Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Interview with Ted Axe (second interview) by Dave Wolff

Interview with Ted Axe (second interview) by Dave Wolff

Since your last interview for Asphyxium you released a new EP which you state continues the autobiographical nature of your life and describes your personal experiences.
I have been actually mining the same territory as I did on the “Sex, Horror, Violence” album that we talked about a year and a half ago... toxic relationships. Seldom talked about in rock or actually in any genre, toxic relationships are something everyone can relate to because everyone has had one or is in one. “Disaster” is about someone who seems to crave disaster in every facet of their life. Psychologically the term is catastrophic thinking. Dreading the future, regretting the past and a painful present. The tune starts with a siren that reappears throughout the song. In the upcoming video I will be doing for the song I will have a siren and a red cherry light shining strategically. “Victim of Love” is about someone who feels victimized in a relationship with the lyric in the chorus... “She's a killer”! “Wedlock” is pertaining to the term wedlock which is actually a combination of two words: wed and lock. It is about someone who feels locked in a toxic marriage. Finally “Alive” is about some who feels trapped and perhaps is questioning what would have happened had they never met the person that they are in a relationship with. They feel trapped and unsure about the future with the chorus “Will we get out of here? Will we get out of here alive?” Lyrically the songs are the exact opposite of the way love is and has always traditionally been portrayed in pop music. I am a provocateur and music needs someone like me who has an edge instead of the pablum that we are all being fed. These songs are autobiographical in nature but who hasn't had some of the same experiences in their lives?

In that interview you said my review of your work reinstated ideas you hoped people would see. And said you’re not satisfied with your position in the music industry. Has your new EP improved your chances to reach more people?
Here I want to stress that my lyrics are open to interpretation and if they connect with a listener; that is the main thing. I would like to take this opportunity first to thank you for the past interview and review from a year and a half ago and for this one! Also thanks for putting some of my poetry in your magazine! The EP was recorded at the same studio as 2019's “Sex, Horror, Violence” was recorded at a place in Toronto called The Cave and again I was extremely lucky that the owner Bill Gargarella and the producer Rob Sanzo let me record for free!!! Rob Sanzo is well known for his work with numerous artists including Sum 41!

[Lyrics included in this Bandcamp link. -DW] https://tedaxe-ep.bandcamp.com/album/the-count-of-rock

So summing the answer to this question up, yes the new EP has rs of the public to what I am saying... most definitely! As far as my position in this industry... I’m trying to get my songs in film and TV and am still sending out to radio stations, doing interviews and getting the EP reviewed as well as sending out to labels. What do they say? “Bang the drum of life loudly or go mad thinking about what might have happened if you had!” It's been a life battle with self-sabotage and I'm sure we can all relate to that!

Did your album “The Count of Rock” address the same issues as “Sex, Horror, Violence”? How much of a response did it generate?
“The Count of Rock” does address the same topics as “Sex, Horror Violence” did although musically it is quite different. I would say it's more punky in places yet more sophisticated in others. Perhaps less metal/hard rock as well. I still retain the darkness I am known for but it's definitely a different cocktail. “Sex, Horror, Violence” has been played on hundreds of radio stations and charted in number one positions and in the top ten on others. It has been reviewed favorably and rock fans, DJs and the music press love it still! I have been offered two record deals but have turned them down because of exploitive contracts. I have been burned too many times in the past. I am however sure I will find the right company to work with soon!

Can you say which labels offered you deals and what you found exploitive about them, or do you prefer not to dive too deeply into that subject?
I just had a deal offered to my old punk band The Action from a German label Mad Butcher, that said because it is a punk rock label we didn't need a contract. They already had a green vinyl 7-inch re-release advertised on their website. In other words they would have made money and us none. Again for The Action, my old guitarist signed two deals since he owns the masters about ten years ago that again were ripoffs. One with Rave Up Records in Italy who sold our album without us making anything and again the same thing with DOA’s label Sudden Death Records out of Vancouver who snuck a clause past my guitarist that the contract renews every five years automatically. They are still selling out comp album with my copyrighted lyrics on their website. Haven’t made a cent from that. For Ted Axe I have had a licensing deal offered to me by Phoenix Records from France that gave me a split of sales but had a clause that should I leave, they would be able to keep selling Ted Axe forever without having to pay me anything. Another deal was offered to me last year with a 60/40 split of profits in my favor, but it just reeked of amateurism and fishiness. They both were digital sales labels. My advice to bands... get yourself a music lawyer to read over the contract carefully no matter what you have to spend to do so or don't ever sign anything.

After your experiences with bad deals and ripoffs, are you still seeking a label or are you committed to releasing independently? Do you have a music lawyer to represent you?
I will be seeking an actual legit label in the new year. But the kind of record deals where they don't charge you, give you an advance and put together tours to promote an album that they fund the recording for are getting harder and harder to find! No lawyer yet but I won't make that mistake again (not getting one to read over a contract)!

What are your views of the turns the pandemic has taken, and other prevalent topics in the news?
I am still the only one wearing a mask at the clubs. I wear a mask at gigs until I have to sing. and in cars, vans and planes on the road. I draw weekly in life drawing workshops and I am the only one wearing a mask. In stores and on most public transport, the same thing. People I think are in denial and want to be free of the mask. Anti maskers are the first to get Covid and/or the flu. It's like a mass delusion. What will happen? Will there be a strain that does not respond to vaccines? Yes, it's already here. Two weeks ago I read about such a strain being identified in France. Politicians here in Ontario, Canada confuse the public by saying that everyone should mask up yet they are not wearing one because they want the majority who are non-maskers to vote for them.

It seems the media has much to do with how divided the public is, and there is so much conflicting news it’s hard to decide what is true and what isn’t. Do you ever consider reflecting on that?
I have never been that interested in the news and have never had the inclination to write about anything in the news. I used to write celeb stories for The National Enquirer, The Globe, The Star, In Touch and other tabloids when I lived in Hollywood for ten years. It was all fake news or exaggerated but they wouldn't pay for reality. People don't want reality. They crave sensationalism and that's why we have lately what is being called fake news. It has gotten to the point where false death reports are being written now as clickbait. I’d say that is going too far. It is a very competitive business and it will only become baser in the future.

What made you decide to quit writing for tabloids? Can you indicate some of the public figures you wrote about?
That is what they would do. They encouraged their readers to submit items for the gossip columns. Me and my partner in crime who worked at a very high end women's clothing store in Brentwood where celebs shopped and who came up with the majority of stories wrote stories that were then rewritten and embellished by the rags’ staff writers. We would make anywhere from 100 to 600 dollars depending on how and where in the magazine they would use it. They were all funny and never malicious or mean. We were able to supplement our income while we lived in Los Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver and Ottawa, Canada. We stopped when it became too much of an effort by that time. Currently those gossip mags can just go online to get their own stories. The glory days of Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper are over.

Are there naysayers who perceive your lyrics as too dark or negative for hard rock? How would you address people who view your songs that way?
I have only had praise regarding my lyrics. People identify with them it seems! It's a funny thing because when I choose to play a cover live, the crowd doesn't really react that much. They seem to only want to hear my original songs! The lyrics have to deal with real relationships and are not negative, but rather are somewhat dark.

Do you find it a relief that the people who listen to your releases and see you perform respond to something genuine instead of the sensationalism you referred to?
Ted Axe fangs are there for the music and the whole Ted Axe “Count of Rock” imagery. They don't really decipher the lyrics... it's just the music and everything that comes with it. If you look at my Facebook friends, there are 5000 women there of different ages. They listen to the music but now since people can get music for free on sites like Spotify they seldom have to pay for it. They respond to my pictures and image more I think than my music even. I project a unique old world never aging vampire image as The Count of Rock and my fangs adore it! At shows we see Ted Axe inspired makeup and top hats etc in the audience now! People want an entire fantasy ready-made there for them to climb into. Sex has always been part of the allure of any successful artist.

While you were conceptualizing “The Count of Rock”, what era of vampire lore did you draw from? In some ways it reminds me of “Interview with the Vampire”, but I'm not sure if that was your intention.
I have always had “the look” and my dear mother was from Hungary. She used to tell me that on her side of the family, Lady Bathory was my great great great aunt! One day one of my fangs referred to me as The Count of Rock and it just stuck. I am not interested at all in Anne Rice or her books and I have never researched vampires in any way shape or form. It is of course much to the chagrin of certain fans, a shtick and one that fits me perfectly. The odd thing about vampires is that they never go out of style, what with the emergence of ridiculous TV series like “Vampire Academy”. Like Ozzy Osbourne is known as The Prince of Darkness, l run with The Count.

Why do you think vampires have always remained in style? When fans come to your shows and emulate you, are they vicariously living their own fantasies?
Vampires are feared yet loved. They can live forever and everyone wants to live forever. They are somehow very romantic in women's eyes and very stylish. They will remain timeless forever and they make a comeback every Halloween. They are, however, serial killers and need to kill every night just to survive. I pity the poor delusional people who actually believe they are such creatures. Paranormal Magazine out of Salem was led to believe I actually was one, interviewed me and seemed somewhat disappointed when I informed them I was not. I am seeing more and more top hats at my shows and a few more trench coats than before. I think they are living their own fantasies, but people just need the green light to do so.

What do you think led Paranormal Magazine to believe you were an actual vampire? Who was the staff member who interviewed you?
A woman on a radio show I was on told her about me and the owner who is a very hard working woman contacted me about doing an interview.

I imagine Paranormal Magazine was either looking for an occult based story, or seeking something more sensationalistic? Which are you inclined to think?
An occult based story since their name is Paranormal Magazine. There are people who identify as vampires in every day all over the world. I did share my own ghost experiences during the interview. Many people think about me as a fantasy. In a way, of course, I am one, like everyone else on Fakebook or Intsasham.

Describe some ghost experiences you shared with Paranormal Magazine.
Relating such campfire tales makes the story-teller seem a bit daft so I won't go into it. I will say that there is another level in this reality and that entities who are not alive in physical form inhabit. I for one have never seen any such entity but have heard a disembodied voice call my name when I was opening up a clothing store where I worked one morning in Los Angeles, and then impossibly loud footsteps above me that crescendoed and then disappeared when I was working at a dog day care at night in Seattle with no one else there. I spent a good number of years working with dogs in L.A. and Seattle and ended up rescuing over a hundred on the streets one at a time and finding homes for them.

Did you work with any animal rescue groups in L.A. and Seattle or was your rescue of dogs an independent effort?
I rescued stray dogs on the streets in the poorer sections of LA in my Toyota Tercel whenever I saw one. I carried a leash in the car. I had to pay to get the animal spayed or neutered before any place would accept them for adoption but I have a lot of crisis stories and lucky to have had all good endings. I had to drive Pit bulls to a Desert facility in Palm Springs because no one wants them and there were/are a lot of stray Pits. I continued to rescue when I moved to Seattle and Vancouver. It became increasingly stressful but I ended up rescuing over a hundred dogs and cats mostly dogs. I have a way with them and people would hear about me and call media have that animal instinct.

What are some of the other magazines you have been interviewed for in the last couple years?
Too many to list. Guitar World, an Italian music magazine sold in stores there and online. Now Magazine here in Toronto. A lot of online Magazines.

Back to your last interview, you stated you haven’t been able to perform since March 2020. Has this situation improved or have the new Covid restrictions left the situation about the same? Are local clubs still closing in your area?
I have been able to perform continuously for over a year now, and more than ever lately because I am taking my band outside the city into the sixty or so small towns and cities surrounding Toronto. Turns out people want to see a show and appreciate the spectacle everywhere!

Do you work with the same band members you worked with before? How have your older videos “Death Us Do Apart”, “Get Out of Rehab” and “My Own Worst Nightmare” been received since you announced them in 2021?
The new lineup is Leslie Leoniak on lead guitar, Derrick Barton on rhythm and lead guitar, William Walker on bass and since I have started Ted Axe Band in 2019 Stefan Ford has been my drummer and he played drums on the new EP! The amazing thing is that these guys do not have the huge egos that will kill a band's longevity. The new videos for “Disaster” and “Victim of Love” are in the process of being shot and will be very edgy! “Get Out of Rehab” and “Death Us Do Apart” have thousands of views! The budget for both videos was 550 dollars! It just shows that one does not need to spend a bank loan on a video for it to be popular. The main thing is imagination and the all-important editing. I do not make a video unless I can be present during editing and it ends up that all the production ideas and edits originate from me. I love special effects! Original effects. The music industry today however is looking for very high numbers across the board. When you submit to a label you are asked to send all your links in, and you best believe you are going up against bands that have those numbers. Perhaps you are on “The Voice” on American television... then the labels might be interested in you. I do what I do and make videos for myself. It seems that these days people do not do anything, go anywhere or create anything unless they record it on their phones and send it out for public consumption. I am against that. I create every week in drawing workshops and the drawings remain in my sketch book. I dance at dark dance clubs every weekend and I do it to work on my performance not to film myself on my phone. Life should be lived, not recorded for someone else to watch or listen to. I am forced to be different in fact because I don't own a cell phone and never have. You can't take it with you when you die.

How important is imagination and originality when it comes to promotional videos? Is there anything you want to say about the edginess and creative effects in “Disaster” and “Victim of Love”?
Viewing my last videos for my last album, one gets drawn into a fantasy. These were the cheapest videos. One I paid 100 dollars for and the other 350 dollars! Without a huge budget I was able to be present at every stage of the process. In that regard imagination and becoming original in the process becomes paramount. Video companies and videographers again being highly competitive try to soak the unsuspecting novice into parting with their parents’ hard-earned cash. I would say don't copy, originate and be there at editing!!!

Who are the people you are producing your new promotional videos with? Are any of them professionals you have worked with previously? Are they trustworthy compared to others you have come across?
I have not picked who I am going to have making my videos yet! They have to be willing to have me there when editing. The first video will have my band in it and then scenes with just media. I have been scouting locations in this city's underbelly and have found such a place.

How much more creative control did you have while you were there during the production of your videos? How soon will your new videos be released for viewing and at what sites?
“Get Out Of Rehab” is the video I did back in 2019 and had to fight to get it in black and white. I spent six hours editing it with the videographer upstairs at a McDonald’s restaurant in Chinatown for the total cost of $100. “Death Us Do Part” is the video done in a graveyard with the total cost of $350. I directed all the shots and edits. Once you have a hand in editing then it becomes your vision. The new videos for the new songs will have new video people, and will be on Youtube and then of course all over!

What subject matter would you write about on future albums when it comes to toxic relationships and whatnot? Is there new material you’re working on?
I am working on new songs now. One is called “The Devil's Candy”. Another is called “I Wanna Be Me”. They are not about toxic relationships. Just because I wrote autobiographically sometimes does not mean I’ll do that forever. I am also doing older material with my band. I have lots of songs. My songs are cathartic to sing, and I get rid of a lot of demons by singing them. Sometimes I get revenge or am just able to put into words what I am going for. My final thoughts? Your future needs you. Your past doesn't.
“The Count of Rock” and “Sex, Horror, Violence” are available on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Resso, Luna, Youtube Music, Amazon, Soundtrack, Twitch, Pandora, Deezer, Tidal, iHeartRadio, ClaroMúsica, Saavn, Boomplay, Anghami, KiKBox, NetEase, Tencent, Qobuz, Triller, Joox, Kuack Media, Yandex Music (beta), Adaptr, Flo, Media Net, Snapchat and many smaller outlets.

Do you have any hints about “The Devil's Candy” and “I Wanna Be Me” will be about? And will they be made available on the same net platforms?
I wrote The Devil's Candy on Halloween and set out to write a ', heavy metal', tune. I ''Wanna Be Me'' was originally called’ ‘I Don't Want To Be Me’ ‘I don't want to say anymore though about what they are about though at this point. Got to protect my ideas.

Overall, what kind of an impact do you want to have on punk/rock/goth rock during the course of your career?
I want Ted Axe to be a household name. I want to be known as The Count of Rock the way that Ozzy Osbourne is known as The Prince of Darkness. I want to influence generations of Rock fans. In 2023, The Ted Axe Band has new videos in the works, new songs on the agenda and new shows booked. Do what you love and love the way you do it!

-Dave Wolff

Friday, December 23, 2022

Full Length Review: KiaRa "Archangel" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Band: KiaRa
Country: Russia
Genre: Symphonic metal
Full Length: Archangel
Format: CD, digital
Label: Independent
Release date: October 14, 2022
In six of the twelve years Imperial Age built renown in the world of Russian symphonic metal, Anna Moiseeva has been a voice for their historical and paganistic imagination. Having contributed to their massive soundscapes, she is doing the same with a solo project she founded in the late 2010s. Her new effort “Archangel” is one she touts as of a higher level of maturity and professionalism to her previous efforts "Storyteller" from 2020 and "Online Winter Show" from 2021.
Beginning with “Storyteller”, KiaRa has done a more than commendable job channeling the singers, writers and artisans of antiquity. Their tendency toward archaic folk music is like a rebirth of those ancient times, long before the age of contemporary beliefs and even before the middle ages. Within the raw disposition of their black and death metal elements is an emotive neopagan discourse broadening with each album. “Archangel” is a renaissance of the primeval spirit to be hearkened to.
Most of the songs appearing on KiaRa’s second album “Online Winter Show” were taken from "Storyteller" with one that would be recorded for “Archangel”. January 2021 saw the band promoting themselves through a live show streamed on Youtube which they recorded for a bigger audience. People may have heard a few things they missed before, particularly keyboard, string and wind instruments and irreligious/traditional attributes. Moiseeva’s vocal range was also starting to assume a larger role.
Watching three video clips from the online show gave me a better understanding of KiaRa's direction; "Sister", "Curse", and "Last Goodbye". The atmosphere surrounding the stage show made it easy to become immersed in the multiple layers of sound emanating from the band as well as their distinctiveness. Their musicianship and vibe reflected what they achieved recording "Archangel" in the studio. There would be more ground covered once the next album was released.
This album has a massive sound filled with subtle, delicate shadings and stringent distinctions. KiaRa's extreme metal roots and Moiseeva's harmonious voice make up the most pronounced component of "Archangel", but that's not all. From song to song, it moves through a variety of musical settings while maintaining its weight, density, and pensiveness. An incendiary, morose, romantic, and well-flavored metal opera, "Archangel" explores metal's operatic qualities in new, imaginative ways.
Moiseeva gives inner light and enlightenment to "Archangel" within its cold darkness. Her vocals resonate with innocence, longing, remembrance, hope, the belief that the soul can reincarnate, and a questioning of traditional depictions of good and evil. The varying songs and these lyrical themes go hand in hand, especially when it comes to the keyboards. They can accompany other instruments like teardrops or rain falling into a lake, but they can also be so subtle that you hardly notice them.
Check out the amalgam of metal, goth, opera and classical music and see how these influences are inventively and beautifully arranged if you think you've heard everything in underground metal. It will reawaken your wonder at discovering new music from a younger age. -Dave Wolff

Anna Moiseeva: Vocals, keyboards
Pavel Maryashin: Guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
Dmitry Bazanov: Bass
Max Talion: Drums

Track list:
1. God of War
2. By the Grace of the Lord
3. Жена князя (Prince's Wife)
4. Requiem for the Immortality
5. Black Sun
6. Nostalgia
7. Hope
8. Last Goodbye
9. Heart of Life
10. We are the Stardust
11. Archangel
12. Мы - звёздная пыль
13. Архангел
14. By the Grace of the Lord (orchestral version)
15. God of War (orchestral version)
16. Archangel (orchestral version)

Monday, December 19, 2022

Full Length Review: Carcinosis "Death and the Subsequent Anatomical Decomposition" (Independent, Ceruminosis Production, Purple Pus Tapes) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Carcinosis
Location: Asunción
Country: Paraguay
Genre: Goregrind
Full Length: Death and the Subsequent Anatomical Decomposition
Format: Digital, CDR, cassette
Label: Independent (digital), Ceruminosis Production (CDR), Purple Pus Tapes (cassette)
Release date: August 12, 2022
Once again I’ve been brought to the Gore Grinder account on YouTube. With a quick search I stumbled upon Carcinosis – “Death and the Subsequent Anatomical Decomposition”. I figured this would be a good listening choice as I had recently listened to the debut EP from Cerebral Suppuration -- a Lymphatic Phlegm worship band featuring the same members as Carcinosis.
First off the intro was highly intriguing. It was long and drawn out but was a great prelude to the carnage that is held within this album. Grunts and gurgles and vile vocalizations mix with down-tuned guitars and what sounds to me like a well-programmed drum machine/drum loops. It is all brought together to make a sound that is highly pleasurable to listen to and even though this is a standard blast of goregrind everything is done well.
Just like Cerebral Suppuration, this act hails from Paraguay. This is a debut album—and as a first blast of gore, I can say I’d be more than content to hear more from these guys. This was self-released in digital format in 2022. There is a CDR format available through Ceruminosis Production and a tape is available through Purple Pus Tapes!
In conclusion, this was an ample example of what good goregrind should sound like…and even though I listened to this through a free stream I’d heartily suggest snagging a CDR or a cassette. Supporting the underground is something that needs to be done — and if you can’t buy a cassette or a CDR—maybe send the band some kind words! -Devin J. Meaney

Oga: Vocals Oscar: Guitars, synth, bass, drum programming

Track list:
1. Intro: Der Todesking
2. Deformed and Forgotten
3. Mental Ilness
4. Pathological Piece of Art
5. Fleshaw (Xysma cover)
6. Anthropophagic Obsession
7. Dr. Zyp Philis
8. Self Extirpation of a Genital Teratoma
9. Drowned in Pus and Sanguinolent Secretions
10. Necroincestuous Deviation
11. Eaten Alive (Necrotizing Fasciitis)
12. Agathocles (Exulceration cover)
13. Fetus in fetu
14. Cancrum oris

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

EP Review: Cerebral Suppuration "Chromosomal Aberrations and Other Genetic Disorders" (Independent) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Cerebral Suppuration
Country: Paraguay
Genre: Lymphatic goregrind, pathological goregrind
Format: Digital
Label: Independent
Release date: November 27, 2022
After an early morning coffee and a shower I made my way to Cerebral Suppuration - Chromosomal Aberrations and Other Genetic Disorders. This is another upload at the Gore Grinder account on YouTube. The first thing I noticed was that this really sounded like Lymphatic Phlegm—and that makes sense because after listening I noticed this was listed as a “Lymphatic Phlegm worship band”. The second thing I noticed is that even though this is listed as pathological goregrind it definitely has a black metal edge when it comes to the guitar riffage and the vibe.
Honestly I was never a huge fan of Lymphatic Phlegm—but strangely enough I really enjoyed this release. Just like Lymphatic Phlegm the drum machine sound is cold and very tight…but unlike Lymphatic Phlegm I find there is a lot more life in these recordings.
This band hails from Paraguay and features the exact same members as Carcinosis and this is their debut EP. I hope to hear more from these guys, and again, even though I am not the biggest fan of Lymphatic Phlegm this was done well and overall the entire EP was brought together nicely and the soundscape held within is immaculate.
Again, this is patho-gore but I think fans of black metal might even dig this one. As I said above it has that same cold atmosphere a lot of black metal has and I think aside from the vocals BM fans might enjoy what is offered here.
This was self-released in digital format November 2022 and as of early 2023 there will be a CD coming out on Lymphatic Sexual Orgy Records! -Devin J. Meaney

Oga: Vocals
Oscar: All instruments, drum programming, lyrics, mix

Track list:
1. Poison – Intro
2. Dextrocardia and transposition of the great arteries (TGA) associated with trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome)
3. Craniofacial and limb malformations in tetraphocomelia-cleft palate syndrome (Roberts syndrome -RBS-)
4. A single orbital cavity (cyclopia) with additional proboscis in a newborn with trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome)
5. Severe defects in the cranium and face due to the non-division of the cerebral frontal lobe (Alobar Holoprosencephaly)
6. Absence of corpus callosum in complete trisomy 8, without mosaicism
7. Manifestation of Purulent Cystical Bacillosis in the Internal Ligaments of the Bile Vesicle (Lymphatic Phlegm cover)
8. Necrosis of a Rather Extensive Part of the Jejunum-ileum (Lymphatic Phlegm cover)

Monday, December 12, 2022

Full Length Review: One Year Delay "Indigo" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Location: Kalamata
Country: Greece
Genre: Metalcore, alternative
Full Length: Indigo
Format: Digital
Label: Independent
Release date: March 2019
The Greek alterna-metalcore band One Year Delay recorded their debut full length “Deep Breath” in 2014 and had it picked up by Pavement Entertainment the next year. Apparently it created enough of a buzz to allow the band to follow it with a sophomore effort. If there’s any point made by them on their latest full length “Indigo”, it’s that a band can still be extreme and cutting edge while drawing from Korn, Primus, Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails and Limp Biskit while gaining an edge from Sepultura and Pantera.
The cover art with its similarities to Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” suggests a trippy listening experience with a quasi-nineteen-sixties vibe and relentlessly repetitive meters that induce you to enter the funnel built by their varying influences, a funnel taking you into the bottomless depths of the band’s hallucinatory visions. A series of phantasms that become increasingly real the more you travel through them.
“Indigo” represents the logical progression of the post-alternative/nu metal started by bands like Sevendust in the latter 1990s if given free rein to experiment with a variety of chord progressions, sounds and effects while preserving the heaviness one started with. The guitar and bass lines come across as sharp and meticulously arranged while the keyboards add a noncorporeal feel and the vocals intersperse agonized roars and melodic harmonizing with equal certitude. A band such as this needs solid, precise percussion to hold all this together and One Year Delay provides this, completing a sound all their own with no room for direct comparison.
While their first album was recorded in Nashville, TN USA with Toby Wright of Metallica and Alice in Chains fame, “Indigo” was helmed by Fredrik Nordstrom in Gothenburg, Sweden. Nordstrom’s work with the likes of At the Gates, Opeth, In Flames and Arch Enemy is likely what boosted the band’s heavier inclinations. In the three years since its release, “Indigo” seems to have aged well and sounds like it has the potential to stay relevant due to its unique character. –Dave Wolff

Orestis: Vocals
Peter Alimonos: Vocals
Nick Koumoundouros: Guitar
Stavros Tsotras: Bass
Haris Kolozis: Drums

Track list:
1. Escape From Monkey Island
2. Indigo Flow
3. Nanohopes
4. One Of Those Days
5. Going Ballistic
6. Jungle High
7. Landslide
8. Sisyphus
9. The Y Axis

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Demo Review: Brilliant Behemoth "Demo 2022" (Independent, Dismal Fate Records) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Brilliant Behemoth
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Country: USA
Genre: Gore grind
Demo: Demo 2022
Format: Digital, cassette
Label: Independent (digital), Dismal Fate Records (cassette)
Release date: November 28, 2022 (digital), February 2023 (cassette)
After a coffee and an overdue shower at 5am in the morning I made my way to the Gore Grinder account on YouTube. As always, there were a ton of new uploads and after a brief search I made my way to Demo 2022 by Brilliant Behemoth. Boasting itself as being a mix of goregrind, grindcore and d-beat I was drawn to this one pretty quickly.
This is not a long release and it features 10 tracks in just under 12 and a half minutes. Still, after listening I can state that this was an enjoyable listen and each moment of this was entirely on par. Sludgy bass mixes with down-tuned guitars, ping-snare drumming and a plethora of grunts and gurgles and screeches of both the clean (but aggressive) and pitched variety. I can’t really pin-point a favorite track on this as all of them are top notch. I will also add that the production is perfect and is clear enough for a good listen yet raw enough that it still fits within the scope of lo-fi grind.
This was self released in digital format in November of 2022. There will be a tape out on Dismal Fate Records as of February 2023. This is nothing that really takes grind in new directions but for the lovers of the original sound of gore you are sure to dig into this with fervor…and lastly the cover of this demo is quite intriguing!
Note: On an off-note some of the vocals remind me of Canker…a lo-fi goregrind band that existed in Cape Breton, Canada in the early to mid 2000’s. -Devin J. Meaney

Liz: Guitars, bass, vomits
Max: Drums, vocals

Track list:
1. Primitive Rampage
2. Talons Ripping The Viscera From Your Abdomen
3. Tusk Disembowelment
4. Obsidian Slicing
5. Bludgeoned With Bonesstomped Into Pulp
6. Clubbed Then Cannibalized
7. Forceful Splatter
8. Gutted With A Spear
9. Nazi Die (Doom)

Demo Review: Cryptophthalmos "Demo II" (Independent) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Cryptophthalmos
Location: Baltimore, Maryland/Chicago, Illinois
Country: USA
Genre: Gore grind
Demo: Demo II
Format: Cassette, digital
Label: Independent
Release date: January 7, 2022
Scrolling the underbelly of the interwebs I made my way to “Demo II”, the fresh 2022 demo by Cryptophthalmos. Featuring members of Ulcerating Noise Eruption and Born Backwards Cryptophthalmos pushes forward with a blast of pungent goregrind that can be likened to a train wreck of delectable proportions within my eardrums.
Featuring six short tracks in just over ten minutes this is not a long release. But every minute is jam packed with beautiful noxious gore and I can honestly say that not a single track is sub-par. Everything about this is excellent and I will have no problems digging deeper into this project’s output.
Hailing from Baltimore and Chicago this two-piece unit is sure to fire up anyone and everyone into the gurgling vileness of goregrind…and it can also be stated that the production quality (in my opinion) is absolutely perfect. High-end enough for clarity but rough enough to truly capture the grit and rawness of grind.
Obviously this is the project’s second demo but I will also throw it out there that they have a few splits. So what are you waiting for? Go listen to this steaming pile of awesomeness and show Cryptophthalmos some support. You know you want to…and if you don’t…I want you to anyway. This is some amazing goregrind! -Devin J. Meaney

Austin: Strings, vomits
Max: Drums, regurgitations

Track list:
1. Excruciating Endophthalmitis
2. Parapagus Dicephalus
3. Stillborn Sirenomelia
4. Osteogenesis Imperfecta
5. Thanatophoric Dysplasia
6. Situs Inversus Viscera

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Single Review: Aftermath "No Time to Waste" (Zoid Entertainment) by Dave Wolff

Band: Aftermath
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Country: USA
Genre: Technical progressive thrash metal
From the forthcoming album "No Time to Waste"
Format: Digital, streaming
Release date: September 30, 2022
In my extended contact with Aftermath since 2017, they've always had a socially conscious punk attitude and a thrash/hardcore feel to their musicianship. By building on this musical edge they’re maturing musically, and the same can be said about them lyrically. Let's face it, the world seems to be going to hell on a handrail and this Chicago band is still well aware of it, more so now than ever.
The band’s latest single “No Time to Waste” embodies a technical, experimental dissonant, hypnotic quality similar to mid-career Voivod and Megadeth infused with a momentous imperativeness. Rather than rushing faster than you can keep up to convey its message, it is patient and meticulous as it uses relentless mid-tempo rhythms as clear and sharp as the message it's trying to convey and born of natural progression. Most of the issues the band address go without saying; just spend a few minutes on AOL or Google and there’s more than enough to be concerned about, from governments threatening to drop the bomb to people gaslighting one another on social media to trigger happy nut jobs randomly assaulting people on the street.
All that considered, there was evidently truth to my own suspicions that media spin would worsen things if it played a role in the general public's perceptions. There have been some positive changes, however, including an increasing number of bands becoming aware of what's happening around them and raising awareness. It remains relevant and important for Aftermath to criticize government and media and there is still much to say.
Without sermonizing about broad mindedness, sounding holier than thou or patronizing the listener, the single urges you toward individual thinking and free expression of what you see around you in a way righteous cancel culture cannot emulate. Does it seem like their position was a result of them being taken in or having the wool pulled over their eyes? Not likely as they view the sociopolitical from the outside as much as they’re writing according to their instincts as musicians. –Dave Wolff

Kyriakos 'Charlie' Tsiolis: Vocals
Steve Sacco: Guitar
George Nektarios Lagis: Bass
Ray Schmidt: Drums

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Interview with artist Salman Aziz (second interview) by Dave Wolff

Interview with artist Salman Aziz by Dave Wolff

I first interviewed you in 2019 when you were promoting your poems, short stories and your independent film “Lost in the Black Hole”. What have you been doing since then?
Ah! I really can't believe that I will be here once again getting interviewed by you! Seriously, I just can't explain how excited I am to be part of this meeting! Literally, I am grateful for that. Because the last time, this is the only magazine where I openly and explicitly talked about my work and life that I hardly spoke to others!
Since 2019, I did lots of things. Lots of magical moments happened during that time. And, at the same time, I had gone through some worse times.
The end of 2019 turned out as a lucky charm for me. Because after that, I gained a little worldwide recognition which I was seeking for the last decades!
My film Lost in the Black Hole, got a nomination under the Tareq Shahriar Best Independent Shorts Award (the most reputed award for Bangladeshi Young & Aspiring Filmmakers) from the 15th International Short & Independent Film Festival, one of the most prestigious film festivals in Europe, Asia, and the American continent. It felt like one of my sweet dreams that came true!
In 2020, I made an alternative version of the film with lots of VFX and symbols to make it more and more enigmatic and bold. And, yes! From 2020 to 2021, it also won awards from reputed international film festivals!
Alongside this small success, 2020 was a horrible year for my mental breakdown. I truly went through lots of suffering from my physical and mental health. Somehow, I was able to cope with it.
After taking an overlong break from writing, I returned with my 2nd book in 2021, Bold and Bitter Statements: Volume 1, where I narrated my philosophical views about life, the human mind, nature, and the world. And, its 2nd volume came out in 2022. Now I am onto music and planning to do films. And, many books are lined up to come out.
So overall I am kinda busy with my work and life!

Did you expect “Lost in the Black Hole” to be nominated for the Tareq Shahriar Best Independent Shorts Award when you released it? How did that nomination turn out for the film?
Once Lady Gaga said, “There can be a hundred people in the room, and 99 don't believe in you, but one does.” This excerpt is also applicable to me.
I never imagined that I could get the nomination! I submitted my film to more than a hundred film festivals in to hope that they will like it. But one after another rejections, I already put in my mind that I and my creation won't ever be accepted and appreciated by the people. Then this wonderful thing happened. I got an email that my film is nominated. I still couldn't believe it and sent them an email for ensuring. And boom, finally karma turned into real!
In the 15th ISIFF, more than five thousand films were submitted for the festival but only a hundred were selected. And from them, only six films were chosen for nominations in each different category. I couldn't believe my film would be there! I made my film with a mobile camera whereas other filmmakers used film cameras to shoot their films. Their films were highly professionally edited whereas I edited my film all alone. They had professional actors for the film whereas I acted in my own film. After this what can I expect? For me getting this nomination from the most reputed international film festival is a huge big thing!

In what ways is the alternate version of “Lost in the Black Hole” with its additional VFX different from the original? Why did you decide to make this new version of the film and how did audiences respond to it? At which film festivals did it win awards?
There is an old proverb, "Artists are never satisfied with their creations." Each time they want to modify more and more to make those perfect. In 2019 when I finished my film, the visuals were very raw and mysterious. But in 2020, I thought I must creatively make it more enigmatic. In this case, Madonna's Bedtime Story M/V influenced me to put VFX. I found the symbols can clearly refer to many things so that the viewers can interact with the artist's expression of mind. Before putting those symbols in my film, I studied a lot to gather information about them and also learned how to use VFX in Adobe Premiere. It was a very challenging task for me because for the first time I did that! When I got good feedback from the reviewers, it felt like all my pains show the colors of joy. And mostly I was over the seventh sky when the Lebanese people loved my film and voted to get the Audience Award.
Already I claimed that this type of film was never made in my country. For ensuring my mind, I applied to the cultural ministry to verify that is it true or not. And my doubts were gone when the ministry office's copyright section declared and certified it as authentic by creation and the first short film in the symbolic mysterious experimental category.
After participating in the bi-yearly festival the ISIFF, I mostly submitted my film to monthly film festivals, because I didn't have much patience to wait for a year to get the notification. I know the list is little but here I'm gonna share where I got selected, nominated, and awarded.

Official Selections:
Best Experimental Short Film, International Short & Independent Film Festival, 2019.
Best Cinematography, Mozi Motion Film Festival, 2019.
Best Experimental Short Film, Austin After Dark Film Festival, 2019.
Best Experimental Short Film, Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival, 2019.
Best Short Film, Lift-Off Global Network Sessions 2021.
Best Experimental Short Film, Hallucinea Film Festival, 2021.
Best Experimental Short Film, Direct Monthly Online Film Festival, 2021.

Tareq Shahriar Best Independent Short, 15th ISIFF, 2019.
Best Horror Short Film, Berlin Flash Film Festival, 2021.
Best Mystery Film, Indie online film award (Season 3), 2021.
Best Halloween Originality, Brazil International Monthly Independent Film Festival, 2021.
Best Experimental Short Film and Audience Award, Monthly Indie Shorts, 2021.

Although I got this little success and hold a title, still I think I didn't get much recognition that I deserve especially from my country. And every time it hurts me a lot when it comes into my mind. Maybe I am not a big well-known star that's why I got a handful of media coverage!

Altogether it appears to be an impressive list, if you add the selections, nominations and awards together. For a new filmmaker from an industry that’s not as well known, you seem to be getting a good start making a name for yourself. Have other filmmakers or festival organizers taken notice of your awards since you received them?
I am thankful for these sweet words you used to compliment me. It means a lot to me!
Ah, I don't think the list is quite impressive to me! The day when I will get any award or nomination from the Oscars or Golden Globes, then I will take myself as an achiever! Though “Bloody Dark Dream” is my very first film, as a film festival participant “Lost in the Black Hole” is my first film in that way.
To be honest, if the film is made by a well-known maker like Nuhash Humayun, definitely the person will get all kinds of well-treatment from the entertainment world than me! Because this industry is run by fame, power, and money! It doesn't mean I am feeling envious or grumbling too much!
But yes, what I truly deserve, I didn't get that much! The reason is I am just an indie artist, not from a big production house or owning any label! Everywhere still, never-ending cronyism and nepotism are happening. Nowadays a handful of people respect true art and artists!
But I am truly grateful to them, who understood and felt my mind and appreciated my very hard work! When I think about that, it gives me the energy to do more work and go forward. A little appreciation really matters to artists like us! Because small support and love may boost the mind of the artist to create something rare!
After getting the winning tag, I got enormous invitations from film festivals to attend. My email and Instagram hold the evidence of those words! I think it is a blessing from God that I got this recognition as a filmmaker and artist worldwide! Very often the festival organizers contact me to submit my film to their festivals, even many of them privately offer me various percentages of discounts for submission fees. The respect now I am getting from them, I never got in my entire life. According to my thought, to give birth to something aesthetic, all artists, authors, and filmmakers should break the wall of rivalry among themselves and work side by side!

The industry has changed in the last decade. Hollywood is running out of ideas and adopting cancel culture to push many of their movies, independent film is on the rise and social media generates more review profiles. While Hollywood still runs on money, it’s not quite as prominent anymore. Are there indications you’ve seen that the indie industry in your country is growing?
It’s a good sign that the wind of change is blowing everywhere! Though the wind blows like a storm somewhere or maybe like a gentle breeze. The thing is happening because of boredom to see the same kind of stories in the films. Now people are interested to see quality-oriented films, not acted by multi-stars. And I think most indie filmmakers make such kinds of movies. They mostly cast talented actors who can carry the characters really well! They make films that carry special messages to everyone that are related to society and even people can relate their everyday life to the films. In indie films, the budget is low or limited, that's why social media plays a vital role to promote the film. It is also a great medium to contact artists and makers. And in this digital era, everything becomes easier because of social media! Though it has negative sides also!
In my country, the majority of people prefer commercial films for entertainment. They have created a group where they only follow a specific star or superstar. But nowadays things are changing due to the taste of the new generation. Indie films are now taking a place in the heart for their good stories. Though they hardly meet with commercial success or get much theater for screening than commercial films! In short, the change is a slow process but it is gradually happening!

Do you know of any indie film companies showcasing self-produced movies on social media sites such as Youtube? What’s your view of some of them?
Yeah! I know some but I don't wanna mention them. Though they are indie film companies, they have made a cluster where they prefer only the known people around them just like commercial companies. And that's all I can talk about them! These days they are releasing their works on OTT platforms besides Youtube or Vimeo so that they could earn! Now I have to cross my fingers, tape my mouth and work on my own!

Did you happen to meet any indie filmmakers at any of the film festivals you attended? People you might correspond and perhaps collaborate with?
People are scared to work with me! Hahaha, I was kidding! Actually, collaboration becomes easy when both parties have similar points of view! But in my case, even though I got collaboration offers, I turned those down because my artistic way is far different than others! If I get any opportunity to work with an enthusiastic artist who has a deep affection for the art world like me, I will definitely team up for creating the best!
While attending the 15th ISIFF in 2019, I met a young ambitious filmmaker! But our conversation was limited to “hello, how do you do?” Yeah, we talked a little about our films but found he was unheard of dark art and symbolism ever! His filmmaking way and genre are different from mine! He makes films on happy stories with verbal dialogue.
In the time of the global pandemic, the rest of the festivals took place virtually. It was a relaxing situation for me because even if I got the invitation due to visa costs and other stuff, I couldn't bear those! But it doesn't mean in future I won't go if I get a call from the festival.
During the occasion, I met a few filmmakers online who are fascinated to work with me, if I will be available in their countries! They loved my work and devotion to the art. Even I got an amazing proposal to act in their films as an actor! I was just wowed! It was a big surprise for me! But for now, let it keep for the future!

Name a few of the filmmakers you have befriended online recently, and name any of the movies you’ve had a chance to watch by them?
I am a kinda introverted person! I mix with them with whom I feel comfortable and free. I have plenty of filmmakers, artists, models, and actor friends on my Facebook and Instagram, but I hardly talk to them. Mostly they watch my artistic activities and sometimes they applaud.
But yes, I have good communication with Indian filmmaker Amit Chauhan on Facebook. He is such a nice person with good behavior. He made many short films, TV commercials, and music videos from his own production house. From his short films, I got a personal invitation to watch one of the films, titled Identity (2020) online. Another short film I watched was Stay Alive still available on YouTube. People can watch this amazing film on mental health.
Once I approached him if he is planning to make any short films with a bold character, then consider me for that bold role! He also agreed to take me if he makes any bold films in the future.
A handful of people know about my acting taste and what type of character I would love to play. I always dream to play the most challenging, boldest, and toughest character in films. It may sound awkward to people but yes, I am gonna share some of my preferable roles.
I would love to play a role of a prostitute who is a victim of human trafficking like Sold (2014), Taken (2008), and Trade (2007). Another role I want to play is a victim of child abuse or something like that. I found these are the most intensively painful roles to play. I also want to do films on mental health where I can play the role of a psycho or depressed person or some sorta role according to the plots. If I ever get to act in horror films, I won't say "No"! Horror and mystery films are my most loveable films. But I don't like romantic films and neither have any interest to do such films.
For the filmmakers, I am always open to every kind of role, but I have some major terms and conditions. I won't do any lip-kissing or intimate scenes (sex scenes) ever. These two are my top priority on the agreement list. I have no problems doing any frontal or back nude scenes but must be relevant to the story parts.
I know my interest is different from others. But if the story is heart-touching and carries special messages, I won't refuse the film even though the budget is low or limited. I would love to work for free if the makers have great intentions in the art world!

What feedback have your movies received online? How about reviews or interviews in other zines?
The feedback was kinda mixed! My film is not yet on any public platforms, but I personally showed it to some of my friends and others who expressed their interest to watch it. According to them, it is really a mysterious film and complexly made! After explaining the context, then they admired my perspective and knowledge. Similar responses came from the film critics also! They called me a critical and deep thinker which I found cool and took that as appreciation.
Film reviewer and coordinator from Austin After Dark Film Fest, Michael Williams shared his thought, “It did indeed feel very ‘dream-like’.”
Whereas Asian Movie Pulse reviewed it as, “Filled with impressive visual aesthetics and fine avant-garde surrealism but way too confusing in the process, ‘Lost in the Black Hole’ works mainly as a piece of artistic composition than anything else.”
Film analyzer N. Khouri (Ph.D.) explained, “Lost in the Black Hole was anything but a ‘cliché’, the work of writer/director ‘Salman Aziz’ proved to be of a higher standard and worth watching over and over again.”
Though the genre of my film is different, so the opinion may vary from person to person! The thoughts come out as how a person feels and takes it!
The list of my media appearances is not that much great! But wherever I appeared, all the time I tried to represent my country well! Because as an author and artist from my motherland, it is my duty to introduce our talents all over the world!
Here are some printed and digital platforms where I took part in interviews.
1. The IndieView (as an author)
2. MIS Magazine (as a filmmaker and actor)
3. BIMIFF Magazine (as an artist and filmmaker)
4. The Writers and Readers Magazine (as an author)
5. Write 2 Be Magazine (as an author)
I mostly interviewed as an author! Here people mainly learned about my writing voyage but less about my artistic life. I hold both identities and I want people to recognize me by those!

At what point did you decide to resume writing? Were any of your personal experiences channeled into “Bold and Bitter Statements: Volume 1” besides your philosophical life views?
After publishing my book "6th September" in 2017, I was kinda lost and I couldn't find anything to write! Maybe it happened due to writer's block and my mental breakdown. I always wanted to create something unique rather than usual things! And still, I do!
Bold and Bitter Statements was my long-time planned and wanted to publish it in my final days. Then I realized, "what if I die today then who is gonna publish it? It will stay forever in the basket!" The book was supposed to hold only my verses about life, nature, and the human mind. But after that thought, I decided to chunk into volumes and publish it in my living days.
Another thing that came into mind to make it more distinctive is that I should include images as metaphors to make my point of view more understandable. Actually, using metaphors and symbols in all my works is my eminent style. In this case, the admirable artist Taylor Swift's artistic creations influenced me greatly! And this way, Bold and Bitter Statements was born in 2021 for people with great knowledge.
While writing the book, I made it in such a way that people can correlate them or anyone or anything with my analytical thoughts. People should know that I only write from reality! Mostly my rational thoughts come when I have gone through those circumstances. And the rest of the things I perceive from others' actions. Very few know that I didn't grow up in a healthy and happy family. From childhood, I'd passed the worst phases of my life. Maybe that's the reason to become mature at my immature age. Because actuality made me think deeply! And these verities are the prime cause of my depression at an early age which turns into Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
In this book, my statements may be comparatively short for people, but the meanings are very vast! Each time they read; they will get different interpretations from different perspectives. Sometimes this explanation can be forthright and sometimes secretive. To perceive the knowledge behind it, people must think deeply about each of my verses.

In what ways did you relate to Taylor Swift and her work to the extent where she became a major influence on your writing? How are you use of metaphors and hers similar?
I have no words to talk about Taylor Swift! Seriously, she is damn cool!
Taylor is a complete package of all the talents. From singer to songwriter, performer, director, and doctorate degree holder, she has everything! And her journey made a great history, from American sweetheart to venomous snake to rainbow butterfly, she can be anything she wants! I admire her as an artist, but it doesn't mean I am a blind follower of her or Swifty or Taylor nation!
Actually, I didn't know about her till 2013. My cousins often used to mock me for being skinny due to my eating disorder. And all the time they compared me with Taylor's earlier health. It hurt and led me to hate her. After gradually knowing her, I began to like her for some music. When her “Bad Blood”, “Style”, and “Wildest Dreams” came out, her unique music-writing skills and clever presentation of music videos influence me to work on authentic projects. Especially her cryptic messages delivered through metaphors in her music and video are the major inspirations for me to use figurative expressions and figure of speech. And after seeing her music videos from the Reputation album, my interest developed much more in her. Though we don't have that much similarities, we both have our own individual styles to exhibit our works. Mostly her works are sometimes sweet, sometimes sour, and sometimes bitter but in my case, most of my works are the darkest and boldest. That's all I can say!

Which of Taylor Swift’s videos have you seen, and how were they inspirational to you as a filmmaker? Are there artists in your country you’re finding equally inspirational?
All artists with authentic good work always influence me! They can be from my country or other countries, it doesn't matter! I respect all the artists all over the world who truly dedicated their whole life to creating the greatest aesthetic works!
As I said earlier, Madonna's “Bedtime Story” music video inspired me to use VFX in my short film. But here every time Taylor Swift extremely inspired me!
I and Taylor have a special kind of bond. We both have the same horoscope Sagittarius, and most of all what insulted us, we turned that into art, respect, and the biggest power! In my college days, one of my teachers used to bully me by calling me “Chashma (glasses)” for wearing glasses in my teenage. Even after that, in my university life, my classmates also did that. But now I turned my glasses into my major fashion style.
I saw that Taylor also did that to her! I think all people know about Kanye West and Kim's drama. Due to misunderstanding people started to call her a snake, and she came back like that in her Reputation album. She reflected her side of stories through music videos from that album. And, those music videos were the aid of my emotional bondage.
When she released the “Look What You Made Me Do” video, it touched my mind so greatly that I put the character “The Thorn” in my film. The character shows the energy to take a stand, the strength to fight back, the rage to destroy the demons, and the list goes on and on!
And yes, I must admit that a scene from her video “Ready For It” extremely inspired me to create something like that. It was an eye thing that started in the beginning. She put some sort of effect on her pupil to look like a futuristic robot. But in my film, I put the Milky Way thing on my pupil to create a universe in my eye.
These are not the only things; there are so many things on the list that encouraged me to make this film.
Ah! In my country, very few maybe two or three artists embraced avant-garde or dark art or symbolic art in their creations, and versatile artist and singer Mila is one of them! She is exceptional and I got that when I saw her music video “Naacho” where most artists are scared to take that risk. This is because here audiences are not used to seeing such kinds of things, though nowadays things are changing but very slowly. She effortlessly put avant-garde fashion and dark themes in her video. I think she is the only artist in early 2015 who dared to make that type of video where people don't know what is avant-garde! I am not a fan of her but I love only this music video, that's all!
I guess all may think why I too much talk about dark art and avant-garde! The only reason is, I love those, and all the time I love to put those in my works.

How many videos has Mila produced to this day and where can interested parties view them? How does her avant garde approach to videos make her stand out from others in her field?
Actually, I don't know the exact number. I only saw two of her videos those dragged my attention to her. Nowadays Mila is doing tours and stage performances. All know that she is rocking the music. I think most of her music videos are available on YouTube and Vimeo. People can also check the G-series YouTube channel, a leading music label in Bangladesh to which she has signed.
As long as I know, she did the avant-garde thing in only this "Naacho" music video. And that time she got major backlashed. The song is a kinda remixed version of our old folk song. She tried to do something different but people in here didn't appreciate that much! If she released the music video at this time, it would be a massive hit here and worldwide too.

Would you be interested in doing a video or film collaboration with Mila if you suddenly had the opportunity?
Well, if the project contains symbolism, metaphor, and avant-garde, definitely I would love to collaborate with her. Not only Mila, if any artists with quality stories want me to act in their films, then I will be lucky to work with them!

Do you have any ideas or things you’ve wanted to say for some time that you may base future movies on?
Lots of notions are spinning in my head all time. But my main focus is to portray social issues through my works that are seen by everyone but still ignored and taken as normal things. So, I want to be the voice of those oppressed mute people. Besides this, I want to make some movies on mental health for raising awareness and making people realize how much it is important to take care of their minds. I found that depression is the vile maggots and it came from Satan! Another thing I hope I will do in the future is I might make a film about my life so that people can get to know me. But the film will be silent and full of symbolism and metaphors. When people will able to decode the messages, everything will leave them with water in their eyes.
And of course, if I get a chance to make a movie about this industry, surely, I will do that to showcase the white side and black side of it. That's all I can say right now!

What kind of an impact would you like to have on the indie film industry in your country and abroad? What would you like to look back on at the conclusion of your film career?
The art world is the global village for artists! The form of art can be anything. If the art takes the form of rhythmic organized words, then it becomes writing. If it takes the form of compiled motion pictures, it becomes a movie. Whatever we do in this art world, our root is we all are artists. In the commandment of the art world, it is clearly mentioned that race, skin color, religion, country, gender, everything doesn't matter at all! The only thing matter is in which way the artistic mind expresses the thoughts.
In both indie film industries, I want to see a discrimination-free platform where everyone from different regions can work together. And I will try my best to make everyone in one space so that we can make something remarkable.
Ah! The conclusion of human work happens after death. After this, nobody can do anything to serve the world. But the works make the person memorable year after year.
Once one of my inspiring people Mother Teresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
At the peak of my vulnerable stage, I would look back at how much I have done for people! Because all my works carry special messages that people can relate to their lives. The biggest achievement will be when people will remember me forever for my works, which could be films or writings! And, when they feel my work is motivating them to do something good, then I will feel that I am successful!

-Dave Wolff

Interview with Deos by Dave Wolff

Interview with Deos by Dave Wolff

Tell the readers of Asphyxium about the formation of Deos and describe the band’s music. How does Deos stand out from other bands based in France?
In 2012, Loic (drums) and Fabio (guitar) started playing together and were joined by Jack on vocals. They had a hard time finding a bass player and a second guitar player.
The first album “Ghosts of the Empire” was released on December 2015. On May 2016, we started writing the second album “In Nomine Romae” which was recorded between November 2016 and May 2017. During the recordings, we realized that the songs were good but we were missing some orchestrations. So we hired Harsh on keyboards. We sent the album to mastering at JFD studio with our buddy J-F Dagenais (Kataklysm and ex Deos). And we signed to Buil2Kill Records. “In Nomine Romae” was released on October 6, 2017.
Then we went on a series of concerts and tours to promote the album. We started writing our 3rd album in early 2020 then the pandemic came. The lineup changed, Cedric arrived as a second guitarist in August 2020, and we finished the composition and the recording. The mastering is again entrusted to our friend J-F Dagenais. We changed our label to Worm Hole Death Records. The release of our third album “Furor Belli” is planned for May 27, 2022. We made a tour at the end of April between the north of France and Belgium to present the album to our fans. And now we have signed with Ocularis Infernum Booking and Promotion.
To speak like our Master Lemmy: We are Deos and we play: Roman Extreme Metal! Deos is a musical peplum, we try to make our listeners and spectators travel to the heart of the history of Rome. We have always loved history and extreme metal (Death, Black and Thrash). So we decided to mix these three styles to create our music. We also incorporated some little touch of classical and folk music into our music. We have both the same and different musical tastes and our music is a reflection of ourselves. It's the same with our respective playing styles. Each of us has his own way of playing. When you mix all this together you get music from passionate people!
Our third album “Furor Belli” is a more raw and direct album than the two previous ones. This is mainly due to the new lineup. Cedric joined the band as second guitarist and we decided not to have keyboards anymore. So the music became rawer, more brutal and more direct. But it remains at the same time melodic. Cedric has fully contributed to the writing of the album since his arrival and his style has been perfectly integrated. His great rhythmic ability has elevated the martiality of the music, his playing style is perfect to bring out Fabio's lead parts. This album is a good mix of Black, Death and Thrash in an old school style. We are different from other French bands because we are the only French band that talks about Roman history! Our music is also a bit different from what is done in extreme metal, we are both very martial while remaining melodic.

Being that Deos is based in France, what sparked their interest in studying Roman history and adapting it as the band’s concept? To your knowledge, has Roman history been explored by other bands from France or other countries? How unique would you say your band is conceptually?
In the band we are all interested in history in general. The idea of Roman history came from our guitarist Fabio who is Italian. We found it original because very few bands deal with this subject. Most of the bands talk about Vikings, Celts, Devil, Middle Ages, Tolkien etc... Moreover the Roman history is so rich, there are plenty of subjects to exploit. From the foundation of Rome in 753 BC to the fall of Rome in 476, that's 1229 years of history to tell!
There are other groups that talk about Rome like our Canadian friends from Ex Deo or our Italian friends from Ade. There is also Dyrnwyn in Italy, and probably some other groups, but I don't think there are more than 15 of us in the world dealing with this subject. It's a pittance compared to the hundreds of bands talking about Vikings or Norse mythology.
Our originality comes mainly from our music. Ex Deo is more symphonic, Ade is more brutal Death and Dyrnwyn is more epic. Our music has more elements from black and thrash.

In what ways does the band combine death, black and thrash metal with folk and classical music to make their sound different from most contemporaries? What does each member bring to the band’s sound, and how diversified are your influences?
We are all big fans of Death, Black and Thrash, and when we compose we have no problem combining riffs from all three genres. Generally Cedric has a more Death and Thrash style and Fabio more Black with touches of Classical and folk music. These two playing styles combine perfectly. You have the powerful and solid Death/Thrash rhythms of Cedric associated with the Black leads and atmospheres tinged with classical/folkloric touches of Fabio. Then Loic manages to sublimate the whole with the right drum patterns. At the end Jack puts his bass lines to support either the guitars or the drums. As for the vocals, Jack varies his voice between death and black depending on the lyrics and the theme to give realism to the songs.
We are influenced by metal in general, black, death, thrash, but also heavy, power etc. We draw our strength from these styles, but not only. Some members like rock, some like disco, and some like classical music... There are a lot of different bands because our influences are multiple and varied. If we have to name some bands, we can say: Motorhead, Queen, Metallica, Pantera, Pink Floyd, Kreator, Rammstein, Emperor, Death, Lamb Of God, Rhapsody, Kataklysm, Iron Maiden, Ex Deo, Bolt Thrower, Slayer, Vivaldi, Paganini, Guano Apes...

How long has Fabio Battistella studied Roman history? Did he first suggest introducing it as the band’s conceptual theme? Or whose idea was it initially? In what ways did the band see Roman history could be associated with underground metal genres?
Fabio never studied Roman history, he just likes it since a very long time. And as we all love history we followed him. When the group was formed he already had this idea in mind and you could say that the group was formed around this idea. We all read a lot, which makes it much easier to come up with ideas for themes. Everyone is constantly coming up with ideas.
And as we told you before there are so many fascinating themes to explore in Roman history that for us it was, is and always will be obvious that these themes can be associated with extreme music. Our music can be violent, epic, melodic, melancholic, uplifting just like Rome was! So you see the associations are easy!

What aspects of Roman history are covered by Ex Deo, Ade and Dyrnwyn? Does Deos write about similar aspects or other areas of ancient Rome?
These three bands spoke about a lot of themes and to quote them all would be very long. If we want to keep only the main ones, there are the Punic wars, Julius Caesar, gladiatura, the great battles, Nero, the gods etc...
We have written on similar themes of course and also on different themes. We don't mind writing about a theme that has already been dealt with. There are different ways of telling things, you can have the point of view of one side, or the point of view of the other side, or you can describe it in a neutral way and only tell the facts. And because we have a lot of critical thinking, it allows us to focus the narration and the music so that the whole thing is striking!
In the end, for the same theme you will have different results, if only because of our different musical styles and personalities.

When Deos set accounts of Roman history to music, are those lyrics written from a third person or first person point of view, or do you do both viewpoints depending on the song?
The lyrics are either in the third person or the first person or both, depending on the content of the song and the result we want to achieve. For us it is absolutely necessary that the listener is transported directly to the heart of the plot! If he closes his eyes, he must be able to believe he is in the thick of the action.

Did anyone in the band see the 1981 movie Caligula, or other movies set in Roman history? If so, how accurate are those movies according to the band’s research?
We were partly inspired by this film for the track “Oderint Dum Metuant” which is on our second album “In Nomine Romae” released in 2017. Other films like “Gladiator”, “Centurion”, “The Eagle”, and “Il Primo Re” are good sources of inspiration for us, as well as the series “Rome”, “Spartacus”, “Barbarian” and “Nerone”. In all these works there are good things that challenge us and can inspire us and there are other things that do not necessarily correspond to the reality of the time and that we leave aside.

What books and/or historical programs on TV like the History Channel are the band immersed in that you would recommend to listeners interested in learning more?
Among the books we can quote “SPQR” by Mary Beard, “De Bello Gallico” by Julius Caesar, “De vita Duodecim Caesarum” by Suetonius, all the novels by Simon Scarrow, various comics like “Roma” or “Eagles of Rome”, historical shows like “Roman War Machine” by The History Channel, various studies and theses... As you can see there are so many different works! We could spend a whole day talking about it and we wouldn't forget!

Of all the movies and documentaries you watched, which have proven most informative? How about the books you have cited as inspirational?
We have watched a lot of films and documentaries and read a lot of books and novels. The ones we have mentioned as examples are the ones that have made the biggest impression on us. There are several factors that can hold our attention, such as the story, the style, the direction etc. We don't have any particular requirements, it's our sensitivity and our critical sense that make the selection. That's what's great about art and culture, everyone reacts differently!

How have your full length albums been received by fans, magazines and fanzines since you started releasing material? Do you remember any reviews in particular?
Our albums are getting better and better reception, we feel a rise in power and we are very happy about that.
When our first album “Ghosts of the Empire” was released in December 2015, the local fans and the local press reacted well but they were also slightly surprised by our style. Then our second album “In Nomine Romae” was released in October 2017 and it was better received than the previous one. We got good reviews from different webzines and we could see that fans from different countries were starting to rule well. And this time everybody was surprised to see that there was keyboard and orchestrations. Now with “Furor Belli” we see that new fans contact us, new webzines and magazines review and interview us and the reactions are even better than for “In Nomine Romae”. And again everybody is surprised by our third album because there is no more keyboard and orchestration and because the sound and the songs are more violent!

Are your albums produced and distributed independently or are you working with professional producers and distributors? When you record, is there any musical or recording equipment you use reflecting what aspects of ancient Roman culture you seek to capture?
“Ghosts of the Empire” was released on our own. “In Nomine Romae” was released by Buil2kill Records. “Furor Belli” was released by Worm Hole Death Records.
We use our own equipment, the same as we use on stage. The instruments used on the albums are the same as the ones used on stage, the same for the amps, the same for the microphones and the pedalboards. It's very important for us to try to have the same sound on the albums and on stage. We don't want to make an overproduced album that we can't reproduce on stage.
We always wanted to give the audience a quality show that would make them want to listen to our albums. They have to feel the power of Rome whether it's on CD or live!

Did releasing “Ghosts of the Empire” independently prompt the band to aggressively distribute and promote it and shop for labels? How many copies were you able to make and how long was it before labels started noticing you?
At the time (2015) we did all the promotion we could, it took us a lot of time but we wanted to make ourselves known, you don't get something for nothing. We were not ready to work with a Label.
We don't know how many copies we had made, we had promo copies and sales copies. But the album is almost sold out, we must have about ten copies left...
We have approached the labels for our second album In Nomine Romae in 2017.

Was your signing to Buil2kill Records intended to be a temporary deal? How well did they treat the band while you were with them? How has Worm Hole Death Records been treating the band since you signed to them? How much has distribution increased now that the band is signed?
Buil2kill Records gave us a contract for 1 album with the associated promotion. They allowed us to be distributed abroad. It's a small label but it made us take off. They did the best they could with the means they had but it worked pretty well and it allowed us to be credible and to gain notoriety.

In what ways do your live performances reflect what you do in the studio and the extensive amount of research for your songs? Do you express anything of a similar vibe to black and Viking metal bands?
All our songs have been thought and composed to be as effective as possible live!
The research is mainly about the lyrics and the theme, in live it's the music that has to be the most important! It has to be powerful to be able to captivate people!
When you come to see Deos live, you enter the Roman legion, you are transported to the heart of ancient Rome. We deliver powerful and energetic songs to the audience so that they can move, let off steam and go wild! And in general it works pretty well!
We don't compare ourselves to Black or Viking Metal bands. We don't try to do the same or better than other bands. We do our style, we are Deos and we play Roman Extreme Metal!

Does your vibe of being transported to ancient Rome extend to your stage presence? How much creative thought does the band put into stage wear and props? How much of a part does this play in your live shows?
As we told you before, when you come to a Deos concert you join the legion! Deos strives to be a band made for the stage, we create our songs in order to sublimate them in live, we want to create each time the best show possible and to make our music very visual, so it's capital for us to have elements that are in correlation with this fascinating period that is the antiquity, so when you come to a Deos concert, you will see on stage Roman standards, stage outfits etc... By the way, we have some surprises in store for 2023 in this regard!
It is also not impossible that one day, real legionnaires will join us on stage for an even greater immersion in our universe... It would be great if our friends of the Legio X Lorica Romana (with whom we shot the video clip of Primus Pilus) could be part of the show!

Do you have ideas in mind for the next full length, and do you hope to break into the US and/or European market by signing to one of the prominent labels from those areas?
We have already started to discuss the 4th album. Knowing the evolution we will have to bring on the sound, on the compositions, which themes we will approach etc... At the moment we are with Wormholedeath Records and so we are also signed with Wormholedeath USA and Wormholedeath Japan to be distributed worldwide. For our next album, we'll see what fate has in store for us!

Jack Graved: vocals, bass
Fabio Battistella: Guitar, vocals
Cedd Boehm: Guitar
Loïc Depauwe: Drums

-Dave Wolff