Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Interview with Devin Joseph Meaney of Mean E Publishing by Dave Wolff

Interview with Devin Joseph Meaney of Mean E Publishing by Dave Wolff

Before you started Mean E Publishing you were writing reviews and fiction for Lightbringer Zine. Why did you make the transition to publishing fiction by you and other authors?
I still contribute to other zines and publications but I wanted to start my own website and publish fiction on my own. I figured it would be good to have a place to showcase my own work... and hopefully in the future I can release the work of other people. I have two short stories by my friend CF Green posted, but so far the website is mostly my own writings.

What publications have you reviewed for in the last several months? Are they based in Canada where you’re from or other countries?
As far as reviews go I have reviewed for Asphyxium, Lights Go Out Zine and Morgue Rot Magazine... though I have been focusing more on fiction.

Were you burned out on reviewing bands or did you just gravitate to writing fiction? And who were some of the most memorable bands you reviewed?
Honestly yes, I did get burnt out from reviewing bands for a while but I'm slowly getting back into it. Out of my recent reviews, the most memorable would need to be “Tales of Othertime” by Stormkeep and “Fortress of Primal Grace” by Vallendusk. There were others but those are the first two that stick out as awesome.

What about Stormkeep and Vallendusk held your interest? Where on social media can people listen to their material?
Stormkeep is some of the most epic melodic black metal I have ever heard. As for Vallendusk, I found their music to be uplifting as opposed to depressive... so I think that is what snagged me. I will also say that Stormkeep is “journey music”... and by that I mean listening to them makes me want to go on an adventure. You can find a fair bit from both bands on Youtube!

So do you think there are still original and inventive metal bands to discover? How about grindcore and goregrind bands?
Of course! There are still plenty of inventive bands left out there and I find new stuff each week. A lot of the black metal I have been finding is of top quality. As for grindcore and goregrind I've been getting cassettes from Death By Digital (a Canadian grind label) and a lot of the cassettes are pretty decent!

Is your old blog still active or was it taken down at some point? When did you open your new website and start posting your writing?
Lightbringer Zine was taken down due to a lack of support. My new website is more successful! I started Mean E Publishing earlier in the year and as for the blog I started posting on Halloween day 2022!

Do you remain in touch with the fanzines you were reviewing for? Are you discovering new zines to submit reviews to?
I still keep in touch with Morgue Rot and Light's Go Out, and I have a story coming out in a new issue of Siren's Call E-Zine. So yes, I do keep in touch with other zines. From time to time I find new ones but I have been slower on the draw than I have been in the past.

You’ve also written a few articles for Asphyxium, namely “Merry Christmas Pete Berwick”, “Questions and Conclusions on the Topic of Antisocial Personality Disorder” and “I Fucking Love Goregrind”. Is there anything you would like to write articles about?
I have a few article ideas but I haven't gotten around to anything yet.

Did you keep in touch with the bands and artists you interviewed for Asphyxium, such as The Clever References, Lookin Up, Jimi Hughes, Trash Brain, Strummingbird and Get Real? Any one new you’ve thought of interviewing for other zines?
The musicians from Trash Brain are from Cape Breton. So I run into them from time to time. The same can be said for Get Real. As for interviews... I haven't really been doing any. Since I left social media it is harder to connect with musicians. It is a small downside amidst many upsides... but I might do a few interviews with some friends soon!

How long has Death By Digital been active in Canada, and do they distribute abroad as well as their home continent? In what part of Canada is it based? Who are the bands you heard of and how do they take grindcore and goregrind in different directions?
I don't know how long Death By Digital has been active but it is run by a guy named Doug from Ontario. Once again, I do not know if they ship abroad. As for bands I have heard of through the label there are too many to count. Notable ones would be Lurid Panacea, Ear Maggot, Sjeta, Uprising (black metal) and Toxicology. I also received a lot of bands that were already known to me. When it comes to taking goregrind and grindcore in different directions the bands vary. Some are experimental and some are your straight forward grind. One band (Sjeta) released an entire B side of dark ambience on one of their tapes. I thought that was pretty neat!

Does Death By Digital have a Youtube channel? How many labels for grindcore, goregrind and black metal are you coming across on that network?
I don't know if Death By Digital has a Youtube channel as I have only been listening to physical media from the label. I do come across bands on Youtube but I have mostly been listening to tape cassettes and CDs recently... except for when I listen to black metal as I find it harder to find tapes from the genre within Canada for a fair price. Label wise I have never once hooked up with a label from Youtube.

What black metal bands have you recently heard that stand out from other bands of the genre? From the bands you’ve been exposed to, how has the genre grown and how many opportunities for growth remain?
When it comes to black metal some great ones would be Vallendusk, Stormkeep, By the Waters of Awakening, Uprising, I Of The Trees and Wind And Vaino. Black metal was good way back when and it is still good today. I think black metal will continue to progress and push forward for a very long time and the opportunities for the genre are unending and unwavering... at least within the confines of the underground.

Have you listened to anything new from bands you’ve reviewed such as Vaino, Organ Failure, Sawbelly, Manegarm, Violent Christians etc? There was a rap artist you wrote about a few times known as 6HOST WITHASIX. Do you still correspond with him?
As far as I know Vaino only has the one full-length. But as soon as I hear tell of something new I will be hopping on that quick. It is funny you mention Manegarm because I am actually listening to Manegarm on cassette as I write this! It is one of their older albums... but I have been keeping up with their newer stuff. As for 6HOST he is from my area... but I have not run into him recently. He is quite the talented musician though and I do hope that he is keeping up with his music career.

Back to your publishing fiction, how much fiction have you accumulated? Do you plan to post all your fiction? How much of CF Green’s work do you plan to post?
I have accumulated 5 novelettes and about 15 short stories... plus a small handful of kids' books! There are actually more short stories but I have lost a lot of my older work. I have also written a lot of flash fiction...the number of writings I am very unsure of. I will post what I am content with... and as for CF he made two guest posts at my blog since we began this interview!

Are there any guidelines for submitting fiction, or are you accepting a variety of themes?
For the most part (recently) I have been posting YA and children's fiction. But I have everything from horror to comedy posted. There is no real theme, but I do stress that anything racist, sexist, homophobic or openly negative will not be posted.

Discuss the stories you have posted by CF Green and recent tales you penned. Has your writing improved with practice? Can you describe the storylines of your recent stories?
CF Green has written a few short things for me when I was trying to start my own zine. The zine got minimal support but when I started my new site I re-uploaded some of CF's work. There are only two stories currently on the “Free Stuff” page but I'm sure he will send more in the future. I have a lot of work posted but my most recent would be “Frumpy Franny Fringle and the Fabulous Farting Fox” a short book for children, “Michael Noseman and the Wizard of Schnozz” which is mostly a joke between friends with lots of hidden humour and a children's series called “Phester the Skrugg”. I would like to think that my writing has improved. It is a very slow process but I am inching towards bettering myself all the time. In fact, you are to thank for some of that as you were one of the first to let me post on your zine! That was great practice and a lot of fun and as I slowly get back to reviewing I will send some more stuff your way! As for explaining my stories that is too big of an outing. You'd just need to read them and find out! I got lots of free stuff posted on the site on the "Free Stuff" page for anyone that is interested!

What blogging platform do you use to promote? Do you know of its potential to reach a wider readership? How often do you promote?
For blogging I use the same site as the initial website. Webnode! I am a big fan of this service. It is simple to use and everything comes out looking pretty good! I think it has potential to reach a fair few readers. I am not promoting online (aside from this interview so far) but I do have an ad in a small local paper called “Northside Weekly”. So I do have a bit of promotion going on with physical media. I also plan to run an ad campaign on Amazon in the new year!

What novels or short stories have you read lately that you found inspirational? I remember there were a few other authors you read often.
As always my favourite author of all time is R. L. Stine. He has a new book of short stories called “Stinetinglers” that I plan to buy in the near future. My reading has been very slow but the most recent book I read was “Carnosaur” by Harry Adam Knight. It was written in the 80s and wasn't re-released until this year. The movie of the same title from the 90s is one of my favorite movies of all time. The book differs greatly from the movie but it was highly enjoyable none the less. Oh! And I read the “Turok” series by Michael Teitelbaum from the late 90s. They were written for younger readers but they were highly enjoyable and they filled me to the brim with nostalgia!

What sort of nostalgia did you receive from Teitelbaum’s “Turok” series?
I was a huge Turok fan since I was a kid. I always played the video games on my Nintendo 64. The first one in the series "Way of the Warrior" I wrote two book reports on when I was in high school but I never read the others. I got a chance to order the first three in the series earlier in the year and I'm glad I bought them. They were expensive for such short books but it was worth it! I still have yet to order the fourth and final book due to it being over 100 dollars CAD because of it being a first print/out of print... but maybe sometime when I can snag it for cheaper I will!

How hard to find is material from the series? How intensively did you have to look before finding a copy of the fourth novel?
I have actually been pricing the Turok books for a few years now. They were expensive but when I found them again I managed to get one from Amazon for 14 dollars plus shipping and the next two were about 28 dollars on Thriftbooks. The fourth one is still about 100 CAD (the only one I did not order). The books are really rare as they are from 1998-1999 and were only printed once. But you CAN grab a copy of the fourth book from Amazon or Thriftbooks if you are willing to pay the price they are asking.

Would you consider publishing your stories in book form at some point? How many online companies do you know of that could publish a collection of your work?
I plan to publish two books at some point. I am unsure of any companies that would release my work but if there are any reading this get in touch! Until then I will be releasing through Amazon KDP and my own website.

How long will it be and how much material will you have to collect before you begin publishing? Will you release your books independently at first or go right into looking for a company?
For the books I am compiling I already reached out to a handful of publishers but no go so far. It is looking like they are going to be independent releases. I have everything I need for right now I just need to finish doing some edits.

What movies have you seen lately, old or new, that you’d like to review for Mean E Publishing should you decide to?
The only movie I plan to review that I did not review yet is a teen flick called “Teenage Ghost Punk”. I actually plan to send that review to Asphyxium when I get around to it!

Are you seeking more writers to contribute to the blog? You also mentioned you may be interviewing a few people you know. Who do you have in mind?
I don't really have anyone in mind for an interview. Maybe I could get updated on Cernunnous? But yeah... I am always looking for contributors for the blog!


-Dave Wolff

Monday, November 21, 2022

Full Length: Death Embrace "Vampyre" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Project: Death Embrace
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Black metal
Full length: Vampyre
Format: Digital album
Label: Independent
Release date: October 31, 2022
In this season when nature is going to sleep, I find it warms my heart to once again visit ancient times, cold landscapes, rotting crypts, and bloodthirsty ghouls. It seems as if old crypts are being reopened for those with the perception to receive them at a time when bands like Darkthrone and Mayhem are revisiting their roots and processing them into the new millennium. Prepare to have this done for you and to be drawn into the darkness of a world created by Death Embrace a one-man project from the lands of Hecate Enthroned, Bal-Sagoth, and Cradle of Filth, and induced to a state of hypnosis from which there is no return. “Vampyre”, the third full length release from founding member D.M after “Dark Reflections of a Tortured Soul” and “Unholy Trinity II” and their debut demo “Unholy Trinity I”, will transport you to the starless, moonless world of necromancy and enchantment and leave you there without a chance to return to the ordinary. Death Embrace is a good place to begin a journey toward darker shores if your usual listening fare includes Burzum, Black Funeral, Vlad Tepes, and Darkness Enshroud. D.M composed the songs on “Vampyre” around spells written to summon what he calls the primordial Vampyric essence and the beauty of immortality. The songs of this musician embody those creatures that eat lifeblood from other creatures, especially in the vocals that seem to transform him into one of those creatures. As a guitarist and keyboardist, he makes use of overlapping progressions to create simple, complex, and elusively soporific songs. Lead and rhythm guitars are usually mixed simultaneously with a third track consisting of keyboards, mixed a little lower for additional subtlety, occasionally revealing more than one soundscape through his songwriting. The repetitive loops create a rapturous atmosphere effortlessly comparable to 90s vampiric black metal, allowing its "kvlt" aspects to be a viable mass appeal source. Only the drums could have been given more prominence and echo in the final mix, but the rest of the album more than adequately captures the world he sought to convey. The keyboard instrumental piece that is the final song establishes the existence of this world on earth. –Dave Wolff

Lineup:
D.M: Vocals, all instruments

Track list:
1. From Beyond The Veil
2. The Dead Cold Grave
3. Vampyric Blood Rite
4. Awaken
5. Vampyre
6. Coven (Instrumental)

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Interview with Metal Priest of Cosmic Jaguar by Dave Wolff


Interview with Metal Priest of Cosmic Jaguar by Dave Wolff

When did you start Cosmic Jaguar and in what ways do you differ from your old outfit Bestial Invasion? Does the new band have the same members or different musicians?
Cosmic Jaguar started very spontaneously in April 2022. It was a random jam and we first decided to record one song, then a couple, and then eventually an album. Since there was a war going on in the country we didn't know what would happen tomorrow, so we didn't plan anything and did things as we could. There are three people in Cosmic Jaguar, me on vocals and bass guitar, the old Bestial Invasion guitarist Maestro and the new Bestial Invasion drummer Denis. By the way, I called Denis to play in Bestial Invasion after creating Cosmic Jaguar because we need such talented musicians in the main band. What is the difference between Cosmic Jaguar and Bestial Invasion? First of all the vocals, because the vocals are more straightforward and typical thrash vocals, they don't play as much of a role as in Bestial Invasion. Secondly, the music, because there are folk instruments and different atmospheric samples to enrich our concept. Cosmic Jaguar's music is not as technical as Bestial Invasion's, but more avant-garde. And the third thing is the concept, Bestial Invasion has no narrowly focused concept, and Cosmic Jaguar has Aztec culture and mythology.

What is the name Cosmic Jaguar intended to mean and how does it represent the direction the band is taking musically? Did you set out to do something different from Bestial Invasion or did it come about naturally?
Cosmic Jaguar is from Aztec culture, as it sounds very strange for metal bands and is catchy, so we decided to use it. Now it's very difficult to come up with an original name for a band, but I think we did it. When we started out we didn't have any affiliations or plans to be like Bestial Invasion, because it doesn't make any sense. Cosmic Jaguar is a self-contained band!

Do you know of bands from other countries who incorporate Aztec culture into metal, or is it a relatively new concept to you?
Yeah, I know a couple, but they didn't influence us, because they play in a different style. For example, I like Amocualli, Cemican, and Maquahuitl. For thrash, of course, this is new, so I decided to take advantage of it!

What subgenres do those bands play, where are they from and how did you hear about them? Can people stream them online?
They play very different music, but they have that very Aztec spirit that I liked. I saw them on YouTube and you can do the same! Cemican even played at Wacken! They have very cool music videos!

How much of Aztec culture and history are you studying to incorporate into your lyrics? What mediums are you turning to for study?
I read a lot of different articles and books and find interesting information in them that inspires me with the concept. I also dream of going to Mexico and seeing everything with my own eyes and I think I will in the coming years!

How often did you have random jam sessions before starting Cosmic Jaguar?
Not often, because at that time there was a very active war phase and we didn't know what to expect next from the situation, so ideas were already exchanged over the internet.

Where in Mexico are you planning to travel to? Are you in touch with any bands based in Mexico you would hook up with to go to live shows, or are you just planning to see some of the sights there? Where else would you travel?
I would like to visit the Pyramid of the Sun, it's about 40 km from Mexico, in a northeasterly direction, and I would also like to visit the Yucatan Peninsula. I don't have any connections to Mexican groups, but I'd fix that if I wanted to. I would just like to go as a tourist and enjoy the culture of Mexico.

Was the entire album written and composed in that one jam session, or was it completed over a series of jam sessions?
I had a lot of ideas and blueprints that didn't make it into my other projects, so we started with those, and the guitarist had a couple of good ideas and we basically made an album out of it all, but we worked it all out in terms of concepts and arrangements. We didn't rehearse much, but we did a tremendous job at the rehearsals.

What folk instruments do you write with? Are they instruments other bands have recorded with, or are you writing with instruments other bands haven’t tried? Describe some of the atmospheric samples included in your material.
Some percussion instruments are available from our percussionist Denis, and some we took from different sound libraries because we have no place to find these instruments and record it all ourselves. We used Death Whistles, flutes, and other wind instruments. We have these elements in all of our songs, so it's hard to isolate anything.

What is the Death Whistle, and how often did you record the album with this instrument?
The Aztec whistle, which makes an eerie sound, was immediately given the name "death whistle". Exactly what these whistles were intended for, scientists still don't know exactly. One plausible theory is that they were used in rituals - the Aztecs had a great many of them, so it is difficult to determine which one. A second hypothesis has it that whistles with frightening sounds were used to intimidate enemies. Indeed, if you hear the shrieks of an Aztec whistle in the dark, and even more so in the dense jungle, you can literally shit in your trousers! We've used it a couple of times on some songs.

What sort of an effect does the death whistle have on Cosmic Jaguar’s material? In what ways does it influence the atmosphere in your songs?
It's a very specific sound that makes you wonder, what was that? It influences the atmosphere a lot because these sounds give a concept to our music! When the album comes out you'll know what I mean!

Did the lyrics come with the material you completed in rehearsal, or are those still to be penned at some point? How much do the lyrics differ from Bestial Invasion’s?
I wrote the lyrics for the finished song, which means that we had the instrumental part of the song, and then I took the demo home and came up with the lyrics and the vocal line there. So everything was done one at a time. Bestial Invasion is a completely different band in concept, so the lyrics are different.

What books would you recommend to people who listen to Cosmic Jaguar and become interested in Aztec culture?
To begin with, at least, “Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs”. Also: “The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya”, “Deciphering Aztec Hieroglyphs”, “The Aztec Empire: An Enthralling Overview of the History of the Aztecs”. This is actually a very complex topic and requires a lot of time and attention to be fully immersed in it. And for the very lazy I can recommend the film “Apocalypto” (2006).

What is the movie “Apocalypto” about and why did you recommend this to the readers?
The film shows the life of the Aztec/Maya civilization before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors: brutal wars with neighbouring tribes, human sacrifice, and mysterious mystical rituals. One day, the world of an Indian named Paw Jaguar collapses. His village is overrun by a neighbouring tribe, destroying huts, and taking the locals captive. He is led into town to be sacrificed to the gods. Faced with imminent death, Lapa Jaguara must conquer his worst fears and make a desperate dash to save what he holds dear... Why recommend him? Because it is watchable in the same breath and reveals everyday life and culture very well.

Name some of the songs you composed in your initial jam session.
They were “Chimalma, Mother of the Quetzalcoatl” and “The Harbinger of the Sun”. The album “The Legacy of the Aztecs” has been ready since September and was handed over to the Dutch label Metal Warrior Records.

How do the subject matter and lyrical content of “Chimalma, Mother of the Quetzalcoatl” and “The Harbinger of the Sun” reflects your research on Aztec Culture?
“Chimalma, Mother of the Quetzalcoatl” is a goddess in Aztec mythology. Considered the wife of Miskoatl and the mother of Quetzalcoatl. The name Chimalma means ‘shield of the Earth’ or ‘with a shield in hand’. According to one legend, Chimalma had no children for a long time. She prayed on the altar of Quetzalcoatl and the priest said that she had to swallow a small precious stone, a jad. After she swallowed the jad, Quetzalcoatl was conceived.
“The Harbinger of the Sun” song of Sholotl - in Aztec and Toltec mythology, the god of thunder and death, the “dark” twin brother of Quetzalcoatl, one of the two sons of the maiden Coatlicue. In Aztec myths, usually represented as a formidable deity of thunder, the underworld, and various disasters and mishaps, was considered the lord of the evening star and the dark side of Venus, but at the same time was a patron of twins and the ball game, in Myctlan (the realm of the dead in Aztec mythology) accompanied the dead, also accompanied the sun at the beginning of the day on his way to the firmament. He was depicted as a skeleton or as a humanoid monster with a dog's head and crooked legs. In some depictions he is armed with an axe and has a spot of light on his back.

How did you hear about Metal Warrior Records? How well-known is this label in Holland, and why did you decide they could best promote the band?
I met their boss Mario by chance and we got to know each other to re-release the Bestial Invasion albums, and then I suggested to him to release our new project and he said yes. I love the fact that this label does a really good product in all aspects and because of the war we don't have the possibility to do it on Nocturnus Records, where the last two Bestial Invasion albums were released. Also, Metal Warrior Records has a good distribution worldwide!

What bands besides Cosmic Jaguar are Metal Warrior Records supporting at the time of this writing?
The label doesn't have a big list of bands, but there are a couple of cool ones, like Feonor (Featuring ex-Manowar guitarist David Shankle), Vultur, and Invictus.

In what ways has the war with Russia affected metal bands and underground scenes in your country, as far as corresponding together and with bands and fans elsewhere?
Very much, because the war changes your priorities. The Ukrainian spirit can't break anything, so after Ukraine's victory everything will be back on track and I think there will be a new creative boom! Part of the metal community is fighting, another part is volunteering, and another part is working for the country's economy. Personally, most of the fans of Raven, Type O Negative, Poltergeist, and other bands supported me and that's very cool!

Has your immediate neighborhood in Ukraine been affected by the war? How often have you had the chance to tell listeners outside your country what’s been happening?
Of course it has, I've had a lot of people write to me from Europe and the U.S. asking what's going on because they don't always trust the media. So at first, I spent a lot of time answering everyone. Everyone who wants to know the truth should know it.

In your view, how much has the media been getting things wrong when it comes to covering the war? How do people react when you present them with your accounts of what’s happening? Where else should people go to get the full story?
It all depends on where the media is coming from, if it's pro-Russian, it's all rubbish, so sometimes people get it wrong. I, of course, tell the truth as an eyewitness. It's very difficult to find a single source that would reveal the whole truth, so I'm afraid to take such responsibility to advise anything.

Since the war started has it become more difficult to correspond with Russian bands you’re in touch with? How is the internet connection between Ukraine and Russia of late?
Before the war, I didn't keep in touch with almost any Russian groups, because after 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and caused a massacre in Donbass, friendly relations deteriorated.

Tell the readers a few things about the recent video you released on Youtube covering a song by the band Sadist (Italy). Is this one of many songs you were considering doing your own rendition of? Why was it chosen to showcase the band?
We recently released a cover of Sadist – “Escogido”! This is our second cover, the first one was for Babe Ruth's album “The Mexican” and now we're recording the third one for Cynic. We all really like Sadist's album Tribe and decided to do a cover as a tribute. This song suits us very well in terms of atmosphere and concept, as well as musically. And the most annoying thing is that almost nobody has done covers of Sadist, so we decided to stand out. Also, we did it in our own way, which was very much liked by the founding guitarist Tommy and the former drummer of Peso.

Are you planning to produce more videos to promote Cosmic Jaguar? And what has Bestial Invasion been up to of late?
We already shot a video in the summer for “The Northern Underworld” in an old-school format. It's a black-and-white video in the old 4:3 TV format without any fancy gimmicks. It was on a zero budget and I shot and edited it myself. That's why it's made from the heart and out of the trends of our time. We plan to unload the clip next year before the album is released. As for Bestial Invasion, we have already composed a new album and are recording it now and we will have our first single soon! Stay tuned!

What is the next Bestial Invasion album going to be like? How long did it take to complete it and is it an improvement from your previous releases?
The next album will be more like the third “Monomania” album because there won't be the same dense concept as on the previous album on “Divine Comedy”. There will be a different sound and more cheerful stuff. We've already composed all the material and we're recording it now! The album will be released in autumn 2023 I think!

Which song will be the first single to showcase the new full-length? Is the taping and production of the video being completed at this time?
There was already the first single on 15 October, “Our Lord the Flayed One”. The next single will be just after the new year and might be "Temple of the Feathered Serpent" and the video clip will most likely be just before the album release. The clip has been ready since August).

How often do you expect to promote the new material from both your bands by performing live? What local locations or countries do you and the band have in mind?
Bestial Invasion isn't planning to play with us yet, although we received an invitation to Wacken 2023 and Cosmic Jaguar is likely to go there, so we're in talks. While there's a war going on we're not planning anything apart from studio records, and time will tell!


-Dave Wolff

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

EP Review: One Push Bubble Gore "The Gurgling Session" (Independent) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: One Push Bubble Gore
Country: Indonesia
Genre: Cyber/Goregrind
Format: Digital, streaming
Label: Independent
Release date: October 20, 2022
I checked to see if Gore Grinder had anything new on YouTube. There wasn’t really anything that I was interested in there…but after some mild searching I found a different account called “The Slaughterhouse”.
On there I found an upload of “The Gurgling Session” by “One Push Bubble Gore”. This was recently released in October 2022 and it boasts itself as being a mix of goregrind and cyber-gore. It was an independent release from Indonesia.
The bass sounds organic but if it is listed as cyber I can make a stab that it is electronic. So the fact that it sounds so real is quite impressive. The vocals are amusing, the percussion is done well and overall this is quite the entertaining little blast of gore. The production is lo-fi—but honestly it is great that stuff like this is still being produced in 2022.
This is a short one with 7 tracks in about 10 minutes…but I wound encourage you to give it a listen. Fans of acts like Spermswamp are sure to dig what is offered here…top quality cyber! -Devin J. Meaney

Lineup:
Tegar Nambayo: Vocals, all instruments

Track list:
1. Minced Body Parts
2. Surgical Treatment
3. Mincing in Your Kitchen
4. Disturbed Mutilation
5. Minced Gore is Power
6. Violates Sodomy a Herbivore
7. The Newborn Need a Feast

Monday, November 14, 2022

Fiction: "When Children Feed" by Devin J. Meaney

When Children Feed
By: Devin J. Meaney

The nameless thing writhed with malignant intent as its many appendages caressed my shivering and distressed body. Its numerous eyes glistened in the low lighting of my bedroom as its many teeth gnashed in its many mouths, each one as gaping and cavernous as the abyss. The stench of necrosis permeated the air bringing forth a gagging sensation like no other…rancid like week old flesh left out in the sun.
My thoughts began to swirl. What the hell is this abomination? How did it get in here? What does it plan to do?...but my rapid mental pacing did not garner an answer, nor did I have the ability to speak. Each second felt like an hour as I counted the saliva drips oozing from its mouths, and all I could do was gasp as its tentacles licked at my torso like a kitten lapping up fresh milk.
Just as I thought it couldn’t get worse, the thing started to pulsate. The sound of its heartbeat quickened in pace, slowly but steadily rising as it eventually climaxed reminding me of a cross between tribal drums and machine gun fire, each beat ringing out like a blast of audible vomit spew. I could only muster up the internal strength to mumble three words. “Mother of God”.
Then, with blazing quickness, its tentacles wrapped me in a hug of death, tugging this way and that way as if multiple boa constrictors were competing for the same boar. I struggled to breathe as my body was being crushed to oblivion, and just as I was lapsing out of consciousness…the thing spoke.
“Feed…my…children.”
Its voice was purely serpentine, and it was emitted not from its mouths, but seemingly from the atmosphere within my bedroom as a whole. The thing released its grasp on me slightly and I breathed in deep…half choking on large gulps of pungent air. The tentacles were no longer tugging at me and they were now holding me in place…leaving me to dangle in the air like a codfish on the end of a fisherman’s jig line. With some struggle I managed to question the monstrosity. “What do you mean?”…but it only repeated its first utterance.
“Feed…my…children.”
I swayed in an almost catatonic stupor as the thing pulsed. Its heartbeat started to diminish in quickness, and by now its tentacles were not writhing…they were rigid and frozen in place for some ungodly reason that was at this point unknown to me. After a moment, the thing started to squirm again and what happened next I will remember forever, the pure horror etched grotesquely within my mind. The tribal sounding lub dub lub dub lub dub continued at a steady pace, and as I swayed, its many mouths started to veer into each other, slowly becoming a grisly and contorted mass of one. Its teeth retracted and re-grew all in one spot, giving the appearance of a fang-toothed void that could surely only be the maw of a spawn from the depths of hell. Then, in a bellowing rage, it spoke in a guttural tone louder and more maniacal than before.
“FEED…MY…CHILDREN!”
From its mouth came what seemed to be a massive tongue, covered in what I could only guess were egg sacs. Each sac, about the size of a grapefruit, vibrated and hummed along to the beat of the creature’s heart... “dancing” almost rhythmically as if they were performers on some sort of freakish and outlandish stage. The thing’s eyes rolled back into its head, mottled and milky white like demonic orbs of the damned…then came the needle.
Growing from the back of its throat a “needle” like no other I have seen before penetrated the blackness within the monster’s jaws. Like a bone siphon, it stretched forward, its tip like an elongated syringe birthed from the infernal regions…sharp as a comic’s wit and more menacing than bull sharks in a blood frenzy. I let out a whimper and prayed for my saving grace…but no God nor angels came to my aid.
The needle grew closer and closer to my neck and I could only plead and moan as the tentacles held me in place, each moment bringing forth pure terror as the sweat beaded from my body and my hair stood on end…my own heart almost racing out of my chest. I closed my eyes and waited for a slow death, but just as the needle was about to penetrate my jugular…daylight.

I sat up in my bed, consumed with panic and alarm unrivaled at any other point in my life. I looked around for the creature, but there was nothing but clear blue sky outside my window…and my cat casually grooming himself as he relaxed on my bedspread, low purring coming from him at extended intervals. The sweat that covered my body was soaking through to my mattress and my heart was still thumping as if I had been running a marathon in my sleep…but calmness soon washed over me as I figured it had all been nothing more than a dream, a ghastly one which I hoped to never live through again.
Shaking my head, I put my feet to the floor so I could get up and start my day. My phone had multiple missed messages and it seemed as if I had been called in to work early…but due to the extreme terror I had just lived through that was the least of my worries. All I wanted was a hot black coffee and a cigarette as long as a pencil…but first, I had to wash up. The odor of sweat in my bedroom could be likened to a locker room or the aroma of an unwashed ne'er do well who hadn’t showered in weeks.
I soon went to the bathroom and brushed my teeth and gave myself a quick “hooker’s bath”, washing the important parts of my body as I still contemplated what the hell brought on my night terror. My dreams were usually peaceful and such nightmares were an uncommon thing for me…but again, I was just happy that it was over.
As I was leaving the bathroom, something caught my eye in the mirror. At first I thought I was seeing things, but on closer inspection I realized there was a small puncture hole in my neck. As I realized the severity of this horrid truth, a serpentine voice could be heard pulsing through the atmosphere.
“…Thank you!”
And at that moment…I realized I may never sleep again.

END

Fiction: "The Silence Of The Donairs" by Devin J. Meaney

The Silence Of The Donairs
By: Devin J. Meaney
Inspired by: L Lorne Tompkins

The aromatic wafting of herbs and spices permeated the air within Silencio’s Pizzeria, a “mom and pop” shop located in North Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The fragrance of pizza, garlic fingers, chicken wings, burgers, and the famously known Cape Breton donair was prominent in the shop’s dining room as dozens of patrons heartily ingested the delicious offerings brought forth by Bill Silencio and his highly adored recipes that kept many an islander happy and well fed.
It was coming to the end of a busy Saturday night and Bill was working in the kitchen preparing an order of the “special” donair that was Silencio’s main menu staple. One of his most valued customers, known only to Bill as Clarice, was waiting patiently at the counter for her much anticipated blast of flavour and freshness. She had just gotten off work, and she was as famished as a plant worker after a large shipment of shrimp…a feeling known to many blue collar men and women in North Sydney and surrounding areas.
When the order was finished, Bill brought the donair to the counter in a cardboard box and happily greeted Clarice with a smile.
“Why hello Clarice…nice to see you again. A long day at work, eh?”
Clarice just nodded and made some casual banter. Just before vacating the shop, she looked to Bill and shot him a beaming toothy grin.
“I’d like to know what you put in this stuff. The men at the station go screaming mad for it. And the sauce is absolutely to die for!”
Bill chuckled and waved a final goodbye, but he was soon back to work in the kitchen. The shop would be closing in under an hour and he had a few more orders to complete before Saturday night came to an end. After three more orders of garlic fingers, two dozen chicken wings, and a meat lover’s pizza, Bill flipped the sign on his door from open to closed. After about twenty minutes, the last patrons of the night exited the building, and he was once again all alone in the dimly lit pizzeria. He quickly did a final cleanup of the kitchen, washed the last remaining dirty dishes, and sweeped and mopped the floors. Just after finishing up in the kitchen, he went down into the basement to check on his “food supplies”...the well kept secret that Bill Silencio aimed to take to the grave. After close inspection, he deemed Sunday’s supply fit for sale…and the sound proofing of the walls and basement ceiling made damn sure that nobody heard the screams.
The shackles that were strung up in the basement hung as a symbol of a wealth of nefarious deeds, and the faint whimpering coming from the back corner was but a mere tip of the iceberg when it came to the truth about Silencio’s. Rita MacNeil could be heard (or “not heard” due to the sound proofing) pulsing through Bill’s speakers as he started his ghastly work, and the mumbles of Steve Murphy were present in the background…but Bill was not paying attention to the T.V. He was preparing a donair spit for the coming day…and the whimpering from the back corner would not last through the night.
Just before going back upstairs, Bill yelled as if he was about to start singing a song.
“It puts the sauce upon its skin or else it gets the spit again.”
But the spit was inevitable. The whimpers were destined to go as silent as the donairs Bill served, and the patrons of his shop would be none the wiser about the grisly truth surrounding the delicious and spicy delicacy. The secret ingredients would remain a mystery and Silencio’s would prosper for many years to come.
Clarice was right. The sauce truly was to die for...

Fiction: "Red Devils in Darkness" by Devin J. Meaney

Red Devils in Darkness
By: Devin J. Meaney

The dive should have only taken twenty minutes but after about forty five it was clear that a quick ascent would not be feasible. The depths were illuminated by only the light of our cameras and what was looming above could only be described as a frenzied haze of red flashes and ink swells...like clouds of liquid smoke cascading downward into a blackened abyss.
I floated in silence, each moment reminding me of an eon in purgatory. I still had about an hour in my scuba tank and so did my partner Madeline, but at this point that was the least of my concerns. The flashes of vibrant red that were penetrating the darkness were getting forever closer...and growing in numbers at an alarming rate. My thoughts began to race.
Man, we need to get the hell out of here!
I motioned to Madeline to point her camera’s light to the sea floor in hopes that no jumbos would notice us. She quickly pointed the lens downward and did her best to cover the light with her left hand. I did the same. The light was still visible, but was now less of a beacon and more of a dim glow. But this brought yet another problem: The darkness was now even darker, and our surroundings became but a mere silhouette of dark green, black, and deafening silence. I began to gather my thoughts to think of a solution.
A humboldt flashes like that when it is feeling aggressive. If we ascend to the surface now they will eat us alive. But if we stay here, we will run out of air. What the hell are we going to do? Shit, we really got ourselves in a God damned pickle. Hell...
Not able to think of a way to fix our problem I continued to float in despair. It seemed as if we were destined to be lunch meat for an army of red devils and the future was looking as bleak as it was ever going to be. That’s when I saw Madeline freeze and go as rigid as a razorblade.
From a watery hell came a tentacle...and then another...and then another. Razor tipped whips began to embrace Madeline, and strangely enough it was done gently. But this would not fool us. If we made a single wrong movement we would be torn to shreds and they would find our mutilated carcasses adrift, or on a beach slowly decomposing in the sun. At first it was just Madeline, but then the jumbos started to inspect me too.
They did not come from above...they came from below. Any plans of an escape had been foiled, and it looked as if our shivering flesh would soon be fodder for a monster’s beak…but we did not give up hope. We just kept as still as possible in the gentle current as the tentacles continued to probe us. Madeline slowly put her hand to her head in the form of a gun and made a bang! motion with her fingertips. She was usually quite fearless but I could tell she was shaking like a leaf caught in autumn’s wind.
More jumbos came from the depths and soon we were surrounded by at least ten of the beasts. Their whips, like tendrils of the damned, began to swish and flick like worms caught on a hook...and within a brief moment I could sense that the humboldt’s hostility had been heightened. Just as we thought things couldn’t get any worse the squid from above seemed to notice us and they too began to make the descent to check out the dim glow of our diving cameras. Feelings of intense peril began to seep into my heart...
Fuck...
Seconds seemed like hours as packs of ravenous cephalopods swarmed us, their grotesque appendages darting ominously closer...and closer...and closer. In a fraction of a second, one of the vile creatures grabbed me and started to shake me like a paint can at the hardware store. Through a bleary fog I could see Madeline being pulled in various directions, her limbs soon contorting like a scene from The Exorcist.
Just as I was about to accept my grisly fate, with rapid-fire quickness the squid that were holding us captive blasted downward. The squid from above followed in unison, and in less than half a minute Madeline and I were once again floating alone in the swells. My heart rate slowly decreased as I realized that we, at least for a moment, were out of harm’s way. My thoughts were a confused daze.
What the hell just happened?
My only guess was that a school of fish passed by and the squid were lured away with promises of a hearty feast, a feast that did not include wet suits and the cold steel of our scuba tanks. I motioned to Madeline to stay still for another moment, but we soon made our way to the surface, and after a short swim we made it back to “La Barracuda”...the small fishing boat we hired to take us on our not-so-pleasant sea faring adventure.
When I made my way on board the boat, I quickly took my mask off and choked in the pungent salt air and yelled to Madeline with delight.
“Holy fucking hell I never want to do that again!”
She just smiled as tears rolled down her cheeks. We were scared to death, but it appeared that the sea did not consume us...at least this time. Even though we planned to keep to the land for a while, we would make the journey downward into the abyss again. Sunken ships and salt water would forever be in our blood, but we hoped to only find ink in story books.
If the sea would allow us the privilege...oh God, we could only hope.

END

Fictoin: "Lagartija" by Devin J. Meaney

Lagartija
By: Devin J. Meaney

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

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

Fiction: "Devin Stoddard: Vampire Hunter" by Devin J. Meaney

Devin Stoddard: Vampire Hunter
By: Devin J. Meaney

Devin Stoddard held a stake firm in his battered and manly hands as he stalked his pale yet menacing prey. The garlic necklace hanging from his neck brought forth a pungent stench…and the crucifix in his back pocket gleamed slightly in the moonlight as he made his way through the graveyard.
His familiar, Charlie, followed quickly yet quietly behind him…eager to kill…yet wary of the fanged ones that may or may not creep silently from their forsaken tombs. This was their third hunt just this week, and they had already bagged nine fanged ones…but this hunt was different. They were on the trail of an elder vampire by the name of Jinne…and rumor told that he had an entire brood under his twisted thumb, one big enough to turn all of Cape Breton into nothing more than a mere feeding ground.
The graveyard was silent, but Charlie inevitably broke the quiet with an utterance.
“Master…when will I get to kill again?”
Devin put his fingers to his lips motioning for Charlie to muzzle himself.
“Quiet you. You will be able to have fun soon. Right now we need to locate Jinne’s tomb. If we cause a disturbance before then it will awaken all the other filth. We need to corner Jinne alone…with him gone, the others will perish within days.”
Charlie simply nodded and continued to tail Devin. He was loyal to his master, and he knew that if he was successful in the hunt he would be handsomely rewarded. The flesh of the deceased would be his hearty meal…with a side of as much lettuce as his dark soul desired. Lettuce was Charlie’s favorite.
The duo made their way to the midpoint of the graveyard and it seemed as if no vamps were in sight. Devin was expecting the surrounding woods and marshes to be teeming with undesirables, but it seemed as if they were alone in the cemetery. Aside from the chirping of crickets the quiet continued…but again, Charlie felt the need to speak.
“Master…why is this Jinne so dangerous? We have caught many fanged ones and they were always easy prey. Why is this one different?”
Knowing they were alone, Devin turned to reply.
“Jinne is thousands of years old. Rumor states that he has ten times the power of an ordinary vamp, and his horns extend toward the heavens like spears of ancient bone. His fingers are clawed like a spawn from the deepest darkest depths…and just the shrill of his voice is enough to leave you breathless.”
Charlie shivered.
“He sounds delightful.”
Devin chuckled quietly.
“Yes…the delightful-est.”
The moon was still high in the sky and the drone of the crickets seemed unending. The duo continued to stalk between the gravestones, and the moments passed at a sluggardly pace…each second as still as a photo and as prolonged as a Cape Breton winter’s chill. It seemed as if they were getting nowhere with the hunt…that’s when they heard the music.
Like a cacophony of malignant sirens, the music pulsed feverishly. It started out as a low hum, but as Devin and Charlie quickened their pace, it grew louder and more maniacal the more the pair delved into darkness. Each step forward brought a heightened tone to audible madness…but they continued on. This was seemingly the playlist of a monster.
Just as the music appeared to be reaching a grotesque climax, they saw what seemed to be an open tomb. As moonlight cascaded upon it, it looked as if light was emanating from the ground. A strange sight to see, and even stranger still was the fear in Devin and Charlie’s hearts. They both knew this was no regular fanged one. They knew then and there that this was the abomination they lusted for. This is when Devin spoke.
“Prepare your holy water, Charlie. I will need backup if this monstrosity wakes up. We need to be quiet. We need to put a stake through its heart quickly and efficiently. If Jinne wakes up, the others won’t be long making their way here…so we need to kill the master promptly. We don’t need a mess in this cemetery now do we?”
Charlie just nodded and readied his Super Soaker. He was prepared to do battle (and maybe even die) for his master. The meat of the decomposed was waiting at the finish line, the lettuce would be abundant after victory’s embrace…and another notch in the belt of Charlie the Gnome would be cut with pride.
Devin and Charlie moved forward, and within seconds they saw a sight that left them almost paralyzed. A music box laid beside Jinne’s tomb, its music now more abysmal than ever. The light they glimpsed previously they now knew was coming from an old oak coffin, which was open…showing the ghastly innards to the moon with nefariousness.
Laying in the coffin was a beast like no other…his skin as pale as powdered cocaine and his hair as elegant as an eagle’s flight. His claws were as long as opal daggers…and his horns, like fangs of vicious serpents enlarged to behemoth proportions sat upon his withered head like venomous pillars far beyond basic human comprehension. The light seemed to be coming from the vampire himself.
Devin nodded and Charlie whispered back in anticipation.
“…Let’s do this!”
Devin crept forward with his stake in hand, his other hand clutching the crucifix. Charlie stood at the edge of the tomb prepared to blast the master vampire back to hell with his liquid holiness. Devin inched closer and closer, and just as he was raising his hand to impale the creature…Jinne’s eyes opened, their milky white appearance as revolting as curdled bile.
Devin came down with his stake, but in a fraction of a second his stake and crucifix were intercepted by Jinne. They went flying through the air…ending up somewhere unseen and out of reach. Charlie tried to pump his soaker, but that too soon went the way of Devin’s arsenal. It seemed as if the pair had been stifled. Then…the vampire laughed.
“Who dares disrupt my slumber? Are you the delivery men? Did you bring me the falafel I ordered?...And what’s with the stake? Are we in medieval Europe? I think not!”
Devin just gasped in confusion.
“Uh…whut?”
Jinne laughed again.
“So…you’re not the delivery men? I ordered falafel two hours ago and it still hasn’t arrived. They better get here soon otherwise I’m not paying full price. Falafel is best served fresh…and they better not forget my Pepsi!”
Devin just stuttered in awe.
“…A v-v-v-vampire that eats falafel?”
Jinne chortled.
“Whoa. Whoa. I’m not actually a vampire, ok? That’s just an act I put on to get popular with the gothic babes. What…so you were trying to KILL me?”
Devin once again writhed in confusion.
“But…but…the music…the light…the coffin…the stories?”
Jinne raised his hand in dismissal.
“I play in a black metal band. The music is from my upcoming EP. I sleep in a coffin for publicity and the stories I put out myself to ramp up album sales. As for the light, I grew up by the tar ponds…ok? Don’t worry about it!”
Devin panicked.
“If the vampires aren’t real…then who the hell have I been killing all week?”
Jinne crossed his arms in disappointment.
“Uh…goth kids. You’ve been killing goth kids…arsehole.”

* With that, Devin and Charlie realized that their quest was nothing but fantasy. The vampire takeover was as fake as Jinne’s claws, horns, and contact lenses, and Cape Breton was not actually in any peril at all. There would be no flesh of the dead for Charlie to feast upon, and the notch in his belt would remain un-cut.
No more would Devin and Charlie push forward on their delusional rampage…and after the LSD wore off, they would go to jail for multiple homicides. Never again would Devin and Charlie “bag” another “fanged one”, and never again would Cape Breton feel the wrath of the vampire slayers. Due to the publicity of the graveyard spree, Jinne’s band would sign a record deal and go on to release a whopping 66 copies of their EP worldwide…and as for Jinne, well…he’s currently dripping in gothic babes!

THE END

Film Review: School Spirits (2017) by Devin J. Meaney

School Spirits
Directed by Allison Eckert
Written by Christopher Babers, Terrance Hines, Caitlin Kleppinger and Christina Kleppinger
Starring Tiffany Alvord, Teala Dunn, Piper Curda, Christian Delgrosso and Audrey Whitby
Released October 6, 2017, June 2, 2020 (online)
MORE Productions
“A girl relocates to a small town only to find it inhabited by ghosts. A struggle against a bad spirit ensues to keep the town's children safe.”- pulled from Google.
I normally watch a lot of horror and fantasy but I needed a break from my usual pursuits. I hit up Tubi and eventually stumbled upon “School Spirits”…a 2017 teenage flick about…well yeah…ghosts! Unlike most of the films I view this one was entirely family-friendly. I mean…sometimes you need to catch up on some of the lighter stuff I guess? Anyway…I don’t think the budget for this was insanely high but it was far from the bottom of the barrel. Each actor/actress played their parts well and there was a lot of humor here. Overall my favorite character was a teen boy with cystic fibrosis named Link (or maybe Lynk? I’m not sure). Literally every single scene with him in it made me laugh. No joke!
One of the things that really struck me about this was that two of the lead actresses reminded me of my daughter, each for different reasons. Maybe all teen girls have certain things in common but I found it amusing that there were many scenes that made me think of her.
The only main negative comment I have to make is that some of the “plot” involving the “bad spirit” kind of got lost on me. I mean…there could have been a bit more of an explanation. With that being said I would entirely recommend this as a movie to watch as a family unit and young viewers would be able to enjoy this without much of a scare.
Anyway...Watch this film! It was pretty darn good! -Devin J. Meaney