Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Single: Moonspell "All Or Nothing" (Napalm Records) by Dave Wolff

Band: Moonspell
Country: Portugal
Genre: Gothic metal
Single: All Or Nothing
From their upcoming album “Hermitage”, available on Napalm Records February 26, 2020
Release date: January 21, 2021
We’re getting older in what the Chinese might call “interesting times”. For some, it’s a time of introspection, for others to continue drawing from what ignited them in their youth. Filmed in an empty Portuguese theater, Moonspell’s video for “All Or Nothing” is a spark of solace and hope in the midst of darkness and solitude that settled over us in 2020. This is the third single from their next album “Hermitage” (following “The Greater Good” and “Common Prayers”), which will likely be the most important statement the band has made yet. Moonspell has released twelve albums since 1992, and “Hermitage” will resonate with approaching the conclusion of a long journey, one not quite over. The mournful melodies of “All Or Nothing” represent retaining exuberance and creativity in the midst of all emptiness. For those who relate to it, the song personalizes and manifests the joy and sorrow gothic metal celebrates, and sentience that will always persist no matter how deeply buried or thoroughly silent it seems to be. It curses the darkness by lighting a candle. The darker the darkness, the brighter the flame. Making no pretense of being young at heart, “All Or Nothing” is autobiographical and intimate, which makes it easy to speak to the listener on a deeply personal level. The song is morose and heart-rending in its depiction of entering the winter of life. But older is wiser if your life was full and you intended to leave your own mark on it. If you had something to say and the courage to say it, if you forgot conventionality and created for its own sake, and your creation is human, this brings joy, dignity, and meaning to your twilight years. If events of the past year left you disheartened and questioning the point of pursuing your bliss, this single will remind you what the underground is about and why an underground even exists. –Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Fernando Ribeiro: Vocals
Ricardo Amorim: Guitars
Pedro Paixão: Keyboards, samples, programming
Aires Pereira: Bass
Hugo Ribeiro: Drums

Saturday, January 23, 2021

EP Review: 1-900 "Dial 0...For Destruction" (Independent) by Daniel Ryan

Band: 1-900
Location: Poughkeepsie, New York
Country: USA
Genre: Synthwave metal
EP: Dial 0...For Destruction
Format: Digital album
Label: Independent
Release date: 2020
There is actually a metal band out there that is deep underground in a secret US government research facility looking to harness the power of 16-bit energy with a scientist named Jacob Murdock with his colleagues somewhere in Reno, Nevada from 1989 that are using the power of metal to create more metal using a parallel dimension which unknowingly leads to letting in the forces of otherworldly evil from an alien dimension. It is all taking place in this lab while the leader of these evil dark creatures summons his powers into a phone line to brainwash the local citizens and becomes known as the sinister, Operator! 
Mind Blown! What a concept. You can expect more of this on the other tracks on this album. They give you more detail of what it is exactly going on in the story they are portraying to us within the message of their music. This band that is originally from Poughkeepsie NY has a very wild imagination. Even if the story they tell you in the music sounds like it could be remotely true!
The mind of Brett Miller knows no limits. He is regarded highly for his many solo act efforts with his alluring cosmic progressive metal style & also being into all things metal in the scene with a very eclectic musical resume. He is also a professional guitar teacher that is providing a service to all inspiring musicians worldwide. An expert in his field with an educated musical background and gifted to the very core. This is a completely new metal band created by him for this concept album, "Dial 0...For Destruction", by 1-900! 
This group has made something unique within the realm of power metal with technicality you can find in progressive metal but with a mixture of synthwave from sounds you normally would only hear in the 80-90s heydays of video games. The feel of the music is epic in its presence, but also provides this clever sense of a complete video game or comic book storyline to it. It incorporates something more original to offer not just in the genre of metal but also to the electronic retro wave genre that is known for acts like, Power Glove, Kavinsky, or Shio-Z. 
When I see music taking a form of some sort that has hints of cyberpunk to it I can find interest in it. It is also rarely often you get something like this that does not fall into either category. It's like a soundtrack to a Super Nintendo or Neo Geo game. Remaining as its own thing within the spectrum that is so vast these days in the heavy metal and electronic music scenes. The album release is from 2020. As far as the storyline of this album goes, when it was released to show to the public it was in 1989. 
Amongst all the madness behind what happened to them while using the metal, they were creating with pure 16-bit energy which unleashed itself through this portal in the lab they were all in. It ultimately ended up opening a parallel dimension that clashes genres of music in the fictional world that Brett & his band has created. Its timeline revolves around the time of March of 1989 in Reno, Nevada. Which is also the same area that is famous for the Roswell UFO Crash. Great choice! This album is straight forward in the realm of metal but gives you something completely fresh to think about. Which is what I like very much about it. I recommend it to anyone getting into metal, electronic or are longtime fans of both. My own personal message I got from this album is, to try new things. Always look outside the box. You never know what you could come up with or be missing. 
Thanks for that, 1-900! \m/ -Daniel Ryan

Lineup:
Brett Miller: Guitars, effects, programming, vocals
DD Bass: Bass

Track list:
1. The Operator
2. Hint Line
3. Modem
4. Synchron Slaughter [Bonus Song]

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Poem: "Boyfriend/Girlfriend" by Jeremy Void

Boyfriend/Girlfriend
A Crash Course in “Making Love”
By Jeremy Void


Monday night she says
she wants to be friends again
We were best
friends,
she says
I agree
and she agrees
to meet me at the Mobil
in thirty minutes from now
I was right around the corner
when I got the text
I was just so happy
to put this fight
behind us
and go back to being friends
like we were before
It was all I ever wanted
to go back to the way things were
when we could just sit and talk
without all the added complications

I’d known her for
about a year
and a half
only I never really thought of her
as a friend
up until two to two and a half
months ago
when we met at the coffee shop
so she could help me format
a story to be submitted
to a magazine
I thought it was quite strange when
she wanted to spend
so much time with me
from here on out

We went to Sidebar
This is the first time
she’d ever seen me drink
I had a cider
She was three, maybe four or five
or six
dirty martinis deep
I felt warm and fuzzy
grinning beneath my
blackened shades
She hugged me
She missed me
I missed her too
I hugged her back
I was grinning
She was grinning
We grinned together
forever stuck in a gaze
that felt timeless in the way
it embraced us like we were
there all alone
She kissed me
deep
It took me by surprise
I kissed her back
I had missed her
We were friends again

I wasn’t planning on staying
over at her place
but she got sick and
I needed to help her
get home
There was just so much passion
that one night
At her place the passion throbbed
with endorphins
lust desire & encapsulating romance
I didn’t want the moment to end
It went on forever
She wanted to have sex
I didn’t want this night to end
My hardness throbbed
Her heart pulsated
She was wet all over
I was overtaken by
sensory sensations
I forgot how much
I had missed this
Kissing her deep
Holding her tight
My hands rolling over
the curves of her body
like vivacious sandy dunes
She wanted to have sex
I didn’t want this night
to end
It went on forever
I throbbed

Last time we had dated
she had picked on me
constantly
relentlessly
about this&that
She didn’t want to call herself
my girlfriend
or me her
boyfriend
I didn’t push it
Just went along with
the flow
She felt conflicted
about
me
about how she felt
I loved her but didn’t miss
the manipulation
she exhibited
near the end
I kissed her on the lips and
blanked out

Days later I was gonna ask
What are we now?
Are we dating?
Together?
Friends with
benefits?
All of the above—any of
the above, I didn’t mind
I just wanted to be near her
forever
and she just wanted me
to close my arms
around her till we both
evaporated
together
like dew on the tip of
a rose bud on a hot
summer night
So I didn’t push the label
Just went with the waves
She & I
two intensely wound individuals
set
on a crash course to
unravel like a slinky
as we plummet down a winding staircase
sinking
deeper
& deeper
into oblivion
I knew where we were heading
and we were heading there
faster than the heart can
beat
and around her my heart beat
fast

She used the word first:
GIRLFRIEND
We were no longer plummeting
Three weeks apart had brought us
even closer together
No more picking on me
picking me apart
kicking me while I’m down
round&round we flailed
but now no more!

She told me about this thing called
“making love”
I didn’t believe her
I’ve had sex with
40+ girls
and it was all the same
in the end
Empty
Jaded
No intimacy needed
Fuck you till I
cum
and then I’ll leave you to
your own devices
while I put my pants back on and
leave you in my dust
But now
I wanted something so much deeper
more intimate
more romantic
A friend once told me about this
special moment when
two bodies lock together
in perfect unity
unified and perfect
She & I
our bodies locked
She’s different than
any other girl I’ve
ever dated
and our souls merged together
our heads becoming a solid
field
our brains blanking out
I know I love her
I know she loves me
too
When I came it was
magical
When she came it was
sensational
Her hand shook as we stared at
one another smoking cigarettes
in the bathroom
The shower washed away our sins
and we blended together like
a strawberry/banana smoothie

It could all be a delusion
but I know it’s true
the way I feel
about her
and I hope she feels it
too

Poem: "Trains" by Alison Stone

Trains
By Alison Stone


There are ways to die
without leaving the body.

Carla hides in light
until she shrinks. She
keeps seashells in the bathtub, glues a moon
and stars above her bed. Dark

hair scraped back, she lies on her analyst’s dark
couch repeating “Change is safe” and “I love my body.”
Her parents died
when she was eight. She
has a trust fund. She travels light,
went to six colleges, studied honeymoon

customs, how to make hats. Eating Moon
Pies by the light
of the tv, she likes how a woman can die
and come back later as an evil twin with dark
intentions. All the actors have athletic bodies.
Carla’s dreams are filled with silver trains she

misses. Ticket in her fist, she
cannot move her heavy body
fast enough. She wakes tangled in blankets, then dyes
her pubic hair blue. She learns to moon-
walk, fantasizes dancing with a tall, dark
punk who lights

her joints and places light
kisses on her throat. Her body
aches. Swigging wine, she
fills her cells with moon-
light, then revs up her dark
Ferrari. Shiny in leather and tie-dye,

she dangles luck from her neck -- a plastic die,
a rabbit’s foot. A moon
through her nose, she
blows smoke in the club’s dark,
watches men sliced by strobelights.
She chooses a blond for his wiry body

inked with mother, snakes, a bolt of light. Her body
shatters when she comes and she is free. Carla digs her dark
nails into his back, leaving half-moons over Never Say Die.

Poem: "We Dance in the Woods" by Sky Claudette Soto

We Dance in the Woods

We dance in the woods round ye fire,...,given too us as gifts ,from the heavens above and the heavens below ,grasping unto trees that had leaned over in growth for us to straddle compassionately feeling it's roots of vibrational energy ,clad with an impeccable desire grounding bare into the ground as we chant circled...circled... amongst one another,oh can you hear those chants,as though a dream catcher catches our dreams round ye fire , I dance circled amongst ye earthen earth chants are heard, echoed in the most celestial vibration ,candied by apples picked from thine trees of life in this time of impeccable desire gardnerian,guardian,krenelined body,shadowed wings ,circled head the angels of life in this tree of life and in this tree of death.

Copyright: First American Publishing Rights Only: Sky Claudette Soto.

Poem: "Till We Meet Again" by S.C.C.

Till We Meet Again
By S.C.C.


Sometimes you just meet people that somehow leave their print in your life.
Maybe a friend that sticks around for a tough time and eventually leaves, losing contact and swallowed in the tides of time and life.
Maybe a permanent friend...
Or just some random Joe/Jane that somehow makes a space for themselves inside of your heart....
No matter what role they fill... Someday we will meet again...

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...

From BookOfFaeye, Dec. 2019

Poem: "2021" by Natasa Nikolic

2021
By Natasa Nikolic

The phoenix flies to the meadows, far, may the sun rise high in his precious mind, with flaming wings, he salutes me now and creating a warm summer breeze. 

Rings of people dancing free like an ode to life with their precious smiles, rings of people dancing now, celebrating a life with the tide.

Poem: "Much Worse Than The End" by Jerry Langdon

Much Worse Than The End

I mourn for the sinking moon,
Drowning in the night,
Fading to its dawn.
Dying light.
The sky sliced open to bleed,
Crimson dawn heralds death,
Rising up to feed.
Final breath.
Thunder roars across the sky
As the riders descend,
Reality beginns to die.
The end.
The beginning of a twisted cold Hell,
Beauty distorted throuogh gruesomeness,
Purgatory hails its bell.
Total darkness.
Restless screams of endless despair
Carried by terror's voice,
Misery in the air.
No choice.
Crying tears that only evaporate,
Raining down in pain,
Torturing with hate.
Gone insane.

© Jerry Langdon 2020

Poem: "Mystic Verse" by M Teresa Clayton

Mystic Verse
By M Teresa Clayton

On the threshold of yesterday and tomorrow
Yet it is never in the now; never in this day,
For this day is forever moving out of sight;
Out of my understanding, never leading the way.
The precipice seems too wide; appears to be so deep,
Yet it is no more than a step beyond this place
That holds me bound here within its keep and
Obscures the concepts of mortal time and space.
The threshold is but a balancing of my weight
Equally in the future and there in the past.
Upon the threshold is where I wait for some direction
And the balance of time here is faltering fast.
Until I can no longer balance within the doorway.
It must close me out of what was and open to the new.
I shall not question the direction of my path anymore
As I take my first steps into the future towards you.

Poem: "Back off Snakes (Not Falling)" by James Kenneth Blaylock

Back off Snakes (Not Falling)

tripping over the fabric
of time, but, not falling

too easily for any falsified
charms, back off snakes...

lest, I let my pet mongoose
out, by the way, he’s hungry

instead, I’ll wait, with my numb
thumbs, playing cosmic games

james kenneth blaylock
7-25-20

Fiction: "Chance Encounter" by M Teresa Clayton

Chance Encounter
Fiction by M Teresa Clayton

I found myself running late for the bus, so I decided to slow down the pace and catch the next one. Granted, this would mean standing at the bus stop alone for another forty five minutes to an hour, alone; I somehow found the apprehension a bit exhilarating, at the same time I reached into my purse and my hand quickly connected with the pepper-spray I had convinced myself would be enough to defend myself if I ever felt threatened. As I walked, I could hear the reverberation of each step echoing through the abandoned streets. I was never one of those girls who changed into running shoes at the end of the day, I felt far more comfortable in the three-inch heels that have come to define me as a woman – but so much more – a woman of power, unafraid, unmoved in a world of high-rollers; men in silk suits and ties, freshly pressed crisp white tailored shirts, their skin, hair and manicures as perfectly groomed – perhaps even better groomed – as most of the heavy-hitting females in the group. My name is unimportant, as is the name of the man whose destiny collided with mine that night. Though brief, the encounter stills leaves me breathless if I linger too long within the memory… He didn’t seem to pay any notice to my approach, heels clicking slower as I assumed a more predatory pace – longer strides, well-placed footing that shifted my hips enough to emphasize the thoroughbred I so often played down… the strength of the legs accentuating their soft yet capable muscular sinews with each step, the tightening of the buttocks as the skirt seemed to skim enough to show the power behind the hips as they calculated each movement with deft precision. I stood tall and assured as I made my approach, and yet he appeared uninterested, unimpressed, affected. I could smell the sweat that clearly clung to his shirt and there was a rather erotic ruggedness to his face, along with a shadow of beard that signaled a long day, a hard day – the smell of his manhood filled my nostrils with the scent of prey, the animal/man, a worthy adversary in what was now being played and I had the element of surprise – or so I thought. Let the minutes tick off – it made the game more interesting, urgent, and intense. I realized my breathing had quickened and, I too was perspiring more and my breath was shallow and quick, the heat was emanating from between my thighs, surely he could sense the fire … my nipples, now fully erect, were in full display beneath the wetness soaking my delicate cotton blouse causing it to cling like a second skin, exposing my vulnerability for the first time.
I watched his every move as I approached the plexi-enclosure that stood as shelter for poor souls awaiting their rides under torrents of rain or pellets of ice and snow… there was no shelter from the full sun that created a sauna-like feel inside the three-sided box where we were both now facing one another.
He looked up from his phone and caught me staring at him, his face, his torso ... And met my look with an expression of questioning. I smiled, then lowered my eyes and giggled but returned to the original posturing of looking deeply into his deep blue eyes surrounded by thick long lashes any woman would die for… He focused on my eyes without a word as I moved to take in the lips, the mouth – he instantly smiled and a small dimple appeared to the right side of his mouth. Such full and perfectly formed lips, the kind of lips that beg to be kissed, sucked, and nibbled upon. His bottom lip began to tremble, but not from fear, no – it was more like anticipation and trying to remain in control. “You have beautiful eyes…the kind of eyes that should see beautiful things, witness passion raw and unadulterated, and be filled with images that will visit you often in your dreams,” I said to him. He smiled a nervous smile and looked back at me responding, “You are a beautiful woman and I’m not sure what you’re trying to say… or do…” “Shhhhh,” I placed my finger over his lips and leaned in to whisper into his ear. “You look like a god standing here, your smell is intoxicating and seductive, I would like to…. No…I NEED TO… touch you. Would you give me a moment or two to explore further?” He said nothing and nodded his head and closed his eyes. I unbuttoned his shirt and took my hands and wrapped them around the smooth softness of his back, raising them up and down, measuring the length of his muscles and then across his ample shoulders before bringing them forward to his chest. He was lean, solid, and muscular. He felt taut yet soft, supple yet rugged, muscular and virile. I was losing myself in the lustiness of his presence before me. I knew I must regain self-control, but my mouth was grazing his, the taste of his lips - sweet, his soft breath warm and even, I released my tongue and tasted him, pulled his lower lip slightly into my mouth and bit down gently the quickly offering a suckle before fully engaging him in a sensual kiss.
He held back for a second more before returning his mouth to mine and filled my senses with a flood of desire that at once wanted to consume every inch of him in a fury of decadent pleasuring one only reads about in books. I must stop, I told myself. I am losing myself here… At once we parted, panting and gleaming with sweat and the flush of warm blood. He smiled knowing. He smiled like a man possessed. I looked away trying to catch my breath and my thoughts… and I looked between his legs… “What am I doing here?” I whispered. “Preparing to seduce me and we will become drunk with abandonment and satisfy this ravenous craving” – he answered. I could not take my eyes away from the six pack of muscles that led down to the cut just above his penis. The cut was the pathway to his manhood and my satisfaction. My hand was shaking nervously as I slowly reached over and unbuttoned the top of his jeans. The only thing between my hand and his penis … a metal zipper. The hesitation was palpable. He gently placed his hands on my upper arms and pulled me in to him. “Another taste of you, let’s take this slow”, he whispered to me. …Under the streetlamp on a deserted street, behind a window for all to see… I was losing control, losing my resolve, and losing my mind… to a man who was simply someone waiting for the next bus… until I pushed my way into a….. another world… His world?
I withdrew my hands with a jerk, as if they were scalded. He grabbed my wrists and for a moment I could feel the scream building deep inside of my throat, but again his eyes captivated me and returned me to the edge of complete abandonment. “Slow”, he whispered before brushing his lips against mine. “Don’t think about it too much, you’ll only lessen the pleasure and miss the moment of ecstasy that awaits you.”
“What is happening here?” I asked. I was sure that I was the seductress and he, the prey. Now I was his puppet, his pawn and it was clearly his move.
“Shhhh”, his voice barely audible, lips connecting harder; his mouth open and suckling. I opened my mouth to receive him as he teased with his tongue, alternating with more of the hungry intensity of his kisses.
I wanted more; I needed more. The desire felt more like addiction and I needed him like a drug to sate the intensity, the insanity, of this craving. His hand caressed the nape of my neck for an instant before grasping my hair and pulling my head back. Before I could define the moment and react, his warm breath found the area just beneath my jawline and he began to lick the length and contours of my exposed throat. My flesh responded instantly with goose-bumps and again I felt my breasts fill with anticipation as he carefully guided me back into his free arm where I relaxed and threw my head further back, willing him to continue.
We were positioned like two seductive dancers, his body over mine as I lay trustingly in his arm in a low dip. His other hand had now left my nape, releasing my hair to flow softly over his arm as he now looked into my eyes with the intensity of a master in his finest hour. With his free hand he stroked my hair, my face, and drew the back of his hand against my neck down to my clavicle.
Not a word. He drew his eyes to my mouth, my neck, and finally the opening of my blouse where I sensed he could feel the beating of my heart beneath the heaving of my breaths… please, I thought to myself, please… …take me here, in this place, now! His hand was warm as it gently caressed my breast, nipple standing at attention, awaiting his charity; his gratification. Instead, he lifted me into his arms and laid me down upon the bench where dozens have sat before, awaiting their bus, desperate to reach their destination. Here I lay before him, vulnerable and waiting for his bidding, to give me instruction, tell me, show me, take me to my destination… He stood stripped of his shirt and every ripple of his muscular torso seemed to possess some magnetism. I could feel the force of the drawing energy that emanated from his body to mine and mine to his. He just stood there looking at me; watching, waiting… for what?
I unbuttoned my blouse and pulled it back, draping it over my shoulders enough to fully expose my breasts, now moist and warm from a combination of this heat, of this night, but more from his touch, the anticipation… breast full and nipples tingling, begging for his tongue to tease and suckle.
He dropped to one knee and slipped his hand beneath my shoulders, then leaned in to kiss me once more, this time with emotion, passion, and purpose. Our mouths explored each other and then he began his descent down my neck once more and as one hand cupped my breast his mouth found the other and did not disappoint. My body was experience pleasure it had never known and the pleasure was now manifesting itself deep inside of me. I could feel the moisture between my legs as I moaned and whispered yes after yes after yes. I was in a state of euphoria and, though I wanted desperately to please him, I was locked in the trance he had me in, unable to move. “Slowly”, he spoke out, as if he were reading my mind. “Memorize this moment, the feeling of the air against your exposed breasts, my adoration of you and let yourself indulge this moment of pure sensuality.” “Yes”, I barely spoke, “please, please... me”. “Yes, I will fulfill your fantasy and leave you with so much more. Are you prepared to give yourself fully to me? Do you trust me? I closed my eyes and let my head fall back down, moaning for him to continue; a sound my throat and body made without effort or forethought from me. Finally the answer he was waiting to hear… “Yes”.
“Not another word”, he instructed. “Explore the freedom of this moment, unbridled, unrestricted, and feel the electricity that feeds this chance encounter both from the outside and the inside… nothing will stop us now.”
I understood in a way that beguiled me yet made perfect sense on some primal level. Fear and hesitation were replaced with trust in this unknown man and the heightened sense of expectation that at once brought me to perfect measured anticipation. The moments were flowing on their own volition and I was caught in the vortex being pulled to the perfect center, the perfect crescendo, a perfect completion. He kissed my breasts, each with lingering intensity, and then stood up tall beside me. His eyes were always moving from my face, to my throat, to my breasts and then back again as if he were scanning for something beneath the façade. He smiled knowingly and let out a slight chuckle as if he could read my thoughts and knew exactly how this would change me.
He lifted each foot and removed my heels, stopping to buss each toe and lick the curve of my instep before using his hands to caress and massage my legs from my calves to my upper thigh – no further – and back down – over and over again. Each time he came closer to reaching the elastic band of my black satin thong embellished with a bright red bow at the top front.
The tease was becoming unbearable. I wanted to reach down and pull my skirt up and rip the thong from my own hips. Again, he felt my urging and laced a finger through both sides of the thong, pulled them slowly and seductively down my thigh while watching my face change from knowing to no longer caring. I watched his face smile in the pleasure of being the pleasurer, and felt he was as captivated with me as I was with him. He snapped the last hold of the thong away from my foot and tossed them aside. His hands returned to my skirt and he proceeded to fold my skirt up until it revealed the delicate labyrinth doorway to the realm of my female sexuality – the perfect machine to bring one to perfect lift and flight through heights of unimaginable release. He did not open my legs. Instead, he stepped back, studying my body in its entirety, memorizing every mound and valley, the sinuous curves and the paradise that he was about to enter upon. I watched his hands as they found his opened button and moved quickly to the zipper that stopped me earlier. Down with the zipper and he grasped the top of his jeans and moved them off of his body in one easy movement. He whisked them aside like a matador whipping his cape in the face of the bull. He stood tall and svelte, arrogant and self-assured, he had somehow removed shoes and sock, underwear, and anything else that obscured his body without my ever taking note of it. The illusion broadened.
No words. I trembled with anticipation and with complete exposure to the night and anyone who might pass by, but I did not dwell on those possibilities. I was still enraptured here and awaiting the connection that was sure to define the petit morte’ I had read so much about but had never fully experienced.
He stood gleaming in the light from the street behind him, his skin even and without blemish, muscles taut and his breathing audible. He would need no assistance from me in preparing for the moment of connection. He was fully erect with the most beautiful member I had ever seen. A god stood before me and would soon take me. The hour was golden. He walked steadily toward me and with one leg between mine and one still supporting him from the ground beside the bench, he gently opened my thighs until my knees were bent and turned out to accept him. He paused once again to study the objet d’art that was his; the spoils of the game.
I looked away, embarrassed by his intense obsession with my sexuality there. He leaned over, kissed my mouth deeply, and then looked intently into my eyes and said, “Do not look away – be pleasured by the pleasure I receive from devouring you with my eyes before I devour you with my lust.” I nodded with understanding and never took my eyes off of him again.
He parted the outer lips and bent to kiss the organ of his affection. Then he parted the inner lips and moved to focus on the smallest mound of sensitivity with acute dexterity and control. My thighs shook from the measure of his abilities and at once I thought the moment of my death had come… when he reduced the pressure and quickness of his tongue and returned me to a slower burn.
What would he do next? This tease was becoming torturous and unbearable. He took one knee into his arm and lifted it out even further and entered upon me with such precision that there was no fumbling, no momentary search for the sweetest spot, no awkward movements to prepare for the coitus that never seemed to go well and usually ended in both lovers heaped across the bed and tangled together. No, he was smooth; he knew his art and had perfected the entry into his woman’s soul without any such blunder or miscalculation.
I could feel him throbbing inside of me just as I was sure he could feel the involuntary contractions from the walls within. He began to move slowly, still holding one leg up and out and with the other hand steading the other leg open and down. My hips wanted to meet his in some synchronicity but I did not take my eyes off of his and awaited his command to begin.
As he began to move harder and faster, his hand slid down to caress my buttock as I pointed my toes and wrapped my upper leg around him as if I could hold him there and never let go. His hand softly rubbed the contours of my buttock and suddenly, without warning, his faced changed from peaceful and content to determined and on the edge of insanity as his hips thrust forward harder and faster, his passion consuming both of us, and I could not look away. His eyes were fixed on mine as if his only fear was missing the moment of my release. On and on we fucked, his penis angled to reach my clitoris with each thrust and the tension mounted into a fevered pitch… eyes never leaving each other as I fought to keep my head upright as the surge of electrical current filled my stomach and down into my loins, the rush removed my breath and I was falling, falling, falling….
At the same time, he came closer and covered my mouth with his and breathed life back into my soul and then he turned a reddish-brown with sweat wringing from his face and upper torso, his moment had come and I could feel him fill me with his life force in a cluster of convulsive explosions.
He did not collapse onto me. He sturdied himself and kept his eyes on mine, heaving breath after breath and smiling down at me.
His milk was now running out of me and onto the bench, then onto the concrete below. It had felt like a magnum in force and in content.
It was at that moment I heard it, the bus! I could hear it braking a few blocks away and knew that soon it would be turning the corner two blocks up before stopping here.
He heard it as well and offered me his hand to help me up from my prone position. He helped me to stand and while I buttoned my blouse he found my thong and had pulled it up perfectly and then rolled my skirt back down into place. I looked around for my heels and could hear him moving about, assuming he was busily putting himself back together as I saw the bus turn the corner and watched as the headlights frame this small enclosure. I felt him from behind, lift one foot and place the shoe on, then the other; I stepped down into each shoe to distribute my foot evenly inside each before stepping forward to meet the door.
The door opened with a clang, the driver didn’t seem to notice anything and I let out a sigh of relief and a bit of a devilish grin as I turned to reach for his hand.
“Ma’am, I have other stops, are you going to board?”
I was frozen in disbelief, unable to speak or move; shocked.
“Lady?” the driver offered, “Are you okay? Do you need some help?”
I stood looking to the back of the enclosure where I had just experienced something… unexplainable. I didn’t understand.
At this point the driver locked the brakes and came down the steps to where I was standing, “Do you need a ride or can I call someone for you? You don’t look so good.”
I turned to face the driver and replied, “No. I… I’m okay. I think. Can you help me up the step?” I kept looking behind me in disbelief and confusion. What the hell just happened here? I took my seat at the very back of the bus and watched out the window as we pulled away. There on the side of the plexi-glass was an advertisement for a cell phone and that man… that man, there… with the intense blue eyes that were looking into mine just moments ago… he was looking down at his phone totally unaware, uninterested and unreal.
Not real. How could he not be real? I reached under my skirt and felt the residue left from our chance encounter…. It was real. I remember his smell, his taste, everything. I memorized it just like he told me to.
As the bus moved further and further away, I began to wonder and question everything that had just happened. The only real evidence was the moisture that still emanated from … there.
I brought my moistened fingers up to my nose and smelled the aroma – it was mine… my smell, my fluid that was still moistening me there. There was no residual essence of him anywhere on me, no smell, no sweat, no excrement from this chance encounter.
I looked behind me once more as the image of the man on the cell phone fell out of view.
What just happened, I thought to myself.
I caught a glimpse of the driver watching me in his rear-view mirror. He was laughing and shaking his head. Laughing and just shaking his head.

Fiction: "An Agent of Chaos" by Jeremy Void

"An Agent of Chaos"
Fiction by Jeremy Void

I was 18 and I was dating Samantha; this was very early on in our ten-year stint together. I went down to Beverly, MA, which was where she’d grown up, even though currently she lived in a dorm room for college in Boston.
We chilled all day long, met up with her two best friends, Brett and Loren, who seemed joined at the hip, what with the fact that they were practically insepara¬ble—they were a package deal, in a way—and both of whom were my friends, as well, since they frequented the Punk rocks shows in Boston that Saman¬tha and I went to. We got someone to buy us booze and we went down to the Dane Street Beach, where we met up with some of her friends from what they re¬ferred to as the Dane Street Crew—a group of teenage delinquents, drug addicts, drunks, and peddlers that frequented the Dane Street Beach…. Now, this was a fairly big deal cuz this was Samantha’s first night in Bev¬erly since moving into her dorm last fall, and the whole crew assembled rather quickly following our sur¬prise ap¬pearance, and before long we were shrouded by teenagers of the metalhead/stoner/skater variety except for me, Samantha, Loren, and Brett, of course, the four of us bringing forth a Punk rock edge to the scene tonight. I didn’t know anybody other than Sa¬mantha and her two best friends, Loren and Brett; and it started to get rowdy very fast. We were drinking; I didn’t know anybody’s name. We were smoking weed; I stuck by Samantha’s side as she introduced me to all of her peeps, name after name after name completely forgotten in a drunken, delirious haze….
Soon enough, BJ himself showed up on the scene, a big dude who I found out was 22, which rendered him clearly older than the rest; and I hopped inside Sa¬mantha’s car as she drove it behind a bunch of oth¬ers, with Brett and Loren at our rear, a line of four or five or six cars staggering up and down side streets, completely out of sync with one another—side to side, left to right, back and forth. We purred softly in a drunken, belligerent state…. The whole crew was out tonight, and to them I was just a face¬less nobody who dated the queen of the evening.
I lowered the raging volume that projected Punk rock through small, tinny speakers and asked, or more like slurred, “Where are we going?”
“You’ll see,” Samantha said, with a devious grin that made me love her all the more.
I watched the cars in front of us slide left and right as we followed them down more side streets, then we cut a sudden right and the road got bumpy all of a sudden for another five minutes, before the cars in front of us scattered like marbles all being re¬leased at once and Samantha pulled the car to a stop. She shut off the en¬gine, and I could barely see any-thing around us, what with the abrupt lack of headlights that previously showed me wilderness, miles af¬ter miles of it. But now we were cast into com¬plete black¬ness, until the first round light flick¬ered and flashed and connected with the dirt and gravel like a miniature spotlight, and within minutes we had six or seven flashlights leading us up a dirt road that was blocked off to the flow of traffic by a horizontal pole. I stood beside Sa¬mantha; neither of us had a flashlight on hand- - -we just let the inertia pull us up through the dark woods that curved and rose higher as we delved deeper and deeper into the woods. Brett and Loren followed suit, maybe five or six strides be¬hind us. The walk took about ten to fifteen minutes, during which not too much chatter was exchanged be¬tween us—we were all just relentless on getting to the top, or to wherever it was that we were heading.
Up ahead I saw a flickering glimmer of light. As we got nearer to the source, it grew in volume and in brightness and slowly the flashlights started to cut out.
The fire had already been started by a few who had come up here earlier, and there were a few thirty racks of PBR sitting there for the taking, all ready for our arrival at this dilapidated shack set here in the middle of the woods, with a makeshift firepit in the middle. I guess BJ was re¬sponsible for bringing the beer, I was told later on, as that was his job when the Dane Street Crew got together, since he was the oldest, the only one, in fact, even old enough to buy. BJ made me shortly after our arrival; he approached me and Samantha and told me his name and held out his hand to shake.
I said, “St. Chaos.”
I took his hand in my own, and he just held it there for a moment.
“St. Chaos?” he responded back to me, with a playful smirk.
“Well, it’s Jeremy, actually,” I added. “St. Chaos is just what they call me in the city.”
Then BJ shook my hand, even though my own was dead in his grip—I was just too drunk to give a shit about a proper, firm handshake by this point.
He was very eager to show me all of his scars from his days as a back¬yard wrestler. “Got this one from barbed wire,” he said, directing me to the jagged line running down his shoulder blade. “This one from when I got a wooden chair smashed across my back,” he said, lifting his shirt a few inches to show me the haphazard assortment of cuts and welts running across his lower back. He was big and fat folded over his belt line, but not in a way that suggested he was out of shape, though, for the fat seemed fairly locked in place by the muscles that ran beneath.
I just nodded and said, “Cool,” even though it didn’t really faze me that much. I figured this must be just a rite of passage to hang out with their crew, so that before I could join in it must be known to me that BJ was a badass who should not be reckoned with….
So I just nodded and feigned an interest. When he got done proving him¬self to me, he shouted: “Hey, Sa-mantha!” Samantha snapped to attention at the sound of his voice. He directed to the woods with his head, and said, “Come help me gather firewood.”
“Sure thing,” she said, and off they went, vanishing into the dark¬ness. I grabbed myself a beer and sat beside this wiry kid in a gray T-shirt. Eventually a bowl was being passed around and I took a hit. Then passed it on to the next person who wanted it. The wiry kid said to me, looking straight ahead, not even making an attempt to face me while he spoke—he said: “You know, BJ’s gonna fuck your girl¬friend.”
I smirked. Didn’t know how I should react.
“I’m not kidding,” the kid said, deadpan serious, still staring off in the distance. “He fucks all of our girlfriends.”
I said to him: “I’m not worried about it,” even though I was, very much so. Never even occurred to me until after he had said it, but once he did, the thought wouldn’t leave me alone.
“I’m not trying to scare you or anything; it’s just a fact.”
“Whatever, dude,” I said, trying to play it cool as he got up and van¬ished into the teeming masses sur¬round¬ing the fire.
I took a swig of the PBR in my hand, hoping to relin¬quish this growing anxiety creeping into my head. Nah, Samantha’s not gonna fuck him, she’s not that kind of a chick.
But then again, how much do I really know about her, anyway?
She and BJ returned with a heaping pile of firewood and Saman¬tha had a great big drunken smile plastered to her face: these were her people and she was having a blast—it was good to see her so happy; I’m glad she felt so free and uninhibited.
So free and uninhibited….
So Free and Uninhibited….
SO FREE AND UNINHIBITED….
This wasn’t gonna end well, I knew. I smoked more, drank more, trying to escape the lingering fear that just wouldn’t go away. I saw the wiry kid in the gray T-shirt get into an argument with BJ. Without wasting any time BJ slugged him across the face. He stumbled back and nearly fell. Regained his compo¬sure and, with his head bowed, walked away. Guy ap¬proached me from behind and said, “BJ’s such a prick. We only let him chill with us because he’s old enough to buy us booze. I just wish some¬body would stand up to him for once.” I looked away from where BJ had punched the kid and made eye contact with the guy be¬side me, who had long, flowing black hair. He said, “Don’t look at me, dude.” Then turned around and helped himself to another beer.
When the fire started to die down again, he and Sa¬man¬tha went back out into the woods to fetch some more firewood.
They were gone much longer this time and those relent¬less worries started to overtake me again. I searched the crowd for my two other comrades, that is Loren and Brett, but when I didn’t see them amid the sea of faces I wondered where they had gone to. Must have ducked out early, I mused; probably to go fuck each other senseless.
Samantha and BJ emerged from their gathering of firewood and I grabbed Samantha and laid on her a drunken kiss that persisted for a few moments longer, and then when our lips came apart I asked her the trou¬ble¬some question that had been spinning spi¬derwebs of doubt all throughout my mind whenever she had gone into the woods with BJ: “What’s your relationship with BJ?”
“We’re just friends,” she told me.
“Really?”
“Yeah, really,” she assured me.
“He’s never tried to fuck you before?”
“Only once, years ago,” she said. “He wouldn’t let me drive home, said I was too drunk, and tried to lead me to his own bed to sleep it off—or so he said—but I took off anyway.” I flashed her a fear-soaked grin, which I could tell she picked up on right away, be¬cause she added quickly: “Re¬ally, you’ve got noth¬ing to worry about.” Then she leaned in and laid a hard kiss on me, even harder than the one I had laid on her.
She went off on only one more firewood gathering mission before the party started to die down and we decided to leave. On the walk back down the dirt road her mood seemed to have changed drasti¬cally and I picked up on it right away.
“You all right?”
“Yeah I’m fine!”
“You sure?”
“YESSSS!” she snapped at me, and that definitely did not satisfy my na¬ture which was to wanna help and talk to my friends who were strug¬gling.
We arrived at her car and got in. Once inside it all spilled out of her.
“BJ’S SUCH A FUCKIN ASSHOLE!”
“Why, what happened??” I said, hoping maybe I could cheer her up by talking to her about it and then maybe she’d feel a little bit better.
“He forced himself on me!”
“Wait.. what??”
“Yeah, he kept trying to kiss me and I kept saying No and then the last run for firewood he grabbed me and fuckin forced himself on me!”
“WHAT THE FUCK????” I shouted.
I ran down my options in my head—the guy had said somebody needed to stand up to him———but no, I was too small, too weak, and I lacked the necessary fighting skills. I needed a weapon, is all. I just couldn’t let him get away with this.
Then it hit me that a few weeks earlier Samantha had gotten some¬thing lodged in between the seats of her car and she needed to use a steak knife to retrieve the item, and the steak knife was still in the car, just shoved between the two front seats. I reached my hand between the seats, and just as I thought, it was still there. I retrieved it and hurried back into the woods.
From behind me I heard: “JEREMY, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DO¬ING????”
Now, a little farther away and quieter: “JEREMY, YOU’RE GONNA GET YOURSELF KILLED!!!”
Now, even farther: “JEREMY, I’M NOT GONNA ATTEND YOUR FUN——!”
The voice cut out and I caught sight of the ebbing flame. It was getting closer, and then I arrived back on the scene, and there were only a few kids left, BJ himself included.
BJ spat: “Kid, what the fuck are you doing back out here??”
“What the fuuuck is your problem, dude?” The knife was hidden up my sleeve.
“Kid, you better get the fuck out of here before I kick your fuckin ass.” He chuckled, then turned to the few kids left out here. “Can someone walk this fuckin kid outta here before I kick his fuckin ass.”
“BJ!” I spat at him. “You’re a fuckin prick!”
He said, “WHAT!!!”
His whole body whirled and out came his fist clenched and ca¬reening straight for my face. I stepped back, let the fist pass me by; it brushed past me mere inches from my face and out came the knife and I lunged at him and jammed the knife in his neck, just above his collar bone. He fell back flailing and I mounted him and continued to swing and stab and slash and punch. Then I no¬ticed I was holding only the handle of the knife in my hand and the blade was no¬where to be found. I dismounted him and tossed the handle into the woods.
Made a B-line back down the dirt road.
From behind me I heard a gentle voice call out from the dark¬ness: “Hey, kid, wait up.” The voice was soft but still I thought it might be BJ’s. I whipped around, ready for more, when I saw a short, somewhat chubby kid hurrying out of the darkness. When he reached me, short of breath, he said, “Holy shit, dude! That was badass! I’ve never seen anyone stand up to BJ like that. That was fuckin crazy!”
I shrugged and my anxiety and my rage started to settle down.
“Hey, you!” I heard then.
My head swung around and a fist crashed into my face. I stumbled backwards and then another fist came and I dropped to my back.
BJ said: “I better never fuckin see you out here again!!!”
He walked away and disappeared into the darkness. I had no fight left in me at that point. The chubby kid helped me up and walked me back to Samantha’s car.
He said one last time: “Dude, that was fuckin crazy!”
I got into Samantha’s car and she was absolutely frantic. “I thought he fuckin killed you!” she shouted, more out of concern than anything else. “Are you okay? What happened?”
“I’m fine!” I told her, wiping away the thin line of blood dripping out of my nose.
She said: “I didn’t know what to fuckin do! I even called your mom!”
Shit! I thought.
We started out of there and she gave me a ride back to my hometown, Newton, MA.
About a quarter of the way there she received a phone call.
“Hello?” she said into the receiver.
Silence. She was listening.
Then she turned to me and said: “Did you stab BJ in the neck?”
I blushed and said nothing.
“He’s being rushed to the hospital. He lost a lot of blood. What the hell were you thinking??”
I said nothing and the tenseness festered for the rest of the ride.
I found out later that BJ had lived. The knife had gotten lodged in his neck to stop the bleeding some.
Although that didn’t last for very long though, as a few years later he was stabbed to death for forcing himself on the wrong dude’s girlfriend. The kid who had done the stabbing is still in jail, last I checked. To think, that could have been me….

***

For years after the event, kids would come up to Sa¬mantha at the mall—kids she didn’t even know herself—and say: “Hey, aren’t you the girl who dated that crazy guy from that one night? Your boy¬friend’s hero.” Although I never really felt like a hero—just an agent of chaos, is all.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Article: "Christian Hypocrisy Lives" by Damien Lee Thorr

Christian Hypocrisy Lives
Article by Damien Lee Thorr

I have never been at all surprised by the hypocrisy of religious people. Particularly, dumb christians. Christians are always quick to judge others when they are flawed themselves with behavioral inconsistencies and after years of observation, their conduct doesn't appear to improve. They are unable to see the monsters in their mirrors.
Several years ago I landed a job as a music teacher at a local lutheran school, teaching music and music theory to grades K through 12. The behavior of the kids in that school was not what I expected. The vast majority were oppositional, belligerent, disrespectful and the white ones even blatantly racist, mocking those who spoke Spanish.
One 15 year old in particular, Conn Errico, seemed to go out of his way to be difficult and oppositional without any provocation. Being a teacher who likes to make a difference with children, I didn't take it personally and looked into his background and discovered that his father was in prison for drug related crimes and his mother had died when he was only six. Feeling sorry for him, I offered him a weekend job, working as my assistant as a luthier, building guitars by hand. This gave us both an opportunity to get better acquainted and his disrespectful behavior stopped.
I have always been open about my atheism, even at the school. They knew prior to hiring me that I am an atheist but hired me anyway. Errico claimed that jesus was his savior and prided himself in that and even took moments of prayer in school and read his bible. I even asked him why he resorted to rude behavior, adding the sub question of whether his jesus would approve of such conduct. Atheist or not, I set an example of seriousness for life, consequences of actions and just generally being kind.
Once I left the job, I learned that Errico had dropped out of school and had resorted to drug dealing. I tried communicating with him when I heard this but was unsuccessful at convincing him to return to school.
In March 6, 2020, Lacharles Jean, age 16, wanted to buy some marijuana and sent a message to “Weed Connoisseur” via Instagram, but before the deal was done he would be running for his life, said Broward sheriff’s officers.
Video footage of the surveillance cameras at the condo located at at 1335 S. Dixie Highway in Deerfield Beach, FL, show Jean was chased down and shot to death in the back about 1:20 a.m. 
Conn Christian Errico and Christopher Michael Snyder, both 19, have been charged with Jean’s murder.
Errico was arrested April 29 and accused of pulling the trigger. Snyder was arrested March 27 for driving Errico to Jean’s home in the Deerfield Palms Condominiums.
Conn Christian Errico, 19, was ordered held without bond in the Broward County Jail charged with the murder of Lacharles Jean.
According to the arrest reports, Errico and Jean had arranged the meeting through their Instagram accounts. Errico’s account was named “Weed Connoisseur” and it featured pictures of cannabis in clear plastic baggies among other items.
Snyder and Errico exited a silver 2015 Toyota Prius and talked with Jean. After a few minutes, Jean punched Errico in the face and quickly ran off.
Snyder got behind the wheel and Errico got in the passenger side of the vehicle and drove after Jean.
Several surveillance cameras mounted around the complex recorded the chase and shooting on video. The Prius sped away as Jean lay wounded on the ground.
Broward county Detectives identified Errico and Snyder through their Instagram accounts and through other “clients” who contacted Errico via “Weed Connoisseur.”
It is unlikely Errico will ever be released into society due to the Florida 10-20-life law. For those unfamiliar with it, this is how it works:
Commit a crime using a gun, it’s a mandatory 10 year sentence.
Pull the trigger during a crime, it’s a mandatory 20 year sentence.
Harm or kill someone, mandatory life sentence. 
This is what christianity is: 
Hypocrisy
Lack of accountability
An arrogant sense of entitlement
and just plain stupidity

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Full Length Review: Dispyt "Under Tiden Jag Sålde Min Själ Till Satan" (Immortal Frost Productions) by Dave Wolff

Band: Dispyt
Country: Finland
Genre: Blackened crust punk
Full length: Under Tiden Jag Sålde Min Själ Till Satan
Format: Digital album, jewel case CD (limited to 1000 copies)
Label: Immortal Frost Productions
Release date: December 11, 2020
After the progressive and experimental albums I’ve listened to recently and occasional forays into classic sixties and seventies rock, it’s refreshing to hear something out that’s raw, dirty and obnoxious while offering no excuses for being so. It is what it is, and Dispyt is to listen to when you simply don’t give a fuck about musical convention or subtlety. “Under Tiden Jag Sålde Min Själ Till Satan” is a skull crushing exercise in how much noise a band can make and how much they can offend anyone and everyone within earshot in the process. This ain’t Ozzie and Harriet music as one might say, but if rock and roll defines subcultures with a sense of belonging from baby boomers to millennials this Finland band fits the bill. Especially if you listen to Discharge, Sore Throat, Brujeria and The Crown on a consistent basis. The attitude that fuels this album, as much as their 2017 debut “Den Ständigt Närvarande Ångesten” is, if you don’t find it appealing, fuck you. If you do find it appealing, fuck you anyway. That musicians and bands still cop this attitude is testimony that there remains a need for it, along with their reflections on angst, depression, addiction, and societal judgment. Some things never change, and we should appreciate bands who come along to kick complacency exactly where it hurts. Even recited in their home language, all this comes through loud and clear. There is not a moment of capitulation or efforts to soften the blows this album puts forth, not in the abrading musicianship or the rasping vocal fry. This isn’t to say the intensity Dispyt display is not tempered by professionalism, as the instruments are tight and the production is scrubbed by the rough-hewn execution of these songs, without becoming too glossy. For all these reasons I liked this album instantly and wouldn’t be surprised if it got regular rotation on my playlist. So what are you waiting for? Give this a listen as soon as you can if you seek total sonic annihilation. –Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Owe Inborr: Drums, guitars, vocals
Juuso Englund: Guitars, vocals
Mathias Lillmåns: Bass, vocals

Track list:
1. Filtrera Min Världsbild
2. Ditt Förvärv, Mitt Fördärv
3. Total Jävla Ångest
4. Vad Var Det Nu Igen Man Borde Ha Varit
5. Jag och Demonen
6. Verkligheten Kallar
7. Ödmjukhetens Hand
8. Sluta Döma
9. Utslagen och Sönder
10. Under Tiden Jag Sålde Min Själ till Satan
11. Avklarad och för Länge Sen Glömd
12. Mannen i Slips
13. Skenhelighetens Monotoni

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Interview with Zach Vazum of Vazum by Dave Wolff

Emily and Zach
Interview with Zach Vazum of Vazum by Dave Wolff

Vazum describes themselves as a deathgaze band. How do you define deathgaze as a genre and how does it differ from most subgenres incorporating goth rock, industrial and post-punk?
Deathgaze is a new genre and it is yet to be defined. I think it could go in different directions as we progress. Currently, we see it as a combination of the layered, shoegaze wall of sound and the raw, heavy riffs of deathrock or metal. We find it difficult to fit within the confines of goth rock, industrial or post-punk because those genres have already been so well defined by our icons and heroes that there isn’t much room to breathe. We see new bands mimicking the revered bands of the past and we see record labels pushing safe sounds. Familiarity makes sense for those trying to fit an algorithm. But we are creating our own algorithm.

What is the lineup of Vazum and who were the bands you previously worked with?
I’m on vox/guitar and Emily is on vox/bass. We use a drum machine live, and when recording we both play synth and I play drums. About ten years ago I played drums in a Detroit band called FUR, which was my formal introduction to the post-punk world. We made a few albums and I contributed to some of the writing process. Previously I had been in more ’90s sounding bands. After FUR ended in 2013 I played with a bunch of Detroit acts, including George Morris and the Gypsy Chorus, Le Voyage, Visitors, and After Dark Amusement Park. Most recently I’ve been drumming for a band called The Muggs who I went to Spain with in 2018 for a month-long tour. 

Was Emily playing in any bands before Vazum was formed? In what ways does your experience contribute to your present band?
Emily grew up in Los Angeles and was indoctrinated into the early deathrock scene, sneaking into clubs such as Whisky a Go Go. This early exposure is a strong part of Emily’s DNA which she brings to the VAZUM sound. In Detroit, Emily sang and played bass in several bands, the most notable being The Fontanels and Grenadine. Both groups played locally but Emily became disillusioned with certain aspects of the scene and decided to instead focus solely on her own company, Raven Eve Jewelry. Through Raven Eve she has met some of her heroes, such as Courtney Love and Ogre from Skinny Puppy, which has helped fuel her artistic ambition and express herself with VAZUM.

How did you hook up with Emily and what differences were you beginning to see in Vazum’s sound when she started working with you?
Me and Emily met through mutual friends in 2019. We were part of the same scene and going to the same clubs. We sang karaoke every week. I didn’t know she was a musician until later on. We started out by recording demos of a few songs Emily had written. Then when things went south with the bassist who had been playing with VAZUM, Emily stepped in for live shows. It wasn’t until the Spring of 2020 when we really started writing and collaborating together that I realized what a unique talent Emily is and how much she has to offer. First with lending vocals to the “Vampyre Villa” songs and then writing the “Rated V” album.

Did Emily have professional training before joining Vazum, or is she mostly self-educated? 
Emily’s parents are jazz musicians. Her mom is a singer and her dad is a guitarist. She had no choice but to listen to Mahavishnu Orchestra and be told about flat 9 chords. She took piano and violin lessons but was never formally trained as a vocalist. She is mostly self-taught. 

At what point after Vazum formed did you begin to develop something that sounded different from most goth rock, industrial and post-punk? 
We began to develop the deathgaze sound in early 2020 after I played a demo version of “Embers” for Emily and she said it was the most exciting thing she’s heard in a long time. That was a defining moment that shaped the rest of the “Vampyre Villa” album. Emily later coined the term deathgaze while we were recording the song “Rat”. She added whispery vocals in the chorus which gave it more of a My Bloody Valentine feel over the top of the heavier guitars and drums, and proudly stated ‘this is deathgaze’.

How does the term “deathgaze” represent the nuances of the band’s musicianship?
Though we sometimes use electronic drums and keyboards we like to maintain an organic sound. The tempos are not perfectly on time, the instruments don’t exactly line up with each other and there are flaws in the performances. This keeps it real and raw for us. The organic element is a big factor for deathgaze. We like the sound of acoustic drums and often play them atop electronic beats. We layer the guitars and lean heavily on dissonance. Many of the songs shift keys. I and Emily both sing, sometimes in unison and sometimes in different lines.

Do the organic elements you described give the music a chaotic feel that sets Vazum apart from other bands of your genres?
Yes, the chaotic or sometimes nervous energy is an important part of the deathgaze sound. It seems a lot of artists are relying so much on programmed beats and backing tracks that their music sounds cold and lifeless. I am a fan of the cold and lifeless sound but it’s just not what we’re interested in. I grew up on the 90’s bands who played their instruments and had their own identity like Soundgarden and Jane’s Addiction. I always gravitate towards real instruments. That said, we are working on an electronic album. 

How many different directions can deathgaze take as you refine your sound? How much potential for growth does the band see for the long haul?
It’s pretty open-ended. We’ve been scheming up an electronic, EBM style album, but first we’re going to release a more straight-ahead post-punk album called V+ which we’re almost done recording. Lately, I’ve been more into thrash metal and I see the aggressive, fast-paced guitars and drums creeping more and more into our music. We haven’t delved much into the industrial, sample-based side of things either, which I think we’ll also start to explore as well. We anticipate a lot of growth over the next few years, within the underground music scene and beyond. The possibilities are limitless. We’re in a good position in terms of being to record albums and produce our own videos and content. We’re just going to keep hammering away and making music that we are proud of.

Are you considering other genres to draw from as Vazum expands their horizons, such as dark ambient music or doom/death metal?
Yes, we are going to explore the various genres of metal and incorporate it into our music. I have a definite sound in my imagination that we have not yet achieved, one that is difficult to describe but very heavy on the doom side of things. We have only just begun using keyboards and can go in a more synth-driven direction as well. We’ve even discussed taking some jazz standards and playing them in our style. The possibilities are endless. 

Discuss the releases Vazum has come out with since the beginning and their importance to the development of Vazum’s sound.
“Fall Guy” was a Joy Division sounding song that sort of launched the VAZUM project. It’s the first song I released as VAZUM and gave me the confidence to move forward. The debut self-titled album was a way of proving to myself that I could write and perform as a leader. The second album “Void” was more of a band effort and a good method to further my songwriting. The third album “Variant” featured two Bauhaus covers which really opened up my eyes to the nuances of Daniel Ash’s guitar playing and Peter Murphy’s lyrics and vocals, both being a big influence on me since. Our fourth album “Vampyre Villa” was the beginning of deathgaze and Emily’s introduction to the band. “Rated V”, our Halloween album was a collaboration between me and Emily in which we created in the moment and were free to experiment and have fun. And “Vazumnacht”, our most recent dark Holiday EP, is also a collaboration that gave me and Emily the freedom to try different ideas and get more into electronic drums and synths.

Did Vazum have different lineups on their earliest releases before Emily joined or was it primarily a solo effort?
I recorded two albums, Void and Variant with my friends Zachary Anderson on guitar and Michael O’Connor on bass. The three of us were the core of the band for about two years and we wrote some songs together. We tried a handful of drummers for live shows but none of them work out. Then I played drums and sang for shows before abandoning live drums altogether and using the drum machine. 

What Halloween-based themes did the band draw upon for “Rated V”? Were they themes or horror or urban legend or something else altogether? 
Emily is a horror film savant, with some of her favorites being “Suspiria”, “The Thing” and “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”. “Rated V” began with an impromptu screenplay that Emily wrote, interweaving the stories of a clown, werewolf, vampire, Frankenstein girl and witch. We down-tuned our guitars and started jamming ideas. We decided which riff would fit for each character. Then wrote lyrics based on Emily’s screenplay.

How involved was the storyline Emily wrote for “Rated V”; how well did the characters relate to each other and how did the music you composed reflect the lyrics?
The story is about two pages long. It begins with a clown and a fortune teller at a carnival. A troubled man is in the fortune teller’s tent. He bears the mark of a pentagram on his hand. When the fortune teller sees this she exclaims ‘the mark of the beast’ and quickly banishes him. The man is startled and runs off into the night. He finds himself in the moors where he transforms into a Werewolf. After a night of terror he awakens in a graveyard and scurries off. Later that evening an old tombstone in the graveyard is slowly slid to the side and emerges a crusty Vampyre. The Vampyre heads into town and finds himself enchanted by a beautiful young woman who is not alive at all, she is Frankenstein Girl. She later meets a Vampyre hunter at a pub and tells him of her encounter with a Vampyre earlier that night. The Vampyre hunter embarks on his journey but is distracted by an old house where a Witch lives. The Witch then seduces and kills him. We strayed from the storyline when writing the lyrics but we did arrange the songs in order according to the story.

Does “Rated V” offer any new perceptions of classic horror film creatures?
The song “Witch Lich” is unique in that Emily plays the role of the Lich which is usually male. She wrote the lyrics in Latin, through the view of a female necromancer. The other characters are more conventional. We have a deranged clown, werewolf, Frankenstein girl, vampire, and vampire hunter.

Are the traditional roles of vampire and vampire hunter reversed, for example, vampires viewing vampire hunters as evil?
We were thinking about the vampire hunter as the Van Helsing archetype, like in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. So it’s more traditional roles of vampire and vampire hunter.

I read on your Bandcamp that the songs recorded for “Vazumnacht” were inspired by the legend of Krampus. In what ways did the legend inspire you to rewrite Christmas songs with darker themes?
Considering the amount of conflict and unrest in 2020, it only seemed fitting to punish the wicked and wreak havoc on conservative values. What better way than with Krampus laden Christmas carols. Emily was intrigued by the aesthetics of traditional European Krampus costumes and designed our own costumes for which we did a photoshoot and a soon to be released music video for “Unholy Night”. 

Was any research on Krampus or research on the traditional holiday songs you covered involved in recording “Vazumnacht”? How far back did you have to go for accuracy? How much input did you and Emily have into writing the lyrics?
Despite the annual assault of holiday music, I didn’t pay close attention to the songs until I had to play a Christmas show with a band I was in. That forced me to actually learn the music and in the process I began messing around with ideas of my own. I searched for darker holiday songs and came upon the “Batzz in the Belfry” version of “O Holy Night” which inspired me to go in that direction. Once Emily and I began jamming “O Holy Night”, it became clear the lyrics didn’t fit and that’s when we incorporated the Krampus theme. Emily was already well versed with Krampus and brought me up to speed.

Why do you think it took such a long time for the legend of Krampus to resurface as part of holiday tradition, and how do you account for its recent resurgence?
I think America is slow to embrace anything that challenges convention. And some people probably feel threatened by Krampus. They don’t want their Christmas traditions taken away. I had not heard of Krampus until a few years ago when I saw a trailer for one of the Krampus movies. I’m sure the movie has had a big impact. We’ve also seen people in Krampus costumes for Halloween. It’s slowly seeping into the culture. Despite all this, my parents weren’t sure what Krampus was and were a little confused by it.

I’ve heard Krampus mistaken for Satan, much like the horned god of Wiccan and pagan religions. Does the legend’s entry into pop culture have the potential to dispel myths like this?
I think there’s a lot of confusion about Satan, Satanists, and Wiccan and pagan religions. Growing up I learned about Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism in school. I didn’t have exposure to anything outside those religions, but Emily has studied on her own and has made me more aware. I think Krampus could bring more awareness to other folk tales and legends. People are sure to become more interested. 

Describe the promotional video you made for “Carol of the Bells” one of the songs on the Christmas EP and how well the imagery fits the lyrics written for it.
We wanted a rural feel for the video so we drove to some farms and started filming. To our luck, it happened to be a full moon rising and we were there just before sun set. We got some beautiful shots using Emily’s Samsung Galaxy. The colors were very vibrant and clear, and there was a cool graveyard close by. Emily then edited the shots together, but we didn’t have any performance footage. So we later mimed and sang along in my living room in front of some curtains which ended up being a lot of fun. Emily then spent hours and hours editing everything together using three different apps on her phone. We are very happy with the way it turned out. We think it’s our best video yet.

How many promotional videos did the band release prior to “Carol of the Bells”? How do those videos show your creative growth?
I’ve tried making as many videos as I could since the beginning. I thought it would be more engaging for people to have something to watch. I think there are over thirty VAZUM videos on our Youtube channel now. The videos definitely tell the story of the band, with the earlier ones being a solo effort and then incorporating other people over time. Since Emily has joined she has taken the lead on the majority of the videos and has given us a more focused aesthetic.

Assuming most or all of your videos are self-produced, how much creative freedom does making your own videos given you, and how much has the band been able to utilize said creative freedom?
We have complete freedom with the videos. But we are limited to our skillset and the software we’re using. It’s always a work in progress so with each video we learn something new. We have a lot more ideas for videos and are constantly brainstorming and thinking about new shots and concepts. 

What can you reveal in advance about your upcoming video for “Unholy Nite”?
“Unholy Nite” features our Krampus costumes that Emily designed. We had fun getting into character. We prepared a small area for a set, lit dozens of candles, and started filming. The production of the video is more straightforward than that of “Carol of the Bells”. There isn’t any performance footage either.

How soon do you plan to release the video for “Unholy Nite” and how do you plan to promote in on social media outlets?
We plan to release the “Unholy Nite” video in late January or early February. We will post it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. We usually do a Youtube premiere first and then a Facebook premiere.


-Dave Wolff

Monday, January 11, 2021

Flash Fiction: "Fiends and Prayer Books" by Devin Joseph Meaney

Fiends and Prayer Books
Flash fiction by Devin Joseph Meaney

Her knees grew weak and started to buckle as she gazed into a blackened fog. . .But like a lantern lit within darkness, she quickly began to bring light to a shrouded unknown.
''There are many paths to journey on in life,'' she spoke under her breath. ''But those that enter the dark are the most likely to be illuminated. . .and the blackest of crevices and forgotten tombs are the ones that offer the most vibrant spoils.''
She pushed on like a soldier gowned in the most glorious orange, and the only thing brighter than her attire was the flame in her enlightened heart. Again, she spoke:
''No shadows shall consume me or the ones that I love, and no specter or ghoul would dare cross my prayer book. . .and nor shall any fiend or angel of the damned.''

Full Length Review: Fluids "Ignorance Exalted" (Maggot Stomp) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Band: Fluids
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Country: USA
Genre: Death/grind
Full length: Ignorance Exalted
Format: CD, digital
Label: Maggot Stomp
Release date: May 1, 2020
I have once again stumbled upon the Phoenix, Arizona death/grind band Fluids. Again, it is already known to me that I dig this stuff. But it seems as if Fluids have put out a full-length in 2020... and as I was feeling like a trip to the mortuary anyway, I put on my rubber gloves and prepared for a descent into a modern release of death/grind sickness.
First and foremost, I need to state the likeness to Mortician. Not to say that both bands sound exactly the same. But I dare say there is a bit of Mortician influence on this album... and even if it is un-intentional, the overall sound is pulled off well and Fluids manages to rock my cranium with their filthy strings, vocalizations, and demonic percussion.
The vocals are a bit rough and distorted... but as for the guitar and drums everything is absolute mastery. I'd even go out on a limb and state that the programmed drums actually add to the music. I like the way they turned out (maybe I'm a bit biased, I was always pro-machine anyway) and I feel as if organic drums on this may have lessened the sound. (I may be wrong!)
Released May 2020 (cassette, CD, digital and 12" vinyl format) by Maggot Stomp; I encourage fans of the devilishly heavy and distorted to check this out... I mean, you don't need to be the county medical examiner to properly indulge... right? Right? –Devin Joseph Meaney

Lineup:
Cole Jacobsen: Vocals
Jan Grotle: Guitars, bass 
Walter Hale: Synths, programming, recording 

Track list:
1. Extorted
2. Coerced
3. Capped
4. Redacted
5. Quartered
6. Chunked
7. Hammered
8. Smothered

Interview with The Clever References by Devin Joseph Meaney


Interview with The Clever References by Devin Joseph Meaney

Hey guys! Please take a moment to introduce yourselves and your band!
ASH: Hey, I’m Ash. I play guitar and sing.
MEL: I'm Mel and I play bass 🙂
EVAN: I'm Evan and I play the drums.
SAM: I’m Sam and I play the keyboards and do synth stuff.

How long have you all been active? And what can we expect from The Clever References in the near future?
ASH: Well the band started as a two-piece in 1 BC (Before Covid ha ha *cri*) with me and Evan the drummer. Mid-2019, I mean. Originally we were going to White Stripes it but then at the tail end of the year we met Mel who was playing bass in another band and we started jamming. Sam, our synth guy, joined mid-2020 after working with us shooting our “Tell Ben Kate” video. He has so much to add to the sound of the band and he’s a cool bloke to boot, so why wouldn’t we add em? The near future we hope to finally release our EP that has been gestating for quite a while and an album soon after! The material is written and we just need the right time to release, also we might write better songs so keeping and open mind there and...I suppose we’re also waiting on the world to change in a way ha ha.

How did you decide on your band name?
ASH: Well we went through a list of dozens of goofy band names and stuff, all too terrible to share here, but we realized that these were all just “clever references” to movies and pop culture stuff so...why not just “The Clever References”? In a way it’s the ur-band-name isn’t it? Ha ha.

What are some major inspirations and influences for The Clever References?
ASH: For me it’s gotta be White Stripes, Weezer...R.E.M. How bout you guys?
MEL: Tame Impala, Placebo, Glass Animals... But on the bass my influences are quite different. In some ways I've been more influenced by the Motown sound and maybe ...Kim Deal from the Pixies!
EVAN: For me as a drummer, I'd say CAN is definitely a band I take inspiration from. A lot of jazz and afrobeat stuff as well, Art Blakey and Tony Allen in particular. More recently Black Midi has been a band that's influenced my style a bit as well.
SAM: I’m pretty into overblown pop stuff - The 1975 and Charli XCX would be two big examples of that right now.

I found the band through Facebook ads. You caught my attention; but have other people been positive towards the band?
ASH: Oh yeah actually! Before when we could actually stage gigs, people have been super positive on us, it’s just that it’s impossible to gig in the pandemic so we turned to Facebook ads to like “gig” for us and the response has been awesome there as well!

For 2021 and forward. What is the main goal of The Clever References?
ASH: Get the album out yeah, definitely.
MEL: Start gigging again once the Melbourne music scene is back on its feet!
ASH: Oh yeah, like we’re getting restless here haha!
EVAN: I think doing a few more songs will be good, even if we can only play them at small or online shows right now. At the end of the day I think the goal is to make music!

7. Has there been any negative response? Everyone has haters (especially if you are doing something right)... so tell us a story of a time that your audience/fanbase was less than kind? And what do you think is the best way to react to a situation like this?
ASH: A couple of stray comments here and there but nothing we’d care to think about ha ha. You gotta be outta sight, outta mind with “haters”, yknow.

8. What is something you love about the music scene in your area? And what is something you are not pleased with?
SAM: The Melbourne open mic scene’s sort of how I got into performing live, and it’s where I met Ash and Evan for the first time. If I had to single one thing out, there’s a lot of variety - people of all walks of life, all ages, lots of different genres. It’s always fun discovering new artists and their unique aesthetics and such.
ASH: What Sam said ha ha!
EVAN: The music scene around Brunswick (an inner-city suburb of Melbourne) is definitely very active and happening. I guess that's also the biggest downside, because it can be quite competitive at times and it's often harder to get a gig than in other places.
MEL: The Melbourne music scene is so vibrant, I read there are more than 500 live music venues. Well that was before Covid though, things might have changed. It's been really tough for venues and musos here. I wish more government funding had gone to the music scene, as it is a vital part of what makes Melbourne a great city to live in.

9. Do you guys look at music as a career? Or is it just something that you all do for fun?
SAM: I think at the heart of it, we do have fun with it - otherwise it wouldn’t be worth putting the hours and the dedication into everything that goes with being a band. It’s the fun that fuels it into being treated as a career, I guess. ASH: The weird thing was when I was tryharding to get noticed and stuff with my projects before TCR, I didn’t get anywhere...but now that I’m just having fun with TCR, we’re going somewhere! It’s a lotta words just to say, I don’t know anymore.
EVAN: For me it's more something on the side at the moment, but if it ever did look like a career that'd be really cool. 

10. Out of all the songs you have already written... name one that holds a special place in your hearts.
SAM: I’m pretty happy with my parts for ‘Oh No (I’m In Danger)’.
ASH: Oh yeah, “Oh No (I’m in Danger)” is a banger for sure! It’s our upcoming single by the way ha ha.
An older song...I think “Tell Ben Kate” is definitely where the band came together. Sam actually supervised and recorded the audio for our viral “Tell Ben Kate” live vid. It was also the first song to be properly written with Mel as our bassist so yeah...it’s the song that brought us together right, Mel?
MEL: It's our "hit" 😅 When Ash sent us the demo I knew it was going to be a good one because it is very catchy. It was also one of the first songs I worked on when I joined the band and I remember being super excited to add some basslines to it.

11. What is something that needs to be expelled from the music scene as a whole? Racism... sexism... misogyny... anything! What do you guys consider to be ''unacceptable''?
ASH: If you’d ask me from ten years ago, I might have come up with a more passionate, blanket response ha ha. And all the things you mentioned are all counterproductive to actually being in a healthy society let alone a music scene. So I can’t pick just one ha ha.
We as a band always make sure that TCR shows will be an all-inclusive affair as best as we can!

12. Lastly... please spend some time talking about anything (ANYTHING) that you want to talk about that I may have forgotten to ask! No word limit!
ASH: Can’t think of anything to be honest! 

13. Any final comments? *Please drop any and all links and promo here*
Hey so here’s some important info:
We have a new single coming out called “Oh No! (I’m in Danger)” on the 15th of January!
Here’s our press release about it and feel free to use the info in your piece!


Thanks so much! 

-Devin Joseph Meaney