Sunday, May 30, 2021

Full Length Review: Les Chants Du Hasard "Livre Troisième" (The Orchard Music/Fingered Productions) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Les Chants Du Hasard
Location: Paris
Country: France
Genre: Orchestral black metal
Full Length: Livre Troisième
Format: Compact disc, digital album
Label: The Orchard Music/Fingered Productions
Release date: April 9, 2021
Oh boy.
You know, when you get into the habit of reviewing and listening to albums on the weekly you start to assume you get this sense of ‘familiarity’ with guessing how the next album will sound or feel but it’s just a mental illusion because every album is different and this is definitely no exception!
“Livre Troisième” by Les Chants Du Hasard.
So, this is (I believe) the latest album by a French band released in April of 2021, I gotta say I think this is my first French band I’ve ever heard! Definitely ever reviewed so I’m happy about that milestone! Anyway, this album is described as:
-Gothic Opera
-Black Metal
-Neo Classical
And let me tell you all something, not only is it indeed all those things but it’s also the perfect evolution to ‘Black’ or ‘Symphonic’ Metal that I’ve been waited for, for years now! This album is amazing to me in every single way!
First of all the production, it sounds just like a horror adaptation of Classical Opera music, it’s got that vinyl feel to it, as if it was recorded in the 30-40’s from the aesthetic to the performances by what sounds like a man and a woman to the dark ambient vibe presented it’s all perfect.
Another thing to take into careful consideration is the smart and mysterious track list and positioning of the songs. Every track is titled ‘Chant’ followed by I to VIII and put in order as follows.
That’s a small thing that I love because with naming the tracks like that it introduced the promise of consistent flow throughout the project and it does exactly that!
Every track flows into the next without any interruptions or distractions from non-conceptual songs, each song has a place and a purpose to enlarge, magnify and evolve the track in front of it and it really shows!
From the vocals to the aesthetic this track nails every element in the creation of a genius, cultivated and impressive show of creativity and originality.
I’ll link the album below and of course this album will not sound good to all of you, but if you agree to give it a fighting chance I know it can impress you!
-Corban Skipwith

Hazard: Music, voice
Marfa Khovansky: Soprano
Melitza Torres: Soprano
Vaerohn (Pensées Nocturnes): Voice
Göran Setitus: Voice

Track list:
1. Chant I - Le Moine
2. Chant II - Les Prismes
3. Chant III - Le Reflet
4. Chant IV - Salve Regina
5. Chant V - Les Milliers d'une Fois
6. Chant VI - La Comptine
7. Chant VII - L'oubli
8. Chant VIII - Le Repos

Friday, May 28, 2021

Single Review: Moonlight Lily "Masquerade" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Band: Moonlight Lily
Location: New Jersey
Country: USA
Genre: Alternative metal
Single: Masquerade
Format: Streaming
Label: Independent
Release date: May 20, 2021
Moonlight Lily from New Jersey offer a mix of gothic metal without too much darkness and alternative rock without inane lyrics. There are shades of groove and emo metal written into their debut single, eased into the songwriting rather than being forced in. Being a multicultural band with members from the US, Puerto Rico and Serbia, Moonlight Lily subtly acknowledge the broadening of national diversity in “Masquerade”, merging their ethnic backgrounds into a highbrow, emotionally driven single, placing them many years ahead of politically correct television and publishing, making it plausible that by working together they actually achieve something. Overused jargon and labeling is discarded as the irrelevant triviality it is, as with this one track the band creates a tune making their influences of thirty years neoteric and unseasoned. As much as each musical facet of “Masquerade”, the vocal style and lyrical content of Blue Maddox as she crosses reality with unreality, setting love stories in unseen dimensions as far beyond the physical world as many poets and philosophers dream. These realms are real because they’re made real, with imagination as its anchor. Blue shows a lot of poetic license singing “Watching the sea of sorrows drowning in your eyes, I find the last tomorrow reaching for the skies”. Her words tell of someone who left the physical world behind to lose herself in an endless masquerade on the spiritual plane, caught in a beautiful purgatory of sorts in which longing exists forever but fulfillment is beyond reach. The way it’s stated is soaring with enough mournfulness to remind you this is a perpetual fairy tale. –Dave Wolff

Jenna: Piano, keyboards
Ed: Guitars, bass
Blue Maddox: Vocals, lyrics, synths

EP Review: Dalisay "Sa Bunganga ng Pagkabaliw" (Independent) by John Sorrell

Band: Dalisay
Country: Philippines
Genre: Thrash/Death Metal
EP: Sa Bunganga ng Pagkabaliw
Format: Digital album, cassette
Label: Independent
Release date: August 14, 2018
Dalisay is a melodic thrash/death metal band residing in the Philippines. “Sa Bunganga ng Pagkabaliw” is their debut EP, released independently in 2018 in digital and tape format. Musically, Dalisay delivers the goods if you’re looking for some hard-hitting metal. Full of slamming riffs and infectious leads. The vocals are a perfect combination of shout/scream, but I have no idea what the guy is saying, as the lyrics are all sung in their native tongue. I must say that the language barrier, in no way takes away from the enjoyment of this E.P. I have found myself listening to this on repeat, as it’s a breath of fresh air in an oversaturated world of extreme metal. Dalisay is not trying to emulate anyone here, just playing metal the way they see fit. This E.P. is comprised of four tracks, three studio and one live. Track one is straightforward, with heavy riffs and brutal screams throughout. The second track is somewhat lengthy but really showcases the amount of talent that Dalisay possesses. The guitars on this track are extremely memorable and the leads are played very well. Containing a bit more ambiance with some samples, the thunder and lightning at the end are a nice touch. Track three slows things down ever so slightly, with some heavy doom-laden riffs and just a slower, meaner sound. And at 2:03, it is definitely the shortest track on this E.P. Track four, entitled “Hamog”, is the live track and quite possibly my favorite. I’d like to hear a pro-recorded version of this song. Overall, it’s a great E.P. that has grown on me over the months and I’m left wanting more Dalisay songs. Highly recommended if you are looking for something a little different to bang your head to. –John Sorrell

Jorel Torres: Vocals, guitar
Philip Lopez: Guitar
Mark Gilbert Saguibo: Bass
Elpidio Fuentebella Herrera Jr.: Drums

Track list:
1. Botod
2. Ang Libing na Naipundar ni Jetro R. Soler
3. Sa Bunganga ng Pagkabaliw
4. Hamog (Live)

EP Review: Grosso Gadgetto and Pink Room featuring Oddateee "Woke" (Solium Records) by Corban Skipwith

Artist: Grosso Gadgetto and Pink Room featuring Oddateee
Location: Lyon
Country: France
Genre: Ambient/drone hip hop
EP: Woke
Format: Digital album, cassette
Label: Solium Records (cassette)
Release date: January 28, 2021
What’s going on everyone!! Sorry to keep you all waiting but the time comes again for another review and this time an EP review of a group of artists I’ve never heard before collaborating on a single project to create this unique sonic Paradigm Shift if you will.
Allow me to introduce “Woke” by Grosso Gadgetto, Pink Room, and Oddateee.
So, what is presented to us is a 4 track (plus one bonus track) EP that definitely takes one of the more interesting approaches to music I’ve heard in a while with what I can only describe as ‘Minimalistic Drone Rap’.
When you first start the album you’re greeted with this haunting instrumental with grand keys and chords reminiscent of stuff you’d hear in horror movies.
I love how off the bat this album is presented as a metal album with terrifying key instrumentations coming off so strong and intense that it sets the mood of the album perfectly.
From the second track onwards we finally start to see the ‘Minimal Drone Rap’ style kicking it with who I believe to be ‘Oddatee’ coming through with these raw and in your face UK bars similar to the likes of ‘Acarine’ and his soundtrack work for the Green Street Hooligans movie with tracks like ‘Stand Your Ground’.
Although the Hip Hop element was surprising for sure it doesn’t take long for it to fit comfortably within the twisted realm that is this record, his gritty bars and vocal work fit nicely with the dark vibes presented.
I feel like this is one of the more simplistic rap efforts with the chorus’s being nothing more than the same sentence repeated over slowly with the rapper building more aggression with every repeat, kind of similar to how a group like 'Rage Against The Machine’ did it on their debut album.
I don’t want to give away too much about this project as it definitely presents a uniquely abrasive tone to it that you don’t really hear anymore in music let alone Hip Hop so I want to keep as much as I can for a surprise.
But as a whole, this is an album worth checking out if you’re looking for something different and more down to earth then I honestly wouldn’t know what other album would do the trick!
If you’re a Metal fan give this a go, if you’re a Hip Hop fan also give this a go, I’m pretty sure there’s something there for everyone to enjoy! -Corban Skipwith

Oddateee: Voices and texts
Pink Room: Flute, improvised noise & music with synthesizers
Grosso Gadgetto: Improvised music with sculpture modeling synth, orchestration and mixing

Track list:
1. Birth
2. 13
3. Once Upon A Hood
4. Timeline
5. Final Tape (bonus track)


Friday, May 21, 2021

Full Length Review: The Beast Of Nod "Multiversal" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Location: Boston, Massachsetts
Country: USA
Genre: Progressive death metal
Full Length: Multiversal
Format: Digital album
Label: Independent
Release date: March 29, 2021
The term “blown away” sounds like an outmoded platitude, maybe even stereotypical when it comes to the perceived smarts of metal fans, but it’s relevant to my reaction to this album. And besides, any doubt of whether fans have it upstairs should be laid to rest upon exposure to The Beast Of Nod’s latest release. On “Multiversal” death metal meets symphonic metal and science fiction with an imaginative anecdote, superb musicianship and a few surprise guest appearances. For a relatively young band, The Beast Of Nod is fast approaching the category of musical genius, and worthiness of comparison to Dream Theater and Rush. The measure of a symphonic/technical death metal band’s potential, and the reason I appreciate such a band, lies in their display of prowess and dexterity, and ability to channel storytelling through their instruments. Think Blind Guardian crossed over with Dying Fetus and you have The Beast Of Nod’s alchemy. “Multiversal” continues a narrative the band has developed since their 2015 debut EP “Enter the Land of Nod”. It is an epic tale of good and evil, dating to prehistoric times and leading to the modern age, involving interstellar beings of ancient race and the possible fate of the entire universe. Since Hollywood has been in a funk for years, The Beast Of Nod tell their long running chronicle on their own independent releases. So to learn more about it, without massive advertising and media hype, you have to listen to this and their past releases. Though I’m entering in the middle of the movie so to speak, I find this album engaging enough to interest me in returning to the beginning and discovering the events leading up to this point. The band’s site features a rundown of the complete story and all its otherworldly characters, including The Super Eon Annihilator and Vampira Infernalis who are prominent figures. With encompassing atmosphere, sophisticated vibes, intricate guitars, bass, piano and keyboards, and inhuman blast, “Multiversal” is an ambitious album in every sense of the word. About those guest appearances I mentioned, look for accomplished musicians Joe Satriani, Nick Padovani, Michael Angelo Batio and others. –Dave Wolff

Paul Buckley: Vocals, lyrics
Dr. Gore: Guitars, compositions
Brendan Burdick: Bass guitars
Lord Marco Pitruzzella: Drums

Track list:
1. Flight of the Quetzalcoatlus
2. Contemporary Calamity
3. Intergalactic War!
4. Call of the Squirrel (featuring Joe Satriani)
5. Unleashing Chaos (featuring Nick Padovani)
6. The Plan for Multiversal Creation
7. Guardians of the Multiverse (featuring John Matos)
8. The Latent Threat
9. ShRedding OF the Cosmos (featuring Sanjay Kumar, Matias Quiroz, Michael Angelo Batio)

Monday, May 17, 2021

Full Length Review: Alberion/Zeresh "No Longer Mourn For Me" (Toten Schwan Records) by Dave Wolff

Band: Alberion
Country: Italy
Band: Zeresh
Country: Israel
Format: Digital album, limited edition CD
Release date: May 4, 2021
It would be unfair to describe this split by Zeresh and Alberion simply as dark and apocalyptic. As much as those descriptions are fitting, they would call attention to the celebration of the purest romantic love, free of guilt from a world that doesn’t understand the nature of what they’re sharing. The music these psychedelic neofolk projects compose have gloomy themes which suggest the emptiness of hundreds of years past, like a decaying sixteenth century mansion in some isolated location the rest of the world forgot long ago, but the spirits of the lovers who dwelled there are still present. As heaven left them with no one but each other for company, this gave them a mutual bond that couldn’t be broken by many eternities. With multiple layers of dual vocals, profound lyrics, spoken word passages, acoustic guitars, keyboards and atmosphere, “No Longer Mourn For Me” is described as being “spacious and claustrophobic at the same time”, which consummately describes the vibes between these two projects. As you listen you feel immense emptiness and spiritual lifelessness surrounding the two “characters” the artists personify, but their devotion is enough to fill the world. “No Longer Mourn For Me” takes the gothic death metal explored by My Dying Bride on “Turn Loose The Swans” and greatly revamps and improves upon its plaintive longing. These artists write an album with a feel of classic sixteenth century literature, inviting you to visualize Renaissance era settings, settings of perished and decaying homes, fields of dead flowers choked by weeds and ivy, an abandoned Renaissance town at sunset. Yet somewhere something is not quite completely unremembered, in hiding but very much alive. Or is it? Maybe the impressions I picked up are little more than distant memories, as Tamar says her lyrics are written about the end of intimacy and the inability to accept parting. This fits the pictures of decay more closely and turns the tale of condemned lovers to a tragedy. However it speaks to you, “No Longer Mourn For Me” is so much like a piece of classic fiction you’ll feel deeply immersed in it. –Dave Wolff

Davide Borghi: Vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, samples
Carlo Baja Guarienti: Keyboards
Stefano Romagnoli: Loops, samples
Tamar Singer: Guest Vocals on “Heartbroken Romance” and “The Day You Powered Your Wasted Dreams In My Heart”

Tamar Singer: All vocals and instruments

Track list:
1. Albireon - Heartbroken Remembrance
2. Albireon - A Withered Kingdom
3. Albireon - The Day You Poured Your Wasted Dreams In My Heart
4. Albireon - My Lazy Triumph
5. Zeresh featuring Davide Borghi - Air From Afar
6. Zeresh featuring Davidavi Dolev - The Vague
7. Zeresh featuring Davidavi Dolev - Halls Grew Darker
8. Zeresh featuring Pablo C. Ursusson - No Longer Mourn For Me when I'm Dead
9. Zeresh featuring Michael Zolotov - The Aftermath (If I Shall Meet Thee)

Full Length Review: Odd Circus "Mantha" (Good Idea Music) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Odd Circus
Location: Orlando, Florida
Country: USA
Genre: Avant rock
Full Length: Mantha
Format: Digital album
Label: Good Idea Music
Release date: April 2, 2021
What’s going on everybody it’s your boy Mr. 10 out of 10 and I’m back with another album review! This time it’s the new album by Odd Circus, ‘Mantha’.
Now Odd Circus is a Bandcamp band that I recently discovered and starting from the 15 second intro I didn’t really know what to make of it.
I mean the band is called Odd Circus and the first 15 seconds sound like this crazy noise but then once the official album kicks in with the second track you get such a beautiful harmony of jazz, metal and electronic fusion the likes of which I’ve never really heard before!
In the past I’ve heard Jazz Metal (for example bands like Panzerballett) who try and create this new sub-genre by literally combining both Jazz and Metal together, I wanted to be a fan but it never gets that far because I feel like they try too hard to refuse the sounds of jazz and metal instead of doing what odds circus is doing so beautifully making a metal album with elements of jazz in it!
So what you get through this album is a lot of what I would call groove metal, you hear your funky chords, drum patterns, rhythms of the guitar but then prominently throughout the album you get these amazing jazz sessions of just smooth, lively, classic groovy jazz instrumentals.
The pacing is normally fast paced, not really the traditional Miles Davis Kind of Blue but think more Herbie Hancock and that Is what I’m talking about.
Now it is continuous, I love the fluency of this album because you never know when one truck starts and the other finishes and I love that about it! Because you don’t lose the experience, you don’t lose the magic that is the jazz experience of this album and going through the motions of the project!
I love how they add a lot of electronic vibes as well! I’m taking Glitch sounds techno sounds and bunch of experimental noise elements which gives that extra flavour to the album that boost it to another level so I really love everything about it!
It’s a short experience besides the last song which is over seven minutes but overall the whole thing is a total blast and I would highly recommend it!
If you’re in the mood for something fresh and exciting then this is what you need! I was skeptical at first but by the end of it I did nothing but fell in love with the creativity, diversity and production of what Odd Circus had to offer!
Please, Please, Please go support this band as they definitely deserve it! -Corban Skipwith

Graham Robertson: Saxophones, effects
Crews Carter: Bass, effects
Partin Whitaker: Drums

Track list:
1. Dybbuk
2. Gezora
3. Amarok
4. Wendigo
5. Venadek
6. Djinn

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Full Length Review: Blue Ox "Holy Vore" (Lost Archives Records) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Blue Ox
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Country: USA
Genre: Metal/hardcore/punk
Full Length: Holy Vore
Format: Cassette, vinyl, digital
Label: Lost Archives Records
Release date: April 2, 2021
What’s good everyone? How about we get right into a new album review? I think it’s time and coming straight from the Bandcamp vault we have the 2021 release of “Holy Vore” by Blue Ox! So firstly I want to address and expect of this album that I absolutely adore, the AGGRESSION! You know so many bands out there portray a ‘tough, mean, brutal’ exterior but very few bands actually sound convincing or legitimate.
This band doesn’t have that problem! From the screeching, maniac vocals to the heavy, distorted guitar and bass my goodness it’s a feeling of relentless aura that I can’t put into words without listening to it for yourself!
Although not all songs on this project are short I feel they take some inspiration from a band like ‘Nails’ as there are a few under two minute cuts of just pure brutality and reckless instrumentation which I feel when does right is the best served short because when your in the mood for something intense and brutal nothing scratches that itch more I believe then short bursts of intensity and that’s exactly what’s provided here (in small handfuls).
But I feel what’s equally impressive is how they are able to pull off this level of aggression in longer fragments, a rule of thumb I normally carry around is (Especially with the more extreme sub genres of metal) if a track is too long you’re going to lose the ‘emotional’ span of your listeners, for example if a movie was three hours along and that whole movie was nothing but a massive fight scene it would get stale very fast, but if one episode of a show had nothing but action scenes it would stand out as a highlight for this very reason.
So this is why I give this band all the credit in the world for maintaining the emotional span of the listeners with their extraordinary production, sound and animosity.
Look, this album will obviously not be for everyone, I know metal heads who won’t go heavier then bands like ‘Trivium or Killswitch Engage’ but if you’re a fan of the heavier tiers then you’ll love this album as much as me!
I’ll link it below, go check it out and Support the band for the amazing job they're doing!
-Corban Skipwith

Dennis Hanson: Lead vocals
Logan Kelly: Guitar
Mike Van Heel: Guitar
Luke Olson: Bass, vocals
Dan Johnson: Drums

Track list:
1. It Doesn’t Work
2. Imploding Lazarus
3. Fly By Blight
4. Left To The Drift
5. Lesser Gods And The Science Of Superstition
6. Terrestrial Anxiety
7. Nostrum Bomb

Poem: "Hercules and a Bat" by Alison Stone

Hercules and a Bat
Alison Stone

Upstairs, the lovers start to fight again.
Rough morning sun slaps me with light again.
Whimpers, twitching paws – my ancient hound tracks
prey in dreams. Hares scared of his bite again.
Passion pales to habit. Sleep sweeter than
sex. AM radio sounds trite again.
Torso sewn closed, each breath makes fresh scars throb.
Death real now. How to trust delight again?
Hercules labors, haunted by his dead
wife’s eyes. Some things can’t be made right again.
Manners drop off in darkness. Hungers wake.
Daylight – masks on, polite lies. Night again.
Family visit. Forced cheer stretches, then
breaks. Childhood rivalries ignite again.
Harvested, her heart pumps in another.
Eyes give a blinded child sight again.
How much can heal with lips on scars? A letter?
Time? The mended bat takes flight again.
Years stack up like bills. She hugs familiar
sorrow, her soul a tree-trapped kite. Again,
crooned promises, torn-off clothes. Kisses down
to the bone. The smudged world glows bright again.
Another explosion of stuffing. More
dead pillows. The pit bull contrite again.
Your love’s in the other room, Alison.
Are you hiding from life to write, again?

Poem: "Deep Programming" by James Kenneth Blaylock

Deep Programming

that mesmerizing tv reminds me again
of all those important shows, I’m missing

boy, I’m so very far behind, on my deep programming, shouldn’t I be changing

everyone else is all steeped right in,
meanwhile, I’m green with envy, oh

well, will I ever catch up, catch up,
or be forever off their wavelength

james kenneth blaylock

Poem: "Black the Raven" by M Teresa Clayton

Black the Raven
M Teresa Clayton

Black the raven, black the crow,
Black sun hangs in a fiery glow.
Red the rosebud, red the blood,
Red Leviathan beneath the flood.
Black the cauldron, black the veil,
Black Madonna, thy holy grail.
Red the blood-line, Red the wine,
Red the water; a dark sanguine.
Black the magic, black the night,
Black the Crone Witch takes her flight.
Red the earth’s crust, red the moon dust,
Red the loins from her lover’s lust.
Black the Panther, black the bat,
Black the familiar; the feral cat.
Red the copper, red the jewel,
Red the markings of the king’s young fool.
Black the raven, black the crow,
Never giving up the secrets they know.
Red the rosebud that is pure and true;
Red is the price for those who knew.
Black are the damned and black the blessed.
Black is the shadow the veil has kissed.
No red for the one who shall remain blind.
No color at all will the inquisitor’s find.
Black raven carries the knowledge of kings.
Black crow remembers incredible things.
Red dragon protects the lineage of those
Marked with the chalice of the red, red rose.

Poem: "Soul Crushing Cry For Release" by Skitz J. Fitch

Soul Crushing Cry For Release
Skitz J. Fitch

Bitter sweet is the taste of you're death spicy and painful the taste of my flesh , rend it off me set me free from this prison of flesh let my inner dark fly beyond the borders of this bone cage , tie the rope tight my love for tonight I take flight until I hear the snap , release me for what I have done I can not undo the things I have said. my meaningless life end it all is given unto you , this pain to much the screams enough it drowns out all light and saps me of any fight I can't bear it anymore life is nothing empty and hollow like the street corner whore spreading it's legs to see the light of another day please pull that trigger swipe that blade take it all away , Void void is light void is life take it my darling take it tonight it was never mine to hold but it was always mine to give knock knock knock here comes the screams again please take it away please make it end .

Poem: "Dread Night" by Jerry Langdon

Dread Night

in the walls
Ghostly scares
in the halls
Just beyond the door
A cold, cold floor
fills the air
is right there
Cover your eyes in fear
Death is growing near
echo on and on
Dread dreams
go on and on
in your pillow
Ghostly scares
in your window
fills the air

© Jerry Langdon 2021

Poem: "Clown Paint" by Alan Lisanti

Clown Paint
Alan Lisanti

I wonder how it took them so long and they still haven't figured it out
The feigned smiles and laughter
Deflect bullets like samurai swords
In a swirl of calculated dismantlement
It's how I dodge rain drops and lightning in storm swells
How I evade the cold kiss of eternal slumber like an infallible warrior on the front lines of this one man army campaign
Through gritted teeth, I'm going to proclaim numbness is an antidote
And prove it poised upon this tightrope livewire
My balance is profound and obnoxious to the sway of my form in the physical
And nothing like the concealed torture of ping pong that befalls me beneath the exterior
Haul away the safety nets before the crescendo
I'm confident I don't need such petty checks and balances
Don't tell me the whispers tucked between the lines don't coincide
With the surest words that flee from my parched lips
I'm preoccupied with distractions because I'm "sure" advice is easier to give than to receive, and I can be the "hero" in this toxic world of villainy
Reassure me with the lost art of gentlemenly conduct I project
Like I can't play the role
Of calm, cool, collected, and genuine
Like a kind heart and a broken soul can't coexist
Like realness just ups and dies among the many masks the interior or the exterior deem fit
No matter the lengths I've gone to
Just to conquer the unconquerable
It's apparent one just has to "live with it"
Bite down on the charades and falsities
Bite down on the pain and chronic calamities
I appease it all with my stoic wit
The secret ingredient in comedy is tragedy
So comically, tragedy cant kill me in its grip
I've circumvented destination through assassination of the navigator
Survival instincts kick in like a lifeline
I'm laughing back from the throes of combustion
Destruction, disassembly, repaired by shattered notions
Tip toe amidst the ether
Disturb the tranquil peaces
Til I'm not so sure these pieces even fit
Adaptation like the laws of nature
I'm so certain make no sense in this senselessness
Cyclical, ghost soul, shadow dancer
Gone cynical-never forfeited
For dishonesty in the sense of sureness
Oddity, outcast, human, flawed and reckless
Just like the rest of them
Don't praise me for the sanctity of secrets
Kept beyond the obvious
I'm dwarf star in reverse
Anti-matter reincarnated for now
For as long as I can buy time
Through bargains and persuasions
The picador, merrymaker, humorist
Or maybe just the fool
Blinded by dualities
Blinded by instability
With eyes wide open
Steady, and sturdily
Casting my torn sails to the torrents
Of the trixter called the wind

Poem: "Persephone & Hades" by Renascentia Bella Morte

Persephone & Hades
Renascentia Bella Morte

It is where our darkness meet
That created sparks at our feet
The sparks of embered flames start to rise
Showing shimmers of light in our nights sky

Now I know how I feel for you, not needing to ask myself why.
For me; it's bec, you shine brighter than any other star in the darkened sky.

Poem: "Watershed!" by Rich Orth

Rich Orth 4/29/2021 2:05pm

Sun beats us down...
Turbulence erodes sanctity
Sanity carved its mark
Time and insolence
Wore away
essence of innocence
Till barely nothing
...nothing discernable
remains above
circled by landsharks
marketing cons
Collecting payment
with each uncomplimentary
pound of flesh...
Within this...turbulent
watershed moment
Within this...lifetime
of discontent!

Poem: "Pale Sun" by Steven Michael Pape

Pale Sun

Pale in the Morning sun,
Blinking like newborns.
Our tone alabaster,
Like the statues we saw,
In old art documentaries.
The sun although weak,
Seems to energise us,
Banishing the tiredness,
That earlier consumed.
And as the birds now sing,
A chorus from brittle branches,
We inhale, meditate,
The sun stark against the white,
Like polished marble.

©® Steven Michael Pape 2021

Poem: "Embodiment..." by Sky Claudette Soto

Sky Claudette Soto

Within the embodiment of enlightenment comes source,GOD'S OF god's and Goddesses,lucid dreaming ...horses by two I see unto what is of a knowing sense a sixth sense an anima of force..vital force A breath a soul a spirit between world's that is a part of this plane.and planes beyond world's of existence...
As rosemary and thyme burns bringing Clarity and light unto this time of times... but only hungering
for libratious dreams...
and in the future we shall liveth in a new dimension... in the future we shall liveth in a new world order when time is on their hands and upon ours...

Copyright and Written by Sky Claudette Soto
First American Publishing rights only!!!

Monday, May 10, 2021

Full Length Review: Plaguewielder "Covenant Death" (Disorder Recordings) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Plaguewielder
Location: Ohio
Country: USA
Genre: Blackened sludge
Full Length: Covenant Death
Format: Digital album, digipak CD
Label: Disorder Recordings
Release date: April 2, 2021
What’s going on all, I’m back with another album review. Welcome to COVENANT DEATH by Plague Wielder!
So what I have in front of you today is an 8 track machine of an album featuring a lot of different elements (which I’ll get to in a bit) and with pacing not like much I’ve heard this year, it really sets itself apart as a record you could ultimately benefit from listening to in a closed space with some good quality headphones.
Let’s talk the ‘music’ itself.
On the genre it’s described as ‘Blackened Sludge’ which actually got me excited to experiment with but because of this album's unusual pacing and stylistic choices it has a variety of sounds and influences that (for me) range between:
-Black Metal
See, the first few songs of the album set up a more Metalcore sound with the mid to higher screams, the catchy and infectious guitar riffs, the intricate pattern of the drums and the generous use of the bass.
For me it’s in the third song and beyond where the true ‘Blackened Sludge’ comes into play, kind of caught me off guard to be honest but regardless those heavy trademark sludge instrumentation seeps through and the screams begin to take form in a lower register and the louder more technical aspect bares its face!
The Production
As I stated above, the first few songs took the context out but with the remaining six songs doing the album justice it’s really only a minor complaint in the ‘fluency’ department. I sat at the start that this is an album that would be best enjoyed in an isolated headspace because it has this strong ‘depth’ about it sonically that’s hard to pinpoint.
The music itself feels alive and emotional, it feels like you would be disrespecting the soul of the album by listening to it in a casual manner and so to truly understand the magic I highly recommend you either invest in your best headphones or be alone to pay attention to the sounds, lyrics and patterns presented!
In closing, a solid and almost ominous record but in the best way possible, it’s heavy, loud and gracious all at the same time. Go check these guys out and go support them at the links below!
-Corban Skipwith

Bryce Seditz: Guitar, vocals, engineer
Jeff Wilson: Bass, synth, additional guitars, engineer
Tim Roberts: Drums

Track list:
1. To Dance With Wolves
2. At Night They Roam
3. A Death That Knows No End
4. One With The Shadows
5. Covenant Death
7. Black Mysticism
8. Forever We Shall Be

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Full Length Review: Kenny McCormick "Alien" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Artist: Kenny McCormick
Location: Meura
Country: Germany
Genre: Progressive metal
Full Length: Alien
Format: Digital album
Label: Independent
Release date: April 4, 2021
Kenny McCormick is a German musician who for four or five years has been perfecting what he calls his “progressive alien space metal”. What do we have here? Another label in an ocean of them? There’s a seemingly infinite amount of them already. What sounds like yet another subgenral classification which will only further complicate the genre as a whole is really the sole means of describing a style fast becoming unique to him. One you can instantly recognize as being his. “Alien” is McCormick’s third full length (following 2018’s “Zenturies” and 2017’s “Event Horizon”) and reaches a near-flawless equilibrium between melodic death metal, progressive metal and progressive rock without a single impression of being a forced crossover or unnecessarily nimble-fingered. The atmosphere, the subtleties in musicianship, the time changes, the occasional dissonant chords and the subtle shades of early grunge and funk are enough to place you into a trance akin to an abduction by an extraterrestrial species. “Alien” is not like something released by Voivod or Sear Bliss but features dark and mysterious qualities in its own right. The Rush/Marillion prog-rock elements of the songs make the album much less rough-edged while contributing to its ambiance. All the songs recorded here are without lyrics or vocals, and this development leaves it to you to decide what epic tale is unfolding, what happens in its course and how (and where) it ultimately concludes. The brief introduction in the first song “Contact” provides a start to the narrative, but interpretation is mostly left open as to what’s next. Whether it turns out like the movie “Alien,” “Close Encounters” or “Independence Day” depends on your imagination. References to several classic sci fi movies seem to be made here, so this can as easily be a synthesis of several of those films. The final track “0100000101001100010010010100010101001110” with its 50s/60s sci fi theme and electronic sounds gives you something of an idea, but is still vague enough to let you decide. There’s even a reference to H.P. Lovecraft giving “Alien” darker, more sinister overtones. McCormick’s style of composing is also such that extended listening may produce an awareness you’re being hypnotized by this album’s overt and indistinct nuances. –Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Contact
2. Alien
3. Monolith
4. Close Encounters Of The Fifth Kind
5. Paradigm Shift
6. Silent Observer
7. The Shadow Out Of Time
8. Type Omega-Minus
9. Star Atlas
10. Metaphor
11. 0100000101001100010010010100010101001110

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Full Length Review: Steel Bearing Hand "Slay In Hell" (Carbonized Records) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Steel Bearing Hand
Location: Dallas, Texas
Country: USA
Genre: Death/thrash metal
Full Length: Slay In Hell
Format: Digital, CD, cassette/digital
Release date: April 2, 2021
What’s good everyone, I’m back and it’s ALBUM REVIEW TIME again! I love listening to and discovering new bands and artists all around the world and this band is definitely no exception. SLAY IN HELL by Steel Bearing Hand.
So, this is the latest album by Thrash/Doom metal band Steel Bearing Hand released April 2 this year.
After listening to this record a few things came into my mind. First of all the production and vibe. What we have here is a 90’s blend of early Death Metal (think more towards early Cannibal Corpse, Venom, etc) and modern-day Doom/Sludge metal components all combined into one extraordinary project.
I compare this more to the 90’s era of Death Metal because this album doesn’t feature that prominent heavy bass or extremely distorted instrumentation but more just focusing on technicality and precision above all else.
This album is packed with shredding guitar that could melt your face off if you’re not careful, I would say this is 40% Vocals 60% guitar. Solo’s and riffs can be found around almost every corner and it’s all the better for it.
What’s also prominent is the fantastic use of drums and the complex patents and rhythms that prove just how talented this band really is.
This album features six tracks and with them, their own individual pacing and sonic journey told within the songs, the final track ‘Ensanguined’ which sits at 12:31 seconds is a behemoth of a track, one that reminds me a lot of the final track of the band Nails’ 2016 album ‘You Will Never Be One Of Us’ with the track ‘They Come Crawling Back’ at the beginning of the track I could swear they even share the same chord progressions which were exciting for me to hear.
But just like the Nails song this outro track also provides that same methodical, tortuous aura and arrangements to stun your soul with! It does a fantastic job of building up the tension minute by minute only to have the final few minutes ride on some truly haunting notes and riffs.
For a project that’s only six tracks this album does a marvelous job at portraying the ‘religious apocalyptic’ narrative and the use of the instrumentation and choice of sound and production was great, you really couldn’t ask for a better Thrash/Doom fusion if you tried!
So as always, go support, subscribe, and stream these guys!
Link below to follow them and let’s get them viral!

Wyatt Burton: Vocals, lead guitars
Parker Turney: Guitars
Chris Bonner: Bass
Anthony Vallejo: Drums

Track list:
1. Command of the Infernal Exarch
2. Lich Gate
3. Tombspawn
4. Per Tenebras Ad Lucem
5. 'Til Death and Beyond
6. Ensanguined

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Interview with Altara Blakthorne of Blackened Horde Zine by Dave Wolff

Interview with Altara Blakthorne of Blackened Horde Zine

From what I gather Blackened Horde Zine was on hiatus but you recently restarted it with several new interviews.
Blackened Horde Zine first started as a print zine under another name, then it was changed to a website. I am still re-vamping the zine in trying to find reviewers who are willing to donate their time and opinions in doing some reviews.

What is the purpose of Blackened Horde Zine and what genres does it cover? How widespread is your readership?
The purpose of Blackened Horde is to help promote local and underground bands. They work hard and all deserve to be recognized for their talent. We cover all genres in the Extreme Metal era. Anything from Black Metal to Thrash Metal. I do have another zine that handles all other genres. We are world-widespread, so all countries and then some.

For what reasons did you decide to exclusively cover extreme metal in the zine? How many subgenres has it supported altogether?
Living in Florida which was labeled as “the death metal capital of the world” is why I decided to do Extreme Metal genres. I couldn't even guess an exact number of subgenres; probably around twenty or so.

Did you start the zine independently or with staff members helping you out?
I started it all myself, however, I have always had people doing the album reviews. The main reason for this is conflict. If I didn't like a band but they were friends I didn't want there to be tension in the friendship.

What was your zine first named, and how many issues were printed and released? How long was it on hold and what made you decide to bring it back online?
The printed zine had the embarrassing name of “The Vampiress Chronicles”. There were probably about ten to fifteen issues. I'm not sure exactly how long it was on hold but it was many, many years.

How many copies did you press of each issue of the zine when it was The Vampiress Chronicles? Are any older issues still available?
Not too many actually. It was basically printed on an order basis. And I do believe I may have some of those interviews on my website under “Ancient Interviews”. There are no printed copies except mine that I will always keep. I am thinking about taking it apart to laminate the pages so they don't get ruined.

How many staff writers/contributors worked on The Vampiress Chronicles with you? Did any of them express interest in resuming for Blackened Horde or did you restart from scratch?
I had probably three reviewers for TVC and I was the only interviewer. However, an ex-boyfriend did one interview because he was living with this other band and he thought it would be fun. One of the reviewers did come over to BHZ until he didn't have the time.

We know about Cannibal Corpse and Deicide, but did Blackened Horde cover local Florida bands who weren’t noticed as much by major independent labels?
We have covered Florida bands. Some are bands people know and some are bands people don't.

What lesser-known Florida bands have been featured in reviews and interviews? Is the death metal scene there as active as it was when it started?
Some of the Florida bands were: Impurity, Burning Fair Verona, Armageddon III, Faethom, Markradonn, and many more. The Death Metal scene is definitely still active however with the Covid situation a lot of bands are kinda on hold or not playing live as much.

Going by all the subgenres you listen to, are there still bands expanding the range of extreme metal as a whole, or do most of the bands you’ve heard sound like bands from the 1990s?
I think some of the bands from the 90's were better than and some of the bands now are better. It all depends on the bands. Nowadays they are exploring more options and adding different things into the mix.

Do you also cover black metal and other subgenres of metal in your zine?
Black metal is my favorite in the extreme metal genre. I even did an interview with Boddel from Gorgoroth before his passing. Which I will always keep in the current interview section. You can listen to it here: If a band is extreme metal they will be added to BHZ, if they are not they will go in my other zine Crimson Moon. That way no one gets turned down.

How much has Blackened Horde’s readership increased since it became an online zine? How long did it take to build the website and is it on your own internet host?
Well, it has definitely gotten a lot more attention. I get emails all the time from bands and labels. My ex did the original setup (coding) for the website. But the input in it was all done by me which took a very long time. Months even. I wanted it to be very well implemented so it was easy for readers to navigate.

Who are some of the bands featured in the Ancient Interviews section? And the bands you have interviewed more recently?
The bands there are Angelkill, Corpsevomit, Fleshgrind, Num Skull, and others. The most recent are Adragard, Messora, Brzask and Goddess.

Do you prefer doing interviews where a band gives brief, to the point answers or interviews where a band gives longer, more detailed answers?
When a band gives short answers to every single question it makes the readers feel like they are rushing through it so they don't want to bother. With that being said some answers will be short.

I saw you post videos on the site as well as reviews, band bios, and interviews. Does this help increase the traffic?
The videos and bios, I am not sure if they increase traffic but I figured it is a good way for people to know a little more about the band and even hear them.

In addition to promotional videos, have you considered posting bands’ Youtube, Bandcamp, and Spotify links?
As for the links, I do add links at the end of the interviews to places people can find out about the bands if they are provided or can be found.

Have you met any writers or prospective writers interested in reviewing for the zine?
I do have some people who are interested in writing reviews. And I am always happy to have more so if anyone out there is interested please email me at Of course, I will always miss my greatest reviewer of all, Pagan.

Who was Pagan and how actively was she involved with Blackened Horde Zine?
Pagan was a girl I knew from the U.K. and she was an awesome reviewer. She would even send over stuff I didn't send her to add into BHZ. Unfortunately, she passed away from cancer a few years ago. I miss her a lot.

Are you still involved with the radio program you’re doing for Blackened Horde? How long has that show been online to date? Has the staff at the zine also been involved in it?
Unfortunately, the radio station is not live due to circumstances. One is the company that broadcasted the stream no longer exists. And my ex put that up and I'm not sure who else to go with anymore. However, I do keep the website up in case I ever can get it up and running again.
No one from the zine got involved in the radio station since they were not local and I wasn't gonna leave the computer vulnerable to hackers. But I did have a local friend who used to come over and do a radio show sometimes. Great night of metal and Jack Daniels for us both.

What company broadcasted the stream, and how visible was the link or website for listeners to tune into? Was it live at that time or prerecorded?
It’s been so long that I can't remember the name of the company that supported the live stream. It was live and ran 24/7 unless the power or internet was out. The stream was right on the main page so people can get to it when they open the webpage. There were some pre-recorded shows uploaded.

Who was the friend you worked on the show with, and how would a typical session go? Did you ever consider hosting it solo or would you have to work with a second DJ?
My friend that did some show with me was a guy named David. He used that DJ name of Bonechild. We would just play random shit, whatever he wanted to play. However, I did have many shows I hosted. The certain show had a certain type of genre to follow.

What genre or genres were normally spotlighted on Blackened Horde Radio? Who were some of the bands Bonechild would play on the show?
Blackened Horde Radio featured many genres from Extreme Metal, Classic Rock, Hair Metal, Rock, Metal, Punk, Alternative, Grunge, Industrial, Unsigned, and Local bands and anything in between those lines. Bonechild would play a lot of the Florida extreme Metal bands and the popular ones like Cannibal Corpse and Deicide.

How many underground/unsigned bands were aired on the show, bands you couldn’t hear on other programs?
It really depended on the show for how many underground bands were played. I had a show just for underground bands. So however long the show was for it would play that many. I miss doing the shows.

Were any live performances aired on the show, or would you consider airing live shows if you were to start it up again?
Live shows wouldn't really be possible unless I got a bigger studio with more room. However, I have done a live interview with a band in the studio before.

Who was the band you interviewed live and when was the interview conducted? Would you do more live interviews today if you had the opportunity?
The band was called Vital Pain, which no longer exists. I have done others via Skype. I don't do them like that anymore either due to my schedule and the bands' schedule. But if I could I would.

How long have you worked for Crimson Moon Zine and how much does its format differ from Blackened Horde? Was anyone publishing it before you joined or is it yours?
Crimson Moon Zine only started maybe ten years ago. It's always been online, never a printed zine. No one published before me I started it. The format is any genre in the Rock/Metal categories, but no extreme Metal.

When was the latest issue of Crimson Moon released online, and what bands were interviewed?
There aren't any issues per se of Crimson Moon Zine. It's all under the same format as BHZ where it has “Current Interviews” and “Older Interviews” tabs. However, I recently did two interviews with bands Fore and Ted Axe. But as for older interviews for CMZ I have done Dream Aria, Killerfix, Lestat, Savage, Thirty Silver, Widows, and many more.

Does Crimson Moon have a staff of any kind or are you seeking writers to contribute as well as to Blackened Horde?
Well right now I have two writers interested in doing reviews however I have to go through files to see which is Crimson Moon material and which is Blackened Horde material.

Are you getting offers to write reviews or interviews for other webzines in recent months? Or are Blackened Horde and Crimson Moon your sole publications at present?
I always get emails from bands and labels for interviews and reviews. It's a never-ending process. And then sometimes I will contact a band.

What genres have you not covered in your zines, that you would consider expanding to in the future?
I think we covered every that I would cover between both zines. Its all in the Rock and Metal eras. We will never cover rap or pop types of genres because the readers wouldn't care.

-Dave Wolff

Interview with makeup artist and goth model Chinzyllah by Dave Wolff

Interview with makeup artist and goth model Chinzyllah

Asphyxium Zine: Your Instagram profile partly describes you as a “darkly inclined makeup enthusiast”. Can you elaborate on what such a statement is intended to mean?
Chinzyllah: For me, being darkly inclined is defined by one’s passionate connection to the darker aspects of life. I’m sure many would immediately identify me as a goth, but I prefer not to be limited to only one hue of darkness. I also draw much of my inspiration from the black metal musical genre. I’ve classified myself as a makeup enthusiast rather than a makeup artist, as I lack the formal training that’s usually required. Furthermore, I’ve never considered myself to be worthy of being recognized as a legitimate artist of any kind. Perhaps I’m more humble than what is healthy, but I just don’t agree with being appraised at a high value.”

Asphyxium Zine: Which of life’s darker aspects do you feel a connection with, and where does the passion for these connections come from? Did you feel these connections from a young age or did they develop over time?
Chinzyllah: The darkest aspect of life is death itself, as that is where life as we currently know it ends. There have been numerous occasions, mostly throughout my teenage years, where being smitten by death’s eternal embrace was almost fatal. I’ve felt the longing for death to claim my life since the age of twelve, which is also another way of saying that I’ve been coping with severe depression for about thirteen years. In saying that, I suppose my passion for life’s ultimate hue of darkness is sourced by my ever-evolving battle with depression.

Asphyxium Zine: Goth and black metal has more connotations today than in the past. These include a wider spectrum of colors, albeit all darker. How many different aspects of these aesthetics are you drawing from and/or creating?
Chinzyllah: For me, inspiration is born from a multitude of avenues that extend beyond musical genres or subcultural themes. Honestly, most of my creations start without blueprints; I just start mixing the ingredients on my face and allow nature to take its course until I deem it finished. Viewing the results of my efforts, some may find that hard to believe but it’s the absolute truth.

Asphyxium Zine: Are you a long time listener of black metal or did you discover it in later years? Is there any particular subgenre of black metal you resonate with? How many similarities, musical and/or visual, do you see between black metal and goth?
Chinzyllah: My ears tasted black metal for the very first time during my high school years, so I’ve been a listener of the genre for about a decade or so now. As a teenager, I decided that I wanted to practice LaVeyan Satanism to rebel against my Christian upbringing, Upon making this decision, I started doing research on Satanic worship music. During the Christian sermon structure, the musical component was always captivating for me. That being said, I just couldn’t envision a religion without music as I’d previously known music’s integral role within Christianity. Not long after beginning my search for Satan-praising musicians, I first happened upon Gorgoroth and was not disappointed with what I’d heard. Moving forward, there isn’t a black metal subgenre that I favour more over others; I enjoy just about anyone in the genre besides Burzum. I’ve personally never recognized any similarities between black metal and goth, as they are two entirely different entities both musically and aesthetically.

Asphyxium Zine: How much of your innermost emotions can you channel into your work without revealing too much of it? Where do you have to draw the line?
Chinzyllah: The amount of inward thoughts and emotions that I express through makeup is virtually limitless. Placing a cap on the emotional value of my looks hasn’t felt necessary, not yet anyway. I may not consider myself good enough to be dubbed as a “true” artist, but I recognize that whatever I create evokes a unique response from each viewer much like art does. Among my current viewership, accurate readings of what internal processes I’m externalizing through makeup has been an infrequent occurrence. With that in mind, expressing my true self with this particular method doesn’t make me feel vulnerable. Most don’t really pick up on how influential my subconscious is on my hand during each brushstroke, so there’s little concern for being too revealing.

Asphyxium Zine: Does improvising your designs without blueprints or pre-planning give you more room for expression? Is it too much for some to handle if they’re unfamiliar with black metal or goth?
Chinzyllah: Although it may not be the best approach for those with limited patience, it absolutely provides me with the freedom to authentically express myself. On average, the assemblage time for my makeup alone usually takes anywhere between two to four hours which has definitely helped with improving my patience over the years. As for my chosen presentation being too intense for some, that can be immediately confirmed by having me enter the local grocery store in my full form. I was born and raised within a small tourist town, so I’m sure you can imagine the many gawks and fearful mutterings I often receive based upon their beliefs in highly inaccurate stereotypes.

Asphyxium Zine: What about your Christian upbringing did you most want to rebel against? Are you still in that frame of mind or do you feel you have grown on your own terms since then?
Chinzyllah: As your typical angsty teenager, I just really wanted to rebel against my parents and their predetermined destiny for my life which had no consideration for the person I truly am. Looking back, nothing healthy ever came from trying to be one with their god growing up. My mother would regularly claim that I wouldn’t have had so many struggles in life had I just given Jesus more room within my heart and mind. Meanwhile, the large religious target placed upon my back during childhood predisposed me to over a decade’s worth of bullying and almost led me into a dysfunctional marriage years later. Although these negative experiences were indeed painful, I don’t think I’d be as well-equipped for life had it not been for those growing pains.

Asphyxium Zine: What kind of stereotypes have you dealt with, and how did religion play into them? In what ways was the left hand path an answer when it came to choosing your own path?
Chinzyllah: I’ve been met with several stereotypes throughout my existence, the most common being the goth stereotype. People who aren’t even vaguely familiar with the gothic subculture really let their ignorance shine through, when they make the assumption that I’m inherently evil due to the dark elements I adorn myself with. I understand that some folks are well-intended and are just trying to compliment my sense of style the way they know best; so I try to remain respectful in hopes of debunking that stereotype’s validity. When you throw religion into the mix, it becomes much more tiresome for me to acknowledge as most religious folk have perceived me as a missionary’s conquest. Venturing down the left path was necessary for my journey of self-discovery, it’s also what saved my life in a way. If I’d remained on the Christian road that I was brought up on, I don’t believe I would’ve been able to accept myself for who I truly am or feel anything besides shame.

Asphyxium Zine: How important a role, if any, do the mediums of music and film play in your self-expression?
Chinzyllah: Honestly, I’m not a huge movie buff. When the mood strikes, I enjoy classic horror films and well as select modern film series like Lord Of The Rings and Underworld. With how little I watch movies, or even just general television, I can’t say that the film industry has had a significant role in my daily life or the way I choose to express myself. On the other hand, music has definitely played a major role in my form of self-expression and shall continue to until there’s nothing left for me to express. When the music stops, so do I. Creating anything without the musical accompaniment to fuel me throughout the creative process, would be comparable to going on a deep sea dive without a breathing apparatus.

-Dave Wolff

Interview with Corban Skipwith of Relentless Reviews with Corbz by Dave Wolff

Interview with Corban Skipwith 
of Relentless Reviews with Corbz

You post music reviews at your Facebook group “Relentless Reviews With Corbz”. Were your earliest reviews of artists you were friends with or artists you found online?
Since I was young I’ve had this obsession with music. I always thought it was normal to study, learn and binge listen to music all day but I soon found out it wasn’t. I started actually three to four years ago just because I knew so much I thought why not!
My first attempt was called “Kaioken’s Knowledge Knock Outs” and the reviews I did were short and really bad. I cringe when I look back at them. Justin Hunte formerly of HipHopDx and The Needle Drop’s Anthony Fantano inspired me. To be honest, when I first started with my amateur take on reviews I was just reviewing the albums Anthony Fantano covered, so essentially I started off as a hack, haha.

Was “Kaioken’s Knowledge Knock Outs” on Facebook or was there an official website?
It was just random posts I made to my Facebook. I’m glad I never made that go viral! Haha.

When did you start “Relentless Reviews With Corbz” and how actively did you promote it?
I don’t remember, but the original name for the current group was “Kaioken’s Musical Debates and Reviews”; something like that. Then it was changed to what you see now.

How extensive was your study of music, and how did it help to satisfy your obsession with it?
I never actually had any official extensive study. All the knowledge I’ve acquired was from self-study, researching different artists and genres, taking time out to watch interviews and listen to new music to broaden my horizon!

How many genres were you studying before you became interested in reviewing? Where were most of the interviews you watched, and what pointers did you pick up from them?
I studied all genres, but the two genres I started off loving was Hip Hop and Heavy Metal. I guess watching various channels and interviews I picked up small stuff like: interesting questions, ability to keep the conversation going, room set up etc.

Were the channels you watched mostly on Youtube and other platforms like Facebook and Reverbnation? Where did you read the interviews you researched?
Yeah, mainly on YouTube. I use to watch everything from behind the scenes footage, interviews, Q and A’s, etc.
The one interview that stood out most to me was this interview with Dani Filth (Cradle of Filth) regarding his latest album (at the time) “Darkly Darkly Venus Aversa”. As the album is focused on the demon Lilith who in some variations of the bible is considered to be “the snake” that convinced Eve to eat the apple and cast her and Adam out of the Garden of Eden.
Anyway, Dani Filth described the album, “Lilith is such an interesting character, in fact religion as a whole is such a fun fairytale”.

Are you self-educated as a writer, or did your formal education in high school and college have a part in it?
I am self-educated, though I excelled in literature in high school which led to my passion for writing reviews down the line.

Who were the authors you were studying most often while taking literature in high school? Where did you make the connection between reading and reviewing?
None specifically. In literature we would write poetry, and the two poets I remember being fixated on most was the lead singer of the Finnish band HIM, Ville Valo, and the lead singer of UK band Cradle Of Filth, Dani Filth. Their various takes on dark poetry fascinated me most and the later one helped me learn new words as that band often uses complicated words.

How many poems did you compose in high school? Do you still have any of them in your possession?
I actually had a whole folder of dark poetry and rap lyrics. If I remember correctly it was all super moody, depressing, purposely controversial content as I was fighting a lot of emotional issues at the time and writing was my escape. I think it’s under my bed somewhere actually, haha.

Any examples of lyrics Ville Valo and Dani Filth wrote that you found inspirational, or do you generally appreciate all of their work?
From HIM it was: “The kiss of vanity blessed me with a spiritual murder/Fed the gods of war insatiable/Your home is where the dark is, I should have told her/Embraced the fire indestructible”. From Cradle Of Filth it was actually the whole song “The Cult of Venus Aversa”, the intro track to their album of the same name.

How did your professors respond to you presenting metal lyrics? Were the songs you shared taken seriously or was there bias to overcome?
I remember the one time I showed the HIM lyrics specifically to one of my teachers she was just confused and didn’t understand it at all. But I remember when I had to write a poem about this book for school the teacher Mr. Davidson said to me, “This wasn’t the format of poetry I was looking for but you have a rare writing talent that not many people in the world have.” I still remember those words to this day, haha.

Did you always want to write exclusively about music, or were there other mediums you were interested in at any point?
This was actually my last option, I originally wanted to be a rapper or a producer. But when that fell short I realized the only thing I was ever good at was writing so I decided to take my knowledge and my literature skills and start writing reviews!

How do you think you would have fared as a rapper if you had pursued it?
I always wonder this, and I feel I would have done horribly. I can only seem to think of one or two creative ideas at a time and I’m super inconsistent on any real material, haha.

Was writing poems ever an option when you were considering long term careers?
No, not really. It was only ever a hobby for me.

How cathartic was it to write the lyrics you preserved in your folder? How do you feel looking back on them now?
I was born into a religious Mormon household so to hear such passive atheism coming from my favorite singer at the time was crazy! Haha. I feel quite cringy to be honest, some of them I think were pretty cool, but a lot were dumb and over the top.
In fact I was so out of touch with reality that one time during this math test I had with this teacher I couldn’t stand I write down absolutely ridiculous nonsense in the answers like “go kill yourself” or “satan is king” which ended up getting me expelled if I’m not mistaken. I was really messed up back then and I’m just happy I grew into my love for writing and turned it into something proper.

How much of an impact did your Mormon upbringing have on you, and why did you feel you needed to rebel? In what ways did that rebellion shape who you are?
It had a massive impact on me, I mean don’t get me wrong it taught me a whole lot of useful stuff like how to tie a tie, wear a suit, how to be polite, manners etc and there were tons of extra-curricular activities that I really enjoyed.
But for me the toughest part was the censorship of everything, I mean we weren’t even allowed to watch ‘The Simpsons’ growing up let alone South Park or Family Guy.
If it had swearing we had to turn it off, so I had many clashes as a teenager with my music and especially as a moody teenager trying to piss off my parents so my music was extra explicit it’s was just a tough time for me (musically) at least.
But now as I’m older, Me and mum and dad have a super strong relationship and I just don’t bring up music with swearing to them or if I write a review or do an interview with someone with heavy swearing I just tell them beforehand not to tune in or read it, haha.

Were Justin Hunte and Anthony Fantano people you knew personally or artists you admired before you started reviewing?
Unfortunately, I had never met them. To me they were and still are rock stars in their own right and I still hope to meet them one day down the line!

You cover rap and metal on your Facebook profile. Since the late 80s/early 90s rap and metal have often crossed over (Anthrax and Public Enemy, Biohazard and Cypress Hill, Slayer and Ice T etc). Do you consider the two genres compatible?
I definitely think they can be! My top picks are normally Run DMC/Aerosmith – “Walk This Way” and Jay Z/Linkin Park – “Numb Encore”. I feel they showcase the best of both!

What about the way rap lyrics are penned speak to you? Are they similar to lyrics by metal bands?
I’m more fascinated by the wordplay aspect of rap. How many words can they fit to one sentence, how complicated can they make it? How creative? There are just so many ways a rapper can manipulate and work the lyrics; with Metal I’m always interested in the story aspect.
What kind of overall story or vibe can they give off? Cradle Of Filth did an excellent job at conceptual albums by telling these fairytale like fantasy stories in the albums with every song building the narrative stronger! HIM had the best “vibe” incorporated what they dubbed as “Love Metal” by making a name for themselves with moody, larger than life goth ballads. They really spoke to me with how much emotion was made in each song.

How do listeners of rap and metal respond to your reviews? Do you think you’re bridging the gap between both “camps”?
I feel they are very positive! When I write a metal review I tag and share it to all metal communities, but since my group is filled with a mixed bag of tastes you get the occasional reaction or share on a post that differs from their own personal taste! I chalk it down to out of support for my writing, but they could just like to be diverse so there’s that possibility.

Can metal and rap cross over today as when those songs by Run DMC/Aerosmith and Jay Z/Linkin Park were recorded?
I believe it can more than ever! I mean look at artists like Ghostmane, Scarlxrd and Denzel Curry to name a few who are making a career combining the two styles in various ways and it works! Plus you have the “Soundcloud era” of music which often features metal and hip hop influences!

Who are some of the artists you recently reviewed for your profile, and how much notice have the reviews gotten since they’ve been posted?
There was this one duo called Brick Da Foundation. I reviewed their album “Bell X Brick”. After a few days of the review being out, they said, their album appeared on the Apple Music charts! Not sure how much I had to do with that, but they seem to think it was a lot so I’ll take the compliment haha.

Have you considered starting a blog to post your reviews, and possibly expanding to interviewing bands and artists there?
I’m working on a podcast with a close friend who’s also a rapper, so there’s that. But I’m not sure yet I’m always down for anything!

Is there anything you can reveal to the readers about the podcast you’re working on? Is this podcast streaming now or is there a launch date? How did you come up with the idea and what will be aired on it?
At the moment not really, it’s really super into it. All I can say is that it will be featuring a guy called Bailey McLean. He’s a hip hop artist that goes by the name “Bayza” who is an Australian hip hop artist on the rise and a close friend of mine!

How well known a rap artist is Bayza in his home country? Are there sizable rap scenes over there?
Not too well known yet, but big things are on the rise for sure! It definitely has a cult following the Australian Hip Hop Scene, if I had to compare the sound it would be a combination of West Coast production mixed with UK Grime vocal performances. Definitely an acquired taste.

Which internet platforms are you considering airing the podcast on?
That I’m not sure of yet, we will have to wait and see!

Though writing poems was a hobby, if you were to start again, would you consider publishing them in a book or magazine?
Yes, I don’t see why not! If they were good enough, I haven’t tried writing poetry in a while but I’ve always had this concept for a book with this premise: A mysterious foreign man visits a town and comes across a woman who has a whole lot of troubles in her life, and he makes it so that she vents to him and he acts like her psychologist. After every session he converts her troubles into a musical overture, then at the end of the book he presents to the whole town his grant musical overture representing her life, troubles and redemption!

Do you ever think you would start writing that novel you described? Do you know of any publishing companies you would take the finished book to?
I hope I have the opportunity in the future, I would currently say it’s just a pipe dream but I never know what the future holds! And no I haven’t thought that far ahead with it.

You told me recently you’re writing an article to land a position with a major music magazine. Is there anything you can fill the readers in on about this?
Yes! Well I have the possible opportunity to be a freelancer for Rolling Stone Magazine if I can nail this article. It’s a big order but all I can do is put my best foot forward and see what happens!

-Dave Wolff