Friday, September 28, 2018

Demo Review: THE NOSEBLEED SECTION Goregrind Demo 2018 (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Goregrind Demo 2018
Place of origin: Canada, USA
Genre: Grindcore, goregrind
Release date: September 27, 2018
The Nosebleed Section’s debut demo consists of four tracks taking up six minutes. It’s relatively short next to many grindcore and goregrind releases, but there is a fair amount of potential. A collaborative effort by Devin Joseph Meaney (Gorecyst Records, The Dev Man Express) and Jeremy Kirchner (Abstract Maelstrom, Arabian Death Mask) the demo is available in cassette format and streaming on Youtube. I hope grindcore fans respond to this release and support Devin and Jeremy’s effort to maintain the old school principle of spreading physical cassettes. The packaging is professional with a DIY approach to copying and distribution, and you can tell these two take their work seriously. At times I wonder how many new ideas can be incorporated into grindcore and goregrind so the genres can continue to evolve since we were first introduced to Napalm Death, Impetigo, Terrorizer and Carcass. Especially after clone bands flooded underground scenes everywhere, lyrics and gore themes were expanded on a seemingly infinite number of times and samples were borrowed from every movie you can think of. Like black metal and doom metal, original bands are still around if you care to look and, once you find a band that speaks to you, approach them without preconception and make a real effort to see if there is anything different about them. I see a few differences listening to Goregrind Demo 2018 and I didn’t even have to look hard. Herbal Euphoria for example is about a pot smoker fiending for another joint. It’s a parody that many will take with a grain of salt since most pot smokers don’t fiend as badly. The songs don’t rely on blast to the extent of many goregrind bands. The drums sound programmed but most of the progressions are slow and groove laden, with fuzzy guitars somewhat likened to stoner rock. What sets The Nosebleed Section apart is the different vocal sounds from song to song. There are inventive vocals showing how much thought went into them while the songs were being composed and recorded. For this I would say it’s worth it to give Goregrind Demo 2018 a chance. -Dave Wolff

Devin Joseph Meaney: Vocals
Jeremy Kirchner: All instruments

Track list:
1. Herbal Euphoria
2. Dawn of the Pariah
3. Demons
4. This is the Mummering

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Single Review: VANHELGD A Plea For Divine Necromancy by Serafima Okuneva

A Plea For Divine Necromancy
Single taken from their upcoming full length Deimos Sanktuarium, to be released October 12, 2018 on Dark Descent Records
Place of origin: Sweden
Genre: Death/doom metal
Recorded at Studio Underjord with Joona Hassinen
Mixing and mastering by Tore Stjerna at Necromorbus Studio
Release date: September 3, 2018
The Swedish band Vanhelgd have announced their latest full-length Deimos Sanktuarium, due out October 12, 2018 (CD, vinyl & digital), in conjunction with Dark Descent Records. With their unwavering style of obscurum death/doom metal, heavily drenched in riffs of dejection and aggression, Vanhelgd is determined to clobber out some of the heaviest yet most forlorn extreme music from recent years. Deimos Sanktuarium is a vibrant work of contempt and apathy, molded in an enraptured state of beautiful grief. The single A Plea For Divine Necromancy shows just how raw and ugly things can get while still being thoroughly enjoyable, though this will be too much for many to digest. Rich in murk and dire atmosphere, it’s canonic with the creepy factor set to maximum. It’s loaded with nasty and jagged riffing and the ridiculously low-register, vile retching pushes it into insanity. The song sports a maggot infested sound and riffs both menacing and memorable with some inspired doom. A Plea For Divine Necromancy has everything a fan of death metal could want except non-stop speed, but there’s enough of that to keep most happy. I love this much and recommend it for all fans of extremely rotten, fetid death metal. -Serafima Okuneva

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Interview with MARGOT DAY by Dave Wolff

Interview with MARGOT DAY

I contacted you on Facebook when our mutual contact Tony Sokol referred you to me. How long have you been acquainted with him, how did you meet and have you collaborated on any projects? How supportive is he of your band Metamorph? Does he help to promote them?
Seems like Tony and I have always known each other – not sure where or when we met – perhaps in the 80’s when we were part of the underground music scene in NYC. Tony wrote an interesting article about our Metamorph music in Den Of Geek – Tony is a wonderful writer and we appreciate his continued support of our music. Tony shares our music on social media and helps us to connect with various event planners and the scene in general.

Who in the city has Tony connected you with recently? Have those meetings resulted in any planned collaborations?
Tony connected Metamorph with Starr Ann Ravenhawk of Witchsfest. So we can thank Tony for Metamorph performing there. Metamorph just did a live interview with Starr and Rhonda. What lovely goddess witch women they are. Kurtis and I performed a few songs unplugged and shared some of our songwriting secrets, the interview felt intimate and like we were in a magick vortex.

Tell the readers about your website and all it features. Who designed the site and does anyone help keep it updated?
Our official website is a gateway to all our music. Everything from my 80’s band The Plague, the “Sacred Album”, “mOss circle” album, to Metamorph. The website features Metamorph – we are a duo, myself and Kurtis Knight. Metamorph’s new albums “the 4 elements” and “ETHER”. You can view our music videos, concert clips and photos on the website. I designed the site in the hope that the links to our albums on Spotify, ITunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, our music videos, concert clips, and concert dates would be easy to find.
Also, on the website menu is a link to my former band The Plague - considered an underground legend by some. The Plague was an integral part of the New York City’s 80’s underground music scene, performing in well-known venues such as CBGB, the Limelight and Theater for the New City.
The first project I did with the musician/producer Kurtis Knight was our “Sacred!” album. The Gothic Preservation Society said this about Sacred: “lightning shifts from Disco Diva to demented operatic soprano… to swamp-sorceress chant to werecat-caught-in-mid-transition”. Next project with Kurtis was the fantasy rock mOss circle album. We have morphed a song (Smoke & Mirrors) from ‘mOss’ circle that has now become part of the latest collaborative project Metamorph.

How much material was released by The Plague in the 1980s? What do you remember of the club scene in those days? Would you have liked the band to continue into the next decade?
The Plague released the album “Naraka” with the songs Naraka, Vampyre, Murder, Suicide Queen, Empress, Never Yours, and Paradise of Pain. I wanted The Plague to last into the next decade and forever, to be timeless. I recently found in the attic some of the shows that the Plague did in NYC in the 80’s, with songs that where never released. Maybe we will make a documentary or just put them up on the Metamorph music YouTube channel.
The club scene in New York City in the 80’s was amazing and the birth of so much music. We were surrounded by talent. I connected with such innovative artists as Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys, Jim Thirwell (of NIN and Marilyn Manson), Richard Kern and Nick Zedd. The Plague was fortunate enough to include drummers London May of the Misfits, Ira Elliot from Nada Surf, and Nick Ferro of Fahrenheit 451.
The Plague performed in the same venues as Henry Rollins, White Zombie (Rob Zombie), Sonic Youth, The Swans, Missing Foundation, False Prophets - to name a few. The categories and lines between genres was less clear. We mingle together, goths (not a category that existed yet), punks, skins, etc. I have always had a hard time with labels I am too much of a rebel, but I suppose you could say I am a Sunshine Goth now. Visit to see shows and find the Plague album Naraka.
It was before the Plague that I collaborated with Adam Yauch. Adam played in my band at Bard College. When he quit school to play full time with the Beastie Boys we remained friends, hanging out in the early 80’s scene. I remember being with Adam on the roof top of Danceteria with Russel Simmons (Def Jam), and Adam asked me if he was making a mistake playing with the Beastie Boys and should really just go back to school, haha. I said stay with the Beastie Boys. Good choice.
I dated Nick Zedd and he introduced me to Richard Kern and the “underground cinema of transgression movement”. Nick had a huge influence on my creativity. He was 100% rebel. Dark and deep and philosophical arguing the ideas of Nietzsche and dystopian concepts. Nick decided he wanted to cross-dress (which led to my leaving him as he seemed to have fallen in love with the famous drag queen “Bunny” who was working at the Pyramid). Anyhow I dressed Nick in my cloths and tried to teach him how to walk down the street as a girl. Nick wanted to play both the girl and the guy in his film which he made with Richard Kern. I costumed him, lent him my favorite ring (which got broken during filming), and I did some of the filming when needed. I acted in a couple of these underground films aka Magot Damian. Collaborating with Richard Kern led me to Jim Thirwell. While in the Plague, Jim Thirwell had Richard make a video clip of myself and Christian (The Plague guitar player) strangling each other and played the video on a giant screen behind his Fetus show at the Limelight. One of my regrets is that I did not collaborate more with Jim Thirwell. One of my wishes is to do so in the future.
Rob Zombie was a friend and fan of the plague when we played at Lismar Lounge and various venues. And, haha I went bowling with Joey Ramone and helped scrape him up off the floor where he had passed out in the Limelight VIP lounge – ah good times.

What was it like for you to collaborate with so many and to see skinheads, punks and goths getting along while attending the same events? In what ways did you see the lines between genres blurring? Do you see them blurring today?
I love to connect with people on this intuitive telepathic magical level where synchronicity and bonding is an integral part of co-creating. And of course, being surrounded by talent is inspiring. Bones of The Plague would be one of my favorite co-writers of my life-time – he brought so much talent to our music.
Back then in the 80’s I believed we were in it together, the divisions and categories were much less than now. More unified. There is strength in unity, weakness in division. The first Plague show was put on by TC in a squat on the Lower East Side of New York City. About a thousand people came to this event crossing the lines of categories, and getting along together. Headlining was H.R. Bad Brains and the Cro Mags. The Plague looked like we might lose our performance spot. I rushed the stage and grabbed the mic and we played our debut - we were appreciated and loved and The Plague was off to a great start.
I defy being labeled. What kind of music do I make? You tell me. Kurtis and I integrate the music and concepts of goth, rock, electroacoustic, beats, ethnomusicology, Pagan mythology, Hindu Kirtan, pop, soundscapes…. I improvise with my flute and voice within the song structures, I love poetry, magick, morphing it all. Metamorph has a Witchy Neopagan vibe, our music crosses over the genres– we believe in globalization and fusion, unity. One world.

Did you attend a lot of squat shows in those days? What bands do you remember seeing? Were they mostly held in the Lower East Side?
I think I saw a few shows in squats. I remember the vibe of the area at that time was diverse. I can’t tell you what, who, where or when (except The Plague show at the squat). And ironically my friends from that era can’t remember either! So, we had too much fun, or it didn’t happen – you decide.

Were you working with Kurtis Knight around the same time The Plague was active, or did that collaboration happen sometime afterward?
When The Plague fell apart, I was broken hearted and ran away to California looking for my Soulmate. I found Kurtis Knight on his birthday on Haight St. in San Francisco. We were engaged in eight days, married a few months later and now have two grown daughters. Our first music project together was SACRED in the late 90’s. Then Ladybug, followed by mOss circle and now Metamorph.

How much material did you and Knight release as Sacred? How often did Sacred perform in the late 1990s, and what changes in the local scene did you notice during that time?
We released the one Album “SACRED!” Kurtis Knight and I created the SACRED! album in our Farmhouse attic in Vermont during the long cold dark winter of 1999. We were inspired to be part of the electronic evolution of music using nature samples and capturing them. Utilizing the sounds of icicles breaking, or power tools, in a melodic and/or rhythmical way – even sounds from outer space such as music from outer space – taking the radio frequency waves - sound coming off of the planet (Neptune) recorded by the Voyager on its expedition. We sampled the sound from Neptune, and used it as a bass line and a background wash for the song Neptune on the SACRED! album.
June of 1999 Kurtis and I performed our SACRED! music as part of the month long Midsummer Night’s Scream Tour (promoter Jett Black) on the west coast and Midwest, with Nocturne, Soda Ash, Machine in the Garden, and Apocalypse Theater.
We decided to stay on the west coast for the next year or so. Halloween 1999 we opened for Das Ich in Santa Barbara (Joey of Motograter played drums with us). Our Fire Dancer-Pyro guy Mike Watson set the stage on fire, we kept playing - no one got seriously hurt… very memorable night. Some of the highlights while we were living in Santa Barbara and sharing our SACRED music was performing in an event with the well-known band Cinema Strange. And it was a great pleasure to have Dru of This Ascension (now Mercury’s Antennae) sing with us.
Fall 2000 Kurtis and I moved back to the NE Kingdom of Vermont. We performed in NYC at CBGB’s Alchemy hosted by Jason Ledyard, and at The Bank - reviewed by Mark Steiner. Having been part of the genesis of Goth music in the 80’s I was thrilled that Goth had come so far as a genre in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

What was the Goth scene in New York like at its genesis, and how has it changed over the years?
The word “goth” or “gothic rock” was only a word whispered on the wind, not coined yet. The Plague and a few other dark clad, mystical, otherworldly creatures of the night mingled and the magick grew. A thread of the Vampyre underworld had surfaced too. I think that the primary thing that The Plague offered during the early years of Goth was the spiritual depth we took our music to. We were not just rebels. There were so many rebels and political groups, punks, skins etc. – which is great. But with The Plague we delved into depths, deep waters, with immersion into immortality, death, rebirth, dark & light, pain, love, and the otherworldly, hence Goth music was at its genesis. I really can’t speak to how things have changed. I have been very reclusive and there are so many categories now and divisions. But I am glad that Goth has survived and is still enjoyed by so many both young and old, and Goth appears to be timeless as I had hoped.

What do you think of the mass gentrification of the Lower East Side and mass closing of clubs that has been going on since the 2000s in NYC? How much of an effect do you think it has had on creative expression?
I think creative expression is still surviving in the LES. A sad irony that the artists make a neighborhood exciting and interesting, then everyone wants to live there and many artists have to move somewhere else because it’s to expensive. The arts are drastically underfunded and under supported in our society. It’s always been a struggle to survive as an artist. And sadly, it’s a struggle no matter where you live. Honestly, living a life of creating, must be the reward in itself. The joy has to be in the doing. Music is my gift that I am grateful I can give, but every day I make a little blessing/prayer where I welcome abundance and prosperity and financial support….

How do you account for the underfunding of artists in the LES? Do you think there are vested interests behind it, give the gentrification we were discussing?
There is underfunding for artists of all kinds everywhere. I don’t think it’s specific to the LES. I believe our culture drastically underappreciates and underpays the artists except for the top one percent. This creates so much hardship and despair, and is a loss for all peoples.

Do you think the negative vibes this underfunding creates can be channeled into more art?
Strife and misery are often channeled into art. However, I don’t’ think that underfunding is useful in any way. So many artists have to struggle with endless day jobs and then do not have the energy and time to create. That’s a great loss for humanity.

How can the funding issue for artists in the city and elsewhere be improved? Are funding networks on the internet such as Gofundme a help to struggling artists?
I am grateful for the donations Metamorph has received via the on-line Crowdfunding campaigns. And appreciative of what we are paid to perform. But it’s the tip of the iceberg for what the videos, music equipment, travel expenses, and studio time actually cost. There are artist grants and competitions which can bring in some monies. But they are time-consuming applications and without staff to run the Metamorph promotions it’s challenging – I already spend a horrifying amount of time on-line doing promotion and booking. Ironically what I spend the least amount of time on is making music. Fortunately, Kurtis Knight makes us rehearse regularly - haha. I believe a whole level of consciousness needs to be raised for people to really value the arts. Imagine life without the arts? Unbearable. In this time of stress, illness, pollution and deep struggle my wish is for people to give generously every chance they get to help the artists keep on keeping on, what other hope for the earth and the peoples is there? And to those artist that want to give up I say, “now more than ever we need you”.

Is there still room for musicians who want to do something untried and different in the city despite so many clubs closing? Are there still clubs where artists can have a platform to be heard?
Yes! Always. I hope that we all keep pressing on with creativity flourishing no matter what. We must. The world needs us now more than ever. This summer has been a whirlwind of concerts for Metamorph. There are definitely people keeping the music alive here. And we still have the Pyramid Club.

Have you visited punk and goth scenes in other states? Are some more active than others?
It seems to me that there are pockets of all genres everywhere. We find like-minded people everywhere we have traveled. Just check out the social media events all over the states, or the world, and you can find punk, goth, wicca, pagan, neopagan…. it’s kind of amazing… and hopeful…

Discuss the origins of Metamorph and how it came into being. In what ways is the band unique to underground music?
Metamorph grew from the complete transformation I had after an illness forced me to experience what it was like to be unwell for almost 10 years (forcing me to take a break from preforming music). Then I had a medical and metaphysical miracle and am completely well now. I felt 90 years old, now I feel 20. I was given a spiritual message that I must make and share my music. You can view my personal story of hope and healing in the mini-documentary on the website and the Metamorph YouTube channel.
Metamorph is me and Kurtis Knight, we are a duo. Our songs are romantic, and intense, full of struggle and inspiration and mixed with love and mysticism, like our relationship. Our Metamorph concerts and albums are a cutting-edge crossover of music. Music that is unique in the various scenes, defying categories. We perform in all kinds of settings from a festival, to a pub, to a theater, to an art gallery…. I channel and improvise throughout our live shows, blending my multi-range voice and flute, with Knight’s guitar, keyboards, synthesizer samples and beats, to make a vortex for people’s minds and hearts to open….

Do you still incorporate the genres you cited previously as a member of Metamorph? Describe some of these genres to the readers.
Metamorph is an Alchemy of sounds, genres. Electronic beats, guitar, flute, vocals, this is electroacoustic music – the electronic with the acoustic. There is an undertone of Goth entwined with Pagan & Hindu mysticism that weaves throughout our music. With Ethnomusicology, we integrate sounds from indigenous cultures and world music. However, as global and eclectic as Metamorph is, with much of our music we merge melodies and soundscapes into crossover accessible pop-art-rock songs. Our concerts and albums, offer spontaneous bursts of poetry, dance, magick and love, held together by our music. See for yourself, and view our concerts, music videos and the healing documentary on our YouTube channel, which has over 85,000 views collectively.
With our first album “The 4 elements” we embrace the elements which are also metamorphic, water evaporating into air, earth being transformed by fire to lava. Without change life is not possible.
Our second Album was called "ETHER" (the 5th element). Some call Ether the void, some say spirit, or Chi. Because of Ether's pure energy quality, it is thought that through immersion one may rid oneself of misery and illness. Our tuning is A=432Hz – natures natural harmony.
Metamorph is "music for morphing."

Describe Metamorph’s recent performance at Witchsfest and your other recent shows, Particularly Witchsfest, what people did the event attract and what activities were going on there?
Summer 2018 has been epic for Metamorph with these NYC, LES and East village NYC shows: Witchsfest, LES festival of the arts, and the NYCMF.
Witchsfest seventh annual pagan street fair was hot! Witchy! Fun! The street was closed off at Astor place in the East Village on Saturday, then on Sunday in Hell’s kitchen - mid- July in NYC, attracting a crowd of both the aware, and the curious. So many imaginative creative magical people. It was a pleasure for Metamorph to be included and welcomed. Witchsfest offered workshops, tarot readings, crafts and wares for sale, belly dancing and a general feeling and integration of love and mysticism. Metamorph brought our own generator and PA system setting up and performing in the street. People danced, and listened and watched. This reminded me of years ago when my band The Plague performed in the street faire at Theater for the New City.
Also, this summer, Metamorph performed at Theater for the New City as part of their LES music festival - we were glad to see that creativity was alive and well with a smorgasbord of talent. As was also true with the Electroacoustic festival (NYCMF) at the Abrons Art center in the LES, offering a week of innovative musicians at the top of their field from Japan to Julliard with experimental music. NYCMF is the largest showcase of electroacoustic music in New York City, and one of the largest festivals of its kind in the world.
Metamorph’s last concert of the summer was at Arkham in Brooklyn hosted by Eric Thorpe-Moscon. This event was packed and a great success. The Undead Goth scene is clearly alive and thriving. Feels good to be back in my hometown, New York City. The heart is still beating.

Was the success of Witchsfest encouraging? How prominent have wiccan and pagan communities become in NYC since the 1990s?
Oh my goddess! Witchsfest was very encouraging on many levels. That the event was all inclusive in the street and everyone was welcome was a joy. And that we were well received by both witchy people and the unaware was also a blessing. The wiccan and pagan, neopagan, goddess and earth magic, and alternative healing communities have all grown and connected en-masse since the 80’s and 90’s. Metamorph prefers when the boundaries are crossed and everyone is welcomed. One of my main missions with my music is to inspire wisdom, connection, and hope, helping people to awaken, remember, and reconnect with nature, nature magick, and mother earth.

Do you remember Enchantments, Other Worldly Waxes and Magickal Childe from the old days? Did you frequent those shops in the years before they closed down?
I worked at Enchantments. I made magick spell candles. People would come in to buy Love candles or Money candles etc. I would put symbols, energy, and essential oils on the candles to help manifest their dreams.

Are there new shops open in New York City, or open close to the city, you would recommend to members of the community?
My guess is there are lots of special shops. But I have not had the opportunity to really explore today’s places. Recently when Metamorph played at Arkham the owner of “Zaltar’s Gallery of Fantastical Art” shouted into the crowd during our concert “turn it up, this band is really good”. So, my guess is that’s an interesting gallery. Perhaps we will offer our Metamorph jewelry there. We make jewelry from skulls found in nature filled with low fire clay and jewels and love. We sell the pendants at our shows with our Metamorph albums and T-shirts – you can find the Merch link on the website.

Metamorph has a new video coming out shortly. Discuss how it was put together and what fans can expect from it when it’s released.
We’ve been working on the Wings music video for a while, a long while, delays are sacred. We are in the final edit now. I am collaborating again with Jeff Cooper who edited our music video Daisy Logic. Jeff also recorded our Album Ether and various other projects. A big shout out and thank you to him for all that he has done for us. Some of the footage was filmed by amazing videographers while in Costa Rica: Michael Preston, Mic Dahl, and Ryan Schmidt. Filming, I felt like I was in a fairytale. Maybe the Goddess Diana. I was listening to the creatures in the wild telling me their secrets. The Great Green Macaws came to me when I played the flute, I kissed a butterfly and flirted with a Sloth, and played with a horse on the edge of the ocean cliff. “Wings” is about freedom, dreams coming true, empowerment and transformation. The original words came during a separation from Kurtis, I was miserable. “Heartbreak is my gunpowder and I’m shooting for the Stars, love flies and wounds, I have wings and claws”.

What plans does Metamorph have for the near future? Any new studio albums being recorded or festival appearances being scheduled?
Metamorph has a series of concerts coming up in the next month in Brooklyn NY, VT at the Wilson Castle VT, and Darq Salem MA to name a few. Then we will do a couple of shows in Costa Rica. Then back to the States to head out to the West coast for the winter. The “Metamorph Life Tour” concert page on our website is updated regularly.
Me and Kurtis already have most of the new songs for the next album written, and we are performing some of these new songs at our shows already. And we are planning on recording the Cash song “I Walk the Line” with a Metamorphed twist of co-dependent issues and how we both walk the line in our relationship. We are planning on videotaping the recording session and putting it on YouTube “live in the studio” to share our process with everyone. Of course, our Metamorph mascot the teeny tiny 3-pound dog “Melody” will be in the studio too, she comes everywhere with us. Melody is my familiar, a guardian angel, and my comfort. Most likely we will record the rest of the new album in the spring of 2019. Maybe we will call the album Day & Knight.

How would you like Metamorph to be remembered for its impact on underground music in general and underground music in New York in particular?
Isn’t New York City the heartbeat of the world? And the underground rises up… so how about a global impact? I would like Metamorph to be known as the band that awoke the masses to remember their soul connections and work together to heal each other and the world.

-Dave Wolff

Interview with CHRIS CYANIDE by Dave Wolff (Second interview)

Interview with CHRIS CYANIDE (Second interview)

I last interviewed you for Autoeroticasphyxium zine in August of 2016. What has been going on with you since then?
Since last being interviewed I decided to do my own thing and go solo. I hit a rough patch where doing a band was not going to work out financially and time wise. After taking a step back, I just sat at home with my digital recorder and jammed out on some ideas. I started doing a bass only/industrial thing. These were very rough recordings of course but I put them out there and got some nice responses back for the most part. Also worked on some side projects with Rafael Brimstone singer of Legion on some dark symphonic/orchestral songs. As some time went by, things started looking better as far as some personal things going on and I was getting an itch to play out again. I asked myself "Could I actually do this bass solo thing live, and would people be into it?" I figured what could it hurt if I keep it simple and book a couple of local shows? I booked two shows. One at Gussy's Bar in Astoria, Queens, another at The Blue Room in Secaucus. New Jersey. I did a radio interview with The Graveyard Shift to promote it. Dan Montgomery who runs the station told me I'd always be part of The Graveyard family. His listeners were already familiar with me so it was a great platform to get the word out. So now it was time to really get social media stuff out there. New Facebook, Soundcloud and Reverbnation pages were made for The Chris Cyanide Bass Solo Project and I got to promoting all the stuff online while I recorded more songs. Finally it was time to play my first show at Gussy’s Bar. My friend Alicia, Amaris The Fire Vixen, joined me onstage to do some dancing. It worked really well with the industrial music. I was really happy she came because I'm not gonna lie. I was really nervous about this show. I wasn't sure how people would react. It was a good turnout. A lot a family and friends came out to support and I was pleasantly surprised. I knew my second show at the Blue Room would be a different story. I was on my own for that one. Just me, my basses, an industrial backing track and an audience that didn't know who I was. It turned out to be an important night for me. I met the guys in Agents Of Aggression who put on a killer performance and during their set, they mentioned that they would be signing with Cataclysm Records. This really got me thinking. I felt I was in a place with my music where signing with a label was possible. I was already comfortable talking with Tim McMurtrie who helped me in booking that particular show among others for a few different bands I had been in. Also, Tim is a veteran to the music scene and his opinions and knowledge are invaluable! We talked and got the whole process going but there was still an issue (in my opinion) with the quality of the recording of my songs. They were just home recorded demos and not what I wanted to release on an album. I have seen and have been in bands that made that mistake. I tried having the songs remixed but was having a hard time getting what I wanted. That's when Johnny Patterson stepped in. He saw how I was struggling and offered to help with his home recording studio. For those that don't know him, Johnny Patterson is also a veteran in the music scene having been Billy Idol's touring bass player and also with Niki Buzz just to name a couple. We re-recorded all eight of my songs from scratch. Johnny mixed and mastered them and I'm much happier with everything. He even mixed my new backing tracks for live shows. As all this was happening, I was booking more and more shows. From clubs like Blackthorn 51 and Otto's Shrunken Head to private events where I got to do shows with my friends Matt and Alicia helping me out onstage again. I'd been playing shows and preparing my debut album. I decided to call it "Bassic Evil" by The Chris Cyanide Bass Solo Project and had the cover artwork done by Bobby Leatherlungs Lucas. It will be released worldwide October 5 by Cataclysm Records. You can download it on all digital platforms, or get a physical CD from me or my official website.

You have some videos by The Chris Cyanide Bass Solo Project posted on Youtube. Explain how the songs were composed and how the videos represent them visually?
There is an official video for my song 8 String Bee Sting. It's a simple but fun video of me playing my eight string bass. It was shot in my backyard, the cemetery next to my house and a park by the ocean. It's a great representation of how at home and at ease I felt. There are some horror elements and strangeness added with the skull masks, eating of the nails and bee footage thrown in. It's just where I come from and it’s ever present in the Chris Cyanide persona. The bee footage I felt was important because it's an interpretation of work and progress getting done in an early stage of The Chris Cyanide Bass Solo Project not to mention part of the title of the song. Worker bees was a better choice than ants too. 8 String Ant Bite doesn't sound as good. The video was shot and edited by my longtime friend Mark Oniell. We do actually have plans on shooting a new video soon.

How much feedback have your promotional videos gotten since they were posted for viewing? What do you have in mind for the next video?
They get a decent amount of views, likes and comments and I do appreciate that. But I don't take it as the end all, be all of any accomplishments. Social media is a great, useful and important tool in this day and age but you have to be careful! It doesn't make you a rock star. If your video gets 10.000 views and likes and only three people show up to your gigs, then it might be time to reel in the ego a little. There are two new videos in the works for The Cyanide Project and The Chris Cyanide Bass Solo Project. T.C.P's video will be the band playing our rendition/cover of Starstruck by Rainbow. The Chris Cyanide Bass Solo Project video will have more of a storyline as opposed to the first video I did, but it will still have that same humor/horror feel. I don't want to give it away until the video is out.

Describe hooking up with Rafael Brimstone of Legion and the material you and he worked on. Is Legion an active and well known band from New York or are they from out of state? Where can people find them on the net?
I first saw Rafael Brimstone at a festival we played at in 2016. We didn't know each other but became Facebook friends shortly after and stayed in contact. I had mentioned to him that at the time I was just laying low and recording music from home. He was also taking a hiatus from music as well due to a vocal issue that wasn't allowing him to perform live. I asked him if he'd be down to do a small recording only side project and If I remember correctly, his response was "I am down." I recorded electronic/symphonic pieces on FL Studio and he added these power metal style vocals to them. They are pretty dark, gothic and pretty damn creative. We're calling it Brimstone and Cyanide and we have I think 8 songs done and another on the way. They can be heard on my Reverbnation page or Rafael Brimstone's Youtube channel. Rafael just recently got his vocal issue worked out and he is currently doing stuff again with Legion so I'm very happy he's able to get back in the game. You can check out Legion on their Facebook page for updates and where they're playing next. They are based in New Jersey.

Where is Gussy’s Bar located? Considering how well your first performance worked out with Amaris the Fire Vixen, do you plan to perform with her on a regular basis?
Gussy's Bar is located at 20-14 29th Street in Astoria, Queens and run by Ozzie Mortanis. Amaris The Fire Vixen is launching her own company, Alicat Entertainment. She's multi-talented; she can dance and do different things but I believe her passion is performing with fire. Unfortunately for me, that's not really allowed in a lot of the clubs where I perform, but if she can make the show she will. I always enjoy working with her when we get together.

Who is Agents Of Aggression, and how helpful was Tim McMurtrie booking you to appear with them? How often has McMurtrie helped book your performances, and what target audiences, if any, does he help point you towards?
Agents Of Aggression is a thrash metal band I met while playing at The Blue Room. I was looking to get my feet wet as far as playing local shows and reached out to Tim McMurtrie since he used to book that location and had booked some previous bands I played in for at least a good five years. I actually remember having to cancel a show I booked at The Blue Room when we had that hurricane and gas shortage in New York and New Jersey. Anyway Tim pointed me in the right direction and I got on the bill with A.O.A. I'm old school when it comes to what thrash metal I like. When A.O.A. took the stage I was instantly transported in my mind to high school when I first got into bands like Coroner, Sodom, and Kreator. I'm sure people may hear different things but that's my opinion about it. As mentioned before, they mentioned towards the end of their set that they were signing a deal with Cataclysm Records and that got me thinking. I knew I was in a place where that was possible for me. I just pulled the trigger and contacted Tim about it. He had mentioned Cataclysm Records in our previous phone conversation and it seemed like a well-rounded label as far as the other artists that were signing with him. I felt that this would be the right label for me given all the diversity. Rap Metal, Hard Core, Thrash, EBM, Horror Rock and more. Why not throw in an Industrial Metal Bass Solo act with a touch of horror?
I don't know what my target audience is. To be honest I don't think too much about it. I take what shows I can and give it my 100 percent to try and entertain whoever is watching. You either like it or you don't. There are plenty enough people that have come up to me after a show and have said "What you're doing so different and cool" or "I've never seen anything like that before". Those are things you don't hear too much today in music so I may be doing something right. I'm proud to be backed by Cataclysm Records and Tim McMurtrie in helping spread word worldwide about Chris Cyanide.

I remember Tim McMurtrie played on the first Method Of Destruction album USA for MOD. What other bands has he worked with that you know of?
To my knowledge Tim has worked with Rhythm Trip and his current band Full Scale Riot. I also know that he wrote and recorded all the music of Lana Blac's album Nocturnal. I highly recommend an interview with her.

Have you considered any musical collaborations with Tim McMurtrie since you and he crossed paths? If so, how do you think it would turn out for you and he, and the listeners on top of that?
I never considered it, but I'm always open to jamming out with anyone. Tim has a lot of talent and experience and I think it would be interesting to see what we'd come up with if it were ever to happen. I can tell you it would definitely be heavy.

How well known is Cataclysm Records, and how much confidence do you have in their ability to promote you and your work?
Cataclysm Records is relatively new. However when I first signed in January 2018 up until now, I’ve seen many artists jump on board. This is my first time signing with a label so I have nothing to compare it to. I just know its run by a veteran who knows the ins and outs of the business, I have an album that will be available for download worldwide on every major platform, CDs professionally pressed and ready for sale, a publicist to target the appropriate audience for what I’m doing, a family of like-minded fellow artists, shows and possible touring opportunities. Sure I could have done some of these things on my own, but not to Cataclysm Records caliber of professionalism. The company is just growing and growing. It’s an exciting time to be part of it and definitely the most exciting time for me personally in my musical journey.

There are many bands I have discussed diversity and originality with on one level or another. Death and black metal bands, industrial, doom/stoner rock, nintendocore and so on. Many of them still seem to think there is still room for new and original music these days. How much more new ground has yet to be covered in your view?
I don't think a new type of music is going to be invented. Only different variations of what's already been done. Even the stuff I play isn't a fresh new idea. There are other bass players who do bass only songs. They may not be doing it with a custom made six string bass wearing a skull mask, but it's out there if you look for it. I'm sure there's a country death metal band out there somewhere. Could you imagine a guy on a horse in a cowboy hat growling? It's actually not too far off when you see these new country bands with tattoos and piercings.

How do you feel about the current state of the club scene in New York and Long Island? How would you say it compares to neighboring states where you have performed of late?
I see a lot of the same things going on as far as the pay to play thing. I see the same seven bands struggle to sell fifty tickets to the same thirty friends they all mutually know. I do have a slight different attitude about playing gigs like that. I mean I still hate it to hell but another way to look at it is, you only live once and you can’t take your money with you when you go. Have your fun now if you can afford it. If not then just do what you can. It’s all pretty much the same anywhere you go and the same goes for Europe. If you want to do anything you need to know people and have some kind of budget to work with. My suggestion is to invest in merch. CDs, shirts, and whatever you think you can sell. Promote the shit out of it and try to get things to pay for itself. If you spend money, try and spend on something you can also make money with. If you buy onto a show make sure to have merch to sell. You’re there and people are there. Make the most out of it. I’ll even say it’s cool to wear your own band shirt to promote. No one should feel that it’s wrong or pretentious to sport your own merch unless you think it sucks. If you’re not ashamed to play your own music, you shouldn’t be ashamed to wear your own god damn band shirt. If you are ashamed then that’s a problem you need to deal with, not with other people who take what they do seriously. Be proud of what you do unless it sucks.

I have heard a lot about the pay to play issue. Do you think this situation can somehow be improved?
I don’t see any improvement in the foreseeable future. It will probably get even worse. Touring bands can’t guarantee to pack a club but want a guarantee. The local bands have to pay the price for it just to play a gig but let’s be honest. Local bands aren’t selling out clubs either but some of them have no problem judging established acts the actually do. It’s all a big mess of egos and people who think they know it all. If anyone wants to make a career in music, I’d say make sure you have another career to back it up and hustle your product. Make sure that what you are doing is true to yourself and be sure that whatever opportunity you take advantage of is just that. An opportunity and not people. Don’t burn bridges. Life is too short.

You mentioned you were having new custom instruments made by 812 Guitars. Is this the company that custom designed basses for you before? How much new material are they designing at present?
812 Guitars is my go to company for anything I need as far as my instruments. Chris Matos designed the CasketCase six string bass I currently use for live shows. It's been 1 of the things that's help make me stand out and be unique among masses in the music scene. Currently 812 Guitars has been on fire! Chris Matos had to expand the size of his workshop due to the traffic of incoming instruments he fixes or does setup for in addition to custom guitars and basses he's designing. He has his own line of guitars he's coming out with called The Byram Brawler! If you check out his Facebook and Instagram pages you'll see what I mean. He's got a pretty big social media presence. Right now there are two things in the works from 812 Guitars for Chris Cyanide. The first thing is another six string bass. Both Chris Matos and I are huge fans of Lemmy Kilminster and Motorhead. I always wished that Rickenbacker would make a six string bass but they don't. 812 Guitars say "no problem" and designs a body similar to that of a Rickenbacker but in the wood finish that I like and with the same sort of ruggedness of the CasketCase. This bass has been in the works for quite some time now. Trust me when I say it's gonna be pretty epic once it's finally done and I unleash a second monster at a gig near you!
Second, this is something that's actually already done. I have something in the works separate from The Chris Cyanide Bass Solo Project called just The Cyanide Project or just T.C.P. It's a full band doing both originals and covers. I have Andy T. Bone on drums and Barbara Chiavelli on vocals. We're just missing a guitar player. We still get together and rehearse regardless. Back to 812 Guitars, I needed a four string bass for the cover aspect of this band. 812 Guitars already has it made again in a CasketCase/Strat sort of style. I just have to pick it up.

What strings and pickups do you prefer installing into your custom basses when they are being constructed?
I like things that look different and stand out. Lately if been liking the DR Neon colored strings. I have green on my fretless six string and I once put red on the CasketCase bass. Currently there are regular stainless steel on it but I’m thinking of going back to the red. I also want to put green on my eight string bass. On anything that 812Guitars builds for me, Sentell pickups are what get put into them. 812Guitars works exclusively with Sentell Pickups and I have yet to have a desire to have anything else in my basses. I’d like to get some Sentell pickups in my six string fretless soon.

Who designs your masks and the other props you wear onstage? Does the inspiration come from anywhere or strictly from your own imagination?
When I first started The Chris Cyanide Bass Solo Project I didn’t use masks. I may have taken a few pictures wearing a mask for some Facebook posts but I played my first 2 shows with no masks or makeup. I was having a problem finding something I could see and breathe in. I ordered a Neoprene skull biker mask and used it on my first video. I wore sunglasses over the mask to cover up my eyes but kept having a problem with the glasses fogging up and I was unable to see. I played my third show wearing the Neoprene skull mask but with nothing covering my eyes. I bought steampunk goggles hoping they wouldn’t fog up but that didn’t work. I played my fourth show at Blackthorn 51 and had to perform with the goggles strapped to my hat and not over my eyes. I did some digging around and found an old mask that I got at a convention that I had used once filling in on bass for a band called Killenstein. It had mesh eye holes and I was able to see through it and perform well. I used that mask for quite a few shows but I wasn’t really happy with it. I found out that I could get colored mesh lenses for my steampunk goggles and mesh sunglasses so tried that with different skull style Neoprene skull masks and they worked. This is the current look I’ll be using for my next string of shows from now until I find something cooler. So basically my masks are just simple thing thrown together with different accessories my custom Cyanide Hats I have for sale. You can find them on my Cyanide Hats Facebook page or on my official website.
I plan on going back to the make up for select shows only such as an upcoming Halloween show. Again check out the website under Upcoming Shows for the details.

You have a full length to be released on Cataclysm Records in October. Describe the tracks appearing on it, how it was recorded and produced, who is helping out with publicity etc?
My album "Bassic Evil" will be released worldwide October 5 via Cataclysm Records. You can digitally download it or buy the physical copy through me. There are eight tracks on the album. The original recordings of these songs were just demos that I was experimenting with at home on a 16-track digital recorder. I would record them and just throw them up on Reverbnation or Soundcloud for my friends to check out and at the time that's all I really expected to do with them. When the decision came to actually sign with Cataclysm Records, I knew I couldn't release those demos as my album. I've seen and have been in bands that have done that. I didn't want to make that mistake so I tried remixing the songs and when that didn't work it tried having it professionally remixed and I still wasn't happy with it. A friend named Johnny Patterson saw that I was struggling with this, stepped in and offered to help. He has his own recording studio in Yonkers, New York and invited to come check it out. Johnny Patterson is a veteran in the music scene having been Billy Idol's and Niki Buzz's touring bass player. He's also recorded his own solo material called Black Tulip. So I took him up on his offer and brought all the stems to his studio to try to remix and master them. He did it but I still wasn't happy with the end result. Johnny suggested re-recording everything and I agreed that it would be the best option. I guess it's true when they say you can't polish a turd. Some of the drum tracks were kept while some were completely redone and the same as for the synth tracks. All of the bass tracks were completely redone. After everything was mixed and mastered, I was much happier with the end results. Once everything was done, Tim McMurtrie set up the meeting between him myself and publicist Katelyn Petersen so she could get some info on me and find out what needed to be done as far as the type of music I was doing and what audience to target and enter that information into a data base. I've never worked with a publicist before but I can tell you Katelyn does a great job! Aside from that, Cataclysm Records and Tim do a lot of promoting and I like to share out things from the other artists as well. It's like having this giant machine that's also like family as well. Signing with Cataclysm Records was definitely the right move.

Discuss the release party you are planning for Bassic Evil?
I was told by the label that I had to set up a CD listening party. I couldn’t just listen. I want to perform so I gave Frank Wood a call and set it up with him. My release party will be Sunday October 7, 8pm at Otto’s Shrunken Head 538 (East Main Street New York, NY 10009). I’ll be performing all my songs live and will have my CDs, shirts and Cyanide hats for sale. My CDs are going for $8.00 and I’ll be signing them for anyone who wants to purchase one.

How recently did you start The Cyanide Project, and how did you go about seeking musicians to work with? How many musicians did you try out before hiring Andy T. Bone and Barbara Chiavelli?
All of that happened quite by accident. I didn't think I'd ever be doing a full band again but I was offered a spot playing Dio and Dio era Sabbath in a band. I have good experience with that material due to some past bands I've been in and I always did enjoy playing that stuff. It's molded me in some ways on how I currently play. I won't lie either. I was getting that itch for a band again. I found out that Barbara Chiavelli was doing vocals and I've actually known her for some years and had wanted to do something with her for quite some time. The scheduling would just never pan out so it just never happened until now. I went to the 1st rehearsal and met Andy T Bone the drummer. We all hit it off pretty good but the band didn't work out and things fell through. I stayed in touch with Barb and Andy because we all actually felt we gelled together and still wanted to do something. I asked if they'd be ok with me putting my Cyanide stamp on this BUT creating as a band AND playing some of those covers we all loved doing. To my surprise they both said YES! Things are in very early stages and we're still trying to find the right guitar player. We have someone to help us out in the video but need someone permanent. If any guitar players are reading this and interested contact Chris Cyanide. I'm not hard to find.

What is The Cyanide Project looking for in a guitarist? How many guitarists are you in contact with at present? Who will be helping the band out for the video we discussed earlier?
We’re looking for a guitar player who has got the chops to play leads, share our interest in what we’re going for and willing to put in the time to do it. Andy T Bone has taken the reigns on the video and has his people working on it. We go into the studio November 11 to record the song and then begin the video shooting shortly after. The finished product should be out in 2019.

Are you planning to produce the new video independently? At some point would you consider working on your promotional videos with a professional company?
Right now the new video will be produced by me and friends who are helping me out. It’s all I can do at the moment. Working with a professional company is currently not in my budget however I wouldn’t be opposed to doing it once the timing and situation money-wise is right. I just have to be patient and play my cards right. I’ve been keeping a positive outlook on things and so far I can’t complain about what’s been accomplished. I do see a nice professionally shot music video in my near future.

How would you want people to remember you as a musician and performer in the future?
I think with the passing of people like Lemmy and Peter Steele, and that a lot of my bass heroes are getting older and closer to retiring is leaving an enormous hole. It’s my dream to be that next epic legendary bass player. I think I’ve got some pretty okay chops and a good gimmick to pull it off. I’m crazy horror film looking, loud as hell, well rounded bass player that could do anything from a one man industrial metal act to a kick ass metal band. Will it ever happen? I don’t know but I can tell you that nothing will happen at all if I don’t try.

-Dave Wolff

Monday, September 24, 2018

Promotional Video Review: MASTIC SCUM Dyers Eve [Metallica Cover] 2018 by Dave Wolff

Dyers Eve [Metallica Cover] 2018
Tribute to Metallica`s 30th anniversary of “…And Justice for All"
Place of origin: Salzburg, Austria
Genre: Death metal/Grindcore
Produced by Harry Gandler, Mike Kronstorfer, Gösser Bier
Mixed at Grindlab Studio
Mastered at Metalforge Studio
Release date: August 25, 2018
The Austrian death metallers Mastic Scum released their cover of Dyers Eve August 25, thirty years to the day since Metallica released …And Justice For All and made impressions on popular music that still resonate in the present. I could rave about what an awesome gesture it was and how …And Justice For All impacted the band. Instead I’ll dive beneath the surface and hopefully encourage some thought about whether the song is still relevant and the reasons another Metallica cover would be received well in today’s underground. Bear in mind that Metallica is one of the most covered bands in metal’s history. Personally I always liked Metallica and respect them for their long struggle to be recognized on their own terms, in the midst of controversy that surrounded them more than once. The most recent controversy came from their 2017 Grammy performance with Lady Gaga. Uproar ensued as to whether the band needed Gaga to validate them (Eddie Trunk was particularly and understandably vocal about this). Is it selling out to appeal to a wider pop audience? Or is it a logical progression of a band who always did what they wanted. How would a wider pop audience relate to older songs like No Remorse, Escape, Welcome Home (Sanitarium) and Dyers Eve? Also, how would fans of extreme metal relate to the song three decades after it was released? The song itself is a rant from a former teenager entering his 20s directed at his parents for creating a suppressive, overprotective environment around him. It’s not as much disrespect as it is a statement of confusion and anguish from someone sent on his own after living in said environment. Death metal and extreme metal are coming closer to being respected on their own merit, so there is a question of whether fans in the late 10s will be able to relate to the lyrics as much as fans from when …And Justice For All first came out. Fans today will likely understand Mastic Scum’s desire to honor a band whose influence has been so far reaching for so long. But would they understand the isolation and disillusionment of a kid who grew up in a time when metal was not as respected as it is today? The answer will probably depend on each person and his own experiences. All this being said, Mastic Scum do a fine job commemorating …And Justice For All and placing their stamp on Dyers Eve. They manage to give the track a modern DM flavor while keeping its original thrash metal fire. The lyrics are easily discernible for long time Metallica fans, without a need for a lyric sheet, This cover is worth checking out while you’re waiting for new material from them. -Dave Wolff

Maggo Wenzel: Vocals
Harry Gandler: Guitars
Wolfgang Rothbauer: Bass
Man Gandler: Drums