Thursday, November 26, 2020

Full Length Review: Cernunnous "Cosmic Horns" (Spettro Records, Gorecyst Records) by Rev. Faustus Kain

Band: Cernunnous
Location: Nova Scotia
Country: Canada
Genre: Black metal
Full Length: Cosmic Horns
Format: Digital album
Label: Spettro Records ‎(Italy), Gorecyst Records (Canada)
Release date: November 14: 2020
Cover artwork by John Sorrell of Morgue Rot zine 
When it comes to Black Metal opinions vary substantially from metalhead to metalhead. Mayhem and Burzum were two of the founders of the genre back in the days of pure Norwegian Black Metal. The Genre endured some hardships as Mayhem and Burzum became the epicenter of controversy. Varg Vikernes of Burzum was found guilty of helping burn down multiple churches in Norway and previously appeared as “Count Grishnackh” in Bergens Tidende, one of the country’s biggest newspapers, claiming he burned down the churches. This ultimately brought conflict between Varg and Euronymous of Mayhem, ultimately leading to Varg stabbing Euronymous 23 times with two of those stab wounds to the head. After serving 15 years of his sentence, Varg was released from prison in 2009 and changed his name to Louis Cachet. This was essentially the origins of black metal, and the phenomena spread from the cold fjords of Norway to the United States when acts like Xasthur and Goatwhore began paving the way for future acts like Lurker of Chalice/Leviathan to really make an impact in the brutal black metal scene. 
Upon listening to Cernunnous, it’s clear the band really did their homework and know exactly how to channel that true black metal sound. True black metal is grainy, hazy, and sometimes inaudible as it captures the pure ferocity and anguish the bands put into their music. The earliest black metal was recorded on analogue audio recorders. Cernunnous cleans it up a little bit and their vocals can be understood while maintaining a musical quality that pays homage to the origins of black metal. I will say that their drum beats sound like they are done on a midi controller or in his DAW, however, the needed presence of blast beats are there as they are absolutely essential the black metal recipe. Other elements of the black metal recipe are also present as the screaming, presence of satanism and the occult and haunting riffs can be heard. Their understandable vocals adds depth to their sound, but for some that may be deemed as damning characteristic in their music. I do not see this being a favorite in the mind of the black metal elitist, however, I enjoy their recipe and am interested in hearing more from the band. 
Cernunnous hails from Northern Nova Scotia and is a one man act much like Xasthur and Leviathan/Lurker of Chalice, two early acts from the 1990’s in North America. Cosmic Horns was released November 14, 2020 and sets the stage for the future works of Cernunnous. You can find Cernunnous on Facebook and Myspace for updates on the band and future projects. I’ve now come to where I give my rating, 1 being only worthy of the burn barrel and 5 being equivalent to the establishment of a new world religion; I give Cernunnous a 3/5 and I’ll be keeping up with the one man act.
Stay Metal, Stay Brutal! -Rev. Faustus Kain

Cernunnous: Vocals, all instruments

Track list:
1. Mycotoxic Euphoria
2. Unequivocal Mastery
3. Cosmic Horns
4. Behold The Blizzard
5. Celestial Incantation
6. Horned is the Hunter
7. Primordial Galaxies of Ideation

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Film Review: #Alive (Lotte Entertainment, Netflix, 2020) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Written by Il Cho and Matt Naylor
Directed by Il Cho 
Starring Ah-In Yoo, Park Shin-Hye and Bae-soo Jeon
Distributed by Lotte Entertainment and Netflix
Release date: June 24, 2020 (South Korea), September 8, 2020 (world)
During my break from writing, I happened to watch a handful of movies. One of these movies was the film #Alive, a Korean take on the zombie flick phenomenon. I watched this one partially with my mother (she bowed out early because she did not want to watch a dubbed movie) but I did finish it by myself. And I am glad that I did! This film was pretty damn good overall!
It is similar to other zombie survival movies (No contact, limited food and water, high risks, etcetcetc.) but there are some things that stood out as unique in this film.
One thing I found was that #Alive was not as dark as many ''horror'' films, and there were a ton of hidden positive messages. Not to let on too much, but if you watch the film, pay attention to the scenes with the laser pointer. If you catch them, you will see a glimpse of faith and hope. But that is only if you are really paying attention.
As I watched this during the wrath of Covid-19, you can also notice certain similarities with modern life and this fictional film. And just like modern life, the film portrays that with a good mindset and a dedicated attitude... sometimes a genuinely positive outcome is what is in store. Or hey, maybe I'm just crazy.
This film may not be for everyone, but I personally enjoyed it. The visuals were pretty good and the dubbing (in my opinion) did not at all take away from the film. Long story short... give this one a view. And if you don't like it, the worst thing that can happen is that you shut off the TV. Amirite? –Devin Joseph Meaney

This review can be read at Devin Joseph Meaney's official blog. -DW

Monday, November 23, 2020

Band Review: Manegarm by Devin Joseph Meaney

Add caption
Band: Manegarm
Location: Stockholm
Country: Sweden
Genre: Black/Viking/folk metal
Full Length: Manegarm
Format: CD
Label: Napalm Records
Release date: November 20, 2015
Full Length: Fornaldarsagor
Format: CD
Label: Napalm Records
Release date: April 26, 2019
While I was perusing Facebook, I noticed that someone had posted about the band Manegarm. I have heard of this band before, and I knew that I enjoyed the music, so I decided that I would revisit to see if my past enjoyments were still current.
The first album I noticed up for listening was the self-titled album ''Manegarm''. I remembered really enjoying this one, so I figured my best bet was to start here. And just as I assumed... yes, this is still an amazing album. By the end of the first track I was in tears (not sad, it's just so damn pretty) and by the start of the second, I wished to be frolicking in a mead hall with warriors of a time long past. The folk elements and the metal complement each other to near perfection, and the way the album swings from one pole to another is something that entices me to the fullest. Great musicianship, great vocals, and great vibes... I would encourage that this one gets listened to.
After Manegarm, I switched over to ''Fornaldarsagor,'' another album by this band. I have no memory of this one, but I also encourage that this one gets consumed by many an eardrum. It is just as good (just as I assume the majority of their material is) and I was once again sailing across battlefields in my head to protect people in fictional, fantasy-like skirmishes.
Some people would tell you that all of this music is based on evil and darkness, but a lot of the sounds emitted from these albums are uplifting, and invoke genuine feelings of brotherhood and friendship. Although I listened to these albums alone while sipping rooibos tea, if me and the boys (the RIGHT boys) were to get together any time soon... I'd like to throw these on and have a few beers. It sounds like it would be a great time!
Thankfully, there is no shortage of material for this band, as there is a heaping discography available. And I plan to take advantage of this. Although I streamed these albums on Youtube, if given the chance with available funds, I would happily support this band by buying an album, or a t-shirt, or patches, etcetcetc. Not to mention that the artwork that the band uses is highly appealing to me!
All in all, this is amazing stuff. And I want you to listen to it... but are you ready to conquer the battlefield? –Devin Joseph Meaney

Erik Grawsiö: Bass, vocals
Markus Andé: Guitars
Jacob Hallegren: Drums
[Guitarist Jonas "Rune" Almquist appears on “Manegarm”]

Track list
1. Blodörn
2. Tagen av daga
3. Odin Owns Ye All
4. Blot
5. Vigverk - Del II
6. Call of the Runes
7. Kraft
8. Bärsärkarna från svitjod
9. Nattramn
10. Allfader
11. Månljus
12. Mother Earth, Father Thunder (Bathory cover)

1. Sveablotet
2. Hervors arv 
3. Slaget vid Bråvalla
4. Ett sista farväl 
5. Spjutbädden
6. Tvenne drömmar
7. Krakes sista strid 
8. Dödskvädet

This review can also be read at Devin Joseph Meaney's official blog. -DW

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

EP Review: Mustard Gas and Roses "We Are One" (Pax Aeternum) by Dave Wolff

Location: Los Angeles, California
Country: USA
Genre: Ambient rock
EP: We Are One
Format: Digital album
Release date: November 10, 2020
Like many bands and solo projects I’ve covered, Mustard Gas and Roses have a number of releases from years past, records with limited exposure and exclusive listenerships, records promising to expand traditional rock’s limits into something as untested as their capabilities allow. Again I arrived late to the party and missed the four full lengths Michael Gallagher released since he started this project, “Becoming” (2016), “22nd of May” (2014), “Wavering on the Cresting Heft” (2007) and “Nova Lux” (2006). Gallagher founded MGR to move beyond the bounds of his previous band Isis, writing ethereal, atmospheric music as a counterpoint to Isis’ sorrowful dropped B-tuned requiems. Gallagher has a tendency to vanish for years at a stretch between albums, only to return with reinvigorated distinctiveness after finding new musicians with varied backgrounds to work with. The new EP “We Are One” features covers of Joy Division and Spiritualized with two new originals. “Shadows” and “Becoming” struck me with the enigmatic mystery of the Doors and Lou Reed, with the ambiance of Sisters of Mercy and Glenn Danzig’s Samhain (the Swans are mentioned as being an influence). If you’re an avid listener of those bands, jazz, stoner rock and early new wave, you should easily find yourself immersed in “We Are One”. Gallagher writes quiet, self-contained music that unexpectedly fulminates into a bulldozing, entrancing wall of sound. Listening to “We Are One” is like traveling through space in a one-man craft, surrounded by emptiness and starlight that will never be reached in your lifetime. Collected from several recording sessions with different session musicians in 2017, the EP was mixed by Sanford Parker and mastered by James Plotkin. These two manage to unify each recording session into something catchy for its coldness and isolation. As for the covers of Joy Division’s “Exercise One” and Spiritualized’s “Cop Shoot Cop”, I’m not familiar with the original versions but these fit nicely alongside the two original pieces. The full length release of “Becoming” was recently reissued on Pax Aeternum records to coincide with the release of “We Are One”, so be sure to check it out next to the EP. –Dave Wolff 


Tracks 1 and 3:
Mike Gallagher: Guitar, vocals
Marc Brandi: Guitar
J Bennett: Bass
Patrick Crawford: Drums

Track 2:
Mike Gallagher: Guitar, vocals
Bryan Tulao: Guitar

Track 4:
Mike Gallagher: Guitar, vocals
Bryan Tulao: Guitar
J Bennett: Bass
Sash Popovic: Drums
Keefus Cianca: Piano
Tara Connelly, C J Leedy and Sera Timms: Additional vocals

Track list:
1. Shadows
2. Becoming
3. Exercise One (Joy Division cover)
4. Cop Shoot Cop (Spiritualized civer)

Interview with Aaron Robinson of Blood of Angels by Dave Wolff (second band interview)

Interview with Aaron Robinson of Blood of Angels

This is the band's second interview for Asphyxium. Their first, in April 2019, can be read here. -DW

Blood of Angels formed in 2015 and released their debut EP “Rise of the Fallen Gods” two years later. The three songs recorded for it were based on Norse mythology. Did the band intend to write about mythology on each release or was “Rise” a one shot deal?
Rise was to be a one-shot deal with Norse Mythology. We plan on doing concept albums covering different subjects. The current album “Failure of Faith” is about the three monotheistic religions and what they have done to divide humanity.

How many independent labels did the band seek out before settling on Sliptrick Records?
Not many. Sliptrick Records was highly recommended to us from a reliable business associate. 

How long did it take Blood of Angels to complete their new album “Failure of Faith” for its release last October? How well has Sliptrick Records handled publicity since it came out?
It took us a year to track the songs for the “Failure of Faith.” The album was completed last June. Sliptrick Records has done a good job with the PR of the album release, as well as Metal Coffee PR and Against PR. We have had some awesome reviews, and an article and spot on the compilation disc for Legacy Magazine.

Was the album recorded, mixed and mastered in a studio or independently? Did you record the parts together or separately?
We recorded the parts separately, and the album was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Mastersound Studios in Tampa, FL.

Why did you choose the Tampa studio to work on “Failure of Faith” and who was in charge of recording, mixing and mastering? Did the people you worked with generate the sound and atmosphere you envisioned for the album?
Preston DiCarlo handled all the engineering of the album. The reason I choose the studio is that Preston has a great history working with metal and punk bands. He made the work environment enjoyable. I felt he really found the sound we were looking for.

Why was “Failure of Faith” chosen as the album’s title, and how do the songs on the album relate to its intended meaning?
“Failure of Faith” is the perfect title for the album. The first half album is about the formation of the main three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The second half of the album gives historical examples of how these faiths have divided humanity under false truths to preserve power for themselves.

How much historical research went into studying monotheistic religions and the divisions it caused while the album was written?
Quite a bit, over many years. This is a subject I have wanted to tackle in an album in a long time. 

According to what your research uncovered, in what ways did religions create false truths to maintain power and control? Were there times this ended with the masses rising against the ruling classes?
The false truth of god and instilling the fear of god upon a gullible populace. The creation of the messiahs that all seems to follow the same story. God sends an angel to communicate with the chosen one who is poorly educated. Then they are to spread god’s word. The problem is that these events are only documented in religious text, but not found in any historical record of the time. The other question is the validity of these religious texts. Most of them were written many years, even centuries after the supposed events. Old Testament did not take form until the 8th Century BC. Jesus was believed to be crucified in 35 AD. Nothing was written about him until 55 AD. The letters of Paul only referred to Jesus as a revelation, and not a living being. Also, the story of Jesus follows the same story as Romulus, Mithra, Dionysus, and Horus. The Prophet Muhammad is said to ascend to heaven in 550 AD. The earliest Quran did not surface until 590 AD. You have to ask the question why the forty year gap?
The times when masses have risen against ruling it was to topple tyrannical governments. But the religions remain.

When you started work on “Failure of Faith”, how did you intend to do so in a way that was unique to Blood Of Angels and different from other bands’ observations on religion?
Most metal bands discuss religion and use the forbidden idea of Satanism for shock value. Some of the bands in the Norwegian black metal bands do have a lot of conviction of their satanic beliefs. Religion with us is not used to shock, but as attempt to ask questions and get the audience to objectively think about faith, and whether faith is a good thing. We approached the subject through an academic angle. Objectively looking at religion and seeing if the stories match the known history.

How long had you thought about addressing issues of religion in a concept album? How often have you seen religion used as a weapon or a means of control?
I have been wanting to address religion as subject for many years. I thought this was the right time to do this album. As far as seeing how religion is used as a means of a weapon, you do not have to look much further than 9/11. How those men were manipulated by the call of Islamic Jihad to execute a plan to murder 3,000 people. Religion is used in our own country to manipulate believers into a political agenda. They are using our system to steer the nation into an ideology that serves Evangelical interest to create a theocracy. Some people find that to be a good idea. But theocracies are not tolerant of free thought. Iran is a good example.

Speaking of 9/11, I’m sure you’ve heard about the many conspiracy theories that surfaced since then. How much credence would you give some of them? 
I do not give the conspiracy theories any credence. I have heard that it was an inside job, and explosives were set throughout the building. They are questions on how building 7 came down. At the end of the day, those planes were hijacked by Islamic extremist, and were piloted into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

What is your personal definition of Satanism? Are Satanic themes still relevant in metal or not, or does it depend on the band?
There are a few. You have the actual worship of Satan. And there is the Anton LaVey version as a focus on carnal humanism. I really like what The Satanic Temple is doing. They are keeping the first amendment of our Constitution honest. Just like all gods and prophets like Moses, Jesus, and Muhammed; Satan doesn’t exist either. They are challenging the perceived notion that America is a Christian nation. I do not think Satanic themes have much relevance anymore. I feel the shock value of Satanism has passed.

If Satanic themes in metal aren’t as relevant anymore, what lyrical themes would be more relevant for the present?
They are many things that bands can write about. Personal struggles, real life horrors, politics, social activism etc. So many more things to write about besides promoting fictional demonic figures.

What bands do you know of who write more relevant lyrics for the times that you relate to?
Dark Tranquility, Ozzy Osbourne, and Metallica write lyrics beyond your stereo typical metal band. Iron Maiden has always been a band of lyrical intellect. 

Were there any movies you saw that inspired you to question religion? Or any books that supported your position? And why?
They were not any movies. Bill Maher film Religulous inspired the album. As far as bands go, Acheron was a big influence in questioning the legitimacy of religion. Vincent Crowley made a very persuasive case. I was already questioning the truth of religious organizations. They are a lot of books that support similar positions. Dr. Richard Dawkins “The God Delusion” is a good example.

What did Vincent Crowley and Richard Dawkins say that bolstered your drive to question religious organizations?
Vincent has always expressed the questioning of Christianity in his lyrics. Richard Dawkins has always showed that god is not possible. He has done it through evolutionary science.

Did you see the documentary “Hail Satan” about the Satanic Temple? If so, what did you think? How much of a good thing is it that they’re challenging Christian fundamentalism, and how would you respond to people who say they’re weirdoes and idiots?
I did see the documentary. I think it is great that they are mocking organized religion using satanic imagery to make people uneasy and keep the government honest about the first amendment. Freedom of religion means freedom of all religions, not just the one of the majorities, although The Satanic Temple seems to be an activist organization and not a religion. On a side note, I am proud of the organization to have dismissed one of their leaders for calling for the President’s assassination. Even if you don’t like President Trump, calling for his assassination is a horrible bridge to far. 
Weird is a matter of opinion; idiots they most certainly are not. They have won court case after court case with strong valid arguments for religious freedom.

Are your observations on religions misconstrued at times as attacks on religions, or do you make the album’s message clear and easy to understand for the listener?
I feel we have made the message clear. I am sure the devout will see the album as an attack their religion. Any time the faith is questioned they go right to the accusation of heresy, instead of attempting to question what exactly they are worshiping to begin with.

What songs on the album most descriptively illustrate the points we’ve been discussing?
All of them in their own way!
Monotheism: “Monotheism” is the beginning of the concept of a singular God during the time of ancient Egypt, and how that concept has fanaticized followers to a concept of superiority over other faiths in the ancient world through the middle ages. 
40 Year Journey: This song goes into the development of Judaism from Exodus to the creation of modern-day Israel, as well as how an oppressed people throughout history has become the oppressor. Blood of the Lamb: Continues the journey into the development of the three main religions by bringing this account of Christianity based on historical facts and not the bible. Questioning the validity and claims of the “messiah” and the creation of a power-hungry organizations based a blend of ancient used to alter history.
The Messenger: Islam is the religion of focus on this track. “The Messenger” is the translation for the profit Mohamad and how a legend transformed into a religion that continues to influence and used to control over a billion people today.
The Crusader: This song begins the second half of the album. In this song we chronicle the 200-year war that is known as The Crusades. 
King of Hops: The title comes from the nickname given to Martin Luther when he was in seminary school, because of his love for beer. The song outlines the revolutionary changes that Martin Luther did within Christianity.
Disaster of Supremacy: This how societal ideas of supremacy in any form brings for the end of stabilized civilization. By linking racial and religious supremacist’s ideology have the same dangerous end. 
Don’t Need (Religion): Our tribute to the great Motorhead and Lemmy Kilmister. “Don’t Need (Religion)” was originally recorded on the “Iron Fist” album. We wanted to do a Motorhead song, and this song is perfect to summarize the album.
America’s Mythologies: For the finale of “Failure of Faith” we delve into the three verses highlighting some of the religious organizations created in the United States. We discuss Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Scientology.

Which reviewers or underground magazines most closely understood the lyrical concept of “Failure of Faith”?
Metal Temple Review and Legacy Magazine are the ones that made the best attempt and understood the album’s concept.

How did you establish promotion deals with Metal Coffee PR and Against PR and how well have they helped the band?
We have been working with Metal Coffee PR since the beginning of the company. Wes has been fantastic helping our band in many ways beyond PR. We have had a fantastic relationship for three years. Against PR came to us, I was looking for some additional boost. Against PR has given us that extra push we needed. 

Being that Metal Coffee PR and Against PR are online in one form or another, are those companies helping the band receive exposure outside the US? How did you cross paths with them and what interested them in helping the band?
Both have done a great job getting us exposure outside the US. Against PR is based in Spain. Their main public relations connections are in Europe. Wes came to me three years ago wanting to represent us. After an exceptionally good meeting we decided to work with him, and the relationship. With Against PR, I started to get emails from them, so we decided to give them a chance. It has been a good relationship. They have helped us out with endorsements, and press releases.

Do you have any concepts in mind for the next Blood of Angels full length, if and when you begin working on one? Or are you going to see what inspiration comes to you?
We are planning on doing an album exploring different cultural funeral rituals, and how they help with closure. This is something we all experience, and I feel it will that we can all connect with.

-Dave Wolff

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Demo Review: Violent Christians "No Speed No Punk!" (Roach Leg Records) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Band: Violent Christians
Location: Austin, Texas
Country: USA
Genre: Punk, Hardcore
Demo: No Speed No Punk!
Format: Cassette, digital
Label: Roach Leg Records (Brooklyn NY, USA)
Release date: March 23, 2020
I keep busying myself with other things. Due to this, my ability to sit down and actually review things has declined. I couldn't let that happen, so I decided I would hit up Youtube to see if I could snag a cool demo release for my eardrums. I was not feeling like goregrind, so I quickly went on the hunt for some old school punk.
I passed over a few demos, but quickly came to the release ''No Speed No Punk!'' by Violent Christians. I have never heard of this band before (as far as I know, I hear a lot of stuff) but when I clicked play I could tell that this was something worth listening to. And as I was not feeling like a full-length release, it was the perfect amount of punk rock. And it had that lo-fi grit that I absolutely adore.
Simple riffs mixed with tight and fast drumming, aggressive vocals, and a hearty tinge of attitude, Violent Christians manage to not only have a great tone and vibe, but they have proven to me I would for sure check out future releases from these guys. 
I noticed they put out another demo in 2020 (maybe more?) and I for sure will return to give it a listen. Punk rock in a classical sense, this band is the good stuff.
...Anyone got a beer? –Devin Joseph Meaney

Track list:
1. Body Bag
2. Bullshit Junky
3. Need A Fixxx
4. Forgotten Few
5. NRA
6. Social Disease
7. Up Your Arse 

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Full Length Review: 25th Mission "Disciples Of Metal" (Independent) by Reverend Faustus Kain

Band: 25th Mission
Location: East Meadow, New York
Country: USA
Genre: Heavy metal
Full Length: Disciples Of Metal
Format: Digital album
Label: Independent
Release date: July 15, 2020
Like every metalhead ever to exist, I too am always on the look out for new music. I sometimes get bored with the mainstream acts as there’s really and truly only a few modern acts that catch my attention. Bands like In This Moment, Beast in Black, Amon Amarth and Ghost are my go-to modern bands. Unfortunately modern metal bands just don’t pack the same punch as older metal bands. My journey into metal began when I was a boy with my mother blasting AC/DC’s Back in Black, Metallica’s Black Album, Ozzy’s Blizzard of Ozz and frequently talked about dropping acid at a Dio concert and having the worst trip of her life. Naturally I was baptized in the icy rivers of metal and rebellion at an innocent age and for that I salute my mother. 
My “source” of musical inspiration would have to befall that of Black Sabbath, Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Each member of those bands have helped me along my ways of music and being the inspiration behind me picking up my first axe, which was an acoustic First-Act my mother got me from a second hand store somewhere in my hometown. Now, I am a doom metal guitarist that rocks an ESP LTD Black Metal with Black Winter Pick Ups routed into a massive Marshal Stack and a pedal board to gives me the best fuzz sound that tickles my fancy. Needless to say I am very picky when it comes to bands who proclaim to be in the same league as Priest, Maiden and Sabbath as that is a high bar to set and an image that is hard to fill. In listening to 25th Mission, some songs hit well within their target range while others fall dramatically short. It’s Metal, it’s not meant to be perfect and when you listen to a band thinking they are going to be “just like” another band, you’ll find yourself disappointed as each band has their own flavor and it’s borderline impossible to be “just like” anyone else that had the urge to pick up a guitar and who had the blood lust to continue playing. So when I say they fall dramatically short of Judas Priest or Iron Maiden, that’s actually a good thing.
Metal is supposed to have attitude, it’s supposed to challenge authority and it’s supposed to drop an air raid of sound on your ear holes. You know you’re doing good when you gotta take a moment to regain your bearings after leaving a metal show or after jamming out to metal full blast. 25th Mission brings an assault on the senses like Generals who have gathered in their masses to knock us on our fat asses with their relentless volley of thrash metal. They incorporate elements of doom metal into their thrash arsenal and that brings more terror to the battle field. This is not the band to listen to quietly, this is the kind of band that when you listen to them so does everyone within a block of you. This would be the act to see for a brutal mosh pit, badass women and a flow of booze that would only be fitting for metal royalty. While bands like this are a genuine dying breed, this band is still on the front lines keeping the old school relevant to the few who seek it out. 
So let’s talk about their new album “Disciples of Metal”. It’s a strong name to live up to and they prove their worth in their tracks. DoM has 15 tracks that get more and more intense starting with “Laid to Rest” and gets the train rolling towards their hardcore cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”. Their ferocity is on point and is comparable to Pantera, and while no one can top Dimebag’s legendary wielding of the battle axe; Mikey can lay down the vocals good enough that even Phil Anselmo might bust out in a grin. The train keeps moving to “Hit ‘em Again”, which is sort of a proper allegory for the increasing intensity of the album with every track that plays. Some of these songs hit like “Sad But True” and “Don’t Tread On Me” from Metallica’s Black Album, and incorporates screams that are common in Iron Maiden and like songs “Cemetery Gates” from Pantera. By this time “Bitchin’”, their 12th track on DoM, is surely going to be what your neighbors will be doing as you have this album cranked up. The things that I appreciate the most about this band are their composition, their ability to lay down beastly tracks and bring back an age of music that has all but been forgotten since the end of the 1980s, and to say it’s refreshing is the understatement of the decade. As the train nears the end of its journey their last song “Lunacy’s Son” leaps out of the ground like battle ready dwarves ready to take what’s theirs with a fast tempo and the same the ferocity that has been chugging along since “Laid to Rest” at the beginning of the album. 
15 songs on an album is an ambitious feat that they accomplished with relative ease, and the fact that they made it an ass whooping from start to finish is an accomplishment that not even modern mainstream acts can really fulfill. 25th Mission has only been around for a couple of years now and they’ve already got a killer following on Facebook. Soon they will be declaring war at music venues around New York State and beyond once again after Covid-19 comes to an end hopefully soon. I, for one, will make it a point to enlist at their next show and join their growing fanbase. 
So now I get into where I rate this band. I base my ratings on a 5 point scale, 1 being only worthy of the fire pit and 5 being the equivalent to the establishment of a new world religion; I judge bands and their albums based on musical composition, ferocity, stage presence and how well the album flows from start to finish. While other military themed bands such as Sabaton go a Power Metal route, 25th Mission does things a bit more brutally, and with all things considered I am compelled to give them a solid 4/5 and a double thumbs up. 25th Mission has set the bar high for only being two years old. -Reverend Faustus Kain

Mike Deyhl: Vocals
Pat Picarsic: Lead guitar
Vinny Carollo: Bass
James Baldassano: Drums

Track list:
1. Laid to Waste
2. Signs from Above
3. Tantrum
4. Die before I Kill You (A Love Song)
5. Left Behind
6. Ode to Hardrada
7. Swingblade
8. We are the Ones
9. Every Mother's Nightmare
10. Folsom Prison Blues
11. Hit 'em Again
12. Bitchin'
13. Bullet in the Chamber
14. Shakedown
15. Lunacy's Son

Interview with The Cannibal Fae Of Waking Dream by Dave Wolff

Interview with Eurithia Tachinidae and Lyra Daydream of The Cannibal Fae Of Waking Dream

Asphyxium: The Cannibal Fae of Waking Dream strikes me as a strange mix of goth, industrial, techno and experimental metal, with a tribal/pagan feel. Was this what you had in mind? How long has the band been active and how did it develop?
Eurithia Tachinidae: We weren’t sure what to make of it. It started with the end of The Entropic Order (an incredible group that originated in New York but has since moved to Canada.) I wasn’t sure where the project was going or who was going to be involved. Neither was Lyra. If anything, those who were involved with this project (aside from the two of us) weren’t really human. They were New Yorkers too and were right in the tree across from our firescape on the second floor.
I don’t expect anyone to believe what I am saying as it sounds crazy to even me. They were the inspiration for many of the songs that came to be, with the exception of some that dealt with personal mental illness and also the unfortunate truths regarding the actions, thoughts and motives of humanity. It’s amazing: the things that fear, hate and desperation can make a person do even in this Modern Era thus continuing to be undeniably self-serving, and so obviously disturbing. No rhyme intended!
We’ve been an active project since July 2016. As for development, I suppose you can think of humanity as going through perhaps a second biological Dark Ages.
No question that the internet has enabled an easier production of musical numbers, no matter how brilliant or how shitty the song is during this year. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Then again, we’re witnessing a clearly obvious repeat of what has already happened before many times over not just in the times of the Black Plague. Both cruelty and brutality as a species as one should notice has always been common place and to this day still is. We just destroy everything. As such, we as a species forget the lessons we have learned, and the. Proceed to make the same mistakes all to prove that they are right. It’s very subtle but essentially some humans can be stubborn and prefer never to learn any lessons at all. It is just the nature of our inner beasts. We don’t think. We just do and say. As a result this emotionally damages the ability a cope which would refrain them from acting out of hatred. In itself, our development is just a reflection in the mirror.
We also lyrically speak in our songs of the beauty of that which is unexplainable and scientifically unproven. Like the hidden truths of the universe, like Pandora, are just waiting in some box of curiosities, anticipating our final moment of passing, whether atheist, or religious fanatic/radical. Typically only revealing then to us the purity of unseen truths. Death isn’t something to fear though. It is simply a way to know everything within a flash before the body becomes lifeless. A piece of mortality that each of us will feel at some point, whether through the deaths of others or the death of ourselves.

Asphyxium: How long was The Entropic Order active, and how frequent were their performances in NYC and elsewhere? What was musically and aesthetically unique about the band?
Lyra Daydream: The Entropic Order was active from 2012 to late 2015 with my involvement; a few months after I left the group officially. There were only about ten shows. In 2012 we were located in Asheville, North Carolina and played about four to five house parties. My singer wanted to move back to NYC and asked me along. I had always wanted to leave North Carolina so I took the plunge. Christian and I got a new drummer and bassist in 2014 and played a total of six shows in the city between 2014 and 2015. I think if anything was unique about the band it was the combination/chemistry of my guitar and voice doubling Christian’s vocals. The lyrics he wrote were quite intelligent and had great hooks, Dave Mendez was a phenomenally intuitive drummer, and we had a serious work ethic. Though we only played ten or so shows we practiced and recorded weekly, sometimes having several practices in a week.

Asphyxium: Did The Entropic Order release anything while Lyra was in the band? How can people stream digital releases or order physical copies if they’re interested?
Eurithia Tachinidae:
The Entropic Order from what I hear will be opening up a Bandcamp page soon. For now there’s only Soundcloud, Youtube, and Facebook. I think when Christian Spencer gets around to releasing it, perhaps tracks will be available then.

Asphyxium: What led to the disbanding of The Entropic Order? With The Cannibal Fae did you intend to continue The Entropic Order’s vision or start something new?
Lyra Daydream: The band ended for several reasons. The major factors being Christian getting chronic bronchitis, differing ideas about where the band was going creatively, and Dave was planning to move to Arizona to take care of his mom. The band basically ran its course. Christian then moved to Canada. It was fun while it lasted and I’m proud of the hard work we put in. When Liz and I started Cannibal Fae of Waking Dream we were not looking to continue with my previous work. I did keep one song that was mine before E.O. though we have yet to release the recording.
In 2016 I had all this music gear and felt too burned out to get into a new project. Liz was the catalyst and wrote some songs that got me out of that rut and we found a new sound, new artistic concepts and expanded our palette with more and more old drum machines, new synths, and built our home studio.
Eurithia Tachinidae: The Cannibal Fae of Waking Dream has so far included Lyra Daydream, sometimes referred to as Lyra Nightmare (inside joke). I’m Liz Lund, (sometimes referred to as Eurithia Tachinidae.) We’ve also worked with Jamie, only known as The Oddmother on stage. She briefly joined us and helped out on bass with our Lucky 13 Saloon show in September. That was sweet of her.
As of late July 2020 Reggie Smith joined as a second guitarist/rhythm guitarist. To think...we had played at the venue The Well only the year before in July of 2019, just before everything got crazy. I play keyboard/synth and am on vocals. Lyra Daydream is second vocalist, plays bass, the hammer dulcimer, synthesizer and is also our main sound engineer. She also has an interest in electronic drumming. She has been the main guitarist for our live performances thus far. As for collaborations, we briefly worked with David Martin aka K-Effect Mastering briefly for the song Nueve Angeles De La Muerte. He’s from Spain. Our last live show was in October of 2019. When November hit, the Cannibal Fae of Waking Dream took a long break up until July of this year.

Asphyxium: How did you come up with the name The Cannibal Fae of Waking Dream and how did you intend it to represent the band’s songs?
Eurithia Tachinidae: The name “Cannibal Fae of Waking Dream” originally started out as simply “Waking Dream.” It derived from Lyra Daydream’s stage name and her actual last name, Wakefield. However, there is a metal band in Russia that goes by the same name, as we soon found out. That was why it was in our best interest to change it. How did it become the Cannibal Fae of Waking Dream specifically? To make all walks of religious life, atheists, and for the sake of those who would think I’m crazy, hallucinating, or dare I say faking my issues in some twisted manner during this situation I say to you (with nothing to prove to anyone and no care to do so) that I was seeing a bunch of “things” that typical humans would say were not there. When saying things, I mean what looked to be like nature spirits. Sometimes they would come indoors but not often and I had developed what originally would have been considered psychosis but more like on a permanent on a functional basis. It comes and goes whenever it wants to or whenever I feel certain emotions.
Anyway, here’s how our little faerie tale goes.
Once upon a time, Fae were in a tree and they were being watched by humans. Not liking to be noticed at all, the Fae decided to play a prank on those humans. How did they do this? Well, they can change for of course. What those humans saw then left them stunned and some shaken. The faeries pretended to devour each other in front of them for a laugh. The Fae pretend to eat each other from the outside in.
And so the name was changed to The Cannibal Fae Of Waking Dream. We’ve also gone by Waking Dream NYC before on certain pages, just in order to also not be confused with the band from Russia.

Asphyxium: How did you two bring together so many different musical genres, and how much of a process is it to draw influence from them?
Eurithia Tachinidae: Those sounds came naturally to us. Once we learned to play together, our sound or sounds rather, came to be and it was all different depending on the song. It was like the shifting of the moods, a musical mood ring of sorts. Call it bipolar genre shifting if you like but there’s always been a dark quality to our music so first and foremost the most general way we can label ourselves as a band (if and when we have to) is maybe “Goth” perhaps? Gothic? Whatever! We fit into too many genres to pick just one. The thing is it breaks out into all kinds of different subgenres when we play because we tend to experiment musically, so it really depends upon the track and the moment. Also the instruments and the way they’re used may be different in a moment. Each track tends to evolve sound wise into something else over time and a performance might sound different than the last one. Sticking to one genre for us is almost impossible. The way that we play as a group and a team makes our sound subject to change constantly. 

Asphyxium: What did you mean about “the beauty of the unexplainable and scientifically unproven” and how do you represent this in your lyrics?
Eurithia Tachinidae: Well, we write lyrics that sometimes, but not always reflect images of fantasy and science fiction-like quality. The lyrics just come naturally, and for whatever reason, mainly deal with themes of the “paranormal,” “fantasy,” “mental illness,” and a whole lot of “nihilism.” So far, without being cliché about it, I can honestly tell you the lyrics come from the heart and through my perspective whether fact or fiction, from some sort of unseen muse or muses. It might be all in my head or it might not. Either way it can’t be proven.
The sound and lyrics fold into one another and become creations with each having a particular life of their own so to speak. Each track so far has been individually special to us and it almost seems in that state of mind, that we personally don’t have much control as to where the sound goes next.

Asphyxium: List all the material The Cannibal Fae has released until now, and the formats they’re available in. How do you go about promoting your releases?
Eurithia Tachinidae: Usually the tracks are in either mp3 or wav file. However we have yet to have the tracks officially mastered even though they are copyrighted. Once all is mastered we’ll be coming out with the official album hopefully sometime this year. We finished our album cover, although the logo is not included just yet. That’ll be coming soon. The cover was made with acrylic paint and is a picture of all the emotions we experienced over the course of a year. Both Lyra and I made it together so these images are the reflection of our mental trauma. We promote our tracks on Soundcloud, Facebook, Youtube and all social media sites. We made a commercial for our project’s first ever music video back in 2018 called Fire Sprites Nostalgia. Our latest track which will be featured on the album is Psych Ward Zombie. Our EPs before this have been Cannibal Fae, Stink Beetles And Sprites, Pitchforks Are For Pilgrims and Child Dream Favorites. Some of our tracks are available on band camp now. All will be released once they’re officially mastered.

Asphyxium: Who directed and produced your debut promotional video, and can it be found on any sites where your albums are available?
Eurithia Tachinidae: Me and Lyra Daydream directed, produced, filmed and edited most of the footage for Fire Sprites Nostalgia. We did however have some help during certain scenes. One was at a park and one was at a beach. John Ontibero filmed this for us at these particular locations.
Here’s is the music video link below:
As for the promo for the video, we did that all on our own. It was rather short.

Asphyxium: Who are you considering working with to master your tracks? Would you release your full lengths and EPs on CD format if you had the means and the opportunity?
Eurithia Tachinidae: Who we plan to work with is undecided at this time. I could ask Lyra for more information about the plans.
We have released our music on CD formats. In our tour they were most certainly available during live shows as well. I would most definitely release everything on CD and other formats. Lyra was thinking audio cassette might be a novel idea. We’ve released free music via Bandcamp I believe.

Asphyxium: How much has the NYC live circuit changed since you became interested in being a musician, as far as clubs and advertising go?
Eurithia Tachinidae: Due to mental health issues along with COVID-19, I have played no live shows since October of last year. However our bandmate Reggie is looking out for future shows most likely in 2021 due to shutdowns. When we are allowed to finally play out as musicians you can best believe that I will be there ready to go just as before and just as we were during our tour and for half the year of 2019. Artistic integrity will definitely as always play a part in our work as a music group. It means everything and is something to be respected. If it were only about money, power or fame for musicians, then there would be no point. It would be a sham, a facade, transparent and shallow. I would hate to play music if the whole point of creativity was simply to please those in positions of authority. Those who can make or break you or chew you up and spit you out. Those are the same assholes that put out generic, boring, catchy, mainstream disappointments consistently with a good looking puppet to match. They all look the same sound the same and every song is the same. This goes for all genres not just top of the pop and such. You can see this even in the metal sub-genres a whole heck of a lot. Each song should be able to hit your inner light and if it doesn’t then it is not a true work of art. Those who do it for the cash and notoriety are doing it for the wrong reasons and frankly shouldn’t be involved in music at all, as such passionless effort has no place in the arts.
There is an idea which has not yet been approved with my band mates but I’ve thought about it, if we allowed those who wanted to download or tracks for free for a week for promotion I think I would be alright with it. However that is for a discussion at a later date.
Right now we are basically promoting our music and tracks on fb and those tracks can only be downloaded by way of Bandcamp. However I plan to continue that discussion with Lyra at some point and see what we can do. The tracks would have to be downloaded off of Soundcloud if they were free as that is where most of our music is displayed anyway.

Asphyxium: I’ve made a point of keeping up with metal’s subgenres; while there is a certain amount of bands copying other bands there are still many that take it in new directions. Have you heard original metal and/or goth of late? How important is originality nowadays?
Eurithia Tachinidae: The last metal show I saw was Doro in May 2019. After that it was mostly underground bands or those that had not been signed yet. Doro were touring with Metal Church actually. Our plan early last year was to book Opeth tickets for February of 2020 but as we all know that was never going to happen.
I think originality is extremely important in any genre otherwise it isn’t worth making. I’m not saying that specifically Metal is guilty of a lack of originality; what I am saying is that music that comes from the heart is a masterpiece rather than just a piece of art. It’s what makes it stand out. Of course there are different styles of singing. Growling for example within Death Metal takes talent, determination, and then figuring out how to apply that talent and where to put it within a song. We were lined up with both goth and metal bands last year.

Asphyxium: You have some of your artwork posted on your personal Facebook profile. What is your usual inspiration and how much of it have you done for the band so far?
Eurithia Tachinidae: Depending on who you talk to, you would have two different answers. What we’d both have in common between our answers would be that this is what was inside our heads. These are the feelings inside us as a team. This has been our metaphorical experiences over the course of several years. It was our mental head spaces combined. So that acrylic painting was our baby while I was conditionally released and in treatment.
It is why we chose this as our cover. Darkness, fantasy, imagination, the mind, pain, the human condition… it’s all so chaotic to process sometimes… the reasons for anything and the randomness of everything, birth and death. This is our official album cover and with Lyra’s help it turned out absolutely beautiful.
Lyra Daydream: I think I’ve been or we’ve been passed the torch by people in the seen and we want to help keep it alive.

Asphyxium: What do you and Lyra most want to accomplish with the band, musically and lyrically. How do you most want your listeners to resonate with you?
Eurithia Tachinidae: We do or we don’t. If it doesn’t work that’s alright. Not everyone is always going to like you wish or so that is why I tend to expect the worst and hope for the best. To the listeners: “glad you like it.” or “I understand if you don’t. We’re all human and have our own ideas, opinions and tastes.”
I suppose a trait that we most could relate to is that of childlike wonder at one point or another that is saved within our memories. The good memories one can appreciate in between the bad, even if they aren’t very long. I no doubt have a child within that screams to come out and introduce itself to either to create joy or pain. Sometimes I love that and then at other points it’s enough to make me wish for death. A child that at one point or another was forever changed, seems to be a part of so many stories.
However innocent the child may be, there is also a darkness with the light that we don’t understand. Examples are “Ring around the Rosie” and “light as a feather stiff as a board.” How relevant they are even in what we call adulthood! In childhood having an imaginary friend is considered to be “cute.” In adulthood they put you away. It’s no longer cute. Instead it’s perceived as creepy. It’s disturbing, but I personally don’t think it should be. What’s wrong with an adult having an “imaginary” friend? Who are we (society) to determine if a “friend” is imaginary at all? We don’t know everything or all the secrets of the universe. Perhaps who that person is talking to is very much real and the only one who knows is the human that sees and hears and senses it. As children we are in our purest and truest form (energy wise.) Therefore we can sense more than others. It should also be noted that as children the environment where we grow up certainly plays a key part and in how we react to others as adults.
Our inner child reflects those pieces of ourselves, regardless of whether they’re light hearted traits or whether they are considered “dark” in the eyes of our society, It’s simply a mirror image of our true selves and who we actually are. That innocence of societal expectations at a very young age reveals to us the many layers that humans are capable of tapping into under the right circumstances.


-Dave Wolff

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Full Length Review: Zombi "2020" (Relapse Records) by Dave Wolff

Band: Zombi
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Country: USA
Genre: Instrumental progressive rock
Full Length: 2020
Format: LP, CD, Digital
Label: Relapse Records
Release date: July 17, 2020
Steve Moore and A.E. Paterra, the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania multi-instrumentalists comprising Zombi, have spent the last twenty years creating something new from a myriad of musical tastes, all to offer it to fans of metal, progressive rock, indie, horror film soundtracks, new age and obscure genres like Krautrock and Italo disco. The duo have about ten or eleven releases to their name (nine of them on Relapse Records) and haven’t stopped reaching for new ground yet. Their latest full length “2020” lies somewhere between Rush, old Fates Warning and Dario Argento’s Goblin, unveiling a different shade of their personalities with each track featured on it. Zombi is one of those outfits that refuse to confinement to any single genre while they refuse to kiss the collective asses of the mainstream and branch out into something bland or mediocre as per expectation. This is most likely the most important factor that led to their longevity. Existing under the radar for so long and being passed over by huge corporate labels led them to take enough space to explore as much as they wanted. I had never heard about this act before getting wind of “2020” but their range suggests the results of their dedication to seeking their own place. Hard, heavy, hypnotic and disturbing are the terms coming to mind most readily, as the band seems to have developed a talent for mixing guitar heaviness, science fiction themes and the menacing quality of Italian horror as seen in old school horror movies like “Buio Omega”, “Antropophagus” and “City of the Living Dead”. The darker aspects of their tastes give the songs an anxious, distressing keenness that’s in splendid counterbalance. That these songs are all instrumental tracks without vocals of any kind make them all the more disquieting, for you never know the exact nature of the menace lurking somewhere in the distance. You just know it’s waiting for you. Give it a chance for yourself and check out their ode to zombie apocalypse movies, “Evans City”, which was also released this year. –Dave Wolff

Steve Moore: Synthesizers, guitars, bass
A.E. Paterra: Drums

Track list:
1. Breakthrough & Conquer
2. Earthscraper
3. No Damage
5. Fifth Point of the Pentangle
6. Family Man
7. Mountain Ranges
8. First Flower
9. Thoughtforms

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Full Length Review: Machetazo "Ultratumba II" (Selfmadegod Records) by Dave Wolff

Band: Machetazo
Country: Spain
Genre: Death metal, grindcore
Full Length: Ultratumba II
Format: CD
Release date: November 13, 2020
I was searching my emails for review material when I unexpectedly chanced upon Machetazo and decided to write about them. Machetazo may be defunct, but their place in death metal and grindcore history is practically indisputable. From 1994 to 2014 the band spawned some of the most brutal, skull crushing music to emerge from Spain or anywhere else for that matter. I’m aware such descriptions are thrown around endlessly when describing bands but this band warrants it. Staying firmly connected to the cutting edge efforts of early 80s and late 80s bands, they earned a position alongside Impetigo, Mortician, Brujeria and Exhumed as underground luminaries. Six years after Machetazo disbanded to work with other bands, Selfmadegod Records compile “Ultratumba II”, a “greatest hits” of sorts gathered from compilations, EPs and splits from their final eight years. The material gathered for “Ultratumba II” comprises over seventy sick, gore soaked minutes solely intended for fans with the backbone and resilience to withstand its ruthless ferocity. Six years is sufficient time to allow these songs to take a breather; now the time has arrived to introduce the band to newer fans of excessively barbarous and uncivilized death/grind. What gave me impetus to listen was that I missed Machetazo while they were active. Listening to “Ultratumba II” is like discovering a piece of art history and marveling at what I found. I’m mind blown because not only is Machetazo abundantly heavy but equally well written and well produced. A lot of grindcore and death/grind can resemble a blur, which sometimes repulses listeners who miss the point so to speak. But Machetazo disport professionalism as plainly as they display heaviness. From the first notes every instrument - guitars, drums and distorted bass as well as the severely guttural vocals - is produced with a clarity that assists in driving the point home and keeping it stimulating. If you like Mortician, Carnivore, Master, Corrupted, Kreator, Darkthrone, Obituary, Septic Death and Carnage you’ll want to hear Machetazo’s covers of those bands. –Dave Wolff

Dopi: Vocals, drums
Rober Bustabad: Guitars, bass
Iago Alvite: Bass

Track list:
1. (Cerrado Por) Defunción
2. Fog Of Death (Mortician cover)
3. Desenterrado
4. Únete Al Muerto
5. Más Allá Del Hueso Y La Carne
6. Desolación Mental
7. Los Tentáculos De La Decrepitud
8. El Torreón
9. Dr. Jebediah Morningside
10. Sex and Violence (Carnivore cover)
11. Pay to Die (Master cover)
12. Arrastrándose sólo (Corrupted cover)
13. Tormentor (Kreator cover)
14. Skald av Satans sol (Darkthrone cover)
15. Dying (Obituary cover) / Demon (Septic Death cover)
16. Delirio en el Pozo de Excrementos (Fear of Decapitations Mix)
17. Alucinaciones Blasfema
18. Flagelado Hasta El Desmembramiento
19. The Day Man Lost (Carnage cover)
20. Fosa Común
21. Miasma
22. Catalepsia

Track 1 from the split 7" EP with Headless Death
Tracks 2-3 from the split 7" EP with RAS
Tracks 4-6 from the Desolacion Mental 7" EP
Tracks 7-9 from the split 12" with Marrow
Tracks 10-15 from the Necrocovered 10"/MCD
Tracks 16-17 from the split 7"EP with Winters In Osaka
Tracks 18-19 from the split 7"EP with Ribspreader
Tracks 20-22 from the split 7"EP with Total Fucking Destruction + Slimewave comp. CD

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Interview with Mike Paris of Kaotica and Stryctnyne by Dave Wolff

Interview with Mike Paris of Kaotica and Stryctnyne

When did your band Kaotica get together and start writing material? What core audience were you looking for when you started booking shows?
We got together about one year ago. I was playing with Stryctnyne at the time. To go back a little, Stryctnyne had finished the “Unfinished Business” CD release party and shortly after our bassist Vincent Carollo left the band. We picked up Chris Ciecirski, recorded another Stryctnyne CD and astonishingly never released it. The band basically imploded. I decided I had enough; John Scacco (the singer from Stryctnyne) and I decided to move on and we started Kaotica. We have basically the same core audience as Stryctnyne but I’d say the Kaotica stuff is heavier.

What were Vincent’s reasons for leaving Stryctnyne?
I’ll give my perspective on it. We finished the “Unfinished Business” CD release party and were having issues with time. One guy could only rehearse on Sunday and the other only on Monday, so basically we were rehearsing once every two or three months. It was the same issue with playing out. It was very frustrating. We also had a few songs in the mix for the next CD at this time. So Vincent calls a meeting together to discuss the direction of the band. I had a suspicion he was going to walk because he wasn’t answering my texts or saying he would contact me but never did. We’re there and he started berating us, telling us how useless we were and he did everything. Using his analogy: you have two softball teams; one plays for shits and giggles and the other plays for the trophy. I want to play for the trophy. He really went off on everyone, saying he doesn’t even want to play his bass anymore and he had a lot on his plate. I was pissed but the other guys were in shock and begging him to reconsider, offering to change the music saying basically anything to get him to reconsider. We finally went our separate ways that night. I knew those guys were going to be mad after all that sunk in. They were but they did want to give him some time. We gave him a few weeks and asked him by email if he would like to reconsider. We got the big Fuck You. Now the guys are not so empathetic and are pissed. We vowed not to play any of the new songs we were working on with him. We would write new material find a bass player and record. I found Chris Ciecirski through Facebook and we managed to record a bunch of songs. I was disappointed with Vin because he never talked to me about the issue at the time and we were friends from when we first started Stryctnyne. 

Why did you disband so soon after completing your latest album?
While the recording was still going on the issues with getting together was still there. The songs were mastered and ready to go; unfortunately I was the only willing to do the work. One night when we managed to get together to rehearse I told them I was starting another band and wasn’t going to stand around with my dick in my hand. The drummer basically laughed at me and I thought ‘game on’. I asked John Scacco if he wanted to do it and he said yes and that he had a drummer and another guitarist. We wound up taking Chris Ciecirski and starting Kaotica.

Will this recording ever be released or will it remain shelved indefinitely?
I’ll release it eventually. The whole Vincent thing drove us to do this and once it was over it sucked the life out of me, also being laughed at and told to do whatever I want. I was like ‘fuck this.’ I was coming home from the city on the train when Sabatino (drummer) contacted me and wanted to know why I started another band and didn’t consult with him first. He even asked me to block him and his family on all social media as he didn’t want them to know the band was done. I was happy to oblige. The whole Vincent thing was behind us and we proved we could write and record without him. He did start another band and was doing his own thing. I remember people asking me if I knew he recorded the songs we were working on before he left. I was like ‘more power to him’ as we had no intention using that material.

Can you name the songs recorded for the last Stryctnyne album and describe how you managed to make them sound?
The CD is entitled Nyne. There are some really good songs on this such as “Spinning”, “Creep”, “Broken Promises”, “Wasted Time”, “Driving Harder thru the Pain” and “She”. I listen to it once in a blue moon, so yea eventually I definitely want to get it out there. I’m just tied up with Kaotica doing a concept project. After that I have some personal recording projects I’m interested in doing (totally different from Heavy Metal). I also have an old Abnormal Thaughtz EP (another band I was in during the 90’s) to release and I have an Abnormal Thaughtz full CD I want to remaster and re-release so it’s going to fit somewhere in there! After all that, I am interested in a project line up with bass, guitar, vocals and drums something on the thrashy side. I have some material for this and just need the musicians, but there’s sometime before I get to it.

Why did you decide to return to Abnormal Thaughtz after all this time? What time were the EP and full length you want to release and rerelease recorded?
It was actually John Scacco who found an old EP we did before the full length CD, we had it transferred to digital format and re-mastered. So it was actually all by accident the way it occurred The EP and full length was the early to mid-90’s.

Describe all the contrasts between Stryctnyne and this Kaotica?
With the new band we went from playing once every two to three months to playing three times a week with two to three hour sessions. They have a lot of drive. They’re setting up rehearsal time and studio time, and they were booking gigs before Covid hit. It was actually nice to see them doing everything. They’re all around good guys we all share ideas it’s good so the band consists of: John Scacco – vocals, Ty Rosenburg – lead/rhythm guitars, Chris Ciecirski – bass, Vinny Riina – drums, and myself on guitars.
The writing is similar as before; someone brings something to the table and we just build off of it. Ty is a great guitarist with a lot of Judas Priest influence, and a nice guy to work with. Vinny is a beast on the drums with a lot of stamina, unlike Sabatino who couldn’t remember how the songs started or their titles. I actually enjoy doing it all again. Ty is a phenomenal guitarist I think we really complement each other’s styles on the leads. Chris is an awesome bassist, it took me some time to get used to him, I played with Vin for so long and was so used to his style John is a great vocalist and just comes up with lyrics and melodies on the fly. 

Has any new material been composed for Kaotica’s conceptual project this far? 
When we started writing we discussed recording and wanted to try something different. We decided to record a concept project consisting of two EPs. We wrote the entire two EP’s but would split it in two. This way we could get it out faster and the cost would be more tolerable. We are in the final mixture of part one and that should be wrapped up in a week or two. We are currently discussing when to start part two.

Explain the concept as it appears on the first of the EPs you’re releasing and how each song tells a part of the story.
The story comes from our singer John Scacco and it’s the first part of the story. I’ll just leave it here for reading:
Date: December 25th year: 2666 time: midnight
There is a huge political wedge driven through the center of all beliefs. Satan has been watching this happen as this is his creation of Kaotica.
“The Spawn Of Satan”
Satan calls on his human hidden cells, satanic churches and all that is evil in the world.
To recruit the army of the dammed. While this is taking place an evil seed is planted into a lost soulless whore’s womb. Kaotica cursed by his mother while in the womb. All good men in this family would soon be dead while Kaotica grows inside. The plot thickens as the soulless whore attempts suicide and is now committed to an insane asylum. Therefore the child beast is now protected from harm.
“Deathmarch From Hell”
Six hundred and sixty six days after birth, Kaotica the beast’s child is now in his prime age to take over and continuing their recruitment of the army of the dead. Millions of weak lost souls will be given as their allegiance to the beasts cause.
The army of doom has risen and Kaotica’s death march begins.
“Sociopath Of Destruction”
Kaotica the son of Satan has now realized he hasn’t enough lost souls and takes to the mortals streets to recruit the weak and homeless lost souls (he considered and speaks to them as his army of abandoned orphans who he will adopt and rise them to immortality). Kaotica now sees his sociopath of destruction has begun and the seasons of death are beginning to change. 

Who in the band devised this concept and what was the inspiration for it? Is it meant to reflect on what’s happening in the world or strictly fantasy?
Our singer John Scacco created the story and I think with everything going on in the world today it can be referenced to good against evil.
Any particular occurrences in the news that you can associate with Scacco’s storyline?
For me the rioting and destruction coincide with the story Evil trying to take over that could be ones interpretation.
How has the pandemic affected your Kaotica practices? And how do you plan to distribute your first EP once it’s completed and ready for release?
In the beginning of the pandemic we were not able to get together and everything was put on ice for a while. It gradually eased up but it’s a day by day thing and there’s a lot going on in the world. We haven’t discussed distribution yet, but I don’t think they’ll be any issues with getting the music out.
How have bands and clubs in Long Island been affected by Covid in general this past year? Is it still having an impact or are there some signs of recovery?
It’s a mess clubs are closing, or there trying to have music under the NY state guidelines seems like all businesses especially small business are suffering. 

Will you be releasing both EPs independently? Will it exclusively be a digital release or were you planning to put it on CD or cassette when you began writing?
We will release independently I think as time goes on CD’s will be obsolete however we will release digitally and on CD.

Are you searching for an official label release or distribution, or will it be handled independently?’ll just do it ourselves for now.

Do you think Stryctnyne will ever reform?
I learned to say never say never, however there’s a lot of hate in that band As far as the core members go I’m already playing with John Scacco in Kaotica, Mike Sabatino I really want nothing to do with him. Vin well it’s a funny thing I recently tied the knot and it was a small wedding due to the whole Covid thing. We had about 25 people mostly family. I only invite 4 friends and Vin and his wife were two of them. I thought it would be a good opportunity to reconcile bury the hatchet so to speak. I sent him an invitation and also wrote him a personal note basically extending the hand of friendship. He texted me with a very short sentence or two basically saying No. I joke about it with my wife now and then saying “the hand of friendship only extends so far” in any case I would say I highly doubt Stryctnyne ever getting back together I really don’t think I’ll ever attempt to contact him again.

-Dave Wolff

Friday, November 6, 2020

Full Length Review: The Negans "Somethang to Fear" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Band: The Negans
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Country: USA
Genre: Horror punk
Full Length: Somethang to Fear
Format: Digital album, CD
Label: Independent
Release date: October 30, 2020
Two years after their debut single “Shut This Shit Down” and EP “Take It Like a Champ”, The Negans unveil their first ever full length “Somethang to Fear”. A full length they recorded themselves and promoted on their social media outlets prior to its release, following the DIY ethic without label backing. If you missed my review of their EP, The Negans have a concept based on Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s villain you love to hate on The Walking Dead.
For a band recording, self-releasing and promoting all their work, they’re ready to contend with established professionals and newer acts. They have big shoes to fill considering their native Boston has been a punk stronghold for many years. The city has produced the likes of SSD, Gang Green, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Slapshot, Lemonheads and Dropkick Murphys. But The Negans’ Walking Dead-based concept is hitting a chord with horror punk fans and word is spreading.
The songwriting, musicianship, production and even the cover art is improved from their material of two years ago. With the outset of “Die By the Bat” it’s apparent this album was recorded with a higher degree of grit and sludge. The band seems to be working harder to bash your brains in, taking a greater amount of time to arrange their songs, and they don’t even need Lucille to have this impact on you. The songs are executed in such a free form, energizing way you can’t help but groove on them.
Jimi Halfdead and Mark Zero’s guitars on “Rick’s A Prick,” “Lizzie’s Lament,” “Murderous Murder,” “Bad Ass,” “Negan’s Way” and “Iron (To The Face)” sound designed to go over with audiences in seedy, intimate clubs, right down to the announcement of a broken string (while every song is persuasive and catchy those are personal favorites). The Rev and Joe Z are given more emphasis as the rhythm section and more of a chance to show how important they are to the band’s sound.
Again, as before, Halfdead captures Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s menace as Negan on The Walking Dead as well as the sense of humor he brings to the character. It’s interesting to note that Negan’s character in the Walking Dead graphic series was based on Henry Rollins who reportedly auditioned for the role in the long running AMC series. But Halfdead’s voice is more remindful of Glenn Danzig; this is where much of their similarities to the Misfits come in. Also check out their cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”
“Somethang to Fear” is generally a fun album if you love horror, and fans can make a game of catching the Walking Dead and zombie horror references. The Saviors may be over according to Rick Grimes but The Negans will certainly plow through the apocalypse and create a new order. I’m talking scorched earth, you dicks! -Dave Wolff

Jimi Halfdead: Vocals, rhythm guitar
Mark Zero: Lead guitar
The Rev: Bass
Joe Z: Drums

Track list:
1. Die by the Bat
2. Rick's a Prick
3. Lizzie's Lament
4. Murderous Murder
5. Badass
6. Infected Fiesta
7. Negan's Way
8. Armageddon Waves
9. The Ghost of Mr. Jones
10. Iron (To the Face)
11. Folsom Prison Blues
12. Shut This Shit Down