Saturday, September 19, 2020

Full Length Review: Various Artists "La Gonorriental Vol.1 - El Día que el Punk Madrugo" (Pais de Mierda Records) by Dave Wolff

Band: Various Artists
Location: Medellín
Country: Colombia
Genre: Punk
Full Length: La Gonorriental Vol.1 - El Día que el Punk Madrugo
Format: Vinyl, cassette, CD, digital
Release date: April 13, 2019
I had to do a fair amount of research on punk in Colombia since, knowing little about the scenes in that country, I needed background information for this compilation and the label that released it last year. Not only are there scenes in Colombia and other South American countries, but they’re thriving, diverse scenes that stretch from city to city, comprised of punks one writer described as of “the Mohawk, tattoo and piercing variety.” No followers of fashion trends or people who think being punk means you have to be disrespectful and hate your family. These people simply make their own decisions and follow their own rules, not caring who it pisses off.
Naturally Colombian punk scenes are as exclusive as in the US, and punk’s DIY aspects are as big a part of what’s going on. There’s virtually no information about Pais de Mierda Records on the net, at least none I found, except at the link above. But a Google search of Colombian punk will be as rewarding as listening to “La Gonorriental Vol.1 - El Día que el Punk Madrugó.” Pais de Mierda Records is an extremely obscure label promoting bands from the Colombian city of Medellín where unemployment, military dictatorships, drug wars, terrorism and clashes between local punks and police involving tear gas and military tanks are everyday occurrences.
Punk in Medellín began in the midst of a drug war in the 80s. Rather than a musical alternative, it was largely an alternative to taking part in the escalating violence between drug cartels and the government. Besides offering relative safety from capture and torture by drug dealers, early bands like IRA, Raxis and Complot intended it to be a catalyst for change through alternative modes of thinking. Like English punk, it started and remained underground, and lasted to this day with some overseas mainstream exposure from Victor Gaviria’s 1990 movie “Rodrigo D: No Future,” Colombia’s answer to “The Outsiders” and the German movie “Verlierer.”
“La Gonorriental Vol.1” resulted from a collective effort that began in 2018 to research the sociological conditions that Colombian punk seems to thrive under. It displays a local Medellín scene that’s fiercely self-sustaining and accepting of anyone who wants to form a band. Even if homeless and playing in a park. Taking inspiration from Discharge, The Exploited, GBH, DRI and Bad Brains, Indecent Bastards, Primera Dosis, Los Plones, Gonorrea de Banda, 1910 and the other bands appearing on this comp play music as harsh as their country’s sociopolitical atmosphere and speak out as passionately about it. Apparently they’re risking a lot, so casual punks and informed activists should give them a listen and contact the label for correspondence and mutual support. –Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. 1910: Ferrocarrill
2. 1910: La Oracion del Machete
3. Cuerpo Demente: Degeneracion en Generacion
4. Cuerpo Demente: Historias
5. Eskizo Frenikos: Policia Asesina
6. Eskizo Frenikos: Resistir
7. Exilio: Funcion Cotidana
8. Exilio: Rey de Ajedrez
9. Gonorrea de Banda: Barney
10. Gonorrea de Banda: Cerdos
11. Gonorrea de Banda: No Quiero Ser
12. Les Plones: Algo va Mal
13. Les Plones: Hasta Morir
14. Les Plones: Te lo Voy a Hundir
15. Primera Dosis: Destruyamos
16. Primera Dosis: Toreros Asesinos
17. Eskroto de Res: Medellin no es Vida
18. Eskroto de Res: Sornos Hippies
19. Terapia en Dkdencia: Ociupa y Resiste
20. Terapia en Dkdencia: Tanta Mierda Junta
21. Tifoidea: Estupida Nacion
22. Tifoidea: Reluctando Miseria
23. Buddy G-Man: En el Diablo no Confio
24. Buddy G-Man: El Pogo de los Zombies
25. Indecent Bastards: Un Bastardo Indecente
26. Indecent Bastards: Pocos y Ogullosos

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Interview with Scott Harris of hororhaus by Dave Wolff

Interview with Scott Harris of hororhaus

We talked at length about the movies that made a lasting impression on you while I reviewed your project’s debut CD. Discuss some of these movies and how you express those impressions through your music.
Although my top favorite horror movies of all time are Nosferatu (1922) and The Exorcist, here’s some commentary about the movies that influenced the first hororhaus EP entrance.
What I find trippy and disturbing are the background sounds that many people miss because they aren’t listening to it on a headset. I have rediscovered these movies on DVD/Blu-Ray which further sharpened my perspective of my favorite 70’s B horror movies. I used to stay up late for horror movies in my grade school years which aired on local NYC channels. There is something super creepy about those movies and the memories I have of watching them at a young age sparked my interest in horror and the paranormal. What I set out to do with hororhaus is to take you on a trip through what I might be thinking while watching these movies, going off on a 4-5 minute 80s electronic tangent and then getting back to the movie. My mind often drifts while watching movies – I’m so glad rewind and pause was invented!
The third track nonataya is influenced by the original made for TV movie ‘Gargoyles’ from 1972. It was often aired on NYC TV in the 70s in the daytime on Sundays. I remember watching this movie at a very young age, probably 7 or 8 years old and the opening line from the movie pretty much freaked me out, and I used that opening dialogue in the track which I re-tracked the dialogue myself. I recorded it straight over the actual dialogue to get the timing and inflections right. The original dialogue was done by Vic Perrin who was the control voice from the show The Outer Limits. The opening line was ‘The devil, was once the most favored of angels serving the lord’. Somehow anything possession and devil based scared the shit out of me as a kid. It wasn’t so much the vampire/zombie movies/slasher movies that freaked me out (although I love that genre). From a young age, I read Revelation from the bible with my dad and viewed it as a crazy horror story nightmare and it set me on a pattern of being intrigued by the facets of heaven and hell. The appearance of the Gargoyles sort of gave me the same chill as the Sleestak did in Land Of The Lost. Grayson Hall (largely known from Dark Shadows, which I am a huge fan of) is in the movie too who is an underground icon. The whole banter back and forth about demonology was freaky to me. Typical with the hororhaus format, I wanted to represent this movie in the EP and wrote around some of sound excerpts and dialogue from the movie. While some of the hororhaus tracks have full lyrics about a story happening within a story with the excerpts being the reality and the actual bulk of the song being the subconscious, this only has vocal commentary from me making an observation about the movie.
For axe killer, I used another movie as a template called Silent Night, Bloody Night. It’s one of the first slasher movies ever and is co-produced by Lloyd Kaufman (who went on to do Troma Films). The beginning of the movie always freaked me out – they show a man set on fire and the scene ends with the Christmas song with a creepy organ. The beginning sequence of the movie shows a woman driving in a car listening to the radio which has a newscast on, stating there is someone who escaped from an institution still at large and as the storyline progresses, a man and a woman axe killed. I wrote a story for the song within the story, about a femme fatale that escaped the asylum and is looking for the man and woman who crossed her. They lyrics are the inner monologue of the character before she gets her revenge. The movie itself is creepy and weird, and filmed very low budget. David Carradine has an appearance in this movie, part of the cast were former Warhol superstars and also stars Astrid Heeren who was a 60s fashion icon.
The last track, never leave (ending?!?) is influenced by the original made for TV movie Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark. The sounds of the gremlin creatures are terrifying and weird, satanic at worst. The movie left a huge impression on me. Revisiting the movie, the acting isn’t great at all; but the whole premise of something being walled up inside your house and hearing noises in the walls always scared me. It’s almost as if the house represents the non-subconscious and what’s behind the walls is your subconscious, capable of all types of mayhem. For this movie, the walls feel literally like they are closing in on you as you can’t escape. This, like nonataya, is a narrative. At the end of this track which ends the EP, you can literally never leave. This sets the tone for the next EP. Added in is a variation of the roach killer in the old roach motel commercial – Roaches check in but they DON’T CHECK OUT’. I changed it to ‘YOU CAN’T CHECK OUT’ which I felt was a nod to that time period but summed up the ending of the EP.

You are also the current drummer of the goth metal band Vasaria and played on their new promotional video. How long have you been drumming for them and what have you contributed to them since you joined?
I have been playing with Baron Misuraca since 1991 on and off in various projects. Once the name Vasaria was used, I was the drummer since that day one, so I guess that’s 1994. My contribution was writing the drum parts and co-arranging much of the songs that would eventually be used on the Vasaria self-titled album on Century Media Records. What I wanted to do was bring my old- school 70s style drumming to the fold instead of just approaching the drumming in a straight up metal direction, to make it more early Sabbath/Budgie/St. Vitus-like with a single kick drum ala a classic John Bonham style setup. No china crashes, no excessive toms, no double bass drum with a going back to basics approach. I did the tour with Das Ich overseas in 1998 and we prepared for a second album release. I demo’d 4 songs for Century Media (recorded at my house) and then we recorded the album (which I co-arranged) in Brooklyn in late 1998. I left the band in 1999. Vasaria continued with different band members through the 2000s. Fast forward to 2016, the three of us (Baron/myself/Chuck Lenihan) talked about doing a reunion video for Ugly As Sin released in 2016. At the end of 2018, we spoke about putting together some demos recordings with Matt LaBush (Evan Strumar) who played keyboards with the band for a time before Vasaria was signed.and he also plays guitar. We got together for a few rehearsals in the beginning of 2019 with Evan on guitars and began re-working 6 songs with the incorporation of death metal tunings and some hardcore punk/early thrash/early black metal stylings. Baron and Chuck Lenihan (from Crumbsuckers and the original Vasaria guitarist from the first album) have been doing Carnivore AD together and Chuck is also on the new Vasaria demos. For these demos, I am playing drums and mixing the audio. 

What is it about movies with satanic themes and themes of possession that made such an impression on you? In what ways does this account for Nosferatu and The Exorcist remaining your favorite movies to this day?
The whole scenario of humans being altered by a dark alien force is such a weird freaky concept. I saw The Exorcist at 11 years old and I’ve been getting over it. But now, I just enjoy it for the amazing film that it is. The dark side always seemed so intriguing. Ever since I was very young, I was asking for black shoes which my Mom would never buy for me AND were impossible to find for kids shoes in the 70s, everything was so brown, yellow and orange. I guess I’ve been making up for lost time ever since.
Nosferatu 1922 is an amazing film and I love the jagged old black and white film look which makes it super creepy. I don’t think there is another movie that was ever made that was as creepy as Nosferatu. I’ll never forget seeing it on UHF in the late 70s, it was so weird - it feels ancient and it perfectly captured vampire horror without the Romanticism. I used to sync up this movie with Bauhaus’ 1979-1983 compilation in the 80s when I had it on VHS, but these days I use Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger album on repeat as the soundtrack while watching on Blu-Ray. The movie has an X-factor to it, just like The Exorcist does; there is something unexplainably dark about it. The reason these are my two favorite horror movies is because I feel they are the best of their type and time period. For possession movies, there’s nothing better than the Exorcist or for vampire movies that look like it’s actually from Bram Stoker’s period, the original Nosferatu.

How close was the debut hororhaus EP to your own thoughts, especially the thoughts you have while watching movies?
I wrote/performed/recorded/produced the EP completely sober, so it’s very close to my thoughts about the feelings I had when watching those movies and drifting off to another place in my head while I watched them since I was very young at the time. Hororhaus is 100% an escapism fantasy for me, it has no reflection on my own actual personal thoughts and how I view the real world. The lyrics on the EP are a narrative and in certain cases are about revenge in a dark blues lyrical way. I don’t see much difference between lyrics via Johnny Cash in Folsom Prison Blues, The Doors’ The End, Guns N’ Roses I Used To Love Her and hororhaus’ lyrics for hearse or axe killer. Murder ballads are an old folk and rebel country standard. The femme fatale is vindicated, liberated and is convincing in the world of hororhaus.
Hororhaus will never be political and it is meant to throw you into my inner auditory perception of horror mixed with my love of electronic analogue sounds when I was a teen, listening to new wave and post punk and my love of electronic music. It’s a reflection of the stimuli directly in that horror bubble. 
It seemed like TV before cable with the start of the serial Dark Shadows (of course we have what came before with other shows like The Addams Family, The Outer Limits, The Munsters, Twilight Zone) spawned a genre of horror on TV that was a just a part of 70s culture. Creature Feature, Chiller, late night horror TV, Sunday afternoon movies, Saturday morning Godzilla movies, King Kong and Godzilla movies over the Thanksgiving holiday – horror was all over the place. Maybe even more than it is now since everything is so over saturated with too many choices from cable to countless streaming on demand channels. Probably it had to do with the dark side of acid, sensationalism, angst and frustration of the late 60s with Charles Manson, The Velvet Underground and The Doors, the end of the Vietnam War, Rosemary’s Baby and Anton LaVey being on TV which just sort of seemed normal since these subjects were just as a part of the mainstream culture. NYC news was filled was insanity stories including David Berkowitz (the Son Of Sam/44 caliber killer), Watergate, The Iran crisis and local NYC horror stories. Culture movies like Jaws, The Omen and The Exorcist were big time money makers. KISS on the Paul Lynde Halloween Special and Gene Simmons spitting blood in teen magazines also brought this into the very mainstream. Sci-Fi horror kids shows like Land Of The Lost and Return To the Planet Of The Apes contained a lot of freaky elements. Local horror commercials for The Haunted Mansion At Long Branch added insult to injury.

How well has your drumming style blended with Baron and Chuck since you joined Vasaria? Does your experience with Das Ich help you work with a goth metal band?
I think the thing that really works with is that me and Baron have similar childhood experiences and musical influences beyond metal as we’re from the same NYC area (he’s from Brooklyn and I’m originally from Fort Lee, NJ right by the George Washington Bridge - it might as well have been The Bronx). We’re both huge fans of goth, hardcore and 70s punk, thrash, Elvis Presley, KISS, Black Sabbath, Planet Of The Apes, Hammer/Universal/Silent horror, 70s dance music, 60s psych music, 50s rockabilly; it runs deep - so we are coming from the same angle. Chuck is a great lead guitarist – and although I have not spent a lot of time with him over the years; he’s into a lot of 70s music so he gets my beat language. 
Das Ich tour in ’98 was an interesting experience, it was my first ever euro tour. I got along with those guys really well, Bruno Kramm is very talented. It’s interesting, the euro metal/goth bands (even black metal bands) are fans of electronic dance music so we all connected on that a lot. We listened to a bunch of 90s electronica on the tour bus. Me and those guys (and their crew) were all into Daft Punk, Chemical Brothers, Crystal Method, Massive Attack and the like. Das Ich although they have a touring drummer, are industrial darkwave and have no guitars, so they were different than Vasaria since everything we did was in a rock band style. What I did learn from them is that they were extremely professional and on top of everything they were doing and I wanted to be like that too with my playing. Some people may not know, but when I was playing live shows with Vasaria, I used a click track and the band played to me. So I was always right on top of the music and making sure we were tight. We had a no-partying before the show policy so we’d come off as good as we could every night.

What appeals to you about the murder theme of certain compositions that you emulate with hororhaus? Some other examples are Judas Priest’s “The Ripper,” AC/DC’s “Jailbreak,” “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix (copyrighted by Billy Roberts) “Kim” by Eminem and “I Don’t Like Mondays” by Boomtown Rats.
The murder theme is only part of two of the tracks for the EP, hearse and axe killer, which were triggered by the film audio excerpts. I am a fan of true crime history and find it fascinating to delve into the psyche of the insane. The murder theme in old blues, folk and country are just extreme revenge stories and they directly influenced what I wanted to write – simple lyrics not meant to dazzle or be overly complicated. For both of these tracks, the murderer is a femme fatale; and she’s seeking revenge on who has wronged her. Out of the songs you picked here, Hey Joe has the most in common with where I was coming from. I’m looking to invoke imagery that you can use to your imagination without being overly harshly graphic and meant to be chilling/eerie. It’s supposed be more of a Tales From The Crypt style narrative, a twist of fate. The audio excerpts used are meant to be more graphic as they bring clarity to the lyrics.

Did you have the chance to visit The Haunted Mansion at Long Branch, New Jersey before its demise? If so, what was the experience like?
I was lucky to have gone to THMALB and it was early October in 1980. I went with a friend and his dad drove us. It was the most amazing haunted house I ever went to and so well done. I remember they had a lot of rooms (it was 10K square feet) and they had Lizzy Borden in one room with a bloody knife, rats that ran on your feet in the dark, vampires around the corners when you’d turn. I was almost 13 when I went and wish I could have gone again a few times. I wish I could have experienced Brigantine Castle but it was a bit of a farther drive away from the George Washington Bridge.

Was the Das Ich tour the sole time you visited Europe or were there other occasions you got to tour there? Who were some of the bands you got to meet there?
I’ve been to Europe 3x in my life, but would love to spend more time there. The first time I went was in 1997 to Gothenberg Sweden to record drums for the Century Media released Vasaria album. The second time was within 2 weeks from returning from that trip to witness a wedding in Paris France. Within 2 weeks I spent 7 days there and time flying back and forth. The Das Ich tour, we were on a tour bus with the band where we played many clubs (some weeks 7x a week) and went from the northern tip of Germany to Austria and Switzerland and then toured our way back up north to Munich. I think we were there for 28 days. I didn’t get to meet any bands sadly; as I was so focused on playing and doing whatever sightseeing I could. We only opened for Das Ich and the clubs we played were darkwave/goth clubs where they had the live show until 11pm and then it would often turn into a club with DJs. 

How often have you performed with Vasaria since you joined them, that is to say prior to the Covid epidemic? Anything particularly worth talking about in this interview?
We showcased at bit in 1995-1996 but once the album was completed in 97’; we had to put together a band for the tour which included Carmine Matilliano (who I played with back in the early 90s and we were in Blackthorn together as a 3 piece with Baron) on guitar and Vanessa Twyford on keys (who also was in Blackthorn at one point - we did not play in Blackthorn together). Chuck did not do the tour. Once the unit was solidified, we did the tour, recorded a second record and also played a bunch of NYC shows together. We didn’t play much outside the NYC area, there may have been a few Chiller Theatre conventions we played in NJ and DC. After 1999, there was 1 show I did with Vasaria (I think it was in 2003) after Vanessa and Carmine already left; but I haven’t done a show with Vasaria in almost 20 years.
In closing, some hororhaus updates. I have begun tracking for the 2nd EP titled “evocation” which is centered around a possession recurring nightmare I had as a young adult. It will be deeper, more trippy and scary than the 1st, still incorporating the same elements but moving a bit away from movie dialogue sampling and replacing that with my own sounds and dialogue. The first track “ouija” I am hoping to release on 10/30/2020 with a second single before the holiday season (after Thanksgiving) with the EP release early 2021.

Where else worldwide would you like to tour in the future, if circumstances allowed?
I would love to go to the UK and back to Berlin Germany to play. Paris France too.

Tell the readers about “Adversary” the quarantine video you and Vasaria recently released. Why was this particular song chosen and how did you go about recording and mixing the tracks?
The video footage that appears in the Adversary video for each member was shot by ourselves, on our own. I can’t speak for the other guys, but my footage was shot with an Ipad for the side shots and the straight shots were shot with my Iphone. My daughter helped me with the filming. There was only 2 live shots. I shot it with red lights because I like the way red looks. 
The song was chosen by Baron. We only have 2 songs mixed that are new (we are working on more mixes/recordings), so it was either this or Predestined Horror. We recorded the tracks individually on our own, in our own studios and then I mixed them through GarageBand. 

How much of the nightmare you had will you be recapturing on the next hororhaus EP? While this next EP will be more personal, what movies will you be drawing inspiration from?
I always thought about either writing a short story or novella about it, but I’m going to try to capture the whole nightmare in the EP. Some of the storyline I will be altering and changing around. There are going to be either 6 or 7 tracks, I have them rough sketched out. For movies, I guess the dream was indirectly influenced by movies like The Exorcist, The Amityville Horror, Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, The Omen, The Possession Of Mrs. Oliver, and Audrey Rose. Stories like The Black Cat (Poe) definitely influenced the dream. I don’t know really if the dream is a reflection on anything personal; but it is more personal in that it’s all about this crazy recurring dream I used to have. The lyrics will be straightforward yet vague and won’t go into a huge amount of detail; but will be basically a concept EP.

Describe some of the experiences you had performing in those countries you visited?
All of the tour in every city was great – being in Berlin, Vienna and Hamburg were probably the most interesting places. The audiences were very receptive and cool to us. I think the weirdest place we played was in East Germany, which was beautiful but very militant. We were performing some weeks 7 nights straight which is a crazy amount of days to play with no break in between. At one point, someone got a bad 48 hour virus and passed it to everyone in the bus, which included the 4 of us, Das Ich (4 of them), roadies (probably 4 with the sound guy) and a driver. I remember being sick and wishing for a steam room which eventually did find us, in a hotel we stayed at for one night during a couple day break. Playing those shows were a bit of a blur – I just drank water for 3 days straight and couldn’t eat. Some of the stages were amazing – like Music Hall Of Williamsburg size and some of the stages were crazy small and very cramped. As we never played overseas, all the of the clubs were new to us.

Is Vasaria planning to make more quarantine videos?
Yes, we should be working on the production for another video in the coming weeks. I’m currently mixing another song. Hopefully before Halloween.

Do you expect your music, lyrics and releases to become darker and more nightmarish as you continue to write and compose?
The first EP is just the beginning, I am planning to do 5 EPs total for the project. I’m not sure what will end up happening by EP 5, but it could become completely dark progressive based, with an intro track and outro track being dark ambient but still using analogue 80s sounds as a template. The next EP may have a little bit more that dark prog feel than the first EP, but we’ll see how it comes out. I don’t plan to ever use horror graphic gore lyrics or profanities; I’m more into poetry, dark blues lyrics and creating tension through sounds. I want the music to be listenable and catchy but still very haunting. Yes, the plan is to get darker as I go along but still rooted in what I did with the first EP. As someone recently described the first EP – “You’ve merged so many genres together – it’s very creative and never knew I could be frightened and want to dance at the same time”. That’s exactly what I want to accomplish with hororhaus. 


-Dave Wolff

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Poem: "Maze of Pine" by Sky Claudette Soto

Maze of Pine
By Sky Claudette Soto


And so Night has approached and a most wondrous and glorious stroll has been had as I walk through a maze of pine lighted, delightfully in a purplish chakral of the most heavenly myriad of colors, whilst a trickle of rain falls ever so wondrously, and graciously .upon my cherubic face now blushed, from the nights beauteous, alignment as a great announcement dawns by all that is fanciful through this earthen. ..earth. I prance through...heaven on earth on mountains highest peak as Indian ruby clouds glisten with silesian undertones....

Copyright and written by Sky Claudette Soto - First American Publishing Rights Only!

Poem: "Predictive Premonition" by Alan Lisanti

Predictive Premonition
By Alan Lisanti

There will be a struggle, undoubtedly, between denial and acceptance. Truth and lies. Perception and hope. Reality and illusion. Action and regret. Smart and foolish choices. Love and hate. Compassion and selfishness. Destruction and survival. Fear and fearlesness. Courage and cowardice. Confusion and clarity. And all of these will affect all of us in ways so profound and beyond what we can ever fathom in this very moment, until it is over. Until it is done.

Poem: "flight of the fox" by Jeremy Void

flight of the fox
By Jeremy Void


what am i so afraid of?
why am i so afraid?
no one’s coming to get me
i am not in danger
vulnerability
fuck!
i cant let anybody know
but if i let everybody know
then you might think i’m brave
you might not see me so afraid
but i am horrified
i am dying
i think i’m dying
life is misery
i suffer every day i wake up
why bother going to sleep
if i’m only going to repeat this suffering
again & again
like i’m stuck
in a monstrous black hole
i’m alone
i know i’m alone
we are born alone
we die alone
love is lonely
sex is lonely
drugs make me feel special
communication is lonely
vulnerability
fuck!
why do i even bother pretending
when i am intent
on digging my feet deeper
into dirt and gravel
i am scared of everything
i wake up alone
i go to sleep alone
she tells me she luvs me
every night she holds me tight
i fall asleep in waves
delving deeper thru caves
forever afraid
of what??
getting out of this cold
and scary
grave
that i have been digging
every since the day i learned
how to breathe
vulnerability
fuck!
i am the most honest liar
you will ever have the dishonor
to watch
die
vulnerability
fuck!
why do i feel like such a monster
when all i ever wanted was to be held
and all i ever got
was a hug
i’m not worth your luv
sorry if this depresses you
see what i mean?
i shud be grateful
but i’m not
i’m just tired

Poem: "The Body's Small Pleasures" by Alison Stone

The Body's Small Pleasures
By Alison Stone


Men, avoid the obvious --
smooth metal in the palm and the small
red hole in the side of the deer.
Women, do not cry
"You have conquered me"
to the city on a hazy morning
stuck in traffic
when the maddening obdurate rhythm
makes you small and desperate,
so helpless you are freed at last
from the body's small pleasures and their
shadows of loss.

The world is peopled with sockets and plugs,
empty holes and objects
in need of a place to go.
Look beyond.
Climb the ladder of your body --
each breath a rung --
to the still place where desire
isn't born, the formless
place you enter sometimes
without asking
when your skin melts
and your breath is weather.

Poem: "Easy Answers" by Tony Sokol

Easy Answers
By Tony Sokol


I have a secret, I've kept it half my life.
It's come to define me and people my age:
I read a book once. Okay, I saw it on TV.
I lied about the book thing,
couldn't get through a page.

And who's fault is that? Well, mine of course.
But I had BPD.
And DID and ADD and repressed rage with anchovies.

I know you're looking for easy answers.
I don't think there's any to be found.
But if you're looking over here to find them
there's a worse problem going around.

I have no secrets. Don't know the truth behind the lies.
I write the words, you play the part.
You say political art is suicide.
I say suicide is political art.

So what if we go postal in a tower
or our kids bring guns to school
Or we join some terrorist network
and leave our expatriated asses in Kabul?

I have a secret, you're like the tenth person I've told
I killed JFK when I was eight months old.

Poem: "My Last Day" by S.C.C.

My Last Day
By S.C.C.


It was a Friday.
The candles were dieing and yet again I'm left waiting for someone who never comes.
I am tired.
The darkness calls my name incessantly.
And I'm picking up.
It's on you. But I know you don't care.
Its quick and I am gone...
Goodbye...

Poem: "Again" by Laura Petellat

Again
By Laura Petellat


You were supposed to be my forevers.
And you never stop reminding me how little I am worth.
I am so very tired.
My Sun and My Moon...
Such a wasted universe.

When time stands, immaculate,
Flourishing with life,
My space shall be vacant.
Empty.
The nest you made of my remains...
Where nothing grows
Throughout eternity, void.

Oh gracious ones
Your eyes blind to me
Your ears deaf to me
Your hearts cold to me
Your words heavy to my ever ceasing heart.

I am resplendent in the hereafter.
Quiet.
Reposed.
In silence.
I am reborn.
Hollow.
Just as My Gods have left me.

Again...
~BookOfFaeye, Dec. 2019

Poem: "Satan's Chalice!" by Rich Orth

Satan's Chalice!
By Rich Orth


In presence of malice
One pleads to Satan's chalice
May I drink one sip.... savor in silence
...despite sensibilities
Inconceivable be they might
Consume supernaturally
To swallow and exist..
To wallow and persist
In this silent indecision
This worldly imposition
Unworldly indiscretion
Wherest Heaven & said Hell
Implode into unsympathetic skies
Fireworks fallout
Burning flesh and soul
Whenst even devout
Crawl into fetal position
For ends righteous exhibition
Wherest one awakened
Tis no longer forsaken
>>> by love nor genitalia

Poem: "Wrong Channel" by Jerry Langdon

Wrong Channel
By Jerry Langdon, 2020


The satellite crashed today, while watching TV.
I think it might have been the LSD.
I just know I was bleeding LED.
White noise screaming atrociously.
Swear the Devil was trying to reach me.

Poem: "Rejection of the Ghost" by Skitz J. Fitch

Rejection of the Ghost
By Skitz J. Fitch


I reject thee Holy temple strip my flesh from bone rend my body obsolete I never excepted you're sons sacrifice this world is not my home , Destroyer of nations burning all that came overwhelmed by brain washed soldiers we who rebel are all that remain , The only way to reject what you say you have given is to die I wish not to be remembered or go unto the sky cause if I do you will regret giving what was not asked for I will come bearing Hell fire and carve upon your children death beyond count or score, Let blood rain down and wash the lands so that others of Darkness may rejoice carry on the Destruction of the ones whom follow Judah no mercy given for none was ever shown burn it all down to every beam and every bolt let this Carnage be our voice

Poem: Untitled by M Teresa Clayton

Untitled
By M Teresa Clayton


The hours have no respect for my life anymore. They do not toll the time of my day and tell me what I am supposed to do and when, how to feel, and why...
The sun and the moon are playing tricks with my mind. I have no longer understand the setting of the one or the rise of another... the day is tilted.
What day is it? Could it be yesterday still? or maybe tomorrow has begun without me... I have a keen understanding that I am no longer standing in today.
Let the dark remain dark, lest I see my own misery. Pull the shades and turn off the lights, I am better at feeling my way. When the moon is black against the evening sky I will run wild and free... no one will know, no one will see... least of all, me.

Poem: "The Sleep" by Kaya Chaos

The Sleep
By Kaya Chaos


I have nightmares about mistakes
I haven't made,
I keep working the numbers
but they don't compute or equate,
this time lines running parallel
to a dream that I once had,
where you and I were more than we,
better than us,
but still ourselves.
I sit and think about the ways
your lips move when you’re thinking,
about some tiny little detail in a story I just told, though it was true
I did embellish
and you knew right when I said it
that some words
are only words
they’re only words
that’s how it goes.
There was a time not long ago
Before you came into the story
I didn’t care whether I cared
Caring too much became too boring
But before I fell too deep
into the dark and cold and black
I found some comfort in the darkness
Didn’t care if I came back
Then something happened
Somehow it changed
I smoked a cigarette
And heard your name.

Poem: "Absorption and a Remedy" by Lukas Andrew Bryson

Absorption and a Remedy
By Lukas Andrew Bryson


I had an ache that shook my crown
It threw me over rocks
And bricks
And houses
With peaks so tall
I could not see them over
But climbing is too much devotion
Toes bruising
Fingers bleeding
Stayed
Starved
Mouth speaking but just never making sense
Small sunlight dancing on the table tops
And people pleased
They drank away their sleep
For years
Pinks and leaves
The stripes of color
Smiled but hiding pain
They let it burn into their memory
And then disappeared
Far away
Unseen tears fall hardest
Knowing everything they lost
To the serpentine reception
Ever-present in this weary
Self-indulgent world
But as often is the thankful case
This sadness faded in the stream
And washed into an ocean

--Full book available at:
http://a.co/d/gF9S7HD

Poem: "Dull Electric Eye" by James Kenneth Blaylock

Dull Electric Eye
By James Kenneth Blaylock, 6/29/20


with your dull electric eye
you saw beyond my flesh

and into my poor ol bones,
you told me, “you’re weak”

but, don’t you know that I’ve
been adopted and cherished?

I doubt your prejudices care
further than selfish seeking

Poem: Untitled by Jillanna Babb

Untitled
By Jillanna Babb


I would become another lost animal hiding "in the wild." Heroic rescuers, I already know your names. I know the names of the destroyers as well. I know their greed and their game that indentures us to their service and their destructive paradigm. I understand them, as I am also human, also animal. I am burdened with their fleas and wires and the cage they taught me to build. Here I am. I open the wall of the waters. I see that I am the same. Our bare spirits quiver in the wake of our existence. Do not think the scouring, fearful masters will defeat mortality. It will be the wild man. The untamed child. The Mother baring breast and teeth in sacrifice. Mother Bear. Mother Wolf. Mother Moon. There are choices now. Choose

Monday, September 14, 2020

Full Length Review: Crucifixion "Desert of Shattered Hopes / A Cold Sea of Horror" (La Caverna Records) by Gene Olivarri

Band: Crucifixion
Location: Houston, Texas
Country: USA
Genre: Death metal
Format: Digital album, compact disc
Label: La Caverna Records (Bogota, Colombia)
Release date: August 10, 2020
Review Time! Metal ghouls, Tonight's tale of terror is Crucifixion’s album “Desert of Shattered Hopes / A Cold Sea of Horror”. This band has an interesting sound; if you’re an old skool death head Crucifixion will take you back and remind you of Morbid Angel and Morgoth with a twist of early Deicide with over the top riffage. A small track that I liked is “Remembering The Dead (intro)”. The acoustic entrance was so beautiful and then bam!!!! just like that the heavy brutality kicks in. The sound this band produced is just so incredible with crisp and clear recordings. The guitars are crunchy and sharp sounding, like a chainsaw piercing and cutting through bones. The double bass drums are so on point, and the mix is awesome is all I gotta say! The soloing reminds me of early Slayer with Hallow's Eve type soloing and Dark Angel and the intros to some of the songs are unique. Everyone has to take a listen to this album as nothing is disappointing. What really stands out is the drummer! He is amazing with great taste; his approach really brings everything out with palatable taste. This band really know what they are doing; I would love to see them live to hear this brutality through a loud concert system! Vocalist Danny Martinez has that old skool growl from the very depths of fucking HELL!!!!!!!!! Go out and BUY THIS ALBUM!!!!!!!!!!! And when you get turn it up loud!!! It's KILLER!!!!!! KEEP THRASHING AND SUPPORTING UNDERGROUND MUSIC AND ZINES. Til next time, back to the dungeon to cut up another offering soon, so stay hungry my metal ghouls! –Gene Olivarri

Lineup:

Desert of Shattered Hopes (1993)
Danny Martinez: Bass, back-up vocals and lead-vocals
Armando Mata: Lead, rhythm and acoustic guitar, keyboard
Puppet Cavazos: Drums
Adam Cantu: Rhythm guitar and guitar screams

A Cold Sea of Horror (1991)
Daniel Martinez: Vocals
Armando Mata: Lead Guitar
Mark Vargas: Rhythm Guitar
Jose Esquivel: Bass Guitar
Puppet Cavazos: Drums

Track list:
1. Desert of Shattered Hopes
2. Binding of Dragons
3. Home of the Lonesome Wanderers
4. Black Mourning
5. Remembering the Dead (Intro)
6. Sick are the Shadows of Reality
7. Descendants Thereafter
8. Tomorrow is the End
9. Woods for the Suicides
10. A Cold Sea of Horror
11. Home of the Lonesome Wanderers
12. Trees Sucumb
13. Screaming Fatality
14. Tomorrow is the End 

Fiction: "A Night with the Copper Creeper" (second version) by Devin Joseph Meaney

 A NIGHT WITH THE COPPER CREEPER

BY: Devin J. Meaney

   There was a vicious storm brewing and the copper creeper was hiding in the bushes outside of an abandoned house. He was waiting for the sun to set, then he was going to break into the derelict building and steal all the copper from its crumbling walls. I will be inside soon he thought with hopeful enthusiasm. All of that beautiful copper will be mine!
   The creeper's eyes dilated at the thought of all that valuable metal. He wiped his nose with his sleeve, leaving his shirt badly stained with disgusting snot residue. He was hard up for money, and would do just about anything for a stray dime.
   Eventually, the sun set, and the creeper made his way to the building. He pried at the wood nailed over a small basement window, soon tearing it from the side of the house and casting it aside. He entered the house, dangling in the air for a moment before he descended with a thud into the basements musty embrace. He knocked something off a shelf as he nearly fell, and he bent down to retrieve it. What the hell is this?
   It was a leather bound book with a title that insinuated it was occult literature. ''What rubbish,'' the creeper mumbled under his breath. He had no time for make believe, so he put it back on top of the shelf and got back to work. He pulled a hammer from the depths of his hoodie and plunged it into the basement wall. It was quite dark outside now. The house was on the outskirts of town, and nobody would hear the creeper hammering into the night. He hammered and hammered until his wrists felt like they were on fire.
   The creeper was smashing at the wall for about another twenty minutes or so when he heard a sound coming from upstairs. He assumed it was just a few rats or other undesirable critters, so he shrugged it off and kept working. A few moments passed, then he heard it again. What the hell was that? he pondered. It sounded like footsteps running across hardwood floor upstairs.
   The creeper put down his hammer and strained his ears to hear what or who was upstairs, but the footsteps had died out. The creeper laughed, telling himself that his mind was just playing tricks on him. He picked his hammer back up and thrust it into the second basement wall. By now, he had managed to attain a large pile of copper. When he was through in the basement, he was going to move on upstairs and start harvesting copper there as well. 
   Just as the creeper was finishing the second basement wall, a deafening bang came from above him. It sounded as if a door was slammed with so much force that it almost came off its hinges. He threw his hammer in fright and it smashed into the floor violently. Cowering in fear, he attempted to remain silent. Something was definitely up there.
   He desperately wanted to make his way back out the basement window to safety, but for some strange reason, the creeper wanted to see who or what it was that was making the racket. Calming down, he decided that it was probably teenagers. No damn kid is going to keep me away from this small fortune! he thought maliciously.
   He decided that he needed to confront them, nothing or nobody was going to scare him away from his copper. He slowly began to ascend the basement staircase leading to the first floor of the house, trying to be quiet so that the potential denizens upstairs would not hear him coming.
   When he reached the door to the main portion of the house, he strained his ears once again to see if he could hear any movement on the other side. Where the hell did they go? He opened the door, and at first glance, he couldn't see anyone. After a few seconds of contemplation, he checked the kitchen and the living room. He also checked the bathroom and the small part of the house leading into the front porch. Nothing. 
   There was a spiral staircase leading upwards into the decrepit building. The creeper desperately wanted to leave and go back to his lovely copper, but his morbid curiosity got the better of him. He began to climb the stairs, trying not to breathe heavily so as to not startle anyone or anything that might be lurking in the darkness. After a few moments he came to the end of the staircase. The upstairs portion of the house was in bad shape, forcing the creeper to the side of the hallway so he would not fall through the floor boards.
   There were a few bedrooms and an upstairs bathroom, but nothing seemed to be there either. The creeper even checked the closets, but they were as empty as his conscience. He laughed to himself once more, telling himself again that the ruckus was nothing more than a group of rodents desperately searching for stray crumbs. 
   On his way back downstairs to his copper horde, he heard what sounded like a child sobbing. What? A kid? Here? 
   He made his way back through the upstairs hallway, soon realizing that there was an attic hatch leading upwards. After a few moments of mustering up his courage, he decided to make his way into the attic and see what was wrong. The creeper did not like children, as he considered them to be nothing more than annoying, sniveling creatures. He cared for children in the same way that a slum lord cared for his tenants. Not at all. However, if the child was lost, there might be some kind of reward. Being a hero was never a main priority of the creeper, but his empty pockets lusted for a free meal ticket.
   When he opened the attic hatch, he was taken by surprise. What in the name of God happened here? he thought wildly as he desperately tried to comprehend his situation.
   There were three corpses in front of him, adorned in black robes. Blood, bones, and feathers were scattered across the floor in grisly fashion, and black candles were left unlit on a makeshift altar in the center of the room. The windows were covered, allowing no light to enter, but the room was still dimly lit by one small lightbulb dangling from the ceiling in the left corner of the small space. 
   The foul stench of death and decay assaulted the creeper's nostrils, forcing him to gag and wretch violently. It was pretty obvious what had happened here. He remembered the occult book he found in the basement and he put two and two together. This was some sort of seance gone wrong. ''Man, I need to get the hell out of here!'' he said out loud as the blood in his veins turned to ice. He didn't care about these people, but he sure as hell did not want anyone to think that he had something to do with this. It was time for the creeper to go home. He would take his copper and leave.
   Just as he was about to vacate the attic, the hatch behind him shut violently and locked from the other side. ''Not fucking funny man, not fucking funny!'' the creeper yelled out in fright. ''What the hell do you want from me?''
   The creeper tried desperately to pry at the hinges, but they would not move even a fraction of an inch. Just then, the bulb in the corner of the attic flickered out and the creeper was left in darkness. 
   He froze, desperately trying to comprehend what was happening. Suddenly, he could hear the child sobbing again. This confused the creeper, as he knew that aside from the three corpses, he was alone in the attic. He put out his arms reaching for the unseen child, but his hands found nothing but air. The sobbing grew louder and more persistent, and the hairs on the back of the creeper's neck stood up on end. This ain't normal, man!
   The crying eventually changed its tone. Instead of a child crying, the sound transformed into low pitched gutturals, as if a pitbull or some other breed of large dog was grieving over its dead owner. The gutturals eventually turned into a dark laughter, making the creeper freeze in position once more. Whatever this was, it was no child. The laughter grew louder and more maniacal, terrifying the creeper to his very core. ''I didn't sign up for this shit, man,'' he whimpered as a single tear rolled down his cheek.
   Suddenly, he was thrown against the nearest wall. Pinned there by an unseen terror, the creeper could not move. He could not see what was attacking him, but he knew he was done for. With one swift motion, the sound of his snapping neck could be heard ominously throughout every room of the house. 
   The creeper's lifeless body hit the attic floor with a thud, blood trickling from his mouth like a leaking faucet. The creeper would never steal copper ever again, and nobody would miss him, as he had stolen from pretty much every family in town. There would be no funeral, no service, and without a doubt, no tears. The creeper died as he lived. Alone, surrounded by darkness.
   If there is anything to be learned from the creeper's descent into thievery, it is this: 
   Next time you break into an abandoned house, make damn sure that it isn't haunted. The living may never catch you, but the dead never sleep. And if you live your life in darkness... that darkness owns your life.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Fiction: "Filth" by Jeremy Void

Filth
Fiction by Jeremy Void

Inspired by a true story

I was 24. My friend Roy had promised to buy me a prostitute for my birthday. I’d never been with a prostitute before. I mean, I almost did once. I was doing a lot of drugs at the time and feeling rather desperate so I called the number for an escort service and made the arrangements. I told the operator that I had two hundred twenty-five dollars and she told me how much time that would equal out to and said the girl would be with me in an hour. I was so excited. I cleaned the pipes—it took me no more than fifteen minutes, what with the anticipation of the following events making me anxious to cum///a bit too anxious, if you ask me. For the next twenty to thirty minutes I tried on different articles of clothing and gazed in the mirror hoping I looked my best. I flirted with the mirror a bit, but couldn’t get my image looking entirely right, so I gave up when I realized it doesn’t matter how I looked, I was paying for a service and she’d fuck me no matter what. For the remainder of the time, I paced my apartment. The doorbell rang. I opened it and out there stood this tall girl in pumps, her breasts full and large, her ass tight and smooth inside her shorts, a thong hanging out the back, and a bouncing view of cleavage showing over her shirt. I already felt my dick starting to rise. She was sooo hot. She came inside. I just stared at her. She returned the stare with what I assumed was annoyance. Instantly I snapped out of it and patted my pockets for the money I was planning on paying her with, but then remembered I had left it in my other pair of pants which were lying on the floor in the bathroom. She walked past me and I was gaping and my pants were tightening and her legs shined and her ass narrowed and widened as she said: “Gotta use the bathroom.” I watched her enter. I couldn’t avert my eyes. When the door shut, I practically jumped out of my skin. Didn’t think of it before. I hurried to my dresser, ripped open the drawer, and starting scrummaging through scrap papers and pens until I found a condom. Pulled it out. I was so excited to see one in there—considering I hadn’t expected to find one after all and I’d be forced to copulate with0ut protection—that I actually brought the package to my lips and kissed it. I grabbed the breath freshener off the top of my dresser, sprayed a dab in my mouth, exhaled into my palm, and smelled it; it smelt marvelous. I was ready. Moments later she exited the bathroom and I felt rather self-conscious about the raging hard-on protruding from my pants, as though it wasn’t the right time yet for me to get a hard-on, and I was antsy and impatient but didn’t want those emotions to show. I crossed my legs and leaned forward. She held up a handful of bills and said: “Is this the money?” I nodded. She said: “Hold on. Gotta bring it to my girl outside. Be right back.” She crossed my apartment and I held my breath till she reached the front door and opened it and stepped out into the cold air and closed the door behind her; then I exhaled deeply. I hurried to the window and stared out. She was talking to another woman. Cute, too. But fully clothed. Then the second woman opened a car door and both of them got in and they were off. .…So close. But now, at 24, I would actually get to fuck a prostitute. I started drinking early. A buzz overtook my senses, and I was feeling rather calm and confident. A knock at my door. I opened it. My friend Roy stood there beside this young, gorgeous girl. Not quite what I’d expect a prostitute to wear, almost as if she was off duty or something, but she looked clean and innocent and that’s what mattered. Already I was undressing her with my eyes. I was so excited. My friend said: “This is Marla.” She held out her right hand and I clutched it in my own and brought it up to my lips and pecked the back. She turned to my friend and said: “Oh, he’s so charming.” Roy turned to me and said: “Yeah, we were just gonna go hang out at my place.” He lived next door to me; I thought this was a joke. I asked if I could come hang out too. He said three’s a crowd and besides they’re gonna fool around for a bit and there wasn’t room for another guy to join the party. I felt deflated. Marla looked at my friend, diverted her eyes to me, then dropped them down the length of my body from head to toe as if quickly checking me out or something, and when her eyes reached my crotch, she kept her left eye in that general direction but cocked her right eye to point at me, an all-knowing glare. I guess my friend had forgotten. He said: “Happy birthday!” Marla offered me a hug and pulled herself in real close, kissed me on the cheek, and whispered in my ear: “Happy birthday.” Pinched my ass before releasing me. The two of them left and I watched out the window till they were gone from my sight. Then I drank some more, depressed. Sat down on the couch, sighed. I reached in my pants and caressed my raging hard-on softly. Pulled down my pants and gripped it firmly when a knock came from the door. I stood up and pulled my pants back on and tucked my hard cock between my waistband and my stomach. Assuming it was Roy at the door I didn’t bother checking out the window or in the peephole; just craned the door open. It was not Roy. A woman maybe in her 30s stood out there. She said: “Are you Roy’s friend? It’s your birthday?” My hard-on started to deflate. She wore loose shorts and sticking out of the holes were two pale bruised and scarred legs. She wore a blue tanktop with wiry arms, adorned in scars and bruises too, sticking through the holes. Her lips were burnt. Her right eye was black and swollen. My dick hung there limp. She entered my apartment, without an invitation. I just stared at her. I was appalled. Didn’t know what to say. “Okay,” she growled. “Where do you wanna put it?” She dropped her shorts to reveal a pair of dirty granny panties. I gulped. Vomited in my mouth. My first instinct was to help her. Like a lost child. I said: “Are you addicted to heroin?” Her lips spread apart to reveal green and yellow and blackened teeth that parted in places like a picket fence missing a couple of posts. She nodded. “Crack too?” She nodded again. “That’s horrible,” I told her. “I can help you get sober,” I promised her. I heard a slight moaning come from Roy’s apartment next door. I pretended to not hear it. “Come move in with me and I’ll help you get sober.” “You don’t wanna fuck me?” she pleaded. I didn’t know what to say. It would be wrong to take advantage of her desperation like that. I gulped. Vomited in my mouth. She took the silence as her cue, and said: “Sure, but I gotta grab my stuff.” “Okay,” I said. “Let’s go.” I hopped on the train to her place. She flirted with me. I kept my distance. I drank more. We got to her place and I was tired and I figured I’d take a nap and bring her back to my place in the morning. I fell asleep on the burnt and torn mattress. In the morning I woke up without the slightest clue as to where I was. There was an acrid smell in the air. Raw and potent. Toxic. I looked around me and that girl was freebasing in the corner. Another girl was nodding off on the couch with a needle hanging from her arm. Beside her a scrawny black man in boxer shorts and a white tanktop was cradling a cigarette in his pointer and middle finger and trying to keep his eyes open and his head up; the cigarette smoldered on its own and a trail of ashes hung from the tip. Across from them the TV buzzed and played static. I sat up, looked at the girl I came here with. She held the lighter beneath a sheet of tinfoil and the powder sizzled as she pulled the rising smoke up into a metal tube. Her body arched back and her lips curled. She looked at me. Our eyes met. She smiled. I leaned over and vomited. My head ached. It took a moment for me to remember where I was. I didn’t even bother to say anything, just rushed out the door and slammed it shut behind me. When I got home, Roy sat on my front steps smoking a cigarette. It looked like he was waiting for me. He wore a conniving grin on his face. He said: “Fun night last night?” My head bowed, I grunted. He laughed. I lumbered past him and up the steps and through my door and slammed it shut.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Full Length Review: Appalachian Winter "Winterhewn" (Nine Gates Records) by Dave Wolff

Band: Appalachian Winter
Location: Schellsburg, Pennsylvania
Country: USA
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
Full Length: Winterhewn
Format: Digital album
Label: Nine Gates Records
Release date: November 9, 2020

If they produced a (good) remake of Highlander and hired a black metal band to write the soundtrack, Appalachian Winter might be a worthy candidate. “Winterhewn” is that earnest and high-reaching, that it can enchant the viewer as he experiences the saga of ago-old immortal warriors from the ancient past to the present. For a U.S. black metal band Appalachian Winter has even built commercial potential since they began releasing a constant bombardment of full length albums in 2008. If they decided to go that route they could eventually realize prosperity aboveground without sacrificing a single iota of the connection to nature expressed in their musicianship. Their formula where they celebrate a time when the world is at rest, awaiting the rebirth of life brought by spring has worked for them consistently and they still manage to keep it invigorated and energizing. And all on the same scale as the epic movie I cited at the start of this review. Where Immortal’s portrayal of winter is an endless season of bleak, chaotic, storming frigidity and honors eternal devastating blizzards, Appalachian Winter defers to the exuberance buried under all the snow and ice stretching from horizon to horizon. This isn’t to say the imagery called forth on “Winterhewn” isn’t as harsh as the Norwegian band is capable of enumerating. From the silence of nature’s slumber emerges an almost unfathomable statement of the penetrating, numbing cold that does justice to any band from Norway, or Russia for that matter. For all is vast beauty this time of year, nature is equally unforgiving and deadly. The sun hides from its power, rain turns to ice, cuts flesh and draws blood, the coldness in the air freezes your blood, distant thunder grows increasingly louder to herald the demise of light. But this is a necessary aspect of the endless cycle of nature itself, and the sun must be forced into hiding so it can eventually return and turn death to life. Appalachian Winter make this point in the most anapestic and touching way as they establish winter’s time to purify all it holds dominion over. Something to remember is that the cover art is a complement to the musical and lyrical statement made on “Winterhewn”, seemingly personifying the antithesis of darkness in its personification of winter. –Dave Wolff

Lineup:
D.G. Klyne; Vocals, all instruments
Randy Smith; Guitars
Mike O'Brien; MIDI choirs

Track list:
1. Crystalline World
2. The Thunder of Distant Storms
3. Defy as Death Surrounds
4. Howls in the Wind
5. Ice Heart
6. Born of Winter
7. Forsake the Hope of Spring

Read Danny M. Ryan's interview with Appalachian Winter here. -DW

Split Full Length Review: Lake Of Depression/Sköll "El trágico llanto del valle" (Jaibaná Records) by Gene Olivarri

Band: Lake Of Depression
Location: Chiriquí
Country: Panama
Genre: Funeral doom/death metal
Band: Sköll
Location: Chiriquí
Country: Panama
Genre: Atmospheric doom/death metal
Split full length: El trágico llanto del valle
Format: Digital album, compact disc
Label: Jaibaná Records
Release date: January 15, 2020
Review time! My metal ghouls, tonight we feast on an incredible offering, “El Tragico Llanto Del Valle” a split album (2020) by Lake Of Depression and Sköll off of the great Panamanian label Jaibana Records. Lake Of Depression has this very somber atmospheric level of funeral doom which is very punishing to the soul and mind. You can hear the agony in Ricardo "Lebzul" Brenes vocals. The harmonizing of the guitars has this eerie sound like a crypt was ripped open to lead you to your death soundtrack very wonderful touch to this album side. The album side of Lake Of Depression has a melodic doom that you can just take in and enjoy. The music flows so freely and is done right most of all with good taste. The song “Rain On Your Grave” really took me back; it reminded me of a Tristania/Lacuna Coil approach. Adhy Velasquez has such a beautiful range in her vocals through the song, which is definitely the light at the end of this dark ride. This band is very talented the way they did this side of the album. Everyone needs to buy this release; you will not be disappointed once you pop it in your radio and turn it up. The mixing and mastering sounded great as you can hear everything so crisp and clear. Sköll has a black/death/funeral doom sound which is very outside the box. Powerful vocals roar through the band's tracks and the keyboards add a depressive feel as if Sköll is digging out of their graves to take you into their dark side of pain and suffering. I really loved this side of the split as it is very mid-paced depressive funeral doom packed with trails of sorrow and never-ending pain.
Please go and buy this album everyone; you will not be disappointed. Support Jaibana Records’ upcoming future releases, keep thrashing and always keep it loud Metal Ghouls! –Gene Olivarri

Lineups:

Lake Of Depression
Ricardo "Lebzul" Brenes: Vocals, all instruments
Eduardo Vanegas: Bass
Adhy Velásquez: Guest vocals

Sköll
Martín González: All instruments

Track list:
1. Lake Of Depression - Agonía De Un Sueño
2. Lake Of Depression - The Dead Whale
3. Lake Of Depression - Dejar De Respirar
4. Lake Of Depression - Rain On Your Grave
5. Sköll - El Poder De La Soledad
6. Sköll - Mi Triste Camino
7. Sköll - Triste Ilusión
8. Sköll - Anima Siderum

Monday, September 7, 2020

Full Length Review: WitcheR "A gyertyák csonkig égnek" (Filosofem Records) by Dave Wolff

Band: WitcheR
Location: Szombathely, Vas
Country: Hungary
Genre: Atmospheric black metal
Format: Digital album, compact disc with 4 page booklet, limited edition cassette, limited edition 12" vinyl with insert
Label: Filosofem Records
Release date: November 1, 2019
The two musicians comprising WitcheR, Roland Neubauer and Karolina Gere (also of Vrag and Trollheimen, respectively) have been exclusively working together toward a musical vision that’s as immense, majestic and monumental as the laborious effort they directed into their second full length. Having worked together for ten years without hiring additional musicians, they’ve given themselves enough room to progress with the resources they had to start with, placing the most emphasis on their adoration for the beauty to be encountered in gothic music and black metal, and their desire to reach the limits of their invention and beyond. With “A gyertyák csonkig égnek” this Hungarian black metal band show how far they’re reaching, presenting a statement that black metal can be menacing and artfully beautiful, showing you all the tranquility that exists in the darkest forests and snow drenched plains of their country or any other in the world. There is a harmonious relationship between rawness and atmosphere on this album that fosters a symmetry between fulfillment and longing, desire and regret, joy and pain, life and death. It reflects the constitution of nature in such a way that it gives the white-and-black of light and darkness a multitude of shades as distinguishable as the multitude of colors progressive rock bands write into their material. Neubauer’s guitars and Gere’s keyboards play off each other in a way that’s indescribably profound. Neubauer uses what sounds like sixteenth notes as a solid basis while Gere takes liberties to create dreamlike layers with a variety of keyboard sounds that compel you to feel each track deeply. The only drawback is that the percussion sounds mixed a little too low when it could have pushed Neubauer and Gere’s interaction a little more fervently, providing it with even more texture. But these two compose songs that are darkly ambient and gloomy without being overly depressive but rather eerie and beautiful at the same time. This and their past releases are highly recommended to those uplifted by eminently tenebrous music. And don't overlook their cover of Tchaikovsky at the end. –Dave Wolff

Lineup: 
Roland Neubauer: Vocals, guitars, drum programming
Karola Gere: Keyboards

Track list: 
1. A gyertyák csonkig égnek
2. Feloldozás
3. Az én csendemben
4. Az utolsó utamon
5. A hattyúk tava (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky cover)

Friday, September 4, 2020

Fiction: "Lagartija" by Devin Joseph Meaney

LAGARTIJA
Fiction by Devin J. Meaney

   It was a glacial January morning and Jack Lagartija was sipping on his first espresso of the day. The buzzing of the heat lamps that were placed all through the studio was almost inaudible, but their warmth attempted to permeate Jack's bones.
   God damn! Jack thought to himself as he clasped his icy hands together, rubbing one against the other vigorously. I have lived in this wretched city for seven years now, and this winter bullshit never gets any easier!
   Jack hated the cold. Every winter, he would always wish he was sitting on a hot rock under a blistering sun, or maybe in a sauna at one of the fitness centers downtown he was known to frequent. He basked in the hotness of the nearest heat lamp for about thirty seconds, but he knew it would soon be time to start his workday.
   Jack had three minutes before the cameras would start rolling. He reported the news at the crack of dawn every day, but the last few minutes before he would be on screen always seemed a bit hectic to him. He downed his espresso, and with one last coat of 'beautifying' makeup, he was now ready to let the earth know what has or has not been happening in the last twenty four hours. The countdown to air time was just about to begin, and Jack quickly adorned his brimming sickly-sweet smile that was well known throughout Metropolis.
   Lights. Camera. Action!
   ''Good morning, and thank you for choosing Metropolis News. Today, the city braces for a blizzard, and as far as snow goes, it seems as if there will be no end in sight until late Thursday. High winds and traffic congestion can be anticipated, as the looming storm is expected to pummel the city, breaking last years record snowfall by a considerable margin.''
   Jack licked his lips, preparing to continue his spiel. This had been his routine for the better part of a decade, but it never did cease being a chore. Monotony seemed to be an ever present aspect of Jack's life, but he managed to push forward with an increasing loathing for his profession.
   The show must go on. Within an hour I will be out of this shit hole!
   ''Emergency crews will be on standby to assist anyone caught out in the weather. Both the police and the fire department are urging folks to stay indoors, as icy roads and downed power lines may limit available transport. Medical professionals will be working overtime at Metropolis General, as serious injury and ailment may become a factor within the next two days.''
   The daily news continued for a few moments as Jack droned on with false ardor. He finished up his weather report, longing in silence for the work week to end. He really wished that he was stationed somewhere else. Maybe down south where he could put his feet up, relax, and indulge in a stiff martini when his day came to a close. A place where heatwaves were rampant and the intrusion of snow was a foreign concept.
   Jack licked his lips once again, and the glimmer of his forked tongue evaded notice on screen. The slightest hints of scales were beginning to emerge on his face, as his makeup was slowly starting to run down his cheek. The majority of the citizens of Metropolis failed to notice, though. Most of them were too dull to fathom the reality surrounding Jack Lagartija. Only those firmly planted within the higher echelons of society were privy to the complete truth behind his gleaming smile. Only a select few had the capacity to stop him.
   ''In other news, recent UFO sightings have been dismissed by NASA as weather balloons, leaving some locals disheartened. Mayor Martin Reptil has addressed claims of visiting extraterrestrials as pulp-grade fiction, sparking chaos amongst true believers. Conspiracy theorist Zachary K. Candor insists there will soon be an alien invasion, but the majority of Metropolis has concluded that he should trade in his degree for a tinfoil hat. Still, there are some who wish to believe little green men have come upon the city, and are now disguised as high profile figures and politicians. They expect malevolence.''
   Jack froze as he read the text on the prompter. He tried to maintain his composure as the veracity of this report sunk into his brain.
   Fuck! I assumed they were all too dumb to figure out the truth. There may only be a handful of them, but that is still too many!
   Jack's eyes glared vacantly at the camera. He never expected even a single person to unveil his plot. He loosened his collar, his hands starting to tremble as he pondered his current situation. Jack's temples were pulsing and he now had a headache that could be likened to a train wreck within his cranium. He needed to urinate badly, as his cloaca was responding poorly to the recent news. The veritas of his mission needed to remain confidential. The public needed to be kept in the dark.
   After many thousands of years of evolution, his species had now made it to earth in a hunt for clean water, air, and other resources. They had destroyed their previous planet from centuries of neglect, and now they planned to claim this terra as their own. Jack refused to be thwarted by the lowly scum that called themselves humans. After seven years of preparation, they had come too close to fail now. Nothing would stop Jack and the others from achieving their one goal. Their plan called for the eradication of the human sub-species. There were not enough resources for both to thrive. This was survival of the fittest.
   Keep it together Jack. Damn it, keep it together!
   Jack was nervous now, but the broadcast needed to continue.
   ''Nearing the border, migrant detention centers have been springing up rapidly in what is assumed to be an attempt to quell illegals from gaining access to the country. Government officials have been silent on the topic, but some surmise that a shadow corporation known only as MONITOR is responsible for their construction. Thousands of asylum seekers have been detained. Once again, Zachary K. Candor has been present with his theories, but as always, most refute his claims as nothing more than vibrant fantasy.''
    Jesus, they are even trying to steal the food right out of my mouth!
   ''Up next, sports columnist Jade Iguane interviews hockey legend Don Matthews about his recent signing to the Metropolis Rhinos. Please hold for a brief commercial break.''
As a slew of commercials began to roll, Jack decided that now was the time to give Martin Reptil a call. Something needed to be done about Candor. He was getting too close for comfort, and without the intervention of MONITOR, Jack feared that he may just be the wrench in the gears that would halt production at the migrant facilities. Within minutes, Martin was on the phone, and Jack could tell by the tone of his voice that something was afoot.
   ''Martin, we need to put a muzzle on that conspiracy loon Candor. He is going to fuck up everything!''
   Jack waited for a response, and after a few brief seconds, Martin replied.
   ''I know Jack, but don't worry about it. It has been taken care of. He won't be a threat much longer. MONITOR has already been notified. Very soon it will be as if he never existed. Our time is coming, Jack. But I need to go! I have a business to take care of.''
   Martin hung up the phone. After an ample sigh and a trip to the lavatory, Jack retreated back to the newsroom. Jade was now in the middle of interviewing Matthews, so he decided it was time to have something to eat. He pulled his lunch box out from under his desk, removing its contents delicately. Jack took a whopping bite out of his 'mystery meat' sandwich, quietly contemplating Candor and his prying ways. Jack was still worried, but the hurried chat with Martin calmed him down immensely.
   Outside, the weather was reaching whiteout conditions, and Jack was unsure if he would be able to leave the studio when his broadcast was over. Braving the squalls was probably not an option. This was no big deal, though. He had spent many a night hunkered down at the studio. He would just confiscate one of the heat lamps to keep his office nice and sultry.
   After a few more minutes, Jade finished up her interview, and it was now time for Jack to continue his reports.
   ''And that's all for now! Back to you, Jack!''
   ''Thanks, Jade. Great interview! This week, students of Rising Star High will be raising funds for their renowned hockey team, The Rising Stars! In their gymnasium on Friday, there will be games, treats, and the chance to win three V.I.P. seats at the Rhinos game Sunday night. Tickets for this contest are five dollars each or twenty dollars a book. The hype is on, and Rising Star high is hoping for a great turnout! Lets all hope we can dig our cars out by then, because right now, it's a rager out there!''
Jack smiled at the camera, the majority of his viewers looking on in blissful ignorance.
  ''And speaking of contests, The Story Forge Writers Collective is now accepting short story submissions for their upcoming anthology. Writers everywhere are flocking to the Wilfred Oram Centennial Library to get their works read. Only stories ranked within the top tier will be printed, but thousands are hopeful that their tales will be chosen. The Story Forge Writers Collective produces the best fiction and non-fiction in all of the land, and this is expected to be the competition of the year!''
   Jack chuckled internally.
   Good. Good! This will keep their minds off Zachary and MONITOR for bit!
   He pushed on with his reports, the minutes passing at a sluggardly pace.
  Jack was elated that the citizens of Metropolis had something to occupy their witless minds. Like dogs chasing their tails, the locals would continue to busy themselves with insipid endeavors, the bulk of the masses ignorant to the encroaching invasion and the soon-to-be reptilian uprising.
   The conspiracy theorists were still out there, though. MONITOR would need to continue stifling their painfully inquisitive probes. Their numbers were minimal, but even a single person speaking against MONITOR was one too many. They needed to be removed from the limelight. Their silence was essential to the fate of the new world, and Jack would do his best to make sure they were quickly nullified.
   Jack continued to beam with pseudo enthusiasm, his brilles glistening in the mild glow of the camera.
''Moloch Avenue and Calotes Drive are now closed due to the weather. Only local traffic will be permitted to enter, as city workers are struggling to remove snow from the area. A few trees have also been uprooted, making travel increasingly laborious. Metropolis- wait. Hold on, we are now receiving a breaking report.''
   Jack's thoughts began to swirl. What the hell could this be?
   He braced for the worst, as anything was possible within the city of Metropolis.
   ''It is with our deepest sympathies that we announce this breaking coverage. Zachary K. Candor has just been found dead in his upscale loft on Stratagem Street. Police are now investigating, but foul play is not believed to be a factor. His newest journal The Reptile Agenda was just about to hit the press, but sadly, fans and admirers of his work will now have to look elsewhere for their conspiracy needs. Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date.''
   Yes. Yes! That beautiful bastard Martin has done it again!
  Jack's heart made a jump, almost bursting from his chest with spastic delight. Martin had come through with flying colors, Zachary now 'magically' erased from view of the public eye. With Candor gone, there was now nobody to front any rebellion against MONITOR. The contest for The Story Forge Writers Collective would also aid in the cover up, and with Rising Star High having a contest of their own, Jack knew that there was now nothing stopping him and his associates.
   Jack thought with mild ecstasy. Nothing can stop us now. This terra will be ours within the month!
   Although Jack now felt like it was time to party, he was still on screen and needed to remain calm. He pushed on for a few more moments, knowing soon it would be time to read his final report. Within ten minutes he would be sipping a martini in his office with his true face turned to the warming glow of one of the heat lamps. Within the grand scheme of things, very soon the streets of Metropolis would flow red with human blood... and Jack was now riddled with extreme anticipation.
   We're in the home stretch now, Jack!
   Jack's beaming sickly-sweet smile now radiated with genuine contentedness.
  ''To finish off for the morning, we now bring you a heart warming tale. Just under an hour ago, a kitten lovingly named 'Mittens' by her owners had managed to climb a tree, getting herself stuck on the highest branch. Her owners feared that she was lost to the storm, but the bravery of the Metropolis Fire Department knows no bounds. Fire chief Susan Lucertola and her colleagues rushed to Mittens' aid, and after a few attempts, she was brought safely back to the warmth of her home on Chuckwalla Street. This story is one of dozens we have received today, proving once and for all that the city of Metropolis is in good hands. My name is Jack Lagartija, and thank YOU for choosing Metropolis News.''
   The credits began to roll, and Jack took no time rushing from his desk. He waved a goodbye to Jade and the other people working at the station, grabbed the nearest heat lamp, and quickly made off to his office on the third floor. He could not wait to take his makeup off and shoot a few martinis. The blizzard was still raging outside, but everything was set in motion.
   The mother ship was so close now...

Note: This story was the winner of the CBRL (Cape Breton Regional Libraries) summer short story contest for 2020.

Devin J. Meaney is the beloved author of many reviews and shorts that nobody actually reads. Within the nine hundred years he has been on this planet, he has been a cart boy, a scrap metal dude, a traffic control technician, and was twice the world’s coolest dishwasher. 
He spent a brief period in online marketing, but found that selling coma-inducing sugared beverages to pre-teens was not his style. He has a beautiful young daughter whom he loves very much, his cat Simba (R.I.P. Buddy) being the commander and chief/C.E.O. of his many plots and various schemes.
Devin is also a goregrind/grindcore musician who has put out many demos, EP's, and albums, even though he has not picked up the guitar professionally since 2013. 
He would like to thank his writers group for continued support, Dave Wolff from Asphyxium Zine, Lights Go Out Zine, Dark Dossier, Morgue Rot Magazine, and a big thank you also going to Betty Rocksteady and James Buick for giving him the inspiration to pick up a pen and paper in the beginning. Much love to Teresa Meaney (his mother), Kerry Anne Campbell, and Matthew MacLeod for offering their proof-reading services! I couldn't do it without you!