Friday, March 31, 2023

Full Length Review: The Howling Void "Into Darkness Ever More Profound" (Funere) by Dave Wolff

Band: The Howling Void
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Country: USA
Genre: Symphonic funeral doom metal
Format: Digital, CD, jewel case CD (limited to 300 copies)
Label: Funere (Armenia)
Release date: January 6, 2023
The Howling Void is a solo project hailing from San Antonio, Texas, with Ryan Wilson as its driving force. According to Encyclopedia Metallum, he's been in Crowhurst, Endless Disease, Excantation, Intestinal Disgorge, Ischemic Necrosis, Liquid Viscera, Pneuma Hagion, Profundum, and many more bands and projects. "Megaliths of the Abyss" was Wilson's debut release when he was doing The Howling Void in the late 2000s.
Once again being late to the party, I can only rate him as a musician based on his latest Howling Void album "Into Darkness Ever More Profound". Going by the years of experience he has had recording solo and with other musicians, I imagined what the album must sound like, and how deep he dives into the darkness of his own mind and soul. My mind wondered if this album was a next step towards music oblivion and how profound said step could be.
This project is said to harbor a morbid fascination with human mortality and what lies beyond the grave, if indeed anything does. In the past, Wilson experimented with folk themes and clean vocals to accompany his approach to funeral doom metal, but now he's said to be returning to the orchestral guitar harmonies and synthesizers he created on his earlier albums. Bearing this in mind, you might want to reconsider before judging this as another creation of a warped, self-hating mind if you’re expecting to hear something negative, dismal and depressive.
Granted, song titles like “Impenetrable Gloom” and “Deeper, Darker Waters” may give an early impression that you’re in for this, but instead of something triggering despondent, inconsolably grief-stricken thoughts, you get four stunningly resplendent tracks depicting the beauty of said mysteries, with gorgeous songwriting and musicianship. Like My Dying Bride and Enchantment crossed with Paradise Lost and Pink Floyd with lots of soothing atmosphere and a minimal amount of low-pitched, insightful verses, these songs depict endless meditations about what happens when the physical ceases to exist, presented in a serene light, suggesting that mortality is a natural part of life.
“Into Darkness Ever More Profound” will keep you captivated, and will inspire you to check out The Howling Void's other albums. –Dave Wolff

Ryan Wilson: Vocals, all instruments

Track list:
1. Into Darkness Ever More Profound
2. Impenetrable Gloom
3. Deeper, Darker Waters
4. The End of Endings

Full Length Review: The Meatmen "Rock and Roll Juggernaut" (Caroline) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: The Meatmen
Location: Lansing, Michigan
Country: USA
Genre: Punk, hardcore
Full length: Rock and Roll Juggernaut
Format: CD, digital
Label: Caroline
Release date: 1986 (reissued 2009)
Feeling a bit nostalgic I hit up YouTube to listen to some Tesco. Tesco Vee and the Meatmen were a legendary act I first heard of years ago when I was listening to a lot of G.G. Allin. The Meatmen came up in one of my online searches well over a decade ago—and here I am in 2023 still listening to them!
The Meatmen did a lot of standard punk stuff but my favorite album by them is by far “Rock and Roll Juggernaut” and it features a sound that can only be described as scum punk/scum rock! G.G. Allin was the original scum punk but Tesco is just as entertaining—and I can go out on a limb and say that he is probably actually a bit more talented than G.G. in the long run!
Featuring tracks like “Rock and Roll Juggernaut”, “True Grit” and “Twisted Road” Tesco and the Meatmen push forward with a full-length blast of awesome riffs and revelry—and I can state that each track is quite epic in its own right! The musicianship on this is tight and the production quality is perfect. Although I have never physically owned an album by The Meatmen I would absolutely love to hear some of their music on vinyl or cassette!
In conclusion—The Meatmen might not be for everyone—but for anyone looking for some high energy upbeat punk rock and rolling I’d suggest giving Tesco and his band of scallywags a go! And if you can’t dig what Tesco has to offer—you’re probably just a weenbag! -Devin J. Meaney

Tesco Vee: Vocals
Stuart Casson: Guitar
James Cooper: Guitar
Graham McCulloch: Bass
Eric Zelsdor: Drums

Track list:
1. Rock 'N' Roll Juggernaut
2. True Grit
3. Centurions Of Rome
4. French People Suck
5. Turbo Rock
6. Come On Over To Mah Crib
7. Nature Boy
8. Dichstrudel
9. The Sweetest Kittens (Have The Sharpest Claws)
10. Rock 'N' Roll Juggernaut - The True Story
11. The American In Me
12. Twisted Road
13. Pillar Of Sodom [live]
14. I've Got A Problem [live]
15. French People Suck [live]
16. Go Chemical

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Demo Review: Turbo "Demo 2023" (Turbo Records) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Turbo
Location: London
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Crust punk, hardcore
Demo: Demo 2023
Format: Cassette, digital
Label: Turbo Records
Release date: March 24, 2023
Early in the morning I made my way to YouTube in search of black metal. I typed “black metal 2023” into the search bar—and after a brief search I came to “Demo 2023” by Turbo! Strangely enough this isn’t black metal—but as it was uploaded by the Felopunk account I am assuming this just showed up because I have listened to a few uploads by this account recently.
This is actually hardcore punk! The grimy crusty kind that I know and love! First and foremost I need to throw it out there that even though this isn’t grind I am highly reminded of a “much punkier” Napalm Death! Napalm Death does have some roots based in punk so even though this comparison is a bit of a stretch it’s not exactly insanely far from the mark either.
Featuring 6 pummeling tracks in just over 8 minutes this is a short release—and even though I was initially searching for black metal I am glad I found this. It might be a bit standard but it by no means is terrible. In fact, it is highly enjoyable and I listened to it twice while writing this!
This was released March 24th of 2023! I don’t know if there is any more available from these guys but I will absolutely check anything out as it comes my way—and I can make a stab that you should as well! -Devin J. Meaney

Track list:
1. Gone Tomorrow
2. Pressure Gauge
3. L.T.D.
4. Turbo Manifesto
5. Cost of Living Crisis
6. The Capper

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Book Review: Carnosaur re-release (Valancourt Books, 2022) by Devin J. Meaney

Written by Harry Adam Knight and Will Errickson
Format: Paperback, mass market paperback, Kindle
Language: English
Length: 206 pages
Published by Valancourt Books
Original publication: 1984
Re-release date: September 6, 2022
Months (leaning into a year?) back I purchased the re-release of the 80’s B- grade fiction book Carnosaur. I intended to do a review of this book sooner but other things got in the way. It is currently 11:11 at night as I am typing this and as I have reviewed all the music in my personal library I figured it was time to give this “classic” some proper words. Here we go…
Carnosaur was written by Harry Adam Knight. He has written a few other books—the only other one I remember being the similar B- grade style novella “The Fungus”. Carnosaur was first written in 1984 and was put out to the public six years before the release of Jurassic Park! The back of the book insinuates that both of these releases share some plot elements but personally I think they are vastly different. It is also worth mentioning that I for a long time didn’t know this was a book—but when I found out I had to purchase it due to the fact that I am a huge fan of the Carnosaur movie series from the 90’s. After reading the book I can state that the book and the movie are barely recognizable as being related—and Roger Corman’s interpretation was more of a re-write than an adaptation. Still—as a fan of the movie series I have no problem saying that the book was enjoyable to say the very least. The B- grade is evident, but as a lover of cheese this was by no means a problem for me.
Taking place in the English town of Warchester a farmer is found killed in what is believed to be an animal attack. It is at first believed to be the work of a Siberian tiger but after a witness describes something that is seemingly impossible everything takes a turn for the worst. Carnosaur involves the escapades of a local reporter Darren Pascal (the first movie’s main character is a night watchman known as “Doc”) and a rich zoo owner named Sir Darren Penward (in the movie the antagonist is a geneticist named Jane Tiptree) and a slew of other characters. If you want to know more I’d suggest giving the book a read for yourself!
In conclusion this book was a win for me. It had a few typos, run on sentences and a few moments of “ok get on with it” but otherwise I’m probably going to read this again once I’ve forgotten my first read through. Again, this is a book for lovers of cheese like myself so if you can dig scientifically reproduced dinosaurs ravaging a small town I’d say go for it! I have yet to read more from Harry Adam Knight but I do plan to pick up more of his work in the future. Sadly he died early due to alcoholism and a few other ailments so he won’t be putting out anything new—but I will be happy to dig into what is already out there and I’d suggest you do the same! -Devin J. Meaney

Full Length Review: Lamp of Murmurr "Saturnian Bloodstorm" (Argento Records, Not Kvlt) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Lamp of Murmurr
Location: Los Angeles, California
Country: USA
Genre: Black metal
Format: Digital album
Label: Argento Records (Europe), Not Kvlt (USA)
Release date: March 26, 2023
Recently my friend Lorne sent me a YouTube link for the album “Saturnian Bloodstorm” by Lamp of Murmurr. As Lorne is a well known lover of black metal I figured that this one must be good—and just as I assumed the tracks held within this release are nothing short of pure mastery!
This album was newly released in 2023 and features cold production with a professional tone. The guitar work is as tight as Varg and Euronymous were not, the percussion is steadfast and pummeling and the vocals push forward with all the rasp that is expected from black metal legends from past to present. There are only six tracks on this release but they clock in at a full 40 minutes—so prepare yourself for an elegant blast of underground revelry!
Saturnian Bloodstorm is posted on YouTube for free but you can check out more on Instagram, Bandcamp and Metal Archives! It is also available from Argento Records, Wolves of Hades and Night of the Palemoon! I will also mention this was uploaded to YouTube by the gauntlet that is known as “Black Metal Promotion”. So many good bands are uploaded to this account so I would suggest that all fans of black metal give this a go. I have yet to hear something from here that I absolutely hated and the vast majority of releases are of a really high quality! Without further rambling I will just say this album was a supreme win—and the cover is damn cool too! -Devin J. Meaney

M.: All instruments, additional programming, mixing and mastering.

Track list:
1. Conqueror Beyond the Frenzied Fog
2. Hymns of Death, Rays of Might
3. Seal of the Dominator
4. Descending From the Aurora
5. In Communion With the Wintermoon
6. Saturnian Bloodstorm

EP Review: Nonsanto "Human Condition" (Independent) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Nonsanto
Location: Wroclaw
Country: Poland
Genre: Grindcore
Format: CD, digital
Label: Independent
Release date: March 3, 2023
“Human Condition” by Nonsanto! First and foremost I need to throw it out there that the band name really amuses me. Secondly, as a short 10 minute EP I didn’t know what to expect—but this is actually really tight and the production is the perfect cross of raw and solid. By that I mean it still has all the feel of an underground grindcore EP—but everything about this screams effort!
Although this is grindcore there are a lot of slower chugs and grooves mixed in with the ping snares and the blasts—so overall there is a good mix of varied audio. The vocals are aggressive (I guess that goes without saying) and the guitars and the drums blend together to create something that is pretty great!
This band hails from Poland and the EP was a self release. As stated in the YouTube stream uploaded by the Gore Grinder account the CD/LP and MC are coming out soon on NIC Records, Retkinia Records, DIY Kolo Records, Nieroby Records, 783 Punx, 9 Lies Records, Psychocontrol Records, Raw Zine Records, Eskaramuza DIY Distro and Larmo Records!
So what is holding you back? Get your grind on! -Devin J. Meaney

Bolo: vocals
Mietla: guitar
Wrona: bass
Micha: drums

Track list:
1. Intro
2. Niemy krzyk // Silent scream
3. Społeczna zaraza // Social plague
4. Król szczur // The rat king
5. Oszukany // Deceived
6. Absolut // Absolute
7. Globalna wojna domowa // Global civil war

Monday, March 27, 2023

Interview with Marco Espada of Athenesi by Dave Wolff

Interview with Marco Espada (vocalist, guitarist) of Athenesi by Dave Wolff

Tell us about the promotional video you released for "Inhale Insanity" a few months ago. What was the choice of location for the set and how was the sound produced and mixed? Does the song come from an official release?
The music video was filmed at Costa Serina. A small place in Bergamo (Italy) between the mountains. We decided to make the music video there because we liked the setting and wanted to show the environment outside our city. We also liked the idea of being in nature and seeing what could happen because we filmed it during the winter season.
The song was recorded at Midnight Studios, Twilight Studios, and in the home studio of singer Marco. The mix was at Twilight Studios located in Milan. The owner is a friend of our producer Jean. We had technical help from Richard Meinz (Lacuna Coil) while recording the drums. The recordings were delayed some weeks because we were in quarantine and it was difficult to meet in the studio because we live in different cities.
“Inhale Insanity” is a song taken from the debut album “At the Beginning” and it’s our third music video that we made with the Italian video director Nicola Belotti.

Can you tell the readers how you were able to obtain technical assistance with the drum tracks from Richard Meinz of Lacuna Coil?
Richard Meinz was the drum teacher of our drummer and he became a friend of us, so he decided to give us his technical assistance.

Is your promotional video for "Objection" concerned with the same issues as "Inhale Insanity," such as corporate greed, big business, pollution, and its effects? Was it also held at the same location? Would you be able to describe your video for "Beyond the Cell" in a few words?
“Inhale Insanity” actually addresses personal issues. Often we do not feel part of society, so we blame others for what happens even if we contribute every day to improve or worsen it. “Objection” was filmed in an old abandoned factory in the mountains, that place was now destroyed inside covered with plants, etc. Since the song talks about climate change, it seemed the right place to make a video in Brescia, a city close to ours. We filmed the video for “Beyond My Cell” in a recording studio in Milan. We wanted something simple because often the budget is limited.

In your search for a director, how many directors did you consider before choosing Nicola Belotti? How would you describe your videos to someone who has not yet seen them?
We talked with two or maybe three video makers, but with Nicola, it was much easier to communicate because he understood our ideas. In our videos, we always want to show the same adrenaline we feel when we play our songs. It cannot seem, but behind it there is a lot of work because it is not easy to move to where we went. In any case, you can know something about our country.

Previous to his work with Athenesi, what other bands did Nicola Belotti work with?
He works often for some special events. Weddings, extreme sports or luxury brands. But he is a very good video director.

Do your videos depict the contrast between modern technology and nature as the band envisioned it?
We got what we wanted. We had our ideas and we proposed them to Nicola. He did everything. We wanted to show how technology gives us much more comfort but at the same time is ruining our planet.

How does mixing at Twilight Studios in Milan help you achieve the sound you desire after recording at different locations?
We recorded the whole album first. Then we started making music videos so we didn’t risk having different sounds.

In your songs, you combine an edgy old-school thrash sound with grooves and metalcore elements. At the time of the band's formation, how important was it for Athenesi to maintain their connection to thrash metal while modernizing their sound?
In the band, the members listen to different musical genres such as thrash, black, death, rock, etc. but we started playing genres such as metal and thrash metal; for example Sepultura, Metallica, and Slayer; when we were younger. I think that influenced the desire to play fast.

How much of your album "At the Beginning" was recorded in your own studio? Are the equipment and facilities there of the same professional quality as those at Midnight Studio and Twilight Studio? Did you find it easier to achieve the sound you desired with analog or digital equipment?
All the guitar recordings were made at my personal studio. Our producer Jean has purchased the equipment necessary for me to work during the quarantine. Obviously, recording in the studio is better, but we are satisfied with the results of the recordings. Our album is a mix between analog and digital. Now almost everyone does so. At that time we had not much of an alternative, otherwise, the album would have continued to delay.

Who is responsible for writing the lyrics to your songs? When writing the lyrics, was the lyricist heavily influenced by news stories and/or other sources?
All the lyrics were written by me, some are very personal while others are more connected to historical events or news that often happen every day of life; wars, science, religion, drugs/alcohol addictions, etc.

What historical events or current events have influenced your songwriting? What has been the impact of your personal experiences on your writing?
One of the historical events that have influenced was the colonial period in Mesoamerica. Current events such as the wars in the Middle East or situations in which people immigrate to Europe to escape from their social situations. My personal expressions influenced the lyrics. For example, moments when I didn’t feel satisfied with certain situations that happened or happen in my life.

In addition to your personal experiences that contributed to the inspiration for your lyrics, what is the role that science and religion play in them?
I’m very curious about science when new scientific discoveries are made or new technologies are developed. And I think the same thing about religions, I think many things are interesting, but I also think that both should help to live better but at the same time cause problems in different parts of the world.
Like environmental problems, if we talk about science or new technologies, wars, and discrimination when we talk about religion.

Has the band aggressively promoted your videos on social media, and how much publicity has this generated for "At the Beginning"?
We promoted all three videos, but not aggressively. For that it takes a high budget and being an emerging band we prefer to do it consistently and not just once aggressively. We had a satisfying result online. “At The Beginning” is our first album so we have to give it time to grow.

Would you like to make more promotional videos to promote the album, and will you be working with the same people as before?
We haven’t more promotional videos. Maybe we’ll work with new people. We like to meet new professionals and we want something new for the next album.

What formats is "At the Beginning" available in, and where can interested parties purchase them online and/or order physical copies?
At the moment our album is available on Bandcamp. We haven’t yet physical copies but of course, we’ll sell them soon.

Can you tell me which zines, webzines, and podcasts the band has been featured in to promote your album?
We collaborated with some webzines and podcasts: Breathing the Core, All Alternative, Power of metal, Rock On, BreakdownUnder, and more.

In the course of the Covid pandemic, how often has the band had the opportunity to perform in front of an audience? At this point, do you prefer to perform at local metal festivals or local clubs?
We started the shows after the Covid pandemic. It’s not easy at all to find concerts at the moment but of course, we would like to play at some metal festivals.

Do you have any specific metal festivals in mind where you would like to perform? In your opinion, how effective would it be in terms of gaining exposure for the band?
We would like to play Wacken. It’s the biggest festival, and of course, we would love to meet the biggest bands there. We think that could be a great opportunity for us because there are a lot of people.

The singles and the full-length were independently released. Are you looking for potential label support for your next full-length album? Would you like your deal to be structured in a particular manner?
We produced our album together with Jean. We refused one label after we spoke via email because the contract didn’t seem good for us. Obviously, for the next album, we will try to release it with a label. Hoping to be convinced of what they will propose.

Do you have any labels in your country of origin or outside your country of origin that you are considering signing with? In your opinion, will a domestic or foreign label help to spread the word about the band?
We have some contacts. We sent emails to some labels from the US and Europe. Of course, nobody knew us, so next time maybe we’ll be lucky because we’ll have a fan base. It’s not hard to share our music to the world because we have the internet but it’s better if a music label does that for us. They are professionals.

Where can people interested in helping support the band contact you?
It’s possible to find us on Bandcamp and buy the album. That will help us, and of course, sharing our music on social media.

-Dave Wolff

Demo Review: Fulminate "Self titled" (Independent) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Fulminate
Country: USA
Genre: Goregrind
Demo: Self titled
Format: Digital
Label: Independent
Release date: December 22, 2022
Searching through the moist underbelly of YouTube I happened to come upon the self-titled EP by Fulminate! This is something I found uploaded at the Gore Grinder account and as usual this is a short blast of gurgling goregrind full to the brim with downtuned chugs, blasting ping snares and pitch shifted toilet bowl vocals galore!
This is a debut EP (it is more like a demo I will add) and it comes from the underground of the United States of the USA. As I just said this one is very short—actually it is under 5 minutes long— so I will not go into too much detail about this release. But fans of goregrind in the vein of Dead Infection and bands similar might enjoy this one!
This was released in digital format and is available from the band’s Bandcamp page. So what are you waiting for? This toilet bowl sewer fest awaits you! -Devin J. Meaney

Track list:
1. Intro
2. Agony Resonates Pleasantly
3. Displayed On The Embalming Table
4. Spilling Lively Juices
5. Untamed Ignorance & My Other Playthings
6. Decayed

Interview with the Adam Perez Rodriguez band by Gene Olivarri

Interview with the Adam Perez Rodriguez band by Gene Olivarri

Let's start off with who's who in this amazing Texas Latin rock blues band.
Adam Perez Rodriguez: vocals, and lead guitar, Roland Salazar: bass, Enrique Chavez: Drums.

Let's talk about the first full-length album you'll be releasing later this year.
The first full-length is a combination of different music I'm into and grew up with to bring good music and lyrics. That has tons of emotion and feeling with great content.

What preparations were taken for your band to get ready for recording this album?
Basically rehearsal, accomplishing the sound we would have live and bringing it into the studio with as much energy as possible. We are a very instrumental band.

What are some of your favorite venues around the State of Texas you enjoy playing live at?
We enjoy the San Antonio, Texas BBQ cook-off plus a venue called Neighbors in Bastrop, Texas.

What are the band's influences and what unique ingredients does each member bring to the band?
As far as influence: Santana and Eric Clapton, salsa and reggae. Everyone in the band has experience with all kinds of different types of music in this band.

How many songs will be on your first full-length album?
At least 10 songs.

What streaming platforms will you be able to find your album for purchase?
For sure right now Spotify and, TuneCore iHeartRadio, iTunes plus Jango Internet Radio.

What are the brands and products your members love to use instrument-wise?
Currently Fender guitars and Fender basses; we also have Fender amps plus Vox tube amps. For drums Tama Drums and Zildjian cymbals.

How does the band work together on promoting and pushing your brand of music throughout Texas and most importantly America and across seas?
We try to promote through the internet, through Facebook and international group chats internet radio, and the sharing of our live videos on different social platforms. I did a cover video of Jimi Hendrix's version of "Born Under a Bad Sign" that's been viewed massively.

What are some of the difficulties being out on the road for this band?
There is so much competition out there. The difficulties are getting more gigs and getting more gigs outside of Texas to get our music out to new areas and people. Due to post-COVID it hasn't been good for live music in general lots of venues are hurting right now and it's been hard to recover from all this.

What is the band's approach in writing a song how do you all sit down and agree with one another on parts of songs plus the timing and tempos that are used for writing different songs?
I, Adam Perez Rodriguez, am the songwriter and lyric writer of all of our songs. I record a demo of them and give demos to the band members. In rehearsal sessions, we work around the songs together like a jam session to work everything out between each other.

When your first full-length comes out later this year do you plan to tour on this release for a whole year?
Yes we will hit it hard for this album we want it to be extremely accepted with open arms by everyone who just loves good music.

You can find this amazing Texas band here:

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Article: Sahjaza's View of Eldership in the Community

Sahjaza's View of Eldership in the Community

Those who created the Community are responsible for creating future Elders who are steadfast, intelligent and compassionate enough to bring forth the vision of the first pioneers. Elders have achieved a certain level of recognition. They’re authentic and have put in their time and service to their House and Community. Elders understand what the Community is, where it came from and how it got this way. Elders are respectful people who follow the Code of Conduct and Black Veil. Elders have good day and nightside balance. Temple House Sahjaza’s Elders earn the title and are allowed to use the title within the House and Community at large. They also receive printed official certificates presented in ritual when possible. Other House members use the Elder’s title when addressing the individual. There are differences between a House Elder and Community Elder. Logically, you have to be one before the other. A Ronin cannot be a Community Elder. Temple House Sahjaza holds Elders to a higher standard of everything including but not limited to conduct, leadership and living by example on all levels. It’s vital that Elders behave with personal responsibility, fulfilling their responsibilities and obligations to their house, community and beyond.

~ Excerpt from the Sahjaza Book of Secrets – Approved by the Council of Temple House Sahjaza and Matriarch Goddess Rosemary

Article: "Old Rock" by Devin J. Meaney

Old Rock
Article by Devin J. Meaney
Recently I have been getting into a lot of old rock. Anyone that follows me in the zines I am associated with knows that my tastes lean a bit on the “extreme” side—but as of late my musical interests have mellowed a bit and I have been listening to Steppenwolf, AC/DC, Eddie Money, The Doors, Aerosmith, Sabbath, Alice Cooper and a ton of other bands and artists from times long passed. I was originally thinking about doing reviews for the albums I purchased recently but as I don’t know much about this kind of music I figured I would just make a single writing—this one.
Aside from listening to bands like Metallica and Megadeth when I first started listening to metal, I have always veered towards black metal, goregrind, street punk, hardcore, etc. If you asked me to listen to a band like Steppenwolf when I was a teenager I’d probably roll my eyes and tell you to throw on some Dying Fetus or something. But it appears that as I have gotten a bit older the seemingly ancient music of the 70s and 80s really seems to strike a chord with me.
I will also mention that most of the physical albums I purchased involving these older acts I got from the library or local thrift stores for like a buck apiece. So not only do I highly suggest searching the annals of rock history I’ll also throw it out there that you should look into getting some music from places like The Salvation Army and shops similar. You never know what you will find! There will probably be lots of stuff you have no interest in but there always seems to be at least one “diamond in the rough” and for the sake of a few quarters or so a new album (or new to you) in your hands is something that will usually brighten the day of music fans/collectors.
Again—this is all new to me and I don’t know enough to give a proper review. But man, some of this stuff is really damn good! Give it a try! -Devin J. Meaney

Monday, March 20, 2023

Poem: "Demeter Clarifies" by Alison Stone

Demeter Clarifies
Alison Stone

My fault, her face closing like a zipper?
Curt wave as she heads out with the giggling
pack, all come-hither hair and bare shoulders,
posing for selfies, smelling like spring.
She doesn’t know to fear the boys who “like” her
posts, experts at how to flirt and flatter.
Soon they’ll be sending dick pics, asking for
secrets, showing up at our door.

History writes me wrong – a helicopter mother,
scared some hellish punk will sway her child.
The magic that I work’s to keep her author
of her own mythology, a wild woman
who can choose, refuse, aspire.
Not some hell-bound object of desire.

Poem: "Apple Tree Ballad" by Jeremy Void

Apple Tree Ballad
Jeremy Void

If you want an apple
pick it from the tree/

If you want an apple
pick it from the tree\\\

Only I got there
much too late
and all that was left
were rotten apples
left to waste|||

I stare out the window
at the night sky
broken slant rhyme
tear through my mind

I stare out the window
but nothing ever
seems to make sense to me
a broken set of orders
defenseless at the borders
consuming their odors

I’m hungry but the
apple tree is blank

I thank God for
all the blessing He
never gave me

I thank Earth for
all the corruption
and the faith
and the terror
and the waste
and the berries
I never ate

I thank the Sky for
giving me a sight like
a thousand murders
all at once
tingling my being

and I remember
I want it
I gotta take it
and if I need it
I better make it
but if
I break myself

I will fall
a hundred miles
through blank air
through a world
that doesn’t care

I try to bite my nails
but I can only eat my
own skin
the pecking order of sin
has left me nothing but
shattered molecules
to feast upon
when I get old

in this
backwards world

Aren’t you curious
about the disturbing news
of a race
in danger of becoming
no more
Aren’t you worried
you might be next?
A bit out of place
you’ve gotta sound the alarm

Sound It Before It Breaks——
If you want an apple
pick it from the tree/

If you want an apple
pick it from the tree\\\

I don’t want anything
a way out of this
only my attempts
are wasted///

Like so many of our young
decaying from the branch
an avalanche of berries
Where Are They Now >>>

Poem: "Newly Awakened Era" by Sky Claudette Soto

Newly Awakened Era
Sky Claudette Soto

And as divine as we are in this newly awakened Era of consciousness we duly move forward onward and forth and flourishing Astrologically and metaphysically...metaphorically speaking. In the most peaceful of manners rich of heart, with benevolent blessings of all kinds...and a vast creative nature of a resilient outlook on life's journey's and experiences...
home sweet home where candy canes sweeten our palates and the utmost pleasures of life tantalizes our tasteful minds and so and so we light our candles for a night of divination pleasing our soulful auras and brightening our inner and our outer light like shining stars raining unto the earth's core.

First American Publishing rights only, Copyright and written by Sky Claudette Soto.

Poem: "One Late July Evening" by Ted Axe

One Late July Evening
Ted Axe (c.)

The sun had just gone down
I went out to find what I could see
Under a canopy of green
I heard the cicadas scream
And saw the sky bleed

Poem: "Informative Information" by James Kenneth Blaylock

Informative Information
James Kenneth Blaylock, 3-14-23

separation, it seems to me,
they honed out desperation…

tricked by master magicians
that motivated old emotions

losing touch with our realities
one colorful illusion a second

those loud bells and rickety rack
were designed for disillusionment

we lost ourselves due to lack of
informative information and love

Poem: "Good For Nothing" by Judge Santiago Burdon

Good For Nothing
Judge Santiago Burdon

I've taken enough shit from you today, attacking me with the persistence of a Monday morning hangover, you're fortunate I'm heavily medicated, and not paying attention to almost anything you say, otherwise I might take offense, to your condescending soliloquy of humiliating comments, concerning my character, it always seems to be complaints, about something I didn't do, rather than what I might have done, you say I'm good for nothing, even good for nothing, is good for something, the only thing you accomplish by these rants of screaming falsehoods, is proving your self-righteous and conceited demeanor, you haven't told me anything I haven't heard before, if this is an attempt to hurt my feelings, you're heading up a dead end street, they became numb in my childhood, I used to hold the flashlight for my father, you're just an echo, of all the women that didn't last, my interest in your summation, is hiding in the lost and found, there's a swallow of patience left in the bottle, a cold shoulder of icy give a shit in the syringe, all I can think of saying, is shut the fuck up, but I was hoping to come up with something, a bit more profound.

Poem: "Kahlil" by M Teresa Clayton

M Teresa Clayton

Kahlil, the sky is blue and the bells are ringing.
Gather the people and lead them to the Way.
Let their voices fill the sky with their singing.
And invite all the children to dance and play!

The day has come for a peaceful celebration.
Tell them – lift up your hearts, set your love free.
And soar on the wings of their jubilation.
The air is sweet with peace and tranquility!

Kahlil, the prophet has finally sounded his horn.
The heralds of war have ceased their drumming.
Do not cry out, nor cover your heads and mourn.
He is on the Way to his great homecoming!

Poem: "No One, Nothing" by Kay Irvin

No One, Nothing
Kay Irvin

Your sharp judgement can wield like a knife
Now, it doesn't apply to my life
I'm no one, nothing

Your blame has selective memory
Your love draped a black veil over me
No one, nothing

You made a choice, decided I'm not here
Banished, dead from your world, it's done
I'm nothing, no one
And no,... I won't let you have it both ways
Beckon me back for more hurt, stabbing
I'm no one, nothing

Your mood can feel like a block of ice
I would care but I'm all out of nice
No one, nothing

Your blame has selective memory
Your love draped a black veil over me
No one, nothing

Don't you see?
(no one, nothing)
(no one, nothing)

Poem: "Repetition Begs The Question That Silence Solidifies" by Alan Lisanti

Repetition Begs The Question That Silence Solidifies
Alan Lisanti

why do I speak
to the wall
absorbing words
and echoes
observe the response
patterns of indulgence
internal orbit of the mind
in your lonely solar system

is projected unto all
the threatening things
that remind you of it's
fragility, I don't want to be
the mirror anymore
blinded by your misdirection
like the sun was born
in the pupils of my tired eyes

it doesn't blind you
in your obliviousness
there was no truth to find

you've shown me myself
in your refusal to accept it
and exposed your mask
and it's cumbersome lie

now I can see
why the footprints
only point north
and eventually they dissipate
dissipate and die

so why are my lungs
expelling the screams into space
in the atmosphere where
no one will hear them
while you just sit back
enjoying the ride

can you not tell
in the words
you have spoken
you are the illusion
you can not survive

Poem: "Life" by Robert McDermott

Robert McDermott

Is a smokescreen
What we see is shaped
By our individual perspectives
Own impressions

One's reality is another's illusion
Are wired differently
A lie can be the truth
A truth can be a lie

We pass through portals of various sizes as we live
The windows of our minds have their own view
Open your eyes
What do you see?

Poem: "The Traveler" by Renascentia Bella Morte

The Traveler
Renascentia Bella Morte

Death comes as swift as a black bird taking flight.
Stealing the sun away from any given daylight.
Sometimes putting us into another dark night.
Time stands still for us, the living, & in this silent pause.
We tend to overthink think of how certain things went wrong.
Some of us can even sense when your spirits are near.
In the beginning it can cause us so many more tears.
Within some time.
You will appreciate the signs.
I appreciate the messages through song & nature that you send.
This helped me realize that nothing ever truly comes to a end.
Like the ever changing seasons like
winter spring summer & fall.
We now have firm roots n guidance behind us, So we may stand so ever tall.

Poem: "V" by Nataska Nikolic

Nataska Nikolic

When I hear a hoarse voice
A wind blows and a shiver
Runs through, deep, soft tissue

Your look of coal is reeling in
The sighs of this world
Set right, by the light

And I raise my hand
A swing of the glass
My inspirations spills
Onto your needless skin

This time is coming to an end
My pen has stopped writing
Its ink no longer flowing

Although my ears still hear the word
Skin reacts to the sound
Of your silky voice that smears all over

I’ll paint your world with colours
Step into my light
I’ll paint your world with colours
with my wavy, red hair

Poem: "MY Evolution Revolution!" by Rich Orth

MY Evolution Revolution!
©Rich Orth, 2/19/2023

I am one, who looks
to live more than a lifetime
immortality from here to eternity
Knowing very well, what this entails
An undefined immeasurable measure
How can you win?
for if you die, you've failed
But one cannot raise the bar
without adding a far-reaching goal
At any age I assume you have a plan
Is it one more minute, day, month, year?
Or should it be... live every second you can
It's unlikely you get more than one chance
Yet, we have a way about us
Ways and means to poison success
When do we implore to ourselves
enough is enough
or is enough never enough
as for me... I strive to be alive
to adapt evolution revolution
never to plateau...
to forever scale to newer heights
to outlast this outlandishly outdated
configuration of days and dates...
time immemorial would be no more
this means not to just exist forever
nay, to LIVE is my endeavor
I strive to be alive
to adapt within this
...MY Evolution Revolution

Poem: "ไฟ (Fị) [Fire]" by Tanner Reiss

ไฟ (Fị) [Fire]
Tanner Reiss, December 26th, 2022

ไฟ in Thai means fire
Vibrant and angelic
Driven and eclectic
Gauged by a simple metric
For whom I write this lyric:
Heart and soul burn with ไฟ
Brighter than the Thai sun
Determination just like Tyson
Like glow of Finnish winter snow
Eyes soft as glass shine
Beauty surpassing Glasgow Skyline
A dream it is to call your ไฟ mine.
History through time aged fine wine
Divided by expanse of Ocean shore
Waves below, your palace to explore.
Queen of water - such is Ariel
Her hair, your heart on ไฟ
We both slog through grime
And together grind in slime
But for you, I shall climb every rhyme
Guided by flame burning ไฟ
A lone wolf will learn to fly.
Guided by flame burning ไฟ
A lone wolf will learn to fly
Soaring ever so, so ever high
Thy doth not touch ground
If ground thy touch doth not be sky
Soon it is to make proclaims like this
By my ไฟ, I know not how nor why
But true my proclaim surely is
Sure as this, the penultimate line
Let not ไฟ die, thanks for being mine.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Single Review: Drunemeton "The Loss and Curse of Reverence (Emperor cover)" (Independent) by Brynn Kali StarDew

Band: Drunemeton
Location: Pancevo
Country: Serbia
Genre: Dark heathen metal
Format: Digital
Label: Independent
Release date: November 29, 2022
I think this was a pretty good cover, it seems very black metal and reminds me of bands like Beltane and other old school black metal bands like 0V0. I can't understand the lyrics but it’s ok, because the musicianship was good and I liked the album art as well. All in all I highly recommend it to any Black Metal fan! -Brynn Kali StarDew

Morning Star: Vocals
Grannus: Guitars, bass, keyboards
Unholy Father: Drums

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Full Length Review: Cruel Fate "A Quaternary of Decrepit Night Mares" (PRC Music) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Cruel Fate
Location: Quebec
Country: Canada
Genre: Death metal
Format: CD, digital
Label: PRC Music
Distributor: CDN Records
Release date: December 29, 2019
This is yet again a release I copped through CDN Records that was originally released by Dawning Septic. As I stated in an earlier review some of the releases I got through Dawning Septic were “good” but less than spectacular so I was worried this one would be a bust. But just like the release I got by Bloodphemy this is pretty damn solid!
It is your standard blast of death metal with heavy guitars and drums and vocals and all that jazz but what is most notable is the atmosphere. This release has some severe eerie/creepy vibes and I’d suggest it for a listen if you happen to be in a “darker” mood. Something that is cool about this tape is that all the tracks are on the same side so once you complete the album you can flip it and listen to it again.
The cassette is your standard black but it has a really cool fancy engraved logo on it. This might not mean anything to some but I am always just as intrigued by the packaging/look of my tapes as I am with the music. A cool tape doesn’t mean the music is going to be awesome...but if the music IS good a decent tape helps add to the vibe.
Again, this is one for a darker mood. Maybe listen to it during a rainstorm with lots of thunder? Or a blizzard maybe? However you decided to indulge in this one—I approve. -Devin J. Meaney

Yolin Lafrenière: Vocals
Claude Lecompte: Guitars
Carlos Macias: Guitars
Jean Lefebvre: Bass
Simon Bouchard: Drums

Track list:
1. A Quaternary Of Decrepit Night Mares
2. Decanting Death Under Leaden Skies
3. Ossuaric Dust And Pallid Stains
4. Humanity's Cruelty, Humanity's Fear
5. Carrion Wind
6. Fleshrazer
7. Skinning Of Life
8. Bathing In The Ecstasy Of The Successful Application Of Relief Constructivism In The Art of Human Suffering

Friday, March 10, 2023

Full Length Review: Bleeding Spawn "Pathogenic Mechanized Abomination" (Independent) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Bleeding Spawn
Country: South Africa
Genre: Brutal death metal
Format: CD, digital
Label: Independent
Distributor: CDN Records
Release date: January 29, 2016
Another tape I snagged from CDN Records was “Pathogenic Mechanized Abomination” by Bleeding Spawn! This tape was released directly through CDN and features 9 tracks of vicious death metal. The exact style is hard to pin-point as it features bits and pieces from both modern and classically fuelled death.
With track titles like “Epileptic Stabwound” and “Fetal Feces Splatter” you know exactly what you are in for when you throw this one in your tape deck. It is heavy and vile and blasts forward with all the force of a machine gun blast. The vocals are aggressive, the guitar tone is a mix of new-age and lo-fi and overall this release is a win.
This is not my “favourite” from my recent batch but it is “one of the better ones”. My only negative comment is that the backing vocals aren’t my favourite style (a form of bree style gutturals) but as they are used sparingly this is easy to live with and in the long run everything is brought together nicely and I can state that I will be listening to this one again and again.
The cassette itself is a clear/grey which isn’t entirely standard but the artwork for the album is pretty cool. To make a close, for the price of a few donuts or something this one is worth the funds and I’d suggest it to anyone looking for some heavy chugs and audio carnage! -Devin J. Meaney

Mitch Wilken: Vocals
Gary Parkin: Guitars
Darius Wilken: Guitars
Dominic Vorster: Bass, vocals
Dominic Bulmer: Drums

Track list:
1. Indoctrinated Chaos
2. Megacorpse Apocalypse
3. Hate Blow Trauma
4. Butchered and Beaten
5. Rise of the Machine
6. Malicious Intent
7. Divide and Conquer
8. Fetal Feces Splatter
9. Epileptic Stabwound

Thursday, March 9, 2023

EP Review: War Honey "Last Woman Left at the Market" (Independent) by Brynn Kali StarDew

Band: War Honey
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Country: USA
Genre: Indie rock
Format: Digital album
Label: Independent
Release date: May 11, 2022
War Honey’s lead singer Gabrielle Dana really has some nice pipes! I’m not usually one who listens to music like this, but these vocals help to elevate this band to the status of artists like Florence and The Machine or Adele. The band seems to be quite talented too, but her voice definitely has a soothing quality which is definitely heard in Stupid Stature & RaceHorse. This EP is tagged as Dreampop and I would definitely say this tag is appropriate in terms of overall sound since I am a big fan of Dream Bass, a type of electronic music with a similar soothing quality in my opinion.
The next track "Forage For Porridge" definitely had a lot of the same aspects as the previous tracks. I really enjoyed the steady guitar intro on this, but the lyrics are quite interesting too! Halfwit Banquet has a really pretty guitar/vocal melody which is also quite good at 1:30. I'd even go as far as to say it feels like you're flying through the clouds being followed by a band of angels. The only complaint I really have is that the album is too short and they don’t have enough tracks on it to give it the build up to the “Dream” ending I think they're really looking for. -Brynn Kali StarDew

Musicianship: 9/10
Songwriting: 9/10
Memorability: 9/10
Production: 8/10
Overall: 9/10

Track list:
1. Stupid Stature
2. RaceHorse
3. Forage to Porridge
4. Halfwit Banquet

Gabrielle Dana: Vocals
Ben Fitts: Guitar
Dontay Downer: Guitar, bass
Erik Hoffer: Guitar, bass
Robbie Valluri: Drums

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Full Length Review: Bloodphemy "Blood Sacrifice" (Emanzipation Productions/CDN Records) by Devin J. Meaney

Country: Holland
Genre: Death metal
Full length: Blood Sacrifice
Format: CD, vinyl, cassette, digital
Label: Emanzipation Productions
Distributor: CDN Records
Release date: September 3, 2021
This is a release I got through CDN Records that was originally released by Dawning Septic Productions. When I first got this tape in a mystery lot I was kind of worried this one might not be the best. I have a few more tapes from Dawning Septic and two of them are “just ok”. This one however is a hearty blast of blackened death metal that is not only catchy and filled with talent it seems to get better with each play through.
Featuring 11 tracks that are all top tier I would suggest this one to anyone with a desire for “warm chills”. The vocals are perfect at times and the riffs are crunchy with the odd splash of lead guitar work. The drums are pin tight—and the atmosphere overall is intensely delightful in a morbid way.
I am unsure what other formats this release is available on, but the cassette version is professional grade and the tape itself is a very pretty clear/blood red. Normally I extend my reviews a bit but I think I can sum this up by saying Blood Sacrifice is a great album and Bloodphemy for sure will be a band that graces my tape deck for a long time to come—and I will be sure to snag anything from these guys as it becomes available. Truly magnificent! -Devin J. Meaney

Olivier van der Kruijf: Vocals
Arjan van Dune: Guitars
Bart van Wallenberg: Guitars
Robin Zwiep: Bass
Edwin Nederkoorn: Drums

Track list:
1. Last Cry For Humanity
2. House Of Souls
3. Pledge Of Allegiance
4. Sin
5. Flock Of Lambs
6. Revelation
7. Conviction
8. Bloodborne
9. In Cold Blood
10. Righteous Solitude
11. Derogated Salvation

Monday, March 6, 2023

Full Length Review: Neurosurgery "Invitation To Die" (CDN Records) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Neurosurgery
Location: Helinski
Country: Finland
Genre: Death metal
Full length: Invitation To Die
Format: Digital album
Label: CDN Records (Canada)
Release date: July 16, 2021
Hailing from Finland this band spits up this 2020 release with as much aggression and hostility as a starved coyote desperately looking for its next meal. 8 tracks of vicious death metal are brought together to make for an album that is more than worthy of a listen or four!
Vocally I am reminded of early GUT or Mucupurulent but musically this is much more technical. The guitars are tight and the percussion is immaculate. I snagged this album on cassette from CDN records and it was released directly from the label. The packaging and insert are professional grade and the cassette itself is a clear/blue with pro-level labeling.
I copped this in a mystery lot (I got 4 tapes for 25 dollars shipping included) and I can say that I am pleased overall with this. For just a few bucks “Invitation to Die” is a supreme blast of heaviness and it would make a great addition to the collections of cassette collectors worldwide. And hey…if you get this in other formats that is cool too! Even if you don’t wish to buy this try to find a stream online and give it a listen—and as always send the band some kind words and support! -Devin J. Meaney

Turo Myllynen: Vocals
Joakim Lindholm: Guitars
Atte Karm: Guitars
Johnny Grinds: Bass
Miika Kärki: Drums

Track list:
1. Hatred Leading Us (intro)
2. Invitation
3. Age Of Maggots
4. Brain Scavenger
5. No Need For Tomorrow
6. Tower
7. Towards Mortality
8. Visions Of Blood

Interview with Ritchie Randall of GRAVEHUFFER (fourth interview) by Dave Wolff

Interview with guitarist Ritchie Randall of Gravehuffer by Dave Wolff

Gravehuffer is currently offering preorders for their upcoming album "Depart From So Much Evil" through Black Doomba Records (Atlanta, Georgia, USA). Can you tell me how it has been received so far, and when it will be released?
I want to start by thanking you for having me! It’s very much appreciated. The new album releases on February 17. The response of the reviews that have been released so far has been fantastic! Definitely have some of the best reviews we’ve ever received for any album we’ve released. A couple of internet radio stations have been playing the majority of the songs from the album, and the people that have been listening to it have been blown away by all the music they’ve heard. Everyone seems to think this is our next logical step, as well as the best album we’ve released. We’ve also done a few interviews in the last month or so and even the interviewers have been very surprised by what they’ve heard! We were initially a little bit concerned that people might not be into it, but so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive!

Are you previewing "Depart From So Much Evil" before it's released? What other formats will it be available in besides digital when it's released? Will Black Doomba Records and the band handle mail and net order distribution?
We’ve only released a couple of songs online from the album so far, and again the response has been great. A couple of videos are on Youtube as well, and they’ve been watched more than any of our other songs in a very short amount of time! The comments we’ve seen have been very interesting, to say the least; everything from ‘you guys are legends in the making’ to ‘this is some of the most brutal stuff we’ve ever heard’! As far as the physical copies of the album, it’ll be released on CD right now, and vinyl will be available in a few months. The vinyl pressing plants are extremely backed up right now, so we decided it would be best to get the record out there and release the vinyl as soon as it’s available. Cassette tapes are being discussed, so we are thinking it will probably happen. Black Doomba Records takes care of most of the online distribution for physical copies, while we mainly sell on Bandcamp, at shows, and the majority of digital sales.

What labels will you consider if you release "Depart From So Much Evil" on cassette? Do you plan on releasing a vinyl record based on how many copies you can sell?
The cassettes will be released on our own label Thunderchief Records. The vinyl was actually turned in before the CD but because of the severe backlog at the pressing plants, it has been delayed. The good thing is we could get the release out a little sooner and release the vinyl separately. We've learned that people will buy vinyl regardless haha!

What did you hear about Black Doomba Records' reputation with bands that convinced you to sign with them in the first place?
One of the reasons we went with Black Doomba Records is because Tommy Stewart, who is the owner of the label, was in Hallow's Eve. They were and still are, on Metal Blade Records, so that told me that he knew his stuff. We actually got to know Tommy for about a year or so before we signed with Black Doomba Records. We also played some shows with his solo band Tommy Stewart's Dyerwulf, prior to signing. Getting to know Tommy personally and actually talking and playing shows with him in person really helped us build a rapport and gain each other's trust. He's been a great mentor for all things music related!

In addition to Gravehuffer's performances with Dyerwulf before signing to Black Doomba, what insight did Tommy Stewart provide about the music industry?
We played a handful of shows with them before signing with the label. It was a lot of fun to get to know Tommy and see his approach to live shows, selling merchandise, and interacting with people. Tommy has been very transparent with his business dealings, and it's been a little eye-opening but also very appreciated. Some things we were aware of and others not so much. I'd say most of his insight has been with the financial aspect of it. He's also been helpful with getting contacts for booking shows as well.

How did Thunderchief Records come to be, and how is the label active both locally and internationally?
Thunderchief Records is something we just put together a few months ago, to release our musical projects that may not make sense for Black Doomba, or any side projects we may be involved in. Our first two albums are no longer on a label, so we decided to form our own label to release any future pressings of those releases. We just felt it was important to retain the rights to those albums and release them how we see fit. So far the label is only for Gravehuffer and the members' side projects, but we may start looking at other bands as well. We honestly haven't thought that far ahead with the label yet.

Thunderchief currently represents how many Gravehuffer side projects? Are there an official website and distro for the label?
The only side project is Mike and Travis and another guy named Earl and it's called Funeral Of Sores. It's mostly experimental and ambient music with quirky and improvised vocals from Travis. Mike and Earl play the music, which is typically keyboards, samples, and drum machines. They only have a Bandcamp page as of now with digital releases only.

What songs from "Depart From So Much Evil" were previewed early, and why?
We chose “Blueprint for an Early Grave” as the first taste of music from the new album. It is the start of the record and we thought it provided a great teaser for what to expect. A lot of people that heard it seemed to agree as they told us that it felt like a teaser to them as well. The other song was actually just the “Inferno” section of the 22-minute title track “Depart From So Much Evil”. That song is of course based on Dante’s “Divine Comedy” regarding his journey through Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise. “Inferno” is six plus minutes and it has the more familiar sound to our past work. So the logic there was to introduce people to the Dante concept but in a concise and more straightforward way. After “Inferno” goes into “Purgatory”, it really starts to change the sound, and it continues to experiment in the “Paradise” section as well.

Why did Dante's "Divine Comedy" inspire the new album's conceptual story? Once the project was completed, did you get a sense of how it differed from other interpretations of Dante Alighieri's work?
We had been talking about Dante’s “Divine Comedy” for many years now. Personally, I've always wanted to write a 20+ minute epic track so this seemed like the perfect time to do it. Mike had written a different version of it for a side project he had in the early 2000s so it was on his radar for quite some time. It's a story that is very relatable to the human experience so I think that's why we chose it. We aren't too familiar with other bands' interpretations of it to be honest, other than Iced Earth's “Dante's Inferno” which is just about the first part. We honestly just followed our gut instincts when we wrote it. Each section gave us a certain vibe so we wrote them based on how they made us feel and the vibe we got when read them. We wanted to make a death metal movie soundtrack.

Would you consider basing concept albums on any other works by Dante? Are there other writers you'd consider? For example, H.P. Lovecraft seems to strike a chord with many bands.
We don't really plan too far ahead on the subject matter. It usually is more of a spur-of-the-moment thing. Dante was one of the very few exceptions. We even made a disclaimer and put it on the liner notes of the new album, stating that basically, this isn't indicative of any new direction for the band. It's purely an experiment and something we've wanted to write about for a long time. So far we've had very good feedback and even some people are hoping we change our minds and keep going wild with the experimentation. Who knows what the future holds, but I'm pretty sure we will continue to keep pushing the envelope a bit each time we release something new. It is what we live for, and we are just making this music because it's what we want to hear.

What internet stations have been previewing songs from the new album, and where have the band given interviews about it? Did you select the same songs for early streaming?
There’s been a lot of internet radio stations playing the new material, in particular Metal Devastation Radio, Castle Blakk Radio, XRP Radio, and many others. Most of the stations just played “Blueprint for an Early Grave”, although the week prior to release, we did send out the rest of the album to radio stations and they started adding other songs as they saw fit or whatever each particular DJ preferred.

We discussed your two-song EP "Demon Face and Stalingrad's Cross" in our second interview in 2020. Is it still available today? What about previous releases?
The “Demon Face and Stalingrad’s Cross” EP is indeed still available. NoSlip Records had 500 copies pressed. We still have about 80 or so in four different colors available on our Bandcamp store. All of our previous releases are available on our Bandcamp page as well, but only on CD and digital. “NecroEclosion”, our release prior to the new album, is sold out on vinyl, but Black Doomba Records are repressing it on green vinyl. It will be available in the summer of 2023.

In that same interview, you talked about a reviewer who slammed the EP in retaliation for not receiving free music and merchandise. Has the band experienced similarly biased reviews resulting from personal spite or have recent reviews been fair?
So far the reviews have actually been the best we've ever received in our careers! We had some reservations about how this album would be received and they have exceeded our expectations for sure! We've heard the words ‘masterpiece’, ‘album of the year’, and ‘best album I've heard in years’ thrown around, which is honestly mind-blowing.

What are the consequences of bias like that displayed by the reviewer causing readers to have misconceptions about the bands being reviewed? Is it necessary to publicly call out those who spread that bias?
Honestly, we feel like if you're not going to give constructive criticism, then why bother doing reviews? It doesn't help anyone if you just say, “I hate this” or “This sucks”. It's very immature and we don't need that kind of thinking in the arts. All it means is that the reviewer is just very poor at conveying their thoughts. We only call people out on their reviews if they are poorly written or throw in personal attacks. I really think that needs to be removed from the scene.

Is there a fine line between constructive criticism and slamming something just for the sake of slamming it? Or using words like "cool" or "awesome" to undermine the importance of a release? Does the same go for trashing a release and implying a stellar review was expected?
To me, a review should more or less let you know what to expect from a particular product, not necessarily someone’s opinion of it. Personal preference differs between people so much, and a good reviewer will typically point that out. Writing something is terrible or awesome and not expounding on it is just lazy and uninteresting. It definitely doesn’t help the reader make any kind of decision about whether they should try the product or not. There’s no point in labeling something great or terrible if you don’t explain yourself.

In underground music networks, I used to see people calling out ripoffs and yellow journalists; now they just generate social media drama. Is this as damaging to scenes as anything else?
I honestly think it really does hurt the scenes out there. It kind of goes back to my previous answer. People seem to have this zero-tolerance attitude toward everything anymore, and although there is a time and place for that, the arts is definitely not one of them. People take it way too personally if a band tries something different, or if they stay the course as well. It’s music, not something that caused you bodily harm or something haha! It’s ridiculous the amount of vitriol that people throw at artists for trying something different or for sticking to their guns. It’s very bizarre thinking to me.

In a recent review I wrote, I addressed something similar to what you said; as long as you play what you feel, it doesn't matter if you're "open-minded" or "self-limiting". And people who preach open-mindedness and overdo showing how versatile they are can be just as elitist as bands with a narrower range of influence. Do you believe honesty is the most important thing, regardless of whether you draw from the Beatles or Morbid Angel?
Yeah, I totally agree that honesty and sincerity are the most important. We don't bullshit each other or the people who enjoy our music. Like it or not, we are playing exactly what we want to hear ourselves. I think true fans of music can tell if artists are being honest or not. As far as what you draw from, of course, it's totally up to your own personal tastes, and whether or not you allow it all to shine through. We're all over the place because our tastes are as well. Very rarely do we delete an idea because of where it came from? It's usually whether or not it sounds good to all of us in the context of the song.

In the eleven years you've been active, Gravehuffer has always combined thrash, crust, and grindcore. What keeps the band's music fresh?
I think we keep it fresh by adding new elements every time we write and record. That's what keeps it exciting. We are always on the lookout for what new concept or instrument can we add to the mix, without it stepping on our own toes. Usually, we start with the typical guitars, bass, drums, and vocals, then we hear something to add as we're either writing or recording it. We basically let our imagination dictate the sound, but it all spurs from a very basic idea. We get bored easily too so that also contributes haha.

In the future, would the band consider addressing or interpreting these issues?
Maybe so. If we did, we probably wouldn’t be deliberate about it. It would be more open to interpretation lyrically. It’s definitely something we feel strongly about so I could see us being creative with it and it is an intense experience.

"Mind Over Metal - Volume 1" and "Violence Against Violence" were compilations you appeared on in 2021 and 2023. How much did those two compilation albums contribute to the band's success? Which songs were selected for the compilations?
“Ghost Dance” was on “Mind Over Metal - Vol 1” and “Blueprint For An Early Grave” was on “Violence Against Violence”. They were both charity compilations so that’s why we submitted to them. They’re both released by Cave Dweller Records’ Bandcamp page. We were just honored to be a part of both of them.

Alan Lisanti's first interview with you disclosed how many endorsements the band had at the time, such as Arachnid Cabinets, Firebird Straps, Killer B Guitars, Spectraflex Cables, and Dirtbag Clothing. Are you still working with the companies you were working with then, and have you hooked up with any new ones?
We’re still with Arachnid Cabinets and Firebird Straps, but we’re actually with quite a few new companies now. Alphabetically they are Coffin Cases, Custom Audio Mutation amps, InTune Guitar Picks, Pig Hog Cables, Rock N Roller Multi-Carts, Seymour Duncan pickups, SIT Strings, Solar Guitars, and WB Gear.

Black Doomba Records also hooked you up with the public relations Dewar PR. How are they treating you to this day?
Dewar PR has changed to C Squared PR, but they’re still the same people in charge. They typically help the label with album releases of all the bands on the label. I’m not sure if they handle other aspects or not, to be honest. They’ve done a great job with both of our album releases on Black Doomba Records. It’s our first time using a PR company so we don’t have anything to compare to but they seem to be well-respected in the industry from what we can tell.

Youtube videos you recently posted include covers of Godflesh, Twisted Sister, Frank Zappa, and Black Sabbath. How did those videos come to be made?
The covers were mainly done just for fun, but we also wanted to release something to tide people over until the new album was released. All of these bands have been a major influence on us since we were all in our early teens, so it just made sense to tip our hats to them. We plan on recording and releasing more covers later in the year. These three particular covers are ones that we've been wanting to record for quite a while, so they made the most sense to get the ball rolling.

There are also several live performances from across the US and an interview you did with Metal Deli in May 2022. How many views do those clips get on YouTube?
The live clips don't really get that many views, unfortunately, so we may not post as many from now on. We're thinking that if we get some higher-quality clips from other sources besides ourselves, then maybe we might post those instead. Youtube is a difficult platform to get traction on, but we keep plugging away at it. Interview clips in general don't get as many views, but the views they do get are by people that are really into our music. They're the ones who like to dive deeper into the process and appreciate all that goes into it.

How do intensive, informative interviews help readers and podcast viewers get to know artists better? Please provide some more examples.
I personally think they do. I’d much rather read or listen to an interview that’s informative and interesting than one that just states the more obvious things. I like knowing what makes an artist tick than the general questions. Most good interviewers preface their conversations with artists by breaking down the basics for the reader or listener prior to the interview. The last handful of interviews we’ve done for this new album have actually been some of the best we’ve had! Here are some links:

Are there any news clips the band plans to upload to your Youtube channel? Are there any new live shows or lyric videos to accompany the new album?
We actually have a couple of new videos for the new album on our YouTube channel now: “Blueprint For An Early Grave” and “Inferno”, which is part 1 of 3 in the “Depart From So Much Evil” track. The “Blueprint for an Early Grave” video uses footage from the old silent movie from 1927 by Fritz Lang, “Metropolis”. We cherry-picked and edited all the coolest footage about the workers overthrowing the city. “Inferno” video also uses old footage, this time from an Italian silent film from 1911 called “L’Inferno”. It is directly inspired by Dante's “Inferno”, so we thought it made sense to use it. It is one of my personal favorite videos we've released!

How did those classic movies from the 1910s and 20s provide a fitting atmosphere for your video?
The subject matter for each song is an age-old issue of good versus evil, and black-and-white footage represents that struggle perfectly. We just feel like the older footage would make it more relatable for more people and not necessarily make it a trend or dated visual.

Are there any other movies from that era that you consider favorites? Are there any horror films or obscure films from those days included?
I would say “The Phantom Of The Opera” and “The Cabinet Of Doctor Caligari” are personal favorites of the band. Travis and Mike have a side project that basically wrote scores for silent films and those, along with “Metropolis” are ones that they wrote music inspired by the films.

Would you mind sharing with us some ideas for future videos or albums based on what you've released so far? Can you think of any other classic movies from the early 20th century that you'd like to sample?
The feedback we’ve received for this new album has been very positive, so we will definitely not hesitate to keep pushing the envelope with future releases. This album is our biggest stylistic change to date from the previous album, so we were curious about what people would think. The song ‘The Cryptid and the Iron Bird’ started a subject that will continue in future releases, and I think using different instruments will be something we explore even more with the next albums. As far as video clips, that all depends on the subject matter of the song. The song always comes first and the visuals are an enhancement of them. If we find something that works well with the subject matter of a song, we will definitely look into the classic visuals from that era.

How far can the band go in the direction it is heading? What other ways do you plan to improve your music with visual accompaniment?
Well, I think our mindset is basically to keep doing what we do and don't look back. We know we're probably not going to top the song “Depart From So Much Evil” so we're not really going to try. Our goal has always been to write music that we want to hear without compromise. There is always an element of intensity and sincerity as well as the melting pot of influences that we bring. We've already started writing songs for the next album and so far things seem to have a doomier sound, but that could all change at any moment. We write how we feel, and right now we seem to feel in a more relaxed and heavy mood for riff writing. Who knows, maybe the next time we get together, shit will hit the fan in our personal lives and we start writing fast and furious stuff. We just let the moods take us where they want to go and if other people can relate, then that is honestly remarkable to us! We live for this stuff!

-Dave Wolff