Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Full Length Review: Mute The Saint "Mute The Saint" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Country: India
Genre: Indian classical/progressive metal
Full Length: Mute The Saint
Format: Digital album
Label: Independent
Release date: December 5, 2016
While searching Youtube for Beatles songs covered by metal bands I began to wonder how many metal bands incorporated sitar (taking into consideration the Beatles’ experimentation with sitar in the late 60s). I was sure that someone must have thought of it by now. Another Youtube search led me to a video by Mute The Saint on Metal Injection, which in turn led me to look for the band on Bandcamp. Their video and self-titled album came out back in 2016 but today is the first I’m hearing of them. Yes, Mute The Saint is comprised of musicians contributing to metal communities in their native India while making a statement that metal is a global language, according to their perception of traditional music from their home country and its hand in hand coexistence with loud guitars. Their conception of classical Indian music and progressive metal is so eccentrically dissentient that I was compelled to say something about it. Mute The Saint makes this association in such a groundbreaking manner, writing and arranging so constructively it’s like a mindset that’s altogether different from most genres of metal. While exploring this cultural crossover they travel into prog rock and jazz territory without much additional effort. Adding modern metal hooks, a heavy, grinding guitar/bass sound, progressions to contend with seasoned prog-metal bands, clever intercommunication between instruments, and securely rooted drumming that drives the off beats and time changes, this album is one of the unsung greats of the last decade. There are no lyrics or vocals in these five tracks, which is somewhat of a disappointment as I would have liked to see how the band interpret their material through vocals. Aside from that, these guys are ahead of their time and deserve to be recognized as among the first to blend metal with sitar. If their formula should catch on I have no doubt there will be imitators crawling out of the woodwork to capitalize on the sudden surge in popularity resulting from it. –Dave Wolff

Rishabh Seen: Sitar
Josh Seguin: Guitars
Shashwat Kapoor: Bass
Jared Sandhy: Drums

Track list:
1. Welcome The Change
2. Sound Of Scars
3. Calypso
4. The Fall Of Sirius
5. In Silence We Will Remain

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Interview with Michael Walz of Vista Falls by Dave Wolff

Interview with Michael Walz of Vista Falls

Earlier this month Vista Falls released a new four-song EP called “Terrified”, which is currently streaming on Youtube. At first, you intended to record five tracks but the recording sessions were cut short.
We wanted to record a full-length CD and we had many goals... good ones. My bandmate Adrian and I had serious talks about creating and opening a School of Rock to help kids learn how to play in bands. Songs six, seven, eight, and nine never happened because life and time ran out. The good thing is that we put out a five-song EP we recorded in June 2019 and through a lot of time and effort we still made things happen to release our second release "Terrified" and it came together. The four songs were recorded in December 2019. After a month or so of rehearsing and thinking, the lyrics came easy as they usually do with my songs. There was a delay with moving and lots of stuff, and unfortunately other delays with the release but it was finally released on June 9, 2020.

In 2005 a movie was released called “Rock School” about a school run by Paul Green where kids could learn to be musicians. Was this movie inspiration to you and Adrian or did you think of opening a school of rock otherwise?
Well, it was the first thing I thought of when the idea was brought up, haha. I think it was more about loving music and wanting to express it in other ways and possibly for other income, but mostly it was for fun. It also had to do with having a few beers and just brainstorming ideas. The reality was a lot of startup costs and I was quickly overwhelmed with the idea.

How long had you been writing music and lyrics before you became a musician? Do you still have older lyrics you wrote, if any?
I started playing around with drumming and finding my way around a piano. I started lyrics/poetry and singing when I was probably six or seven; mostly experimental but learning. Took a few piano lessons (I wish I didn't quit) and I began playing drums in the school band at nine or ten. I began playing guitar around twelve to fourteen and singing a lot more, also multi track recording, more piano and writing "songs". I helped form my first band Kick Axe when I was fifteen to seventeen, and we played a school dance thing at our high school. It was epic, haha. After leaving for college at eighteen I never returned, moved away and joined the heavy metal band that became Dementia. Not sure where the transition was. I would say maybe ten years of experimenting until I considered myself ok, but I had a lot to learn. I think after fifteen or twenty years I developed into the musician I am today, more well-rounded and experienced in live recording and writing.
I have a few old notebooks, one from high school even and old recordings that I could easily write down. Some are written on the back of junk mail envelopes, lol, lots of half-done songs. I just found a recording of my very first song. I write lyrics a lot, they flow pretty easily now, I have hundreds of songs that never made it off the paper.

Listening to that song and reading your early lyrics, how much work do you feel you needed to do to grow as a musician and lyricist?
There’s always room to learn and evolve as a musician; I'm far from perfect. I have fun with what I do. Being a listener and fan of rock music all my life I think I have an idea what decent and what sucks. I try not to suck; I wish I could write and do this full time as I'm sure I would accomplish way more. I am happy with where I'm at though; whether anyone else appreciates what I'm doing, that would be my call.

In what ways did your performance with Kick Axe convince you to pursue being a full time musician?
I knew before that, but that sealed. I was hooked, and shortly after I was even more focused on developing my skills to be a professional musician. I wanted to go to a music school but ended up just taking music classes in grade school, high school and college. Being out front on stage was it. That was what I wanted to do, music, music and more music.

How long has Vista Falls been an active band, and how long did it take to find musicians who were on the same page to complete the lineup? What is the band’s name supposed to represent?
Vista Falls formed in April 2019, so it’s been only a little over a year. The band is me on guitar/vocals and keyboards; also some bass; Adrian Manges on drums, bass, and lead guitar on the recordings. We have known each other a few years but it wasn't until April 2019 that we entered into a project; before that, it was just jamming for fun. I was surprised because I wasn't sure if he would like the material, but we connected and got into the idea of orchestrating our tunes and releasing them. We don't currently have permanent members for bass and lead guitar. I have a couple options but am still searching for the right fit. We were looking into that and some live shows before this world turned upside down.
The band’s name was a few different versions but was finalized in the summer of 2019 as we were working on rehearsing and recording the debut release. I have pages of ideas but I gave up; names are so hard and so many are taken already. My friend gave me the idea one day that sparked it for me. Vantage point, vision, sight. I already had Vista as an idea, I always appreciated double or even triple meanings and I use this often in my lyrics. I also had Falls in mind but it all came together perfectly for a name that really describes a lot to me. Vista Falls, to me, means you can try to have the best foresight and figure out your best vantage point and plan but you still may fail, you still may fall. It’s also somewhat of a metaphor for my life, trying and failing but not giving up and realizing that failing is still competing and being in the game. I really like the name and how it allows for many different music styles, also the mystery and dark vibe.

Tell the readers about your first EP and the songs written for it. Were any physical copies released last year or was it solely a digital release?
The first EP was released on digital format in October 2019. The five songs were an emotional dump of some lyrical ideas that had been brewing a number of years. After a divorce which turned my life upside down and some big life changes and hurdles, I wrote songs like “Sorry AF” to show my feelings, haha. “Insomnia”: it’s real, and worse with being afraid to feel love again. “Mess With You”: why do we get with the ones that drive us crazy? “Love n Sex”: all my mistakes or opportunities... “Next to You”: the one you desire and can't get over.
At the end of 2019, we began working on the next release from Vista Falls and originally wanted to record a full-length release. We had at least six songs in mind but were interrupted by situations and only three songs were recorded with one not even finished. We edited and finished the song in the studio (everything else was recorded live with some additional vocals), and the piano track that I showed Adrian that one day was recorded and edited into what you hear now as "Distance". “Save Your Heaven” was the track that brought this recording together. And the final production of the tune really brought it to life, I think. I've many people say that they can't get it out of their heads. Well, that’s the goal isn't it, haha. When I wrote “Terrified” I was really inspired by the “new” Vista Falls sound. Now I am really happy with the way it allowed Vista Falls to be not only melodic but heavy. Getting back to the first song, “Picking Up The Pieces” is just that; it’s about me trying to find some sense in everything. As I think a lot of people are, now and always. It’s a crazy world we live in, and getting crazier. I hope people take the time to slow down, care about one another, and stop on by Vista Falls once in a while.

Has “Terrified” been uploaded to other streaming sites besides Youtube? Is it strictly available for purchase in digital format or are you also planning to release it in CD format?
I would like to see a CD release soon. Currently, the download is free. A CD release is being looked into now. I just want people to hear it. The release was handled by Distrokid, a pretty awesome service. Our tunes and album are available on Amazon, Spotify, Youtube, and Tiktok and both EP are available on all formats. I update things on our Facebook page regularly; new releases, videos, and news.

Musically, “Terrified” sounds heavily influenced by alternative rock bands including Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, Alice In Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots. Alternative was mainstream in the 90s but since gave way to pop-punk and nu-metal. Did you set out to record an alternative EP or did it come about as one naturally?
No, not at all. I'm moved by the wind, the moon, and the sunrise. I wrote these songs on my steps and on my couch reflecting on the world and life. I think the combination of half of the band being teenagers in the '80s and half in the 2000s had something to do with the outcome. I love all the bands you just mentioned and idolize their amazing vocals. I think in some ways "as I've heard" maybe 90's rock is coming back; I don't know. I just wrote what I felt, we jammed it out to create what it is now, which is way more orchestrated... and I love it. So proud and glad to share this music with everyone! Peace, love, unity... and MUSIC!!

In addition to the alternative bands discussed above, you listen to Nirvana, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, and Nine Inch Nails. How do you and the band work those influences into their material?
Walz: It’s common ground, I guess. As you travel up and down the fretboard or piano the notes you land on are guided by your album collection. Although I had a very heavy influence when I was younger, the melodies and vocal harmonies of some of these other bands came out in my music. Although I could likely be seen putting on some old Sepultura, Hatebreed, Mudvayne or Mercyful Fate. I grew up on the “big four” and love heavy music, Adrian has played in some very heavy metal bands and I course I have my past, haha. I guess this sound is a combination of my past, music. I love heavy music, but also truly appreciate classics like “Operation Mindcrime” by Queensryche, also bands like Incubus and hard rock, I guess that’s kind of where the sound of Vista Falls came together crossing over in many directions. I am very happy with the heavier feel of "Terrified" as it reminds me of the attitude and emotional release of “Sorry AF” from the first EP.

On what formats was “Terrified” made available and how much of a response has it received?
Again it’s on Spotify, Amazon, Tiktok, and Youtube. We separately shot a video for "Love & Sex" from our last EP. Check it out on Youtube; it’s a great tune and we had a lot of fun doing it. It was our first time doing a green screen, haha (actually a red screen). We received a lot of positive responses on Facebook and Youtube for the release, but unfortunately not enough to generate any label attention. Look to our Facebook page for new updates, and I do respond to questions there. I hope to see new music or videos from Vista Falls to release sometime soon. Until then, enjoy "Terrified".

Describe the making of your “Love & Sex” video. Was it shot just by the band or did you hire professionals to work with you? What equipment was used during the filming and editing?
We did it ourselves. It was a lot of fun. It was filmed with just a decent hand cam. Some of the footage was on my phone, but the Samsung S9 has a great camera, haha. I couldn't find anything to use for a green screen other than a red sleeping bag, so we tacked that up in my dining room and recorded me singing the song to get the digital background shots. A nearby park by the river was a cool spot for the outdoor shots. It somehow really captured some of the bridge and chorus. The jam was in my house/studio rehearsal space with used to be my living room. If you look on the floor you see hundreds of pages of lyrics that were stuffed under my couch. We moved the couch out of the room to have more room to set up. Adrian decided we should use them so we threw the pages all over the floor in the room. There were two takes; one was recorded with me singing on guitar and Adrian on drums. The second was recorded with me on bass and Adrian on guitar. We attempted to fade the two together but it didn’t work that well, haha. Anyhow at the end of the video, it’s kind of weird and cool how you see all four of us leaving the screen. I live in an old Victorian home that was built in 1905 so there are some good areas for shooting. There are a few other shots in my hallway upstairs included in the video.

How long has your living room been your personal studio? What equipment have you collected since the transformation?
Since my divorce in 2016. I didn't have a lot to start with, and a lot of what I had was outdated. I use a 24 track Tascam standalone now for flexibility, I like it, but honestly, I record most of my ideas on my phone. Vista Falls was all recorded on computer and I couldn't tell you the program he used; I'm not a computer recording guy. The magic of the lounge/studio is the sound of the high ceiling, the 100+-year-old plaster walls, and the hardwood floors. I have a decent assortment of mics, drums, an Electro-Voice, and still use an old Rode condenser mic because I still love the sound. I enjoy having everything available: piano, keyboards, sequencers, multiple guitars and amps, drum kit, drum machines, recording, lights, and fog, haha.

What kind of a sound do you get from your Rode condenser microphone that you don’t get from more modern equipment? What are the differences in sound between the organic resources you have and the phone and computer you use to record?
A condenser is a good idea for vocals, no matter what you are using to record I think. You miss a lot of frequencies in vocals using a dynamic mic, even with effects. And honestly, some of the vintage old condensers are more valuable than their weight in diamonds. What you can do with the computer recording systems is untouchable, with the flexibility and remote abilities. I just personally never made that switch, I recorded on digital standalones or in studios. I'm not a big computer guy and I used to work in music retail, so I dealt with a lot of the nightmares of software that doesn't run with certain computers and latency crashes and issues. Anyhow it works great and luckily I had the option available through our band. The phone works quite well for ideas. It’s amazing how good it sounds; there is a bunch of cool recording apps out there, but not for serious stuff.

As an aside, do you know anything about the history of your Victorian home?
Not as much as I would like to. I have the original deed paperwork on the property. It's pretty awesome, dating back to 1890, written in quill pen. The land was officially sold to Morris Southard in 1904 and completed in 1905. A large home in the area, it was often used for parties, wedding, and funerals. The main stairwell was from another, much larger, house a couple of blocks away. When they decided to remove it, the stairwell was hauled over to my house on horse and wagon. 2 1/2 stories with a full attic, and no it’s clear... no ghosts, just me.

How much creative input did you and the other members of the band have in making the video? Are you satisfied with the end results or did you see room for improvement when it was completed?
We did it all. Adrian again kicked ass with a very professional job. He used some kind of video editing program and we mixed the "video tracks" just like a band mixes their bass drum guitar and vocal tracks. There was a lot of creative input in the editing of the different videos, finding the cool clips from the different takes, and blending them together. We worked side by side to piece it together. It took a while, Adrian is tireless with that kind of stuff. The editing was time-consuming but fun as we watched it come together. I would love to do another video. I have some ideas for the next; we’ll have to wait and see.

What are some of the ideas you have in mind for a new Vista Falls video? What filming equipment do you want to work with for it?
We probably would just use our same methods, though we did upgrade the recording program we used for the first and second EPs so it’s hard to predict. I have a few ideas for “Share Your Heaven”, but “Terrified” could be pretty awesome visions of this crazy world we are in. There’s nothing solid that I can define yet.

Before Vista Falls you worked in a thrash metal band for some time. Tell the readers about this band and the extent of their activity while they were together? Did this band draw from Obituary, Sepultura, and Mercyful Fate who you also cite as influential bands?
I joined a band called Syrys in 1987; soon after we changed our name to Dementia. Cursed was the first “cassette” release from 1989; we have plans to reissue on vinyl soon. We played a lot in Wisconsin, then based ourselves in Chicago where we were constant on the scene for ten years. “Recuperate from Reality” was our 1992 release on CD and Vinyl. It was put out worldwide but unfortunately, as many companies did, our company took on too much, couldn't promote our album and went under. We had a number of other demos and EPs out there. I created a Facebook page for fun in case anyone wants to learn about the band, there are some cool old pics and videos on there. The page is fairly new. I think there are a hundred or so following. There are still some old school fans, gotta love it, and also some new that are collectors into metal album covers and vintage thrash. I am one as well. Check it out on Facebook
The band split up in 1996 due to “musical differences”. Brian and Matt got a drummer and started a band called Sick. Skylar and I formed a gothic band Vault which was short-lived. We next formed Misery's Company and released two CDs of kind of an electronic rock vibe. In 2017 I was contacted by Heaven and Hell Records to do a reissue release of “Recuperate from Reality”. We discussed a three-CD box set including all recorded material. The decision of the band ended up reserving the reissue of “Cursed” be on vinyl, so the release was just a single of “Recuperate from Reality”. The booklet included some great vintage photos of the band. The CD also includes two of the best songs recorded by Dementia which were never released before. This was a big high light for me. The output and volume were greatly improved for the 1992 release, Heaven and Hell did a great job remastering! I really appreciated the opportunity of working with Jeremy; they did a great job with the whole project. We are still seeing some sales interest and promoting. It sounds awesome and the bonus tunes are a must-listen. They are on Facebook and Bandcamp at www.heavenandhellrecords.com.

Were Dementia’s lyrics also based on personal experiences? Do you ever consider reforming Dementia to work on new material today, or do you strictly prefer working with Vista Falls?
All my lyrics typically have some personal influence, inspired by a feeling or a situation or a struggle. So yes, some are obvious like “Feel the Fire”, others are more subtle like “Inner Thoughts” or “Bloodloss”, which by the way is not about literally having blood loss. Many times I'm describing a common type of thing people are familiar with and weaving in related meaning to a specific event or person. It would have been really cool to reform, play one more show, or even do an online remake or new tune as many bands are doing. Unfortunately the cost to bring us all together as we are spread over the whole U.S. and don’t have a common interest in doing so left it on the table. So yes at the moment writing and rehearsing the current tunes with VF, making arrangements to release a double EP release on CD. The reissue of Dementia at least happened with two of our last recorded, maybe a couple others could still be released. And the reissue of the first recording should be out on vinyl later this year. So anyhow, I would be open to at least an online remote jam or even a new tune, I've got plenty of frustration and inspiration, haha.

Is there a label you’re planning to release the double EP on, or is the band currently seeking labels for distribution? Do you prefer releasing your material in CD or digital format?
The hope is that there will be some interest, now in digital or with the product possibly promoting the release more. I will continue to promote and hope to see more releases soon. Time will tell if anyone is going to jump on board with us.

What do you want Vista Falls to ultimately accomplish and how would you like the band to be remembered for it?
Good tunes, having fun and connecting with others musically. I always hope that the song and lyrics will connect with someone else in their life, in a similar but different way and they will hopefully be positively inspired. That is my hope; also to be remembered as a cool band with deep but melodic rock songs that make you think but also allow you to chill.

-Dave Wolff

Monday, June 22, 2020

Split Review: Haggus / Golem of Gore - split MC (FYL Records, Grindfather Productions) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Band: Haggus
Location: Oakland, California
Country: USA
Genre: Mincegore
Band: Golem of Gore
Country: Italy
Genre: Goregrind
Split: Haggus / Golem of Gore - split MC
Format: Cassette, streaming
Label: Fuck Your Life Records, Grindfather Productions
Release date: June 2020
While scrolling the interwebs I stumbled upon another vicious goregrind banger. The 2020 split between Haggus and Golem of Gore! Mincey gory awesomeness paired with Last Days of Humanity worship grind obviously makes for an ear-feed of liquid fun. And to be honest, the Golem of Gore on this release is not as straight forward. I am hearing a lot of different influence on this one as opposed to previous releases. Either way, it is an absolute pile of goodness!
I cannot pick which band did a better job on this split. Each side is absolute mastery and I would insist that fans of the gore indulge in this one when they come across it. This is purely underground and is leaning on perfection... God, I fucking love goregrind!
Both Golem of Gore and Haggus have come a long way since I first started listening to them. I could ramble further, but I think you all get the point. Goregrind > everything is the vibe I am digging recently and I don't think that is going to change any time soon.
So fire up the barbecue, grill some animals (or veggie burgers for the vegans), and throw on this cavernous sickness.
You won't regret it! –Devin Joseph Meaney

1. Putrid Mess // Pestilent Stench
2. Decapitation Complication
3. Worn Out Your Welcome
4. Chainsawed Into Chunks
5. Crypt Raid
Golem of Gore
1. Psychopath Bloodsucker Brigade
2. Rotting Chamber Celebration
3. Putrified Dread Dilemma
4. Runaway Fester Proliferation
5. Deep into Decay Matter
6. Brutal Vile World
7. Endless Feverish Vomit
8. Unconscious Cancer Eater
9. Glory Through the Gore

Sunday, June 21, 2020

EP Review: Blood of the Wolf "III: Blood Legend" (Horror Pain Gore Death Productions) by Dave Wolff

Band: Blood of the Wolf
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Country: USA
Genre: Blackened death metal
EP: III: Blood Legend 
Format: Digital album
Label: Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
Release date: November 8, 2019
This EP simply crushes. I’ve watched Blood of the Wolf refine themselves since 2013 and each new release brings them another step to brutal perfection. “III: Blood Legend” boasts dark overtones, shades of Morbid Angel, Behemoth and Vader, black metal harmonies and guttural vocal fry to shred your being. These elements are thrown into the cauldron of extreme music and what emerges is a four-song giant heralding the ancient ones’ return, one Chicago death metal can be proud of. This is a band that started from the grassroots of that scene, and out of love for the genre prove bands don’t need state of the art equipment or mass advertising to make an impact. Those are worthwhile but this EP makes the statement that the passion of writing always comes first. Each riff written and each section arranged sounds carefully calculated to showcase the band’s talent and put it across to the listener what they’re capable of developing it into. Each note places emphasis on precision, heaviness and a feeling of creeping malevolence that’s flawlessly executed from the beginning of “Shadow of Shadows,” a song that treats you with a mid-tempo still before the storm before launching into relentless blast, savage guitars and lead progressions evoking the spirit of 90s black metal. Those vocals have to be heard firsthand to be believed. One extreme music fan remarked on Encyclopedia Metallum that such descriptions are nothing new when it comes to describing bands, but there’s something about this EP that validates all of them anew. Since releasing and re-releasing their full lengths “I: The Law of Retaliation” and “II: Campaign of Extermination” the band have worked on improving the art of infusing subtlety into their material. As such the appeal of “III: Blood Legend” doesn’t rely solely on all out push and brutality. The lead harmonies I mentioned are written into the songs to underscore their impressions of evil. While the more overt harmonies do well to complement the song structure, there are other harmonies more subtly added that you have to listen closely for. Next to the transitions between brutality and the quieter, more somber sections, those guitars add a semblance more like “The Omen” than a splatter or torture porn movie. This is something I’d want to hear more of from this band. The other three tracks on this EP, “Son of the Blood Oath,” “Progenitor” and ‘Fire Serpent,” utilize the brutality and transitions of the first track, with more emphasis on harmony and an all-out assault on your senses leaning closer to Marduk and Dark Funeral. Heavier bass and abrasive vocals come into the picture, bringing the intensity level to almost unbearable levels. Blood of the Wolf have come a long way in seven years, and with more work they should eventually find themselves at the forefront of U.S. blackened death metal. –Dave Wolff

Mike Koniglio: Vocals, guitars
Frank Garcia: Lead guitars
Christopher Grimes: Bass
Rick Hernandez: Drums

Track list:
1. Shadow of Shadows
2. Son of the Blood Oath
3. Progenitor
4. Fire Serpent


Friday, June 19, 2020

EP Review: Ossario "Ossario" (Independent) by Sarah McKellar

Band: Ossario
Location: Sicily
Country: Italy
Genre: Putrid black metal
Format: Digital album, CD cardboard
Label: Independent
Release date: June 8, 2020
Ossario is a three piece punk influenced, black metal project from Sicily. “Ossario” is their 2020 EP Independent release. The band has a hard-hitting, raw approach to their punk-influenced black metal and display an unapologetically aggressive and unrelenting approach in doing so throughout their self-titled EP release. Tight and technical as a whole, Ossario lose none of their unrelenting approach throughout this release. “Millennial Fears” displays an ominous start before launching into the earth shaking, raw filthy black metal that the listener will come to expect of Ossario and another musical aspect to be appreciated. Manic and chaotic, “Torment, Sweet Torment” kicks this release into a further aggressive, punk influenced black metal style with a nihilistic approach. Strong and harsh vocals are a hallmark of Ossario and are at the front of their musical sound frequently throughout this release adding an extra layer of chaotic filth. An essential listen for those who are a fan of blackened thrash and newer Darkthrone, Ossario will not disappoint. Ossario have turned aggressive, unrelenting, punk influenced black metal into a chaotic driving force to be reckoned with in their EP and I genuinely look forward to hearing more of their material in the future. –Sarah McKellar

Krost Von Barbarie: Vocals
Schizoid: Guitars
Anamnesi: Drums

Track list:
1. We're All Born To Die
2. Millennial Fears
3. Torment Sweet Torment
4. Rigor Mortis Boner (Necromance)


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Full Length Review: Zwaremachine "Be A Light (Special Edition)" (Sliptrick Records) by Gene Olivarri

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Country: USA
Genre: Industrial, EBM
Format: Digital album, CD
Label: Sliptrick Records
Release date: June 9, 2020
Zwaremachine is definitely a monster when it comes to Hypnotic mind blowing industrial and EBM, plus Darkwave added to their brand and, mix which is such a beautiful thing vocals and synth work are done right this band totally gets it. All songs on this album just plague your mind guitars and vocal are so sharp heavy and crisp in every song the drums are like a tank just pounding hypnotic beats that make you have such a good time it makes you move. It reminds me of early Skinny Puppy, Ministry and KMFDM with a bit of Carpenter Brut.
The synth work is so catchy there was not one song I didn't like on this album you have to hear it for yourself I push everyone to go visit their band camp and Facebook page to take a listen. At times the singing is so dark and then the chaos begins such unique vocal approach by Mach Fox and Dbot have together the music gets so dark and hits deep into the soul and just takes you for a hellish ride. –Gene Olivarri

Mach FoX: Vocals, synth
D-bot: Bass guitar, vocals
Dein Offizier: Drums, percussion

Track list:
1. Pulse
2. Remain Unseen
3. Another Way
6. Person To Person
7. Our Revenge
8. Be A Light
9. Remain Unseen (Aim&Execute Remix)
10. Be A Light (Audiocentesis Remix)
11. IEYEI (Planktoon Remix)
12. Person To Person (Planktoon Remix)
13. Remain Unseen (Planktoon Remix) 

Monday, June 15, 2020

EP Review: Idolos "Ahi Cab" (Anthrazit Records) by Sarah McKellar

Band: Idolos
Country: France
Genre: Atmospheric black metal
EP: Ahi Cab
Format: Jewelcase CD, Digital album
Label: Anthrazit Records
Release date: January 28, 2020
Idolos is an atmospheric black metal band based in France, but claim to be from Venus and of Atlantean descent. “Ahi Cab” is their 2020 EP release through Anthrazit Records located in Germany, also Wolfhund Productions located in Denmark. Atmospheric samples commence “Ahi Cab” leading the listener into this hard-hitting and brutal release. Mournful, yet brutal, Idolos has created a consistently unrelenting and forceful style of black metal in “Ahi Cab”. Melodic and technical riffs display Idolos’ aggressive “harder, faster” feel throughout this release. Remaining technical while switching styles effortlessly displays Idolos’ ability to release their soul crushing brutal approach to black metal upon their unsuspecting listeners. Strong, brutal vocals emphasise the aggressive technical approach the listener now knows to be expected of Idolos, adding another layer to the aural assault. “Ahi Cab” focuses mainly on Mayan mythology and prophecy as its primary source for lyrical content and is extremely well written, adding another aspect for the listener to appreciate. A mournful, slower approach in some tracks provides another aspect for listeners to appreciate as well. Idolos describing themselves as coming from Venus and being of Atlantean descent which is reflective in the otherworldly brutal feel the listener receives when listening to “Ahi Cab”. I genuinely look forward to hearing more of Idolos’ material in the future. –Sarah McKellar

MgRcH: 82 Hz - 1.174 Hz / 41Hz - 97 Hz strings frequencies, backing vocal emissions, harmonic and lyrical transcriptions
NnK: Lead vocal teleprinter, cosmic interpretation, visual and graphic transcriptions

Track list:
1. Prolog
2. The Deeds above
3. The Summoners
4. The Maiden and the Tree

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Full Length Review: Eraser "Mutual Overkill Deterrence" (Night Animal Records) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Band: Eraser
Location: Palermo
Country: Italy
Genre: Old school grindcore
Format: Digital album
Release date: June 15, 2020
Before bed, I decided to listen to some music. After running through a playlist of nostalgia from my childhood, I realized it was time to grind. And with ''Grind'' in my sights, I humbly started my search for something pleasurable to my ears.
I noticed a new LP posted from the ''Gore Grinder'' account on Youtube. This account is an absolute wealth of all things gory and grinding, and as this album was posted 8 hours ago (while I am writing this) I decided ''what the hell?''… I fucking love this shit!
Now, the first thing I will mention is that this is not my standard gore-filled ear-massacre. This is pure 100% legit old school 80's-early 90's sounding grindcore. Think Napalm Death with a hint of the mincing from an act such as Agathocles. Purely old-school. Nothing innovative really, but superbly done (in my humble opinion). 
The name of this LP is ''Mutual Overkill Deterrence'' by ERASER! I mean, shit... this stuff is so old school it still maintains a strong thrash influence in the guitar riffs and the percussion. This paired with aggressive gutturals of both high and low pitches make for an abysmally amazing experience (yeah, I just made that up... you get the point!).
I could go on, but I think you get the impression I am trying to mold. Fans of classic grind (and maybe some old thrash heads) are sure to enjoy this offering. With all the intensity of a blood-drunk psychopath, this one is clearly a winner. 100 points! –Devin Joseph Meaney

Dario "Ramses": guitar and pain
Anselmo "Krosty": bass and backing throat filth
"Tom" G. Prophet: grunts and yells
Fulvio "Thrasher": drums and drinks

Track list:
1. Go Primitive
2. Scorn Path
3. Stream of Decay
4. Natural Born Prevaricators
5. Ego Feeder
6. Eraser
7. Static
8. Children of New Reich
9. Leadershiet
10. 29
11. Stomping Your Grave
12. Blast Beat Voodoo Cult
13. Bad Boy
14. Genocindustry
15. Insistence Is Futile
16. Mutual Overkill Deterrence
17. Grind Yourself
18. Dicsostù

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Full Length Review: ELM "The Wait" (Bronson Recordings) by Gene Olivarri

Band: ELM
Location: Cuneo
Country: Italy
Genre: Noise rock
Full length: The Wait
Format: CD, digital album, limited edition 12” vinyl
Label: Bronson Recordings (Italy)
Release date: June 12, 2020
First of all, I'd like to say this is a band everyone needs to keep a good eye on. Elm is an Italian based stoner rock blues and at times a bit sludgy band all in all. Elm's music is so catchy, just a solid great feel to the music makes you just wanna bang your head to the music. Through the entire album, the musicianship of this band is so amazing as well the band's tone and approach. It's just so unique the drums and the power of the riffage going on in every song on the album just yanks you in wanting more where I just didn't want the album to stop I had to put it on repeat. The guitar riffs are so catchy crunchy and with some fat bottom end coming from the bass is hypnotizing I'm sure in a live setting this band is fun to watch with a couple of cold ones. The Music has a thick deep heavy feel which the singer compliments so well with is singing patterns reminding me of a bit of allice in chains mix with the Melvins and at times a Dave Mustaine vocal approach. Everyone needs to go and buy this album take a chance on it you will not regret it. –Gene Olivarri

Matteo Torterolo: vocals
Alessandro Martines: guitars
Andrea Meinero: bass
Giorgio Rita: drums

Track list:
1. Hell
2. Kingsnake
3. Whole Year Inn
4. Violence Is Golden
5. Believe Or Burn
6. A Storm Is Coming
7. 44
8. Shell Of A Man
9. Abattoir
10. Son
11. Hellhound

Friday, June 12, 2020

Thrash or F**k Off - Chapter 6: The Thrashening

The 2000s saw a resurgence of thrash metal from all around the world, and before long a new generation of bands began to emerge from Australia.

This episode is a state-by-state "who's who" of Australia's recent thrash metal bands, and also follows the reformations of Aussie old school legends Nothing Sacred, Mortal Sin and Hobbs' Angel of Death to new audiences.

Follow this series on Instagram, @thrashorfuckoff

Check out the bands featured on this webseries and listen to the "Thrash Or Fuck Off" playlist on Spotify

Series Created by:
Liam Anthony, Chalky Hill, Scott McMahon

This webseries is for educational and promotional purposes.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Full Length Review: Göden "Beyond Darkness" (Svart Records) by Dave Wolff

Band: Göden
Location: New York
Country: USA
Genre: Sludge/death/doom metal
Full Length: Beyond Darkness
Format: Digital album
Release date: May 8, 2020
In 1989 a local Long Island band called Winter helped create what’s known as sludge metal. While that subgenre didn’t exist, the band was so inherently atypical you couldn’t help but notice them. With a crust punk attitude, the heaviness of early Celtic Frost and the apocalyptic furor of Carnivore, they gave the metal scene a view of armageddon unlike anything else. Their debut album hadn’t even been released and the press were already touting them ”the Black Sabbath of the 90s.” Released in 1990, their sole album “Into Darkness” illustrated the aftermath of a global catastrophe too horrible to describe or even remember.
Long after Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Type O Negative and Saturnus redefined metal, guitarist Stephen Flam (also of Thorn and Serpentine Path) formed a new band to continue with the vision he and Winter envisioned. Göden’s “Beyond Darkness” is the logical progression of what Winter began. Dirge laden songwriting, dark, heavy guitars evocative of Tom G; Warrior and death march-like percussion are supplemented with an expanded concept transcending the world’s end and heading to the farthest reaches of the universe. Add eerie, chilling keyboards, strings and an expanded vocal range, and you have a future underground classic.
Can Göden make an impact on underground metal in 2020? “Beyond Darkness” is a suitable title as the album resumes where “Into Darkness” left off. From what I’ve seen, the reviews have been unanimously favorable since its release more than a month ago with no formal announcement or internet buzz. It’s clear that Göden intended for it to speak for itself instead of over hyping it. This was a smart move as reviewers have been responding strictly to what they’re listening to.
To fully understand “Beyond Darkness”, you need to listen to “Into Darkness” if you haven’t heard it yet. “Beyond Darkness” expands on Winter’s full length, turning simplistic progressions into monumental epics with heavy atmosphere, distortion and effects. Adding crust, sludge and death/doom metal that can galvanize fans of My Dying Bride, Opeth and Crisis, it has a feel no longer limited to the earth. Remember “2001: A Space Odyssey”? Or the short story it was based on, “The Sentinel”? This album seems to have the same timeless scope, only the extraterrestrials personified here are not as benevolent where humanity is concerned.
After many years (eons?) of silence after the end of mankind, we sense a darkness far greater dawning. The lone guitars heard at the start herald the arrival of something massive and godlike from the far reaches of space. We never learn where it came from, but its intent is not to make contact with the survivors of the human race, or present an opportunity to start over, but to pass judgment on a species that ultimately destroyed its home with its technological advancements and greed. Its intent is also to reclaim a world it created long ago and repopulate it with its own progeny. Humanity is over and new age is dawning for the earth.
The songs are not overlong, but they provide abstractions of infinite vastness beyond what we thought was out there without insulting your intelligence. Spoken word interludes included between the tracks make the concept more plausible. The sensations of emptiness, melancholia, despair and futility are voiced in a penetratingly tangible way as we witness the events of this story unfolding. The vocals play as important a role as the instruments as they represent each character in this story, from the narrator to the goddess Gaia who plays a major part. Three years in the making, “Beyond Darkness” brings the old essence of Winter into the future. –Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Glowing Red Sun
2. Manifestation I - Tolling Death Bells
3. Twilight 4. Manifestation II - A New Order
5. Cosmic Blood
6. Manifestation III - The Spawn Of Malevolence
7. Komm Susser Tod
8. Genesis Rise
9. Manifestation IV - The Progeny Of Goden
10. Dark Nebula
11. Manifestation V - The Epoch Of Goden
12. I Am Immortal
13. Manifestation VI - The Beginning And The End
14. Ego Eimie Gy
15. Manifestation VII - Gaia Rejuvenated
16. Night
17. Manifestation VIII - A New Age
18. Thundering Silence
19. Winter

Movie Review: Mirror Mirror (Orphan Eyes) by Gene Olivarri

Mirror Mirror (1990)
With Karen Black, Yvonne De Carlo, William Sanderson
Directed by Marina Sargenti
Written by Annette Cascone, Gina Cascone, Yuri Zeltser, Marina Sargenti
Orphan Eyes
Hello everyone! Horror movie review time!
Today I'm so pleased to talk about Dark Force Entertainment release of Mirror Mirror a 1990 horror gem and, might I add a true cult classic. Dark Force Entertainment has done a great job with this Blu-ray release the film transfer's were incredible the picture was so sharp and clear Dark Force Entertainment had obtained the original theatrical negatives of this film and did absolutely beautiful wonders on the color correction of this release. The product itself comes with a high glossy slipcover with colors that pop and the Blu-ray cover is the same no booklets at first sight and opening of this product you would think wow nice straight to the point oh no my horror movie maniacs this release is not bare-bones on the features menu they have an exclusive interview with the producers Jim Lifton and Virginia Prefili they take you on a great and tell you how they started a record label called Orphan Records and they started making music videos and, got so good at it and met with director Marina Sargenti and decided to make a movie all the soundtrack and movie score was written by Jim Lifton what a talented man to do all this in one movie he played such a huge roll in the making of this cult classic. Let's move on to the actors and plot of this great film!
It's 1950 in Iowa two identical twin sister's Mary Weatherford played by (Traci Lee Gold) sacrifices her sister Elizabeth played by (Michelle Gold) sitting on top of her to hold down and stabbing her repeatedly in the heart so the demon that has possessed Elizabeth can return back into the mirror to close it in turns out Elizabeth had been playing with evil and it had been using her for many things. 40 years later it's 1990 Megan Gordon played by (Rainbow Harvest) and her mother widowed Susan Gordon played by the famous (Karen Black) have moved to the Weatherford house from Beverly Hills after winning the home at a house auction.
Susan Gordon and Megan walk into Megan's new room and find the mirror left in the corner the auctioneer Emelin played by (Yvonne De Carlo) tells her she can't keep the mirror her mother has to buy it since the Weatherford house was being cleared so they could move in. Emelin finds diaries and journals describing what the mirror is possessed by and that it grants wishes as well if you give into the demon trapped in the mirror Megan Gordon is a goth teen actress Rainbow Harvest acting reminds me of the odd girl from the breakfast club mixed with Lydia from Beetlejuice in this film.
Then the mirror begins to give into her as well as she gives into the demon all these deaths begin to happen the mirrors first victim is the family dog as Megan and Susan Gordon find him bloody and dead in her room that's when Megan begins to see theirs something up with this mirror. Megan begins high school then the local bullies start poking fun at Megan well that's a huge mistake because she got a deadly demon backing her up they start having very bloody and brutal deaths plus vicious scares as one bully begins bleeding from her nose and it won't stop. At this time the only friend Megan makes is Nikki played by (Kristin Dattilo) she begins to see the change in Megan's personality as the demon starts to take control of her as she uses the powers of the demon to manipulate then main bullies Charleen Kane played by (Charlie Spradling) love interest Jeff played by (Tom Bresnahan).
In the film the auctioneer tries to take the mirror away from Megan but it just doesn't work it already has a deep hold of her she tries to take it out of the house as she grabs the mirror spikes go through her hands and she runs out screaming.
I really don't want t ruin the movie but it truly is an awesome one I really loved and enjoyed it I'd like to send a huge thank you and kudos to Dark Force Entertainment on this release on what an amazing job they did with the transfers of this film it really shows when you right away start the movie. I like to add please go to the Dark Force Superstore website http://www.darkforcesuperstore.com and buy this great release right away because they sell very quick they also have amazing double features and very rare code red releases as well for awesome prices for any horror maniacs collection. –Gene Olivarri

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Interview with musician JIMI HUGHES by Devin Joseph Meaney

Interview with musician JIMI HUGHES

Hey Jimi. Please take a moment to introduce yourself and your current output of music.
My name is Jimi Hughes, I play drums and do vocals in Human Obliteration, HeDied and I drum for SMD (LA Thrash Punks). I have also, in the past, done live and tour drums for BruceXCampbell, and ACXDC. 

Name some releases you have been a part of in the past! 
Well, in the PV/Grind world there’s ¡Putasos!’ two releases, one of which was a split with my old band Nerve Grind. Then there’s my work with Nerve Grind (I was the Drummer on HATE.FUCK.KILL and the Vocalist for the Years of Shit 7”, and the Thieves Split tape), then there’s the 4 records I did with Recalcitrant (Demo-2015, Fiend Split, Your Enemy Split, Haggus Split), and the 2 releases with HeDied (No Second Chances, Corrodent Split). Not to mention the Human Obliteration EP I did when first joining (Blind Submission), the Newest Record (Human Obliteration: Definition of Insanity) we just put out with help from WiseGrinds, ToLiveALie, Legion Productions, GivePraise Records, and Narcoleptica Productions (CD Release-Russia), and the Newest record I did with SMD (Clusterfux Split). I’ve also played in folk bands and crust punk bands that only put out (now lost) local releases. 

If there was one message you wanted to send with your art, be it musical or otherwise, what would it be? 
Never submit to those that seek to oppress you; be they Nazis, Jack-Booted Police, or some other entity trying to infringe upon your right to exist as a human being. Also, fuck racism, sexism, homophobia, and corrupt systemic issues that allow these things to persist in the 21st century. 

How many instruments can you play? 
I can play 5: Drums, Bass, Guitar, Mandolin, and Banjo! 

If someone wanted to purchase some of your music, where would one find it? 
There’s a few places, I’ll make it easy and include the band pages and the label pages! 

Out of everything you have done musically in your lifetime, what one moment (or multiple if there is a tie) affected you the most? 
Wow, that is a great question. So many memories and moments to think about. Honestly tho, I would say a moment that affected me the most was being able to play in Europe for the first time, Obscene Extreme Fest in particular. It was a great experience. I had always dreamed of playing that festival, and then I did. I got to watch my friends and heroes play (sometimes they are one in the same) and experience something I had literally dreamed about for eighteen years. The people that run it are amazing (Especially Čurby!), and it changed my perspective on this worldwide scene of musicians we all belong to. 

What are some of your biggest inspirations? 
My biggest inspirations are Howard Zinn, Eric Foner, Emma Goldman, Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Marx, Caitlin Rosenthal, Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann, Alexis Herr, Isabela Richter, My Father, My Grandpas (WW2 Vets), and every soldier who gave their lives to defeat Nazism. 
These bands: Whiskey Rebels, Shrine of Scars, Death, Operation Ivy, Filth, The Pogues, Dystopia, Black Sabbath, Vinnie Paz, Dead Prez, Jedi Mind Tricks, Contribution X, Bausa, Noisear, BruceXCampbell, Rites of Spring, Minor Threat, Embrace, Thursday, Orchid, Jimmy Clift, Dandy Livingstone, The Cure, Joy Division, Faraquet, Scorpions, Pig Destroyer and many many more. 

What do you hope to achieve with music in the near future? 
I wanna play on every continent that I can, and in every city that will let me. I wanna travel, playing drums and having fun with people all over the world. 

Give someone a shout-out who really deserves it! 
The Band DöpeMess!!!! But also: Johhny Ray, my best friend whom I used to ride freight trains with that passed away in 2012. Everything I do, I do with you in my heart Johhny. Always and forever my bestest friend. 

Any final comments? 
Yes, thanks for even being interested in what I do, or who I am. It means the absolute world to me. 

Thanks Jimi! 

-Devin Joseph Meaney

Friday, June 5, 2020

EP Review: BAUME "Un Calme entre les Tempêtes (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Solo P
roject: Baume
Location: Paris
Country France
Genre: Post black metal
Format: Digital, Limited edition digipack, limited edition cassette
Label: Independent
Release date: April 24, 2020
The latest EP from Gaetan Juif’s solo project Baume displays his search for new post-black metal soundscapes, to sustain the viability of black metal as a musical statement and keep it rooted in the underground. All this without relying on “true” and “cult” as a collection of overused clichés, as he’d rather remain “true” by remaining true to his own ingenuity as a songwriter. Solo artists who reinvent themselves naturally, relying on inspiration alone, have the best chance of slipping into the collective consciousness of this vast network of underground music which has taken hold in every country in the world. With unsigned musicians like Juif it may take a little longer, but I suspect music like he composed for “Un Calme entre les Tempêtes” (A Calm Between the Storms) is a seed planted in your brain which sprouts when the time comes. Or more accurately a spider spinning webs unseen in your basement, laying eggs to hatch into offspring that will take over your home before you know what’s happening. “Un Calme entre les Tempêtes” stands apart from Juif’s previous EPs “L'odeur de la lumière” (2019) and “Les années décapitées” (2018) because the material is experimental, cold, atmospheric, hypnotic and otherworldly while being completely agreeable to non-black metal fans, not too abrasive or depressing. Still there is something distressing about the way Juif records and mixes this EP (as much as Jack Shirley’s mastering job), something you can’t quite place your finger on. The instruments sound like an entity lurking far away. You don’t know exactly where it is but it’s there all the same, waiting to complete its cycle of rebirth. Perhaps this passage would provide a greater understanding of then EP’s intended concept: “The sky was clear, a discreet glow. In the distance, the birds woke up in the fresh November air. The day still asleep, crossed the room, bringing back in its rays all its reality. Drowned in its light, around the ruins barely rested. Calm between sadness, recovering from its sorrows, healing its wounds, alone, until the next storm… The party is fading. The music calms down. Yet my rage does not die out and my desire remains illuminated… I dreamed that everything collapses, that everything rocks. That everything was ruined and everything burned, I dreamed under the moon.” This and the rest of the passage implies the concept here is the transition from death to rebirth, and mirrors the transitions Juif’s music is always making. –Dave Wolff

Lineup: Gaetan Juif: Vocals, all instruments
Track list:
1. I.Rien ne Dure
2. II.Un Calme entre les Tempêtes
3. III.Octobre

Saturday, May 30, 2020

About Asphyxium Zine


Dave Wolff

Liam Anthony, Marc Del Cielo, Roberta Downing, Andy Horry, Elena Karis, Alan Lisanti, Devin Joseph Meaney, Corvo Obsidian Sahjaza, Goddess Rosemary Sahjaza, Daniel M. Ryan, Wynter Wilkins Lore Sahjaza, Tony Sokol, Alison Stone, Damien Lee Thorr, Karin Webb, Dave Wolff

Ashara Armand, James K. Blaylock, Sophia Cynthia Cabral, Kaya Chaos, Teresa Clayton, Heather Dawson, Roberta Downing, Skitz J. Fitch, Frank Garcia, Ash Grayson, Alan Lisanti, Sarah McKellar, Devin Joseph Meaney, Serafima Okuneva, Gene Olivarri, Reggae, Rrockhopper, Daniel M. Ryan, Goddess Rosemary Sahjaza, Ghoul Shadows, Tony Sokol, Kelly Tee, Jorge A. Trejos, Robert Uller, Victor Varas, Dave Wolff, Xan

Sophia Cynthia Cabral, Roberta Jean Downing, B. Knight-Forester, Chrissy McManis, Gene Olivarri, David Smith, Damien Lee Thorr, Dave Wolff

Dena Arnote, Michael Aronovitz, Jillanna Babb, Astrid Beauvois, James K. Blaylock, Jaap Boekestein, Andy Bove, Lukas Andrew Bryson, Big Jim, Chris Chaos, Kaya Chaos, M Teresa Clayton, Omesh Darkchild Crasher, Heather Dawson, Debbie Dixon, Roberta Downing, Koga Easter, Skitz J. Fitch, Ben Fitts, Abyss Forgottentomb, Eric Forsberg, Linzie Grotesque, Andy Horry, Johnny Hellion, Kay Irvin, Elena Karis, Alexander Kautz, James Ward Kirk, Joshua Laing, Jerry Langdon, Lee Lawless, Daina Lewis, Alan Lisanti, Hannah Marshall, Sarah McKellar, Devin Joseph Meaney, Craig Michael, Natasa Nikolic, Rich Orth, Steven Michael Pape, Laura Petellat, Steven Queen, S.C.C., Corvo Obsidian Sahjaza, Ghoul Shadows, David Smith, Tony Sokol, Sky Claudette Soto, Susan Stiltner, Alison Stone, Jeremy Void

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

EP Review: No Murder No Moustache "Hold My Beer" (Smash Mouse Records) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Band: No Murder No Moustache
Location: Wales
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Celtic acoustic punk
Format: Digital album
Label: Smash Mouse Records
Release date: June 26, 2020
During my normal escapades on the internet, I happened to come upon some new tunes. The upcoming EP ''Hold My Beer'' by No Murder No Moustache. This release boasts of a delightful combination of punk-rock and ''a Celtic folk twist,'' as stated in the email sent to me by Beth Jones.
I normally review heavier music, but I have no qualms about broadening my horizons... so I humbly clicked play on the tracks when they were officially downloaded to my computer. The five tracks I listened to from this were Hold My Beer, Fragile Society, Lose Myself To The Dark, Only Lies So Far, and Cyn Mae'r Byd Yn Cael Ei Ddinistro. The first thing I will say is that this style of music does not frequent my CD player or my Youtube/Bandcamp streams, but honestly, the songs are catchy, played well, and recorded and produced with great efficiency.
The highlight of this for me would be the acoustics and the Celtic aspect. They are both aggressive and punk-rock driven, but for me personally, they also inspire a sense of adventure and a longing for epic quests. That may be a bit off the mark, but I dare say that these tracks would pair well with a pitcher of mead or maybe some cheap draught... (But hey, that is just me).
This EP will be officially released June 26, 2020, and is the work of Owen Crawford. Yes, you heard that right. This is one individual! With the additional vocal help from Chris Hudson-Silver, Chris Hopkins, Hannah Crawford, and Ceri Richards, Owen manages to craft an elegant form of music that is both pleasurable and invigorating to the ears and other senses. This is a great EP, and I encourage anyone to give it a listen when it drops. Keep it up! –Devin Joseph Meaney

Owen Crawford: Music, Lyrics, Production, Performance
Additional backing vocals: Chris Hudson-Silver, Chris Hopkins, Hannah Crawford, Ceri Richards

Track list:
1. Hold My Beer
2. Fragile Society
3. Lose Myself To The Dark
4. Only Lies So Far
5. Cyn Mae'r Byd Yn Cael Ei Ddinistro

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Full Length Compilation Review: Ignominia "Ars Moriendi/Falsa Divinidad" (Fallen Temple Records) by Dave Wolff

Band; Ignominia
Location: Santiago
Country: Chile
Genre: Blackened death/thrash metal
Compilation: Ars Moriendi/Falsa Divinidad
Label: Fallen Temple Records (Poland)
Format: CD (limited to 500 copies), digital, streaming
Release date: January 11, 2019
The Chilean death metal band Ignominia started as Haunted Christians and changed their name before releasing their debut demo “Movimiento Underground Metal en Español” in 2010. Yes, this band write their lyrics in Spanish instead of English, to keep a strong bond between themselves and their home death metal community. Still this is a band with the potential for accessibility to listeners in the U.S. and other English-speaking countries.
While Ignominia is in its early stage, the name change from Haunted Christians was a clear-sighted decision. The new name Ignominia generally sounds less commonplace and more likely to inspire the listener to more deeply consider their world view. Even if they’re not releasing full lengths regularly the band is already beginning to mature. The band seems a closely guarded secret but they warrant checking out if you like brutality with refinement from musicians who care about their craft and take it seriously.
Their debut EPs “Falsa Divinidad” (2015) and “Ars Moriendi” (2017) were released independently and through a marginal label from China, Thanatology Productions, respectively. In 2019 they were both reissued on one CD via Poland’s Fallen Temple Records (also a marginal label but dealing with a greater number of bands) to spread their work from country to country. Before this compilation they made a similar effort releasing their rehearsal tape, demo and first EP on an independent cassette with another Chilean band, Teofobia (who unfortunately disbanded in 2017).
I had to play and replay “Ars Moriendi/Falsa Divinidad” (previewing on Fallen Temple’s Bandcamp and Ignominia’s Bandcamp) a few times before it grew on me, but I’m realizing their expressiveness as well as their heaviness. As Ignominia is from South America, it almost goes without saying that special attention was paid to spawning brutal old school-influenced slabs during the recording process, complete with what you’d expect from South American death metal: raw Mephistophelean guitars and bass, hammering, macerating drums and rasping, roaring, unforgiving vocals.
While keeping strong ties to Chilean death metal, I noticed the band borrow from early German death metal (particularly Kreator from 1983 to ‘85) and Norwegian and Swedish black metal from 1992 or ’93. This is apparent from “Intro.Cosecha de Almas/Invocación al Abismo Oculto” which starts with a shady acoustic section, turns to a plodding BM/DM riff and suddenly explodes into blast, tastefully going into several slower time changes without losing any tightness.
Of the tracks from “Ars Moriendi,” “Hipocresía”, “Consumidos por El Poder” and the title track follow this pattern of tireless blast with constant energy and a wide range of slower progressions, crunching guitar riffs, well planned harmonies and inventive leads. The production is gritty but not too much. You can still make out the instruments and vocals clearly enough to hear everything that’s going on. “Iniquidad” had another acoustic intro that strangely reminded me of the intro of “Spiral of Violence” by Whiplash, but much grittier.
The tracks from “Falsa Divinidad” are rawer and more straightforward, paying more attention to relentless blast and less attention to subtlety. “Visión Blasfema” especially makes this clear from the get go following a particularly noisy intro. The tempo changes are fewer but more effective in the midst of the breakneck speed. “Asesino”, “Formula de Muerte” and “Falsa Divinidad” are also thrashier than the songs on their second EP, with some Slayer influence in there. For this reason I would have liked “Falsa Divinidad” a little more when these EPs first came out, but both of them are exceptional examples of South American DM. –Dave Wolff

Marco Gajardo: Vocals, guitars
Andrés Valdés Guitars
Pablo Valdés: Bass
Claudio Anacona: Drums

Track list:
1. Intro.Cosecha de Almas/Invocación al Abismo Oculto
2. Hipocresía
3. Consumidos por El Poder
4. Iniquidad
5. Ars Moriendi
6. Intro
7. Visión Blasfema
8. Asesino
9. Formula de Muerte
10. Falsa Divinidad

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Interview with Melissa Wolfe of Sepsiss by Dave Wolff

Interview with Melissa Wolfe of Sepsiss

Did coming from a family of musicians and performers help shape your interest in playing in bands and becoming an alt model? How early did you start and how much support did you receive?
Since I grew up surrounded by musicians I have always had a love for music. My father is a guitar player, so as a child I had the chance to watch him play in his own band. This developed into an interest to seek out a band of my own as I got older (I was about seventeen years old when I formed Sepsiss with William Savant). My mother used to be a dancer and performer as well, but of course with age came other health issues and complications. She had to put her dancing career aside, but she has always seen me as her shining star. In a way, I think that she lives her dreams through me. My family is extremely supportive of everything that I do (including my modeling), and for that I could never thank them enough.

What is your definition of alternative modeling, compared to mainstream modeling?
Alternative modeling is when a model does not conform to mainstream ideas of beauty. You often see them using their own styles and subcultures such as tattoos, goth, and fetishism. They may be pierced, have Mohawks/Dreadlocks, or their hair is dyed an unnatural color. This type of modeling can be clothed or unclothed.

What band was your father in and how often did you see them? Does this band have shows on audio, video or streaming?
My father was in a band they called "Baker Road" (they named it after the street we were living on at the time). I never had the opportunity to see them play live, because I was just too young back then. However, I did get to see them practice all the time in our basement. I guess I never really cared how loud it was, I just wanted to be down there with my family and the music. They did make a CD, which I still have today... but none of their songs ever made it to a digital copy, since this was before the "digital age", so to speak. So you won't find it online, unfortunately. They made some amazing rock n' roll and they did manage to make one music video before the band broke up.

How long was Baker Road active before they disbanded? Do you still listen to their releases?
Baker Road was active from 1994 until 1999. They had disbanded because the singer got addicted to drugs and he was ultimately fired by my father. They tried to go on without the singer for a while, but it didn't seem to take. I do listen to their CD now and again for the memories, I really do enjoy the music. I feel like it could've gone somewhere for sure. After doing some digging, I realized Baker Road did make a few promotional videos with their songs "Back Off Me" and "Loan Me Some Time" that were aired on public television at that time through a local station in Amesbury, MA. It was a station similar to the "local licks" we have today on the radio, but I can't recall the name... and it did air from time to time for a couple of years on local Comcast Television. You can listen to "Back Off Me" here and you can listen to "Loan Me Some Time" here.

What about the dance and performance art your mother was involved in generated your interest in modeling?
My mother was a modern dance instructor and also an exotic dancer/performer. She had an agent that booked her around the country as the headliner and she's had her face on billboards in Florida. Her beauty and confidence in herself, as well as her confidence in me, allowed me to push forward with my own dreams.

What dance styles did your mother teach? Did she receive mainstream attention in television and magazines?
My mother instructed dance at Lannie's Dance Studio in Daytona Beach, Florida. They were part of Florida State Ballet Company. She taught what they called "modern jazz" or "modern dance" which is similar to hip-hop today with a ballet background. As far as exotic dancing, she was featured a couple of times in a magazine called "Easy Rider" back in the late 70's. During that era she was the headliner for TC Enterprises (her booking agent) which sent her all over the country to perform. She went by the name "Raven Blue."

Were you inspired by any alt models or other sources when you began alternative modeling?
When I first started my alternative modeling, I took inspiration mainly from other artists (Arch Enemy, In This Moment, Evanescence, etc) and comic books (Wonder Woman, Gene from X-Men, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, etc). I also look up to models such as Bella French, Lana Rain, Babs, Lexi Belle, Danica Logan, and a handful of others from mild to wild.

How do you reflect your attraction to those comic book characters?
When it comes to my modeling, I do a lot of fetish themes and cosplay. So it didn't take me long to figure out I could play stuff like that off very well. I really enjoy wearing costumes, leather, and lace much like those superheroines. I take a lot of it into account from the way they hold themselves right down to their hair and makeup. The bold flashy colors, glitter, and designs are a must.

In what ways did those alt models inspire you to seek your own vision?
The alternative models I mentioned earlier inspired me to look further into fetish and fashion. I really liked the way some would show off their feet, the nail-polish, and even the way some would re-enact a character during a cosplay. I've seen them really bring those characters to life with the costumes they chose and how they would dive deep into that character's personality. The makeup is also very important as sometimes a character's makeup really pinpoints who they are to the audience. Seeing all of this just makes me want to play with my own toes and throw on an outfit to become something or someone else for a day.

Do you notice mainstream models taking ideas from alt models and passing them off as their own? What examples have you recently seen of this, or of alt models being overlooked? How detrimental is it to alt modeling?
Mainstream models often do just that. I feel that alternative models often get by-passed or looked over just for the fact that they are a little different or in some cases too explicit.
I have seen plenty of mainstream icons model alternative concepts, such as Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna. They have all experimented with dyeing their hair in crazy colors, bondage themes, cosplay and furries. One of their favorite hair products being Manic Panic which has become almost a necessity in fashion for people who experiment with dyes at home. This used to be an alt model thing, but now it's becoming more of the "norm" to have wild colors in your hair. Heavy metal culture has always seemed to embrace adult sub-culture fashion, but has only become popular more recently with mainstream entertainment and modeling. The transgender, lesbian and gay community has also helped make erotic modeling and fashion more acceptable.
Growing up I felt a lot of alt models were overlooked for things such as tattoos and piercings. Though these things are becoming progressively more popular, many still feel this look is "unprofessional" and it can be hard to land a photo-shoot unless it is alt-specific. It would be easy to remedy this problem simply by people being more accepting of this.

In your view, are alt models copied because the mainstream is running out of creative ideas?
For some presentations, I'm sure they're exploiting a lack of variety, introducing ideas and styles that appear to be taking risks. The mainstream drops the ball on authenticity, but trends come and go. Call me neutral.

Do you think tattoos and piercings are more accepted than they were in the 90s and 2000s?
I believe tattoos and piercings are more accepted then they used to be. However, there are still some folks remaining out there that are not very accepting of it. Unfortunately it is still difficult for an average person to get a job if they have skin art, unless they cover it up with long sleeves and turtle necks.

What modeling projects are you planning for the immediate future?
I hope to engage in new networking, partnerships, and projects beyond the keyboard. Maybe some brand partnerships and sponsors. I would love to grow in goth fashion and alternative brand awareness. I think this year we will do an adult picture book or calendar.

Was Sepsiss the first band you worked in or were there others beforehand?
I was in many "bands" before Sepsiss that could never so much as finish writing a song, never-mind make it to the stage. I would consider them to be more like "jam bands" rather than something professional. We were supposed to get creative and that just never happened. Nobody ever gave me the time to grow and learn. They just expected me to be something amazing immediately. But with Sepsiss, I had that time, we did create, we even got signed and we became that band I've always dreamed of. I would say Sepsiss is my first real professional band.

Were there any “jam bands” you would have liked to see become more professional? Do you have any “garage recordings” from those bands?
The jam bands I was involved with never grew to the point where they could write any material, so unfortunately I do not have any garage recordings I can share.

Tell the readers how you met William Savant, decided to form a band with him, sought other musicians to work with and decided to name the band Sepsiss.
I met William Savant at the age of seventeen down in a creaky basement in Manchester, NH (after responding to his Craigslist ad). We were both looking to start up a project and I was showing up for a tryout. There was another girl (Ashley) that was supposed to try out that day, but she never came through. I landed the position for lead singer that day. And of course, William could play a mean guitar... so we decided to team up and make some killer music together. We've been through about twenty nine-plus band members since we started (and I’m not kidding about the numbers). But after a lot of hard work and dedication, I believe we finally have the right line-up for what we're about to do.
We named the band "Sepsiss" because it is unique and it's a word of its own. Unlike the disease, "sepsis," (spelled with one "s" at the end) which is based on a blood-born infection. We are Google searchable and it's easy to find. It's not like some other band names out there that are super long or too hard to read or say. It just kind of rolls off the tongue.

What did Sepsiss set out to do musically, and what fanbase did you expect to appeal to?
Our goal has always been to take over the world right from the start. We weren't very good when we first started out, but we've always had the dream and Sepsiss has grown into a complete monster since then. At first we imagined we would get a lot of hardcore and heavy metal fans moshing to our sound, but it's actually become so much more then that since the early days. Now we get fans from all over, including but not limited to hip-hop, r&b, country, and even pop fans. They all came together and there's a place for everyone in our music.

Who were the most inspirational bands for you and Savant when Sepsiss formed?
The bands that inspired us the most when Sepsiss started were Asking Alexandria, Avenged Sevenfold, Evanescence, Axxis, Halestorm, Metallica, Motley Crue, Dragonforce, Epica, Pantera, and so many more.

Why were there so many changes in lineup? How close is your present lineup to the vision you and Savant had?
The band went through so many members that just couldn't hack it. We've been through guitar players, bassists, keyboard players, and most of all... drummers. They've either quit on us, been fired, or simply couldn't keep up with the kind of work ethic this band requires. Our current lineup, however, is everything we've always wanted it to be. We've got all the right personalities and most of all we've got the skill-sets for the job.

Who is working with you in the band now? Were they previously in other bands? If so, how does their experience help?
Our current line up are pretty solid musicians. Cam and Johnny (guitar and bass) come from traditional metal and rock backgrounds, both having other projects before this one. Mr. Goodbarz (Tim) is our keyboard player. Both he and William come from urban music and underground hip hop production. Most of our compositions’ blue prints are generated by William, being the oldest has a lot of theory education.

What makes Sepsiss’ influences unique to extreme metal? In what ways does the music written by your current lineup differ from that of past lineups?
I believe that modern metal tends to lean in on heavy and harsher vocals. We know there is an amazing place for it in the mix. Songs these days tend to be dominated by one or two song elements. For us, there tends to be longer relationships between song parts, notes, and syncopation. The goal for us was to keep things competitively musical without confusing listeners or lots of yelling. We wanted screams to be purposeful and bring attention back to the lyrics and writing. We work like a revolving door of sonic possibilities, passing the baton during performances without having abrupt distractions or losing connection to the piece. I am a melodic vocalist, and my guitar players often make smart choices creating an environment with musical opportunity.
Line-up has always been a key factor. Our staff and band members developed our own language early on, and it was important that everyone understood it. The music is strict and the dance is delicate. Played poorly, or lack of practice and discipline, can be devastating with this sort of music.

Did your expansion of musical boundaries progress naturally? Should musicians force themselves to “branch out” or simply play what they feel and take it from there?
I would say that it was natural and certainly over a length of time. You should never have to force your music. If it's working for you and your fans like it (and you like it) then just play what feels right. You also have to live a little to write, and we had a lot of living to do before we felt comfortable with our sonic fingerprint. In heavy metal we expect to hear bands expressing darkness, anger, violence and frustration. A handful of acts even dig into politics and religion has been a popular topic in metal from the beginning. Our version of heavy metal had to say something different. We didn't design our sound trying to win over existing metal fans. We designed our sound to create NEW fans of heavy metal, period. High energy, content-rich, melodic, and aggressive. Aggressive doesn't mean anger or hatred. We wanted to be a band that could put the sex back into heavy music or pull you into a captivating story. No ages, no colors, no politics, no violence, just the people's metal. If you can't dance to it, it isn't Sepsiss.

How much material has Sepsiss released altogether? Did you start out producing your releases independently, then move on to working with professionals? Do you prefer professional studios or your own equipment?
Sepsiss started out independent, releasing our EP "Badd Blood" in April of 2019. Grammy-nominated. We have since then won the New England Music Awards for best Heavy Metal/Hard Rock act of the year for 2019. Now, recently signing with Pavement Entertainment, we plan to release our first full-length album "Almost 11" through them this August 21st, 2020. I do enjoy the calm and comfort of working from home, but there is nothing like the feel and quality of a professional studio environment. Something about being there just puts your mind where it really needs to be.

Are copies of “Badd Blood” still available, or can it be streamed on the internet?
Unfortunately "Badd Blood" is completely sold out, since we only made those CD's when we were still independent. So there are limited copies out there. I guess you can call it a collector's item now, lol. However, you can download a small demo version of the CD (which has 4 songs on it) digitally from our store while you're waiting for "Almost 11" to be released. You can find it at our site.

What do your lyrics cover, and in what ways do they complement your music?
Our lyrics cover everything from love and lust, to sci-fi/fantasy, the apocalypse, and even murder. I would say the lyrics matches the music perfectly and it really helps to bring out the emotion behind the song. While I might pick a topic with William, we approach each track transparent after a theme. Without disconnection, we build a deeper relationship with each paragraph. If you didn't already feel something before, you'll certainly start to feel once you've connected with the words. The music alone is enough to make your heart skip a beat with the screaming cries and sweeping melodies from the guitars, the pulsing dance of the drums and bass, and the atmospheric whisper of the keyboard.

Discuss some of the topics that you and William choose. How are the lyrics channeled to get your listeners to feel them?
Because we write about everything and nothing, we have quite a variety of topics ranging from aliens to relationships and multi-sensory consciousness. No agendas or politics. Just human music to use your imagination and provoke personal inventory.

Explain how your music is geared toward fueling the imagination? How much effort do you put into your lyrics toward this purpose?
Because of transparency and concept phrasing, we focused choosing a lot of neutral and interpretive lyrics. For some acts, they don’t feel satisfied unless they write the most confusing technical or aggressive piece. We feel this is a big disconnect for a hand full of people. This makes it difficult for people relate with intelligently. While they might enjoy some noise they usual don’t relate to it or able to interpret it. It’s a balanced diet of the unpredictability predictable to quote Cam.

Are you working with Glen Robison to engineer “Almost 11”? How much more work is needed before it’s completed?
Glen Robinson worked on engineering “Badd Blood”. Coming back to the table for “Almost 11” after a rather successful four song indie release, we quickly set out to improve released tracks and added four unpublished and three more brand new songs. A lot of our music is popular in the region so it was important to track new songs regardless. Glen is definitely the seventh member of the band. Our record label has the album right now. It is complete.

How did you find Glen Robinson to engineer your releases? How would you describe his work for you?
We had some really rough demos floating around the internet gathering feedback. We’re not exactly sure how Glen found us. But one day, a strange email popped up with his name on it. William was familiar with Queensryche, Annihilator and Gwar. William wrote it off as a scam, so we ignored the message. Weeks later, we did some research and were pleasantly surprised that indeed it was the real Glen Robinson. Glen became a massive influence in re calibration, and tweaked some presentation ideas to make the presentation a bit sturdier. Since then, he truly is the 7th member of the band.

Does Sepsiss have their own record label, or have you been signed to the same label from the beginning?
We have a small production company and a huge stage staff. We are signed to pavement entertainment for this next album. This is our first world published collection.

Are you considering drawing from less mainstream friendly genres for your formula?
I'm going to be upfront. We love a very wide spectrum of metal styles... tried, true, and traditional. Thrash or Death. Symphonic or Metal-core. In terms of modern metal, we hear lots of truly amazing bands that simply get lost because they only seem to appeal to certain groups of fans. Singing in modern metal, I have noticed a slight difference in the frequency of the listener. William and I knew this, and we wanted to create a kind of heavy metal that a much wider variety of people could learn. That explains why we have such a time chamber of sounds and presentations. We want our heavy metal to be for everyone. The people's metal.

Would you look for inspiration from doom, black, ambient, death or folk metal?
We have a tremendous amount of love and respect for many shapes and versions of heavy metal. We get asked all the time about me screaming or more death style breakdowns. Sepsiss is a growing band and we have much more living and learning before we rule out anything that can help improve or add to our recipe. Finding a great balance between preforming solid sets and musical ability will always be a priority for us. We released a folk song on Facebook called “No Strings Attached” it just reached 200k over there so who knows. Maybe acoustic versions of the music. We’re so new to the ears, practicing a lot and studying the art. I would expect our next album will be very advanced. There are three songs in production as we speak. The evolution is there already. It’s going to get Interesting.

What styles of folk music did you base “No Strings Attached” on while writing it?
Campfire guitars and haunting lyrics remind me of country and blues. With Williams approach using arpeggios to accompany Tim’s piano parts modernize it for me but I believe William when with a country feel.

Speaking of fry screaming, do you have any previous experience? How much practice would you need to do with your vocal cords so you can sustain your fry screaming?
I have tried half-heartedly for fun before. Truly it would be a distraction for me because I have so much more to learn and grow as a singer. Maybe one day when my current goals as a vocalist have reached a place for me. I love my position and without ruling anything out, it will be quite a while before I consider heavier aggressive vocals.

When do you plan to release “Almost 11” and how do you plan to promote it once it’s out?
Almost 11 is coming out via Pavement entertainment August 21 this year. Promotion is so different now. It’s all about the prerelease and what leads up to an actual release. We have a hand full of surprises, games, give always, band interaction and an amazing pr team and strategy. Most of our staff are in house and we create content on the fly. Sepsiss is a military mechanism. We hit the ground hard and fast. Keeping a high energy discipline and quality content. This whole year will be full of surprises even after the release.

What do you and the band hope to accomplish with Sepsiss, musically and otherwise?
Our goals as a metal band are to make heavy music beyond the predictable. Let go of trendy and safe ideas in metal music. Sepsiss isn’t a violent form of rock music. There’s no hate fueled content or segregated ideas. No politics or dominated by heavy vocals or over processing. We use human voices and keep our mistakes when they fit. We have heard so many band that fail to create what you hear on the albums. For us that was a massive goal, staying with the integrity of performable songs, sonically and physically.

-Dave Wolff