Monday, September 16, 2019

Full Length Review: BYRHTNOTH "Brethren To The Fire Trumpets" (Wolfspell Records) by Kelly Tee

Band: Byrhtnoth
Location: Adelaide
Country: Australia
Genre: Dungeon synth
Full Length: Brethren To The Fire Trumpets
Label: Wolfspell Records (Poland)
Format: CD, streaming
Release date: June 21, 2018
The dark ambiance of Dungeon Synth subgenre has significantly evolved since its creation in the 80s, and this has been clearly demonstrated by Byrhtnoth Dungeon Synth project with the 2018 album “Brethren To The Fire Trumpets.” The artist behind this project is Liam ‘Baelathvan' Mohor, from Adelaide, Australia. And without doubt, what has been created is pure sophistication with blackened aesthetics in six stunning and moving tracks. Tracks which feel and sound less like a video game and more like a well-written and epic novel, one that is mature, captivating and showcases exceptional melodicism with a medieval and elegiac appeal.
Impressive soundscapes from the synthesizers glide over this album perfectly. Distant and faded blackened vocal tones provide impact with a sense of fantasy, fear, and wonder. Each track will carry you away, leaving an eerie and beautiful impression on the listener, one that often feels foreboding, prophetic and dramatic. While some tracks are instrumental, others such as "Between The Dawn Of Faerie And The Domination Of Men" are an anthem, a war cry to men and creatures heading to battle. This is a most ominous and atmospheric conception, in which Liam can be heard using his vocal skills to establish encouragement to a fight that feels victorious. This was a truly magnificent experience, which transferred emotion and power.
“Brethren To The Fire Trumpet” is large, theatrical and mystifying, with superb orchestral scores, emotive melody and a crawling black metal vocal style. To maximize the experience of this album, one should listen in solitude for a heightened appreciation of the musicianship and to travel to the battlefields of Middle Earth. -Kelly Tee

Liam "Baelathvan" Mohor: Vocals, all instruments

Track list:
1. The Trumpets Of Fire
2. In The Nightside Battle For Helms Deep
3. Vratyas Vakyas
4. Cair Andros
5. Between The Dawn Of Faerie And The Dominion Of Men
6. The Dominion Of Men

Full Length Review: TOOL "Fear Inoculum" (Volcano/RCA) by Ghoul Shadows

Band: Tool
Location: Los Angeles, California
Country: USA
Genre: Progressive alternative metal
Full Length: Fear Inoculum
Label: Volcano/RCA
Format: CD, deluxe CD edition, digital
Release date: August 30, 2019
It’s 2019 and Tool’s new album is finally here with all the fun and excitement one can expect. After 13 years of waiting Tool fan boys can rejoice!
…Ugh, It’s difficult to dance around this one. So here we go…
It is an album that is neither here nor there.
Off the bat I am going to say it’s not a bad album – but it’s not a good album either. I don’t hate it like I do that movie Ghost Busters 2016. And it’s nowhere near as bad as that “Lars Ulrich’s Snare” fucking album. It’s not really bad at all. But it’s not that great either.
The whole album feels underwhelming, but why? People have been saying it’s going back to their old ways with being a prog band etc. etc. and I can respect that. But it still doesn’t seem to strike any chords – pun fucking intended. Then it hit me, - I have heard this before.
You may not have noticed it.
But, your brain did.
A lot of the tracks almost appear to me like they were leftovers from other albums. Bits and pieces that they have picked up off the cutting room floor and packaged into a new album to get money from the saps that call themselves fans. I will come back to how they strip-mine their fans of their hard-earned dollars later.
There is this nagging feeling of: I have heard this from you before, Tool.
Like, I get it, it’s the same band, but I can’t be the only one who is hearing this can I???? You practically raise the dead on this album, Maynard!
Justin Chancellor (bass) made mention that some elements of the album traced back to some ideas they had back in 1995 when he first joined the band. Which explains; in part; why it sounds like it does.
This album was made with the fans in mind. After 13 years this is probably the best direction to take with it. They wouldn’t want to alienate their hardcore fans on the chance of gaining new ones. Which in retrospect was a solid bet. Although for new listeners it’s a lower hit rate you are going to enjoy it as opposed to long time listeners. So, I think they made the right choice. They keep their fans happy and that’s half the battle won. So long as your fans are singing your praises you can sway others to your sound and it will grow. Many other bands have come out with a new sound and completely botched it and been attacked by their own fan base. But then not many bans as big as Tool have waited so long to put an album out. Between the two choices (new sound verses something tried and true) I am glad they went with what worked. Only for the fact it kept the fans happy, but as for me not so much.
I know Tool has some very talented individuals. Honestly, to me it sounds like they released this as soon as they could to shut the fans up about releasing an album. And after 13 years who could blame them?
With all the hype about the album what I notice is a focus on the attention on sales and how much money they have made and how many albums they have sold.
Is it really a big deal that Tool has beaten Taylor Swift on the billboard charts….really? I mean, Tool is obviously better than Taylor Swift hands down…we don’t need a bill board chart to tell us that. It is merely a “Tool money” vs “Swift money” thing. Really, does anyone think Tool fans give a flying fuck about what Taylor Swift is doing? Please. Fuck off and die in your hole Ms. Swift. I mean, why the fuck are they even comparing a band like Tool, who is unique and writes their own material against a Pop star who writes (and I use that term loosely in her case) a song every time she has a bad moment with a guy? Ugh, is this what music has become? Who makes more money? Can we go back to when it was good please????? When music was about what message you gave across and how fucking amazing you were at your instrument? Not the fact we waited 13 fucking years for an album to drop from people who think you wanna hear the same riff for the next 10 mins to make more money than a talentless bimbo?
But hey, Tool, at least you’re better than Taylor Swift, well done.
That’s not an accomplishment. Am I supposed to be impressed?
So the fans wanted to hear an album better than Taylor Swift? …Honestly tell me. Do you think the album was going to be better than Taylor Swift?
Do you think if Fear Inoculum had made less sales than Ms. Swift the album would have been worse?
Do you think with whatever Tool did - Fear Inoculum would have been better than Taylor Swift? Do you think Taylor Swift had any influence on what you thought about this album??????
So don’t try that fucking cry baby argument with me. Not gonna fly, chump.
Compare this album against Tool’s previous albums. Now there is a test. Is it better? Is it not? That’s the real topic we should be discussing. Think about it.
Some of their best songs from Tools past albums are Hooker With A Penis, Forty Six And Two, Sober, Prison Sex, Schism, Stinkfist and The Pot (?). I will just let you add to this list shall I?
Then there is Puscifer. Not Tool but still its Maynard-flavoured “sauce” nonetheless.
I could go on put you get my point.
I actually have a fond memory of “Sober” when it first came out. This song would always greet me when I got home on the TV without fail. After a night out on the town getting drunk it was always an awesome feeling to hear this. Great fucking song.
If I was going to be real about this and brutally honest, it took 45 mins of listening to this album before I got anything out of it. It actually just sounds like a bunch of guys who like Tool who know some of the riffs from some of their songs and decided to make their own songs in a garage band.
But who cares what I think. I am just a nobody who enjoys listening to music. Your music Tool. At least I did. Was this album worth the 13-year wait? No way.
I am more pissed off for waiting 13 years for a fucking album than the album itself. It’s mediocre at best. And yes, many of you will defend the time signatures. OH!!! BUT GHOUL!!! THE TIME SIGNATURES!!!!?!?!?! WARGARBLE!!!! But what about the time signatures!!!!
Listen, I don’t give a fuck about time signatures - I want to hear good music. And while I could get high off bath salts while eating my neighbor’s face passionately to this album, I don’t feel like it has the same bang for its buck like the old Tool songs. Coincidently, if I gotta be high to enjoy your music then your music really isn’t that good – period. That applies to any band.
The album sounds old and dated. You must have been so high, Tool.
For me it truly is a case of your old stuff is better than your new stuff.
Will the album grow on me? It might, but I seriously doubt it.
But hey, who am I to wave my finger?
After the third listen, I stopped listening at about the 25min mark and changed to a different band.
People wanna feel that rush the first time they heard a Tool album. They wanna experience the awesomeness of how cool they were. How listening to a Tool album will take them back in time, to a simpler time. To where listening to this band was in the minority and how they exposed their friends to Maynard’s dick.
This is the problem with taking too long to release new material from any source whether it be a movie or an album. People have expectations. We listen and watch everything related to what we like and start putting bigger and bigger expectations and when it finally gets here…oh…is that it…meh next.
Maybe their next album will be better.
I guess we will have to wait another 13 years and see.
Whether or not you like the album or not. Whether you enjoy it or not the thing is that you have an opinion and it is your opinion just like mine is. I am not a huge fan, I may not even be considered a casual bystander in the epic wait for this album but one thing, you, me Tool and Maynard and his penis can agree on is…
Fuck Taylor Swift.
Rating: 13 years out of a million Taylor Swift dollary-doos. -Ghoul Shadows

Maynard James Keenan: Vocals
Adam Jones: Guitar
Justin Chancellor: Bass
Danny Carey: Drums, synthesizer

Track list:
(Physical format)
1. Fear Inoculum
2. Pneuma
3. Invincible
4. Descending
5. Culling Voices
6. Chocolate Chip Trip (instrumental)
7. 7empest
(Digital format)
1. Fear Inoculum
2. Pneuma
3. Litanie contre la peur (instrumental)
4. Invincible
5. Legion Inoculant (instrumental)
6. Descending
7. Culling Voices
8. Chocolate Chip Trip
9. 7empest
10. Mockingbeat (instrumental)

Check out Ghoul Shadows’ horror stories at TALES OF THE TWISTED on Facebook and Wordpress.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Interview with author SALMAN AZIZ by Dave Wolff

Interview with author SALMAN AZIZ

How early did you begin writing poems and short stories for publication in magazines and local newspapers in your home country of Bangladesh?
I can still remember the day I was invented by my home tutor. I was about seven years old then. I never knew that I could be a writer! All the support and help I got from him! There is a backstory of me for being a writer. When I was in class four, my school was going to publish an annual magazine. Our teachers asked us to submit any kind of writings like short stories, poems, rhymes, etc. My home tutor knew that I could write. But for being shy and having a lack of confidence all the time I skipped from participating in any functions or competitions. Then he forced me to submit a rhyme and it was selected. That was my turning point! Then I began to write many short stories, poems, and rhymes in my native language for magazines and local newspapers.

How difficult was it for you to be published in those days?
Honestly, it was very easy to publish in those days rather than it is nowadays! In those days people got respect for their true talent. But nowadays the true talents don't get any respect or recognition from people worldwide. The path is also full of difficulties for people to get the recognition they deserve. The media plays a vital role to introduce creative people not only locally but globally.
I have seen when young writers like me wanted to publish in newspapers and magazines! And the media always welcomed their creativity. Even at that time, you didn't need to have any kind of connection with editors or journalists. When you submitted to them, if the work was authentic, creative and raw they would publish it without any kind of demand. But nowadays, without any kind of connection, they won't publish it at all.
I have seen nepotism and cronyism in this area and have been a victim of it. When I published my first book "6th September: A Very Unknown Mysterious Story" worldwide in 2017 (my first English-written book), I asked many editors to feature it in their newspapers or magazines, but they refused. The story was based on the true story of a teenage boy who committed suicide. I requested it to them because I wanted to raise public awareness about teenage suicide through the newspapers. But most of the time they said I wasn’t famous enough to be featured. Not even when I released the official trailer of my horror short film "Lost in the Black Hole" in 2019, which is Bangladesh's first symbolic cult horror short film! Again I asked many editors and journalists to write about the film for its authenticity. The same thing happened! They said I wasn’t a famous artist nor did I belong to any well-known artist's family, from which my film was officially selected and appreciated by international film festivals.
I also have seen, if the same type of work or work with no creativity was done by someone they know, they got crazy to feature it which always shocked me. Some people may tell me it’s sour grapes, but I am straightforward.
There were so many times I was a victim of racism as an indie artist worldwide. I've faced and am still facing many difficulties for being a Muslim from Bangladesh which upset me. Many international newspapers and magazines rejected my creative works for those reasons. Even many production houses declined to work with me. But at the same time, my creativity and true words were welcomed by fans, and critics all over the world, which encouraged me to go forward.

In what local magazines were you being published when you started writing? Do you still have copies of those magazines today?
Most of the time I was published in the weekly Kushtia Batraa newspaper, Vorer Khobor (News Of The Dawn), Ajker Potrika (Today's News), and the half-yearly magazine Bishwo Shahitto Kendro (World Literature Center) of which I was an active member. I took part in several essay writing competitions, won many prizes and was featured in their magazines. My most notable winning competition was the essay writing olympiad in Kushtia Zila.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any copies. And I feel regret for it. But I still have some prizes including books and medals. Most of them were lost only for my negligence. In that time, our country had no digital means to archive. For this reason, many artists lost their early work.
Being a writer is so unfortunate for me! My parents have never supported me. Even my home tutor's support was not enough. So tell me, how far can a caged bird fly? I was young when I began. I didn’t have much knowledge about how to save my work for the future! I just miss those times and the support which I got from my teachers, friends and other people.
If I had full support I could be a well-known writer today! But it couldn't happen. After passing my 9th class, I hardly wrote for newspapers and magazines due to giving full concentration on my studies. It created a huge gap between me and the world of literature. In 2014, I came back by writing blogs in English. Mostly I wrote about social injustices.

Describe some of the times racism got in the way of your being published as a writer or recognized on a grander scale.
First I want to clarify that I never compare myself with others or think that I am the best! We all have imperfection. As a person, I am simple! In the writing or entertainment world, my goal is not to rule! I am only here to get love from the people and give them the motivation or influence to do good things in this world.
For the first time, I became a victim of racism when I begin to write blogs in English. Once I published a blog about women empowerment, rape, and prostitution all over the world, I was told to stop writing about the world because I don't belong to the international platform! They also told me I was a bad writer and did worse things rather than encouraging me.
I even got a death threat from ISIS and compared with Taslima Nasreen! Things became worse when I was continuously attacked by those harsh words. After this, I had to delete the blog. I was in trauma and suffered from depression. I am still suffering from mental health issues a lot due to those things.
I stopped writing for a long time, then I slowly began to write again. When I released my first silent short film "Bloody Dark Dream" in 2014 I had to use my nickname Akash at that time, because if I used my full name people won't accept me for being Muslim! At first, they thought I was Hindu or Christian from the USA or India! But when they got to know I was from Bangladesh and Muslim I again became a victim. A group of people bullied and trolled me online. I still can't recover those horrible experiences. I thought I would be welcomed cordially worldwide but I got little acceptance. I also noticed I couldn’t interact with them in any world issues; I was attacked by their harsh words. Very few people took my side.
From childhood, I always thought English speaking foreign people were good with noble virtues, ideal and nice to people. But after those experiences my thoughts were completely changed. All foreign people were not good even though they lived in well-developed big countries. Some were good, some were bad and some were mixed! Sometimes I think, why me? Did I make a mistake to dream about being to be welcomed worldwide? Lots of questions spun in my head. I was brutally judged when I tried to become an international author and actor. The path is not so easy for me! What other people suffer in this writing or entertainment world, I suffer more.

Do you think news coverage of world affairs has something to do with the intolerance you endured as a writer and filmmaker?
When I step into the international entertainment world, I face a lot. Suppose, any native English speaking person is publishing a book and at the same time I am publishing a book. Who will get the priority in news media? Of course the English speaking person! At present, 90% of the international news and media are corrupted. They only prefer to showcase their things! 5% are showing only true things after neutral analysis. And the other 5% are mixed. That 90% of media has already manipulated all the people. What the media shows people blindly believe without knowing the truth. News media has the power to spin truth as falsehood and falsehood as truth.
International news media will publish what Kim Kardashian does on her vacation. They won't publish a Muslim girl is brutally raped and killed. Or if a Muslim guy is assaulted, beaten or robbed. They will publish if the Muslim extremist kills people. I don't mean all news media does the same. Honest news media will always tell true news. I respect all religions because we are human and my top priority is humanity.
In 2016, a bakery named Holey Artisan in Bangladesh was taken hostage by Islamic extremists. Many foreigners and people from Bangladesh were killed by those extremists. But international news media hardly mentioned them and blamed all Bengalis. In that time, in the eyes of others Bengalis are dirt and prostitutes ready to sell themselves to tourists, etc. Not only me, but other artists also got the same labels.
Nowadays news media is becoming so commercial. To sell their news, they are ready to spread anything rather than truth most of the time. They kind of set a brand value of their news. They will publish who wears what on the red carpet but they hardly will publish if any powerful person or government person kills any homeless person by accident. And people like me, if we dare to tell the truth or clarify those incidents, that will be our mistake. We’ll be bullied online. I always tell people that truth is shaded by the cover of lies. I want to advise people that without knowing the full story, they should not judge anyone. Because people are trying to manipulate and dominate others! If they want to explore the truth they must have a neutral mind. Without this neutrality, people can't reach the truth. I believe neutrality, honesty, and truthfulness should be the main characteristics of news media. If they don't have any of those, then their news is full of lies.

Despite those experiences, were there times people from other countries appreciated your work?
When I was regularly getting harsh comments, I almost lost hope I would be accepted. But one day I got a message: "Akash, your work is so unique and the presentation is brilliant..." Those words made me cry. I was so happy on that day, I can't tell about those feelings! Then day by day, all my works were appreciated by the people. Many celebrities liked my work. People loved my quotes and are still loving those. They said those words inspired them so much. When I search myself on the internet, I find my works get many wonderful remarks! What I am today is only for their love and support. If a single person in this world loves and supports me that is enough for me to stay alive as an artist.

Did you ever consider writing fiction or making a movie about your blog experiences, so that people would understand how intense and negative it was?
All my work is based on real-life experiences. My films and photo shoots are especially symbolic, dark, bold and difficult to understand. I always try to represent my work artistically. If the people deeply analyze my work they can understand what it’s trying to say. Besides making independent art films, I want to make a feature film based on my life. Because there are many untold stories buried inside me! In these twenty-five years, I went through many horrible situations not a single person knows. I also want to make social awareness films on prostitution, rape, racism, child abuse and sex trafficking. You know, those things are ruining people's lives and spreading like an epidemic in this world. About my writing, I always love to explore. I have a great desire to write books in different genres. But most of the time I want to write about social awareness.

What other stories based on your real life experiences do you have in mind to write? Do you think people outside your country are ready to read them?
I have faced good and bad experiences that a boy or girl should not experience. If I remain alive I will probably write about what I have gone through in my life. It may be in a fictional or nonfictional way. A true reader doesn't seek who has written the book! Before reading the book they don't want to know, which country the writer belongs or which religion does the writer perform, what is the mother language of the writer or what race the writer is!
I am tri-linguistic. Few people know my ancestors are from India. After British rule, they settled in West Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh. I can speak in my mother tongue Bengali, Hindi, and English. When I read any book in English or Bengali or translated from Hindi, I don't see the writer's bio first. If the content is good I read the book. I do the same with music, movies, TV shows, etc. I always try to write in English because English is the language anyone can use all over the world and it paves the way to communicate. If the reader is going through the same situations, of course, they will read my stories. Readers always want to feel the circumstances, the characters, the moments, etc through reading.
I know people from outside my country who don't have much knowledge about our culture and customs. But I have seen the eagerness in them! They want to know about those things. I also want to tell that people's tastes are not the same. Some like romance, some like horror, some like thrillers, some like sci-fi, etc. If my book is in a specific genre then they will read it.
My previous talks might hurt many people. But my intention is not to hurt or disrespect! I just show what painful situations those were! If any person put him/herself in my situation then he/she can feel how much bitter they were!
I always welcome people from different races, religions, and languages. We are human and humanity should be our religion. If we went color blind and mute, then would be no differences among us. I know those wishes are like a sandcastle! But hate and discrimination won't bring peace. I want to see drastic changes in the international entertainment world where artists from different parts of this world get the chance to explore and show their art. 

Are you in touch with anyone from the U.S. who would be interested in helping distribute and promote your work?
I have communicated with many distributors in the past. But I am not able to afford them. I know it is their profession to promote and distribute an artist's work to big houses. And I know how much it is needed for the artist to promote! Whatever I am today was only for the kind support of people worldwide. I am grateful to them. Many independent promoters have promoted my work for free on their media. I am thankful their kindness and support. I have a friend from the U.S.A. who always supports my work and loves to share my work with the people. I have other good friends from different parts of the world who help me a lot. I always try to communicate with others, especially people from the U.S. Some show interest and some don’t!

Who is your friend from the U.S. who supports and shares your writing? Do you have contacts in South American, European and Asian countries who support your work?
My bestie's name is Crisis Mattie. He is the most amazing person I have ever met in my life, though we only talk online! But it is like we’ve known each other for ages. Distance won't reflect any bad things if there is honesty and trust. And my other friends' names I prefer not to mention. I have plenty of friends all over the world, but due to lack of time, we can't talk that much.

Tell the readers about the movie you mentioned earlier, “Lost in the Black Hole”, the casting and filming process, and how well it was received.
In the angle people want to find the meaning, they will get answers. Because I have made it on a multidimensional perspective. The film is a silent, dark and symbolic cult horror short. People can guess how dark it is by watching the trailer! This type of short film was never made in my country. In this movie I play five metaphoric characters (the hope, the thorn, the truth, the nature and the spark) all alone. People can see those characters as some adjectives which don't have any existence in real life that they can only feel. I did the whole filming process including editing, background sound mixing, etc. Though at the last moment my mom produced the end of the film. It has taken 1.5 years to complete a four minute length short film. To play the three major characters (the thorn, the truth and the nature) I had to shave my head several times. You can't imagine, to shot a less than 30 second scene, I had to give an expression for more than two hours. For the make-up, it took more than an hour to get ready for the scene. Another interesting fact is, I was totally nude in this film. In the middle of filming I tried to stop, because my physical and mental health wasn't good. But my friend Crisis always encouraged me to complete it. The movie is not my movie; it is connected with everyone's emotions that remain in the dark. It is not a drama movie or a narrative movie that can be understood easily. It is based on emotions played by metaphoric characters with symbols. The film was officially selected by film festivals where jury teams appreciated my work. I couldn't reach the final round but the official selections were beyond my expectation. I am grateful because they understood the true meaning of the presentation.

What are the latest projects you have out or are preparing to release this year?
I haven't yet released "Lost in the Black Hole" world-wide. It has only taken part in some international festivals. So I am going to release the film this year. Besides this, I am writing a book called "Infamous Words of Akash" a totally nonfiction book or as people can call it a mixed book. I have put some poetry in it. In this book I used very raw and real topics about social and human issues. The book is now in the process of being written and 75% of it has been completed. I hope it will come out this year also. Other projects are blogs and articles about prostitution, rape, child abuse, sexual exploitation and sex tourism. Those blogs and articles might be too heavy for the hypocrites in this earth. Though people don't take my things very seriously and are totally shameless in this case. But small matters can change things drastically if taken properly.

Did you ever consider distributing your work independently, by starting your own distribution company? Would this be financially viable for you at this point?
I always think about it. But right now I am not able to. I can't tell about the future, because the future is unknown! If fate allows me, of course, I will open my own indie publishing house and welcome newcomers all over the world and support them.

How would you want to be remembered as an author and filmmaker should you eventually reach a wider audience? What kind of an impact do you want to make?
Honestly, will people remember me forever? Nowadays, people don't remember their nearest, dearest ones. For example; today's people have almost forgotten artists from the past. When they see their work uncertainly, then they try to remember them. Few will remember them every time. Some artists are remembered for their work, some are remembered for their personal lives, some are known for their lifestyles and some are remembered for other reasons! It is natural that when a new one comes the older are forgotten. I don't know how much I will be remembered for my work! But I always want to be remembered for my bold, true and honest talks. Because everything I tell, I tell in neutral mind. I want to remain alive through my artistic works in this world. But not as an author or actor or filmmaker! I want to be remembered as me! A person who is neutral, fearless, bold, honest, enigmatic, truthful and able to feel people's feelings.
In these days who doesn't want to get attention from mass audiences? All artists deserve to be respected. When a true artist produces, the pain he bears during the birth of his art, only he and people who love and respect the art can feel it. So, why shouldn't I deserve to reach a wider audience? My works are dark, raw, bold, enigmatic and real, and many people compare my work to negative energy without knowing its true meaning.
I don't know how much I can impact on people's minds! But as long as I breathe, I am determined to do something. I want to save innocence, true kindness and honesty. Because nowadays innocent, true kind and honest people are rare in this earth. And various circumstances have forced them to fade away. They are losing their true nature. I know that there is no tomorrow for me, and my life span is short, because I am not immortal. But in this battlefield, I want to create an army before leaving this earth, who are like me and will save and protect rare noble virtues. How much I can be successful, for now I can't tell. Because alone I can't totally remove the evil of this world. Bad things are mixed in human DNA and most of it is active. I always wish to be like Mother Teresa and Bayazid Bastami. Most of their work always influences me. My intentions are to motivate the people to do good work by true justice with honesty, kindness, peace, equality and humanity. And I want give them the eyes to see what is right and wrong by universal laws of justice.

-Dave Wolff

Friday, September 13, 2019

Live Review: The Crusty Cross Canada Cruise Tour by Devin Joseph Meaney

The Crusty Cross Canada Cruise Tour
With Widow's Peak, Detherous, Keith Doom and the Wrecking Crew.
The Underground, Sydney Mines, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Hosted by Rocksteady Productions
Last night I went to a death metal show tagged as The Crusty Cross Canada Cruise! featuring two of Calgary, Alberta's most visceral death metal bands, Widow's Peak & Detherous! The opening act was none other than Keith Doom and the Wrecking Crew, a harsh sounding local punk act. Long story short, for reasons unknown to me, Detherous was unable to make it to the gig. With that being said, The Wrecking Crew and Widow's Peak without question made up for it with their vicious yet very tight sets. The Keith Doom set was the same as I always knew them to be. Heavy, fast, and ear shattering (in a good way). As for Widow's Peak, the sound of their abysmal tech-death permeated The Underground (the bar the show was held at) and I can say for sure that I am now a fan. Blistering vocals ranging from low gutterals to wailing highs set alongside technical guitars and bass with drums that sounded like a death metal machine gun in parts. After the show, I did not see any Keith Doom merch, but from Widow's Peak I managed to snag two stickers, two pins, their ''Graceless'' EP, and a fancy yet grotesque shirt. The CD is currently on it's second play through, and the sound quality is immaculate. I suggest this disc to fans of heavy music anywhere and everywhere, as it is over nineteen minutes of pure ear splitting tech-death! The shirt I will adorn at future events and shows across the Island, making myself a walking billboard in support. At the end of the night, I finished up with a small piece of mary jane and a Delissio pizza. I will rate this show a 9/10, with the extraction of one point due to the loss of the second touring band and a low turnout. Still, this was a great show, and I had an exceptional time. Great stuff, everyone. Devin out! -Devin Joseph Meaney

Thursday, September 12, 2019

EP Review: BROOD IN BLACK "Unholy Infernal Rites" (Blasfemas Records) by Kelly Tee

Band: Brood In Black
Location: Lancaster, Kentucky
Country: USA
Genre: Black/thrash metal
EP: Unholy Infernal Rites
Label: Blasfemas Records
Format: Digital, streaming
Release date: June 13, 2019
When you think of Kentucky, USA, black metal does not usually spring to mind, however, an evil entity Brood In Black seeps from the darkest corners of such a place, and is creating raw, primitive and traditional evil black metal! It is extremely evident, that Count Cor'inth and Master of Graveyard Torment, the duo behind Brood In Black are waging total war on Christianity and mankind, "the two biggest plagues on planet earth".
Brood In Black's 2019 EP release “Unholy Infernal Rites” is a sinister and abrasive listen, sure to satisfy the thirst for powerful and ungodly old school black metal!
As you start the EP you will be confronted with beastly and inhuman lo-fi sounds of the intro track “Rise, Father Satan”, which strongly sets the foundation for the baleful ride the listener is destined to endure.
The title track “Unholy Infernal Rites” is a sordid smash of unrelenting and distorted metal and is full of disdain as Count Cor'inth hisses and spits the lyrics "God is dead! Christ is dead! Christianity is dead!” with such conviction and disturbing technique. The production of this track propelled my imagination into a dingy underground bar, full of like-minded black metalheads embracing the evil with exultance.
“Angelsodomy” provides the dense sounds of the old school and feels impeccably rotten. This track is a deadly and solid effort with more punk style beats over those initial blasts, before it all caves into a big mess of filth and decay of true shocking black metal bliss. This track was me, this is where it was at! What a dark, brooding and threatening number.
The creation of a menacing ambiance is truly present in “Curse Of Torment” as the fury within this track is hurled at you with an underproduced intensity and disfigurement that only this style of malicious black metal can emit.
The EP is complete with covers of Beherit’s “Gates Of Nanna” and Hellhammer's “Messiah”, both done rather well with Brood Of Black’s own unique stain on these well-known and infamous tracks. This EP is extremely pro Satan, misanthropic, cold in its delivery and icy and harsh in its sound. Brood In Black have produced a great old school black metal listen loaded with a vocal style soiled with murky and lewd tones, reeking of opposition to anything holy, pure and human. This album truly gets better with each listen, and is totally revolting. -Kelly Tee

Count Cor'inth: All instruments, drum programming
Master of Graveyard Torment: Drums

Track list:
1. Rise, Father Satan
2. Unholy Infernal Rites
3. Curse of Torment
4. Angelsodomy
5. The Gates of Nanna (Beherit cover)
6. Messiah (Hellhammer cover)

Interview with Brad Sinclair of GROUCH by Dave Wolff

Interview with Brad Sinclair of GROUCH

How long has Grouch been active so far, and what inspired you to start? How long beforehand were you interested in playing music?
Grouch had its genesis late in 2017 as a series of rough ideas and a premise for the writing: the birth of my son. In terms of really getting active I would say the middle of 2018 was when the real outpouring of material started and my being very picky about arrangement coupled with time constraints meant that I have taken a lot of time to allow the ideas to gestate, be worked around and just jammed and adjusted repeatedly. I have played in bands for years as a bass player and started recording my own stuff during that time. Just slowly taught myself to record and mix and create strong sounds. I do have a ton of stuff around the place under another moniker; really wildly varied tunes of which I am proud to wildly varying degrees! I was originally a guitarist but one of my best friends is an exquisite guitarist so I moved to bass for that band and just stayed with it. It really is a great instrument to better understand rhythm, melody and arrangement by sitting at a critical juncture of all those things.

Talk to the readers about your recently released singles and what inspired them.
There are different origins to those two singles. “Your Soul is Mine” is the first single for Grouch and leads off the entire concept: parenthood as the inspiration for death metal. I’m not naive enough to believe it’s never been done before but it was a spark of inspiration that happened shortly after the birth of my son. With little time to express myself musically, my time under the headphones quickly reverted to the music that is nearest and dearest to my heart. It also came immediately for me which was perfect given the lack of sleep, time constraints and general stress levels. A whole flood of musical ideas came quickly and have been captured. Lyric writing followed after the whole parenthood thing hit me. The truth is babies are filthy little things that suck your life dry in so many ways. “Your Soul is Mine” seemed the perfect lead single; it’s first person baby and the honest truth is that little kid owns me. My mix engineer had no idea that was the lyrical thrust, which I loved hearing. After a zillion listens working on it I told him the inspiration and to listen again. He’s an older guy with multiple kids so the zillion and first listen was huge for him!
“Face Down Ass Up” is a cover of an arguably disgraceful hip hop song by 2 Live Crew, the first group to ever be stamped with the “Parental Advisory” stickers back in the day. It’s a bit of fun, tongue in cheek (horrendous pun intended) and the closest to pornogrind I’ll ever go. The reason it happened was being in the car with a mate who loves his old hip hop, and having him discover I had a certain text to voice interface on the Bluetooth. We giggled as he sent increasingly crude texts and the voice read them out. It culminated in him sort of paraphrasing that song which was pretty hilarious. About the third listen I said “that would be killer if it kicked into a brutal version right when the voice stops”. I just couldn’t shake the inspiration and for better or worse it happened. It honestly was only ever meant to be a joke but it seemed to click with people and a quick follow up was worth a crack (pun unintended but you get the idea how this rubbish happens!). The song is pretty decent I reckon; hoping others feel the same.
The same guy answered my call out for name suggestions for the project. My son’s name is Oscar and my mate really quickly suggested Grouch. So Ezra if you ever read this you really are the fucking man, as you’ve advertised many times in the past.

Is Grouch a full band or a solo project? On your Bandcamp page you mentioned live shows wouldn’t be possible in the near future. Would this change at any time if the situation allowed?
At this stage Grouch is entirely a solo project. My son being the source of inspiration makes it extremely important to me to be the originator of at least the first wave of material. Beyond that I can say that the temptation has already been strong to play with at least a drummer to allow the songs to breathe in a live setting. Maybe gain some spontaneity? All my musical life I’ve been a big proponent of writing with a band and letting the push-pull naturally bring things to a creative space but I knew what I wanted this to be so I’ve owned it. As someone who is deeply addicted to the live performance drug I would say that all things going well I’d love to take this to the stage if the stars align.

You mentioned your two singles have been aired on several independent radio stations and are available on most streaming platforms. What stations have aired them and where can people hear the streaming releases? Do you shop the singles to net radio stations?
We’ve had some great support from High Hopes: Radio Metal in France, The Bile Lab on Lofty 88.9 in Adelaide, Australia, The Autopsy Report in the UK, Last Exit For the Lost out of Ithaca NY, USA, Radio Roach, The House of Pain Castledown FM UK and Steel Plaza Podcast on Spotify to name a bunch. “Your Soul is Mine” was sent out to a whole range of people but “Face Down” hasn’t yet. I’m just getting in the groove of reaching out and trying to let the music speak for itself when that happens. Playing live isn’t an option in the immediate future so the online community is where I exist. The streaming releases are on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, I Heart Radio, Deezer... distributed to almost everyone I think, so people can go to their fave fountain and drink away.

Was it easy for you to cross over death metal with hip hop in “Face Down”? Metal and rap have been crossed over since the 80s and 90s; in what ways does your crossover explore it differently?
I love Anthrax/Public Enemy, the “Judgement Night” soundtrack and so on but the idea of crossover is a bit dated in some ways. “Face Down” really wasn’t a cross over but rather a straight ahead blast using the lyrics of the original. The intro and chorus use a facsimile of the melody samples that 2 Live Crew used, just switching them to minor. Like I said it was done for kicks which I like to think has brought an honesty and immediacy to the track. I guess 2 Live Crew were sometimes known as porn rap so the pornogrind thing does match up nicely; maybe it is a crossover in that sense. All that said I’m totally up for working with Hip Hop/Rap guys if they’re down. It would be great to make nasty shit people haven’t heard before, I do feel that is a tough ask though - easy to sound forced or silly.

In what ways do you consider crossover between metal and rap dated? What would come of a collaboration with a rap artist?
I guess the idea of crossover as a stated intention is dated to me. Most modern music is fusion in some form or another, and I feel that to name it and approach it in a pointed way is kind of ancient history. At the time when those great crossovers happened they were ground-breaking due to the divisions between genres and sub-cultures being quite pronounced. With the way music is consumed and created these days, I think young kids in particular have such a great swathe of stuff in their musical vocabulary that fusion just happens organically. Hip Hop is a really good example of an art form that was so removed in the past and is now a solid part of plenty of kids' consumption. Metal is always a bit removed but the logic extends to it also. I think there is the risk of collaboration with a rap artist coming off a bit naff or pretentious... although with the right artist it could work. I'd almost jettison guitars and let the vocals speak for the death metal side of it... go with some aggressive electronica perhaps. Man your questions get me thinking! It would need to feel organic and not forced - that would be tough but would be a ton of fun to try.

In the 1980s and 1990s the term “crossover” was much simpler. Today it encompasses many different meanings. Do you think the term’s usage is overdone?
I think it is the 80s and 90s meaning of the term crossover that fits my definition and feels dead to me. In terms of different meanings - I am probably not the person to make comment as I perhaps don't understand what they might be! But to me crossover connotes a collision of genres that hadn't done so before or weren't seen to be compatible. I feel like these days there is a degree of fusion in almost everything and I would be more turned on by elements being used in clever ways to create fresh styles rather than a more overt collision so yeah I think the term's usage is overdone, or at least doesn't present with same relevance or resonance - god I hope that made sense!

Do you plan to shop “Face Down” to net stations at some point? What stations would air it given its subject matter?
“Face Down” will be sent out very soon and I think there are a number of stations who would be happy to play it. I would be lying if I said I wasn't cringing a little given the lyrics and the fact they don't transpose at all well to 2019 to say the least. Recording it was hilarious fun; "double team with a friend of mine..." DAMN it who will be in front and I'm behind? Satan! Of course it should be Satan! I thoroughly understand not everyone will share my sense of humour on this one but it is tongue in cheek and filthy in the best possible spirit... which is something that can be said for most death metal, grindcore, pornogrind, goregrind etc. There is an implicit sense of humour and cartoonishness to so much of it and that is part of what has shaped me.

Does social media and streaming help you reach more listeners than releasing material on CD or vinyl? How much has your listenership grown since you started streaming your work?
Social media and streaming are by necessity the way it is for me right now. A couple of the sites I am on would at least start to pay for the “Face Down” cover license! Tough to say with the listenership thing; it’s ticking along but I’d love to be reaching more people. I’d say when everything is down and it’s album time I will explore physical copies, and short run vinyl will be something I do out of love for the project and to give to my son. This thing is a deep labour of love so it’s all good.

Does being a solo musician give you more creative freedom when you write and compose? If you decided for Grouch to be a full band at some point, what would you look for in musicians?
That is a double edged sword in my experience, though to be fair the same can be said for writing with others. There have been moments (as I alluded to earlier) where jumping in with one or two people to see where the songs went based on the energy in the room was really tempting. But part of keeping it solo is it really tests me as a composer and arranger, particularly when it comes to drums. I have released other solo stuff in the past, but it has been a long time and I feel like I have evolved a hell of a lot as a musician since then. That means being better equipped but also that I set much higher standards for myself in all facets which I sincerely hope shows in the material thus far.
For better or worse I have always played with people I know, so I would be likely to seek out a few crew that I have history with. I would want them to celebrate in the spirit of what this is rather than come in as just a player; they could really revel in the parts and take them where they wanted. It would be pretty likely that I would predominantly be the vocalist and front man in a live setting. When I close my eyes and imagine a show, it is walking out as a musical build up intro concludes and unleashing a massive roar going into the first song. I would say it would be tough not to jump on the guitar a whole lot. Given that I have always been the bass player in bands, that all brings with it some fresh challenges that inspire and scare the absolute shit out of me... but that's the best way to be!

What about performing live attracts you the most? What sort of spontaneity would you want to have in a live show?
The spontaneity I would want in a live show is inherent my approach to playing. Have people I trust, learn the songs and structures, then have that beautiful non-verbal communication where you can step outside of the structures and have a ton of fun either improvising upon or embellishing what's there. That seat of your pants feel is a fucking narcotic; the further you push each other and the closer you get to crashing and burning, the more intense the thrill when you pull it off and have the audience stay with you. Creating that fluid, human interaction between musicians and crowd is absolutely awesome to be a part of for all concerned I feel.

What is it like for you to balance a family life with a recording career? How often are you able to find time to write and record music? Is your family accepting of you putting time into it?
Balancing family life is tough in the sense that time is short. Then there’s study and work to contend with. To be honest I wonder what the actual fuck I did with my time before the tiny man was born! Less time means more urgency and more shit getting done; when I’m idle I just become sedentary so I’m just trying to keep moving. My wife is really great but creative pursuits can obviously push things as we are fifty/fifty parents. Inspiration strikes when it strikes but the hard work of arranging and recording a track is the real struggle time wise. That stuff takes energy and commitment and when you’re dead tired and drained it’s tough to plow into. Not sure about other musicians but for me the creativity is easy when it flows but really shaping those ideas is intense. My wife is the most wonderful mother and human being. I know I give her the shits and I’m incredibly thankful to whatever power exists for having her in my life.
I’ll graduate at the end of next year; for god’s sake kids do that study shit when you’re young; which means more time for recording and playing. Honestly I would go insane without musical output, it’s just always been there in my life and has morphed into a form that continues to suit the current context. Life context is fairly fluid so the creative output will continue to adjust and with any luck the daydreams of taking to the stage as Grouch and laying waste to an audience with some fully formed material right from the get go will become a reality.

Are you taking music or writing classes where you attend school? If so, are they contributing to your work for Grouch?
My degree is in accounting so in terms of bringing anything to my writing that would be a fairly solid "fuck no!" That said, any pursuit in life that involves exercising your brain and/or body and improves you as a human being will bring intangible benefits to the other things you do. Hopefully it doesn't sound stupid saying so, but that whole self-improvement mindset can be a good thing (it can also drive me insane as I struggle to see things as complete or good enough). To qualify that, those improvements or pursuits can be literally anything and need only make sense to yourself. Whatever the hell it is that you dig or is meaningful to you, just jump in and do it for the sake of it and the fact it makes your brain do things. Hell even doing nothing and just thinking is an accomplishment in this wired up world. People get their joy out of such a wide array of stuff. Stick the middle finger to "thou shalt" and do the shit that makes you happy.

Do you think your idea of doing what makes you happy is reflected in your work? If so, how would you say it does?
Humour and fun is a big part of the joy I find in death metal and extreme music in general. Throughout my youth I quickly escalated to the most intense, darkest and extreme forms I could find, and whilst those things were coping mechanisms at times, for the most part I just found (and continue to find) so much joy in the purity of expression. Writing believably happy material is hard. Writing believably sad material is hard. Writing believably angry or intense music is hard. Art is about expression and authenticity and I think that can shine through anywhere. It is near impossible for me to appraise my own material with any objectivity but when I listened back to “Your Soul is Mine” in the early stages I smiled to myself... pure happiness, pure joy... and that was because I honestly heard authenticity. I guess I was most afraid of my efforts not sounding authentic and I bash on myself a hell of a lot through the process of making music so to have more than relief at that stage was an awesome feeling. This is a tribute to my son so it has to be the best I can make it - having that in my head means that the little wins are truly joyous. There are plenty of articles these days espousing the way extreme music makes its fans feel and I am guessing your readership will join me in saying "duh!"

How much does sincerity lack in popular music these days? Do people who have heard your material have a sense of the genuineness of your music?
A real minefield to comment on sincerity in music because you can get another person's motivations so wrong sometimes! I will start by saying I honestly hope the genuineness of what Grouch is about is shining through. I love death metal with all my heart. Not exclusively mind you. I do have a broad scope of musical loves in that sense, and I am bringing to life stuff that bangs around in my head ceaselessly each day. I can never know what another thinks but some of the feedback has been nice, particularly about the vocals which is obviously a naked expression. Having the opportunity to make a comment here I will say that when I realized the stuff was sounding "legit" I knew it would be fine. In the end all else is not for me to say. I am loving making it, some folks have been digging it, and if that's all this is then I am a happy camper. I guess the genuineness question would then revolve around if Grouch was consciously changed to allow for more listeners, more income, blah blah... It is pretty hard to argue that isn't happening in pop music both now and in the past, but as I believe the singer from The Dandy Warhols once put it "you've got to write your own record... or the kids will know it's bullshit". I think there is definitely something in that.

Do you have unreleased material you composed as a guitarist you would like to release someday?
I have unreleased stuff of course. I think most musicians would, but they all function in different ways: Reactions to life’s stimulus, test runs at sounds or production ideas, or just plain bumbling around. There is everything from guitar driven stuff to electronica, a short film score... even a string quartet piece. I think I am already saying too much. Grouch is where I am at 100%; that's the focus totally. Other things have been the exploration and I am very much back home.

What kind of an impact do you want Grouch to have on underground music? Or in the end are you simply doing your own thing and seeing who will pick up on it?
I guess the impact I’d like to have is to grow my audience significantly but all the while be known as an artist who consistently shares the work of others. Constantly enriching listeners with a ton of the great stuff that is out there as well my own is pretty important to me. In a sense it is always a case of just doing one’s own thing and enjoying expression in and of itself.

-Dave Wolff