Thursday, June 17, 2021

Full Length Review: The Fraoch Collective "Ill" (Independent) by Corban Skipwith

Band: The Fraoch Collective
Location: Long Island, New York
Country: USA
Genre: Alternative rock
Full Length: Ill
Format: Digital
Label: Independent
Release date: June 5, 2021
What’s going on everyone!
I’m back yet again with not only another album review but another Bandcamp review as it should come as no surprise to anyone how fond I’ve become of them lately! So without any more delay let’s get into “Ill” by The Fraoch Collective.
So this is the latest by The Fraoch Collective a group I’ve never heard of until this album and going into this based on the album cover and the name I had no idea what I was to expect as normally I tend to not ignore as much as keeping myself ‘unspoiled’ by the genre tags/labels given to the artists/bands on the band camp description so I go in completely blind and my thoughts?
This is one hell of a funky time!
So the way I would describe this album is a combination of acoustic grunge and 80’s classic Heavy Metal as this album flows like the perfect combination of the band Garbage meets Pat Benatar.
This album has this amazing acoustic vibe to it with the drums, guitar, and bass all being played with this minimalist/raw quality to it as if you were to take the aesthetic of grunge and strip it all back where it’s slightly above an acoustic album but definitely nothing as glamorous as a fully mastered studio album in its presentations.
The album’s highlight is the lead singer Heather Dawson who brings this amazing punk/rebellious vibe in her singing and vocal performances! I hear more Pat Benatar in her as an influence and as mentioned above the band ‘Garbage’ but you could also take away artists like ‘Fiona Apple’ as credible influences as she shares the similarities in energy, personality, and conviction!
Over the 8 tracks, I feel these guys do a fantastic job in engaging the listener without any worry of filler or boring moments to be pointed out, it’s the perfect album to listen to if you just want a rock album to groove to without having to worry about it being too heavy or too complicated for a simple walk or drive home!
Definitely give this a try as all the elements from the production to the vocals and the instrumentation all work in amazing harmony and it goes to show that there’s nothing wrong with a stripped-back album that knows how to do the basics perfectly! –Corban Skipwith

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

Track list:
1. I Dig A Walrus
2. Van Nuys
3. The Bitter Sun
4. Angel of the Boulevard
5. Waiting
6. Sans Heart and Home Pt. One
7. Sans Heart and Home Pt. Two
8. Ill


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Interview with solo musician Juha Jyrkäs by Dave Wolff


Interview with Juha Jyrkäs by Dave Wolff

Before starting as a solo musician you wrote lyrics for the Finnish folk metal band Korpiklaani and published several fictional novels and short stories. How long have metal and writing been part of your life and what first made you gravitate toward it?
I've been writing my whole life. Ever since I learned to read and write, as I was five years old, I've been writing poems and creating my own mythology. I started to write my own short stories already when I was ten years old. At first I wanted to be a writer. Music came afterwards.
Of course I've been a huge KISS fan already as I was seven years old, mostly because of my big sister. But seriously I started listening to music and especially heavy metal as I was a teenager. Since I wrote fantasy, sword & sorcery and horror stories, they went pretty well together with metal music. I founded my first band, VMMA, at year 1998, as I was seventeen years old. Basically writing and music have been a big part of me almost my whole life. They are my lifestream.

How much of an impact did Kiss have on you when you discovered them?
It did a lot. As a child I remembered seeing KISS show on VHS tape. Gene Simmons spitted fire and blood! Of course I thought that those guys are one of the greatest superstars ever. In a way, KISS was a gateway towards heavy metal, fantasy and horror.

When you started getting into music did you make a connection between poetry and lyrics?
I did that already before I started even listening music daily. Specially Finnish band Miljoonasade made me impression. Their lyrics are pure poetry and mini stories.

What inspired your earliest poems and short stories?
My biggest inspiration to start writing stories comes from Robert E. Howard and his Conan stories. They were translated to Finnish in that time as I was ten years old. At the same level I was fascinated with our own history and Finnish folklore and Finno-Ugric languages. They came somehow weirdly together – even in my early stories. For poetry, my main inspiration has always been Kalevala, the Finnish national epic and kalevala-metre.

Who were the bands you were listening to when you started writing horror, fantasy and sword-and-sorcery? In what ways did your writing reflect on their lyrics?
I wasn't onto music yet in that time I started to write stories. Of course there were KISS and all other music I was affected from my childhood home. But seriously music didn't yet come into my stories. Actually it was the other way around. As I was something about 13 years old, I started to wonder what kind of music I would like. I disliked all love songs and other juicy shit. I wanted to hear the songs about wars, heroes, wizards, swordsmen and battles. So I founded heavy metal! Since then both music and literature have inspired each other in my own work.

Were you the lyricist for VMMA when you worked with them? How much material was released by this band while they were active?
I was actually asked to sing in VMMA, since my lyrics were so sick, heh! We played punkish thrash metal. We did some gigs and recorded three demo songs but that was it. We actually made the cover version out of VMMA's song Maksani teutova with my previous band Tevana3.

How did you come to discover Howard’s Conan saga? Which of the novels you read provided the most fascination for you? If you saw the movies, how did they compare?
It was first in 1990 or 1991 as I saw the magnificent John Milius movie Conan the Barbarian, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. It made very profound infect on me. Later I saw the second Conan movie, Conan the Destroyer. Conan the Barbarian is the best movie ever made and Conan the Destroyer, as seen in adults eyes, is not so great, but since it meant lot to me as a child, it brings nostalgic vibes still in me.
At same time they started to translate Robert E. Howard's Conan stories in Finnish. I already started to collect Conan comics and find out of those Howard anthologies. I read them all. Howard's only Conan novel, The Hour of the Dragon is a classic. Howard's short stories my favourites are Beyond the Black River, The Black Stranger, A Witch Shall Be Born, Jewels of Gwahlur and The People of the Black Circle.

How extensively were you studying Finnish language, folklore and history? Was there anything you found that particularly stayed with you?
I've studied Finno-Ugric languages and cultures, Finnish literature and folkloristics in university. I started first in the university of Tartu, Estonia, but then I moved back to Finland and started my studies in the university of Helsinki. I have a deep profound knowledge about the history of Finnish language and other Finno-Ugric languages as well. I'm fluent in Estonian, which is closely related ti Finnish. Of other Finno-Ugric languages I can speak a little bit Livvi-Karelian, North Sámi and Hungarian. I was also an exchange student in ELTE university in Budapest, Hungary during the winter 2008-2009.
I'm also very deeply studied Finnish folk poetry and Finnish mythology. That's how I got my chance to write lyrics to folk metal band Korpiklaani. It has had a deep affect in me, as myself, I am a pagan. I belong to religious society called Karhun kansa (Bear folk), which relies on old Finnish mythology. It's actually the only Finnish mythology related religious society that has an official status here in Finland.

Tell the readers more about the Kalevala and how it inspired you to put pen to paper. How does the kalevala metre differ from other forms of poetry?
I was something about 11 years old. I was fascinated with Finnish history and Finnish folklore. I picked up Kalevala. I founded the world very similar to Robert E. Howard's Conan stories. At that time I made my first attempt to write in kalevala-metre.
Kalevala-metre is a form of trochaic tetrameter original in Balto-Finnic peoples. As in Finnish and in the most of the Finno-Ugric languages the stress is in the first syllable. Same goes with kalevala-metre. The second syllable is weak, third again strong and fourth weak. Kalevala-metre has eight syllables. The metric has of course many tricks and exceptions, which are really hard to explain in English. It's the form of poetry that fits the best in Finnish language. One interesting thing is that Henry Wadsforth Longfellow drew inspiration to his The Song of Hiawatha from Kalevala and wrote it using similar metric system!

Who were the other bands you discovered that made a lasting impression on you?
The first bands that really made the profound impression on me were Iron Maiden, old Metallica, Manowar, Black Sabbath, Sepultura and Slayer. Later I was fascinated with folk and ethnic music, with a bands such Hedningarna, Värttinä, Shamaani Duo, Myllärit and Angelit. As I'm a Finn, Finnish rock music has also influenced me, bands and artists, like Ismo Alanko, Sielun Veljet, CMX, Miljoonasade, Tuomari Nurmio and Kauko Röyhkä. I was already turned 20 before I was introduced to folk metal. I was thrilled with Finnish bands like Shaman (pre-Korpiklaani) and old Moonsorrow and old Finntroll. I was influenced also with Estonian pagan metal bands such Metsatöll, Tharaphita and Loits. I eventually moved into Estonia and watched their shows over there. Black metal of course has been a big influence in me too. Bands like Celtic Frost, Venom, Darkthrone, Mayhem, Burzum, Bathory, Barathrum etc. Nowadays I listen very much dungeon synth music as I write my stories. A Swedish dungeon synth band Örnatorpet is higly recommended!

Besides the Conan series were you reading any of Howard’s other characters or epic tales?
I've always liked the dreamy and mystical side of Howard's King Kull stories, liken in the stories The Shadow Kingdom, The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune, Kings of the Night and The Skull of Silence. But I very much enjoy with the adventures of Solomon Kane! In some ways he is even more interesting character than Conan! Almost every Kane story is a classic. I see them in that way.
I also like Howard's horror stories, but I still think he is best in fantasy and sword and sorcery genre. I have to admit that I haven't read Howard's western and boxing tales, but I have a feeling I like them. I do like boxing. I've taken many boxing lessons as a part of my martial arts training during the last four years.

Did VMMA disband after your demo's release? How many copies did you make and distribute? Were your shows getting good responses? What were the reasons you disbanded?
We didn't promote our demo. Actually we took only copies to ourselves. We thought that the demo was so awful that we didn't want to publish it. We were young and I think we didn't know what we wanted to do in the studio in the first place. We did few gigs and got a good response out of them, but after the demo we did only one show. The band's collaboration was tested already before the demo as we did our military service in Finnish army, but after the demo we went to study all over the Finland and that was that. We already wanted to do different things at that point and myself I was already interested about my own folk-related project at that point.

How many bands did you work with before hooking up with Korpiklaani as lyricist?
I founded Poropetra at the year 2002 as I moved to study in Estonia. With Poropetra, the main reason was also kantele, since I first grabbed that instrument in my hand at the same year 2002. I learned quickly to play with it. I made my first own compositions. I made friends with Hittavainen, the talented violin player and the multi-instrumentalist, who happened to join in Shaman – the band I liked very much. Shaman did two albums and they sang in North-Sámi language, the indigenous language of Fennoscandia, Finno-Ugric language related to Finnish. That's how I was introduced to Jonne Järvelä, who had learned to yoik (the traditional singing style of the Sámi people) and to speak North-Sámi as he lived in Lapland. Poropetra did their debut demo at 2004 and Shaman changed their name into Korpiklaani and started to make different kind of music and sing in English.
I've always thinked that if you do any folk-related stuff, it should become as a self evident thing to sing in your native language. Ie. if Finnish folk metal band sings in English, in my point of view, they don't respect their roots, since their music comes an addition into the music made in English, and thus it's off from the music made in Finnish, and because of this, the music is not culturally Finnish anymore. I'm strongly against the overpower of the English language over smaller languages – and the whole irony is that I write this interview in English, heh! – and specially with your art you can fight against it.
At that time I suggested to Jonne that perhaps they should do songs in Finnish. Jonne said that the lyrics were always the hard part to him, so I said: ”I can do it!” And so I started to write Finnish lyrics to them. I wrote many lyrics to them during the years 2006-2012. And that was the time when folk metal evolved further with bands like Korpiklaani, Finntroll and Moonsorrow. And because of this, I see myself as a developer and elaborator of folk metal, since I know that my lyrics have inspired young fans and new bands.

Do you have examples of Miljoonasade’s lyrics that spoke to yuo to the point of inspiration?
Miljoonasade has many songs that have touched my soul. Specially one of them is called Olkinainen, ”The Straw Woman” in English. There's one particular line which is pure poetry:
”Kuin pitkät harmaat hiukset, sade heilahtaa pimeydestä ruutuikkunaan.”
It's difficult to translate but it refers to rain that smashes from the dark into the squared window like an old gray hair. It's a small horror tale in a song.

Are you familiar with Howard’s other characters, such as Thulsa Doom and Bran Mak Morn?
Of course. Thulsa Doom was the antagonist only in one Howard's story, in king Kull story: Delcardes' Cat. Later the comic books and specially the movie Conan the Barbarian have made him famous, but very different kind of character Howard himself meant him to be.
There aren't many Bran Mak Morn stories in Howard's writings, but my favourite of them is Worms of the Earth. In that story, there's hints towards H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos also.

How much influence do you see Kalevala-metre has had on modern writing, besides the apparent influence on Longfellow’s writing?
Not much. Even here in Finland most of the people can't write in kalevala-metre. There are only few of us. Of course there are all kinds of new age hippies and people from the medieval markets who write spells, which are kinda kalevala-metre, but they actually aren't. What I mean to say is that people try to write and mimic it, but they don't finish the job. They don't write the pure kalevala-metre.

Cite some of the folk legends and traditional stories you wrote as Korpiklaani’s lyricist.
Here are few notable examples what I wrote to Korpiklaani.
Veriset äpärät is about illegitimate children killed in the forest. Their souls hunt everybody until they are named and buried like the rest. Very known Finnish legend.
Vesilahden veräjillä is about ancient chief Kirmukarmu, who fought against Christian missionary Hunnun Herra. This is based on a true story that happened in Vesilahti, Finland.
Isku pitkästä ilosta is about Finnish escatological myths and beliefs that would happen if the end of the world will come. Stone comes as light as a feather and stars start to dance etc.
Kultanainen is about smith god Ilmarinen who forges the golden woman to be his wife. This is the story from Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. My version of the lyrics pay more tribute to poet Paavo Haavikko's version of Kalevala events described in his masterpiece Rauta-aika.
Ukon wacka is about the ancient summer festivals held in Finland in favour of Ukko, the supreme god of the Finnish pantheon.

How have you taken folk metal to the next level and inspired other bands and their fans?
I've taught to Finnish people to respect their own native language. Finnish people have very low self-esteem. They feel bad about their ancestry and their language. This is seen in many cases. In Finland's capital, Helsinki, some products, companies etc. have only English names. If you go to café or in restaurant, in some cases menu is only in English. I can go examples even more but this is the picture: Finns themselves are pushing aside their own language in favour of English, which I find very bad and disturbing issue, which makes me both angry and worry.
This is seen in music too. Before me, only Moonsorrow sang in Finnish what comes to Finnish folk metal bands. Specially in metal scene is very usual choice in Finland to sing in English. This is odd, since if you compare to Scandinavian countries and Baltic states, it's self-evident thing to them to use their native langiage if they make folk or black metal.
Singing in Finnish has been seen in Finland in many occasions as a humorous or not so serious thing, which I find very weird way of thinking. I introduced the Finnish kalevala-metre in metal, making Finnish strong language in our own folk metal music. In 2020 Markus Laakso published a book called Folk Metal Big 5 (Yes, this is the original name; Finnish book has an English name!), in which all five major Finnish folk metal bands are introduced: Korpiklaani, Finntroll, Moonsorrow, Ensiferum and Turisas. In that book my work is given the recognition of my Finnish lyrics. Tuomas Keskimäki, who writes now the Finnish lyrics in Korpiklaani, continued my work and he has done it well! And nowadays I see more and more young bands rising in Finland using namely Finnish as their language in songs. Many of them have taken inspiration from Korpiklaani, and thus from my lyrics also.
I also teach the kalevala-metre to all who want to learn it. I've been keeping kalevala-metre workshops of few years. Almost in every workshop there's one metalhead who wants to learn the kalevala-metre and use it in a band! I find this very good thing. That Finns finally start to respect their own roots and their own language. The way I see it, if you respect your own roots, you can respect other cultures as well. If you are lost with your culture, you either start to mimic dominant cultures (like many Finns do with American culture and English language) or then you start to hate everybody else and become a nazi. Unfortunately, in Finland too there are those who are leaning on the far-right side too, which makes me worry.
Knowing your own roots and respecting your own language gives you the mental state that you can see similarities within other cultures and respect their uniqueness too. And of course, share your art, like I'm doing with my Finnish songs as we speak.

Do you have information of where Folk Metal Big 5 can be ordered by postal mail or online? How much information is given on the bands it covers?
You can order the book from the publisher's page: https://like.fi/kirjat/folk-metal-big-5/ However, at this point the book is only available in Finnish.

How soon after working with Korpiklaani did you start your solo career?
I started with my solo project same time with my band Tevana3. In 2010, the year I bought myself my first electric kantele. My last lyrics for Korpiklaani were the lyrics of the song Ruumiinmultaa, published in 2012 in their Manala album. They already had Tuomas Keskimäki writing the lyrics with them. I was fully concentrating to break through with my musical career as a solo artist already back then! So the co-operation with Korpiklaani kinda faded away. I don't actually remember all the details.
I actually had a producer who was interested producing my electric kantele sound big. But the terms were too much for me. This producer wanted me to record some songs in English, so I turned it down. I continued to do my solo career alone, it was a good decision. I had a momentum in 2011, but I have better momentum now.

Why did you decide to write and record with traditional instruments?
In 2010 I was actually very tired with everything folk-related. I wanted to play metal. The only problem was that the kantele was the only instrument I was able to play. If I would have known how to play the guitar or bass, I would have switched the instrument and left kantele out. I actually tried to play with the bass, but it took too much time to learn. Thus I got myself an idea: ”The kantele has to change into electric kantele!”
I ordered my first electric kantele. Then I plugged it in the amplifier and made the loudest distortion I got. The whole new world was ahead of me. I was experiencing the electrified kantele sound with my band Tevana3 and it became evident that this was it! This is how I'm going to do my stuff.
We released two albums with Tevana3. Mieron tiellä in 2011 and Peräpohjolan takana in 2016. Mieron tiellä was the first metal album in the world in which all guitars had been replaced with electric kantele.
Then it became time to do my solo album, the dream I had had so many years. I decided to use my all kantele skills in that album. I also ordered to myself my first bass kantele, thus replacing the bass also with bass kantele. I wanted to create something unique. Something no-one hasn't done before.

Fill the readers in on the making of your debut full length "Sydämeni kuusipuulle". You worked with a few guest musicians while recording this album. How did you arrange for this?
I did my own instruments first. Little by little. I had a rough demo tapes I had recorded during many years in my home and I started to work with them. I recorded my instruments simultaneosly with the percussionist Pekka Konkela. Pekka had all kinds of ethnic drums he constructed into kinda ethnic drumset. I don't know how he managed to do that and how he was able to do blast beats with them! He did this in his own home studio and provided just the tracks. He is the man with many secrets. But overall, the groundwork was done.
Other players I invited to come into my album. Some of them came into our studio in Riihimäki and some did their work on their home studio. They did their job in very short time and their job is magnificent! It spiced the album into the totally new sphere. I gave them very free hands to do their playing. I was very satisfied with the results.
Lastly we recorded the vocals. After that it was working on with mixing and testing the different soundsets. Little by little the album started to sound the just way I always wanted it to sound.

What led to "Sydämeni kuusipuulle" being released by Earth and Sky Productions and how well has the label handled its release?
They contacted me from the label. I was already doing music videos out of my songs during the first corona lockdown in spring 2020. The album had already been published in 2019 as a limited MC edition by small Finnish label Kuoriaiskirjat. In February 2021 Earth And Sky Productions published the album worldwide and we took the things into a new, international level. I'm very satisfied with the work of the label. They've done very good job and lifted me as an artist. The album has got good feedback. As we speak, Sydämeni kuusipuulle has been streamed over 90,000 times in Spotify and music videos have been watched over thousands of times. I want my music to break through all over the world.

How much effort are you putting into the promotion of "Sydämeni kuusipuulle" since it came out? Is your promotion of it mostly online or do you also promote via postal mail?
After I got Earth And Sky Productions behind me, I took a lot of effort in order to promote my material everywhere I possibly could. I promoted my music via internet but I also sended the material via good old traditional post. I'm still promoting my material, but I find it good, since now people have interested totally different way than ever before. What I've learned about this business is that you have to do the promotion more or less all the time. That's how you keep the momentum on.

How many videos have you made for songs on "Sydämeni kuusipuulle" and who worked on them with you? Did those videos turn out the way you wanted them to?
I made the music video out of all of my songs. I mostly did all the work by myself. In one video I used the material from my old gig and in two videos my wife helped me shooting them. It was a funny project! I learned a lot of doing the videos along the way. In some videos I'm still pleased with and others are not working so well I wished them to. I'm still doing the videos, since I'm working on a lyric videos with some songs. This is also a one way to keep the momentum on.

How soon do you expect to start working on another full length album? And how do you want your solo project to continue developing and growing in the years to come?
At the moment I'm writing some new material into my next album. I have a lot's of ideas in which directions I can move on. I can't see in the future but of course I wish I could get known a lot more better than I'm right now. I have so much to give to the world. But I'm patient. I've just started my epic journey. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.


-Dave Wolff

Monday, June 14, 2021

Article: "The Scam of Animal Rights Activists…….." by Damien Lee Thorr

The Scam of Animal Rights Activists……..
Article by Damien Lee Thorr

For many years I have witnessed animal rights protestors villainize zoos and aquatic attractions that feature dolphins and orcas. Knowing many people in the zoo and aquatic industries, I took notice of how these protesters depend on misrepresenting the facts in order to appeal to the public, pulling on their heartstrings.
As an example of falsehoods by animal rights activists from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), they have falsely made claims of physical abuse such as trainers grabbing on to dolphins’ dorsal fins when swimming with them, standing on their snouts, and standing on their backs to surf. If any of those claims were true, we would have seen behavior from the animals to demonstrate some form of distress and/or injury but we have not. Not one marine veterinarian or ethologist has stated such claims of harm or injuries to dolphins or orcas during these aforementioned activities. These claims are no different from their other false claims that horseback riding harms horses.
Another blatant falsehood from these animal rights activists is their claim that the dolphins and orcas at these aquatic attractions (SeaWorld, Miami Seaquarium, Marine Land, Loro Parque) are disciplined with beatings. This is an outrageous claim and not at all true. I have frequented several zoos and aquatic parks and I have never witnessed any physical abuse upon any animal. If this were true, we would all see consequential behavior and physical evidence among the animals as a result.
PETA and other animal rights activists have been at it for many years and profit from their actions. All their executives and employees take a salary and even sell merchandise. They also recruit people for their protests as volunteers in order to avoid compensating them, under the guise of (and very often false) claims of animal cruelty. They also depend on donations (and they’re quite aggressive about it) for “their help” towards animals but it is very curious that when I called PETA’s offices on the telephone, their recorded message states that if the caller is calling to report an animal in distress, they refer you to contact law enforcement. That immediately questions their motives for their requests for donations. Is it for their salaries or for the animals? If they’re referring callers to contact law enforcement to assist injured animals, clearly the money is not for them to assist at all.
My questions to animal rights activists were: Do any of your representatives have any credentials in zoology, ethology or veterinary medicine? Are your representatives all there as volunteers or are you taking salaries? Why are you villainizing zoos and aquatic attractions by making unfounded claims of physical abuse upon the animals in their care?
When I called to speak to PETA representatives regarding their credentials and concerns of false animal cruelty claims, they rudely hung up on me.
This reaction to my questions generates the conclusion that these animal rights activists are a front for monetary interests based on deceptions and they generate anger as they appeal to animal lovers for donations.
One of the many other claims from animal rights activists of misdeeds against animals is captivity. This is a very misleading claim on their behalf because they are appealing to people’s heartstrings as if animals in human care have the capacity to reason as humans do. Upon observations of ethologists, animal psychologists, trainers, zoologists, and veterinarians, animals do not possess the capacity to rationalize a state of confinement and are generally known to be opportunistic eaters. In other words, animals will always attempt to grab an easy meal rather than go through the extensive efforts of hunting. Dolphins, Orcas, Pilot Whales, and many other species of marine mammals have been observed interfering with fishermen while fishing, attempting to grab a free easy meal, providing scientists with clear evidence of opportunistic feeding behavior. In many cases, the fishermen attack the animals with firearms and explosives, harming the animals with no way for them to receive any medical assistance. (Why aren’t any of these animal rights activists involved in this treatment which threatens these wild populations?)
Although as humans, we possess the ability to rationalize and suffer during confinement, this is clearly not the case among animals. As aforementioned, animals are opportunistic feeders and only seem to care about feeding whether they are out in the wild or in human care and are not affected by confinement. This is not abuse nor cruelty. Not to mention, animals in human care have around-the-clock medical care that most humans do not have access to.
Animal rights activists have also made the false claims that orcas and dolphins do not “do tricks” out in the wild when in fact, their claims repudiate scientists’ observations of orcas, all species of dolphins, humpback whales, sperm whales and many other marine mammals breaching the water in the wild. Again, they are making false statements in order to make claims of cruelty and abuse upon animals.
Upon speaking with caretakers at some of these aquatic attractions, the conclusion is that the animals are under great care, are fed well, and don’t suffer any harm from living in human care. Animal rights activists disagree but have no credentials in the fields of animal care, veterinary medicine, animal behavior, or zoology in order to support their claims. Animal rights activists are simply appealing to animal lovers by pretending to “know” more than the animal experts in place that care for animals in human care.
Organizations such as PETA and other organizations continue to interfere with zoos and aquatic attractions, demanding the release of the animals, claiming animal cruelty. As an example of releasing animals into the wild, I’d like to mention the case of Keiko, the orca used in the popular film, Free Willy. Keiko was released gradually into the wild at great expense that would have been better utilized by helping homeless and poor people. Keiko was subsequently released into open waters and did not live well. He was constantly rejected and attacked by all pods of wild orcas. He was injured by ice glaciers and without any veterinary care, he subsequently died of pneumonia. Keiko would still be alive today if he had remained in human care where he was fed properly and received medical care. What I find to be most abhorrent is how animal rights activists have villainized the Miami Seaquarium by making the false claim that Miami Seaquarium applied for a permit to have Keiko recaptured after his release for exhibition and performances at Miami Seaquarium. This is a blatant lie and there are no documents or any evidence to support this obtuse claim. They depend on animal lovers who don’t fact-check and respond with outrage.
It is very safe to assume that releasing any dolphin, orca or any marine mammal into the wild after living in human care (and being born in human care) would have fatal results for the animals but the animal rights activists disagree and would not participate physically or monetarily to aid any of the animals.
To make the claim that keeping animals in zoos is a form of cruelty is clearly a falsehood. To villainize and interfere with a zoo’s ability to conduct business can be legally defined as tortious interference.
My observation as a journalist is that these animal rights activists have initiated an industry that appeals to people with a genuine love for animals and influences them to donate money under false pretenses.
Copyright © 2021 Damien Lee Thorr

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Interview with Erick Leviathan of Misanthropik Torment by Dave Wolff

Interview with Erick Leviathan of Misanthropik Torment

As every album by Misanthropik Torment does, your latest album “Murder is my Remedy” goes beyond traditional extreme metal into what many would consider uncomfortable territory.
“Murder is my Remedy” is by far the best work Misanthropik Torment has released. I myself do not feel as though it is considered uncomfortable territory. Some of the topics may be uncomfortable to most people, but these are topics that the world needs to face. Ignoring the issues will not make them go away. We make music that we ourselves want to hear. We are not trying to win any popularity contests, otherwise, we would have written something along the lines of Nickleback. Misanthropik Torment is meant to entice uncomfortable emotion; it’s meant to make the listener angry, to make them think deeper than what the leaders of this docile world would want them to. It’s time we all open our eyes and speak up.

Did you found Misanthropik Torment out of an urge to address uncomfortable subject matter through the medium of extreme metal?
I've always been in pursuit of a career in Extreme Metal. It’s always been my own personal therapy. What better way to address these uncomfortable topics to the world than Extreme Metal? I mean these topics are extreme so I think it fits. I'm sure that I am not the only musician who has addressed uncomfortable topics with their music. I mean the 80s were all about uncomfortable topics. Take Queensryche’s “Operation Mindcrime” for example or even the early 90s Korn albums. They were all about uncomfortable issues that as a society we all face. The problem is no one actually wants to face them. We all know they exist, but it’s just easier for most to turn the other way until it becomes their problem. And that is the problem.

What leads to people’s indifference about the issues you address? Do people think they can’t change anything for the better or not care as long as it doesn’t affect them?
That’s really a loaded question with many answers. The world has always had these issues. The problem is that most people have become complacent with these issues because they have been conditioned to believe that they can't do anything about them. So most believe it’s better to just not acknowledge the ugly truth. Some believe if they ignore it long enough it will go away and sadly that’s not the case. And I am here to put that ugly truth in everyone's face. I am here to make people face the demons of society. Everyone says they want to change the world. But you can't do that by not facing the ugly truth. And that truth is, most of society is just as sick as the filth that they rebuke.

Considering the personal nature of MT’s concept, was the band ever a solo vehicle for you or did you always intend to find like-minded members to work with?
Misanthropik Torment started out as a solo project. I collaborated with a band called Ritual Burning out of Chicago, Illinois. In early 2018 Misanthropik Torment's first single “The Devil Made Me Do It” was introduced to the world. Ritual Burning really liked the track and featured it on their album. The track itself was written about pedophile priests who were exonerated for their crimes claiming the devil made them do it. The point of the song is, could I kill them and claim the devil made me do it and be exonerated as well? Back on topic. Throughout the short time Misanthropik Torment has been in existence, I have gone through several lineup changes. I almost just accepted that I was going to be a solo artist forever. I would if that was my fate. I am an artist I have to create. However, I love being on stage and you can't do that alone.

What is the lineup of MT at the time of this writing? Was hiring other musicians a transition from writing and composing solo?
Josh Freeman and I wrote this album. At first, it was just us. After we released it, it got a lot of attention to the point we had to find other musicians. We knew this was something we had to perform live. I hated being a solo artist for many reasons. One of those reasons is the fact that most people in the metal scene do not take you seriously as a solo artist. And Misanthropik Torment has a message that needs to be taken seriously.

Are you seeking musicians through flier spreading or advertising on social media or both? Are you willing to settle for local musicians from your area or are you willing to work with musicians who can travel?
In the beginning, I searched high and low for local musicians for this project. Kentucky doesn't really have a huge death metal or extreme metal scene and the musicians who do play this genre are already in bands. So I had to step outside the box to find the musicians I have now. I'm pretty happy with who Misanthropik Torment is now. I don't foresee any lineup changes in the near future.

Where outside Kentucky did you go to complete the lineup? Who are the musicians in the band and how well do your work together writing and practicing?
Josh Freeman is from Alabama. We actually met through my label. Josh has his own project "There is only one Elvis" in early 2020 he had hired my company to promote his solo project. At that time I had gone from having a full band to being solo again myself so it was kind of perfect timing. After I heard his music I immediately wanted to work with him so I ran the idea of him coming on to Misanthropik Torment and he was definitely on board with the idea. For this album, Josh wrote all the music and then we went on a quest to find other musicians who could play the music that he wrote.
Our drummer Hector Del-Rosario is from Georgia. He and I met a couple years ago through an online metal club. So when I approached him with the idea of playing drums for Misanthropik Torment he was in. Mat and Phil had previously worked with Josh so it made sense to bring them on. The process of finding the right components for this machine has been quite a journey.

How much material do you have out to date? What topics has MT covered on past releases and what is covered on “Murder is my Remedy”?
Misanthropik Torment has ten albums out as of now. We are currently working on our second album as a band titled #KillYourLocalPedophile. Our previous albums are “Rebel Against The Establishment PBTTP”, “Purification”, “A Decade Of Endurance”, “The Black Death”, “May They Rot In Hell”, “The 10th Law”, “Misanthropik Tilbury”, “Down The Rabbit Hole Of All Plausibility” and “Murder Is My Remedy”. These albums cover topics of oppression from governments, how we as a society are spoon-fed what we should or should not believe. Basically, the division that is programmed into us all from the moment we learn to understand. Other topics are obviously about murdering the monsters of this world. Vigilante justice. Also, there is the need to cleanse me of the filth that I have spiritually accumulated over the years and to rid myself of this misanthropy. “Murder Is My Remedy” touches on my need my desire to eradicate this world of rapists and pedophiles. It also touches on topics about how everyone wants to rule the world of ignorance. Then there is a track that I felt the need to write that is just telling quite a few people off who seem to believe that what I stand for is a joke. As I said music is my therapeutic outlet.

Are all of Misanthropik Torment’s albums independently released, or are some of them being distributed through independent labels? How much of a task has it been to seek a steady label for distribution and promotion?
I had created my own label for distribution. Misanthropik Records Promotion and More LLC. So being able to get the music out there has never been an issue. However, there is only so far I can take this project on my own. And as crazy as this may sound, we want Misanthropik Torment to be as big as Cannibal Corpse one day. So we are looking for bigger labels However because of my harsh bluntness I have made most of social media hate me. So that is going to be an uphill battle considering that nowadays making it anywhere is more about winning a popularity contest than speaking the truth.

What resources did you found Misanthropik Records Promotion and More LLC on in the beginning? How much has the label grown since you started it?
Misanthropik Records Promotion and More LLC were formed with some pretty basic resources. I mean I had been doing everything myself from booking shows and tours to creating my own CDs and booklets etc. It wasn't really that hard to start the label. I had made a lot of good connections with all the right people both local and global. People supported what I was doing. Then there are also some who don't support what I am doing. But all in all my main resource is my willingness to step outside the box. In today's digital age one has to go about this industry in ways no one has thought of before.
Now three years later Misanthropik Records Promotion and More LLC is thriving as much as any small independent label can. We have taken a lot of hits for some reason other companies see us as a competitive entity, however, we don't view this as a competition. We are all racing towards the same end goal. I prefer to build bridges to keep the scene alive and undivided by egos and such.

Is Misanthropik Records mainly a vehicle for your band or are you interested in signing other bands from the US and abroad?
Misanthropik Records has twenty-seven bands that we have signed. We represent bands from all over the globe. Misanthropik Records has been a great vehicle for my own band, but like I say to every band on this label. We are a startup label. Our job is to get bands noticed by bigger labels than us. And that is what I want for every band including mine. Misanthropik Torment, we want to go the distance we want to reach the same level of success as Cannibal Corpse.

Name some of the bands on your label, the material they have out, and explain why you would recommend them to the readers.
One of my favorite bands on the Misanthropik Records roster is WhatDrivesTheWeak. These guys are very easy to work with. And they are super talented. Sometimes I sit back and ask myself why are these dudes on my label, they should be on Metal Blade or some other big label. I would recommend this band for anyone who enjoys brutal deathcore.

Give the readers some background information about WhatDrivesTheWeak, and how you signed them to your label. How much material do you handle from them?
WhatDrivesTheWeak is a super talented Deathcore band from Grayson Kentucky. These guys really wowed me with their album Lightbringer, when they first sent the album to me they were not signed to Misanthropik Records. In fact, it wasn't till a year later that they signed to the label. This band is one of the hardest-working bands that I have had the pleasure of working with and some of the coolest people that I am honored to call my friends. Right now they are in the process of finishing up their second album to be released through Misanthropik Records by the end of the year. So be on the lookout for that. Anyone who has not listened to their music all I can say is, well they should!

Name some of the other bands you would recommend from your label. Are you still seeking bands to sign?
My top five bands that I would recommend are WhatDrivesTheWeak, Ash to Dust, Shades of Raven, Wolfstar, December Screams Embers.
At this time Misanthropik Records Promotion and More LLC is not signing any new bands. The company took a huge hit with the Pandemic and now we are just trying to financially recover. For now, Misanthropik Records Promotion and More LLC is working as a Promotion and booking company until we can fully recover from 2020.

Are you in touch with independent labels from the States or other countries? Have you collaborated with any of those labels?
Nic Himes runs his label Skull Face Records out here in Kentucky. We did a compilation CD a couple years ago with bands from my label and his label. I also work with Envenomed Music from Ukraine. Really I will work with almost anyone. As I said before to me this is not a competition. I want to see us all succeed.

How many copies of the compilation were printed when it came out, and how much notice did it get your label and Skull Face Records?
There were only forty copies printed. It was a small run. Considering that we are two small local labels the notice was mostly from local artists.

Do you read newspapers or watch news programs to research your lyrics, or are other mediums at your disposal such as social media?
I don't need to. My inspiration comes from what I see in the world. How I feel about corruption and pedophiles. My own abuse as a child. All I need to do is remember.

Who writes your lyrics, and how often do they speak to your listeners that you know of?
I write all the lyrics. I feel as a vocalist it’s important to write your own lyrics. To mean that means you are real. When I find out a band that I like didn't even write their own songs I'm disappointed and I lose all respect for them. I write what I feel and how I view the world. I can't see myself singing someone else's songs and pretending to feel it as if the words were mine.
I speak with our listeners almost on a daily basis. We have a group on Facebook called Official Misanthropik Torment. Which I’m going to change the name of to Official Misanthropes because that's what we call our fans. Without the people who listen to our music, our message is muted. So being able to speak to them is very important to us.

Going by listener reactions and feedback, what feelings do your lyrics evoke about the state of the world? Do your listeners understand it’s to generate change for the better so to speak?
I’m really not sure if our listeners understand that the message of our music is meant to enlighten the world on specific issues. I think that most are just happy that someone is pointing out these issues. Someone is actually actively speaking up. I myself have had many conversations with some of the people who listen to our music. And it’s sad to say this but a lot of the people who enjoy our music have been abused. Some feel as though that we are giving them a voice. I can't take that type of credit. It feels good to know that our music evokes that type of emotion that people will reach out to us to share their story. But at the end of the day I’m just a guy who understands abuse because I have been abused. I'm not special.

You recently posted a topic on your Facebook profile about cancel culture and its effect on individual thought. How much of a problem do you see it becoming, and why do you feel that way? I like this question. It is one that everyone should be asking themselves.
I will say if my success in music depends upon me succumbing to the herd mentality then I’m not going to go very far. Cancel Culture is the worst thing that anyone could buy into. In this digital age, anyone can say anything about someone and the truth doesn't matter the truth is made by how many people you can make believe you. And then there are the "I’m more connected than you” type people. No one’s career should be taken from them based on a popular opinion. Destroying people just because you don't like them is wrong. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone is entitled to have their opinions. But nowadays someone's opinion if it’s not the popular opinion, it can be detrimental to their career. Just take a look at what's going on with Marilyn Manson, Jonny Depp, and Eminem. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Social media cannot be a courtroom and that is what is happening today. People need to make up their own minds and stop believing everything they read on Facebook or Google or whatever source of social media news they use.
I don't want to live in a society where it is ok to cancel someone based on what someone says about someone. It’s way too easy for people to use that type of thinking as a weapon when it’s not warranted.

This is a sensitive topic for certain, but how do you view the controversy surrounding David Ellefson of Megadeth?
There are a lot of rumors going around about this topic. I read somewhere that he had actually had a sexual relationship with an underage girl, then I read something about how she wasn't underage and everything was consensual. Honestly man I wasn't there so I don't know. But if this dude did some nasty shit with a kid he deserves to die in my opinion. But like I said I don't know what’s true. All I know is what I read and nowadays people are making all kinds of crap up about people. I grew up listening to Megadeth and it is a very sad day to see this type of thing happening. I feel disappointed and kind of let down by Dave Mustaine’s response to the issue. I feel like he himself has succumbed to the herd mentality of cancel culture. But as I said if Dave did do something with an underage girl then fuck him he needs to die. But I have also seen statements from the girl in question and it doesn't look like this is the case.

On this same subject, Sharon Osbourne was labeled a racist by association on TV’s The Talk; she since left the show and has been telling her side of it.
This is absolutely ridiculous. So what I'm getting from all of this is if I have a friend that happens to offend someone else by their opinion on a subject, even if I don't share their opinions I'm to be subjected to their punishment. Seriously what is the world coming to? Next thing you know people are going to be stoned because they lived next to someone the masses didn't like. I thought we did away with witch hunts and forced conversion a long time ago. People really need to step outside their little box. This is real life get over it. My opinion matters just as much as anyone else's. Just because I don't agree with someone or vice versa doesn't mean anything other than a disagreement. And furthermore, I fully support Sharon Osbourne.

Does the Sharon Osbourne issue reflect a growing trend of political correctness, or is it an excuse for people to ostracize others so they themselves can feel they belong?
Cancel Culture in my opinion is all about making others look bad, so the persecutors can look holier than thou. I mean it’s really no different than the fake religious people who go to church every Sunday and praise God in public yet molest their children or beat their wives behind closed doors. Cancel Culture is a modern-day witch trial. The sad part about this is everyone seems to be brainwashed into believing that they have to think a certain way and anything outside of that thinking is wrong. It really seems to me that history is repeating itself just with a different approach. But dictatorship is dictatorship no matter how you cut it slice it or dress it up to look pretty. No one seems to want to step outside the herd mentality and ask the questions that need to be asked. I mean wouldn't you think the world has more important serious issues to focus on? For example, there are over 5000 indigenous women who are murdered raped and never heard from again. 5000 missing murdered indigenous women and children a year go missing but no one is talking about that. No, they care more about Sharon Osbourne being friends with someone who may or may not be racist. Racism only exists because we the people continue to acknowledge that people have a different color of skin. Stop describing a person as black brown or white and see them as human we might get somewhere.

What have you read about cancel culture and Marilyn Manson, and what are your thoughts?
Marilyn Manson's label dropped him before any wrongdoing could have been proven. In my opinion that is wrong. We have all had relationships that have ended. Now I don't condone abuse of any kind but as an outsider looking in. It seems to me that this whole deal with Marilyn Manson right now can be chalked up to scorned exes who wanted something that they didn't get. It wasn't until after he got married that all this came out. I myself believe that this was a methodical plan involving Amber Heard and Evan Rachel Wood. But this is just my opinion from the extensive research I've done on the topic. Marilyn Manson has been a topic of controversy for years. So of course now that he has been accused of some monstrosities Cancel Culture would go after him. The key word here is accused. One thing people need to remember is an accusation is not proof! Yet he is suffering consequences before a trial has even taken place. I could talk about this all day but I think I've made my point.

A free hardcore show arranged by the owner of a local NYC newspaper The Shadow is under fire for supposedly misadvertising the bill. The stories are complicated but again people who were there are telling their side of it.
Just another example of the hierarchy trying to kill what we all love, with bullshit lies and doctored paperwork. Let me ask you this, having a concert during the pandemic is unsafe, yet people go to church every Sunday and congregate in close proximity. People shop in Walmart and every other major mall outlet in America. But those places are safe, right? So Covid only hangs out at metal shows? Give me a fucking break!
One thing I would like to add is I am all for people being held accountable for what they do. But before we can hold people accountable first we all need to hold ourselves accountable. And we have to prove what is being said beyond a shadow of a doubt. That is the American right to be innocent until proven guilty however our justice system is broken and I think Cancel Culture has taken advantage of the fact that people have lost faith in our broken system. Really who could blame them? Fix what's broken. Cancel Culture is not the answer.

Do you suspect cancel culture is a form of scapegoating others so people who are really guilty of something can hide their accountability? Marilyn Manson’s exes are examples.
In one of my earlier songs “We Must Kill Them” I touch on this topic, people being just as sick as the filth that they rebuke. Pointing the finger at someone else for their shortcomings or blatantly painting a picture of how appalling someone is to shame them or to cancel them so to speak. I find it interesting that people are actually buying into this type of behavior. In Marilyn Manson’s case, it’s not very difficult to paint that type of picture. I mean his form of art is to offend and make people see him as this Monstrous person. He pulls it off so well in his career that when these accusations came to light it was an automatic witch hunt no one cared about the facts. People need to be able to separate the man from the entertainer. It’s easy to point the finger at someone like Manson. But what about the priest who rapes children or your next-door neighbor who goes to church every Sunday and in the community is an all-around good guy but behind closed doors beats his wife and rapes his children. What about the devils you don't expect?

Is cancel culture something you have addresses or would address for Misanthropik Torment?
I've addressed this topic on a single I released as a tribute track for Marilyn Manson. I won't give this topic that much power as to continue to make music about it.

Is Misanthropik Torment planning to work on a new full length? What subject matter do you plan to address with it?
Misanthropik Torment is currently working on a new album, like with most of the albums this one will touch on the topic of being abused. But with this one, we want to take our listeners into the mind of a survivor. Basically describing the mental anguish and overcoming the demons so to speak. This album has a bold statement and will be called KillYourLocalPedophile. Here is the album cover if you want to print it.

How has the band gone about writing and arranging the songs on your new full length? Do you hope the new songs will convince people to think as much as those on your past releases?
KillYourLocalPedophile is going to blow minds and speakers! We are going pretty deep with the subject matter and Josh is just a musical genius. With each album, we hope to give our listeners something more to think about.

Have any new bands been signed to Misanthropik Records in 2021? Name some new releases the label will be coming out within this year’s remaining months.
Misanthropik Records is not signing any new bands. Upcoming releases for this year are from WhatDrivesTheWeak. Stay tuned for more information on this album in the next couple of months.

Have you considered or would you consider publishing a print zine or webzine to help promote Misanthropik Records bands?
We have considered this but at the moment recovering from the financial crisis from the Pandemic we don't have the time money nor the staff.

How do you intend to spread the word for Misanthropik Records and promote Misanthropik Torment on a larger scale in the future?
I just plan to keep doing what I'm doing. And pushing the bands. People seem to be noticing. So that is always good.


-Dave Wolff

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Full Length Review: Vroslyd "Biomechanical Plasma Synthesis" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Band: Vroslyd
Location: Missoula, Montana
Country: USA
Genre: Experimental, ambient, electronic
Format: Digital album
Label: Independent
Release date: June 4, 2021
Vroslyd is the brainchild of Rashid Abdel Ghafur, the force behind the experimental/ambient/avant garde/noise project Zebulon Kosted (who just made a split with the US black metal/dungeon synth project CaveGhoul available for streaming along with a new track entitled “Glorious Ghosts of Ganymede”). “Biomechanical Plasma Synthesis,” the debut release of this project, tells a story that could as easily have been written as a dark science fiction tale. It’s about scientific experiments to combine human flesh with machinery, experiments that took centuries to perfect but end up going horribly wrong, leading to the fall of an entire civilization. There are no lyrics or spoken word parts imparting this tale, just song titles and a myriad of minimalistic ambient sounds meant to give substance to the vast cold emptiness of space, in the midst of which lies the countless worlds of an extraterrestrial civilization which we don’t know exists in the distant past or the distant future. As I listened to this album it reminded me of several science fiction classics, especially those that depicted earthbound or stellar darkness and goaded you to think: “2001,” the original “Alien,” the first two “Terminator” movies, “Blade Runner” besides old “Twilight Zone” and “Outer Limits” episodes, John W. Campbell’s short story “Twilight” and Ray Bradbury’s short story “Kaleidoscope”. Each song title tells a little more of the situation faced by this society and kept me interested in hearing what was to come next. The use of a single keyboard sound to tell the story from song to song was effective and I could feel the cold darkness converging around me. My only complaint is there were far too many tracks to listen to, which somewhat took up too much time to listen to the entire album. Many of the tracks were brief and I was thinking maybe it could have been condensed into fewer and longer tracks to tell the story with. Still I can appreciate the direction Ghafur is taking with his solo projects and I hope he continues exploring colder and darker territory. –Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. In the Vrozlydian Empire...
2. ...home to many alien races and robot slaves...
3. ...a process has been perfected over the centuries...
4. ...to combine flesh with machine...
5. ...attaining the best traits of both seamlessly...
6. ...in the secret laboratories of the home world...
7. ...the scientists and technicians of Vrozlyd...
8. ...create the biomechanical servants...
9. ...used by the Emperor...
10. ...to conquer and subjugate...
11. ...these processes remain elusive to spies...
12. ...attempting to create a breakaway syndicate...
13. ...bent on controlling economic and military interests...
14. ...for the sake of their abstract idea of freedom...
15. ...a lie told to children...
16. ...to calm their minds...
17. ...when awoken at night frightfully contemplating...
18. ...a difficult reality continuously surrounding them...
19. ...soon the creatures created in the laboratory will control...
20. ...not only the creation of their children...
21. ...the fate of hundreds of civilizations...
22. ...and the most sophisticated future technologies...
23. ...they will be capable of telepathy...
24. ...due to the radioactive mutations caused by the factory complex...
25. ...in time all new life will be...
26. ...biomechanical perfection...
27. ...never to be controlled...
28. ...by an outside source...
29. ...unintentionally bringing about...
30. ...the end of the Vrozlydian Empire.

Full Length Review: Crust "Stoic" (ꔅ) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Crust
Location: Veliky Novgorod
Country: Russia
Genre: Black/doom metal
Full Length: Stoic
Format: Digital album, compact disc limited edition cassette
Label: ꔅ
Release date: April 2, 2021
What’s up, everyone!
It’s of course no other than your favourite neighbourhood Relentless Reviewer and I’m back with an album review!
STOIC by Crust!
So, this is the latest album by the band Crust released in April of this year which features 8 tracks!
So, after careful listening to this album, I have to say there are a few things that are intriguing to me right off the bat.
I want to discuss the production because this is (I feel) a massive deal about this record as it feels as though the 8 tracks were carefully put into place where they should be and masterfully handled as the overall listening experience is one of heavy doom, despair and helplessness!
I love the pacing of this album too, as the band doesn’t find the need to rush the completion of this experience and that’s a quality not many bands use to their full advantage to fully incorporate the message or vibe they are trying to sonically convey to the listener.
Tracks for me that highlight this perfectly are shown in the second song ‘Watching Emptiness’ as listeners uncover this 10-minute track you can hear the patience and slow unveiling of the story provided by the band, they make sure each minute has its purpose there’s a menacing start, deeply rooted middle and fascinating end and throughout all these waves in some amazing Black/Doom Metal which is the next talking point: The music!
This album does a fantastic job at providing an interesting blend of Black Metal, Doom Metal and as the album hits its halfway point Sludge Metal is introduced as well.
What’s unique about this album is that the influences aren’t just ‘sprinkled’ on in microdoses to fit here and there but strongly incorporated track for track which is a move I really respect.
You can easily identify the various sub-genres on each track and they do each sound justice especially the Black Metal which I find their most consistent sound that is distributed on the album.
Over the 8 tracks and the sonic enhancement of all of my favourite metal sub-genres it’s easy to see why this is a new Bandcamp favourite! It’s got
-Depth
-Creativity
-Pacing
-Conceptualized Story Telling
-Diversity and more! If you’re in the mood to listen to something meaningful and badass both at once then I can’t recommend an album stronger than this one, go experience the unbelievable yet well-deserved hype today!
-Corban Skipwith

Lineup:
Arthur Filenko: Bass, vocals, acoustic guitar
Vlad Tatarsky: Guitars
Roman Romanov: Drums (live and current line up)
Igor Prokofiev: Session drummer

Track list:
1. Stoic
2. Watching Emptiness
3. A Blind Man in Darkness
4. Willow Forest
5. Plague
6. Darkness Becomes Us
7. Anhedonia
8. Desert

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Full Length Review: Vulture "Dealin’ Death" (Metal Blade Records) by Dave Wolff

Band: Vulture
Country: Germany
Genre: Speed/thrash metal
Full Length: Dealin’ Death
Release date: May 21, 2021
Two decades ago, what is being called the new wave of thrash metal began and there is always a band to ensure it doesn’t grow tedious, overdone or boring. Going by the response it’s receiving on social media sites, Vulture’s latest full length has been greeted with nothing short of praise. One listener said they’ve not only revived speed metal but carried it to the next level. Another said they’re worth placing alongside eighties pioneers Exciter and Razor. Feedback such as this would have to persuade me to give Vulture a chance to see if they warrant the props. Listening to “Dealin’ Death” I thought several times of what would result from a meeting with Exodus and Ratt (if they were heavier and less mainstream friendly) with twice the energy, conviction and dedication to tight musicianship. This band (featuring former members of Beer Pressure, Bulldozing Bastard, Luzifer and Hellhunt among others) give validation to underground metal’s formative years, taking the speed, power and thrash subgenres, stripping them down, polishing them with cleaner production and more clear-cut guitar progressions, presenting their treatment as holding its own next to brutal death metal and melodic hard rock. In doing so they establish that toning down, trying to be marketable or just changing is needless. Metal Blade obviously see this in Vulture and appreciate their vision of the direction power metal could have taken if not for unwelcome pressure to soften. Being that they’re from Germany they have a firm grasp on their country’s early thrash scene inspired by the NWOBHM and the industrial working class environment it came from. Besides Agent Steel, Testament and Megadeth I heard Iron Angel, Destruction, Necronomicon and even early Kreator. This band comprehends the drive and super-unleaded-gas eagerness with which those bands composed groundbreaking music for their time. Vulture’s impermeable songwriting, horror film, mythology, classic literature, historical account and occult tale themes and vigorous musicianship is constant and reveals many memorable hooks, even with the addition of piano and synth when it’s needed. You don’t even need a beer while you’re experiencing this album. “Malicious Souls,” “Count Your Blessings,” “Flee The Phantom” and the title cut are more than sufficient to get drunk on. –Dave Wolff

Lineup:
L. Steeler: Vocals
S. Castevet: Guitars
M. Outlaw: Guitars
A. Axetinctör: Bass
G. Deceiver: Drums

Track list:
1. Danger Is Imminent
2. Malicious Souls
3. Count Your Blessings
4. Gorgon
5. Star-Crossed City
6. Flee the Phantom
7. Below the Mausoleum
8. Dealin' Death
9. Multitudes of Terror
10. The Court of Caligula

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Full Length Review: Sullen "Nodus Tollens – Act 1: Oblivion" (Blood Blast Distribution) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Sullen
Location: Porto
Country: Portugal
Genre: Progressive metal
Full Length: Nodus Tollens – Act 1: Oblivion
Format: Digipak CD, digital album
Label: Blood Blast Distribution
Release date: March 5, 2021
What’s going on everyone, I’m back and it’s album review time! But not only that it’s also Bandcamp review time!
Ove the past year I’ve discovered more masterpieces from Bandcamp then I have anywhere else! It really is the flagship place for music quality and creativity.
But today I want to share with you an album that just blew me away for all the right reasons, Nodus Tollens Act I (Oblivion) by Sullen!
This is the latest album by the band Sullen released in March of this year. The album spans eight tracks and to be honest when I first clicked on the album I had no idea what I was getting myself into!
As soon as I hit play I was greeted with one of the smoothest and most harmonizing vocal performances I have EVER heard on a metal album (and I really mean that).
This guy is unreal and for the duration of the album he presents his unique vocal style which I loved every second of.
Although at first glance this sounds like something you’d hear from the mid to late 2000’s or even early 2010’s associated with bands such as:
-Sleeping With Sirens
-Of Mice And Men
But when you really listen to his voice it has this ‘Soul’ sound that I’ve just never heard from a metal singer before. Obviously I’ve heard amazing clean vocals such as Kellin Quinn, Corey Taylor, Gerard Way and more but this guy has such unmatched energy and vibe that I just can’t put my finger on!
When it comes to the production it also doesn’t fail to present something exciting and new with subtle blends of elements such as:
-Progressive Metal
-Alternative Metal
-Experimental
-Ambient
It really does feature this space like, outta world experience when listening in close quarters with good quality headphones, similar to the experience you would get when listening to a ‘Tool’ album how the experience transcends the music itself it’s honestly quite fascinating how they seem to pull this off.
There’s a few tracks that are just mind altering instrumental passages with ambience laced keys and synths and that final track ‘Fall Safe’ closed the album perfectly leaving the album feeling as mysterious as ever.
If you’re in the mood for something creative and different then this is definitely for you! It’s got the energy of a metal band with the curiosity of a band that’s always looking for something more and I respect that!
Link below and make sure as always you SUBSCRIBE. STREAM. SUPPORT!
-Corban Skipwith

Lineup:
David Pais: Vocals
André Ribeiro: Guitars
Pedro Mendes: Guitars
Ricardo Pinto: Bass
Marcelo Aires: Drums, keyboards

Track list:
1. The Prodigal Son
2. Skylines (feat. Ole Børud)
3. Soul Interrupted
4. Acheronta Movebo
5. Memento
6. Human
7. The After
8. Fail-safe

Friday, June 4, 2021

EP Review: Strings Of Distorted Doom "Doom Trials" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Band: Strings Of Distorted Doom
Location: Lagrangeville, New York
Country: USA
Genre: Black metal
EP: Doom Trials
Format: Digital album
Label: Independent
Release date: May 27, 2021
This New York-based black metal band seems to have been a closely guarded secret for many years, and in some ways, this could be fortunate for most fans of extreme music. Not content to floor you with excessive blast and searing guitars, they seek to reach into the deepest recesses of your mind, tear your consciousness out and shred it before your eyes. People who are generally put off by extreme music will likely run screaming in terror and hiding under their beds to avoid the mental impact their latest EP “Doom Trials” could exert on them. Strings of Distorted Doom released a series of demos, EPs, and splits from 2010 to 2012, then entered a nine-year period of inactivity that lasted until “Doom Trials” came out last month. This is actually a sample EP previewing a handful of songs to be included on a full length due out this summer. Like USBM artists Darkness Enshroud, Black Funeral, Vrolok, and Leviathan, these guys are not a bunch of suburban brats trying to annoy their families but musicians seeking to capture the musical equivalent of pure evil, despair, desolation, and madness, something that has been significantly absent in black metal that broke aboveground in the 2000s. The truth is we need bands like this to remind us of the genre’s true nature, its roots in raw, harsh, hostile, and malign perverted malefaction. Personally, I found it refreshing to experience black metal of this caliber after such a long time. “Doom Trials” represents what black metal was intended to be in the late 80s and early 90s: meant for just a select few musical degenerates who fully understand the point this band set out to make, with lyrics celebrating isolation from the outside world and depicting the irreversible dismantling of the human mind. Most importantly it treats this manifestation of the genre with complete respect and even veneration. “Doom Trials” is the soundtrack to sanity dying. –Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Dan: Vocals
C: Guitar, bass, vocals
Die: Drums

Track list:
1. Cabin In The Woods (EP version)
2. Buried In Blood (EP version)
3. Dead Lights (2011 version)

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

Lineup:
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