settled. He was used to every sound as he kept the place quiet so that he could hear the baby. But this was different? It wasn't a creak, groan or rumble of the pipes as the furnace kicked in. It was the slight but definite sound of movement. As though someone or something, had shuffled across the rug?
"We don't own any pets--," he talked to himself in a whisper, switching on a lamp and pausing to look around the dimly lit room.
"And Clarisse's free-loading cousin hasn't been climbing in any windows lately?"
He spoke more out of nervous tension than intending to make any actual sense. The strange shuffling sound came again, except now, it was in the dark and adjoining kitchen, behind him.
"What is that?" He cautiously moved into the hall and pausing in the doorway, switched on the kitchen light. Nothing but shiny, brand new appliances. The water cooler gurgled and he jumped back a step. His nerves were shot.
The sound came again. A distinct shuffling sound like that which might be made if someone wore a long over-coat and walked through tall grass. But this time, it was in the hall behind him and moving toward the baby's room... Without a second thought, he spun and rushing down the dark hall, raced into Amanda's room.
The baby remained sound asleep as caught within the rainbow hues of the night-light, she was unaware of the thing that now stood at the foot end of the crib. It was utterly black and comprised entirely of thick mud and twigs, bore a faint semblance to the form of a hunched and withered hag.
Bill stared in horror, hurrying into the room and immediately pulling the baby from the crib, slowly backed away without removing his gaze from the creature. Its long fingers extended into the crib, the shadow of which blackened and fouled the covered mattress. It made no sound as its long and clawed fingers pulled a stuffed bear from the crib and the toy withered, completely rotted within the thing's grasp.
"Who are you---," he choked out the words, "and what do you want here?"
The thing turned toward him and without so much as an uttered sound, raised a long and hooked claw, pointing toward the now rousing baby within his arms.
"No--," he understood immediately, "please--not her, anything, but not her."
The room became deathly cold, the chill numbing him to the bone and causing his breath to become vapor. The hideous thing slowly moved from the foot end of the crib and shuffled toward him with outstretched arms. At first he had questioned his own sanity, but then little Amanda awakened, screaming as she saw the thing and looked up at him with big blue, terror-stricken and tear-filled eyes. The toddler tore at his shirt, crying and hugging him close as she sensed and struggled to escape the danger!
And still, it came, leaving a thick trail of oozing and putrid mud as it slowly followed him.
"Please--wait--," He backed out into the hallway, making his way into the living room and standing with his back against the wall, "anything--just not her--please, not her!"
As though re-considering, the shadowy mass of mud and twigs paused before the trembling man. Bill could only stare as defensively cradling the baby in his arms, he pleaded, "Whoever--or whatever you may be--," he swallowed hard, licking at fear parched lips, "if you are death, and for whatever reason, have come for my daughter---I beg you---take me instead--but please, please--not her..."
The shadows seemed to grow deeper all about them as the thing just stood and silently stared.
The cold was so intense that Bill could feel it gripping his heart, tightening within his chest! His breath came in short gasps as holding the baby close, he struggled to keep the panicking and terrified child warm. Blackness, all-consuming and bitter cold! Blinded and holding the baby so close that he could feel her breath against his cheek, he cried out, "For the love of God, someone help us!"
A light suddenly shone within that darkness. It was just a pinpoint at first, but then, like a beacon, it cut through the night. Bill looked as Donna, switching on the hallway light, screamed, dropping her purse as she ran to where he sat on the floor with his back against the wall, still cradling the baby.
"Mr. Collingswood?" A female doctor gently wiped his brow with a damp cloth.
Bill squinted beneath the dull neon glow, his first thoughts returning to the baby as he panicked.
"My daughter!"
"It's okay Bill--may I call you Bill? She's just fine--," the doctor gently forced him back down as a nurse administered a light sedative.
"I'm Doctor Miriam Walsh. Don't worry--," she turned, motioning toward Donna who stood in a far corner of the room holding the baby.
"Little Amanda is right over there. Your mother-in-law found you. You collapsed?"
"Collapsed? But I've never had any health issues in my life?" He couldn't believe his own ears, "what happened?"
"Bill--please--," Donna's eyes were filled with tears as she moved closer to the bed, handing the baby toward him.
"You're going to be just fine--," the doctor patted his shoulder, her face twisting with grief as she looked toward Donna and said, "I'll leave you folks to talk."
"Donna?" He accepted the child, hugging her close and gently rocking her, "what's going on? Where's Clarisse?"
Taking a seat upon the edge of the bed, she gently rested a hand upon his shoulder, looking deeply into his eyes, "Bill--I don't know how to tell you this. But Clarisse was involved in a car accident this evening. She and her employer were coming back from some function this evening when they went off the road into a ditch." Donna covered her mouth with a trembling hand, "it was full of mud and old twigs, branches and well--Bill, we're alone with the baby now. I'm so sorry..."
"Mud--and twigs--," he shuddered, an icy chill racing the length of his spine as he gently hugged little Amanda closer. The child was calm again, wrapping her arms tightly about his neck and pressing her cheek against his. He closed his eyes, a silent prayer of thanks.
"Death is never fair--," Donna now wept for the loss of her daughter, "it just comes and it takes..."
Bill gently rocked his daughter as quietly gazing out the hospital room window into the night, somewhere between death and the dead, he knew different...

"No Truckers Were Harmed In The Telling Of This Story" by Chad F. Green

No Truckers Were Harmed In The Telling Of This Story
A true story by Chad F. Green

It was December 17th 2011, after a heavy night of drinking in the city. Four of us woke at the crack of dawn with two objectives on our minds... curing a hangover, and crushing a four hour drive and getting back home as quickly as possible. You see, the day before, myself and my two good friends Darrell and Ron took the drive to Halifax to pick up our buddy Mike who was coming home for the holidays from Fort McMurray. As we made good time racing the morning rush hour traffic, we stopped only for fuel and coffee.
The hankering for grub started to rumble in the pits of our stomachs after about an hour and a half. In all good road trip fashion, this is when the debate for where to eat began. As ideas flew, we decided finally on the Antigonish McDonald’s as we pulled into the scarcely populated parking lot just shy of 6:00am. We finally got out of the beat up Grand Am too stretch our legs. As Darrell and I quickly took the time to spark a smoke, Ron and Mike made their way inside to grab breakfast. Darrell and I talked shop as the morning cigarettes burned down. Soon, we could see that Ron and Mike had already gotten their food and found a corner booth to eat, so Darrell and I flicked our cigarettes and made our way into the restaurant.
As we stood trying to decide on what to eat, an elderly man entered the store and stood silently behind us. It was clear we were either too tired or too hungover to function properly, so we insisted the elderly man go ahead of us. As we did the man proposed a question, “You boys must be on your way to Cape Breton?” As we confirmed his suspicions, he ordered his food and patiently waited. As Darrell ordered his meal, I took notice of the elderly man. He was roughly 70-75 years old, about 6’1, bald, and of a stocky build. His prominent nose and furry brows were the dominant features of his familiar looking face. I noticed his attention was often averted to his old wrist watch, as if he was nervous of running late, or he was counting down the minutes.
Ron and Mike had already finished their breakfast and made their way outside for a smoke by the time our food arrived. As we stood, tray in hand, the elderly man piped up once again, “You guys must be on your way back from Halifax, eh?” As I assumed it was a lucky guess, I agreed. As Darrell and I both tried to politely end the conversation, the elderly man anxiously kept staring at his watch while conversing with us about the weather. As we waited impatiently for him to finish his last sentence, he looked at his watch once again and said, “You two are eating that here before you leave, right?” We nodded yes.
“Perfect! Alright Chad and Darrell, have a safe trip home! Say hi to Mike for me!” he spoke as he left his full tray of food on the counter and walked out the door into the morning mist. As we sat eating wondering how he knew our names, we shrugged it off as a creepy coincidence. We ate, lit a smoke, and hopped in the car to head on home. As Ron and Mike complained about how long we took, we turned off onto the highway East bound to Cape Breton. We weren’t five minutes outside of Antigonish before we came upon a police car freshly arriving at the scene of an accident. Apparently, just a few minutes prior to our arrival, a transport truck had lost control, crossed the medium, and landed in the ditch on our side of the road.
As we passed the scene of the accident, reality didn’t exactly hit us right then and there, likely due to the hang over or the terrible gut rot from the McDonald’s breakfast. It wasn’t until later that night that I realized that if we had not of spoken to that old man, we could of very well been involved in that accident. He kept us talking, watching the clock as if he knew what was going to happen. We may have never made it home. I didn’t ever speak of this to anyone else for many years. Just thinking of it is like a crazy vivid dream. I had imagined the elderly man was a time traveling Mike (primarily due to an uncanny resemblance) who traveled back in time to save our lives.
It wasn’t until the summer of 2017 after telling the story to my future wife that I spoke of this. She convinced me to speak to Darrell about it. Almost immediately when I spoke about the McDonald’s in Antigonish he nearly fell from his chair exclaiming, “The time traveling Mike!” It was then when he told me his version of the story, which was more or less an exact word for word retelling that I knew this wasn’t some dream, that this happened, and it was weird. I cannot tell you if this was a case of time travel or eerie coincidence, but what I can say for certain, is that the breakfast, though terrible, may have saved our lives.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Thrash Or F**k Off - Chapter 5: Changing Tunes

Thrash Or F**k Off - Australian Thrash Metal

When the 1980s ended, so did the first wave of Australian thrash. However, its presence had quite a profound impact on developing the Australian metal underground.

This episode focuses on the divergence of Australian metal to its more extreme forms throughout the 1990s.

Check out the bands featured on this webseries and listen to the "Thrash Or Fuck Off" playlist on Spotify:

Series Created by:
Liam Anthony (IG: stuffbyliamanthony)
Chalky Hill (IG: moshriffcreative)
Scott McMahon (FB: The Metal Zone Radio Show)

This webseries is for educational and promotional purposes.

Thrash or F**k Off - Chapter 4: Talkin' About Survival

Thrash Or F**k Off - Australian Thrash Metal

Now that we have namedropped all of the bands from their respective cities, this "all in" episode looks at the DIY work ethics of Australia's thrash bands and how they operated during the 1980s. While the US and European scenes were thriving, Australia was still an isolated blip on the world radar.

This episode includes tour stories, a look into the few magazines and recording studios that specialised in Australian metal, and insights into the bands who did get a foot in the door overseas.

Follow this series on Instagram, @thrashorfuckoff

Check out the bands featured on this webseries and listen to the "Thrash Or Fuck Off" playlist on Spotify:

Series Created by:
Liam Anthony, Chalky Hill, Scott McMahon

This webseries is for educational and promotional purposes.

Thrash or F**k Off - Chapter 3: Across the Board...

Thrash Or F**k Off - Australian Thrash Metal

While the Melbourne and Sydney thrash scenes were in full swing, newer bands began to emerge from the cities of Adelaide, Canberra, Brisbane and Perth from 1987 to 1991.

This episode focuses on the development of the bands from these smaller towns and the challenges they faced in isolation from the major cities.

Series Created by:
Liam Anthony, Chalky Hill, Scott McMahon

This Episode's Special Contributors:
Phill Corpe & Paul Hayes

Follow this series on Instagram, @thrashorfuckoff

Check out "Brisbane Thrashed" by Phill Corpe:

Check out the bands featured on this webseries and listen to the "Thrash Or Fuck Off" playlist on Spotify:

This webseries is for educational and promotional purposes.

Thrash or F**k Off - Chapter 2: Sydney Sinners

Thrash Or F**k Off - Australian Thrash Metal

In 1985, a new group of heavy bands are emerging from another major Australian city. A local band establishes a strong following overseas from the strength of a demo, while Metallica becomes one of the first major metal acts from overseas to tour Australia.

Follow this series on Instagram, @thrashorfuckoff

Check out the bands featured on this webseries and listen to the "Thrash Or Fuck Off" playlist on Spotify:

Series Created by:
Liam Anthony, Chalky Hill, Scott McMahon

This webseries is for educational and promotional purposes.

Thrash Or F**k Off - Chapter 1: The Old School

Thrash Or F**k Off - Australian Thrash Metal

Early 1980s Melbourne, where a young group of bands inspired by punk rock and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal are finding themselves at odds with Australian pub rock audiences. Meanwhile, a small record store is opening downtown laying the foundations for Australia's metal community.

Check out the bands featured on this webseries and listen to the "Thrash Or Fuck Off" playlist on Spotify:

Series Created by:
Liam Anthony (IG: stuffbyliamanthony)
Chalky Hill (IG: moshriffcreative)
Scott McMahon (FB: The Metal Zone Radio Show)

This webseries is for educational and promotional purposes.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Full Length Review: Beastial Piglord "Disourminth" (Slorebs Castle Records) by Jorge A. Trejos

Band: Beastial Piglord
Location: Kinston, North Carolina
Country: USA
Genre: Extreme metal
Full Length: Disourminth
Label: Slorebs Castle Records
Format: Digital (streaming on Bandcamp and Youtube)
Release date: March 1, 2020
This is one of those bands that brings the hidden handle. It also looks like one of those makeshift paintings made with the drip technique. The result has a monstrous, uncomfortable beauty. When hanging, it is also difficult to know where in the house it would look good. That's the first thing I figure out as an introduction to the chaotic and shrill sound of BEASTIAL PIGLORD… what a good name for a band! Although this is not properly a band. It is more the insane soliloquy of a man condemned to death. This evictee is called Hudson Conner since 2012 has been casting dark aural curses on the lands of Kinston, North Carolina. Conner does all the music and production and some rate the BEASTIAL PIGLORD sound as experimental Death Metal; qualifying that is very far from describing his music, even, I am doubting whether to put it in the metal category. This music is closer to being a score for a Gods of War-style video game or the score for a supernatural horror movie, rather than a metal project. On the other hand, "Disourminth" brings 11 cuts and is the seventh in the personal account of this atmospheric project, but it is paradoxically the second album released in this abominable 2020, more exactly last March 1st. There is another third album that follows this one, entitled “Cosmicism and Neuselore”. Hudson maintains its noise factory with the boilers always smoking, since between 2018 and 2020 he has made 8 full-length albums and one EP, available for free on digital format on his Bandcamp, you can also donwload the full album on mp3 or flac for 7 bucks. The possible grace or virtue of this style of music is especially supported by creativity at the time of mixing, as well as in experimentation with low frequencies or with several effects and noises. Otherwise, without the soundboard mixing effects, a computer, and a Bandcamp account, this style of indie music would be lost. It is hard to know what kind of instrumentation emerges from this clotted blood phlegm, there is percussion, distorted acoustic guitars, and a barely audible voice that looks like Charon clearing his throat as he paddles his boat across the Stygian river. There are some fuzzy Death Metal bases on songs like "8th Entd" or "Clustacher Elth", but again, the experimental and psychotic mix of this album makes it difficult to catch up with this sound effect throughout an entire album. This is an album not for everyone, I do not know if there is a close description to cover the vibrations, noises, and reverberations that escape from the jagged jaws of BEASTIAL PIGLORD. I do not lie when I imagine the sound made by a squad of rats trapped in a metal box, abandoned on the dumps of a field hospital, in times of bacteriological war? Who would have guessed, this band is, after all, a perfect soundtrack for the present times. –Jorge A. Trejos

Lineup:
Hudson: All vocals and instruments

Track list:
1. Om Versil
2. Audoreusion
3. Crilthe
4. Widzse Baisul
5. Vianome Llott
6. Slidth Opvth Arixant
7. ƌ
8. 8th Entd
9. Clustacher Elth
10. Morousfalque
11. Ilivorium



More reviews of Hudson's projects:
BEASTIAL PIGLORD “Pulling a Thread from the Fabric of the Universe” (Slorebs Castle Records) by Dave Wolff
BEASTIAL PIGLORD "Sunder" (Slorebs Castle Records) by Dave Wolff
VORSPIEL "anthroplague" (Slorebs Castle Records) by Dave Wolff