Monday, September 25, 2023

Demo Review: No Way Out "Demo 2023" (Criminalized) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: No Way Out
Location: Los Angeles, California
Country: USA
Genre: Hardcore
Demo: Demo 2023
Format: Cassette
Label: Criminalized
Release date: 2023
Once again with my habit of looking for new punk bands by typing “Punk demo 2023” into the search bar I have come across Demo 2023 by No Way Out! Unlike the last few bands I found this one is pure hardcore revelry! Even though it is coined as punk it is metallic in parts and in places it even has a grind/power-violence/thrash edge. One band that I can really hear while listening to this is Hatebreed! Jamey Jasta would be down like a clown while listening to No Way Out I’m quite sure!
The musicianship is very tight. The guitars are deep and powerful and the drums pound on with an almost machine-like and well orchestrated vibe. The vocals are pure hardcore—and again this is very much in the same vein as something produced by Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta!
This was released on cassette and features six short tracks. You can check that out on Criminalized’s Store Envy or you can just view the band on YouTube or check them out on Instagram! There is not much info in the YouTube bio but I can make a stab that the coined term “LAHC” stands for Los Angeles Hardcore!
So…without further rambling I will just suggest that fans of visceral hardcore check this one out. The release is only short—but it is very solid and is a great “premonition” of “hopefully” things to come! -Devin J. Meaney

Track list:
1. Ego Trip
2. Dreamer's Disease
3. Stomp
4. All My Foes
5. Blitz
6. Cold Game

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Demo Review: Hear It! "Demo 2023" (Death Breath Records) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Hear It!
Country: Indonesia
Genre: Punk
Demo: Demo 2023
Format: Digital
Label: Death Breath Records (Indonesia)
Release date: September 1, 2023
Once again I was feeling the need to consume some punk rock. Also—as usual for my recent music adventures I wasn’t feeling like listening to a full length album. I typed “Punk Rock Demo 2023” into the YouTube search bar and after a brief search I came upon Demo 2023 from the band Hear It!
First and foremost I need to say that I love the guitar tone. It reminds me of something you would hear from one of the early Punk-o-rama albums. Also—aside from the vocals I am reminded of early “The Offspring”. When it comes to the vocals they are very simplistic and “bursting” and they give off a Discharge vibe! The drums are pretty damn tight too!
This was release number 5 from “Death Breath Records”…I have never heard of this label but if this is the kind of stuff they are putting out I would happily support them with their future (and current) endeavors!
The upload of this I found was on the Felopunk account on YouTube. I have definitely listened to my fair share of tunes from this account—and once again they seem to have offered something pretty rad with this one!
And hey! This is from Indonesia! I don’t know too much about Indonesian punk—but this kills it! Give it a listen eh? -Devin J. Meaney

Track list:
1. Burst of Beginning (Intro)
2. Social Warning
3. Paranoid
4. Riot

Full Length Review: Haurun "Wilting Within" (Small Stone Records) by Dave Wolff

Band: Haurun
Location: Oakland, California
Country: USA
Genre: Psychedelic doom metal
Full length: Wilting Within
Format: Digital, CD, limited edition vinyl/download
Label: Small Stone Records
Release date: September 22, 2023
The symbiosis of doom and psychedelia in Haurun is so seductive and haunting that I was instantly captivated. Featuring Lyra Cruz's ethereal vocals atop dreamlike instrumentation, it effortlessly transcends the boundaries created by applying labels to artistic content, allowing you to experience their music at its purest. They possess such grace and elegance that all distinctions between light and dark don’t apply even to the most tenebrous details of their songwriting.
"Wilting Within" is bewitching and heavenly all at once, regardless of whether you classify it as noise pop, grunge, doom, ambient, or what have you. While the band behind Cruz are daimons and saints, she possesses charm, seduction, and a sense of divinity. As Joel Panton and Eliot Rennie formed the band and began writing songs, they combined crushing walls of sound with variations of refinement making it simultaneously confining and unbinding.
As a result of the musical ritual they constructed, you knew you were clearly being seduced, and there was a possibility of darkness awaiting you, but you felt enchanted to the point that you did not want to leave the universe that emerged. "Abyss" begins with a bleakly cyberkinetic overture that is interrupted by something like a glimpse of life as the mood drifts into a doomy atmosphere that persists and intensifies throughout the remainder of the album.
During Cruz's invitation to stay with her without fear, the bass, guitars, and drums play their own roles in painting a tapestry of structure amidst disorder. Towards the end of the album, it becomes evident that she is liberating you from the mundane world, which is tantamount to releasing her from limbo. A long search was conducted by Panton and Rennie to find musicians and a vocalist who would be able to illustrate their inspiration in the manner in which they envisioned. They have found a lineup that works for them, and I hope they stay together long enough to evolve far beyond what they have achieved here, since they have accomplished what most doom bands still strive to achieve. –Dave Wolff

Lyra Cruz: Vocals
Joel Panton: Guitar
Daniel Schwiderski: Guitar
Joel Paul Lacey: Bass
Eliot Rennie: Drums

Track list:
1. Abyss
2. Lost & Found
3. Tension
4. Flying Low
5. Lunar
6. Soil

Monday, September 18, 2023

Interview with KS Hammeraxe of Antihvmano and Toxemia by Dave Wolff

Interview with KS Hammeraxe of Antihvmano and Toxemia by Dave Wolff

What attracted you to playing drums in the black and death metal styles when you became a musician? Do you play other instruments or are you exclusively a drummer?
It all started when I was in sixth grade. I first learned to play guitar but nobody wanted to do the drums back then. So I decided to take the path being the fiend behind the kit. What attracted me to extreme music is its technicalities. The creative yet destructive sound of that machine gun blast and artillery assault on the bass amazes me. I said I wanted to try that. All in all I just want to learn that speed and power and apply it in the kit. Luckily I was able to do so.

In your experience as a drummer, how long did it take you to develop speed and power? Did you learn the various variations of blast beats and fills? In your opinion, is there a certain level of talent and ability required to be a good death or black metal drummer?
It took a lot of practice and experience to achieve the skill that I have right now. When I say experience, I am talking about the musicians that I played with. Being around with good bandmates that are creative also helped me develop my pounding skills. Not just the speed and power but also the style and the approach. Being around creative musicians inside a studio as we jammed or recorded a song made a lot of impact of what I am today in music writing. Different variations of blast fills was learned as I covered some songs to enhance my skills’ also the evolution of how I do my drumming happens most of the time whenever we write new songs. As we try to fit the drum sound to their riffs, I have developed different styles in blast beats and fills. I am still on the path of learning new stuff within the drums. It is a big world of different drum variations and styles and as I play and listen every day, I am still learning. For me there is no certain level of talent to be able to play good black or death metal music. Just be creative, don't play like you are the center of attraction as you write songs, play with your bandmates as one machine, Play as fast as you can, be as eerie as you can on the DOOM parts and make sure that you count hahaha.

Describe the connotations of the name of your band, Antihvmano. Explain how you came up with the band's name and how long it took you to choose it?
Settling for a band name took a while. I never had the full participation but I told them that it should sound something out of pure madness. Something that will not be easy to digest since we are not aiming to really get some “listeners”.

Describe Antihvmano's latest EP, "Impregnated Demon Eyes Gazing Upon a Catholic Rosary Failure", its intended impact, and what you intended to achieve with it.
It all started when M.C called me to do the drums again since they were continuing this project. I can say that one of the intentions I am trying to impose here, personally, is HATE. Basically the lyrics and style of the music of Antihvmano is all about hate, horror and annihilation.

In comparison to most black and death metal bands, Antihvmano's songs are much shorter. Did the band deliberately do this to stand out? Or did the songs just turn out that way?
Well it naturally came out that way. Then we decided to keep it that way. No more additional exaggerated crap. Just straight forward bombardments and artillery fire sound.

In how many of Antihvmano's releases did you contribute to the writing and recording? Why did you decide to leave the band, and what were the reasons behind your decision?
It all started when one of my buddy asked me to record some drum tracks and so I did. I am the guy behind the kit for the two releases they have. Regarding the song writing all I do is the drum part. I just give them some ideas what maybe a good topic to discuss in a song and that's it.

Considering that you live in the Philippines and Antihvmano is from Sweden, how did you go about recording drum tracks and lending them to the band?
Well I record the tracks in the studio and send them the files. They are the ones mixing and editing it.

You mentioned not having much interest in getting many listeners for Antihvmano. Who are you trying to reach in terms of having a fan base, and why is exclusivity important to you?
Nope we are not interested in getting a fanbase. For me personally, playing music is one way to express my hate and madness into this world. If people will hear and dig it, then alright. But no... we, and especially I don't play to impress any crowd. If you see me going fuckin’ crazy on stage, that's me going wild, haha, enjoying what I am doing on the kit hahaha. I just do this for my own fun and satis-fuck-tion. Fuck underground bands seeking the approval of the many!

You are the drummer for the Philippine death metal band Toxemia. In what capacity did you become involved with them, and on how many of their recordings do you appear?
I lost count of all the recordings I was involved with but I started playing for them way back in 2007 as a session drummer. It all became official way back in 2009. So basically all the materials that were recorded and released from 2009 and this up-cum-ing albums will be me hahaha... Watch out!

Since you began with Toxemia, were more extreme metal fans hearing about your work?
That I cannot say. I am a part of the third batch of members of Toxemia. They already had their music spreading around the underground scene when I took the drum throne. Maybe not recorded pro or in a formal studio, but they already had it circling around the demo-tape-CDR trade that was happening earlier before I joined them. With different listeners like people from the punk scene, hardcore scene, grindcore scene, black metal scene, Death metal scene etc. They already established their name as an existing entity in the underground community in and out of that country. Maybe I can say we had some additional listeners when I joined, since we had that chance to write and record more songs and be released in different formats in different countries. Spreading the toxic of our filthy music like plague from the time we recorded our EP “Cavite's Beast” up to this date.

How many releases have you appeared on by Toxemia? The more familiar you became with their approach to playing, how much easier was it for you to work with them? In the same regard, have you benefitted from playing shows with them?
I lost count of the releases that I played drums for Toxemia. We had tons of EPs, Splits, singles and compilations that was unleashed for those years that I am the guy behind the kit. It took me four compositions before I got used to what Toxemia want to really sound like. I have different influences behind the kit that I want to incorporate as I do the drums. From grindcore, black metal to death metal. As a young guy behind the kit you want to cater all these beats and sequence to your composition. But of course you need to balance it where it fits. The benefits on doing the drums for Toxemia is meeting new bands for we are very active when it comes to accepting invites from underground labels, production or local small festivals. I was able to expand my knowledge about the underground scene since I was able to meet more people who shares the same passion.

As a result of your involvement in Toxemia, what are some of the bands, labels, and festival promoters you have come into contact with? Are you finding new opportunities to play some festivals that you have never played before or finding additional labels to distribute Toxemia?
There are too many bands to mention, both old and new. I can say that it was indeed an adventure playing for Toxemia for I was able to share the stage with other bands I looked up to, both local and international bands going on tour. I was able to meet new promoters, fanzine and webzine writers showing interest in having us interviewed or playing at their events. Maybe I can name the top four events on my mind. “Brutal Carnage” for example is one of the local events being held in our country. I was able to witness its start way back when I was in high school. “Hardcore Fest” is just titled as a hardcore fest but all kinds of extreme genres are available on that show. “Zine Fest”! We just played here weeks ago. I was too fuckin drunk that time hahaha! “Aural Massacre” in the north and “Food Not Bombs” in the south. That makes it five events we are invited to yearly. Meeting new labels who helped us release our materials is indeed fun. The cool part is some other labels outside the country and even bands were able to trade their CDs or cassettes with us. Maybe the biggest opportunity for me is that I get to trade some of our records with different labels and bands, both local and international. In that way I get to learn more about the underground scene and the music of other bands we play with.

What other bands have you worked with? Did you play session drums or were you a full member? Are there any releases that best demonstrate your ability to work with them?
I was also involved in other projects but the same instrument, hehe. I was able to do the kit for a grindcore band named “Warat” where during the time that I started doing the drums for them, for I am a part of the second wave of members of the said band, we recorded at least twenty five songs that were released as an EP, a split tape and one full length under different labels, both local and international. I am also the suspect behind the kit for a stoner band named “Shaman's Bud”. We were able to release two demos in CD format and one full length in cassette format under Still Ill Records. As I mentioned, I wanted to do more on drums and extend my capabilities so I formed a two piece project band named “Morgue Attendants” that plays the elements of Black and Death Metal with the help of my good old buddy from Shaman's Bud. We were able to release one EP in CD and in cassette format. In addition to these bands. I did a few sessions with different bands for the past few years for sometimes they are in need of a drummer to play live on shows. For references of the records of those bands I mentioned check out the links below.

In addition to the bands you have worked with in the past and present, are you still on the lookout for new groups to work with?
For now, no. But if a friend offers me to do a short drum track for his songs, why not. As long as we will not be playing live, haha. I am more focused on re-animating the bands I am involved with.

How stable is the club scene in the Philippines, as well as the label and zine industry? Do the majority of Philippine bands seek to be exposed outside their country or do most prefer to remain exclusive? What are some of the zines worth checking out at present?
So far the independent productions/collectives are active nowadays, especially productions behind the hardcore punk scene. Accepting and organizing shows from foreign bands and local bands promoting their albums in forms of tour. Shows being held in different locations but not mainly on clubs. I can say that it is alive and active when it comes to shows and events. Yes of course bands from our country would like to be heard and even play outside our country. Example is Toxemia. We have signed up to different international labels for the reasons of spreading our filthy music to different fiends and ghouls outside the country who shares the same passion with the so called underground scene. To name a few fanzines worth checking out here are some who are still active nowadays: No Bullshit Zine, Tripalium Zine, In Dark Purity Zine, Guttural Sickness Zine, Siege, Gran Peligro, Scrawl Shop, Eargamzine, Manong Fanzine, Molotov Fanzine and Konspirazine.

Assuming the zines you mentioned are still being printed, why has the demand for traditionally produced fanzines not diminished in the Philippines despite the emergence of webzines and podcasts? Does this include young fans of extreme music as well?
They still print hard copies. That is the cool part it. They also have webzines and some of them even do Youtube interviews. I am not aware about the new generation of kids nowadays if they are still buying hard copies of fanzines, but on my end, I still do. For me it’s keeping an archive. We also have “Info shops” in different locations where you can still read hard copies of different fanzines, both old and new.

Which of those zines have you maintained contact with to this day? Is there any exposure given to Philippine bands that you are aware of? Has the print quality remained relatively unchanged or has it improved? Are snail mail fliers still effective in promoting fanzines?
I am still in touch with most of them. The reason is they’re always present on those events I mentioned. The print quality has improved of course, due to Photoshop which is nice! I hope we can send you some of those local fanzines we have here for you to really get a firsthand experience of their writings.

Do the majority of zine editors use Photoshop to print their zines, or do some of them use other programs worth mentioning?
well I know a few who uses Photoshop and some in Microsoft Word format, example is me I use Microsoft Word and way back then a software for news writing back in my office haha. Some zine writers are still practicing using cut and paste collage style which I find more interesting.

Is there anything new coming from Toxemia in the near future? What label or labels will handle the release of the album when it is released? Do you have any information you would like to share with the readers about it, such as the songs recorded for it and who designed the cover art?
We have an upcoming single that will be released by Threshold Records and the cool part is the artwork was done by Glynford Cabarse. We have an up-cum-ing album that will be unleashed by Soulgrinder Zine/Soulgrinder Records. Stand by for more details for that! Haha! Cheers to all our comrades who continues to support our mu-sick globally! Stay intoxicated... and for the rest FUCK OFF and DIE!

-Dave Wolff

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Full Length Review: Deadly Carnage "Endless Blue" (A Sad Sadness Song) by Dave Wolff

Band: Deadly Carnage
Location: Rimini
Country: Italy
Genre: Avant garde post black/doom metal
Full length: Endless Blue
Format: Digital album, A5 digipack CD, gatefold LP
Label: A Sad Sadness Song/ATMF
Release date: September 15, 2023
Due to the presence of promotion companies such as Earsplit PR, I don't have to look hard to find bands offering a variety of extreme music providing a balance between seemingly incompatible elements. As "Endless Blue" combines atmospheric doom, post black metal and progressive rock, Deadly Carnage is one of those bands. While the band is based in Italy, they chose to base their lyrics on Japanese mythology and folklore, incorporating the imagery involved into their songwriting and verses.
Deadly Carnage’s early material leaned primarily toward raw black metal, but the band has always adhered to a lyrical approach to existential concepts and unconventional arrangements. Their insight into the "cult" perspective of black metal was extended into the advanced prog themes which they present on their latest album. There were similar indications to Sunn O))) and Khanate as well as Darkthrone and Burzum. It was from there that they developed something both chaotic and elegant.
This drone-like style remains an integral part of the band's approach to creating memorable music that appeals equally to mainstream and underground audiences. Over the years, the unforeseen breathtaking moods they brought to their songs grew to transcend their own potential without disrupting their continuity. As a result of trial and error, Deadly Carnage came to express themselves through a variety of extreme and progressive techniques while effectively thinning the line between the two.
"Through the Void, Above the Suns" (Aeternitas Tenebrarum Musicae Fundamentum, 2018) is when Deadly Carnage really began to take on deeper esoteric meanings in their lyrics, illustrating them in their song structure. According to my understanding, the concept centers on science, mathematics and the endless cycle of nature. It was their biggest transition from black metal to their current sound and featured shorter songs, as if they were testing their ability to compose with multiple genres and the amount of potential to improve upon. Again, their raw aggression was not replaced; rather redirected through transcendent songwriting.
From a musical and lyrical standpoint, "Endless Blue" is a logical continuation of what Deadly Carnage began with "Through the Void, Above the Suns". In reference to Kabuki theater, traditional tales of the Ayakashi and Umibozu, and the legend of Urashima Tar, they capture the nuances of their research, arranging music to convey the tales as vividly as possible. It is more than just landscapes that is engendered with each song; entire dimensions are catalyzed appearing more real with each listen.
Two promotional videos have been produced by the band to support the album in recent months. There are brief glimpses of this phantasm dimension brought to life by the nonmaterial beings inhabiting it in "Swan Season" and "Moans, Grief and Wails". These are a fitting introduction to the album, illustrating daytime and nighttime, boundless oceans and even greater abysses, inquisitiveness and nightmare, benevolent specters and fiendish revenants. Throughout, these elements are transformed into something so corporeal that it will challenge your understanding of ingenuity in a band on a Promethean level. –Dave Wolff

Alexios: Vocals, guitars
Dave: Guitars, piano
Adres: Bass
Marco: Drums
Mike Crinella: Guest synth, piano, bouzouki, lute, mandolin
The Nemeless Goblin: Guest erhu

Track list:
1. Dying Sun
2. Sublime Connection
3. The Clue
4. Blue Womb
5. Mononoke
6. Swan Season
7. Moans, Grief and Wails
8. Unknown Shores

Friday, September 15, 2023

Full Length Review: Stormkeep "Tales of Othertime" (Ván Records) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Stormkeep
Location: Denver, Colorado
Country: USA
Genre: Medieval black metal
Full length: Tales of Othertime
Format: Digital album
Label: Ván Records
Release date: November 19, 2021
Just before sitting down to write this I was talking to the charming Mr. T of Light’s Go Out Zine! He requested I do some “digging into the archives”…and it just so happened that I was on a musical journey!
Stormkeep’s “Tales of Othertime” is something I listened to when it first came out. I went through a period where I listened to it religiously every few days—but eventually just as most bands do this faded into the past and for a while I had forgotten about it.
Today I have re-found it—and let me tell you this is an amazing piece of musical mastery! The atmosphere alone is enough to send you off on an epic quest within the confines of your cranium! The guitar work is absolutely excellent, the percussion is stead-fast and vicious, the synth work/keys are done well and add to the feel of the album overall and the vocals don’t get old!
Now that I have re-found this I will probably listen to this a handful of times throughout the week and maybe a bit further—and just as before it will probably fade out and be lost to my memory. With that said—it is something that will not be lost completely as it is just that “epic” and after my current and near future listenings at some point in the distance I will listen yet again! This is an amazing album—and fans of melodic black metal should revel in the offerings put forth by Stormkeep. Whether you are going on an epic quest involving goblins and faeries—or if you are just chilling alone in your room—this album is a solid choice and a sure-fire way to blow off some steam! -Devin J. Meaney

Grandmaster Otheyn Vermithrax Poisontongue: Vocals, guitars, keyboards
Tyrannos Apokteino Skiophonos Stormward: Guitars
Phantom Emperor Nebula Husk: Bass
Lord Dahthar the Abyssic: Keyboards
Count Victor Wolfsblood: Drums

Track list:
1. The Seer
2. The Citadel
3. A Journey Through Storms
4. The Serpent's Stone
5. An Ode To Dragons
6. Eternal Majesty Manifest

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Poem: Untitled by Jeremy Void

Jeremy Void

Events pass us
so fast
and soon become
just another memory
to add to the collection

So don’t take
things for granted
the good
or the bad
because before you know it
it’ll be gone
lost in history’s void

Poem: "Breaking Glass" by Jeremy Void

Breaking Glass
Jeremy Void

I threw the bottle in the air and swirling and spiraling it came straight down crashing on the train tracks and this guy at the scene scolded me for it, saying I can’t do that, and I said: But who? me? He threatened to call the police and me and DP took off to his house, to store the butterfly knife I had just gone and bought him since he was too young to buy one himself. I wore a black hoody with the hood pulled over my head and as we came back out and hit the street I saw Harry over there standing by the corner next to some other kid a foot taller and I picked up my pace, straight running to meet him but in front of him was a parked cruiser. I stopped just short like a hockey stop if I were on skates and saw him talking to the black cop who I remembered hearing had opened-fire on some young kid’s car, for reasons I don’t know/—or can’t remember———or have forced myself to forget. I stayed in hearing range and ducked off to the side and listened as the cop said: “And Harry, keep your friend out of trouble, will you?” The cruiser pulled away from the corner and I emerged from the shadows and dropped my hood and for once I knew I could do it again.

Poem: "Why Don’t We" by Alison Stone

Why Don’t We
Alison Stone

The animals want us to go --
parrots, pumas, long-lashed giraffes.
Our greed limitless as stars.
Jewel-winged bugs buzz off into extinction.

Parrots, pumas, long-lashed giraffes.
What’s lost won’t be returned.
Jewel-winged bugs buzz off into extinction.
We couldn’t keep our ruin to ourselves.

What’s lost won’t be returned,
like the true beat of our own hearts. Grabbing,
poisoning, we couldn’t keep our ruin to ourselves,
though we’re made from stardust, yearn for light.

Our poisoned hearts beat, Grab more,
greed limitless as the stars
we’re made from. Too late for light.
The animals need us to go.

Poem: "Picket Fence" by Alison Stone

Picket Fence
Alison Stone

The mother drinks in secret.
The father punches his shame into a wall.
So many ways to pretend.
The daughter hides beneath blankets.

The father punches his shame into a wall.
How did love end up like this?
The daughter hides beneath blankets
as the TV blares fake laughter.

How did love end up like this,
dinner finishing in tears
as the TV blares fake laughter?
In pictures, they all smile.

Dinners finish in tears,
though everything’s wiped clean.
In pictures, they all smile
on beaches or the front lawn.

Everything’s wiped clean.
The neighbors will never know.
On beaches or the front lawn,
they’re a typical family.

The neighbors must never know.
So many ways to pretend
they’re a typical family.
The mother drinks in secrets.