Monday, February 28, 2022

Full Length Review: Wintaar "Tear You Down" (Satanath Records) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Wintaar
Location: Mikhaylovsk
Country: Russia
Genre: Atmospheric black metal
Full Length: Tear You Down
Format: Compact disc, digital album
Label: Satanath Records
Release date: November 25, 2021
Back yet again and this time we are going to be taking a walk through a dark Russian forest with one of the most ‘tranquil’ releases I’ve heard in a while!
Wintaar - Tear You Down
So this is the 2021 release by Satanath Records with 8 new tracks ready to be devoured!
Going into this (as is the norm for most albums) I never know what to expect, you can look at the album cover, read the bios but still have no real idea of what you're going to be experiencing until the music hits and what an interesting listen it was.
I think the description that best suits this album for me is ‘atmospheric black metal’ the way it’s presented it’s so dark and eerie but at the same drone like and ambient in its appearance, sound and presentation.
Each track flows into the next like a calming river, the conceptuality is on point and the way it runs is something to admire.
The instrumentation on this album is great because it highlights how you can make a Black Metal album sound simultaneously brutal and meditative all at the same time,
It’s really if you think about it what would happen if you decided to grab your favourite ambient artist say Brian Eno and then introduce him to the Black Metal culture and then finish it off with some Drone flavour and this is what you would get at the end result, it’s the perfect album for keeping your mind busy without having to think too much on the presentation or substance of the record.
The essence that drives this album is ‘ambience’ and I love how they were able to formulate a way to not take away the brutal, growling vocal screams commonly associated with Black Metal and just mix it in with a genre that is normally the complete opposite of that sound! But yet make it work at the same time which is mind blowing to me.
So, in a nutshell. If you're looking for a record to drive home too, walk your dog, do the dishes, relax, cook or clean then I feel this is the kind of head banger meditation that metalheads far and wide would love to use to ease their day with, I’m sure fans of other styles of music would find a lot to love about it as well!
Trust me, it’s truly a unique experience but one definitely worth sharing and trying! Great work guys! Corban Skipwith

WV: Vocals, guitars, bass
Namiros: Guitars
E.J.C.: Drums, bass, backing vocals

Track list:
1. Time Devours Light
2. I Will Wait For You In My Hell
3. Dissolved By Visions
4. Thy Bones (Through The Prism Of Anger)
5. The Circle
6. Last Step
7. Buried In My Own Sorrow
8. I Will Wait For You In My Hell [WV version]

Friday, February 25, 2022

Full Length Review: Reincarnation "Chamber Of The Damned" (Misanthropik Records) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Reincarnation
Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Country: USA
Genre: Death metal
Format: Digital album
Label: Misanthropik Records
Release date: January 27, 2022
It’s that time of day again! And today we will be revising
Chamber Of The Damned by REINCARNATION
So this is the January release by this newly formed (to my knowledge anyway) 2 piece band featuring members
-Jonathan Nesbitt and Erik Leviathan
and within this 8 track list there’s a lot to say.
First of all, this brings quite the uncompromising yet technically sound aspect of Death Metal, you’ve got those heavy thuds of the drums and the savage guitar shredding and patterns and the vocals here remind me a bit more of the ‘Grindcore’ style but none the less I feel the instrumentation is trademark ‘Death Metal’ and that’s what they want to describe themselves as and I would have to agree!
I think these 8 tracks provide a lot of promise because they aren’t mixed too low or lo fi to where all the small bits and pieces are all sound mashed together and unrecognizable but it’s not too flashy and over produced that it’s considered ‘mainstream’ or ‘sanitized’ to shit so I think this record finds a good balance in the middle of making a brutal ‘Death Metal’ album without sacrificing the mixing or the Integrity of a true underground style and sound.
If I had to nitpick I would say that there’s too much empty space between the end of the songs and the start of the new ones, there should be the gaps filled or at very least extend the instrumentation to right until the song passed to the next one, but again a very minor criticism.
Overall, this is a very solid experience and considering it’s just a duo making this it’s very fun, creative and badass. Any metal fan will enjoy this in my opinion and it will especially satisfy the more seasoned hardcore fans out there. Go check it out with the link below! Corban Skipwith

Erik Leviathan: Vocals, lyrics
Jonathan Nesbitt: All instruments, lyrics

Track list:
1. This World Is Not My Home
2. The American Dream
3. Chamber Of The Damned
4. Final Gore
5. Devour The Plague
6. SOS (Save Our Scene)
7. The Inauguration Of Lucifer
8. Rivers Of Sadness

Full Length Review: Brutal Caesar "Caes Kalpurnia" (Independent) by Corban Skipwith

Artist: Brutal Caesar
Location: Texas
Country: USA
Genre: Hip hop
Full Length: Caes Kalpurnia
Format: Digital album
Label: Independent
Release date: March 15, 2022
Guess whose back from their long vacation? That’s right I’m all pumped and ready to go whanau and today we will be starting things off with an absolute MONSTER of an album by honestly one of the most talented new producers I’ve heard in a while! None other than Brutal Caesar and his latest record *Caes Kalpurnia*.
So, what exactly do we have here? It’s a 10 track record packed with solid features on top of some of the grimiest and banging instrumentals you’ve heard in the past few years. Honestly the way this album operates and runs it reminds me of a modern day Dr Dre 2001 in the way the Brutal Caesar uses his features, how he knows where they should go on a track and why, the methodical pacing, the brilliant executions, the art of the craft I could go on and on but point being this guy is talented.
One thing you have to understand everyone is that 8/10 a producer will just stack their albums full of generic throw away beats and then over saturate the record with features that have no rhyme or reason for being there and then over master it till it sounds like sterile shit (Cough Cough DJ Khalid).
I bring this up because it’s so rare to have someone underground or not actually take the time to make a solid collection of tracks that actually mean something! Take care and pride into all the elements of the record not just the features or not just like production but understand that it needs to be solid AS A WHOLE in order to work and I can safely say that this album is on that top tier level of greatness and I mean as the boys down in Ireland would say ‘The Proof is in the Pudding’ meaning the music speaks for itself here.
I really love the collection of feature artists he choose to accompany this record. We talking
-Zagnif Nori
-Recognize Ali
-Illa Ghee
-Supreme Cerebral
-Vic Monroe
-Maylay Sparks
-Melly Mel
-Ras Kass
-King Magnetic
-Guilty Simpson
-Solomon Childs
-Haz& Skanks The Rap Martyr
-Craig G
-Doap Nixon
Also shout out to Tone Spliff, DJ Jaffa and 𝐃𝐉 TMB on the cut credits for tracks 2, 4 and 9! But those are some underground powerhouses right there and this proves he knows his Hip Hop and is a true student of the game.
I really can’t say anything bad about this album, if you really wanted to nitpick you could say it’s not very conceptual and it’s a real ‘meat and potato’s’ type of record but that’s the beauty of it, he’s embracing the OG era of just dope rhymes over dope beats! That formula has made some of the greatest rap albums of all time because under that style there’s no fancy creativity to hide behind there’s nothing else to rely on the album being good then the strength of the bars and lyricism by the artists and the power of the production and both absolutely Murder.
Look, come March 15th you all better be ready to embrace what will be contender for rap album of the year for sure. It’s star studded, powerhouse sonic Genocide that no ear will be able to resist and I can’t wait for you all to be at the mercy of none other than THE BRUTAL CEASAR! Corban Skipwith

Track list:
1. The Dream (feat Emma Lee)
2. Warning Label (feat Zagnif Nori & Innocent) [cuts by Tone Spliff]
3. I Hope (feat AFRO, Recognize Ali & Reks)
4. Ill Supreme (feat Illa Ghee & Supreme Cerebral) [cuts by DJ Jaffa]
5. Django (feat Vic Monroe & Maylay Sparks)
6. To Fall In Love (feat Melly-Mel)
7. 16 Daggers (feat Ras Kass)
8. Dunes (feat King Magnetic, Guilty Simpson & Solomon Childs)
9. Master of Words (feat Haz & Skanks the Rap Martyr) [cuts by DJ TMB]
10. Changing of Times (feat M-Dot, Craig G & Doap Nixon)

Monday, February 14, 2022

Interview with Nonoy Padrejuan of Paganfire by Dave Wolff

Interview with Nonoy Padrejuan of Paganfire by Dave Wolff

Your latest full length “Of Death Blades And Blood Soaked Paths” has been made available for streaming on YouTube and Facebook. Will it be released on CD and cassette, or will it solely be a digital release?
Greetings Dave!! It’s an honor to be interviewed by you again! I guess bad habits die hard! Ha ha, yes the latest album was initially available as a digital release. It was our first time doing it, so let’s see where it will take us. We did it because we had to. As I said somewhere, we must adapt and survive, times change and the only way to go is full speed ahead. Also we did it as a sign of life; since it’s been a while since the last album, people might have actually thought we are done and gone. Of course there are plans to put it out there on various physical formats, because why not? For sure there are others who have the same insatiable lust for physical releases like us, so it will be better if it would be available for anyone who likes their metal digital and traditional physical formats.

What labels will release “Of Death Blades And Blood Soaked Paths” on cassette and CD? Are these labels from the Philippines or from other countries that can spread the word?
As we speak, labels from Sweden, Japan, Thailand and the USA have agreed to release the album on tape, CD, and vinyl. I never speak of releases when they’re not done yet. I just don’t like it when we mention something and it gets scrapped for whatever reason. All of these will get proper announcements of course as we progress. As always we are honored that such labels are willing to work with us and interested with the brand of thrashing metal we deliver.

Why did the band decide to stream the new full length before releasing it on physical media? And why did it take so long before you started streaming? Will it also be released on vinyl for label distribution?
As partly mentioned, we deem streaming activity to be a sign of life. For us it is something new that seems to be the norm nowadays. The “wait” was unintentional as we took time to finalize and agree on the mix, then we decided to do it ourselves as our previous engineer couldn’t handle METAL well. This pandemic also took our time. Lots of challenges or should I say fuck ups happened along the way. Then if I remember correctly by the time we agreed on Alvaro's mix and decided to stream there was a waiting time of at least thirty days before the release went “live”. YES, someone has shown interest to do vinyl, but it’s pending more discussion as our time zones and lives won’t jive yet, haha.

Did Paganfire draw on the same influences of your previous full-lengths? Why has the band maintained those influences for so long?
Let me see, as far as influence is concerned, it is the same THRASHING metal sound and attitude that we use as reference. The only conscious decision made was to improve or double whatever we have achieved with the debut, especially in the songwriting department. We always wanted the songs to be varied, not repeating ourselves often but still having the signature Paganfire style, whatever it might be. Said influences worked because it is the common ground where we all work from. If certain songs don’t come close enough or riffs sound “away” from this we collectively junk it and move on. Having said that, ultimately we let the METAL flow! We rehearse, get drunk, and discuss ideas a bit, the get drunk some more, as it has been since day one!

Is the same line-up responsible for writing and composing the new album? The material sounds as fresh as anything released in the 80s and 90s. Why does Paganfire have so much youthful energy?
Yes it is the same line up since 2008. Four of the six songs were written by Alvaro Martin (bass, vocals). I did the remaining two. As always, we come to the studio and present what we have. If there are suggestions and re-arrangements we try them all until we arrive with what we think is worth keeping. Again, we do not have specific eras in mind; we just work on them and do what we know of what THRASHING so no doom and gloom for us during this time, just fast and faster, argh! Nothing ridiculous also, just pure metal mayhem!

What improvements did the band make over their previous releases? Do the new songs sound faster, more technical, more energetic, or all of these?
I could say all of the above. After years of playing we are finally learning our instruments. The new songs are all METAL to the core. Plus we avoid to repeat ourselves constantly, thus the songs themselves take on a different form, or at least what seems to be the Paganfire sound.

The development of your playing has had what kind of effect on Paganfire's sound?
I can say the impact is positive and for the better, because now we can actually hear bits of what we are doing. The muddy buzzsaw dirt got lessened to some extent. Getting familiar with our instruments helped us express ideas easier and made the natural flow of metal stronger, making the material improve compared to what we were doing before. As for the Paganfire sound it will continue to evolve as the process of development never stops. THRASHING metal ‘til death!

Name some favorite songs appearing on “Of Death Blades And Blood Soaked Paths” and explain what the lyrics are about?
I like all six of them. The lyrics are all heavy as the music. They talk about serial killers, metal and violence, despots, how a rioting mob will treat you if caught, politicians and their promises and some social commentary. When you have the sing along with the lyrics you'll see they are quite self-explanatory. Not necessarily cheesy or anything, just pure metal madness!

Did the band write about any specific recent events in the Philippines for “Death Blades”?
Reading the lyrics to some of the songs, I know that they are inspired by what happened to our country in recent years, all the killings, political fanaticism, despots, etc., I also noticed Alvaro wrote them to apply in general situations but still they are solid. Heavy lyrics for heavy music.

What are the benefits of drinking heavily while writing? Are you in the habit of recording what you compose for future reference?
Beer binges take time, and we come to a point that we discuss song ideas before we all get drunker. Due to the pandemic we can’t do this as often as we want. Online band meetings don’t get to me yet. Perhaps I will come around and take it more seriously soon. I used to record what I wrote when I had a tape recorder. Nowadays I just write it down then present it to the rest of the band during rehearsals.

Are bands from the Philippines (including Paganfire) becoming more popular abroad? Are more labels outside your country recording Philippine bands or are more Philippine bands touring outside your country?
With Facebook yes. Many Filipinos use social media. We decided to utilize it as we now see it being mandatory. Of course before that we’ve been known to correspond with anybody from anywhere. From our standpoint it is always how you understand what a true D.I.Y. underground band should be. Currently there are a handful of bands being signed overseas; the number one factor is there are no local labels around to do this, argh! Talent is never a question for Filipino bands; vision and attitude have always been. As for touring, there are a handful of Filipino bands who play neighboring countries and there is a good number of bands interested to play Manila thanks to budget flights. Fuck the pandemic for messing all this up.

Have more festivals been held in the Philippines with more bands performing, or has the pandemic affected the festival industry?
In December 2021 a few sporadic shows took place in various parts of Manila and some provinces. I wasn’t able to check any out as I have things to do with my son. I am not aware of any festivals that happened lately as with the lockdowns it’s very unlikely. The pandemic affected live shows; aside from being scarce there are few bands playing out. Screw this Covid shit! When this is over I can’t wait to come up on stage and bang my head! Argh!

Has the amount of band rehearsals declined since the pandemic, or are they still constant?
Aaaargh! Sadly, since the pandemic we’ve only met up three to four times minus Alvaro! We haven’t seen him in two years! No rehearsals happened, just a few beer binges between me, M.A. (guitar) and Jay Roco (drums). Communication is done via online platforms and I still don’t get the hang of it! Hopefully things will change soon and rehearsals must commence as there is more METAL to be done!

How much has having to communicate online slowed the band’s activities altogether? Is Alvaro still a steady member of the band despite his limited time with you? How has the rest of the band held up in that regard?
ALL is at a standstill. As we were always a “live” band, to rehearse then drink was our routine, so now it ain't happening regularly, argh! Then again we try and adjust. Right now we are in the midst of setting up a home recording facility; that is what makes us busy at the moment aside from continuously looking for labels that might want to release the latest album. Alvaro is still a member of PAGANFIRE and nothing has changed. As a matter of fact he did the mixing and mastering of the new album and is now working on the layout for the vinyl release. All of us are OK with it. We just need to drink again soon!

While you’re unable to practice, what do you discuss during group chats?
Last chats we discussed how the new songs for the third album will be like and how we would want to step up the production and studio skills. We also talked about the second album and how it will be promoted and with what labels we’re going to work with this time. Now we just reply to each other's messages via chat in that group, no more videos! Argh!

How much work on your home recording facility has been completed? What equipment are you loading it with?
We have a computer, electronic drums, amps, guitars etc. We are hoping that within the next few months we’ll get to acquire more. We have our sights on some other stuff, we are carefully choosing as our budget is limited so we aim to maximize it on future purchases. When this is completed we'll definitely churn out a demo or two just to see how it will go.

What gave you the idea to practice and record with electronic drums, and what sort of an impact should it have on your sound?
With all the rehearsal and recording studios in our area closing doors, we thought of this as a means to survive again. We can't be left stranded with our metal. Plus with e-drums we can record drum tracks “silently” so as to not disturb the neighbors. We think that with all the technology available, we could make the drum sound better or at least suit as well this time around. This will be seen in the next demo we will do soon.

What role will your computer equipment have in recording rehearsals, demos and official releases?
We'll store the songs, sessions, artwork, layout etc. in there for future use. Again we hope we'll get better sound now as we can mix it as much as we want with no time and budget pressure. Tracking the instruments hopefully will be hassle free. Doing interviews and constant communication will be a lot easier too with a computer ready to use at home, I will not be living in a PC-less house anymore. Argh!

What additional instruments and equipment are you hoping to acquire once your budget allows?
We have our eyes set on monitor speakers, portable recorders, mics, chairs etc. among other peripherals that will be of use to us as this "project" moves on. Instruments and amps are on hand so we just need to focus on much needed recording equipment.

Has Paganfire considered doing a live streaming as bands have done since the pandemic started? Or maybe a Youtube video diary?
At the moment not yet. Perhaps when we have the aforementioned home recording gears up and ready we might do it, or shoot a video. Or whatever we might want to show as a sign of life. Video diary? We’ll see but again as we speak no talks about all of this just yet.

Would you consider live video interviews a possible option to tell people about your current activities?
I haven't tried it yet, but for now I prefer written interviews as there are a bunch of things needed for videos such as a stable internet connection, lighting etc. I am not sure if I will enjoy talking to my cellphone. We'll see if this will change soon.

How has the search for more labels from other countries gone since you started looking?
As we speak the album is set to be out on all formats (CD, LP, tape) in four to five different countries. I am still looking for people who can do it in other key territories. We will properly announce who's doing what when all is set. Anyone from South America, Europe, Malaysia etc. reading this and interested enough to work with us just drop us a line!

In what countries did you arrange to release your next full length? Are previous releases directly available in those countries?
I have talked to people from Thailand, Chile, Japan, Sweden and USA. I need to reach more maniacs from South/Central American countries and parts of Europe. We had previous releases done in Chile, USA and Sweden before, also the same maniacs that will do “Death Blades”.

Would you say that your listeners from different countries have anything in common with each other? Why do you think they all resonate with you and Philippine thrash?
They all prefer their metal raw, brash, and loud. Fans of true underground d.i.y. thrash metal sink their teeth into our releases which is always welcome. I am proud that most true maniacs dig what we are doing and no fans of sucky music embrace us which again is good and an achievement in itself. Perhaps because all that they like about metal is found in PAGANFIRE. Raw, fast, aggressive, loud, brash and everything else in between.

Can audiences here respond to the energy you project on stage as well as they do in the Philippines if you had the opportunity to play shows or metal festivals in the US?
If the attendees are all fans of true underground d.i.y. thrashing mayhem I am sure that they will have a blast! If and when given the chance to play there, I hope to see furious headbanging and raging pits, the type of crowd reaction that will suit the music itself.

How do you expect the band to develop their sound when you’re able to communicate regularly again?
The newly written songs reek of total metal, so if the songwriting will be given a much better approach in production, I am sure they will be killer. Plus if we get to rehearse regularly again that will be an advantage. Being the "live" band that we are, we will be able to learn and apply some ideas to the new songs as we always work that way.

In the future, what new ideas do you and the band intend to incorporate into Paganfire's sound? What importance do you still place on keeping your roots from the beginning of your career?
We want more aggression and more interesting ideas in songwriting. Often times we refer to our past works and do our best not to repeat ourselves. The future will bring more metal into the PAGANFIRE sound. As they say, we all learn from history, the lessons thought by the past is important to make proper decisions for the present and aligning it with a not so distant future.

In what ways has being an underground band for almost twenty years benefited Paganfire and the Philippine underground? How do you advise new bands interested in getting signed?
Being in the shadows is always better for us, as we never liked being anyone's flavor of the month. We never thought of this as being beneficial or what, this is just the way we are and let's see where else will this take us. Filipino bands that want to get signed should work harder and learn the true underground ways. Stop trying too hard and just make sure that your band is loud enough to be heard by those who should. Write, record, release. Drink beer.


-Dave Wolff

Friday, February 4, 2022

Full Length Review: Amorphis "Halo" (Atomic Fire Records) by Dave Wolff

Band: Amorphis
Location: Helinski
Country: Finland
Genre: Progressive melodic death metal
Full Length: Halo
Format: CD, digital, black marbled vinyl double LP
Release date: February 11, 2022
Sometimes you have to look back at the past to grasp the future. Thirty years, fourteen albums and Amorphis have made it an art form. Their cultural relevance is attributed to their timeless adherence to native folk tales and the values they teach. By blending melodic death metal with progressive sounds and doomy overtones, Amorphis redefine themselves from album to album, establishing newness while remaining rooted in tradition.
Having evolved since "The Karelian Isthmus" and "Tales from the Thousand Lakes", the band is now experimenting with other musical concepts to express their country’s pagan traditions and turn writing and composing into storytelling. In "Halo", they start with the best aspects of the previous albums, shape them and strip them down some, giving us an epic and monumental recording with a level of creativity that is sorely lacking in the mainstream.
There's little if anything wrong with "Halo" in terms of its production and its fusion of multiple metal subgenres. I don't claim it's their best album, but they've gone above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to writing inventively. Whether you're a fan of death metal, black metal, doom metal, or folk metal, "Northwards" has something for you. Not to mention the elements of progressive rock, orchestral choruses and traditional folk music. And we're just getting started with the first song.
The eleven songs for "Halo" were chosen from thirty that the band submitted to producer Jens Bogren (Opeth, Enslaved, Amon Amarth, Katatonia). He knew exactly what he was doing based on the ideational story these songs construct. When the band recorded these songs, they were able to concentrate on musicianship and create a conceptual tapestry. Rather than one person making all the decisions for the band, it appears to be a team effort between band and producer.
As with previous Amorphis albums like "Silent Waters," Pekka Kainulainen writes the lyrics for "Halo". His method of lyric writing is described as a lengthy, careful process of translating archaic Finnish poems into English verses for the band to adapt into lyrics. He and vocalist Tomi Joutsen (Hallatar, Sinisthra) work well together constructing and delivering the narratives describing the band’s northern journeys; It’s a shame the advance streaming I got from Earsplit doesn’t come with the lyrics because things don’t seem complete without them. Still Joutsen displays as much articulation in his guttural vocals as in his melodic style.
Amorphis recently released promotional videos for “The Moon” and “On The Dark Waters” and starting this April they’ll be touring the U.S. with the Norway-based multi-instrumentalist Sylvaine and the Oregon, U.S. based dark rock duo Hoaxed (whose debut EP is now available and who will be releasing their debut full length this year. Contact Earsplit PR for additional information and the official Amorphis site for more about the band’s activities. Atomic Fire Records’ official Youtube features video diaries about the making of “Halo”. –Dave Wolff

Tomi Joutsen: Vocals
Esa Holopainen: Guitars
Tomi Koivusaari: Guitars
Santeri Kallio: Keyboards
Olli-Pekka Laine: Bass
Jan Rechberger: Drums

Track list:
1. Northwards
2. On The Dark Waters
3. The Moon
4. Windmane
5. A New Land
6. When The Gods Came
7. Seven Roads Come Together
8. War
9. Halo
10. The Wolf
11. My Name Is Night

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Interview with poet/author Judge Santiago Burdon by Dave Wolff

Interview with Judge Santiago Burdon by Dave Wolff

Who I am.
I’m a recovering Catholic
drug fiend and addict,
a drunk, a thief and ex-con,
musician, writer, half assed poet, and fighter,
a drifter, failed husband and father,
horrible dancer, an excellent cook, Atheist, well read and a scholar,
quick tempered, dog person, sports fan, crack shot,
I'm also an excellent driver.
a dreamer, jokester, gambler,
and friendly,
Known to be lazy, sometimes a liar,
Worked as a smuggler,
too old to do time,
Its the reason I've retired. -JSB

You studied Victorian literature at universities in the United States, England, and Paris before you started publishing your writing. Who were the authors you studied during this time?
I've always had a great admiration for the classics. I consider the Victorian Era as the time when literature reached its pinnacle. I read “A Tale of Two Cities” which I consider Charles Dickens’ best novel. Besides the book highlighting the historical event of the French Revolution, Dickens wrote with a flare of unpretentious arrogance and descriptive mannerism that instantly fascinated me.
The Bronte Sisters wrote verse that crescendoed into a chorus of emotion. One of my favorite romantic quotes, is from Wuthering Heights "You’re all of life to me. Let me be a single breath of it for you." -Isabella to Heathcliff, “Wuthering Heights”. Other epic authors from the era; Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Lewis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde Tennyson, Bram Stoker, Rudyard Kipling. I personally never cared for Tennyson saw him as a self-absorbed hostage of his sadness although it seemed to me enjoyed depression. Always moaning, complaining, begging for sympathy. I followed the opinions of TS Eliot and WH Auden concerning Tennyson.
T. S. Eliot famously described Tennyson as "the saddest of all English poets", who’s technical mastery of verse and language provided a "surface" to his poetry's "depths, to the abyss of sorrow. W. H. Auden maintained a more critical stance, stating that Tennyson was the "stupidest" of all the English poets, adding that: "There was little about melancholia he didn't know; there was little else that he did."
I added him to the list as a reflex. I attended Cambridge University for three semesters until the Chancellor of Colleges requested I find some other learning institution. "Your renegade study technique doesn't seem to include any useful piece of practical wisdom. Therefore it is our wish you complete your scholarship at some university willing to tolerate your subversive agenda".
I voiced my disdain for Tennyson anytime an occasion presented the opportunity. I later discovered I should have done my research first. Seems Lord Tennyson was poet laureate of Queen Victoria. I was aware of that fact, it was my overlooking his other accolades that caused my early departure. He won the Chancellor's Gold Medal Award at none other than the University I was attending. He was a student of Trinity College Cambridge University.

Did you find the literature of the Victorian Era particularly compelling, or did the social and political atmosphere of the era also capture your attention?
Truthfully I found the Era boring. It was the writers of the time it produced. The Elizabethan era I find intriguing especially after I discovered my heritage can be traced back to Robert Devereux 2nd Earl of Essex. He was beheaded by Elizabeth after attempting an assassination and unsuccessful coup. He was also the Queen's lover.
My interest in Victorian literature had waned since my freshman year of High School most of my study was completed during my junior high school years. I was into the "Beats" and radical thought of the time. It was the '60's man, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Woodstock, Summer of Love, LSD Moody Blues, we're all Bozos on this bus Fireside Theatre. Buy a ticket take the ride.
It seems however my study of Victorian era Literature made me somewhat of a celebrity. The Librarian at my local library where I had worked on most of my research became a wonderful assistant. She would suggest literature or Magazine articles relevant to the period. I assumed she must have been single, having so much extra time to help a thirteen-year-old boy with such a boring subject. Someone mentioned she was a Lesbian, and I'm embarrassed to admit I had no clue to what that meant. I looked up the definition and wasn't surprised. I had prior knowledge of Greeks and other cultures participating in homosexual relationships.
(Let me cut to the chase: my study had caught attention of a professor of Victorian literature from the University of Wisconsin Madison. My librarian’s sister)
I was offered a free semester of study at the University. 15 and going to college. My teachers at school all signed off on it. Spent my semester at college getting high and taking part in protests. I wanted to write for The Cardinal University Newspaper and worked with two radical type guys, I made friends with Leo and Dave. Despite working hard for the paper the Editor never gave me an assignment.
The following year just before entering my senior year in high school I was visited by the FBI and questioned for over three days without my parents ever objecting since I was a minor. Seems my two buddies Leo and Dave along with two other fellows blew up a building on the University of Wisconsin Madison campus killing one person.
I had no idea of their whereabouts or knew of any plans pertaining to the bombing. Although I do recall how pissed off Leo was about the Kent state shootings. He sent me a photo of the protest in Madison. Told me to drop out of school and join the New Year’s Eve Gang, whoever the hell they were. I never mentioned it to the feds. And they asked over and over again if I had any communication with them. I was pretty pissed off at my parents. They couldn't understand why. Unless I had something to hide from the FBI. Then my father demanded I tell the truth about my involvement. Asshole. This from a wanna be gangster who hated cops and was a criminal himself.

In what ways were you influenced by the Victorian era authors you cited?
Their influence on my style of writing or my genre is difficult to describe. I don't write romance, mystery, historical or horror books. These are the themes of the writers I studied. My genre has been described as transgressive fiction or dirty realism; I refer to my poetry and stories as "stuff".
If you want me to identify an influence from the study of the classic authors, I would have to answer it’s their detail of describing a character or place. And their use of dialogue is astounding. Dickens was master of both. I find myself using a page to describe to the reader a dust particle floating in the air passing through a beam of light pushing itself through a hole in the roof of the vacant house. I'm fortunate to have found excellent editors for my books. Arthur Graham is a god when it comes to editing.

Other than "A Tale of Two Cities", what else have you read by Dickens? Were his other writings as captivating as this novel?
I've read everything by Dickens, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations etc.

How was it that you were able to travel from country to country so extensively?
I was the recipient of grants and scholarships because of my study of Victorian literature. There were few studying the subject.

Which writers from other eras do you find compelling, especially from the 20th century?
Let me begin with a confession which may cause some to dislike me or question my literary knowledge. I've never cared for Jack Kerouac. Almost everything he has written I've read thinking there is something I must be missing, if he is so revered and popular. Never found anything to convince me of his talent. I’ve already mentioned the Victorian authors. Now I'll address the authors I’ve read during my life's scholarship in no specific order: Tom Wolfe, Ken Kesse, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Plath Sexton, Sandra Cisneros, Bukowski, Chuck Palahniuk, Greg Kelso, Pablo Neruda, Saadi Shirazi, Sandra Cisneros, Ann Sexton, Gregory Corso, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Dylan Thomas, Claudia Rankin, Linnet Phoenix, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Herman Hesse Siddhartha, Charles Bukowski, Tom Waits, Tom Wolfe (Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test), Herbert Huncke, Nelson Algren, Hunter S Thompson, John Fante, Henry Miller, William S. Burroughs), Hemingway, Malcom Lowry. I have read my entire life.
My top five from the 20th century are Sandra Cisneros, Herbert Huncke, Hunter Thompson, William Burroughs and Nelson Algren.

Is there a musical artist whose song lyrics are in the same league as the authors you've read?
Zappa, Jethro Tull, Rodney Crowell, Tom Waits, Louden Wainwright, The Fugs, Ramones and a variety of heavy punk shit.

What punk bands do you listen to for inspirational lyrics? Are these mostly early punk bands or are some more recent?
The Punk Era! What a fucking perfect remedy for the disease plaguing the youth of the planet at that time. Finally an honest sincere sarcastic expression of teen angst with an in your face voice demanding their ideology be heard. The Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys, Butthole Surfers, Circle Jerks, Black Flag, The Ramones and my personal favorite: Fear. Lee Ving with a voice of genuine emotion commanding the listener to hear what is being said.
"Spent my whole life in the city,
Where junk is king and the air smells shitty
People dying everywhere
But the Suburban Scumbags they don't care.
They just get fat and dye their hair.
I love living in the city"
That's twentieth century Shakespeare, trust me.

What made you decide to start writing poetry and fiction? When it came to describing locations and characters, how long did it take to develop?
I believe a writer is born with the desire to become a word slinger. Writers are cursed with an insatiable hunger manifesting in their souls with need to be recognized. When I read poems and stories from my younger days. I was so filled with anger, attempting to manage a mental illness and losing to Bipolar Disorder from back when it was referred to as Manic Depressive. Writing became a catharsis calming my madness.

Who coined the term transgressive fiction? Does this term accurately describe your work?
I have no idea who coined the moniker. But I would consider fantasy, sci fi, punk noir and others as transgressive. I have no idea if my writing can be considered that either. I've been compared to authors that are identified as members of those genres. My writing is shit I experienced or imagined, I can't even tell the difference anymore. There's so many different sides to living it all begins to appear like a M.C. Escher drawing, distorting one's perception of what they believe is real. What happens is a natural occurrence of selection. Then there's moments I'm so caught up in my stories I believe they are real or actually occurred. It is a writer's syndrome many have experienced the same anomaly.
The existence of life's underbelly that most would rather ignore brought to light. My writing was described by Fleurimont Tilghman the editor of The Remnant Leaf: “Judge's writing is a sophisticated slap in the face. The imagery induces you to clear your throat and shift your weight from one side to the other. Judge doesn't waste his words in an attempt to make you comfortable, he delivers defined grit and structured devastation.” I write about events most don't want to accept or believe as actually existing. There’s an entire reality of what some describe as the underbelly of life. I've been places where God wouldn't go.

Which publications were among the first to print your work? Which of your writings were published and how much exposure did you get in the beginning?
Some of the earliest were Poetry Corner. Remnant Leaf, Spillwords, Heroin Chic and others. There are poems I wrote another lifetime ago. “Sibling’s Father”, “She Bleeds for Brooklyn” and “Desolation Angel” during my dark period. They are still getting exposure but I find them somewhat depressing and self-absorbed. I honestly don't give a fuck about exposure or how many people read or even like my bullshit. I have written about my expectations of writing in many short stories. “Naked Truth”, “Wake Me Up When I'm Famous” and more.

How did “Naked Truth” and “Wake Me Up When I'm Famous” convey your expectations when it comes to writing?
The only expectation I have is completing something I said I was going to do. If good things happen from my writing, great. I will not be disappointed if I am not famous. Both are stories of the best part of truth being lies.

Raven Cage E-Zine is a publication we’ve both submitted poems to. How did you discover this publication and what made you decide to submit poems to them?
Jerry Langdon the editor at Raven Cage had noticed some of my work and contacted me. I read some of Raven Cage and love the magazine and it's incredible. I was happy to submit and honored to have my work published.

Have you been submitting your work to Raven Cage E-Zine for a long time? Have you had your work published in other publications?
I just respect Raven Cage with genuine admiration. The magazine is always professionally laid out. The photos and illustrations are exciting and inspirational. Jerry Langdon communicates with prompt response and the date of launch has always been on time. And the kicker is he doesn't make a fucking dime from putting it together. It is truly an unselfish labor. His benevolence is a rare commodity. I don't submit quite as often as I did two years ago simply because it gives others a chance to be published. Thanks Jerry.

I should add you’re now submitting poems to Asphyxium Zine. Tell the readers how you discovered this zine and what made you want to send your work. Was there anything posted at the zine that stood out to you?
It's not that I'm arrogant now that I'm receiving a small amount of recognition for my writing. I never really gave a fuck I was well liked or not. I wrote for myself to please no one but myself. You start writing with the intention to get the attention of some group of social hipster assholes you're setting yourself up as a pawn. Five rules to writing:
1. Fuck what they think.
2. Write what you know.
3. Have a mirror so you can watch yourself starve to death.
4. Just because it happened to you doesn't make it interesting.
5. Never take a mine's word for it.
So to get back to the main theme. I can pick and choose zines I want to submit to rather than feeling there are those that I need to have my work presented in. I get a fucking large amount of rejections. You fucking know what the attraction is to Asphyxium. The name first off reminded me of a sexual experience I took part in the past which was really quite exhilarating. Your publication at first sight instantly creates confusion that attacks your senses with an understanding of confusion you've been missing in your life. The writing is visceral, real, raw and gritty. No bullshit or maybe all bullshit. It's an anything goes piece of literary trash defining the real existence of nothingness being something it thrives in the underbelly of pleasures misery. No bullshit I fucking dug it. But you rejected everything I submitted. [JSB told me this last was meant as a joke, and I have accepted his submissions for future posting. -DW]

To date, how many collections of your work have you published independently?
Someone who was helping me organize my stuff after I was becoming noticed my books had been released, said my work has been published in over 150 online zines, literary journals, podcasts, anthologies and blogs, and so on. Good to know but not important although I enjoy it when people like my writing. There are three books that have been published by two different small presses. Horror Sleaze Trash and Impspired Press, two short story collections of cautionary tales and one collection of poetry. I have a fourth book ready to go to press; I’m just looking for a publisher.

Talk about the three full length books you had published and how well they were received. What do you mean by “cautionary tales” you included in your short story collections? What were those short stories about?
My son inspired "Cautionary Tales". He sent me a Father's Day card with a picture of me settled at a bar I owned between to hookers their bare asses showing to the camera me facing the camera. His caption read. My father is not a role model he's a cautionary tale. Happy Father's Day Santiago. I loved it. Cautionary Tales they are.
Actually I didn't expect much of anything from their launch. Then I started getting what I consider a large amount of attention. The books were selling like crack on Saturday night. And people actually wrote reviews and accolades voicing how much they enjoyed my work. Got a great amount of naked photos from women and a few from men. I wasn't sure how to react sister and brother who I end communicated with 10-15 years even made contact with me expressing how much they enjoyed my writing. So "Wake Me Up When I'm Famous" and "Naked Truth" are pretty close to nonfiction.

Do you remember to this day the reviews that people wrote about your work?
Yes I do. The complimentary as well as the negative comments which have no basis because the context makes it obvious they didn't read any of my work. If you're going to give me a negative review a least buy the fucking book! I have more positive reviews on my books than I could have ever imagined. And from some well-respected authors and poets, I've been reviewed in a couple magazines too. I appreciate the consideration for taking the time to voice your opinion.

Which of your writings did you choose to include in your poetry collections? Were they mostly older works or newer?
My publisher really was the one who made the decision on content. I gave him sixty or so poems and some unfinished shit which he included in short stuff. Altogether he published thirty-five full length poems and forty or so short works. I'm happy with the result Steve Caste editor did a diligent job with selection and layout. But it was my title I believe that captured the attention of readers. "Not Real Poetry", a perfect choice. It came about years ago when my old man asked or TOLD me to read him some of my poems. While reading he looked down shaking his head. After two poems he stopped me saying I'll never make a living with the shit I write because it is not real poetry. That's all I needed to hear it gave me the motivation to show that son of a bitch. But I got to thank him for the title.

Do you have information for interested parties who want to order your published collections?
Not particularly thrilled to promote Amazon but they have been helpful to my publishers. Amazon, Goodreads, Indie Bound Books (available in over 1,000 independent bookstores), Walmart.

Judge Santiago Burdon
Stray Dogs and Deuces Wild Cautionary Tales
Not Real Poetry
Quicksand Highway

Due to be released in July 2022:
Fingers In The Fan
(Having issues with Publisher)

If anyone is interested in publishing my book. Please contact me.

Inform the readers anything you want to reveal about your fourth collection. Do you have other projects planned for after it’s released?
I'm told my stuff keeps getting better and better. Fingers In The Fan is a bit different than the others. This collection contains a couple stories involving my children. Also a couple dealing with my battle with Bipolar Disorder. I was diagnosed at eleven when it referred to Manic Depressive. But I couldn't leave the stories of adventurous mayhem out. And the majority are included. I have had quite a few inquiries for publishing but it is important to develop a tight relationship with your editor publisher. I was so fortunate to have Arthur Graham Editor Publisher of Horror Sleaze Trash publish with two of my books. He gets me ya know what I mean? Steve Cawte of Impspired Press published my book of poems Not Real Poetry. He did an amazing job putting it together and selecting content.
I have just finished my book "Imitation of Myself" a nonfiction piece telling about my life as a drug runner for a Mexican Cartel. It's more dark humor that I'm unable to stray away from.
Thanks for this opportunity Dynamo Dave
"It could be worse it could be raining."

-Dave Wolff