Monday, February 29, 2016

CD Review: SOBER TRUTH New Slavery World (Independent) by Dave Wolff

New Slavery World
New Slavery World is the fourth release from Sober Truth (following 2010’s Riven, 2014’s Outta Hell and 2014’s Outta Hell Special Edition, all available for streaming at their Bandcamp profile). The German band puts a twist on melodic groove-thrash that’s apparent from the EP’s first track Black Demon. The mood of this song is established with the sound of an old vinyl record crackling from dust buildup accompanied by a brief piano intro. On the heels of this comes lyrical pictures of insanity and psychosis which can be felt in the four vocal styles they are recited with. The chorus particularly conveys these impressions with its tortured vocals, next to the Peter Steele-like vocals in the bridge. The experimentation Sober Truth pursues helps break the groove-thrash mold, and this doesn’t even take into consideration the maniacal laughter intended to represent the demon this song is written about. If more groove-thrash bands wrote like this or took similar chances it would do the genre much good. The band took chances with the subject matter when writing the lyrics, which is equally fortunate. A promotional video was filmed for Black Demon which can be viewed at their Youtube channel. The setting chosen for it adds a new dimension or two. The other four tracks here are more or less standard. But the pre-track samples and vocals carry things far. There are lots of inventive riffs and the band’s drummer is quite capable when it comes to using double bass to enhance the relentless guitars. At the band’s Youtube channel are several more promotional videos and live clips. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Black Demon
2. 6th Position
3. New Slavery World
4. Titanic
5. Domination

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

CD Review: PATCHWORK Exit Wounds (Turkey Vulture) by Dave Wolff

Exit Wounds
Turkey Vulture
As the debut from this Illinois band, Exit Wounds shows Patchwork at a good start. Patchwork formed in 2010 and released this in 2015. The overall motif is similar to 2000s Anthrax, with clean production, a tight drum sound and lead themes akin to Slayer and Iron Maiden. While this combination has likely been done countless times, Patchwork avoid making it sound generic or predictable. The introductory instrumental In The Shadow Of Death features a circus-like theme recorded with reverb to provide atmosphere. This theme gives way to a brief solo and reverts back. Separate tracks may have made the desired effect stronger but the intro makes its point. I feel placed in the proper mood for this CD when Lazarus gets underway. The verses and choruses feature a mid-tempo vibe flavored with occasional outbursts from the guitars. The pace quickens to a thrashier parameter for the guitar solo, returning to the mid-tempo attitude. Dead To Me takes the best aspects of Anthrax and Maiden adding some classic Black Sabbath in strategic places. From that point on the band seem to increase the intensity of their playing while paying loads of attention to more lead themes made even more circus-like from the dual harmony treatment they are given. Further worth mention is Lessons In Tragedy with its somber ballad intro offering promise for still more intensity. This intensity comes in the form of a relentless thrash section that continues until the fade out. I would say this is my favorite track from this album. I can find few flaws with this release; one of the few is that the drums could have been mixed in with just a little less volume as they were beginning to distract from the musicianship. Life And Death makes up for this with its buzzsaw guitars, pounding double bass and Kirk Hammett-esque solo, as does Blind To Fate with its opening Egyptian theme. What I most appreciate about Patchwork is their ability to take frequently used aspects of metal and thrash, revitalize them and add to their appeal. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. In the Shadow of Death (instrumental)
2. Lazarus
3. Dead to Me
4. Exit Wounds
5. Lessons in Tragedy
6. Life and Death
7. Full Circle
8. Blind to Fate
9. The Destroyer (instrumental)
10. Let Go

Monday, February 22, 2016

Single Review: BORNBROKEN A Nation of Ignorance (Independent) by Dave Wolff

A Nation of Ignorance
A Nation Of Ignorance is a new single released by Montreal, Quebec’s Bornbroken to follow their 2014 single Watch The World Unwind and 2013 full length The Healing Powers Of Hate. This song completely shreds if you’re into blistering deathcore with raw production, rumbling bass, crunching guitars, roaring vocals and lots of agonizingly slow time changes. The conviction, intensity and controlled energy brought into this recording makes most of the deathcore and metalcore I’ve heard sound lightweight by comparison. Much of it I already considered lightweight next to the death and black metal I listen to, but I’d say Bornbroken may well elevate my appreciation for this genre by leaps and bounds. For good measure I checked out their previous single for a greater sense of where Bornbroken is heading. Watch The World Unwind metes out the promise of crushing material to come, but even so it’s not nearly as brutally heavy as A Nation Of Ignorance. This is so pounding I feel as if my torso is going to cave in any moment. The Bandcamp link to this song includes the lyrics as inflammatory as the song is relentless. The liner notes start with the quote “We must be seen, we must be heard, we must rise together with our voices as one to create change. We elect them, we can eject them!” Even before you read the lyrics you know their position on governments, religion, media and consumerism. Lyrics like “Life, liberty and justice for all/These ideals mean nothing if we don’t stand tall/The power in words is the killer of giants/Uncovering the proof from the conspiracies of silence” show the band’s belief in the power of the people is unwavering and gives the one per cent ample reason to feel threatened. Give this song a listen and see if it doesn’t convince you. By the way it was deliberately released before the upcoming election in Canada. -Dave Wolff

Interview with ILLYRIAH SAHJAZA by Dave Wolff


What is your personal definition of vampirism as a belief system, and how has it developed since your teens?
Being a vampire is more than just dressing in all black and wearing fangs. There are elements involved that are very real, and can be very overwhelming. Take the act of feeding, for example: when a vampire feeds, they use meditation and other spiritual acts to consume the life force of others. When I go too long without feeding, I become run-down and emotional. Until recently, these effects manifest before the thought occurs to me that I have neglected my feeding schedule. In short, vampirism is the combination of spirituality and physical/mental health. My initial interest in vampirism began during my teens. I met a practicing vampire, who subsequently became my closest and most trusted friend. At the time, I was frequently hospitalized, suffering from severe anemia. My condition was so severe that we were considering blood transfusions. I described my situation to my friend, who introduced me to the concept of psychic vampirism. He explained that my health might be a manifestation of what we call "awakening" - an event where a vampire's nature surfaces, sometimes in the form of inexplicably ailing health. I wouldn't say that my vampirism has "developed," per se. Since my teens, I have learned how to better monitor my needs and ensure that they are taken care of more consistently. In my early twenties, I struggled a lot with my feeding schedule, and it showed in my health. I would become ill more easily and frequently. As I've matured, I have learned to watch for warning signs that my health is failing, and catch them before they become severe.

What first interested you in vampires as a teen? Did you peruse any classic literature or movies in those days?
Before learning of my vampirism, I don't recall ever being interested in them. Sure - I read Anne Rice and "Dracula," but I always dismissed vampirism as fiction. After coming to the realization that 1) vampires are real, and 2) I'm one of them, suddenly vampire fiction took on a whole new meaning for me. Since then, I've seen and read it all - all of the books of Anne Rice and every associated movie, "Dracula" literature and film... I even enjoy some of the more recent works. I even read and watched the entire "Twilight" saga - which, for what it was, I didn't think was all that bad. Vampire fiction fascinates me, because each and every work encompasses not just the flat-out fictional qualities of vampirism, but the realities that inspire them. Some works are more grounded in reality than others, but they all take those truths and put a fantasy twist on them to make the final product entertaining and enlightening.

How often have you heard about those events described as “awakening” and how profound was it for you?
All the time! Most recently, I helped a dear friend through her awakening. It usually comes about through tragedy or loss, but not always. Some are born "awake," though I've only witnessed this occurrence once. The profundity of my awakening was intense, and took many years (in my experience, this is uncommon... it seems to depend on how readily available a mentor is; for me, this took years). Following an emotionally damaging event, my health began to fail. I went years without knowing what was wrong with me. Even my doctors and specialists were stumped. It wasn't until I met my "sire" and mentor, Jonas, that all became clear.

How much have you heard about vampires who were born awake? Can you describe your own personal experience witnessing the occurrence?
I have heard of a few situations where this occurs, but it has always been a second or third hand account. Until two years ago, I had never seen it myself. Then - with the birth of my youngest son - it finally happened: my metaphysical health hit a new low during my pregnancy with John. I was having to feed significantly more often, and it still never seemed like enough. The day he was born, I finally learned why - everything about him was the embodiment of what it means to be a vampire. His eyes were open doors to what seems like an endless story of age and experience; gazing into them was (and still is) the equivalent of staring into a black hole. He was born with abnormally enhanced physical strength: the nurses were baffled when, only hours after birth, he was able to raise his head and maintain control of its movement. As he has grown over the last year and a half, he seems to absorb information at a higher rate than every other toddler his age, including his now six-year-old brother. Many of those who have come in contact with John have been hypnotized by his aura and personality. Even those without the gift of spiritual sight have voiced impressions regarding his true nature - the term "old soul" comes up often. I look forward to watching him grow and come into his gifts as he matures, as I suspect he will be capable of profound greatness.

How common are vampire births like the birth of your son? Have you heard similar accounts from people close to you?
This is a difficult question to answer. Most of the other vampires I've met have either been very private about their awakening, or have experienced their awakening later in life. I know it happens, and I've heard from others that it is more common than one would think, but I can neither confirm nor deny this from my own personal experience. I have also observed some dispute within the community as to whether or not it is possible to become a vampire when you weren't originally born as one (being "made"). This strikes a chord for me personally, as I was not always as I am now. Through tragedy and a metaphysical catalyst, my energy core sustained irreparable damage later in my life, causing my vampiric nature. For all intents and purposes, I became a vampire through external causes. I cannot deny that fact, and to try to pretend otherwise (as I have tried) does more harm than good.

How much of a debate has it been in your community concerning whether people can become “made” vampires?

I’m not sure if I would call it a “debate,” per se. It just seems to me that it is somewhat of a taboo. I find myself frequently avoiding the topic to avoid creating an argument. In (non-fiction) vampire literature, I’ve seen the topic addressed as an impossibility. However, I can in no way speak for the rest of the community. Like all faith-based opinions, everyone’s viewpoint is different – just because it differs from yours does not mean it’s wrong or incorrect. I hold no ill will against those who feel differently than I do. They have the beliefs that are right for them; I have beliefs that are what’s right for me. Basically, there is no “wrong” or “right” when it comes to taboos like this one. All I know is what I have experienced, which is why – because it is somewhat of a taboo – I avoid the topic unless it’s addressed personally.

Do you remain friends with the practicing vampire you met in your teenage years? What was his definition of psychic vampirism and what were some of the things he instructed you on the subject?
As a matter of fact, yes... We experienced a falling out sometime back, but have reunited and - as it turns out - are engaged to be married. Jonas taught me very nearly everything I know. He covered the basics, as well as some of the more in-depth methods of things like feeding. Now, as a current and active member of Temple House Sahjaza, I am able to receive even more training in order to fine tune the training I've already received through Jonas.

When it comes to vampire fiction in film, do you prefer the mainstream/Hollywood made movies, classic era movies like Nosferatu or the underground made movies such as those made by Hammer? Which of those categories are most and least grounded in reality, or does it depend on the movie?
It depends on the movie and genre, and how the two factors mesh. I feel that there has been a shift in the film-making process regarding vampires, and they are becoming increasingly more grounded in reality than they used to be. The TV show, Moonlight, is an exquisite example of this: When the vampire is exposed to sunlight, for example, he doesn't burst into flames; he just gets very, very sick. This is what happens to real vampires, and I was beyond thrilled to see the writers take the show in that direction. As much as I hate to admit it, "Twilight" is also a lot more grounded in reality than one would think. Yes - there are inappropriately fantasy-driven elements (we vampires are not made of glittering stone), but there are realistic bits that need to be given their proper credit: Every vampire is given different dark gifts, and each of us apply those gifts in different ways. As a vampire with the gift of "the sight," I relate to Alice Cullen quite a bit. Also, the "sparkling" that everyone talks about is - in my opinion - a somewhat over-dramatized description of a very real occurrence: as vampires, we have a certain aura around us that when exposed, sets us apart from others.
Personally, I prefer the mid-range Hollywood films - the two adaptations of Anne Rice's books are my personal favorites. While generally they are not terribly grounded in reality, the vampiric personalities are very realistic. I relate a great deal to Lestat - I awakened at a point in my life where I went a very long time without a mentor, or "sire." I had to figure everything out myself. Three years passed before I ever met Jonas, so by the time I met him, I had no choice but to follow whatever guidance he provided to - essentially - save my life. ("I'm going to give you the choice I never had...”) Another way I relate to Lestat is my fervent desire to "live in the light." That's why I wanted this interview. It seems to me to be a profound disappointment that vampires are still - whether by necessity or choice - so very private about what we are...

How do you think the current trend in portraying vampires will continue in movies and television programs?
I’m not really sure… The last 5-to-10 years have been rather transformative for the genre of vampire fiction. Had I been asked this question 2 years ago, I would have likely speculated that – with vampire fiction starting to rely somewhat more heavily on what it truly means to be a real vampire – the trend was only the first step in the acceptance of vampires as actual people, instead the monsters we were once recognized as. However, now that “Twilight fever” as fully subsided, I’m not really sure. I would like to see a continuation of those that create vampire fiction moving closer and closer to portraying our fantasy counterparts as real people with real feelings. Whether or not that will happen at this point, however, is currently a mystery as far as I can tell… I guess we will all know in time.

Are there certain published works on vampirism you have read over the years? Who are the authors you most admire?
Before meeting Jonas, I went through a handful of works on vampirism, but none of them really stuck with me. I needed more of a hands-on education. Temple House Sahjaza will be releasing a book of our own in the near future, and I'm anxiously looking forward to its release. Truth be told, I have never really found any authors that resonated with me personally. There have been works here and there that have given me a jumping off point, so to speak, but none of them seemed to fully encompass my exact point of view. I suppose that my contact with Jonas, as well as my training through Temple House Sahjaza, has been sufficient enough for me not to feel the need to seek other sources. If I find any that strike a chord the others could not, rest assured that I will add them to my collection.

Why has vampirism been a closely guarded secret through the centuries? While you were being instructed by Jonas, how much historical research were you doing on the subject?
The fundamental answer to this is simple - people fear what they do not understand. This fear has been exemplified over and over throughout time. I think the need for privacy within our community is one of protection. That having been said, it has been wonderful to witness more and more of our kind "coming out of the coffin" in one way or another. As I said, I hope that the day will come when we will be able to allow ourselves to be fully open, and ultimately, be accepted by society. The movement for such publicity has begun, but it is slow-moving, which I feel is necessary. Due to the stigma created by Hollywood, it will take time for the population as a whole to accept us for what we are. This is to be expected, of course, but it is good to see the process begin. Jonas' guidance provided me the groundwork I needed to dig deeper. Countess Bathory and other similar figures were the focal points of my research. To be honest, I didn't dig into the history of our kind as deeply I probably could have. In my opinion, I didn't ever feel the need to. The problem with historical research is that you rarely find more than a couple accounts of the same individual that actually match one hundred percent. It is the ultimate game of Telephone, and I find that I learn more from investigating current, living figures than I do from those that are - at times - centuries old.

Do you look for willing participants to feed upon? When someone agrees to work with you, is he aware of the methods you normally use and the risks involved?
Absolutely. I adhere strictly to moral responsibility, and do not consume the energy of non-consenting donors. My donors are always aware of my actions, and the subsequent potential side effects. To me, my donors are my most valued and trusted companions. Because they are largely responsible for my well-being, it is my duty to treat them with the respect that they deserve. To do anything else is – to me – unconscionable. Period.

What else would you want people reading this interview to know about vampirism, that they wouldn’t learn from most sources? Would you ever consider publishing a book on the subject in the future?
Oh, wow… The subject of vampirism – its nature, definition, and existence – is dynamic and complex. Those of us that identify and live our lives as “vampires” do so for a reason, and everyone’s circumstances are different. I suppose the only real take-away I want readers to have is this – the world is not black and white. Just because someone disagrees with your beliefs or opinions does not make them “wrong” or “evil.” My wish for any who read this interview is the understanding that everything not based in concrete and quantitative fact is just another shade of grey. We all must find a balance between the darkness and the light, and once we’ve found the shade that suits us best, it is our duty to ourselves to embrace it with fervor and passion. Love yourselves... Love one another… And never, ever stop allowing yourself to learn, grow, and adapt.

-Dave Wolff

Sunday, February 21, 2016

CD Review: HEAVYLUTION Children Of Hate (Brennus Music) by Dave Wolff

Children Of Hate
Brennus Music
Children Of Hate is this French power metal band’s debut full length which has been out since February of last year, following their 2008 six song demo Metal Is Our Blood and 2013 six song EP The Architect. I gather the eleven tracks are unified by a post-apocalyptic and dystopian concept, from the Nineteen Eighty Four reference in the title track. The lone guitars introducing The Call presents an impression of a deserted city of crumbling buildings and abandoned cars, and maybe thick radiation contaminants in the air. A picture not unlike the bleak alternate universe depicted in Stephen King’s recent novel 11/22/63. As the title track begins you are introduced to the mutated inhabitants of this destroyed city as they make their presence known. In the distance you can see the totalitarian society they are railing against. Each song that follows takes you deeper into the urban ruins; at least this is what I gather. You are treated to many precise guitar solos and engaging harmonies as vocalist/guitarist Paul Eyesette emotes in a style comparable to Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden (it’s a long shot comparison as few vocalists can approach his range but he was the first vocalist to come to mind). The front cover bears something of a resemblance to Iron Maiden’s Brave New World, though I’m unsure whether this is intentional or not. It may only be my own perception. Anyway, the guitar harmonies seem to be an integral part of their song structure; they push the bridges and choruses on, demanding your attention as they draw you even further into the progressions unfolding around them. Check out Spirit Never Dies, Mind Avulsion, The Eye Will Control and The Exodus with its equally intriguing riffs and you’ll see how important the guitars are to the band’s sound. As I have an affinity for epic songs I give special mention to The Future Is On Your Side which offers a ray of hope amidst all the darkness and destruction we’ve heard up to now -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. The Call
2. Children of Hate
3. Obsession
4. Spirit Never Dies
5. Burn Out
6. Mind Avulsion
7. The Eye Will Control
8. The Exodus
9. Balls of Steel
10. The Future is on your Side
11. Fight for Changes

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

CD Review: COMANIAC Return To The Wasteland (iMusician Digital) by Dave Wolff

Return To The Wasteland
iMusician Digital
Another band returning us to the glory days of thrash metal. Comaniac hail from Switzerland, from where Celtic Frost was unleashed upon the earth so long ago. Nothing compares completely to the music the thrash underground had spawned from 1983 to 1988, but many newer bands recapture the timeless quality of that musical revolution to varying degrees. Comaniac is one of them if you take into consideration the energy and rejection of convention personified by Testament, Anthrax, Kreator and Gothic Slam. I perceive the same attitude in the ten tracks Comaniac recorded for their debut album, which has been available since February 2015. What speaks to me about Return To The Wasteland is the precision of the riffs and guitar harmonies as the band chugs through the songs, especially those reaching beyond five minutes. The guitars are like fine blades slicing through your speakers to reach your brain, echoed by the tight percussion and appropriate backing from the bass guitar. Most of the lyrics are based on the ages-old conflict between god-and-government versus humanity and the freedom to be human; the best examples of this are the lyrics in “1, 2, Rage”, “Secret Seed”, “Cut Throat”, “Solitude” and “The Rake”. These lyrics are more than enough to make you think about recent doings in today’s world. I would give them credit even without the song structure through which they are delivered to those who are still thinking for themselves. Comaniac still deem it important to question in this day and age of ultra-conservative of radical religion. This gives a much deeper meaning to the title chosen for this album and makes it even more worth checking out. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. 1, 2, Rage
2. Secret Seed
3. Cut Throat
4. Fist of Friends
5. Killing Tendency
6. ...And There Is No Job
7. Solitude
8. The Rake
9. Monsters Final Creation
10. Flakhead

CD Review: BLOODLASH Drowning Amidst The Nebulae (Independent) by Alan Lisanti

Drowning Amidst The Nebulae
Bloodlash is a band with many influences. The musicianship is excellent, and the songwriting is both catchy and interesting. Of all their influences, from Death Metal to Progressive, and Post Metal, and Rock, the songs seem to lean the most toward the Progressive side of things. There are moments where you will hear bits of Death Metal creep in to the sound, or parts where you will hear the Post Metal elements stand out more. Overall, the songs seem to be crafted with a very exploratory approach which is probably where the Progressive aspects shine through most noticeably. The vocals are both melodic and harsh as there is a lot of bouncing back and forth between clean singing and assorted screams (low, high, mids). While the melodic aspects may turn away a lot of the more strictly Death Metal orientated fan base, the blending of so many styles may be the very thing that draws others in. If you're a fan of bands like Between The Buried And Me, Cynic, newer Mastodon, or some of their contemporaries, you'll most likely enjoy this release. If newer Mastodon or newer Baroness only makes you long for these band's earlier works, then Bloodlash may be too melodic and too diverse for you. Either way, the best way to know for sure is to give it a chance. The band is talented and is making a concerted effort to think outside of the box while wearing their influences on their sleeve. In a time where fewer people seem to be willing to step out of their respective comfort zones, whether that's as an artist or a fan, this is probably a good thing. 7.5 out of 10 -Alan Lisanti

Track list:
1. Scythian Aurora
2. Ocean Bed
3. Broken Teeth
4. In Gold & Blood pt 1 (Masks Of Red Dawn & Lead)
5. In Gold &.Blood pt 2. (Deluge)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Book Review: Little Miss Strange: Curse of the Chameleon God (Winston Blakely) by Dave Wolff

Little Miss Strange: Curse of the Chameleon God
Story and art by Winston Blakely
Co-written by Jemir Robert Johnson
Dark Edge Fantasy

The new adventure of Scorpia the Alien Sorceress (created by Winston Blakely) was years in the making, and is finally available in print and download format. Winston designed the first cover for the fifth print issue of Autoeroticasphyxium; this is the first time the zine’s mascot Faustina Karpathia crawled from her coffin to introduce herself to the readership. We have remained in touch ever since then and followed one another’s respective careers; this in turn has led to a special collaboration for this new graphic novel. Winston has won awards for his extensive work in the independent comic industry and is always at work on new projects. The storyline devised for Curse of the Chameleon God is the finest moment yet for Little Miss Strange. While fighting a demon lord over an ancient relic, Scorpia is chosen for a quest by Kotas the Dragon Lord, and is accompanied by several companions, including a vampiress you may be familiar with. People new to his work will discover Scorpia’s history as a mystic high priestess and guardian of the arcane whose interdimensional travels are well known on her homeworld Satu. You get to meet Scorpia’s friends and allies, namely the warrior Ishtar, Papilloma the fairy princess, the seeker Nergal, the wise sage Eurela, and there’s a guest appearance from Faustina comes from the alternate dimension Scorpia enters in her quest to destroy existence itself. Faustina belongs to an ancient race of vampires alien to our universe. Their god is the lord Bakra who charges Faustina to join the quest to stop the chronal god Merlis from possessing Queen N’dyah even if it means the end of everything. In addition to this storyline you get contributions from Luis Sierra, introductions to each character, an introduction by comic book historian William H. Foster III, a preface by Milton Davis and additional art from Luis Sierra, Derrick Briggs, Jamal Peppers, James Rodriguez and Naser Subashi. The thoughts of Foster and Davis give the readers some more insight into the Little Miss Strange series and where it’s going. -Dave Wolff

CD Review: HATEURE Body & Soil (Sound Carpentry Records) by Alan Lisanti

Body & Soil
Sound Carpentry Records
The opening track on this ep is an instrumental that reminds me of bands like Yob, early (Red Album era) Baroness, and even Torche, with its Post Metal leanings and riffing. The bass work is great here and overall the track seems to function as an intro track more or less, even though it clocks in at close to 6 minutes long. What it does is grab your attention, but it's almost as if the point is to lull you into a false sense of security because what happens on the next 2 tracks is nothing short of unsuspected in the best ways possible. The growl and distortion on Reptilian Blues and the gritty full on dirty Blues/Doom approach to the riffing is refreshing and well executed. The song approaches the 12 minute mark, but never gets boring. Instead, it just expands and evolves with the listener and twists and turns along the way without losing the qualities that make it so satisfying. The closer, Koleoptera, picks up where Reptilian Blues leaves off, and pushes things slightly further even. Hateure is on to something here. There is a sense that these songs will appeal to you if you're a fan of Doom or Sludge because they hit all the right sweet spots if that is your thing, but they also show a freshness and originality to their approach to these styles that will leave you wanting to see where they might take things next. Hateure may be only just scratching the surface with this EP as far as their potential, but that only means the future is bright for them and these respective genres. It is easy to rehash things and echo the past within the confines of a genre such as Doom. Too often bands forget to look to the future and where things can go when ideas are pushed forward. Hateure shows a keen understanding of the roots of both Sludge and Doom, but they also prove to be a band that is eager to push ahead and take things further. When you mix the right appreciation for those that came before you with the right hunger to explore and experiment with new ideas, sometimes you get the right ingredients for something special and refreshing. Body & Soil proves this theory. Reptilian Blues and Koleoptera are exhibits A and B. I'm interested to see where Hateure goes from here. Both songs are heavy with plenty of Sludge and Doom, but they also see Hateure push the boundaries of both genres in a way that is unique and very much their own. 8.5 out of 10 -Alan Lisanti

Track list:
1. Body & Soil
2. Reptilian Blues
3. Koleoptera

Interview with author M TERESA CLAYTON (second interview) by Dave Wolff

Interview with author M TERESA CLAYTON

This is the second interview we are doing for AEA. What new projects have you been involved in of late?
I finished the second edition of Mystic Verses. This version is 100% the inspired verses taken from direct contact and conversation with intra-dimensional beings that have been with me since childhood. I felt the first edition was a mix. Perhaps the admission of just how involved the Otheres are in my life made me nervous (The Otheres - with that spelling - is what they call themselves. There are so many that there would be no way to have a name for each entity).
The book is credited to them and dedicated to them without reservation. I am celebrating a 60th birthday soon and it's about time to come out from behind the fear of judgment or misinterpretation and celebrate the gifts given to me at birth as well as those who speak through me. I have always been their voice in this realm. The book needs to give a true face to the source.

How many examples of Mysticism have existed through history? How must mystic communication be implemented?
To answer the unasked question here: Mysticism or Mystic Writing comes in many forms - the New Testament is a perfect example of Mystic Messages - Jesus did not speak directly, he spoke in riddles. Those who could hear would understand. Mystic communication is complex and sometimes dangerous in the wrong hands. The message is for those who take the time to comprehend it on the level it is given. I've always said it like this: You do not hand the keys to the nuclear bomb to a seventeen year old boy whose girlfriend just broke up with him for his best friend... the consequences of a moment of despair could be devastating.

How many well-known writers have exhibited mystic qualities in their work?
Mystics are everywhere - some know who they are and refuse their gift, some accept the gift without ever taking time to fully understand what it is they are being asked to do with the information shared, and some totally ignore it altogether. I don't want to think of how many are in institutions for hearing voices when the voices are real and benevolent. Let's not forget some of the most famous authors that were deemed insane - Sylvia Plath, Virginia Wolf, Leo Tolstoy, Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, Mary Shelley, Charlotte Bronte, Mary Braddon, Florence Nightingale, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Edgar Allen Poe, and my favorite Emily Dickinson, just to name a few.
Some actually did at least one stint inside of an asylum before ceasing discussion about their work and the inspirations for those works, instead, they simply wrote. This alone was such a brave thing to do, especially in the times in which they lived. Some were called insane, some depressed, while others found their way into history books as geniuses.

How would you define the term Mystic for our contemporary day and age?
The word Mystic is defined as a person who seeks, by contemplation and self-surrender, to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect. Other words you may hear in association with Mystic are Hermetics, Gnostic, Occult (hidden), cabalistic, metaphysical, visionary... In one way or another and to one degree or another, are we not all Mystic? Some of us are truth seekers and we do not adhere to the indoctrination that all children are put through by well-meaning adults; our parents, teachers, etc. We choose to seek elsewhere, where few venture to look and we search for what most could care less about. We are heretics.

What are the most prominent similarities and differences between the terms Hermetic, Gnostic, Occult, cabalistic, metaphysical and visionary?
All are truth seeking philosophies or studies. But here is a more informative definition for each: Hermeticism - of, relating to, or characteristic of occult science, especially alchemy, relating to Hermes Trismegistus or the writings ascribed to him. Gnosis - knowledge of spiritual mysteries. Occult - supernatural, mystical, or magical beliefs, practices, or phenomena. Cabalistic/Kabbalistic - having a secret or hidden meaning; occult. Metaphysics - the branch of philosophy that treats of first principles, includes ontology and cosmology, and is intimately connected with epistemology. Visionary - marked by vision or foresight.

When did you first notice the presence of the Otheres in your life? Do you feel you were chosen to be a voice for them?
As far back as I can remember, they have been with me. The count of how many is too many to imagine - therefore, they finally referred to themselves as THE OTHERES (insisting on the additional E). There is only one who speaks to me with a name and he is Kahlil. However, it should be known that he does not speak with or for the Otheres, to my knowledge - his purpose is much more personal and specific. He speaks for an entity that is from the Mesopotamian area thousands of years ago - BCE.
I recently had a past life regression that not only confirmed what he had already revealed and I already knew somehow, but also introduced new information. I will be going through a second regression soon. As far as being "chosen" - I feel we all have the capacity to hear the voices speaking through us but we ignore or explain them away. I happen to be prime for this because I chose to keep myself open to my friends as a child and have had an intense curiosity about them over the years.

Why did you choose the present as the time for the Otheres to be heard?
I have had the Otheres with me since childhood and have been careful about revealing their existence simply because it would have caused quite a bit of judgment I was not strong enough to handle at that time. About age 35-40, I was ready to reveal them to everyone. I did not know how to describe them - they were not really ghosts or spirits, they were something I had no word for.
Finally, the discovery of inter or intra-dimensional beings came forward as the term to describe them. They refer to themselves as the Otheres. That was not my name for them. I just referred to the voices and only to a handful of people I could trust. I did not choose the time to speak for them, be their translator or catalyst. I have always revealed everything they have shared with me. It was after the age of about 40 that I gave them credit where credit was due. I wrote the first Mystic Verses in 2009. I pulled it from publication to put out this book which is 100% their inspiration. There are many things they show me and tell me about that would shake you in your boots. I am not at liberty to reveal these revelations yet. They will instruct me on the when and the how.

Can you reveal anything about the regression you had confirming this entity communicating with you?
The past life regression was informative. However, it was not about affirmations with the Otheres. There was one small acknowledgment that they were placing two watchers who would look after me during the process and that was all that was mentioned regarding them. The reason for the regression is private for now, but I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to explore past lives.

When did you first hear about past life regression, and why did you decide to personally undertake this process?
I have always known about the process of regression through hypnosis. This type of therapy has been around for a long time and used by Psychologists and Law Enforcement and everything in between. I decided on doing this because I need to fill in areas of memory that I wasn't getting quickly enough. I had questions that needed to be answered and confirmed. None of that had anything to do with the Otheres or the book Mystic Verses directly. However, there is always the chance that what happens in the past opens doors to our "now".

How many questions have you gotten answers for since you began your regressions?
It’s more like a total comprehension of something that my mind could not compute on its own. I believe it is like being in a hotel room and when you pull back the curtains, your view is spectacular. You put on your bathing suit and snorkel and look just beneath the surface of that azure water and see magnificent things. All the while, this information is filling up the empty spaces of your mind, though the questions were not even formed. I have always known certain parts of this memory but needed to see it and be there to retrieve the rest. What a wonderful way to experience the remote past - a place once thought to be impossible to reach.

Did you research the existence of intra-dimensional beings after discovering the Otheres and mystic communication? If so, how much did you have to search for information about such beings?
I did not become a computer user until approximately 2004. It took some time to self-teach the ways of this medium. I did not research the Otheres at all and still have not. I did, however, engage a few close friends to see if the word was an anagram for something - as it was, Otheres in Greek can be rearranged to mean Heretic - and of course, I am and perhaps they are as well. The concept of Intra-dimensional beings is a new one that has been somewhat confirmed and is still being researched heavily among Quantum Physicists. There is so much more, inside and out, that we are unaware of.

What does being a Heretic mean to you? Was it a revelation to discover the Greek connection between Otheres and Heretic?
A few of my friends and I were discussing the odd nature of the spelling and their insistence on that additional E. One of my friends suggested the anagram idea and we began to rearrange the letters and google words we thought might exist. One of the gals went to translation and tried Heretos: *her·e·tic ˈherəˌtik/noun: heretic; plural noun: heretics - a person believing in or practicing religious heresy. Synonyms: dissenter, nonconformist, apostate, freethinker, iconoclast; agnostic, atheist, nonbeliever, unbeliever, idolater, idolatress, pagan, heathen; archaicpaynim. "Heretics were banished or put to death." antonyms: conformist, believer - a person holding an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted. Origin: Greek.* This definition says it all. It also gives you a definition of heretic.

It strikes me as strange that the dictionary somewhat equates “nonconformist” with “nonbeliever.” Are heretics still shown in a negative light, in your view?
The words used to define HERETIC are not necessarily related to each other. Heretics were once tortured and put to death. The Christians have been the force behind some of the most heinous acts against humanity over religion. I am a proud Heretic. I am all those words they use to define the term heretic. So mote it be. I have no fear of reprisal or of judgment. My choices are mine alone. Those who have been with me all these years are benevolent and only become agitated if I am threatened. I feel safe in their keep.

What would you say your definition of ‘heretic’ would be in this day and age?
Heretic is not a word that will have you burned at the stake any more. We are all Heretics to some degree. We, who think for ourselves and do not take things at face value, are Heretics. I'd also think that I would be the one whose questions would confound the expert.

How important do you deem it to think for oneself these days when we have so many TV channels with nothing to watch and the general public is easily influenced by popular media?
I think the days of television is struggling to stay relevant and entertaining. There is more for the adult audiences in the ways of GAME OF THRONES and that ilk. It seems that the population is once again looking for something to take them away from reality and into imaginary worlds.
The ability to make the visuals look so real with our current technology adds to that. We are now introducing headsets that one wears over the eyes and sees something that is absolutely unreal but entertains them. Perhaps we should redefine "entertainment".
Books are still important to those who love to hold the hard cover and smell the ink on the page. Stories do something that television and movies cannot do - it makes you use your imagination - you are the director and each character in the story as it is told. To read Mystic Verses you would have to see it as a puzzle that will reveal something of great value to you once you find the key.
The games our children play that are violent are becoming increasingly more boring - which is why, I believe, they are taking it to the street. They have no idea what a life is because what is on the screen of your game is not real. It is sad that we are losing our sensitivities in this way.

One example of what you mention about bored kids taking to the street is that 'knockout game" I have been hearing a lot about on the internet. If you have heard anything about it, what are your thoughts?
I believe that children today are so indoctrinated with bullshit - and they are aware, but unable to affect change - look for something to stimulate their minds and imagination. Playing the knockout game in any form is equivalent to walking a fine line of death without actually dying. But some do. And if one person dies from such an inane attempt to find something to jolt the mind is sad indeed.

Where do you see hints of Mystic Writing or Mystic Messages in the New Testament?
In the Bible, Jesus speaks in Mystic ways by using parables and asking questions that seem to have no concrete answer - "Women, why do you look for the living among the dead?" Yet, he informs his group that they may not touch him because he has not ascended to his father yet. There are also many instances of Mysticism within the Old Testament - but most often found in the books that were not allowed into the Bible itself by the Elders who decided to throw it out - such as The Book Of Enoch.

How many books in addition to the Book Of Enoch were excluded from the Old Testament? What mystic occurrences do you recall from what was included?
There are over fifty books that were excluded from the Bible. To those who would like to know more about those books I have this link:
There are more sites if you Google Lost Books Of The Bible or Excluded Books Of The Bible. As for more information regarding the Mystic Texts within the Bible:

Have you found hints of mysticism in other classic religious books besides the Judaeo-Christian Bible?
There is Mystic Writings in all religious books. There is Mysticism in all religious practices that the common man or woman are unaware of; it is never revealed to them. All of the prophets, including those of today, tell us so much - but if our minds are not prepared to listen, we will not hear it. Many do not want to look deeper. Most are content to live out their lives listening to that man behind the pulpit tell them what it means. He/She will not reveal the mysticism in the message.
It is much like swimming. The majority of people see a painting and tread the waters, hear the music but are content to listen passively, read but never let go of the rope for fear of falling. I say to you all: go under the water and discover a new world that will fascinate you beyond your wildest dreams, do not live your lives passively - own your life, claim it, live it and see what serendipitous magick awaits you there, when you read let go of the rope and discover your ability to fly with the words as your wings. O, what amazing things await those who dare to truly use their senses. If you must believe in something divine, believe in yourself.

From their published writings, do you get indications that the authors you mentioned earlier were or may have been mystics?
The authors listed as being deemed insane in their time showed signs of being Mystic in the writings themselves. However, most also suffered from some depression - as you would expect when you are different and misunderstood - or displayed an intellect for thinking ahead (What was Science Fiction years ago is now our Ordinary).
How difficult it must have been to know you are different and having no way to understand that what you are hearing or seeing or feeling, is okay - more than okay, a gift - a blessing. We now revere these writers and poets as some of the most gifted. We study their works in school. We set their words to memory and sometimes we adopt their words as our own gospels, knowing full well that they were conduits to another realm greater than ours in knowledge.
Sadly, there are people today who feel they are insane as well when they hear the voices or see something in their peripheral vision or sense their presence. Automatic writing is a nice and safe way to explain receiving the inspiration from beyond and applying it to paper in the here and now.

History has often shown that people whose ideas weren’t taken seriously when they were alive are remembered fondly today. This applies to artists and philosophers as well as authors.
It takes science a while to catch up with what a Mystic knows now. I also believe that Science Fiction writers have a rare glimpse into the future. Look at what we have in our homes now that were part of a cartoon called The Jetsons. People say they have faith. They have very little faith if any at all. The majority of human beings want proof, and a lot of it. Let me use this as an example... If a dark skinned man who looks every bit like the people of the Mid-East were to knock on your door and say he is the Christ who has come to invite you to join him and many others in heaven to avoid the pain and sorrow of the final judgment... would you go with him?
Our minds have a vision of Jesus as looking like us, including those intense blue eyes. And, even if this were the man who knocked upon your door - would you go with him? Why would these same people have faith in what a Mystic has to say or who inspired those words? Nostradamus and Casey are still in question. It is not my responsibility to convince anyone to believe in anything I write or its source. I am just a catalyst and the information is out there for those who want to study and find the meaning. I am not the only one who writes mystic. There are musicians, artists, and other writers who are also Mystics. We are all visionaries. You cannot bring the message to anyone who is not prepared to receive.

Would you personally say Nostradamus and Casey were mystics in their time, or would you need more to go on?
If you are referring to Nostradamus and Casey - I would recommend them. There are many others who are mystics and are not as well known. You can google the "names of mystics throughout history" and find many of them.

Are there any modern authors or poets you would consider to be Mystics? What about their work makes you believe so?
I do not know of any like myself - writers/poets - but I am very familiar with artists and musicians who are Mystics. I joined them in the Dreams and Divinities show in San Cristobal, Mexico. I was invited as the only non-visual artist to participate and give a talk on mysticism. I am so proud of that event and meeting and forming bonds with such amazing artists. Google Dreams and Divinities in San Cristobal, Mexico for the itinerary.

Who were the musicians and artists appearing at the Dreams and Divinities show? Is Dreams and Divinities a yearly event? Would you attend another of those shows if you were invited again?
Those who appeared there were Adam Scott Miller, Aloria Weaver, Amanda Sage, Andrew Gonzalez, Autumn Skye, Brigid Marlin, Bruce Rimell, Carrie Ann Baade, Chris Dyer, Cody Seekins, Craig LaRotonda, Danielle Ovtcharov, Daniel Mirante, David Heskin, De Es, Dominique Desorges, Elisa Keir, Elisabeth Slettnes, Emma Watkinson, Eric Nez, Gabriela Garza Padilla, Gromyko Semper, Heidi Tailleferr, Helena Nelson Reed, Hugues Gillet, Iain Whittaker, Irina S. Zaytceva, Ka Kathryn June Amorastreya, Kuba Ambrose, Laurence Caruana, Leo Plaw, Liba W Stambollion, Liam Barr, Lukas Kandl, Madeline Von Foerster, Mark Henson, Mark Lee. Martina Hoffmann, Maura Holden, McAllister Marcus, Michael Divine, Michel Bassot, Miguel Tio, ONAYANTI, Otto Rapp, Raul Casillas Romo, Reinhard Schmid, Robert Venosa, Santiago Ribeiro, Sarah Zambiasi, Shoji Tanaka, Shinji Asano, Steven Kenny, Tricia Cline, Timea Tallian, Vesna Krasnec, Vladimir Ovtcharov, Wayan Sika, Wessi, Wolfgang Widmoser and Zeljko Djurovic.
I would be honored to attend other shows. However, the D&D shows are no longer traveling under that name. They are now collaborating on a book of Fernal Delights which is published and available. I highly recommend it.

Which of the guests from Dreams and Divinities are you still in contact with? Any potential collaborations you see happening?
I am still in contact with many of the artists of Dreams and Divinities. I am inspired by their works of art, but to say we collaborate would be wrong. Each of these artists are also amazing poets and authors and prefer to use their own work. They have all collaborated on the book Fernal Delights.

When you gave your presentation about mysticism at Dreams and Divinities, how many questions were you asked by the audience? Did you get to explain as much as you wanted?
The presentation of Mysticism was presented after the fact - I became extremely ill and my kidneys shut down. It took Scott and some divine intervention to get me home and into the hospital to save my life. My heart was also compromised with a lack of Potassium. The whole presentation went beautifully and there were very few questions.
You see, these artists are all mystic and visionary artists. They understand the context of my presentation first hand. You asked if I would ever return to the D&D shows - I would not return to any country south of our border. My immune system cannot fight whatever is in the water. I have not been part of a group in presenting Mysticism. I do teach Meditation and Metaphysics in my home now.

Are there events you have attended in the U.S. where you have had a chance to speak about your work?
I have been a guest of teachers who teach adult night classes to speak. I have also spoken at a few private functions and of course - my own classes. Two nights a week and classes no bigger than six at a time.

How many poems were written for Mystic Verses and how many ended up being published in it?
The book is 187 pages of verse and volume two is coming out on its heels very soon. All other poetry will be placed in other books with specific genres. Mother Of Murders (Crows) is very violent and gory. The Raven Mystress is much less shocking and is poetry inspired by fans, friends and family - actually, it speaks directly from their own personal stories. My Name Is Metaphor is a combo of both short stories and the poetry that inspired the story. And I have a book of love poems as well.

You stated in your last interview that you wanted to write a prequel for your short story Judith. Have you tried your hand?
There is no prequel to Judith at this time. I fear it would be so closely related to the story of Judith that it would just be repetitive. I have too many irons in the fire right now to go back and worry about that prequel.

Name the poems in Mystic Verses that most speak to you and explain why they were chosen for publication?
To say that any one speaks more to me than another would depend on the day. I will say that Revelation was written when I was about sixteen. I remember that night as if it happened yesterday. I woke up in the middle of the night and the first stanza was going over and over in my head. The moon was full and lit up my entire room. I picked up pen and paper and let the poem write itself. The only part of it that I could not figure out was the last line - I'm still not satisfied with it. I can recite that poem from memory.

What about the last line were you unsatisfied with? Do you get that felling often when you read over the finished product?
I wrote that a long time ago and still I do not know what the last line should be - that is the true meaning of Mystic and it is the one that has me confounded still, after four-plus decades.

What is the extent of the violence and gore that can be peruse in Mother Of Murders (Crows)?
In the coming book Mother of Murders (Crows) you will find all the dark, morbid, violent attributes of the human psyche'. Whether we think it or do it - most people have had the thought to do harm to someone who has done them wrong. The degree to which we all consider it or play it out in our minds varies. I have some writings that are mild and some that are extremely descriptive.

How many dark and morbid aspects of the violence humans are capable of shown in Mother Of Murders? Do you think your readers will be able to stomach the more descriptive writings in that book?
Morbidity and violence... I have no idea how the average person would respond to the contents of what I write in that medium. I do not write to have their approval or disapproval. My creations are just that - mine. I share it and oddly enough, those very poems (when shared) receive the most responses and the responses are lengthy and filled with a sense of connectiveness.

Can you elaborate on the sense of connectiveness in the feedback you have received for your poems?
As for the feedback on my verses, I have received nothing but positive reviews from people of stature, esteemed fellow mystics, and my long time readers. So far, it seems to induce a great deal of conversation, book clubs popping up to discuss the possible meanings and what each poem means to the reader, and finally, new readers are full of questions. I spend a great deal of my mornings with coffee and computer - answering a myriad of questions.

How long has your collection of love poems been available? In what ways does the tone differ from your usual verse?
Ah, love poems. Well, it isn't out yet. Everything I write regarding love is either from personal experience or from observing the relationships of others and allowing that to inspire me. It is a sexy book as well. One cannot have love without some sexiness to it.

How much of a balance between romanticism and sexiness will be in your collection of love poems?
An underlying sexuality must permeate, weave in and out of the wording to give the poem more than just words on paper - I want my reader to taste, smell, hear, see and touch love and that would make it very sensual. To many, sensual and sexual are the same thing. It isn't to me, but I live within my words and my "metaphors".

Name some of the poems you would describe as sensual and sexual, and quote a few lines from them?

She’s got a cold finger on a warm trigger
Sure aim looking down the barrel of the gun
Scratching the itch of a blood gorged chigger
She’s got her light-saber tase settings set on stun

And she grinds to the rhythm of the temple beat
And she’s howling at the moon like a dog in heat
She moans with the pulling of her gut asunder
And whirling in the trance she has fallen under

She’s got the guns loaded and ready to fire
Strike the primer; detonate on command
White hot poker stirs the flames of desire
She’s got the warm touch of a steady hand

And she grinds to the rhythm of the temple beat
And she’s howling at the moon like a dog in heat
She moans with the pulling of her gut asunder
And whirling in the trance she has fallen under

She’s got a cold finger on a warm trigger.

MTC (c)

"Sex satisfies the body but the hunger is never satisfied. Sensuality feeds the mind and the soul continuously, even when the object of your desire is no longer in view. All one has to do is close their eyes to experience it again and again - the mind and the spirit are forever sated in this way." - M Teresa Clayton

What short stories are you gathering for My Name Is Metaphor? What is the title of that book’s intended meaning?
My Name Is Metaphor is taken from the poem Cameo. A young man sees a woman in white with a veil over her face. She simply stands there looking at him. The room begins to fill up with other people until he begins to lose sight of her. No one else seems to notice her. She turns to go. He needs to know who she is and in his mind pleads to know her name. She turns to him, lifts the veil and says "My Name Is Metaphor". Metaphor? For what? Is it just her name or is it who she is that is actually the metaphor? The answer will come, but slowly. The gift must be unwrapped delicately and slowly - take your time and discover what metaphor means for you. This book will have short stories of various lengths and a few poems.

How did you think of the essence of mystery you wrote into My Name Is Metaphor? Which of your recent stories have similar themes?
Ah, Metaphor, she is in so many of my stories and poetry. She is neither alive nor dead, real or imagined, good or evil... she is able to manifest into many incarnations. A true follower of my writings will be able to point her out to you in every poem and every story. My readers are on their toes and love the play of words. It excites them when they figure it out. I am honored that they take such an interest in my writings. I'll give you this and nothing else: Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King, Grant Morrison, Bret Easton Ellis, Clive Cussler, W. Somerset Maugham, Douglas Coupland, Philip Roth, and Stephanie Meyer are but a few writers who have placed themselves within their written works and cameoed in the shows or movies made from those stories. I believe that, in all art expression, a part of the creator is present.

Can you provide some examples of metaphor appearing in your poems and fiction?














MTC (c)

Would you like the idea of having your books published nationally someday? Or do you prefer staying under the radar and distributing your work through independent companies? Which would help you reach more readers?
I have several pages of information on publishing through a publishing house vs your own publisher - you could not possibly succeed and make any money with the publishing house and you lose control over your work. SELF PUBLISH! Anyone who would like a copy of this report may contact me at Facebook and I would be happy to share it.
The way I publish, my publisher makes sure that my books reach a variety of book venues, including Amazon and Barnes and Nobel. I have the same reach, if not more, than if I chose a publishing house. I am lucky enough to have several great editors that work with me and my products are selling enough to pay my bills. I want to thank you for this interview, your questions were concise and direct, it flowed with the questions and you made it extremely easy to respond honestly and openly.
Thank you again for this opportunity to allow others to see inside of my world. Books can be signed in blood if purchased through me and paid for through Paypal. I get quite a few requests for this. The price will vary depending on which type of book you choose - soft cover black and white or color, hard cover black and white or color. Contact me at Facebook to discuss the cost.

-Dave Wolff