Saturday, September 30, 2023

EP Review: Squalor "Squalor EP" (Iron Fortress Records) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Squalor
Location: Pennsylvania
Country: USA
Genre: Goregrind, deathgrind
EP: Squalor EP
Format: Digital, cassette
Release date: June 2023
Once again while hitting up YouTube I came to a pretty decent little gore release! The 2023 self titled EP by Squalor is a fusion of goregrind and death metal and it is definitely one of the better releases I have heard this year!
The vocals remind me of the band CHUD mixed in with a sprinkling of Lymphatic Phlegm and other goregrind acts. The guitar work is a bit more technical than most goregrind shreds though—so I guess this is where the “death metal” comes into play! This EP has blistering leads and crunchy rhythms and overall it all blends together to make for an exquisite listen! The drums have that “ping ping trash can” sound that I love too—so yeah—this is pretty rad!
This was self released in digital format in April of 2023. The tape was released in June via Iron Fortress Records!
Squalor hails from Pennsylvania. I don’t know a lot about the music scenes in this area of the world—but Squalor is something I think could be enjoyed all around the globe!
Note: The fifth track in the YouTube stream is a bonus track that was released as a single in July of 2023! -Devin J. Meaney

Ed: Mixing/mastering/recording, spicy riffs, pukes, songwriting
Tim: Best goregrind bass riffs ever, vocals, songwriting
Zach: Riffs, vocals, songwriting, album art

Track list:
1. Snot Boogie
2. Necrorobbery
3. Barbed Wire Bounce House
4. Curbstomp Frenchkiss
5. Litteerbug (bonus track)

Friday, September 29, 2023

Demo Review: Shitmist "Demo 2023" (Independent) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Shitmist
Location: Zemun
Country: Serbia
Genre: Gorenoise
Demo: Demo 2023
Format: Digital
Label: Independent
Release date: 2023
After listening to a short demo by Grundle I was linked to a release from the Serbia based gorenoise project “Shitmist!” This demo was less than a minute in length so I figured “What the hell? What could it hurt to listen to it?” After throwing it on I got a solid chuckle at the absolute absurdity of this but honestly it was enjoyable! My only negative comment is that I wish this was longer!
The main thing I have to say is this reminds me highly of the work done by James Tarr (R.I.P.)—his projects Elephant Man Behind The Sun and Submersed Cadaver sometimes had a similar sound and vibe so the biggest inspiration I drew from this demo was the desire to listen to some of James’s work. He passed years back and I kind of wish he was still around. He truly was a gorenoise legend and a king within the underground!
Again—this was under a minute so if you want your eardrums to be violated for literally seconds give this a listen. But I will throw this out there that unless you have interest in the murkier and “dirtier” sounding gorenoise/noisecore this probably isn’t the “release” for you! -Devin J. Meaney

Track list:
1. Rectal Crypt Violation
2. Feasting On The Young Ones
3. Consuming The Remains Of Unrecognizable Fecal Matter (Ft. Arsa On Vocals)
4. Untitled

Demo Review: Grundle "Demo 2023" (Shameful Distribution) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Grundle
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Country: USA
Genre: Gorenoise
Demo: Demo 2023
Format: CD
Label: Shameful Distribution
Release date: May 2023
Before sitting down to write this I thought to myself “Hey! Right now would be a good time to listen to some gorenoise!” After a brief search I came to Demo 2023 by “Grundle”! The first thing I have to say is that I am highly reminded of the “more serious” band Lurid Panacea! The drums are almost exactly the same and the production quality is intensely similar!
Gurgling vocals pair with blistering guitars and frantic percussion to make for a listen than can only be described as “pleasurable ear abuse”!
It states on YouTube that this is a “Two-piece gorenoise band from Dayton, Ohio, USA with members of Moiscus”. This is their second demo and it also states that the drums are not programmed—which is sometimes rare for the blurrier gorenoise releases that usually chill somewhere beneath the moist underbelly of the interwebs!
This demo is less than four minutes long! But god damn is it an earful! Check it out if you dig the noisier stuff! -Devin J. Meaney

Adam: Vocals, guitar, bass
Reegan: Drums

1. Slurping Blood Off the Floor With My Ass in the Air
2. Son of a Cocksucker
3. Cerebral Ballsack
4. Retired Noisecore Veteran
5. Googled Symptoms
6. Eaten by Two Baby Polar Bears
7. Never Invited to the Goregrind Circlejerk Conference
8. Murderous Male
9. First World Problems of a Depraved Gorefiend
10. Devastated Over Nothing
11. Covered Head to Toe in Pubes

Full Length Review: Sworn "A Journey Told Through Fire" (Independent) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Sworn
Location: Bergen
Country: Norway
Genre: Melodic black metal
Format: CD, digital
Label: Independent
Release date: June 21, 2023
Strangely enough when listening to gore/noise I was linked to a Norwegian melodic black metal band! The band in question is called “Sworn” and the release I was linked to is called “A Journey Told Through Fire”! I do love me some good gore/noise but it’s not a stretch to say that this is something that is “a bit more”. The production is excellent and the musicianship is absolutely through the roof—reminding me of the newer releases by Stormkeep, Lamp of Murmurr and Vallendusk!
The guitar work is as tight as a pin and the same can be said for the drums. The vocals are your standard black metal rasp—but they are entirely on point and are recorded with a sincere sense of professionalism. The melodic aspect is a real win and the word “powerful” is one that comes to mind! I can say without doubt that a lot of time and effort went into the production of this album and I’d honestly love to hear more! I will for sure be checking into if this band has released anything in the past. They are new to me—but for all I know they could be widely known with an expansive discography!
This CD and digital album is available at the band’s Bandcamp page. You can also check them out on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, The Metal Archives and Sworn’s personal webpage! Featuring seven tracks in just under 50 minutes this one is an absolutely stellar masterpiece. Visions of quests and journeying run through your mind while listening and the sounds held within inspire genuine catharsis. Without further word vomit I will just state that this is a release worthy of attention—and anyone into the melodic blackened sound should give it a listen or three! -Devin J. Meaney

Max Wilson: Vocals
Christoffer Kjørsvik: Guitars
Gøran Hope: Guitar, bass
Tom Ian Klungland: Drums

Track list:
1. A Godless Domain
2. Grand Eclipse
3. Calamity Sea
4. The Forsaken
5. Visions of Fire
6. Monumental
7. A Journey told through Fire

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Full Length Review: Cannibal Corpse "Chaos Horrific" (Metal Blade) by Dave Wolff

Country: USA
Genre: Death metal
Full length: Chaos Horrific
Format: Cassette (limited to 500 copies), vinyl, digipack CD, deluxe box set
Release date: September 22, 2023
It goes without saying that Cannibal Corpse have been there from the start. A new, revolutionary sound was born when the first death metal bands developed their sound from eighties thrash. After the emergence of Death and Sepultura, it was a DIY situation in which bands had to make a name for themselves without social media, recording low-fi demos and advertising by word of mouth.
It was difficult for many to take this new genre seriously because only a few producers knew how to handle it in the recording studio. Only a few recognized the passion and latent potential of the bands so they supported it through the adverse circumstances it faced. Through their lyrics and cover art, Cannibal Corpse reflected people's deepest mortal trepidations from the Chris Barnes to George Corpsegrinder eras, and attracted the attention of everyone from Jim Carrey to Joseph Lieberman.
With each album a new approach to brutal music was introduced, and this recommences with "Chaos Horrific" released a few days ago. The band themselves seem surprised by how long they have managed to keep going through more than three decades, but their resourcefulness and resolve as serious musicians has expanded as they explore new musical and lyrical terrain.
Cannibal Corpse maintain their undisguised horror-laden, gore-soaked style without overproducing it; this has been reformulated so often it can't be duplicated. While "Chaos Horrific" is not as reliant on blast beats, the production by guitarist Erik Rutan is impeccable, possibly the best production I've heard on a DM recording in years. Each instrument is spotless, and the counterpoise between them is well maintained. Maybe even a little more than their previous release “Violence Unimagined”.
In succeeding long-time guitarist Pat O'Brien, Rutan brings new energy to their writing working alongside Rob Barrett, fueled by experience with Hate Eternal and Morbid Angel. Customarily intractable and murderous, the songs exhibit impressions of storytelling with calculated patience. The rhythm section of Alex Webster and Paul Mazurkiewicz add much depth to thrash elements reminiscent of Possessed, Kreator, Sodom and Death with the traditional death metal shades of past albums.
There is a maturity manifested in the changes in time, the breakdowns, and the harmonies, while many riffs and guitar solos add a preternatural air of surreality I remember hearing from albums released by Morbid Angel, Nocturnus and Immolation. Refer to “Drain You Empty” to see what I mean. In a way, it reminds me of my experiences as a first-time reviewer.
As for Corpsegrinder, he exhibits a clear ability to articulate while projecting brutal vocals directly from his vitals. The lyrical content is an important example of Cannibal Corpse's refinement. In "Vengeful Invasion," for example, victims of human trafficking retaliate against their captors, depicted in their distinctive phrasing: "Abducted as a child through human trafficking/Innocence defiled throughout captivity/Years of torment, never ending agony/Bringing forth a plan to make an escape/To execute the ultimate reprisal".
To date there are three promotional videos for "Chaos Horrific" and a deluxe box set is available from Metal Blade Records (see Earsplit PR for more information on this). It’s pricey, but not too much so, and I’ve read it’s worth it. –Dave Wolff

George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher: Vocals
Rob Barrett: Guitar
Erik Rutan: Guitar
Alex Webster: Bass
Paul Mazurkiewicz: Drums

Track list:
1. Overlords of Violence
2. Frenzied Feeding
3. Summoned for Sacrifice
4. Blood Blind
5. Vengeful Invasion
6. Chaos Horrific
7. Fracture and Refracture
8. Pitchfork Impalement
9. Pestilential Rictus
10. Drain You Empty

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Demo Review: Maggotized Vertebrae "Demo 2023" (Blast Addict, Swallowed Evidence) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Maggotized Vertebrae
Country: USA
Genre: Goregrind
Demo: Demo 2023
Format: Cassette, digital
Label: Blast Addict, Swallowed Evidence
Release date: August 6, 2023
Feeling like a blast of the gurgly stuff I came upon “Demo 2023” by Maggotized Vertebrae! This is an exceptionally short and primitive release so I won’t go into too much detail—but it is for sure the kind of gore/noise that I like! Splashing gurgling toilet bowl vocals over a wall of noise and “feedback-esque” guitar work paired with the ambience of a chainsaw splatter party always make for a fun time—or at least it does for those of us that dig the noise! Fans of Elephant Man Behind the Sun and Submersed Cadaver are sure to revel in these offerings!
It states on YouTube that this is a “fresh two-piece gorenoise band from USA with members of Sulfuric Cautery and Necropsy Odor”. It was released on a handful of labels so check it out—and as always—stay gory! -Devin J. Meaney

1. 19 Trax

Demo Review: Bogside Sniper Squadron "Demo 2023" (Headsplit Records) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Bogside Sniper Squadron
Country: USA
Genre: Black, death metal
Demo: Demo 2023
Format: Cassette, CD, digital
Release date: May 19, 2023
During my usual musical escapades I happened to come upon “Bogside Sniper Squadron”! They released the demo I found in 2023 and it is simply titled “Demo 2023”. It boasts itself as being a fusion of death metal and black metal and was uploaded and released by Headsplit Records!
First off I need to say the sound is exceedingly “old-school”. It sounds like something that came fresh out of the 80’s or very early 90’s! The guitar tone is very treble (which is common with a lot of black metal). The vocals are tight and on point and the drums are a frenzied mix of forward driving and blasting. I will also add that some of the lead guitar work is exceptional!
Featuring 4 tracks in just under 15 minutes this is a quicker one—but it is long enough to get a full on earful of what is offered by the band. By that I mean that even though it is not lengthy it is just long enough to feel like it is a substantial release!
The cover art is exceedingly simple and “basic”…but honestly I dig it! It gives off an extreme D.I.Y. vibe and that is something that I consider to be a good thing most times. Not overproduced yet not under-done either!
To finish off I will just say that although I have heard of Headsplit Records I don’t know much about them. But if Headsplit is spewing out stuff like this I can make a stab that they probably have a lot of good stuff to offer! So dig in deep and hit up YouTube (or Bandcamp) and give these guys a spin! Or if you want to be a genuine G head on over to Headsplit and order yourself a copy! -Devin J. Meaney

Track list:
1. Ash Rains At Warrenpoint
2. Corporal Executions
3. M82
4. March Of The Undefeated Army

Monday, September 25, 2023

Demo Review: No Way Out "Demo 2023" (Criminalized) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: No Way Out
Location: Los Angeles, California
Country: USA
Genre: Hardcore
Demo: Demo 2023
Format: Cassette
Label: Criminalized
Release date: 2023
Once again with my habit of looking for new punk bands by typing “Punk demo 2023” into the search bar I have come across Demo 2023 by No Way Out! Unlike the last few bands I found this one is pure hardcore revelry! Even though it is coined as punk it is metallic in parts and in places it even has a grind/power-violence/thrash edge. One band that I can really hear while listening to this is Hatebreed! Jamey Jasta would be down like a clown while listening to No Way Out I’m quite sure!
The musicianship is very tight. The guitars are deep and powerful and the drums pound on with an almost machine-like and well orchestrated vibe. The vocals are pure hardcore—and again this is very much in the same vein as something produced by Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta!
This was released on cassette and features six short tracks. You can check that out on Criminalized’s Store Envy or you can just view the band on YouTube or check them out on Instagram! There is not much info in the YouTube bio but I can make a stab that the coined term “LAHC” stands for Los Angeles Hardcore!
So…without further rambling I will just suggest that fans of visceral hardcore check this one out. The release is only short—but it is very solid and is a great “premonition” of “hopefully” things to come! -Devin J. Meaney

Track list:
1. Ego Trip
2. Dreamer's Disease
3. Stomp
4. All My Foes
5. Blitz
6. Cold Game

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Demo Review: Hear It! "Demo 2023" (Death Breath Records) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Hear It!
Country: Indonesia
Genre: Punk
Demo: Demo 2023
Format: Digital
Label: Death Breath Records (Indonesia)
Release date: September 1, 2023
Once again I was feeling the need to consume some punk rock. Also—as usual for my recent music adventures I wasn’t feeling like listening to a full length album. I typed “Punk Rock Demo 2023” into the YouTube search bar and after a brief search I came upon Demo 2023 from the band Hear It!
First and foremost I need to say that I love the guitar tone. It reminds me of something you would hear from one of the early Punk-o-rama albums. Also—aside from the vocals I am reminded of early “The Offspring”. When it comes to the vocals they are very simplistic and “bursting” and they give off a Discharge vibe! The drums are pretty damn tight too!
This was release number 5 from “Death Breath Records”…I have never heard of this label but if this is the kind of stuff they are putting out I would happily support them with their future (and current) endeavors!
The upload of this I found was on the Felopunk account on YouTube. I have definitely listened to my fair share of tunes from this account—and once again they seem to have offered something pretty rad with this one!
And hey! This is from Indonesia! I don’t know too much about Indonesian punk—but this kills it! Give it a listen eh? -Devin J. Meaney

Track list:
1. Burst of Beginning (Intro)
2. Social Warning
3. Paranoid
4. Riot

Full Length Review: Haurun "Wilting Within" (Small Stone Records) by Dave Wolff

Band: Haurun
Location: Oakland, California
Country: USA
Genre: Psychedelic doom metal
Full length: Wilting Within
Format: Digital, CD, limited edition vinyl/download
Label: Small Stone Records
Release date: September 22, 2023
The symbiosis of doom and psychedelia in Haurun is so seductive and haunting that I was instantly captivated. Featuring Lyra Cruz's ethereal vocals atop dreamlike instrumentation, it effortlessly transcends the boundaries created by applying labels to artistic content, allowing you to experience their music at its purest. They possess such grace and elegance that all distinctions between light and dark don’t apply even to the most tenebrous details of their songwriting.
"Wilting Within" is bewitching and heavenly all at once, regardless of whether you classify it as noise pop, grunge, doom, ambient, or what have you. While the band behind Cruz are daimons and saints, she possesses charm, seduction, and a sense of divinity. As Joel Panton and Eliot Rennie formed the band and began writing songs, they combined crushing walls of sound with variations of refinement making it simultaneously confining and unbinding.
As a result of the musical ritual they constructed, you knew you were clearly being seduced, and there was a possibility of darkness awaiting you, but you felt enchanted to the point that you did not want to leave the universe that emerged. "Abyss" begins with a bleakly cyberkinetic overture that is interrupted by something like a glimpse of life as the mood drifts into a doomy atmosphere that persists and intensifies throughout the remainder of the album.
During Cruz's invitation to stay with her without fear, the bass, guitars, and drums play their own roles in painting a tapestry of structure amidst disorder. Towards the end of the album, it becomes evident that she is liberating you from the mundane world, which is tantamount to releasing her from limbo. A long search was conducted by Panton and Rennie to find musicians and a vocalist who would be able to illustrate their inspiration in the manner in which they envisioned. They have found a lineup that works for them, and I hope they stay together long enough to evolve far beyond what they have achieved here, since they have accomplished what most doom bands still strive to achieve. –Dave Wolff

Lyra Cruz: Vocals
Joel Panton: Guitar
Daniel Schwiderski: Guitar
Joel Paul Lacey: Bass
Eliot Rennie: Drums

Track list:
1. Abyss
2. Lost & Found
3. Tension
4. Flying Low
5. Lunar
6. Soil

Monday, September 18, 2023

Interview with KS Hammeraxe of Toxemia by Dave Wolff

Interview with KS Hammeraxe of Toxemia by Dave Wolff

What attracted you to playing drums in the black and death metal styles when you became a musician? Do you play other instruments or are you exclusively a drummer?
It all started when I was in sixth grade. I first learned to play guitar but nobody wanted to do the drums back then. So I decided to take the path being the fiend behind the kit. What attracted me to extreme music is its technicalities. The creative yet destructive sound of that machine gun blast and artillery assault on the bass amazes me. I said I wanted to try that. All in all I just want to learn that speed and power and apply it in the kit. Luckily I was able to do so.

In your experience as a drummer, how long did it take you to develop speed and power? Did you learn the various variations of blast beats and fills? In your opinion, is there a certain level of talent and ability required to be a good death or black metal drummer?
It took a lot of practice and experience to achieve the skill that I have right now. When I say experience, I am talking about the musicians that I played with. Being around with good bandmates that are creative also helped me develop my pounding skills. Not just the speed and power but also the style and the approach. Being around creative musicians inside a studio as we jammed or recorded a song made a lot of impact of what I am today in music writing. Different variations of blast fills was learned as I covered some songs to enhance my skills’ also the evolution of how I do my drumming happens most of the time whenever we write new songs. As we try to fit the drum sound to their riffs, I have developed different styles in blast beats and fills. I am still on the path of learning new stuff within the drums. It is a big world of different drum variations and styles and as I play and listen every day, I am still learning. For me there is no certain level of talent to be able to play good black or death metal music. Just be creative, don't play like you are the center of attraction as you write songs, play with your bandmates as one machine, Play as fast as you can, be as eerie as you can on the DOOM parts and make sure that you count hahaha.

Describe the connotations of the name of your band, Antihvmano. Explain how you came up with the band's name and how long it took you to choose it?
Settling for a band name took a while. I never had the full participation but I told them that it should sound something out of pure madness. Something that will not be easy to digest since we are not aiming to really get some “listeners”.

Describe Antihvmano's latest EP, "Impregnated Demon Eyes Gazing Upon a Catholic Rosary Failure", its intended impact, and what you intended to achieve with it.
It all started when M.C called me to do the drums again since they were continuing this project. I can say that one of the intentions I am trying to impose here, personally, is HATE. Basically the lyrics and style of the music of Antihvmano is all about hate, horror and annihilation.

In comparison to most black and death metal bands, Antihvmano's songs are much shorter. Did the band deliberately do this to stand out? Or did the songs just turn out that way?
Well it naturally came out that way. Then we decided to keep it that way. No more additional exaggerated crap. Just straight forward bombardments and artillery fire sound.

In how many of Antihvmano's releases did you contribute to the writing and recording? Why did you decide to leave the band, and what were the reasons behind your decision?
It all started when one of my buddy asked me to record some drum tracks and so I did. I am the guy behind the kit for the two releases they have. Regarding the song writing all I do is the drum part. I just give them some ideas what maybe a good topic to discuss in a song and that's it.

Considering that you live in the Philippines and Antihvmano is from Sweden, how did you go about recording drum tracks and lending them to the band?
Well I record the tracks in the studio and send them the files. They are the ones mixing and editing it.

You mentioned not having much interest in getting many listeners for Antihvmano. Who are you trying to reach in terms of having a fan base, and why is exclusivity important to you?
Nope we are not interested in getting a fanbase. For me personally, playing music is one way to express my hate and madness into this world. If people will hear and dig it, then alright. But no... we, and especially I don't play to impress any crowd. If you see me going fuckin’ crazy on stage, that's me going wild, haha, enjoying what I am doing on the kit hahaha. I just do this for my own fun and satis-fuck-tion. Fuck underground bands seeking the approval of the many!

You are the drummer for the Philippine death metal band Toxemia. In what capacity did you become involved with them, and on how many of their recordings do you appear?
I lost count of all the recordings I was involved with but I started playing for them way back in 2007 as a session drummer. It all became official way back in 2009. So basically all the materials that were recorded and released from 2009 and this up-cum-ing albums will be me hahaha... Watch out!

Since you began with Toxemia, were more extreme metal fans hearing about your work?
That I cannot say. I am a part of the third batch of members of Toxemia. They already had their music spreading around the underground scene when I took the drum throne. Maybe not recorded pro or in a formal studio, but they already had it circling around the demo-tape-CDR trade that was happening earlier before I joined them. With different listeners like people from the punk scene, hardcore scene, grindcore scene, black metal scene, Death metal scene etc. They already established their name as an existing entity in the underground community in and out of that country. Maybe I can say we had some additional listeners when I joined, since we had that chance to write and record more songs and be released in different formats in different countries. Spreading the toxic of our filthy music like plague from the time we recorded our EP “Cavite's Beast” up to this date.

How many releases have you appeared on by Toxemia? The more familiar you became with their approach to playing, how much easier was it for you to work with them? In the same regard, have you benefitted from playing shows with them?
I lost count of the releases that I played drums for Toxemia. We had tons of EPs, Splits, singles and compilations that was unleashed for those years that I am the guy behind the kit. It took me four compositions before I got used to what Toxemia want to really sound like. I have different influences behind the kit that I want to incorporate as I do the drums. From grindcore, black metal to death metal. As a young guy behind the kit you want to cater all these beats and sequence to your composition. But of course you need to balance it where it fits. The benefits on doing the drums for Toxemia is meeting new bands for we are very active when it comes to accepting invites from underground labels, production or local small festivals. I was able to expand my knowledge about the underground scene since I was able to meet more people who shares the same passion.

As a result of your involvement in Toxemia, what are some of the bands, labels, and festival promoters you have come into contact with? Are you finding new opportunities to play some festivals that you have never played before or finding additional labels to distribute Toxemia?
There are too many bands to mention, both old and new. I can say that it was indeed an adventure playing for Toxemia for I was able to share the stage with other bands I looked up to, both local and international bands going on tour. I was able to meet new promoters, fanzine and webzine writers showing interest in having us interviewed or playing at their events. Maybe I can name the top four events on my mind. “Brutal Carnage” for example is one of the local events being held in our country. I was able to witness its start way back when I was in high school. “Hardcore Fest” is just titled as a hardcore fest but all kinds of extreme genres are available on that show. “Zine Fest”! We just played here weeks ago. I was too fuckin drunk that time hahaha! “Aural Massacre” in the north and “Food Not Bombs” in the south. That makes it five events we are invited to yearly. Meeting new labels who helped us release our materials is indeed fun. The cool part is some other labels outside the country and even bands were able to trade their CDs or cassettes with us. Maybe the biggest opportunity for me is that I get to trade some of our records with different labels and bands, both local and international. In that way I get to learn more about the underground scene and the music of other bands we play with.

What other bands have you worked with? Did you play session drums or were you a full member? Are there any releases that best demonstrate your ability to work with them?
I was also involved in other projects but the same instrument, hehe. I was able to do the kit for a grindcore band named “Warat” where during the time that I started doing the drums for them, for I am a part of the second wave of members of the said band, we recorded at least twenty five songs that were released as an EP, a split tape and one full length under different labels, both local and international. I am also the suspect behind the kit for a stoner band named “Shaman's Bud”. We were able to release two demos in CD format and one full length in cassette format under Still Ill Records. As I mentioned, I wanted to do more on drums and extend my capabilities so I formed a two piece project band named “Morgue Attendants” that plays the elements of Black and Death Metal with the help of my good old buddy from Shaman's Bud. We were able to release one EP in CD and in cassette format. In addition to these bands. I did a few sessions with different bands for the past few years for sometimes they are in need of a drummer to play live on shows. For references of the records of those bands I mentioned check out the links below.

In addition to the bands you have worked with in the past and present, are you still on the lookout for new groups to work with?
For now, no. But if a friend offers me to do a short drum track for his songs, why not. As long as we will not be playing live, haha. I am more focused on re-animating the bands I am involved with.

How stable is the club scene in the Philippines, as well as the label and zine industry? Do the majority of Philippine bands seek to be exposed outside their country or do most prefer to remain exclusive? What are some of the zines worth checking out at present?
So far the independent productions/collectives are active nowadays, especially productions behind the hardcore punk scene. Accepting and organizing shows from foreign bands and local bands promoting their albums in forms of tour. Shows being held in different locations but not mainly on clubs. I can say that it is alive and active when it comes to shows and events. Yes of course bands from our country would like to be heard and even play outside our country. Example is Toxemia. We have signed up to different international labels for the reasons of spreading our filthy music to different fiends and ghouls outside the country who shares the same passion with the so called underground scene. To name a few fanzines worth checking out here are some who are still active nowadays: No Bullshit Zine, Tripalium Zine, In Dark Purity Zine, Guttural Sickness Zine, Siege, Gran Peligro, Scrawl Shop, Eargamzine, Manong Fanzine, Molotov Fanzine and Konspirazine.

Assuming the zines you mentioned are still being printed, why has the demand for traditionally produced fanzines not diminished in the Philippines despite the emergence of webzines and podcasts? Does this include young fans of extreme music as well?
They still print hard copies. That is the cool part it. They also have webzines and some of them even do Youtube interviews. I am not aware about the new generation of kids nowadays if they are still buying hard copies of fanzines, but on my end, I still do. For me it’s keeping an archive. We also have “Info shops” in different locations where you can still read hard copies of different fanzines, both old and new.

Which of those zines have you maintained contact with to this day? Is there any exposure given to Philippine bands that you are aware of? Has the print quality remained relatively unchanged or has it improved? Are snail mail fliers still effective in promoting fanzines?
I am still in touch with most of them. The reason is they’re always present on those events I mentioned. The print quality has improved of course, due to Photoshop which is nice! I hope we can send you some of those local fanzines we have here for you to really get a firsthand experience of their writings.

Do the majority of zine editors use Photoshop to print their zines, or do some of them use other programs worth mentioning?
well I know a few who uses Photoshop and some in Microsoft Word format, example is me I use Microsoft Word and way back then a software for news writing back in my office haha. Some zine writers are still practicing using cut and paste collage style which I find more interesting.

Is there anything new coming from Toxemia in the near future? What label or labels will handle the release of the album when it is released? Do you have any information you would like to share with the readers about it, such as the songs recorded for it and who designed the cover art?
We have an upcoming single that will be released by Threshold Records and the cool part is the artwork was done by Glynford Cabarse. We have an up-cum-ing album that will be unleashed by Soulgrinder Zine/Soulgrinder Records. Stand by for more details for that! Haha! Cheers to all our comrades who continues to support our mu-sick globally! Stay intoxicated... and for the rest FUCK OFF and DIE!

-Dave Wolff

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Full Length Review: Deadly Carnage "Endless Blue" (A Sad Sadness Song) by Dave Wolff

Band: Deadly Carnage
Location: Rimini
Country: Italy
Genre: Avant garde post black/doom metal
Full length: Endless Blue
Format: Digital album, A5 digipack CD, gatefold LP
Label: A Sad Sadness Song/ATMF
Release date: September 15, 2023
Due to the presence of promotion companies such as Earsplit PR, I don't have to look hard to find bands offering a variety of extreme music providing a balance between seemingly incompatible elements. As "Endless Blue" combines atmospheric doom, post black metal and progressive rock, Deadly Carnage is one of those bands. While the band is based in Italy, they chose to base their lyrics on Japanese mythology and folklore, incorporating the imagery involved into their songwriting and verses.
Deadly Carnage’s early material leaned primarily toward raw black metal, but the band has always adhered to a lyrical approach to existential concepts and unconventional arrangements. Their insight into the "cult" perspective of black metal was extended into the advanced prog themes which they present on their latest album. There were similar indications to Sunn O))) and Khanate as well as Darkthrone and Burzum. It was from there that they developed something both chaotic and elegant.
This drone-like style remains an integral part of the band's approach to creating memorable music that appeals equally to mainstream and underground audiences. Over the years, the unforeseen breathtaking moods they brought to their songs grew to transcend their own potential without disrupting their continuity. As a result of trial and error, Deadly Carnage came to express themselves through a variety of extreme and progressive techniques while effectively thinning the line between the two.
"Through the Void, Above the Suns" (Aeternitas Tenebrarum Musicae Fundamentum, 2018) is when Deadly Carnage really began to take on deeper esoteric meanings in their lyrics, illustrating them in their song structure. According to my understanding, the concept centers on science, mathematics and the endless cycle of nature. It was their biggest transition from black metal to their current sound and featured shorter songs, as if they were testing their ability to compose with multiple genres and the amount of potential to improve upon. Again, their raw aggression was not replaced; rather redirected through transcendent songwriting.
From a musical and lyrical standpoint, "Endless Blue" is a logical continuation of what Deadly Carnage began with "Through the Void, Above the Suns". In reference to Kabuki theater, traditional tales of the Ayakashi and Umibozu, and the legend of Urashima Tar, they capture the nuances of their research, arranging music to convey the tales as vividly as possible. It is more than just landscapes that is engendered with each song; entire dimensions are catalyzed appearing more real with each listen.
Two promotional videos have been produced by the band to support the album in recent months. There are brief glimpses of this phantasm dimension brought to life by the nonmaterial beings inhabiting it in "Swan Season" and "Moans, Grief and Wails". These are a fitting introduction to the album, illustrating daytime and nighttime, boundless oceans and even greater abysses, inquisitiveness and nightmare, benevolent specters and fiendish revenants. Throughout, these elements are transformed into something so corporeal that it will challenge your understanding of ingenuity in a band on a Promethean level. –Dave Wolff

Alexios: Vocals, guitars
Dave: Guitars, piano
Adres: Bass
Marco: Drums
Mike Crinella: Guest synth, piano, bouzouki, lute, mandolin
The Nemeless Goblin: Guest erhu

Track list:
1. Dying Sun
2. Sublime Connection
3. The Clue
4. Blue Womb
5. Mononoke
6. Swan Season
7. Moans, Grief and Wails
8. Unknown Shores

Friday, September 15, 2023

Full Length Review: Stormkeep "Tales of Othertime" (Ván Records) by Devin J. Meaney

Band: Stormkeep
Location: Denver, Colorado
Country: USA
Genre: Medieval black metal
Full length: Tales of Othertime
Format: Digital album
Label: Ván Records
Release date: November 19, 2021
Just before sitting down to write this I was talking to the charming Mr. T of Light’s Go Out Zine! He requested I do some “digging into the archives”…and it just so happened that I was on a musical journey!
Stormkeep’s “Tales of Othertime” is something I listened to when it first came out. I went through a period where I listened to it religiously every few days—but eventually just as most bands do this faded into the past and for a while I had forgotten about it.
Today I have re-found it—and let me tell you this is an amazing piece of musical mastery! The atmosphere alone is enough to send you off on an epic quest within the confines of your cranium! The guitar work is absolutely excellent, the percussion is stead-fast and vicious, the synth work/keys are done well and add to the feel of the album overall and the vocals don’t get old!
Now that I have re-found this I will probably listen to this a handful of times throughout the week and maybe a bit further—and just as before it will probably fade out and be lost to my memory. With that said—it is something that will not be lost completely as it is just that “epic” and after my current and near future listenings at some point in the distance I will listen yet again! This is an amazing album—and fans of melodic black metal should revel in the offerings put forth by Stormkeep. Whether you are going on an epic quest involving goblins and faeries—or if you are just chilling alone in your room—this album is a solid choice and a sure-fire way to blow off some steam! -Devin J. Meaney

Grandmaster Otheyn Vermithrax Poisontongue: Vocals, guitars, keyboards
Tyrannos Apokteino Skiophonos Stormward: Guitars
Phantom Emperor Nebula Husk: Bass
Lord Dahthar the Abyssic: Keyboards
Count Victor Wolfsblood: Drums

Track list:
1. The Seer
2. The Citadel
3. A Journey Through Storms
4. The Serpent's Stone
5. An Ode To Dragons
6. Eternal Majesty Manifest

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Poem: Untitled by Jeremy Void

Jeremy Void

Events pass us
so fast
and soon become
just another memory
to add to the collection

So don’t take
things for granted
the good
or the bad
because before you know it
it’ll be gone
lost in history’s void

Poem: "Breaking Glass" by Jeremy Void

Breaking Glass
Jeremy Void

I threw the bottle in the air and swirling and spiraling it came straight down crashing on the train tracks and this guy at the scene scolded me for it, saying I can’t do that, and I said: But who? me? He threatened to call the police and me and DP took off to his house, to store the butterfly knife I had just gone and bought him since he was too young to buy one himself. I wore a black hoody with the hood pulled over my head and as we came back out and hit the street I saw Harry over there standing by the corner next to some other kid a foot taller and I picked up my pace, straight running to meet him but in front of him was a parked cruiser. I stopped just short like a hockey stop if I were on skates and saw him talking to the black cop who I remembered hearing had opened-fire on some young kid’s car, for reasons I don’t know/—or can’t remember———or have forced myself to forget. I stayed in hearing range and ducked off to the side and listened as the cop said: “And Harry, keep your friend out of trouble, will you?” The cruiser pulled away from the corner and I emerged from the shadows and dropped my hood and for once I knew I could do it again.

Poem: "Why Don’t We" by Alison Stone

Why Don’t We
Alison Stone

The animals want us to go --
parrots, pumas, long-lashed giraffes.
Our greed limitless as stars.
Jewel-winged bugs buzz off into extinction.

Parrots, pumas, long-lashed giraffes.
What’s lost won’t be returned.
Jewel-winged bugs buzz off into extinction.
We couldn’t keep our ruin to ourselves.

What’s lost won’t be returned,
like the true beat of our own hearts. Grabbing,
poisoning, we couldn’t keep our ruin to ourselves,
though we’re made from stardust, yearn for light.

Our poisoned hearts beat, Grab more,
greed limitless as the stars
we’re made from. Too late for light.
The animals need us to go.

Poem: "Picket Fence" by Alison Stone

Picket Fence
Alison Stone

The mother drinks in secret.
The father punches his shame into a wall.
So many ways to pretend.
The daughter hides beneath blankets.

The father punches his shame into a wall.
How did love end up like this?
The daughter hides beneath blankets
as the TV blares fake laughter.

How did love end up like this,
dinner finishing in tears
as the TV blares fake laughter?
In pictures, they all smile.

Dinners finish in tears,
though everything’s wiped clean.
In pictures, they all smile
on beaches or the front lawn.

Everything’s wiped clean.
The neighbors will never know.
On beaches or the front lawn,
they’re a typical family.

The neighbors must never know.
So many ways to pretend
they’re a typical family.
The mother drinks in secrets.

Poem: "Ghost Pipes" by Sky Claudette Soto

Ghost Pipes
Sky Claudette Soto

Ghost Pipes these colorless ghost pipes, Indian pipes that gather their nutrients from rich soils ceases, to amaze me ever so much, springing up from the grounds deep within the shadowed woods, from its forest floor ,with not a need for sunlight to make them sprout edible, and medicinal...
I shall make a tea from these ghostly pale and lovely 💐 wild flowers.... monotropa uniflora, on a most beauteous... haunted night beneath the Crescents moonlight,....a nemophilist,I am with a great fox cradled in my arms shining bright ....bright as the moonlights silvery light......

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

Poem: "Calling Forth" by Sky Claudette Soto

Calling Forth
Sky Claudette Soto

In an elven forest, fae folk, live and dance in the quietness of their motherland, sweet and stout with each mellow step they take as their laughter echoes betwixt Japanese maple 🍁, enchanting the forest, and calling forth nymphs hidden betwixt ghost blue maple trees.... the calling forth of many God’s. Polytheism in nature the calling forth of many deities... a most tangible and delightful view... dark in light they dance... as rosen skies emerge.
Sacred spirits, and ancient ones are seen and heard. as I ascend above the earth. Above the skies...
Bestowing the grandest of blessings...healing my soul as I ascend....

First American Publishing rights only, Copyright and written by Sky Claudette Soto-July 2023

Poem: "Rebel Girl" by Tanner Reiss

Rebel Girl
Tanner Reiss, July 13, 2023

Rebel Girl born in rubble
Soft-spoken, honest, and humble
Trying hard to stay outta trouble
Can't catch herself after a stumble
Walking on a floor of marble.

Rebel Girl, life of trauma
Torn, bloodstained pajama
All she knows: love = drama
Papa beat her into a comma
No help from her momma.

Rebel Girl, pseudo name Jane
Can't take the recurring pain
Memories begin to flash again
Stabs another needle in her vein
To calm the demons inside her brain.

Rebel Girl can't stand tall
Sitting behind a privacy wall
Who knows? None at all
Overdosing, starting to fall

She didn't know her hit was fentanyl

Rebel Girl has an oracle
Found by some kind of miracle
Quickly rushed to seek medical
Her story, far from typical
Neither empirical nor satirical.

Rebel Girl born in rubble
Still hears the demons rumble
But instead of taking a tumble
She sees the floor made of marble
Speaks about her life's struggle.

Rebel Girl never did conform
Always happy to challenge the norm
Weathered Satan's storm
Now she works to build a platform
To help others avoid Satan's swarm.

Poem: "Cripple Creek" by Tanner Reiss

Cripple Creek
Tanner Reiss, Sept. 9, 2023

Cripple Creek
Cripple Creek
Not a place to seek
Cripple Creek
Cripple Creek
New turns antique
Cripple Creek
Cripple Creek
Not a place to speak

Cripple Creek
Cripple Creek
A place so bleak
Cripple Creek
Cripple Creeo
You make me so weak
Cripple Creek
Cripple Creek
Turn the other cheek

Toil an' trouble triple
Upon your wretched nipple

Without merely a ripple
Make a narcissist humble
Make the scientist gamble
Make the politician stumble
Make the mortician crumble

(Toil an' trouble
Wretched nipple
Narcissist humble
Scientist gamble
Politician stumble
Mortician crumble)
Cripple Creek
Lifeless Colorado
Cripple Creek
Blissless El Dorado
Cripple Creek
Cripple Creek
What is this?
You should know!
I need not shadow for
Cripple Creek
Though Cripple Creek
Does foreshadow
Horrid horrors
Shadowed over doors
Overshadowed by whores
Draped in erotic steep lore
Raped in hypnotic sleep gore

(Horrid horrors
Overshadowed by whores
Draped in erotic...
Raped in hypnotic...)

Wear it wherever you dare
Everywhere, there, here
Hear the cries of the Styx
Paddle down the River
Such a breeze to shiver
At the whispering breeze

Careful not to freeze
But why? No one to please!
No one who sees
Can bare the seas
Deadended by the trees
Dead ended by the leaves
People quickly leaves
Shit remains untretrived
Cripple Creek is unrelieved
Unable to fucking breathe
Throttled by wretched thieves
Hear her crippling creaks
Screams, chokes, grieves

Cripple Creek
Cripple Creek
A place so bleak
Cripple Creek
Cripple Creeo
You make me so weak
Cripple Creek
Cripple Creek
Turn the other cheek

Cripple Creek
Cripple Creek
Not a place to seek
Cripple Creek
Cripple Creek
New turns antique
Cripple Creek
Cripple Creek
Not a place to speak

Cripple Creek
Cripple Creek
We all live inside
Cripple Creek
Cripple Creek
We all die inside
Crippled Cripple Creek!

(Cripple Creek
Cripple Creek
We all live inside
Cripple Creek
Cripple Creek
We all die inside
Crippled Cripple Creek)

Poem: "Wonder of Nature!" by Rich Orth

Wonder of Nature!
©Rich Orth

Fade and return
Though always
My heart, it burns
For you,,,
and this life we've built
Never to be uprooted
Leaving us as one
One unit
Branching out
Nourishing our love
With no stipulation
But love reciprocated
For eternity
Not Necessitated
Our love,,Our love
season upon season
Wonder of nature
Breathing reason

Poem: "Tonight!" by Rich Orth

©Rich Orth

Chance encounter
Atop the stairs
Mesmerizing portrait
Captivated by the gaze
... of her violet eyes
Tonight she’s mine
Tonight she comes alive
Effervescent smile
Flirtatious by design
Awakening centuries of
Burgeoning from canvas
Tonight she’s mine
Tonight she comes alive
Beauty emboldened
Fervor to which I succumb
My mistress so divine
Our worlds intertwined
Tonight she’s mine
Tonight she comes alive
Accept my hand
Liberate thyself from
the confines
Into the warmth of my arms
Come to me
Reveal thyself to my world
Don’t turn around
Nevermore look to the past
Tonight you’re mine
Tonight we come alive

Poem: Untitled by Robert McDermott

Robert McDermott

if I showed you
who I am
would you
give a damn

a self proclaimed apparition
seeking concrete
a secret

I want to expose
I'll let it be
for now
after, I'll be free

Poem: Untitled by Robert McDermott

Robert McDermott

feeling lost
the terrible cost

racing and chasing
errant thoughts

sleep loss
makes you toss

a busy mind
so cruel, unkind

close your eyes
take deep breathes

quiet the madness
to cease sadness

stop rumination
there will be illumination

Poem: "Revival of the Ghost in the Age of Irrelevance" by Alan Lisanti

Revival of the Ghost in the Age of Irrelevance
Alan Lisanti

Senor Dupin wears your wool
Senor Dupin where's your wool
Play detective for the fools
Undetected like the muse
I want to wear your flesh
Like the gloves
That render their fingerprints
They have bent you to a clayish mold
While you fire off revelations told
With widened eyes
And conflicted soul
When all you've ever known
Was just their trail of breadcrumbs
Leading you away from culprits
That drip their guilt from head to toe
Proclaim innocence once you crack the code
In your mind the guilty hung like
Freshly rotted meat
While the flies swarm like feeble moths
In the luminescence of the carcass
And you emptied your lungs
At the frenzied crowd below
"Free" words of condemnation
Now scurry in panic to cite evidence
Not just a portion of your own perception
As you hunt for something tangible
So certain that you're certain
There's a library of lies for those
Who discard reality for the vice grip
Of guided imaginations
Senor Dupin consumed the rouse
At will and they learned
Nothing need be forced
By the hands of these cohorts of contortion
No one need be coerced into
Compliance or resistance
The lamb dressed like the wolf
Will volunteer cooperation

Poem: "Existential Dread Vortex" by Alan Lisanti

Existential Dread Vortex
Alan Lisanti

I rose to face the day again
Like autopilot fed to the vice grip of routine
Like an assassin as the undertow
Its greatest weapon is the element of surprise
You'll never anticipate it
Only in its aftermath does awareness
Serve to remind
Like forever waking up to it
With imaginary stitches in your eyes
Only to deter it through caution
Like the news man and the storm watch
And the precautionary State Of Emergency
And you become the fickle fallout shelter
With boarded windows
Repeating for eternity
With shakey words
"I'm certain I'll survive"
My smile is a failsafe
Encouraged by and at war with the madness
See the wood splintered and ravaged still
See the roof peeled back
Like sardine cans on a mountain of garbage
And the elements pour in
Unfiltered like poison directly into my mind
So the stillness follows the anarchy
But now the thickened fog clouds internal thoughts
It's a false tranquility
Anchored but vulnerable
In the storm's evil eye
So naturally, I told myself
"But I'm invincible"
And the sneak attack parley convinced me that I lied
So notably, I've learned that I'm susceptible
But free reign and dire consequences I've denied
Because my perception doesn't belong to you
I've got bare hands and lightning bolts
I'm not a product of design
I've got strong will and antidotes
Spilled ink and resiliency
A bleeding pen
And experience

Lyric: "Feed The Machine" by Ěrik Lęviathan

Feed The Machine
Ěrik Lęviathan

In liars we trust!
They scream in god we trust
They are all just hypocrites filled with greed and lust
Demoralizing all that they touch
Fathers rape their daughters
Mothers kill their unborn bastard sons
And you all turn the other way fighting over the little mermaid
Screaming In god we trust
In god you trust Liar!
Feed the machine
Feed the machine
Fall in line and feed the machine
Fall in line and feed the machine
Feed the machine
What is this existence?
When will the illusion fade?
Your gods didn't create men
The kings of men created gods and you have all been played
Your life is a lie
Your Gods are a lie
Open your fucking eyes
Embracing this false reality is not wise.
Feed the machine
Feed the machine
All hail the liar
Who will set the world afire
And damn the man with a better plan
Stupid little imbeciles no one really expects you to understand
Fall in line and feed the machine
Take a look at our cesspool of degeneracy
We are led to our doom by hypocrisy
Feed the machine
Feed the machine
Feed the machine

Lyric: "Declaration Of War" by Ěrik Lęviathan

Declaration Of War
Ěrik Lęviathan

I pledge my dis-allegiance
To the blueprint disaster plan
Destroying the hope of man
Death lingers in the new necropolis that we call our home
Bodies impaled upon centuries of deceit
Upon the pyres of Justice the puritans scream
Ransack the city
Beat the slave and rewrite history
Savage acts of justice, this seems fair?
For you there will be no final prayer!
Bodies impaled upon centuries of deceit
Upon the pyres of Justice the puritans scream
Death lingers in the new necropolis that we call our home
Bodies impaled upon centuries of deceit
Upon the pyres of Justice
The puritans scream
Bodies impaled upon centuries of deceit
Upon the pyres of Justice the puritans scream
Bodies impaled upon centuries of deceit
A savage ending the puritans meet

Poem: "Placid Pond" by Jerry Langdon

Placid Pond
© Jerry Langdon 2023

This placid pond where subtle winds blow;
Where the quiescence drifts over still surface;
Where my mind can rest and my heart re-grow
Has become a feral sea where waves race.
I can nolonger let myself burdenlessly drift.
Fighting to stay afloat, hoping I don't capsize.
Wearily struggling not to be cast to the rift.
Praying to soon see more promising skies.
The waves pound; beating down on me;
So visciously trying to swallow me
As if I were the center of gravity;
They crash down around me.
This quiet pond where I would go
Where the only waves were a skipping stone.
This place where I could let thoughts flow
Where I would be heart and soul alone.

Poem: "Caught In The Mirror" by Jerry Langdon

Caught In The Mirror
© Jerry Langdon 2023

Caught in the mirror
As if it was always there
A reflection of some trick
Damned to be searching
For a way to be seen
Just touched on the surface
While the depths remain
There's a crack in the glass
But only darkness bleeding out
This vision can't escape
Knock, knock. Who's there
Caught in the mirror
A makeshift illusion
Of a Jerry rigged delusion
A puppet of madness
The oracle promises an omen
Its visions are distorted
Shifting day to day
Can't understand its message
Cryptic signs from the Gods
Caught in mirror
Are the answers near?
I see those runes being etched

Poem: "Whitechapel" by Kay Irvin

© Kay Irvin

Blood on the streets, stench in the air
1888, Butcher's Row, despair
Slaughterhouses spill the shuffle
The pubs hustle to some lamplight scuffle
Bobby whistles scream but the Ripper is no where

East end fog licks a dirty gem
Velvet bonnet and tattered hem
I'll do such things, such crafty things
Inside out and a few pence spread
I'll cut the sin right out of them
It may be 'neath a harlot's moon
But I'm going to paint it red
They will beg my blade and wish they were dead

A night's lodging, bread square and sleep
- Be the highest hope, if four pence will keep
Wipe a tear, smile and show some skirt
There's your lady, say how no one gets hurt
Raise the flounce, collect, sow and so soon shall you reap

'Jack' is the name on frightened lips
Eluding, he's a caper, always slips
God save the Queen and us as well
London mist has become his home from Hell
- Phantom with a lust to kill sure as more flesh rips

East end fog licks a dirty gem
Velvet bonnet and tattered hem
I'll do such things, such crafty things
Inside out and a few pence spread
I'll cut the sin right out of them
It may be 'neath a harlot's moon
But I'm going to paint it red
They will beg my blade and wish they were dead

Poem: "Firethorn" by Kay Irvin

(c) Kay Irvin

Give us a sweet goodbye
Before illusion fades to scorn
When the sunset aims sly
And our reality is torn
The rose will sleep beauty
As flames of daylight's death is born

Give us one last embrace
Before the garden withers stark
Blossoms will bleed with grace
As shadows rush to steal their spark
I was too close to see
Full picture always hid true mark
To the dark

I give us love and hate
It's wrapped in the pause that's worn
We opened up the gate
To grounds bound empty and forlorn
Burn and sharp intertwine
Our end befalls as brightness mourns

Poem: "Self Denial" by M Teresa Clayton

Self Denial
M Teresa Clayton

You are not my soul’s addiction.
This is not a midnight craving.
This is not my sole confliction
When a heart is worth the saving.

You are not my constant yearning.
It is not a love forsaken.
This is not a poignant learning
Considering the risk I have taken.

You are not my mind’s invention.
This is just an obscene fixation.
This is not some blind convention,
Just a subtle willful persuasion.

You are nothing but a fascination,
A craze, a moment of curiosity!
This might be just infatuation
Driven mad by impetuosity.

You might be a critical distraction.
This could be a smoldering flame.
It is not just a typical attraction
If I give in - so what? Who’s to blame?
You have become a serious delusion.
You ask and I’m afraid to reply.
I feel lost in delirious confusion.
I am losing my strength to deny.

You are my hunger, my thirst, my desire.
This is my itch, my longing, my lust.
You are the object of my deepest desire,
I surrender… please, do what you must…

Poem: "The Balance" by M Teresa Clayton

The Balance
M Teresa Clayton

I listen to the waves rushing ashore; the ebb and flow…
the rhythmic beating of lives measured cadence
keeping pace with what must come and what must go -
alluvial grounds preparing for a blessed nascence.

I watch as the sun arrives; lifting its light from the east…
we know nothing of our treasured reliance.
Reaping her nourishment, each day a new feast -
yet, taken for granted 'neath this unspoken alliance.

The wind blowing in from the north; a harsh and stinging cold…
the solstice has lost its once grand appearance.
Long past its due, the season has now grown old
bidding the equinox to come without interference.

Strongest are the many blessings now spoken from its mouth…
hymns sung aloft now rain down its affluence.
Spring's warm soft breezes arrive from the south;
gives praise to the passing season at its confluence.

The seasons have never forgotten their appointed course…
each pushes past all unforeseen resistance.
We endure the change without any remorse,
knowing it still remains true to its flawless consistence.

The new moon prepares to wax full and then begins to wane…
pulls the tides high in glorious resplendence.
She assures that she will return once again,
It is the symmetry of her splendor in transcendence.

Opposites push and pull to gain their own definition…
yet, held fast within this divine ordinance.
Redundancy - the bane of man's supposition.
All grace lies within predestined accordance.

The courses, cyclic in nature, rearrange; recomposed…
remains the same when bartering allowance.
Abundance is equality; juxtaposed
On the head of a pin, a delicate balance.

written and read at the Dreams and Divinities Art show in San Cristobal Mexico in 2014.