Thursday, October 31, 2019

Split CD Review: BOUQUET/ANALKHOLIC Split (Independent) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Country: USA
Genre: Goregrind
Location: Nouméa
Country: New Caledonia
Genre: Goregrind
Split: Bouquet/Analkholic
Label: Independent
Format: Digital, streaming
Release date: February 2019
Once again by scrolling through the vast underbelly of the dark side of Youtube, I happened to stumble upon a fun and gore-filled little split. This quick release is a mash-up featuring Bouquet and Analkholic. I have heard of these bands before, and am quite pleased that both are still producing a sound that I deeply love and adore. Goregrind is life... without it, what would be the point?
Bouquet is a one-man flower-themed gore-machine from Phoenix, Arizona, USA, that has been around since 2018. Analkholic is a two-piece goregrind band from Nouméa, New Caledonia formed in 2010. Together, these two vile projects have managed to put together this splatter drenched goregrind release, and I can say without question that they both have done a damn good job of it.
With grind in the same vein as Last Days of Humanity, First Days of Humanity, Phyllomedusa and Golem of Gore, both bands entice my ears with virulent noise as I have this split on repeat. This is a short release, so I needed to let it play through a few times so I could get a good feel for it.
I love the themes behind the music of Bouquet, as it is a nice stretch from the usual subject matter presented within the throngs of goregrind bands spanning the globe. Even the sound samples make me happy on the inside! Analkholic is more cliché, but even still, they manage to produce a sound that is like candy for my eardrums, and listening to this split has me yearning for more!
Self-released (digital format) in February 2019, I am more than glad that I have found this! Bouquet and Analkholic prove yet again that they are masters of their craft, and together, they present a culmination of blood-drenched splattery goodness that can be likened to a quick (yet filling) buffet of goregrind delight. Great work, Bouquet and Analkholic. You will both always have a fan here. Great stuff! -Devin Joseph Meaney

Beer Belly: Fresh beers & porn bass
Danger Fitch: Vomit & guitar

Track list:
1. [Bouquet] Dissolving in the Pit of the Tropical Pitcher Plant
2. [Bouquet] But the Doctor Said That Part of the Island Was Forbidden
3. [Analkholic] Surfing the Bowels

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Full Length Review: DISPYT "Den ständigt närvarande ångesten" (Immortal Frost Productions) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Location: Pietarsaari
Country: Finland
Genre: Blackened crust
Label: Immortal Frost Productions
Format: CD, digital, streaming
Release date: March 29, 2019
While sitting down to check out 'Den Ständigt Närvarande Ångesten' by Dispyt, the first thing I need to say is that this album is a blackened eruption of vile awesomeness. The black metal comes on strong, but the crust is also brought to fruition with malicious fervor. Musically, this sounds to me like a cross between Mayhem and (newer) Malignant Tumour. There is almost a black and roll feel to some of these tunes, but either way, it proves to be an enjoyable Listen.
Punk aspects are brought to light (or unlight) within this album, and I can tell that if I saw these guys live there would without question be a violent mosh pit, and maybe even a wall of death. As I sit listening to Dispyt, I get an insane urge to get up and let loose within the confines of my bedroom. As I do not want to smash up everything I own, I guess I will need to settle with a session of aggressive head-banging.
As stated above, I can note sincerely how much these guys remind me of later-era Malignant Tumour. The guitar tones are similar, as are the vocals and some of the drum patterns held within this release. This is not a bad thing, as Malignant Tumour are a very talented band, who have put out a plethora of great albums in their day.
Put out by Immortal Frost Productions, an independent record label from Belgium which mostly concentrates on releasing black metal artists/bands and sub genres, Den Ständigt Närvarande Ångesten proves to be a carnage filled mass of black revelry and I highly suggest that fans of anything on the blackened side give it a listen. I was highly impressed by this spectacular album. Great job, Dispyt! -Devin Joseph Meaney

Mathias Lillmåns Bass, Vocals
Juuso Englund Guitars, Vocals
P. Kerbs Guitars, Vocals
Owe Inborr Drums, Vocals

1. He e kört
2. Samhällets bojor
3. I skuggan av självförakt
4. Total alkoholist
5. Sommarstaden
6. Va fan vill du?
7. Då samvetet tryter
8. Mest bara van
9. Under hans givande hand
10. Martyren själv
11. Verklighetsflykt
12. Den ständigt närvarande ångesten

Monday, October 28, 2019

Promotional Video Review: AS DARK AS YOU "What’s in Your Heart" by Heather Dawson

Location: New York
Country: USA
Genre: Post-genre metal
Promotional video: What’s in Your Heart
From the upcoming EP “As Dark As You” to be released independently November 15, 2019
Shot and edited by Thomas J. Flynn
Recorded and mixed by: Matt Graff at The KooP Recording Studios in White Plains, NY and Long Island City, NY
Mastered by: Jon Jetter at Right Angle Recording
Release date: October 26, 2019
Some people learn things faster than others, that’s just the way it is. Some people can grasp very complex math algorithms very easily but can’t understand how to communicate with other people or make human connections. Some people can never figure out who they are, or if they do, it’s too late and they can’t go back and change the things they did when they didn’t know who they were. But some people learn who they are early and don’t take any guff and navigate the world in a way that’s best for them. As I sit and watch the video for As Dark As You’s song ‘What’s in Your Heart’ I’m intrigued (and not just a little envious, truth be told) when I see young people who know who they are. That’s not to say they always stay on their correct road or they don’t make mistakes along the way, however it would seem that those mistakes or off ramps are still in the service of finding that ‘something’ that’s in their heart.
Kenny Truhn and I are Facebook/Instagram friends. We met through a mutual acquaintance and occasionally we discuss music, poetry or share some words we were working on but we’re not close friends musically or otherwise. For one, I’m probably a good 25 years older than Kenny and there’s probably not much we have in common. I do believe that he is further along on this path of knowing oneself than I and yet, he continues to search for the his path to creative and personal fulfillment
So when I scrolled through Instagram and saw a clip of this song, I had to listen and immediately I was enraptured with just the music itself. This genre or this type of song (and again I will reiterate I am not in the generation of the authors and performers of this particular song) but this type of metal music I have never really understood. It always seem to me to be cloying and wanting to straddle both sugar pop and death metal, which I sort of find incongruous, but still somehow maintaining credibility in the metal world. But this is not that. This is about a seven minute epic song that goes from a panic attack piece to a sort of psychedelic meandering midsection where you’re learning more about how the author is getting rid of the manic phase of their life and then we end in a beautiful Pink Floyd question. I have to say the journey that this song takes you on kind of settles the soul in the end.
In the beginning we have the furious and coronary aneurysm speed that is punctuated by a kick drum that does not stop. And at first, I got to say, I wanted to call the band and tell them to pull back the drums (which I never say) because that kick drum sound was almost disturbing to me. It made me anxious. But, I thought later, it’s supposed to make you anxious. The lyrics of course are meant to make you think, but the music itself makes you think as well; it gives no, it evokes strong emotion and each of the sections of the song take you on a different journey.
The first one is anxiety and the idea of driving yourself so hard that you’re breaking yourself you’re ‘cracking your teeth’ to get where you need to go. And guess what - you’re running in place. That kick drum, right?! And when you think you can’t take it anymore you go into another place with the song
The vocals in here kind of float on the top of the music and you feel relieved and, I don’t wanna make this too morbid, but it’s almost like you’ve gone over the cliff because you can’t keep the manic pace of searching and not finding. You’re ‘killing yourself to live’ so “here I go I can’t I can’t hold it together anymore” and you kind a let it go. So there’s a death here I feel like, there’s a death of that pursuit of something you can’t define and there is a realization that if it’s going to come to you, that granular seed that shows you where to go next, it won’t appear when you’re frantically turning over rocks and lighting things on fire. Instead that floating seed arrives when you’re quiet and therefore able to notice it. And so in the third part of the song we get even more ethereal and we pull even further away until the only question that we have to ask ourselves for is “what’s in your heart.”
What action, what visual, what word when spoken sends a jolt to your psyche? When you feel that jolt it’s so simple, that’s where you need to be that’s what you need to do. But, instead of being quiet enough to let that seed find us, we go through life piling on and piling on all these obstacles and all these layers that prevent us from even thinking about what’s in our heart.
The imagery of the video is really interesting to me as well because we have the band playing, we have Kenny singing and we have a white mask that starts bleeding, like a saint, like a statue of a saint in a Basilica will bleed in a display of Catholic miracle. It would seem you need to go through some trials to get what’s in your heart, but once you go through the trials you need to then bath yourself in humanity and silence to notice the blooming flowers, but again you can’t do that without not quiet and connection.
I’ve always envied Kenny and his cohort of what they have done musically, because it is very experimental and I believe that that’s the way they write. I don’t know this for sure, but it seems to me that someone comes up with an idea and they build on it and they build on it and all this sonic building ends up a song. What they eventually produce probably sounds a lot different from the germ of the idea when they started. It’s a very organic experience from what I can glean. There’s something so unifying in this video. Tom Flynn who directed and edited is kind of flying through with all of this imagery that aligns the song with this idea of movement, growth and rebirth. It captures this idea of stripping away to find out what’s at the center of everything.
I guess the thing that pulls it together for me is that - again I’ll say it - Pink Floyd ending. I don’t know why I aliken it to Floyd; it’s the first thing that came into my head when I heard it - but also there’s a Nirvanaesque Epilogue here. We have Kenny’s words ‘all we really know is all were shown Is what we we’re told is what we’re sold - I got to say this pinpoints problem of not knowing who you are perfectly. It’s not your fault if you don’t know who you are because you’re so wrapped up every day being told who you are by somebody else and being defined by somebody else. Whether it’s your parents or its advertising or its society or its school - there’s somebody out there telling you should be this you should do this. And what successful people do is realize - it’s all a farce. Successful people listen to themselves, they listen to their hearts, and they know what’s in their hearts. And they work and they struggle and they fight to bring what’s in their hearts to fruition. And this is what ‘as dark as you’ has accomplished with this video. I cannot wait to hear the rest of the record, Umm album, errr I mean ‘floating bits of electric vibrations in the atmosphere that we draw from our little portable talking boxes. -Heather Dawson

Kenny Truhn: Vocals/melodies/lyrics
Chris Petchonka: Guitars/bass/composition
Matt Graff: drums/engineering/mixing

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Article: Cashless Society: Pros & Cons... by Damien Lee Thorr

Cashless Society: Pros & Cons...
Copyright © 2019 by Damien Lee Thorr

I was listening to the radio this morning during my usual Friday morning routine of house chores. They were discussing the possibility of the US becoming a cashless society.
It is not surprising to me that the economic and monetary system in the country is evolving towards the direction of electronic credit, imitating art, or futuristic science fiction, where currency is no longer needed.
As I thought about it, there are already numerous businesses in the country who do not accept cash. Why not accept cash, you may ask? The reality is that accepting cash is costly, especially in big and overcrowded cities such as New York or Los Angeles, where a company's employee must spend hours waiting in line in the bank to deposit that cash.
But let's consider the possibilities of a cashless society:
It would 100% eliminate bank robberies if there is no currency to steal, especially if no one accepts it.
No one would worry about getting mugged so much since they are not carrying cash.
No one would worry about losing or misplacing their cash anywhere.
It would be easier to keep track of their money and control their spending.
If there is no cash, it would save the nation billions in materials and labor for the printing of currency and stamping out coins, which would also help conservation of natural resources on the planet.
So essentially, there are many benefits to becoming a cashless society.
Let's also consider the flaws of becoming a cashless society:
It would cause a tremendous and sudden wave of unemployment, as all those who work in the industry of printing currency and stamping coins would be out of work. This also includes the manufacturing industry of the equipment required to facilitate the labor of currency manufacturing.
It would also make check cashing businesses and cash transporting businesses with armored trucks obsolete, causing many more people to be out of work.
No more ATM's.....
But here is the flaw or weakness of a cashless society that worries me the most:
There have been numerous computer experts who have implemented viruses to deliberately destroy and cripple corporations.
Some of these cyber criminals have conducted and designed these computer hacks for vindictive purposes and some for their own sick amusement.
I have been a victim myself of cyber bullying and after confronting them, it is still difficult to fathom how someone can become such an asshole, to use street standards, as there aren't many adjectives to properly describe them.
As an example: Some years ago, I was in a desperate situation, trying to raise money for medication for my child who was very ill. I was operating a failing business so in order to raise money, I was attempting to sell some guitars and other items on Craigslist.
However, one particular asshole, Joe Piazza, of Boynton Beach, Florida (this is not slander since what he did is true) was maliciously flagging and deleting my ads out of his daily boredom in his loser ass life. For his amusement, he even went out of his way, during working hours, to send me messages stating that I would have better luck selling the guitars if I offered blowjobs with them, among other nasty and horribly offensive messages.
I asked him to stop but he never did. I wondered how this dumb loser would like it if anyone disturbed him the way he was sexually harassing me... I did some research and found him and confronted him. It took me reporting him to his superiors at his job as a drug and alcohol counselor and also reported him to DCF, which regulates all drug and alcohol counselling facilities in the state, in order for his immature behavior to cease and desist. His reaction was never one of remorse or regret, but it was mockery, stating it was “no big deal” and that I should “get over it”.
This experience affected me horribly, developing a deep hatred for humanity. I am angry all the time even though I do not take it out on anyone, especially within my personal family life.
With all this in mind, being aware that there are irrational people out there who go out of their way to disturb others for no reason, and scam and steal from others without any remorse, or that just amuse themselves by creating pranks that cause devastating effects upon people, it makes me very uneasy about our money or credits existing only in electronic form, where one day, an expert computer hacker can make everything we have worked for disappear.
Considering everything, there are good valid points to becoming a cashless society as well as many dangerous flaws that can result in devastating consequences.
I wonder what a viable and compromising solution would be....
Where everyone can be safe from theft, hacking... and live with ease...

Damien Lee Thorr is the composer and lead guitarist for the popular, classically influenced and openly atheist/political activist metal band Predator, has authored many essays and editorials for Asphyxium Zine and written he horror-erotica novel “The Vampire Journals”. Check out Predator’s 2011 full length "Born in Blood" at Youtube and visit their official site at

Saturday, October 26, 2019

EP Review: GRAVESIDESERVICE "Beings Born of Night" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Country: USA
Genre: Avant garde black metal
EP: Beings Born of Night
Label: Independent
Format: Streaming
Release date: July 24, 2019
GraveSideService has been releasing demos and full lengths in one incarnation or another since 2005. Presently their lineup consists of founding members and former members of Ancestral Shadows and Inverticrux. I had a late introduction to them with their new EP, “Beings Born Of Night” and wondered why I hadn’t heard of them sooner. The reason is probably because they released all their work independently and never signed to an indie label. This has apparently given them room to grow according to their own conditions and explore every microscopic opportunity to pursue musical strangeness. As surprisingly artful and occult noir as their album art is, this still doesn’t prepare you for the madness beneath. “Beings Born Of Night” made me want to hear as many of their older releases as I’d have time to, if anything to see if they compare in terms of sheer bizarre appeal. The EP comes close to Ekphrastic poetry, in the sense that it’s as visually expressive as it’s unorthodox. It sounds like an homage to mental illness, paranoia, delirium, hysteria, schizophrenia and psychosis, all in thirty minutes. If any band could interconnect raw black metal with progressive exposition and structure that feels like classical to casual and experienced listeners of extreme metal, GraveSideService does so with a resourcefulness that causes extreme anxiety to the unaware and vulnerable. “Beings Born Of Night” is the soundstripe to a mind suddenly unhinging and derailing at a steadily frantic pace. Imagine irrationality slowly hijacking your ability to reason and there is little you can do to curtail the process. Then listen closely and carefully to how the EP’s mood fluctuates and transfigures from the intro song and outro song (actually the intro song in reverse with vocal overdubs), “Beings Born of Night” to “Depths I Yet May Reach” to “Crest Fallen” to “Pursued By Pleasures Ungodly”. The vocal arrangements are far from typical for most extreme music. There are one or two vocal styles that are extravagant, theatrical and more indicative of latter day Mayhem and the like, while the last style is more akin to traditional black metal. The constant exchange gives the EP more of a presentational feel and helps the overall lunacy. Highly recommended for souls condemned to hell. -Dave Wolff

Rayzer: Vocals, lyrics
Spacecorpse: Guitar, composer
Death Spirit: bass
Armand: percussion

Track list:
1. Intro - Funeral Sermon
2. Beings Born of Night
3. Depths I Yet May Reach
4. Crest Fallen
5. Pursued By Pleasures Ungodly
6. Outro - Service Has Ended

EP Review: CUCK LORD "Cuckodile Dundee" (Independent) by Kelly Tee

Location: Barandunda
Country: Australia
Genre: Pornogrind
Label: Independent
Format: Digital, streaming
Release date: January 3, 2018
For deviant-minded and inclined metalheads, this pornogrind should be right up your alley! I’m talking about the one-man pornogrind band, Cuck Lord.
Yes, the name should give you a fair hint as to what this style of metal is all about...However, if the name doesn’t give it away, think a bit of sex with a bit of violence and some humour thrown in. Aside from the themes of Cuck Lord’s music, which is essential to this type of grind, what Cuck Lord delivers is an obscure, quirky, chaotic and industrial grind flow.
Get past the often comedic, porn inspired voice-overs and even a little bit of audio from the infamous scene of the movie “Deliverance” thrown in, Cuck Lord is a fast and fun listen.
The Aussie character behind this one-man band is Aidan, hailing from Barandunda. He has offered up a crazy seven track EP in Cuckodile Dundee. With tracks such as ‘Fucked By Geese’, and ‘Dick Demon’, the album is definitely unique and catchy with cool drum beats, raw heavy guitars and interesting yet arcane vocal sounds created by Aidan. ‘Mandingo Party’ is the longest track on the album, and is most choice with nice industrial guitars, fast beats and cool mash-up of rhythm and tempo.
The Cuckodile Dundee album is small-scale endurance...(of course it is, this is grind), yet is energetic and colourful. Get yourself acquainted with it and have some fun! It can’t always be so serious.
New work is coming from Cucklord soon, so throw Aidan a like when you can. -Kelly Tee

Aidan: All vocals and instruments

Track list:
1. Daddy's Milking Machine
2. Fucked By Geese
3. Dick Demon
4. Creampie Candy Land
5. Raped By Rabid Pigs
6. Mandingo Party
7. Skullfucked At Birth

Friday, October 25, 2019

Promotional Video Review: UNCOMPLIANT "Ashamed" by Heather Dawson

Location: Los Angeles, California
Country: USA
Genre: Metalcore
Promotional video: Ashamed
Directed by: Franky Kerrigan
Release date: July 26, 2019
Last night I was having a conversation, actually was an argument, with my son regarding why he needed to take honors chemistry (although science wasn’t really his big deal it’s more English). My argument was that even though he wasn’t going to need to know the density of water when he was an adult, doing whatever he needed to do to pass this class would be a good exercise for him. He would need to work hard to slay the chemistry dragon. He needed an obstacle to overcome; a challenge he thought was unsurmountable. I said to him, “Life is going to throw things at you Lucantonio when you’re an adult, and you need to be able to know that you can handle these challenges. If you can overcome chemistry then you can overcome anything that life Throws at you. And I can tell you from experience it’s going to throw a lot at you.”
In the opening scenes of Uncompliant’s video for their song “Ashamed”, a lanky youth throws down his phone and collapses on the couch after hearing bad news about a loved one. The medical providers have done all they can, there’s no more to be done. This kid’s going to lose somebody and it’s somebody that he loves and he can’t take it. Lucky for this young man he’s got amazing bandmates that come to sit by his side and try to help him through this time. He’s also got an outlet, he’s also got something to funnel his rage and his sadness into and it’s his band. Not all people have this, not all people have support systems, and not all people are gifted with resilience and intellect to push them through bad times. And unfortunately not all people have had to struggle with small things first so that they could overcome the big things later in life.
The problem in today’s isolative world is that young people do not have a chance to test their limits. When I was young I got on my bike and I left the house and if my foot got caught in the spokes or I stepped on glass or I stubbed my toe I needed to get home by myself without a phone without my folks and handle that problem on my own. This may not seem like a huge deal, but in today’s society you rarely see a kid with a cast, you rarely see a kid with a broken collarbone. I broke my arm at 12 skateboarding, my sister broke her leg in a drunken fracas in the playground at 16, my other brother, at seven years old fell off the porch and broke his arm. Why do I tell you this in the middle of a review for a song? Because it’s really important for children and young people to have to overcome small things in life. Classes they don’t like, friends that they have problems with, even injuries, so that they know they have the capability physically and mentally to overcome these obstacles - and that life gets better.
Why we have so many anxious, suicidal kids today is that they don’t know they can handle life. Because they’ve never been tested, because I can always run back to their parents and say ‘fix this for me’ and we do it... because we love them... because we are frightened for them... because in our 24 hour news cycle the world is a dangerous, frightening place where our children can be snapped up from us in moments. We are super permissive in some ways and over protective in others. I worry that my children won’t have the fortitude that it takes to be an adult in this world. Because I haven’t offered them challenges or the challenges that they are offered are in controlled environments like school.
Getting back to this video (after that long diatribe) this young man has similar problems to the youth of today it seems like he’s collapsing, it seems like he’s collapsing under the weight of this loss - of this impending loss. How is he going to deal with it? How is he going to overcome the emotion that he’s feeling and turn it into something positive? He fights his own friends that are trying to help him, at first he rejects their compassion because he’s wallowing in that pain. He wants to be in that place that his loved one is in, he wants to share in their death struggle and in that end of life pain. And that’s fine; but the living have to remember that they are still living and that they have to go on. And their mission in going on is to show others that the struggle is worth it. That overcoming obstacles leads to better things, more confidence, better experiences and deeper relationship with others. When we experience pain we can commiserate with others, we can recognize their pain as ours.
This video kind of reminds me of “Fall To Pieces” by Velvet Revolver, where you have Duff cradling the ultimately doomed Scott Weiland in his arms in the bathroom of some skeezy club, saying ‘don’t do this you can overcome these problems I’ve overcome them you can do it too you’re smarter than this you’re more talented than what you’ve given yourself’. In this video Mr. Weiland gets his shit together and overcomes. Unfortunately, not so in real life. In the “Ashamed” video we watch singer William von Hofsten struggle, fight, collapse and overcome the terror of living in this world attached to another human being. This is the struggle of life; do we love? Do we love knowing love ends? Whether it be through breaking apart or death? Do we Love regardless, giving our all to our parents who will die, to our lovers who will go, to our children who will move on without us, and if we do our job correctly, not need us anymore. Life is overcoming struggles and in that overcoming we slowly drop pieces of ourselves across the world, across other people, until hopefully at the end of our lives, we’ve given enough pieces of ourselves to be remembered. That is why the struggle of life is worth it. That is why we need to teach our kids that they are strong, capable people and that they can overcome the simple problems in life when they’re younger so that when they’re older they can overcome things like love ones passing. They will not permanently collapse. They can continue to contribute to the society and say “I lost my loved one and this is how I overcame it”. We’re doing an enormous disservice to our children and to the world if we don’t teach kids to have confidence in their abilities. I feel that we are doing that as a society and I fear that I’m doing it individually.
Again, getting back to the “Ashamed” video by Uncompliant. Why is this young man ashamed? I wonder is he ashamed for loving? Is he ashamed that he needed his friends to help him? Is he ashamed that he turned them away? I sort of feel this song is not aptly named although I have no suggestions. There’s no shame in asking for help, there’s no shame in accepting help. There’s no shame in wallowing in sadness for a while. The only shame comes when you can’t get up, dust yourself off and go on. The music in the driving yet melodic tune suggests forward motion. It suggests that when we do face these obstacles we get up and we move, we take thoughtful action. After we see Van Houston rage during the bridge, releasing all the anger and pain that sits inside him, again his friends (who he rejected) come to his aid and help him in his struggle. I guess that’s where the ashamed comes in. We need never be ashamed of failure because we tried. We need never be ashamed to ask for help, because we are giving others a chance to nurture and care. We need never be ashamed of emotions or how we love or who we love if our intent is pure. I believe that Uncompliant have pure intentions and I believe they have a good road ahead of them. Their name suits them; they are not going to comply with the tough guy metal image that blocks out emotion that scorns love and that is so self-reliant as to be an iceberg. Uncompliant are dark and introspective but caring and insightful and I expect great things from them. -Heather Dawson

William Von Hofsten: Vocals
Henrik Exel: Guitar
Zachary Richard: Guitar
Tanner Kahn: Bass
Max Codoceo: Drums

[Max Codoceo has since left the band due to personal issues. -DW]

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Book Review: THE WRITHING SKIES (Betty Rocksteady, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, 2018) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Author: Betty Rocksteady
Publisher: Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, 2018
I have been following the works of Betty Rocksteady for a few years now, and I can say honestly that I am never let down. Her writing is creepy, grotesque, abysmally vile, and manages to hook the reader (me) every damn time.
Over a year ago, I snagged copies of her books Arachnophile and Like Jagged Teeth. To date, Arachnophile is one of the weirdest tales I have ever read, but it managed to drag me within the story, and I finished reading it within a span of six hours, stopping only once to shower. As for Like Jagged Teeth, when I first picked up that novella, I was in a pretty dark place and the content was a bit too much to handle. I never did read that book from start to finish, but now that I am back to being in a good head space, I plan to pick it back up very soon.
More recently (within the last week) I got a hold of Betty's most recent publishings, In Dreams We Rot and The Writhing Skies. In Dreams We Rot is a collection of stories spanning Rocksteady's career as a writer (which I did not read yet) but I did manage to lay down and read the innards of the gruesome novella The Writhing Skies. Just like Arachnophile, I was sucked in hard, and this novella will be the main focus of the remainder of this zine post.
With trigger warnings on the first page, one could probably make a stab that this book is not for the squeamish or the faint of heart... yeah, it's not. This novella was one of the most disturbing things I have read in my entire life, but I could not put it down. I read the first eight chapters before bed, and after sleeping for only four hours, I got up and finished the remainder of the book before ten a.m. I'm very glad I did the rest of the reading in the daylight, as I fear that vivid hallucinations of slippery tendrils and fleshy robes just may have adorned my mind. There would be no sleep for Devin Joseph Meaney, I am oh so sure.
Taken from the back cover: ''Glowing lights and figures in tattered robes force Sarah from the safety of her apartment. Outside, phosphorescent creatures infiltrate her every orifice. They want to know everything, especially the things she would rather forget.''
Put out by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, I suggest that anyone and everyone (above the legal age within their country) gives this a read... if they are brave enough, of course. I have a pretty strong stomach and even I felt the need to look away at times, even though I did not.
On a final note, Betty did her own cover art, and also featured twenty of her own black and white illustrations within this book, showcasing in more ways than one how her talent should never be questioned. This was a great (although vile) read, and I absolutely cannot wait for Rocksteady's newest creations. Great job, Betty! -Devin Joseph Meaney

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Interview with Drugoth of DRUGOTH by Kelly Tee and Dave Wolff

Interview with Drugoth, vocalist and founder of DRUGOTH

Kelly Tee: How did you come to do your split release with Odinsgoat, “Harbingers Of War”?
The split with Odinsgoat came about through mutual respect and admiration of one another's music. We both have our music put out on cassettes through a UK label Corpse Torture. We then spoke back and forth through emails/Instagram and it stemmed from there. Initially, we were going to do a three-way split with the awesome band BURIAL CULTURE but their writing and recording schedule is much more spaced out. Although we did have the artwork for the split created by DESECRATOR (the guitarist for BURIAL CULTURE). A three-way split is still on the cards for the future.

Kelly Tee: What is “Harbingers Of War” about? Do both bands align with the album's mantra? And how do you both decide on the direction of a split when collaborating?
The split title simply came from a lyric in the first Drugoth song on the record and it tastefully fit. The three Drugoth songs are essentially B sides or unused songs to the previous release LUTAUM that I had spare. The musical direction of the split wasn't anything in particular, it's simply two bands who are fans of each other's work who want to put out music often. Simple as that.

Dave Wolff: How many copies of “Harbingers Of War” are available for purchase at the time of this writing? Why did you decide to release the split independently instead of seeking label distribution?
This split and all of our releases are available on Bandcamp for free. You can pay if you like but the fact it is being listened to is all I wish for. ( There are no physical copies on my end and I don’t think ODINS GOAT have any either. For me it is purely digital download. There are cassettes available through CORPSE TORTURE RECORDS.
Personally I’m pretty simple about it. I write the music, I record the music and I release the music online and by word of mouth. Apart from Corpse Torture Records I don’t have any labels nor do I have any desire to work with any unless they appeal to me. Labels aren’t a concern. The music is most important.

Kelly Tee: The tracks have a timeframe span similar to grindcore, is there a vague connection here? Or was the intention to create the split to be over and out yet very impactful?
I can't say 100% for Odinsgoat, but I do know he has shorter, grind inspired songs than he does lengthier songs. Drugoth has always done songs rarely spanning over the one minute mark unless it is the outro song of a release that has a crushing riff to sign off too. 

Kelly Tee: What is your lyrical content themed around? And where do you conjure inspiration for these lyrics? What is your creative process so to speak?
For Drugoth the lyrical content is inspired from the darker perspective of the Tolkien world (orcs, Mordor, the ambition to envelop Middle Earth in darkness, etc). Also, I mostly write about battling in great wars against the race of men as if I am a general of a legion of orcs. A lot of the song titles and even some lyrics are written in black speech as well to truly tip my cap to Sauron. These lyrics in particular for the split are about a battle, then the last song entitled "Grond" is about the siege of Minas Tirith in which said battering ram was required.

Kelly Tee: How did it all start for Drugoth? What's your band's history? Was it always going to be black metal?
Drugoth started as something I wished to find most in a band myself. Aggressive, crushing riff-filled, to the point black metal. I have done a few bands in the past more on the death metal side and kind of grew out of a lot of it. Especially the "wanking" side of it.
Don't get me wrong, I'm still very much a fan of some death metal (listen to ETERNAL REST) but once I was turned onto Darkthrone, Bathory and Gorgoroth's “Pentagram” album I was sold.
The length of the songs being so short sort of came about I guess because of age and impatience. It is hard for me to find a record and enjoy it from start to finish as I once could when I was younger. There are of course a few who are exceptions.
Drugoth is a black metal band that doesn't fuck around and gets to the point.

Kelly Tee: Brisbane has a strong thrash metal and death metal scene, is Black Metal on the rise too? Tell me about the black metal community up there.
The BM community in Brisbane is small but that being said there are definitely some amazing bands like GRAVEIR and BLODMANE to name a few. I've found the "scene" itself is a very warm and welcoming place. Many times I see the same faces at black metal shows and have made a few good friends and connections through it.

Dave Wolff: How would you rate the independent zine industry in Brisbane? What are some of the zines you would recommend to people reading this interview?
I’m unaware of any independent zines in Brisbane, let alone Australia. The closest and most informative info I get it is from KELLY TEE via Instagram. I find she regularly does reviews of awesome BM gems that I’ve yet to discover. I highly recommend her work.

Dave Wolff: How many independent labels and distros are active in Australia? Are most of them consistently active and reliable?
I’m not sure exactly. There are a few sick labels but like IMPURE SOUNDS and SEANCE RECORDS. Both labels I just listed put out amazing bands regularly.

Dave Wolff: What is the band’s view of corpsepaint and satanic themes in black metal? Do you consider it played out or still consider it relevant?
I applaud it. It is just another aesthetic aspect to the art.

Kelly Tee: Has Drugoth had much experience playing live gigs? If so what is the best part of playing live for you? And what can people expect to experience when seeing you plague the stages?
Drugoth has never and probably will never play live. DRUGOTH and SHOGRAATH are the sole members and creators of the band. Although if the right people were in place I would like to do a live show perhaps once.

Kelly Tee: What can we expect next from Drugoth? And when?
Drugoth will continue to write, record and put out releases. The writing of the next installment has already begun so keep an eye on the Bandcamp. Apart from that the first release from SHOGRAATH will be happening soon.

-Kelly Tee and Dave Wolff

Monday, October 21, 2019

Demo Review: ENCRYPTMENT "Mangel Från Söderort" (Independent) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Location: Stockholm
Country: Sweden
Genre:  Crust, death metal, black metal
Demo: Mangel Från Söderort
Label: Independent
Format: Digital, streaming
Release date: May 10, 2019
A few days ago I happened to scroll upon the release 'Mangel Från Söderort' by Encryptment. It took only a few moments for me to grasp the emotion behind this music, and after having it on repeat three or four times, I can say that I was positively blown away by the atmosphere of this demo. This is pure blackened revelry at its finest!
This demo is tagged as having influences coming from crust punk and death metal, but you can almost swim within the waves of black metal that permeate this release. The band Shining comes to mind when I listen to Encryptment, which is no insult, as Shining have produced many tracks filled with breath taking musicianship. (Niklas Kvarforth is a bit of a pessimist, but hey, this is about the music, right?)
The guitar work on Mangel Från Söderort is highly eerie, which adds to the feelings of the music as a whole. The vocals and drumming are both tight, and the bass brings the whole thing together like a smörgåsbord of dark delights.
I usually prefer reviewing shorter demos, as it allows me to listen to the music a few times before I sit down to write. With this release in particular, I was actually hoping there was more. It was that damn good! As I am in my bedroom writing this, I have Mangel Från Söderort playing for about the tenth time. No matter how many times it plays through, I always want to put it on again!
These guys originate from Stockholm, Sweden, and have been active since 2015. This is their second release, after their debut EP that I intend to listen to very soon! I am not always in the mood for tunes on the blackened side, but when the feeling strikes, I will for sure remember this band. Great music. Great atmosphere. Great band! Hails to Encryptment for producing such a gem! 10/10 -Devin Joseph Meaney

Christoffer Dorsin: Vocals
Marcus Bengtsson: Guitars
Anton Kleback: Bass
Joel Eriksson: Drums

Track list:
1. Grå utopi
2. Min dröm
3. Knivar och öppna sår

Full Length Review: THE CRUCIFIER "Voices in my Head" (Punishment 18 Records) by Dave Wolff

Location: Athens, Attica
Country: Greece
Genre: Thrash metal
Full Length: Voices in my Head
Label: Punishment 18 Records
Format: CD, streaming
Release date: September 5, 2017
Taking in the intensity this Greek band channels on “Voices in my Head”, I guess they must ingest loads of speed and uppers before going onstage to perform live. The best modern thrash albums are always those that reawaken the genre’s heyday without trying. The days when bands stripped metal to its primal nature as Black Sabbath had done, then pushed it beyond the limits of what they were capable of. If you understood the point, you forgot about bands who looked pretty in favor of bands whose “image” was repulsive or frightening as their music was perceived to be in the world of new wave and MTV. “Voices in my Head” is The Crucifier’s third full length amidst many demos and split releases (with Violent Attack, Disaster, Crimson Steel, Bywar, Hate Your Fate and Wanton Decay). It’s somewhere between the ugly genesis of thrash and the time it was taking itself to its full development to the point where people aboveground had no choice to see its capabilities. The Crucifier have been active since their 1995 debut demo, and if they’re not at the forefront of Greek thrash after their twenty years of experience they should be. Playing dirty, technical and utterly fervent thrash, they understand as well as bands from Germany and Southern California that what’s most important about writing a song is the zealousness and compelling emotion channeled into each note. This point is made clear from the first track “Within Insanity” which presents the crunch of Exodus and Testament with the skillful scales and tight drum sound of Destruction and Kreator. The band sounds like they were around when those bands were releasing landmarks like “Bonded by Blood”, “The Legacy”, “Infernal Overkill” and “Pleasure To Kill”. “Open Your Eyes”, “Forgive and Don’t Forget”, “Imaginary God” and “Fake Truth” are as raw and tight as anything from those albums. I should mention having heard minor but noticeable shades of hardcore-thrash crossover in the songs; as much as the songwriting I heard it in the lead and backing vocals which packed aggression without testosterone. Another band I should mention similarities to is Znowhite (later Cyclone Temple), one of the most underrated 80s thrash bands. More than once the crunch in the guitars reminded me of the riffs Greg Fulton composed for their songs. So I’m more or less done raving about this album for now; check it out if you’re an old school thrasher who wants something more than simple nostalgia. -Dave Wolff

Hlias "Thanatoid" Kyriazis: Vocals
Nikos Gkiokas: Lead guitar
Spyros: Rhythm guitar
Themis (R A T): Bass
Dimitris (In Core): Drums

Track list:
1. Within Insanity
2. Open Your Eyes
3. Problems
4. Happy Face Man
5. Forgive and Don't Forget
6. Born to Be a Slave
7. Imaginary God
8. Fake Truth
9. Voices in My Head

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Split CD Review: DRUGOTH/ODINSGOAT "Harbingers Of War" (Independent) by Kelly Tee

Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Country: Australia
Genre: Black metal, crust
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Country: USA
Genre: Black metal, grindcore
Split CD: Harbingers Of War
Label: Independent
Format: Digital, streaming
Release date: September 30, 2019
I love a good collaboration of artists, and a delicious Split to sink my teeth into. “Harbingers Of War” the 2019 Split release by black/crust metal band Drugoth and the black/grindcore solo project Odinsgoat was an intentionally fast (in the literal sense), dark and filthy listen.
Drugoth, made up of members Shograath & Drugoth is from Brisbane, Australia. The lads have offered up a bitter, bleeding sound of black metal. With crust punk beats and abruptness creating a stripped back to essentials and original sound. This duo has given just the right amount of distortion to keep their ambiance murky yet their noise is clear enough to really allow the listener to hear all the elements that bring their three track contribution to this Split together in which I can describe as a mean and brutal manner.
“Sunduam” starts this EP off to a deadly dark start with a unique style from vocalist Drugoth who grunts his lyrics with a harsh attitude and the occasional low guttural that assists to harden the impact of the theme of this track, keeping in line with Drugoth’s inspiration, which is siphoned from the darker side of Middle Earth.
The old school black/punk sounds are evident within the second track, “Nixir”. This number is ladled with those traditional punk beats, brutish riffs, and gruff vocal technique.
The pace changes up to slightly milder, yet doesn't lack in heavy burn during “Gronda”. Running just over three minutes and carrying an underground atmosphere, I was able to get my head into this for more than a teasing distance and I felt grateful for this. Vocalist Drugoth conveys his lyrics with an unusually addictive vocal fold that seems to seethe from his guts and roll off the tip of his tongue. “Grond” is a raw, roughneck number with a dirty ambiance as chants of "Grond" see this song out with force.
Odinsgoat, from Baltimore, USA slam into this split with a low-fi production in “Burzthauk”, throwing in an ominous vibe with crawling, inaudible low vocals before nicely executed scathing shrieks, and then it’s unfortunately over! Yes, like Drugoth's tracks, this too was a tease. However, we wouldn't expect more, given this project is stained so good with the essence of Grindcore song lengths.
“Vadokan Korb” is just shy of one minute, yet is packed with ruthless sounds. “Tharm Bartas” and “Zuzar” were the carrots dangled in front of me. The hazy and thick ambiance, the callousness of the riffs and lurid screams… I wanted more.
The entire Split spans for just over six minutes and it is certain that this is a very cool listen. As teasing as it was for me, it only proves I enjoyed it and was looking for more.
The sounds produced by Drugoth and Odinsgoat are aligned to black metal, punk and of course grindcore, therefore if you are seeking a Split with "standard" song duration, you will not find it in “Harbingers Of War”, and this is exactly how these bands intended the experience to be. My advice is, give it a go - put it on, turn it up loud and replay it at your will. -Kelly Tee

Shograath: Guitars
Drugoth: Drums, vocals

Odinsgoat: All vocals and instruments

Track list:
1. Drugoth - Sunduam
2. Drugoth - Nixir
3. Drugoth - Grond
4. Odinsgoat - Burzthauk
5. Odinsgoat - Tharm Bartas
6. Odinsgoat - Vadokan Korb
7. Odinsgoat - Zuzar

Thursday, October 17, 2019

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

Country: USA
Genre: Death metal, grindcore
Demo: Demo 2019
Label: Independent
Format: Digital, streaming
Release date: May 13, 2019
I just spent the last handful of days traveling across the country. I finally arrived home yesterday after two flights and a five hour drive, and I am now ready to violate my ears with the rancid sloshings of virulent grindcore, goregrind, and death grind!
The first new band I had the pleasure of checking out is the death grind outfit Burnt Decay. “Demo 2019” by this putrid party proves to be a vicious blast of pulverizing musicianship, and although short, it manages to be quite the banger. With a sound that reminds me of death grinders Leng Tch'e, I can only fathom that a live show from these guys would be absolutely heavy and aggressively spectacular.
As stated above, this release is a short one, but with five spastic tracks, it still pleasures me in a way that only grinders can. All the songs on this release flow together in a grotesquely elegant way, reminding me of the greats within the genres and sub-genres of what I consider to be the 'true underground.'
Hailing from America, I hope to hear more from these guys in the future. Down tuned guitars, pummeling drums, and spastic vocals are a staple within this scene, but it is something I enjoy consuming on a daily basis. I had a really good day today, and I can say truthfully that Burnt Decay was the icing on the cake that completed my evening. Fantastic grindings, boys! Devin out! -Devin Joseph Meaney

BH: Vocals
CS: Guitar/Bass
JB: Drums

Track list:
1. Endless War
2. Rotten Corpse of Humanity
3. Life of Suffering
4. Deceiver
5. Total Genocide

EP Review: ZEN REVOLT "2020 Vision" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Location: Warrington
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Heavy melodic rock
Label: Independent
Format: Digital, streaming
Release date: September/October, 2019
When I interviewed Fatal Reigns of Zen Revolt last July he told me they were practicing on a weekly basis and preparing to record an EP from August to September. I assume he was referring to “2020 Vision” since its three tracks were released for streaming over the last couple of months. More recently I was told Fatal was no longer a member of the band and the tracks on “2020 Vision” is a different listing than was previously intended. This information came from Diz Higham, who is currently the last remaining founding member and putting a new lineup together. Higham does a decent job recording, mixing and producing this EP (the mastering was done by Landr), as if a full band was involved in the process songwriting and recording. “2020 Vision” boasts a natural synthesis of blues rock, early metal and grunge. There are some commercial highlights similar to Foreigner and Whitesnake, but those are minimal and the EP mostly approximates to early Rush, early Kiss, Foreigner, Diamond Head, Hawkwind and Alice In Chains. While having the clarity you’d expect from digital equipment, the production retains the rawness of proto-metal from the sixties and seventies. Higham’s guitars hearken to Jimmy Page and Randy Rhoads and he likewise understands the importance of a solid rhythm section. Most of the emphasis is placed on progressions displaying dexterity and something of a feel of grotesque carnival satire. The bass and drums are backup, but the production makes it clear the backup is needed to emphasize the effort that goes into the songwriting. The arrangement is tight and the guitars work with the backing instruments rather than hogging the spotlight. The Alice In Chains comparison I made earlier stems from lyrics that center on loneliness, faded love and shadows of a former life. They are based on personal experiences, which make the songs easier for me to relate to. -Dave Wolff

Diz Higham: All vocals and instruments

Track list:
1. Live In Your Time
2. Bleed Beneath My Skin
3. Lead