Saturday, December 7, 2019

Single Review: 6HOST WITHASIX "Sleep Intoxication" (Independent) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Artist: 6HOST WITHASIX
Location: Cape Breton Island
Country: Canada
Genre: Hip hop
Single: Sleep Intoxication
Label: Independent
Format: Streaming
Release date: December 6, 2019
It has been a while since I spoke on the topic of 6host WithaSix, but today 6host has sent me another vicious banger. Personally, I think this new track ''Sleep Intoxication'' is one of 6host's best tracks to date, which is a lot to say, as the majority of his previous tracks are top tier quality. I highly encourage everyone to give this new track a listen! Remove the wires from the back of your brain stem, awaken your third eye, and swim in the lyrical flow that is emitted from 6host! -Devin Joseph Meaney



Single Review: AYUMI ANIME "Get Me High" (Bong Mines Entertainment) by Tony Sokol

Vocalist: AYUMI ANIME
Location: Los Angeles, California
Country: USA
Genre: Urban pop, R&B
Single: Get Me High
Label: Bong Mines Entertainment
Format: Digital
Release date: November 1, 2019
Ayumi Anime's smoking debut single “Get Me High” is sure to put you in the zone. Co-written by Alexander Frazier and Olena Kim (Anime's real name), the song is pinch of urban pop, a bowl of contemporary R&B, and totally chill. Director Togeze inspires some mad love for Anime in the accompanying “Get Me High” music video. "Let's fall for each other, in deep conversation," Anime sings in "Let's Get High." Autoeroticasphyxium zine had a light chat with the singer-songwriter after the song dropped a few days ago, and we fell into deep trance.
Ayumi says she "didn't want any heavy lyrics in 'Get Me High.' This song aims to let people chill, relax and stay positive, because this is so important nowadays." She told us she was inspired to write about "getting high in L.A." when she "first got the joint just to get rid of the stress and got flown into the universe."
The mesmerizing musician found a muse in marijuana, but not pure nirvana. "I think the only mystical property that it can have is relaxing your mind," she told us. "So when you're totally relaxed, you forget about all your problems and just focus on yourself or the things you really love and that make you happy."
Keeping us very happy, Ayumi also discussed her next moves. She revealed exclusively to us the she will release her second single, "Everything I Need," in mid-January.
Anime is probably best known as Penthouse magazine's Pet of the Month for October, 2017. Captivating as she is, the performer, who was born and raised in Kheron, Ukraine, is no mere eye candy. She says songwriting was always her "ultimate and planned goal."
Ayumi was 15 when she when got hit one too many times by the sounds of Britney Spears. When she was 20 she moved to Russia, but don't worry, she's not a sleeper agent. Her only K.G.B. connection is Killer Green Bud. According to what you can find online, Ayumi speaks our language, and many others. She graduated from Shevchenko Media Television High School in Kiev as a TV reporter with a degree in Philology.
The charismatic Korean who has appeared in shoots Nike, Armani, and Chanel, "strives to empower women and the Asian community to break the glass ceiling, become leaders and overcome any obstacles they may face."
And what better way to relax while pursuing lofty ambitions? Musicians have been separating stems from seeds since the Ink Spots' "That Cat Is High" came out in 1938. Even Woody Guthrie, the guy who wrote This Land is Your Land" invited the world to “Take a Whiff on Me.” So hotbox the room and play some music. Roll it up, burn it up, smoke it up. All night.
"Get me high" is available on Spotify and Apple music. -Tony Sokol



Friday, December 6, 2019

Full Length Review: HHOOGG "Earthling, Go Home!" (Crystal Space Bricks) by Dave Wolff

Band: HHOOGG
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Country: USA
Genre: Psychedelic space rock, jam
Full Length: Earthling, Go Home!
Label: Crystal Space Bricks
Format: Digital
Release date: February 25, 2019
Frazer Jones of Desert Psychlist recently made a loose comparison between Hhoogg’s “Earthling, Go Home!” and classic Star Trek. As much as I prefer avoiding comparisons, this one seems to fit, if it was an episode of Star Trek as seen from the perspective of the Doors or Pink Floyd who were given free reign writing the soundtrack. I also thought of Forbidden Planet and 2001: A Space Odyssey with special effects made under the orchestration of hallucinogenics. Forget CGI and massive explosions; what’s wrong with science fiction movies that look like an acid user who just graduated from art school remade Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon with psychedelic stoner rock that’s completely improvised. Improvisation is strictly trial and error; it either works or it doesn’t. But if it does work it comes from a place that’s timeless and unrestricted by money, genre or popular opinion. Many bands looked into this place and that’s exactly why they’re remembered years later while trends die and are forgotten. What Hhoogg bring back from the ether is a piece of that universe as cold and strange as it is monumental and eternal. The smallest piece can irrevocably change the way you look at music. That void is the canvas on which they painted, and even the brightest and most reassuring colors are distorted and warped beyond imagination. Yet you seem to anticipate where they’re going next if you’re attuned to their sudden impulses. I got that feeling more than once, for example, when listening to the first track and those that came after with their narrative overtones, repetitive bass lines, opiate guitars, frenetic percussion and astral keyboards. Whether the mood is euphonious, pensive, probing, uninhibited or seething, the personalities represented by each instrument piece together to create a whole that towers far above what would have been expected from a psych-rock band. Hhoogg sounds like they can only become more profound with each album they come out with. -Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Yig Narub: Synthesizer
Paul Yu: Guitar
Xtina Porcupine: Bass
Tom the Ninth Universe: Drums

Track list:
1. Ccoossmmooss
2. Rustic Alien Living
3. Journey to the Dying Place
4. Star Wizard, Headless and Awake
5. Eaten on the Frontier
6. Recalled to the Pyramids
7. Infinitely Gone




Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Full Length Review: CINEMA CINEMA "CCXMD" (Nefarious Industries) by Dave Wolff

Location: Brooklyn, New York
Country: USA
Genre: Art punk
Full Length: CCXMD
Label: Nefarious Industries
Format: CD, digital, streaming
Release date: November 1, 2019
It may be a rare occurrence for a punk or post-punk band to cross the line and venture outside their boundaries (and I don’t mean the kind of mainstreamized, reconstituted pop punk we hear too often). But when a band comes along and does so, the same motivation exists and it usually becomes something memorable. “CCXMD”, the sixth release from Brooklyn’s Cinema Cinema, crawls from the begrimed, trash littered streets of the five boroughs to contend with the experimental jazz/noise of the early 2000s. While checking it out I was engrossed enough to check out the band’s discography all the way back to their early releases. From “57” and “Shoot The Freak” to their 2017 full length “Man Bites Dog” the band investigated many different auditory impressions looking for what would eventually set them apart from their Sonic Youth/Clash/PJ Harvey-inspired provenance. It sounds like it was a measured, deliberate process of trying different ambient sounds to settle into the freeform avant-garde jazz, seemingly incoherent musicianship and premelting noise of their new album (“A Night at the Fights” and “Man Bites Dog” were particularly crucial to their growth). Those ambient sounds, or rather the sum total of those ambient sounds, play a part in how “CCXMD” turned out. Their hard work is apparently paying off as “CCXMD” has been recognized by Big Takeover, Invisible Oranges, Brooklyn Vegan, Pop Matters, Aural Aggravation and The Village Voice among other publications. Pop Matters said Cinema Cinema are torchbearers for the part of NYC’s music scene populated by unsigned bands who mix urban frustration with intellectual experimenting. The band says their disjointed song structure with its shrieking saxophones, wandering guitars, scrambled percussion and manic vocals (as well as some Doors and Jethro Tull influence) resulted from learning to play in an improvisational style and listening to bands like Mahavishnu Orchestra. Going into the studio and improvising as they went along, having come to know each other’s playing inside and out, is the only way they could make “CCXMD” sound spontaneous and voluntary. What’s more, the band’s arrangmernts leave it a mystery as to the direction they’ll decide to take on their next release. -Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Ev Gold: Guitars, vocals
Paul Claro: Drums, percussion:
Matt Darriau: Wind, loops, vocals:

Track list:
1. Collective Outpoint
2. Cyclops
3. Revealed
4. Colors
5. Radio Ready
6. Ode to a Gowanus Flower
7. Cloud 3

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Interview with Andrew MacDonald of GET REAL! by Devin Joseph Meaney

Interview with Andrew MacDonald of GET REAL!

Devin Meaney: Hey Andrew! Please take a minute or two to introduce yourself and your band!
Andrew MacDonald: My name is Andrew MacDonald and I sing and play guitar in a three-piece alternative rock band called Get Real! (note the fancy exclamation mark). Drew Hawboldt plays drums and Jeremy Devoe plays bass. Fun fact, those two cats have the same birthday. Different years though.

DM: How long has Get Real! been a band? And what are some of the inspirations behind the music?
AM: We’ve actually been a band for a pretty short time. Drew and I started playing music together about a year ago. I met Jeremy when he started working at the same company I work for, and he joined on bass shortly after. This would’ve been around June of 2019.

DM: How did you guys come up with the name ''Get Real!''?
AM: Drew and I went through a few different iterations before deciding we liked the name “get real” the best. We were originally going to go by “Backseat Driver”, or “Social Divide”, both of which I still kind of like, to be honest.
Just around the time we started the band, the two of us had both had a falling out with a mutual friend. I think one of the last things that was said in this dialogue was “get real, dude” or something to that effect. Drew brought it up as a potential band name. He also was the one who came up with the idea for the exclamation mark. It’s kind of cheesy, but I like to think of it as the icing on the cake. Hey, that’s one of our lyrics!

DM: How many shows have you played? Any plans on touring, within Nova Scotia or elsewhere?
AM: We’ve played an average of around 2 to 3 shows per month since we started. They’ve been smaller shows for sure, bar shows mostly. We put our all into it. It’s been harder to schedule shows lately since Drew moved to another province temporarily. We still make it work though. As for shows out of province, we may be looking to do some shows in New Brunswick in the coming year.

DM: You informed me over Facebook you record your own music. How long have you been dabbling in sound engineering?
AM: I’ve been recording my own music almost as long as I’ve been playing guitar. I record pretty much everything I play, because I’m too nervous that I’ll improvise a cool guitar riff or a catchy vocal melody and then forget it five minutes later.
I really got into the thick of the whole recording process when I was in high school, making music for my project “Every Other Aspect”. I did a lot of the recording myself, but always had a revolving set of members. A lot of those guys are currently playing in bands around the Halifax area, namely Cyrus Robertson-Orkish (Cyrus R.O Quartet) and Jesse Macleod (Electric Spoonful/Matt Steele and the Corvette Sunset/Rudy & The Pacé Family Orchestra). Taking the stage with those guys was real fun.

DM: How much is it for a copy of your latest EP, and where can a person purchase one?
AM: Right now our EP is on Bandcamp for $3. You can also stream all the tracks on services like Spotify and Apple Music. We’re also working on some physical copies of the EP as well, made DIY style just like every other aspect or our music (I did the self-reference thing again). They’re pretty modest but they do the job well. Because they’re so simple and affordable to make up, we’ll be able to sell them for $3 as well.
For now, there isn’t anywhere online that you can buy the physical copies, but we will be selling them on our site at https://getreal.band once they’re ready. You could also send us an email if you would like to be notified when they’re available!

DM: If given the choice of having two giant penises for arms, or a giant third arm for a penis, which would you choose?
AM: This was a hard one. Really coming in hot with the phrasing here. Anyway, after consulting with my bandmates: all of us, collectively and as separate human beings with our own ideas, thoughts and desires — the third arm option is the way to go. We gotta play our instruments somehow, and I have a feeling that penis arms are not the way to do that. Plus, a third arm lets you have an arm that is always making a fist, ready to take out your enemies. Perfect level, too. Get ’em where it counts.

DM: Any final comments?
AM: I’d have to say thanks for doing this interview with me and the GR! crew. We’ve got a short history but it’s great to have the opportunity to lay out the details of what we’ve been working on.
To the reader, thanks for tuning in! To learn more about the band and what we’re up to, you can check out our website at https://getreal.band, where we just launched a blog to give “updates from the attic”: a glimpse into the recording process of our second EP!

DM: Thanks for talking with me, Andrew!

-Devin Joseph Meaney

Monday, December 2, 2019

Interview with Coleman Greenhand of HEAVY VIBE by Dave Wolff

Interview with Coleman Greenhand of HEAVY VIBE

Your website Heavy Vibe supports metal bands and rap artists. How long has the site been active and what inspired you to support both of these genres which have proven to be compatible since Anthrax and Public Enemy collaborated together?
Heavy Vibe was an idea for a while before it became an actual physical thing. The debate on if I should do Youtube or a website being ruled out by me not wanting to put on mascara every morning, the time I consider Heavy Vibe's birth is 11/8/17, 6:24 PM, the first official published post. And that's just from me going back and scrolling to the first post I ever made on that website, where I just make fun of a WikiHow list on how to be a "Rocker Chick". The reason that I decided to do not just Heavy Metal, is that it isn't the only music I listen to. I feel like it would be a waste of my time to fully invest in something that I would get burnt out of. If I ever get tired of hearing someone screeching into a mic, I can just swap over to rap submissions and listen to someone mumble offbeat. To say that everyone in the Metal community only listens to Metal would be something that people would showcase as the stereotypical "Metal Elitism". For example, I can reference when I have had bands refuse to work with me because I interviewed a rapper the week before. In my opinion, the genres have and always will be compatible. Honestly, I had to Google the reference in the question you gave me, I really didn't know what it was, and I would like to lightheartedly blame it on the fact that it happened eleven years before I was even born. But more recent examples similar I could reference would be $UICIDEBOY$ doing a collab with Travis Barker and Munkey from Korn, Ozzy working with Post Malone, Ghostemane being Ghostemane, and all of the new Underground rappers whose influences come from Heavy Metal, being transformed into a more fluid genre of music. But back to the whole Elitism, the second anyone announces they will be doing a collab with a Rapper, or for that matter, anyone from any other genre, the Metal community likes to make a game of hopping on the bandwagon of this really sucks" even though they haven't listened to it, or the all-time favorite of calling whoever from the Metal community does decide to branch out and step out of their fan bases safety bubble a sellout.

How long did you have the idea of doing Heavy Vibe in mind before you started doing it online? Would more work or preparation have been involved if you decided to make it a Youtube channel?
Heavy Vibe was like a one and done thing. I got the idea for it, spent a week trying to come up with a name for it, and then I made it. Simple as that. I didn't go through any life-changing event that I went through that made me want to start doing this. It was a "this would be fun" so I did it thought process.

Where can Heavy Vibe be found on social media, and how aggressively have you been promoting the site lately?
Heavy Vibe can be found on Facebook & Instagram at @heavyvibeofficial and Twitter @HeavyVibe. When I think about it, the amount of time I spend promotion Heavy Vibe on Social media, it is most likely double the amount of time I spend actually writing articles on it. Being able to network yourself on Social Media is the only way that anyone will be able to find success. So every day, I go on Facebook, MeWe, Instagram, Reddit, Amino, and Twitter, and just share posts and get new viewers worldwide.

In the 90s there was a massive crossover between metal and rap after Anthrax/Public Enemy. Biohazard worked with Onyx and Cypress Hill, and the soundtrack to the movie “Judgement Night” had several artists from both genres working together. Metallica also collaborated with Swizz Beats and Ja Rule for “Biker Boyz.”
I am familiar with the Anthrax/PE & Metallica's collab with Swizz and Ja Rule. It's always fun to go back and look at old music videos like the music videos of the songs you mentioned, because just going back and looking at those and comparing it to how music videos look now, the culture and the standard for music videos have changed so much, and watching old ones is funny, especially with all of the green screen cutouts of people and the amazing backdrops that work into the whole early 90's aesthetic that a lot of people in the fashion industry are trying to recreate.

What are some of the changes you’ve seen in promotional videos since those days?
Promo Videos now have taken a big turn to be edgy, and everything in their own way taking on a more modernistic theme. And music videos are a whole different breed than they were 7 years ago. It seems like all music videos have some kind of storyline so that it is like a miniature movie. Have you ever seen the Bring Me The Horizon music video for "True Friends"? It is a great song, and I think the music video is a perfect example of a storyline in a music video.

What was WikiHow’s definition of a “rocker chick”? Do you think that list you mentioned was written by someone who was not familiar with underground metal?
I really don't even remember the definition, it was for sure a work of satire. I really don't know if the authors of the Wiki Page thought it was as well, but let's be honest, eyeliner and safety pins mixed with a leather jacket and a Metallica shirt from Rue 21 doesn't make you a rocker chick, it just means your outfit is rocker chic. Defining the underground metal scene is a really difficult thing to do, on the other hand, the fashion that surrounds the scene is mixed in with urban street style, which has its own influences coming from the genre of metal it hails from. The only thing I know is that I really don't like those patch jackets. It's cool to see people in them, but I don't really think I would voluntarily wear one unless I really had to. So in a shortened word, no. I really don't think whoever wrote the "how to be a rocker chick" WikiHow page was into underground metal.

More often than not, underground metal places music above image. In my experience the patch is not about the patch, but what the band means to them. That being said, would you say people who author pages like the one on WikiHow was exploiting a perceived image?
Well sure, you could say that it is music over the image, but I know a lot of bands that are a lot farther than other bands because they can execute an image better than others who arguably have better musical talent, just because they can match that aesthetic that gains them more popularity. Let's be honest, no one wants to go to a hyped-up underground concert for a bunch of people dressed like your cousin’s dad to walk out and play their heart out, they want to see the dudes all decked out in their outfit’s and makeup that can keep a hyped energetic concert playing on their aesthetic of their genre. I wouldn't consider it exploiting a perceived image, more as just playing onto a common stereotype and very visible characteristics in a community.

To a point I see what you mean; in the case of King Diamond, Manowar and Misfits their stage gear is part of the show. However, most image-only trends died while bands placing music first kept cult followings for years (not even mentioning AC/DC and Metallica). I don’t include punk and black metal since the “image” is intended as a statement.
Gwar is another big image band. I guess it's all about finding a balance, like everything in life. And the musicians that find the balance and are able to execute the image and the music, are usually the ones who make it in the long run.

I have met many bands who listen to rap, Goth, Celtic, classical, progressive rock) and it enhances their songwriting. This shows sticking to your guns is not closed-minded or elitist.
I really can't put a real number on the "genres" I have been exposed to in the metal scene. I get emails every day where someone adds another adjective onto "Blackened Sludge" and sends the email in thinking that it’s a new breakthrough genre that will set them apart when in reality, it's really annoying to write down a seven-word "sub-genre". The most common genres I see are Deathcore, Doom, Sludge, Industrial, Prog, and leaving metal it’s mainly Shadow Rap, maybe some Horrorcore but that is really depending on how it is executed, older styles being popularized again like Rap Rock, and so on and so on. Genres aren't that important, and I feel like they hinder some band's abilities if they feel like they want to change their directions. Due to the fact that they require a fan base around a "genre" so if they have any significant changes in style, like a genre shift. An example that more people would know would be how BMTH (Bring Me The Horizon) had recently shifted to more of a pop-like genre, and their fan base basically solided themselves because "What happened to the screamy Ollie we liked in the beginning". But all in all, you can never make anyone happy, so you just roll with it and do what you want and if they don't like it, they don't have to listen to it.

Is it more beneficial for bands to change because they’re expected to, or why not simply play what you like? Also, what sort of impact are you seeking to make?
I know all bands need to change and growth is a great thing for a band. It really depends on what bands want to do. If their constantly evolving with their sound and do decide to let's say, change their genre. More power to them, even if they don't have a huge fan base, normally some of their fans, if not the majority of them will stick around, and when you broaden your fan base to a new genre. I feel like musicians who limit themselves and restrict growth are obvious when you see them, when the music is soulless, you can feel it when you listen to it.

As many people know, there is a vast number of bands who utilize clean vocals, and there are video channels run by trained professional vocalists who demonstrate the discipline needed for death and black metal vocals and point out it’s not all screaming (VoiceHacks is one of them).
I watched a short documentary on Youtube about Beartooth and an old lady vocal coach. It was really interesting. Another thing people should check out is the videos where the dudes walk up to random people and ask them to do their best metal scream and it sounds like a bunch of afraid cows and goats for the whole video. Not saying I would be able to do any better in the least, but if someone asked me to do a metal scream, I would plead the fifth just to keep the little respect I have for myself still intact. This leads to my favorite phrase from the heavier bands I have worked with: "It's all about the Gutterals", indeed the word "Gutterals" is my least favorite word to be said by another human.

Are you referring to Melissa Cross? I’ve seen some of her videos and she seems to have an understanding of how to use your vocal folds properly. What interests you about her?
Yup, that would be her. I think one of the most interesting things I can come up with for what I think about her is how casually this little old lady can just pull this gnarly scream and growl. If I tried that it wouldn't be pretty, and it would just sound like either a cough or a vocally damaging burp.

Who were the first bands you promoted on Heavy Vibe and how did they hook up with you?
When I look back on how I reached out to people, I laugh so hard because of how stupid it actually was. I would DM people on Instagram and ask them if they were interested. No one wants to do an interview with some weird account that has seven followers on Instagram and doesn't know how to actually conduct an interview. I did end up talking to Lena from Infected Rai for my first interview, and it was actually me sending questions every other DM and then she would reply, and they were like really short answers to really bad questions. I had no idea about setting up questions that would lead to big answers. But comparing how it was to how it is now, it makes me feel a lot more confident that the quality has gone wayyyyy up.

How were you able to improve the quality of your interviews? What kind of questions do you find important to ask interviewees?
The best thing I could say to anyone looking to improve the quality of their interviews when talking to a musician is don't talk about stuff that everyone already talks about. And if you do talk about the same stuff that is always asked in an interview, add a spin to it that makes it fresh for not only the reader, but the musician. It also gives you the opportunity to talk about things that haven't been talked about before, so always doing your homework and looking for interviews that the band has done before if the band has ever done any interviews. While a lot of the bands I work with have never been interviewed before, I personally think that's even better, because then it's even more questions I can ask to get more info out. Working in underground music, especially as someone who published these interviews, it's giving musicians the ability to take a step up from where they were, getting content out onto the internet about them allows people to find new information about them that their Facebook profile wouldn't let them know, if you get what I mean.

When interviewing bands who hadn’t been interviewed before, how much more do you and interviewees have to talk about?
With new bands, you really want to get a blanket of anything and everything. You're the first person talking to them, so you have something other people won’t have a few months or years down the road after more and more interviews happen. As the interviewer, you can get the best stuff out before other people can even ask them about it. But as the first person that will be talking about these artists online, or wherever you're publishing, you have to get the basics, and then after you get the basics of like who they are and what they're about, then you can move onto the fun questions.

How much do you have to think about asking bands questions who have done many interviews in their time?
I really don't think about what they've been asked already, because I am pretty confident that the questions I ask are not common, and a lot of them aren't even music related and just weird. Because when you do ten to fifteen interviews a month constantly talking about your music, you're gonna be relieved when you get some funny questions for a change that the audience you're giving these interviews too will see as some fresh and funny content, and be more obliged to read it. But one of my biggest suggestions to getting questions is thinking outside the box, what is downright cringey, and what will get the best stories from the questions. You can't set up questions for one-word answers, because then that is what you will get, you have to set them up for big responses.

What are some of the most intriguing questions you thought of while interviewing a newer band?
Gross stuff, like what's the grossest thing you've ever done while going on tour, or similar questions. Usually, all of the new bands are the ones that end up going to the sketchier venues, which attract the sketchier people. It all goes in a cycle. Usually, the newer bands have fresh stories of something that is gross. But the good kind of gross. The kind of gross that makes you cringe, but show someone else because it's funny, but horrible at the same time.

How much more difficult is it to interview bands who have been around for longer and interviewed more often?
They already know what they are doing, they know the standards publishers and bloggers create for their websites/posts. You may have to go out of the box for the questions, but that is honestly no problem at all, I already do that so it usually doesn't affect my mojo. And even if some of the questions are similar to ones that have already been answered, their most likely the important ones that the artist already wants out there to spread more info about something like a release, or tour.

Which bands, young or old, have given you the most engaging and informative interviews so far?
I did an interview with X, Lead Vocals & Lead Guitar for Gürschach. That so far has been my highest engagement interview, when it comes to most informative, it's really hard to gauge. Because a lot of the interviews when you look at them as a whole have their own perks and insights to certain things. So for the most informative, I wouldn't say one. I do get some really gross and descriptive stories though. Those are always fun.

What are your requirements for bands seeking to have their material reviewed at Heavy Vibe?
I currently only do a review as promotional content, mainly due to how much time it takes. To get your music reviewed on Heavy Vibe you gotta send an email and tell me what package/order you want for that review, I go in and tell you the price depending on what package/order you get. We do some collaboration and discussion about the release so that I can get an insider look at the music. And while some people may say that paying for a review is basically buying a good review, I give my feedback 100%, I just always follow what I think is a good rule of thumb for constructive criticism- which I think is the most important thing to come out of it one thing that I dislike, compared to two things I found good in the song.

What bands that you’ve interviewed recently would you suggest people check out and why?
Rather than recently, I am going to say check this out for the future. The whole Month of December Heavy Vibe will be doing what I call the "30 Days of Features", I am hoping to get more than 100 bands featured in the span of a month, all of it free of course. I just got really inspired to try and do something spontaneous and challenging. And I think this is challenging. So hopefully it doesn't overwhelm me, I think I have it set up pretty well so that it all will run as smoothly as it possibly can. So yea, be sure to look out for the month of December on Heavy Vive, tons and tons of new music and artists will be introduced that you would've never known about.

Your Facebook community/promotion group has about three hundred members at present. Are most of your members involved in bands? How much are they encouraged to promote?
Oh yea, that thing. I think that 99% of the people in that group are band members. The way I started it was by telling every band I worked with to join it, so I could keep in some form of a group contact with the majority of people I've worked with. If they aren't in a band, they are most likely a radio personality, a promoter, or someone who does something related to the metal scene. I use it when I want to put out specials like giveaway features to bands that I've worked with before and jazz like that. I also do some previews to merch and introduce new stuff to that group first. So it's kind of the behind the scenes/early access group.

What giveaway features have you posted in the group, and what responses do they get?
Oh gosh, the responses to those really vary. A lot of them just email me or text me on the side. I do work in multiple different groups just for the sheer convenience of having hundreds of thousands of people at my fingertips because of social media. The last feature giveaway I did, I said I would only give away 5 features and around 347-ish bands submitted themselves to Heavy Vibe just from that one specific Facebook post. But depending on the kind of feature it can be from 3-400 people contacting me wanting in. You can definitely tell who is more willing to put in work than others just because of what your offering to give- a better feature but the musicians have to do more work doesn't get barely as much attention as a copy and paste job. But sadly, that is usually what ends up happening.

What other musical styles do you consider promoting on Heavy Vibe besides metal and rap?
I do say that Heavy Vibe works with Alt music too, but Metal and Rap are so broad, sometimes I think they just blur into the lines of Alt. I really accept anything with heavy influences, or in general, stuff that I like, because overall, it is my website. So I can do whatever I want with it.

What would be the ultimate metal/rap crossover for you, and what styles of music would you consider promoting in the future?
Ohhhh boy. $uicideboy$, or Post Malone doing a song with someone. I know Post Malone did a song with Ozzy. But I really want to see something with like Ghostemane and Slipknot, or something like that. It is really hard to think about what would blend together well because there are so many possibilities. But I really hope more of it happens in the future, that would be awesome.

What kind of an impact do you want Heavy Vibe to ultimately have on metal and rap?
I really want Heavy Vibe to end up being the place people go to find new music, new artists, news, and all kinds of stuff. I am fighting tooth and nail to make it up. And for only having Heavy Vibe for as long as I have had it, I think I am doing a good job. I have daily readers who are constantly giving me feedback, tons of exciting collaborations and other things planned for 2020, new record labels I will be working with. Overall, if Heavy Vibe keeps heading in the direction it is heading- I really hope that I will have a personal influence on the Metal and Rap scene. Being able to have an impressionable/seriously taken opinion is one of the most valuable things as a "Public Figure". And even above that, I hope I make some form of an impact on people's music careers positively.


-Dave Wolff

Band Review: OLIGARKII by Kelly Tee

Band: OLIGARKII
Location: Newcastle
Country: Australia
Genre: Black metal
I'm discovering some absolute gems from my home town of Newcastle, Australia. Keep your ears to the ground for Oligarkii, blackened extreme metal band who are set for big things in 2020.
To date they have released two unique, weighted, menacingly dark and eerie tracks and here are my thoughts:
Let's start with Plague Masked Reaper. As I listened loud with my headphones on, this track truly engulfed me with its largely grim and malevolent sound. The vocal style projected here is extremely low, guttural and fucking beastly. It's impossible not to screw your face up to this sound with sheer heavy metal delight. The bass is absolutely off its face, prominent and opaque to a backdrop of ominous symphonic elements, drum tracks causing chaos and haunting lyrics around death, decay, and delightful darkness of course! Riffage is deliciously intense, creative and attention-grabbing. This entire composition excites me! The mash-up of tempo changes throughout this track worked so well creating good suspense and surprise, with striking movements of guitar solos and soundscapes crafting an unearthly and haunting ambiance.
Forest Of Ancient Graves is equally as prophetic, yet offers a difference from the track before, with the musicianship leaning toward even more doom, showcasing a tight and heavy groove flow of callousness with hymns void of any light and vocals that growl, spit and hiss across this track in a ritualistic manner. This number spirals deep down into an abyss of heavy as hell riffs, gothic sounding synth, thumping big drum tracks with an overall stunningly intense atmosphere. Oh, this is dark, this is very dark, carrying foreboding and emotive melody and a powerful metal injection as it ramps up to hectic and fast from time to time. That bass... that bass... so intrusive and threatening. A killer listen.
Both tracks are blackened, deathly and immaculately executed with a very crisp production and if this is a sign of what is to come from Oligarkii, well, then shit... I can't wait.
Guys, take a listen - these two tracks are on Spotify and please share your thoughts. -Kelly Tee







Monday, November 25, 2019

Full Length Review: FROSTMOON ECLIPSE "Worse Weather To Come" (Immortal Frost Productions) by Dave Wolff

Location: La Spezia, Ligury
Country: Italy
Genre: Black metal
Full Length: Worse Weather To Come
Format: CD, vinyl, streaming
Release date: October 25, 2019
Frostmoon Eclipse has been active in the Italian black metal scene since the first Norwegian bands made headlines, and today they are considered one of Italy’s oldest established black metal bands. I joined the party late, having heard of them only last month, and missed their entire catalog from 1995 to the present, including albums like “Gathering The Dark,” “Another Face Of Hell” and “The End Stands Silent.” While I have loads of catching up to do should I decide to and trace their evolution, listening to their new full length “Worse Weather To Come” is not a bad way to get started.
Though the band is technically classified as black metal, their songwriting can be attributed to melodic doom, goth metal, post-metal, even progressive rock, psychedelia, early grunge, and classical guitar. It’s a welcome vouchsafing that musical revision comes from within, and the band doesn’t try to cram several labels together in a single breath. After all, labels say so much about how underground bands express themselves. Bands with similar classifications have their own perspectives and techniques, and one listen to “Worse Weather To Come” should be enough to convince you Frostmoon Eclipse are standing on their own merit.
While “Worse Weather To Come” has a raw sound, it doesn’t depend solely on rawness to get its point across. Frostmoon Eclipse has a way of conveying profound, intense feelings through constant variations in feel and tone presented in every song. This album is so complex and multi-layered it keeps you guessing as to which soundscapes it plans to enter. The compositions can’t be pinned to the 1990s or 2000s any more than a single genre, but the passages from one emotional state to the next are cleverly devised. The band’s strength is in writing and composing songs with their own distinct personalities and temperament, depending on what best fits each of them. Ice-covered, delicate or trance-inducing, no two tracks sound exactly the same on this album.
The band’s raw sound has something for fans of Bathory, Mayhem, Enslaved, and Satyricon, and you’ll likewise hear elements for listeners of Sear Bliss, Paradise Lost, Anathema, Katatonia, My Dying Bride, Necrophagia and Black Sabbath. This multiformity and distinctiveness capture the essence of black and goth metal at its most arcane level, and the histrionic overtones Frostmoon Eclipse achieve are far more penetrating than you would expect from a band drawing from so many different genres. The band has taken great pains to compound on the antediluvian themes we have heard countless times. Even the clean guitar and bass sections sound as if the strings are caked in the dirt of ancient crypts if you have the resoluteness to enter.
“Worse Weather To Come” convinces me that Frostmoon Eclipse and bands like them will be making more headway for black metal to progress in the 2020s. Contact Immortal Frost Productions for more information. -Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Lorenzo Sassi: Vocals
Claudio Alcara: Guitars
Davide Gorrini: Bass
Gionata Potenti: Drums
J.J.: Guest vocals on “Song To Darkness”

Track list:
1. I See the Void
2. A Room, a Grave
3. All Is Undone
4. Sunken
5. Brother Denial
6. Sleep
7. Song to Darkness
8. Resignation


Friday, November 22, 2019

EP Review: GET REAL! "Anger Management" (Independent) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Band: GET REAL!
Location: Sydney, Nova Scotia
Country: Canada
Genre: Alternative rock
EP: Anger Management
Label: Independent
Format: CD, digital, streaming
Release date: November 5, 2019
Every second Wednesday, I do my best to attend a writers group titled ''The Story Forge Writers Collective.'' One of the members of this group is Jo-Ann MacDonald, Who I was featured alongside in a story collection ''The Good, The Bad, And The Funny.'' Jo-Ann recently informed me that her son Andrew MacDonald is a member of a new local band (from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia) who have chosen the moniker ''Get Real!'' as their band name. Earlier in November 2019, they released their EP ''Anger Management.'' Andrew happened to email for review just as I was sitting at my computer to do some writing, so obviously, I lunged at the chance to help promote some music from my local area.
First off, this is a bit of a stretch from what I normally listen to. Death metal, grindcore, goregrind, black metal, punk, and other related sub-genres are my usual listening choices, but after checking out this EP I can say with sincerity that Andrew and his bandmates are a talented group of young individuals. I let Anger Management play through twice, the second play through being just as enjoyable as the first listen.
Vocally, this is top tier. Pure talent is emitted from the music, and I can add that this group might have a shot at mainstream success. Most bands I review are strictly underground and are often condemned to the underbelly of the music industry. Get Real! has a sound that is much more commercial, and I would not be surprised to see this group make it far within the local scene and elsewhere.
Musically, everything is put together very well and is brought to fruition with clarity and genuine tightness. Both rhythm and lead aspects of the guitar work are on point, and without question, a smörgåsbord of skill can be heard emanating from the licks and riffs. As for the drums, they are played with elegant fervor, bringing the whole thing together in machine-like fashion. I think it is safe to say that Get Real! has landed themselves a new fan.
The production quality of this EP is also of high quality. This is not something recorded on a tape deck in a dusty attic. I can really tell that time, passion, and effort were put into the recording process, and I think I can make a stab that the effort has paid off. Get Real! now has a brand new EP that is nothing but pure audio splendor, and I highly suggest that you get in contact with them to attain a copy.
There is not much more to say except that I was very glad Andrew sent me these tunes, and honestly, I am very content to know that the local scene of Cape Breton is still absolutely pulsing with talented new artists. Maybe someday soon I can make it out to a show, but only time will tell. Either way, Get Real! has been a pleasure to listen to, and I can conclude that buying this EP is a great idea. -Devin Joseph Meaney

Lineup:
Andrew MacDonald: Vocals, guitar
Jeremy Devoe: Bass
Drew Hawboldt: Drums

Track list:
1. Molotov
2. Seeing Red
3. Hold Me Down
4. Martyr
5. Afterglow


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

EP Review: URINOPHOBIC "Escaping To The World Of Permanent Drug Abuse" (Almorrana DIY Records) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Location: Podolsk
Country: Russia
Genre: Gore noise
EP: Escaping To The World Of Permanent Drug Abuse
Label: Almorrana DIY Records
Format: CD-R, streaming
Release date: January 15, 2019
On my usual Youtube gore-noise bender, I came upon this release, “Escaping To The World Of Permanent Drug Abuse” by Urinophobic. Featuring just over six minutes of unbearable (in a good way) audio distortions, I was consumed by machine-fueled percussion, gurgles, and an intense desire to go get high in my porch.
Urinophobic is a gore-noise one-man project from Podolsk, Russia that formed in 2016. This is the band's latest EP, and although I have never heard of this project before, I am now intrigued to hear more from this guy. Released January 2019 (CD-r format, limited to 40) by Almorrana DIY Records, the gargle-fest that is this album has me shook!
I can tell that the context and topics held within are meant to be tongue in cheek, and just like most gore-noise, it is all brought forward with a not-so-serious vibe and potentially a crack pipe. I'd offer you all a hit of what I am smoking, but I can make a guess that ''you'll cowards don't even smoke crack!''
Alright, alright. I don't smoke crack. But I will for sure be indulging in this addictive noise-fest known as Urinophobic! This is gold stamp gore-noise at its finest, and fans of the sub-genre should be more than happy to do the same. Come on, give it a listen! You know you want to!
...Please? -Devin Joseph Meaney

Lineup:
Roman Efremov: Vocals, all instruments

Track list:
1. Committing Nuclear Jihad In The Name Of Viper The Rapper
2. Decreasing Life Expectancy
3. Let The Bodies Pile Up In The Streets
4. When Delusions Replace Reality
5. Defecating In Your Wide Open Rib Cage
6. Getting High On Dog Shit
7. Laughing At Cowards Who Don't Even Smoke Crack
8. Viper The Rapper Is The Only Real God


Full Length Review: PLASMA "Ethical Waste" (Rotten Roll Rex) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Band: PLASMA
Location: Frankfurt, Hesse
Country: Germany
Genre: Goregrind
Full Length: Ethical Waste
Label: Rotten Roll Rex
Format: CD, streaming
Release date: June 20, 2019
Ah, the legendary goregrind band known as Plasma! This band was actually part of one of the very first goregrind CDs I ever owned! It was a three-way split between Plasma, Spermswamp and Radikalis Amputacio! I bought it along with a Patologicum album at a Fuck The Facts show in the early to mid-2000s. I also purchased a copy of Backstabber Etiquette, an older release by FTF.
Those were the days! Back when I had nothing much better to do than sit in my living room all day perusing various goregrind and grindcore releases. (Nothing much has changed). The last Plasma album I listened to was 2016's ''Dreadful Desecration'' and as always, it was a genuine blast of splattery gore-filled delight. Now, it is time to see if this newest installment is as solid as previous releases from this well-known grinding monstrosity.
First off, I can say that the vocals are just as good (if not better) than they ever were. Splattery, gargling, gurgling bursts of vileness are vomited forth from the ''singer'' and I can honestly say that this is just how I wanted it! Nothing is more enticing to my ears than an eruption of watery pitch-shifted gutturals, and this release is hitting the sweet spot that only a few others can. Goregrind is life, and today, Plasma has made it worth living!
Pounding drums penetrate my brain with spastic fury, ranging from blasts to rolls, to tight and groovy awesomeness. The guitars are just as they always were, down-tuned and chugging. The sound quality overall has been improved upon, as this album is in no way lo-fi. This is studio quality goregrind, the likes of which being a rarity within the scene these sounds permeate.
Plasma hails from Germany and has been active since 1995. This is their fourth full-length album, and honestly, it is one of their best in my humble opinion. Featuring twenty-four tracks and clocking in at just under forty-five minutes, as far as goregrind goes, this is a pretty long album. I normally prefer shorter releases, but Plasma manages to snag my full attention, so listening to everything they have to offer is far from a chore!
As I sit in my bedroom with my headphones on I can conclude that this newest output from Plasma is nothing less than a gore-grinding masterpiece, and every second of Ethical Waste will without question go down in the annals of grind history as a sincere and genuine winner. Nothing more can be said, except that I have always been a fan of this band, and to date, this still holds true.
Plasma fucking rules! -Devin Joseph Meaney

Lineup:
Ulfinator: Bass, vocals
Smoke: Vocals, guitars
Schnaps: Drums

Track list:
1. Pitchgrinder
2. Feasting on Freshly Fermented Female Genital
3. Lethal Semen Injection
4. Pusfilled Vaginalcanal
5. Chewing on Purulent Sordes of Vaginal Iissue
6. Gushing over Fresh Amputated Teats
7. Embedded on Putrid Chunks from a Decapitated Whore
8. Slime Stained Gore Miscarriage
9. Intercourse with a Deboned Corpse
10. Pus and Blood Was All She Got
11. Abusing a Slimefilled Rotten Body
12. Dick Flapped, Head Cracked
13. Grinding Sorefretted Dicks
14. Abnormal Cervix Extirpation
15. Choking on Purulent Spunk
16. Sailing the Seas of Menstrual Perversitys
17. Gagging on Dislocated Labium
18. Snotlubed Pussy Penetrator
19. Boltgunned to Massextinction
20. Purulent Thyroid Consumption
21. Exposed Penile Muscle
22. Not Dead Yet
23. Pulsating Blood Bladder
24. Transmorphed Hemipenis


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Demo Review: CHTHONIC DEITY "Reassembled in Pain" (Carbonized Records) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Band: CHTHONIC DEITY
Location: Denver, Colorado
Country: USA
Genre: Death metal
Label: Carbonized Records
Format: 7” vinyl, cassette, streaming
Release date: October 31, 2019
As stated on their Bandcamp page, "Reassembled In Pain" the debut demo from Chthonic Deity contains four songs of energetic and heavy death metal/punk from members of Scolex, Ascended Dead, and Blood Incantation. I did not know what to expect when I was sent the link for this album, but I can say after listening that it was a nice little blast of chugging carnage.
The vocals on this release are put together very well. The same could be said for the guitars and the drums! In fact, everything about this is top tier! Personally, for me, the bass is the best part of these tracks. With a tone that reminds me of the local band (from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia) Infernal Region, it adds a certain low-tuned finesse that brings the whole thing together with malicious ferociousness.
I sat back for a few moments and tried to decide a favorite track on this beast, but honestly, I enjoy all of them equally. Not too long, not too short, the length of this is perfect, and offers just enough brutality to entice my ears and elicit a second playthrough.
A co-release with Woodsmoke, this album is limited to 500 7" Copies, with a poster and download card included. 300 cassette copies were also pressed by Lunar Tomb Records. Needless to say, this is a limited release, and you should run to get a fucking copy!
In closing, this album is a vicious blast of truly malignant, heavy, audio assault. Great music... a great band... and a great experience! -Devin Joseph Meaney

Lineup:
Erika Osterhout: Bass, guitar, vocals
Paul Riedl: Guitar, vocals
Charles Koryn: Drums

Track list:
1. Drained
2. Disintegrating Organs
3. Echoes of Death
4. Blood Ritual


Single Review: THE FRAOCH COLLECTIVE "Manitou" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Band: THE FRAOCH COLLECTIVE
Location: Long Island, New York
Country: USA
Genre: Alternative rock
Label: Independent
Release date: November 7, 2019
Released on Neat Records in 1984, “Manitou” was an unusual single even for Venom. This was the year they were expanding on the shock value of “Welcome To Hell” and the Renaissance-era occult themes of “Black Metal.” “At War With Satan” was a full-blown epic inspired by Rush, the Book of Revelations and Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” “Manitou” saw them experiment with Native American folklore, specifically that of the Algonquian peoples. While simplistic, it brought you to sweeping deserts untouched by European expansion years before second-wave black metal. For its time it was a bold move for Venom and thrash metal in general.
Fast forward to 2019 and “Manitou” has been covered by the likes of Samael, Rotting Serpent, Ceremonial Castings and Antiquus Scriptum. While those covers show a different interpretation of the original, from what I’ve heard The Fraoch Collective’s interpretation is the most divergent. The cover was recorded for a possible Venom tribute, which may or may not be released. To make a long story short, the organizers declined to remain in contact with them so they decided to release it anyway, uploading it independently to their Facebook community page. Venom fans interested in checking it out can go there and give it a listen.
Covering Venom was an unexpected move for The Fraoch Collective after the proto-punk noir of their album “Oh, The Things We’ve Done,” but their version of “Manitou” is tightened and generally cleaner compared to the original. There is a dramatic contrast between the drum, guitar and vocals, so much of a contrast that it’s less a cover and more a reimagining. While the drums depict the Algonquian spirit much like the original did, the guitars and vocals sound like they were processed through a fuzzbox during the recording process. This effect gives the song an industrial metal feel, a step apart from The Fraoch Collective’s previous work.
Heather Dawson’s approach to the vocals radically reinterprets the song’s Algonquian mythos. Her tone and inflection suggest a manifestation of the Witch of Endor consulted by the shaman to invoke Manitou’s birth in human form. This dynamic makes the cover dangerously enchanting next to Venom’s straightforward, chaotic version. Her vocal technique in the chorus is concurrently transfixing and disquieting. You can visualize those ancient spirits roaming the sweeping deserts I gave reference to earlier. After hearing this I’d be interested in seeing what they do with “Warhead” or “In League With Satan.” -Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Heather Dawson: Vocals
Gregg Gavitt: Guitar
Marc Del Cielo: Bass, drums, backing vocals

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Book Review: NINE MICMAC LEGENDS (Alden Nowlan, Nimbus Publishing) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Author: Alden Nowlan
Illustrator: Shirley Bean
Publisher: Nimbus Publishing, June 1, 2008 (first published 1983)
While I was rummaging through old magazines and ancient school material belonging to an older member of my family, I stumbled upon a few books. One of these books was ''Nine Micmac Legends,'' a collection of nine stories (obviously). It was originally released in 1983, but went through a series of reprints over the years. I could not sleep last night, and by five in the morning, I decided it was time to do some reading.
I am well aware that the spelling and pronunciation of ''Micmac'' has been changed a few times over the years, but aside from this, Nine Micmac Legends was a neat little collection of legends of indigenous nature. Written by Alden Nowlan and illustrated by Shirley Bear, I am now more than content to have this within my reading collection.
The stories included in this short anthology are The Star Brides, Three Boys and the Giants, The Man Who Hated Winter, The Invisible Boy, The Captive, The Snow Vampire, The Chief Who Refused To Die, Brother to the Bears, and The Man Who Wanted To Live Forever. They were all fronted by a short introduction. Five of the stories in this collection were previously published in ''The Atlantic Advocate.'' One appeared in ''Toboggans and Turtlenecks,'' and another in ''Hockey Cards and Hopscotch.''
The legends were not intended to be children's stories, although a handful DID appear in children's books. They were stories told by adults to other adults, ''The nearest a people without a written language could come to creating a literature'' as stated within the confines of the introduction.
This was a great story collection, and I am sure I will read it again. Featuring under sixty pages, it is not a very long read. Excellent material! -Devin Joseph Meaney

Friday, November 15, 2019

Full Length Review: NECROPANTHER "The Doomed City" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Location: Denver, Colorado
Country: USA
Genre: Melodic death/thrash
Full Length: The Doomed City
Label: Independent
Format: CD, digital, streaming
Release date: November 15, 2019
Dystopian concepts aren’t new to metal. Since Voivod and Queensryche experimented with them in the 80s to reflect the state of the world at the time it became increasingly common for other bands to follow suit. Necropanther draw on a dystopian sci-fi novel for an album as relevant and challenging as the novel was fifty years ago. Although many years in the making, “The Doomed City” belongs in a category with albums like “The Key” (Nocturnus) and “Demanufacture” (Fear Factory) for drawing comparisons between an unsung classic and modern society. With modern society becoming more dystopic than ever, it isn’t much of an effort.
Published in 1967 by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, “Logan’s Run” spawned five sequels (two unpublished). The film version of 1976 was the last of the dystopian sci-fi movies of the 70s (“A Clockwork Orange,” “THX-1138,” “Soylent Green,” “Death Race 2000,” “Rollerball”). While the novel and its sequels critiqued youth culture, overpopulation and resource consumption, the movie centered primarily on youth culture and hedonism, adding that rebellion benefits not from decadence but “ethical beliefs that undermine authority and power.” “The Doomed City” does the same while warning us to avoid contemporary society’s distractions.
Metal bands need more recognition for creating concept albums with a basis in literature and original stories as many are intelligent and reveal the work involved. Being conscious of the world and having something worthwhile to say has become rare in the field of popular music. Bands like Necropanther are still thinking instead of responding to the daily stimulus we’re bombarded with. What’s more, they express their viewpoints without empty preaching or threatening to shame the listener.
“The Doomed City” is Necropanther’s third CD, following their 2018 EP “Oppression.” The band has a fair amount of experience writing concept albums. Their debut (self-titled) was based on “The Terminator,” their second “Eyes of Blue Light” (2018) was based on Frank Herbert’s “Dune” and “Oppression” tells of an artist imprisoned by a fascist police state. Reviewers think crossing metal with “Logan’s Run” works because of compatible plot developments: a computerized society trusted to run everything, a mindless police force enforcing computer decree, a disaffected minority questioning the system and the question of whether mankind can survive “outside.”
While “The Doomed City” includes elements of the novel and the movie, tying them together convincingly, I would suggest reading Nolan and Johnson’s novel for the frame of mind needed to appreciate it. The chapters move at visceral, breakneck speed that fits the condensed length of the songs. The songwriting’s tense caliber creates an effect similar to “Oppression.” Here you experience the protagonists’ mortal fear and desperation as they seek to escape from their mechanized world. It constantly reminds you you’re not only fighting computers dictating life and death, but the police force carrying out its directives and a controlled populace.
The guitar duo of Paul Anop (vocals) and Joe Johnson exhibit inch-perfect musicianship, carrying out mid-tempo thrash, melodic riffing and lead harmonies with equal accuracy. Think of melodic death metal bands like In Flames, At The Gates and Amon Amarth with a more generous helping of thrash and classic metal. There are no keyboards or elements of metalcore like some melodeath bands are incorporating, but many of the riffs seem to reflect on the movie’s futuristic theme and the futuristic overtones of the novel. It’s like the material the band had in mind for this album required them to push forward and mature, disregarding the rules of past releases.
Anop’s dual guttural/rasp approach to his vocals helps represent the imagery of “Logan’s Run” as effectively as the music. There is a contrast between blind acceptance and the desire for freedom adding a lot to the narrative quality described above. All this is designed to hit the proper nerve as the album progresses through key moments in the novel and movie. I don’t want to give any of those away if you’re not familiar with “Logan’s Run,” except to say they’re integral to the storyline and keep everything moving. Suffice it to say “The Doomed City” is heavy on theatrics, takes its subject matter seriously and may lead you to want to watch or read. -Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Paul Anop: Vocals, guitars
Joe Johnson: Guitars
Marcus Corich: Bass
Haakon Sjogren: Drums

Track list:
1. Renew
2. Death at Hand
3. Arcade
4. Cathedral
5. The Doomed City
6. Hell
7. The Thinker
8. Paid in Flesh
9. Parricide-Genocide
10. Tiger
11. Sanctuary
12. Deep Sleep
13. Argos

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Demo Review: GUNN "Demo 2019" (Independent) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Band: GUNN
Location: Orange County, California
Country: USA
Genre: Hardcore punk
Demo: Demo 2019
Label: Independent
Format: Cassette, streaming
Release date: April 18, 2019
On another journey through the vast wasteland known as the underbelly of Youtube, I happened to scroll upon this release, “Demo 2019” by GUNN. Recently I have been on a sincere goregrind/grindcore kick, so this demo was a nice little change of sound.
When listening to this release, I automatically think of The Meatmen. With a flurry of noises that would make Tesco Vee proud, GUNN pushes forward with sincerely catchy punk-rock riffs, primal drums, decent bass, and vocals that make me want to smash everything in my room.
Two more bands that I am reminded of would be The Shithawks and The Abusive Stepdads. These are two very talented local (from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia) punk outfits. The Abusive Stepdads are now defunct (R.I.P.) but The Shithawks are still raging to this day. Now that I think about it, I really need to get to a Shithawks show soon. This demo has really put me in the mood!
In an attempt to stop from going on a long-winded spiel about how much I enjoy this demo, I will make this quick. The music presented on Demo 2019 is what I would consider real genuine punk-rocking¬- just as it should be. This is a short release, and it is very lo-fi. In my humble opinion, this is how it is DONE! GUNN has put forward five tracks in just under eight minutes, and after listening to it on repeat a few times, all I can do now is send them two huge thumbs up! Excellent work, GUNN! -Devin Joseph Meaney

Lineup:
Shane: Vocals
Tony: Guitar
James: Bass
Nason: Drums

Track list:
1. Eyes
2. Fuck My Mind
3. Can’t Stop
4. Thin Blue Line
5. Circles


Interview with RITUALIZER by Dave Wolff


Interview with Ritualizer

Released this past August, your new single “Speed of Sound” takes a different approach from your three-song 2018 EP “Blood Oaths.” Explain the differences between both your releases and why the new single is worth checking out?
Judson Belmont (guitar): A lot of the difference between the two releases has to do with the way they were written and where we were as a band. Most of the tracks on “Blood Oaths” were written piecemeal over the course of many sessions: we’d come in with a few ideas each practice, splice them together with what we had already, and build the song gradually. Each writing session would end with a cliffhanger, where we’d talk about what direction the song might take next and then go home and work it out. And naturally enough, what came out of that were longer, narrative song structures where the lyrics are weaving a story that unfolds as the song progresses.
In contrast, “Speed of Sound” was written after we’d been together maybe eight months, and came together almost literally at the speed of sound. By then we had a lot more chemistry as a band and a lot more experience playing off the cuff together. We came into the practice space that day with just a verse and a chorus riff, and in the course of a single improv jam, the groundwork for the song was laid. I think the character of the song itself; fast, all-guns-blazing, and to the point; reflects the fact that it came from a burst of creative lightning instead of a long deliberate process. So both the releases capture a different aspect of the band, but I think “Speed of Sound” gets at some of the live energy that happens when the four of us are together.

How long did it take the band to complete the EP with your older method of songwriting?
PJ Berlinghof (vocals): Even though, as Judson said, the tracks on the EP were written over longer periods of time (or more sessions) and they explore longer narratives, they still didn’t take all that long to come together. 90% of the title track “Blood Oaths” came out of the very first rehearsal and the core elements of “Haunted” and “Night Terrors” solidified pretty rapidly. We started playing together in February of 2018; by the start of summer we had selected which of the finished songs would be on the EP and by August we were in the studio recording. It seems like both approaches are effective for us, but more complex tracks often require a bit more time to ensure that all of the elements are organic and to allow for exploration.

Do you intend to continue writing and composing songs in a single creative burst when you begin working on your next release?
Devin Lavery (bass): It looks like it’s going to be a little bit of both. I think this also depends on the type of song we’re working on. We have some songs which are somewhat similar to the material on the EP in terms of structure, and those have come together in the more traditional way. Generally there will be improv jams or a riff idea brought into rehearsal, we’ll do some writing based on that idea, then a cliffhanger and discussion as Judson mentioned. On the other hand we have a brand new song written maybe a week or two ago that came together in three takes. It’s really exciting to capitalize on that energy when it’s happening.

Did you release “Speed of Sound” as a single to make a statement about the band’s new direction?
PJB: If there’s any sort of statement being made by “Speed of Sound” it’s simply a declaration of die-hard devotion to old school and underground Metal. We released it as a single because we were all excited about the track and we wanted to continue to give listeners fresh material. As far as the direction of the band is concerned, it hasn’t changed at all. We’re just pushing the boundaries and exploring how our collective creativity, styles, influences, and tastes combine. It has always been our goal to work in a variety of styles and to create different atmospheres while retaining an underlying “signature sound”.

How far back does your dedication to old school underground metal go? How much have you seen extreme metal grow on its own terms since you discovered it?
PJB: Some of us first discovered metal through newer bands and worked back towards the older, more traditional groups, while some of us just grew up listening to what’s now considered old school or classic metal. It’s really just the result of age differences (I started out listening to KISS records in the 70s and went down the rabbit hole from there). Ultimately, while our individual musical tastes and ages differ, we all got into metal early in life and find common ground in the classic, underground and retro acts (there’s a lot of love for the NWOBHM). Without any quantifiers for the term “extreme” I’ll just say that the multitude of directions that metal music has taken since the 1980s and the range of subgenres is just staggering to me, but again, some of that is age (yes, I come from the days of rotary telephones and Atari).

Do you think the amount of subgenres in underground music has increased too much since you discovered metal in general?
JB: It’s good to see there’s continued experimentation in metal. Some great bands have come out of that evolution, and if the way we describe existing subgenres needs to change to accommodate that, so be it. Where a lot of new subgenres miss the mark, at least for me, is that they lose the thread of the traditions and eras that made metal so great in the first place, whether that’s old-school British metal, first wave black metal, etc. If you can strike that perfect balance between respecting the old guard and forging ahead with something new, then you’re on to something.

PJ Berlinghof was a member of Midnite Hellion and a couple other bands before joining Ritualizer. Does she still keep in touch with those bands? Which bands were the other members of Ritualizer in previously?
PJB: I do keep in touch with former bandmates and there are some with whom I remain very close friends. I’ve been very lucky to be in bands with individuals who are not only great musicians, but great people.
Luigi Gennaro (drums): Before Ritualizer, I played drums in the bands S.A. Adams and Shadow Of Demise.
JB: I’ve played guitar in a few now-defunct projects. Most recently, an experimental metal outfit called Orsus and a rock and roll band, Horned Majesty.

How closely does “Speed of Sound” compare to your live performances? Do your listeners perceive this as much as the band does?
LG: Compared to the EP, I think “Speed of Sound” comes even closer to capturing the energy of our live performances. This was the first recording we did after having played some of our first gigs and that excitement has certainly filtered into the writing process. I think listeners will hear more of that energy on future recordings as the band’s chemistry continues to strengthen and develop.

How many gigs have you performed after releasing your debut EP? Did getting a feel of performing have any bearing on writing and composing “Speed of Sound”?
LG: We started playing live a couple of months after the release of the "Blood Oaths" EP with the goal being to get out and gig every few weeks. That live experience has certainly spilled over into the overall vibe in writing "Speed of Sound". It's one of those songs that simply appeared while tuning up! Jud started playing the opening riff and we all fell in and improvised a structure containing many of the elements that would be kept and refined in the final version.

Has the band found their “signature sound” yet or is it still developing? How close would you say you have arrived to it? How important is improvisation to the band?
JB: I’d say it’s still actively developing, but the core components are already in place: aggressive yet melodic vocals, stylistic nods to NWOBHM and speed metal, and a darker tone both lyrically and musically. There’s room for refinement and always will be, but it’s safe to say those elements will always be the bedrock of our sound. If Ritualizer ever releases a rap-metal album, you can come to our houses and break our guitars over our heads.
Improvisation is definitely a useful tool for elaborating on ideas, as a way of putting out feelers to see what directions a song might take. For a band like this that’s trying to capture some of the live-band authenticity of the analog era, there’s no substitute for crowding into a practice space and playing off each other in the moment. At minimum you build musical chemistry that way, and at best you channel something as a collective that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

How do you account for NWOBHM and speed metal still having an impact more than three decades later?
DL: I think in a lot of ways NWOBHM and speed metal are the foundations for a lot of people, it’s where they started listening and playing. They’re also huge influences for a ton of bands. I don’t think that style is ever going to go away.
PJB: Wow. Where to start? Well, at the risk of oversimplifying, they’re part of the bedrock of the genre as a whole and they’re perfect distillations - they feature timeless themes and archetypal imagery, capture the energy of particular times/scenes and places, have unforgettable melodies and riffs, champion Metal “for the sake of Metal”, and exalt the symbiosis between musician and listener.

Some may consider it elitist for bands to keep their own sound and “branching out” is a better idea. Is it better to branch out on your own terms or because you’re expected to?
PJB: Bands go through changes and evolve stylistically and that can happen for a host of different reasons: simple exploration, getting comfortable as bandmates, personal events, finding new sources of inspiration, new technology, etc. I do think, however, that those changes should be organic and that they should never lead you to a place where you are no longer playing music that you love. Some bands have stepped into new territory with great success because it was just a natural progression of their writing while others never “reinvented the wheel” and you wouldn’t want them to. I don’t think it’s elitist to stick to your guns if that’s your passion. When we start talking about what’s “expected” that seems to lead us to a discussion about the relationship between commercialism and creativity which is a pretty complex topic and probably too much for the space that we have.

Most of the bands who continued doing what they wanted have cult followings while bands that caved in and tried to please a wider audience ended up dying. Have you seen examples of this?
JB: It seems that more often they either plow ahead with their new ‘improved’ sound or try to pivot back to what they were doing previously. Either way they lose the respect of the diehard following that got them there in the first place, and as a fan, it’s disappointing to see. Once you lose that integrity, it’s hard to reclaim it.

Some bands managed to turn back from their more commercial direction and became well respected in the underground, and more bands than ever are breaking aboveground on their own terms. Are more doors opening for bands to do so?
DL: I think the Internet is definitely giving bands more opportunities to break through on their own - you can promote your album and get people to shows via social media. It also doesn’t matter as much where you are geographically anymore (although the location is important with respect to gigs and building a local following). At a certain point, it may be necessary to have professionals working on stuff like promotion, but for bands that want to go it alone, that’s not “make or break” anymore.
PJB: I would say that there are more ways for bands to break through on their own nowadays. A lot of different factors come into play, but now so many promotional, business, and commerce mechanisms are easily accessible to musicians. Metal fans around the globe can network online and reach bands they like with a few clicks of the mouse. In the end, though, you’re not going to be successful as a band (or in any other sense) if you’re not hard-working, completely dedicated and passionate about what you’re doing.

Does social media provide more opportunities for original bands to be heard, or spawning more bands who copy other musicians? Also, is it generally getting more people to attend shows?
PJB: Social media allows people who have shared interests to network, so you’re bound to make new discoveries (I sure do!) As far as “original bands being heard” goes, the term “genre” means a category of literature, art, or music that’s characterized by particular style, content, or form. Anything within a given genre has shared traits with other works in that genre. If people are learning about metal through social media and going off and starting metal bands we should all rejoice! Those bands will (or won’t) find their own voice and social media has nothing to do with that process. I couldn’t speak to what kind of impact social media is having on show attendance across various metal scenes.
DL: Social media provides more opportunities for sure, but also just the internet in general. Anybody can put their stuff online and people around the world can have a chance to listen. You can get picked up by radio stations in other countries, and bands from those countries can get picked up in the US which gives us a chance to hear them as well. And it is great for spreading the word about shows to a larger amount of people. Flyers can only go so far - social media lets you promote to a ton of people with just a few clicks.

How much of the analog era is represented in your songwriting? Does the band record with analog equipment to get a sound similar to 80s bands?
DL: We haven’t used any analog equipment, but we would be willing to in the future. We work with a great engineer, Len Carmichael, at Landmine Studios in New Jersey. Len is a master at dialing in a classic sounding tone and the amp options at the studio are great for our specific needs. Our equipment preferences are modeled after some of the bands and musicians we’re influenced by and run more towards a timeless feel - I personally tend to keep things very simple. There’s also an emphasis when we record on not using a lot of “studio magic” and keeping the human element in the feel of the songs.

How did the band hear about Len Carmichael and Landmine Studios while searching for recording studios? What equipment does he have and what is his recording method?
DL: PJ had worked with Len before and knew he would be a great fit for us all around. Again, the amp collection at Len’s is large and covers pretty much all the bases - no pun intended. He also has a selection of guitars including a Spector I almost wanted to leave with (although I played my Fender on all of our releases.) The setup we settled on was an Ampeg 4x10 and an Earth Sound Research Super Bass B-1000 which gave me this killer tone with plenty of growl. Len’s approach is to take as much time as necessary to work with you and find the exact sound you are looking for, and the same goes for the recording process. His main goal is to make sure you’re completely happy with your performance and the overall product. He’s extremely knowledgeable in the studio and also very patient - we’re all a little “OCD” when it comes to recording. He will also go out of his way to make sure we have the equipment we need. During one session, we thought we might need an acoustic guitar. While he didn’t have one in the studio at the time, he made a phone call and had one brought over within fifteen minutes.

What bands and musicians do you model your equipment preferences after, and what analog equipment would you work with on future recordings?
DL: Analog wise it would be cool to try some things with tape given the chance, although digital recording has been working out great for us. Some of my equipment choices are modeled after Geddy Lee - I picked up my Fender Jazz Bass because of him. I also use Rotosound 66’s which are the strings he uses - those roundwounds also create a tone similar to Steve Harris’ which is a huge plus. Ian Hill from Priest was also a Fender J Bass guy.
LG: I’ve always gravitated towards drummers who prioritized power over speed, though the latter is still important. Bill Ward, Ian Paice, Cozy Powell and Nicko McBrain to name a few. For the moment, I use a simple 4-piece configuration: rack tom-floor tom-snare-kick. The Ludwig Supraphonic 402 as John Bonham famously used has always been my #1. Fat sounding with a loud crack! The toms and bass drum all have coated Remo heads for that extra growl, though I do use wood beaters on my Tama Iron Cobra double-bass pedals for that extra attack. Cymbals are all on the larger side: 15” hi-hats, 22” ride, 18”-20” crashes. All Sabian. I would love to expand my kit in the future, but not until I have a dedicated stage tech!

Do you think the equipment you work with goes a long way toward the band’s classic metal sound, considering the musicians your preferences are modeled after?
LG: The gear certainly helps, but only if you know what to do with it. A bigger part of the equation is the individual musical styles, techniques and then knowing how to put those sounds together with the other musicians in the band to make it sound like one singular sonic beast!
DL: Yes the gear is great, but it’s more our influences that inspire us to write the way we do.

How much do your individual influences help you stand out from other retro metal bands?
PJB: I’m not sure if this will make sense, but I think that differences in listening tastes and influences are important because it means that band members may not come back with the “expected” response to an idea. There has to be shared, common ground or you run the risk of having no underlying stylistic bedrock, but, if everyone were to listen to the same handful of bands only then I think you’re less likely to create something that feels fresh. There’s a whole lot mixed into the cauldron in Ritualizer songs (try to find the surf rock drumming disguised as metal), but it’s all getting filtered through the “metal prism”, so, while individual influences are important, how band members channel those influences and interpret them is crucial. If you can take everything you love and draw from it while putting your own stamp on it then I think you’re on the right path to creating something that’s recognizable and unique all at once. Hopefully, we’re accomplishing that.

What bands do you know of besides Ritualizer who are channeling individual influences into something more original?
JB: There have been a handful of active extreme metal bands in the last few years that have blown me away. Off the top of my head, bands like Bolzer, Urfaust, and Portal come to mind. Each has their own completely inimitable sound, yet there’s a commonality in the way they’ve arrived at that sound starting from the standard black/death/doom milieu and filtering those influences through their own uniquely distorted lenses of nontraditional harmony, occult aesthetics, dark ambient influences, etc.

What do you mean by sustaining the human element in your songwriting? How much importance do you place on keeping this element a part of heavy metal in general?
DL: We would prefer to have things happen as organically as possible. It’s amazing when something comes together completely on the spot. When everybody is in the same place mentally and musically is when good things happen.
LG: As technology has evolved over the years, it’s become easier for musicians to cheat, whether it’s using auto-tune on vocals, the “cut-and-paste” method on digital recording to create whole tracks, or miming to backing tracks during live performances. For this music, part of the energy comes from the musicians playing together and taking chances beyond what’s laid down on the studio recordings. Sometimes new discoveries appear through mistakes or miscues in a rehearsal and they end up pushing the intensity of the songs to another level. Live shows are about participation and interaction.
PJB: Metal was made to be listened to live and up close. It should be frenzied, fanatical, relatable, and utterly infectious. It should be drenched in sweat and spilling beer on the floor. Metal is a patch proudly and lovingly hand-sewn onto a vest; it’s NOT a tailored suit. Metal isn’t meant to be cold and clinical and technical perfection should never be worshipped above emotion.

How much does the overuse of digital technology take organic elements from metal?
PJB: With respect to recording, I’ll say that recording in any format is a bizarre attempt to capture energy and technicality at the same time, so right out of the gate you’re walking a fine line; you’re always in danger of losing the original vibe. The song also has to be able to hold up live, so digital tech can be dangerous in that respect. Production pieces are amazing, but songs always have to be able to hold up when they’re completely stripped down to their most basic, raw elements.

How much new material is the band working on at present? How much will you be expanding on the sound of your previous releases?
JB: We’re not really ones to rest on our laurels. Since the inception of the band we’ve always had multiple irons in the fire at any given time, whether they’re songs actively developing in the practice space or just some riffs we’re trying out at home. At this point we’ve got a good amount of material banked to draw from, and among that material there are lengthier tracks with extended story arcs as well as some short ragers in the vein of ‘Speed’. But the core of our sound and our roots in heavy metal tradition haven’t changed, even as we explore different aspects of that sound and those influences.

What story arcs are the new songs exploring, and how does the musicianship reflect on them?
PJB: I’ve always treated songs as short stories and tried to give the listener imagery that brings them into the narrative, but everything starts with the music. As soon as I hear the riff, I know what the song is going to be about. The story arc develops in detail as the musical direction develops and the precise lyrics always pivot off of the very first line. Generally, the vocal phrasing and meter is based on or written to complement what’s happening musically (I think we’re only had one instance so far where the music was changed to match the vocal phrasing).
New songs you ask? We’re going to try and maintain just a little bit of mystery about the upcoming tracks, but, if you come out to a show, you just might hear a new tale or two.

How many songs are you planning to include on your next release? Who will you be working with for recording, mixing and mastering?
PJB: We’re hoping to get a full-length release out, but it’s going to come down to timing and logistical constraints. If it’s another EP and single then, so be it. We just want to keep giving people new material on a steady basis. Again, at this point, there are no formal plans to work anywhere other than Landmine Studios.

When recording your next release, how do you plan to ensure what you do in the studio will be reproduced onstage?
DL: If we play it a certain way in rehearsal, we’ll play it in the same way in the studio, and likewise onstage. I think that’s always been our philosophy - we try to keep things as authentic and as reliable on musicianship as possible. Minus some minor studio effects, everything that you hear on our records, you’ll hear in our live shows.
PJB: As Devin said, we really don’t add a lot of “bells and whistles” to tracks. The real trick is just to capture the energy.
JB: There will always be some difference between the live presentation and the recordings for us, since we can pretend we’re a 2-guitar band in the studio. But having that space in our live sound gives us all some freedom to go “off-record” now and then and makes the live experience something unique.

Will you seek label distribution to promote the next release to a wider audience in the US and other countries?
JB: It’s something we’ve discussed and are actively interested in. The key would be to find a label that shares the same enthusiasm for championing true heavy metal in the face of what’s more popular and commercially palatable nowadays. But nowadays you see a lot of labels looking to do just that, so we’ll see what happens.

What goals do you see the band setting as far as becoming well known on your own terms and maintaining a steady series of releases in the days of streaming and social media?
JB: The goals are to achieve exactly what you just described. If we can continue to find and build a cult following while putting out releases that we can stand behind with total conviction, we’d consider that a success. And if, in the process, we can play some small part in helping carry the torch for a style of music we love, so much the better.


-Dave Wolff