Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Interview with Altara Blakthorne of Blackened Horde Zine by Dave Wolff

Interview with Altara Blakthorne of Blackened Horde Zine

From what I gather Blackened Horde Zine was on hiatus but you recently restarted it with several new interviews.
Blackened Horde Zine first started as a print zine under another name, then it was changed to a website. I am still re-vamping the zine in trying to find reviewers who are willing to donate their time and opinions in doing some reviews.

What is the purpose of Blackened Horde Zine and what genres does it cover? How widespread is your readership?
The purpose of Blackened Horde is to help promote local and underground bands. They work hard and all deserve to be recognized for their talent. We cover all genres in the Extreme Metal era. Anything from Black Metal to Thrash Metal. I do have another zine that handles all other genres. We are world-widespread, so all countries and then some.

For what reasons did you decide to exclusively cover extreme metal in the zine? How many subgenres has it supported altogether?
Living in Florida which was labeled as “the death metal capital of the world” is why I decided to do Extreme Metal genres. I couldn't even guess an exact number of subgenres; probably around twenty or so.

Did you start the zine independently or with staff members helping you out?
I started it all myself, however, I have always had people doing the album reviews. The main reason for this is conflict. If I didn't like a band but they were friends I didn't want there to be tension in the friendship.

What was your zine first named, and how many issues were printed and released? How long was it on hold and what made you decide to bring it back online?
The printed zine had the embarrassing name of “The Vampiress Chronicles”. There were probably about ten to fifteen issues. I'm not sure exactly how long it was on hold but it was many, many years.

How many copies did you press of each issue of the zine when it was The Vampiress Chronicles? Are any older issues still available?
Not too many actually. It was basically printed on an order basis. And I do believe I may have some of those interviews on my website under “Ancient Interviews”. There are no printed copies except mine that I will always keep. I am thinking about taking it apart to laminate the pages so they don't get ruined.

How many staff writers/contributors worked on The Vampiress Chronicles with you? Did any of them express interest in resuming for Blackened Horde or did you restart from scratch?
I had probably three reviewers for TVC and I was the only interviewer. However, an ex-boyfriend did one interview because he was living with this other band and he thought it would be fun. One of the reviewers did come over to BHZ until he didn't have the time.

We know about Cannibal Corpse and Deicide, but did Blackened Horde cover local Florida bands who weren’t noticed as much by major independent labels?
We have covered Florida bands. Some are bands people know and some are bands people don't.

What lesser-known Florida bands have been featured in reviews and interviews? Is the death metal scene there as active as it was when it started?
Some of the Florida bands were: Impurity, Burning Fair Verona, Armageddon III, Faethom, Markradonn, and many more. The Death Metal scene is definitely still active however with the Covid situation a lot of bands are kinda on hold or not playing live as much.

Going by all the subgenres you listen to, are there still bands expanding the range of extreme metal as a whole, or do most of the bands you’ve heard sound like bands from the 1990s?
I think some of the bands from the 90's were better than and some of the bands now are better. It all depends on the bands. Nowadays they are exploring more options and adding different things into the mix.

Do you also cover black metal and other subgenres of metal in your zine?
Black metal is my favorite in the extreme metal genre. I even did an interview with Boddel from Gorgoroth before his passing. Which I will always keep in the current interview section. You can listen to it here: http://blackenedhorde.com/gorgoroth. If a band is extreme metal they will be added to BHZ, if they are not they will go in my other zine Crimson Moon. That way no one gets turned down.

How much has Blackened Horde’s readership increased since it became an online zine? How long did it take to build the website and is it on your own internet host?
Well, it has definitely gotten a lot more attention. I get emails all the time from bands and labels. My ex did the original setup (coding) for the website. But the input in it was all done by me which took a very long time. Months even. I wanted it to be very well implemented so it was easy for readers to navigate.

Who are some of the bands featured in the Ancient Interviews section? And the bands you have interviewed more recently?
The bands there are Angelkill, Corpsevomit, Fleshgrind, Num Skull, and others. The most recent are Adragard, Messora, Brzask and Goddess.

Do you prefer doing interviews where a band gives brief, to the point answers or interviews where a band gives longer, more detailed answers?
When a band gives short answers to every single question it makes the readers feel like they are rushing through it so they don't want to bother. With that being said some answers will be short.

I saw you post videos on the site as well as reviews, band bios, and interviews. Does this help increase the traffic?
The videos and bios, I am not sure if they increase traffic but I figured it is a good way for people to know a little more about the band and even hear them.

In addition to promotional videos, have you considered posting bands’ Youtube, Bandcamp, and Spotify links?
As for the links, I do add links at the end of the interviews to places people can find out about the bands if they are provided or can be found.

Have you met any writers or prospective writers interested in reviewing for the zine?
I do have some people who are interested in writing reviews. And I am always happy to have more so if anyone out there is interested please email me at summon@blackenedhorde.com. Of course, I will always miss my greatest reviewer of all, Pagan.

Who was Pagan and how actively was she involved with Blackened Horde Zine?
Pagan was a girl I knew from the U.K. and she was an awesome reviewer. She would even send over stuff I didn't send her to add into BHZ. Unfortunately, she passed away from cancer a few years ago. I miss her a lot.

Are you still involved with the radio program you’re doing for Blackened Horde? How long has that show been online to date? Has the staff at the zine also been involved in it?
Unfortunately, the radio station is not live due to circumstances. One is the company that broadcasted the stream no longer exists. And my ex put that up and I'm not sure who else to go with anymore. However, I do keep the website up in case I ever can get it up and running again.
No one from the zine got involved in the radio station since they were not local and I wasn't gonna leave the computer vulnerable to hackers. But I did have a local friend who used to come over and do a radio show sometimes. Great night of metal and Jack Daniels for us both.

What company broadcasted the stream, and how visible was the link or website for listeners to tune into? Was it live at that time or prerecorded?
It’s been so long that I can't remember the name of the company that supported the live stream. It was live and ran 24/7 unless the power or internet was out. The stream was right on the main page so people can get to it when they open the webpage. There were some pre-recorded shows uploaded.

Who was the friend you worked on the show with, and how would a typical session go? Did you ever consider hosting it solo or would you have to work with a second DJ?
My friend that did some show with me was a guy named David. He used that DJ name of Bonechild. We would just play random shit, whatever he wanted to play. However, I did have many shows I hosted. The certain show had a certain type of genre to follow.

What genre or genres were normally spotlighted on Blackened Horde Radio? Who were some of the bands Bonechild would play on the show?
Blackened Horde Radio featured many genres from Extreme Metal, Classic Rock, Hair Metal, Rock, Metal, Punk, Alternative, Grunge, Industrial, Unsigned, and Local bands and anything in between those lines. Bonechild would play a lot of the Florida extreme Metal bands and the popular ones like Cannibal Corpse and Deicide.

How many underground/unsigned bands were aired on the show, bands you couldn’t hear on other programs?
It really depended on the show for how many underground bands were played. I had a show just for underground bands. So however long the show was for it would play that many. I miss doing the shows.

Were any live performances aired on the show, or would you consider airing live shows if you were to start it up again?
Live shows wouldn't really be possible unless I got a bigger studio with more room. However, I have done a live interview with a band in the studio before.

Who was the band you interviewed live and when was the interview conducted? Would you do more live interviews today if you had the opportunity?
The band was called Vital Pain, which no longer exists. I have done others via Skype. I don't do them like that anymore either due to my schedule and the bands' schedule. But if I could I would.

How long have you worked for Crimson Moon Zine and how much does its format differ from Blackened Horde? Was anyone publishing it before you joined or is it yours?
Crimson Moon Zine only started maybe ten years ago. It's always been online, never a printed zine. No one published before me I started it. The format is any genre in the Rock/Metal categories, but no extreme Metal.

When was the latest issue of Crimson Moon released online, and what bands were interviewed?
There aren't any issues per se of Crimson Moon Zine. It's all under the same format as BHZ where it has “Current Interviews” and “Older Interviews” tabs. However, I recently did two interviews with bands Fore and Ted Axe. But as for older interviews for CMZ I have done Dream Aria, Killerfix, Lestat, Savage, Thirty Silver, Widows, and many more.

Does Crimson Moon have a staff of any kind or are you seeking writers to contribute as well as to Blackened Horde?
Well right now I have two writers interested in doing reviews however I have to go through files to see which is Crimson Moon material and which is Blackened Horde material.

Are you getting offers to write reviews or interviews for other webzines in recent months? Or are Blackened Horde and Crimson Moon your sole publications at present?
I always get emails from bands and labels for interviews and reviews. It's a never-ending process. And then sometimes I will contact a band.

What genres have you not covered in your zines, that you would consider expanding to in the future?
I think we covered every that I would cover between both zines. Its all in the Rock and Metal eras. We will never cover rap or pop types of genres because the readers wouldn't care.


-Dave Wolff

Interview with makeup artist and goth model Chinzyllah by Dave Wolff

Interview with makeup artist and goth model Chinzyllah

Asphyxium Zine: Your Instagram profile partly describes you as a “darkly inclined makeup enthusiast”. Can you elaborate on what such a statement is intended to mean?
Chinzyllah: For me, being darkly inclined is defined by one’s passionate connection to the darker aspects of life. I’m sure many would immediately identify me as a goth, but I prefer not to be limited to only one hue of darkness. I also draw much of my inspiration from the black metal musical genre. I’ve classified myself as a makeup enthusiast rather than a makeup artist, as I lack the formal training that’s usually required. Furthermore, I’ve never considered myself to be worthy of being recognized as a legitimate artist of any kind. Perhaps I’m more humble than what is healthy, but I just don’t agree with being appraised at a high value.”

Asphyxium Zine: Which of life’s darker aspects do you feel a connection with, and where does the passion for these connections come from? Did you feel these connections from a young age or did they develop over time?
Chinzyllah: The darkest aspect of life is death itself, as that is where life as we currently know it ends. There have been numerous occasions, mostly throughout my teenage years, where being smitten by death’s eternal embrace was almost fatal. I’ve felt the longing for death to claim my life since the age of twelve, which is also another way of saying that I’ve been coping with severe depression for about thirteen years. In saying that, I suppose my passion for life’s ultimate hue of darkness is sourced by my ever-evolving battle with depression.

Asphyxium Zine: Goth and black metal has more connotations today than in the past. These include a wider spectrum of colors, albeit all darker. How many different aspects of these aesthetics are you drawing from and/or creating?
Chinzyllah: For me, inspiration is born from a multitude of avenues that extend beyond musical genres or subcultural themes. Honestly, most of my creations start without blueprints; I just start mixing the ingredients on my face and allow nature to take its course until I deem it finished. Viewing the results of my efforts, some may find that hard to believe but it’s the absolute truth.

Asphyxium Zine: Are you a long time listener of black metal or did you discover it in later years? Is there any particular subgenre of black metal you resonate with? How many similarities, musical and/or visual, do you see between black metal and goth?
Chinzyllah: My ears tasted black metal for the very first time during my high school years, so I’ve been a listener of the genre for about a decade or so now. As a teenager, I decided that I wanted to practice LaVeyan Satanism to rebel against my Christian upbringing, Upon making this decision, I started doing research on Satanic worship music. During the Christian sermon structure, the musical component was always captivating for me. That being said, I just couldn’t envision a religion without music as I’d previously known music’s integral role within Christianity. Not long after beginning my search for Satan-praising musicians, I first happened upon Gorgoroth and was not disappointed with what I’d heard. Moving forward, there isn’t a black metal subgenre that I favour more over others; I enjoy just about anyone in the genre besides Burzum. I’ve personally never recognized any similarities between black metal and goth, as they are two entirely different entities both musically and aesthetically.

Asphyxium Zine: How much of your innermost emotions can you channel into your work without revealing too much of it? Where do you have to draw the line?
Chinzyllah: The amount of inward thoughts and emotions that I express through makeup is virtually limitless. Placing a cap on the emotional value of my looks hasn’t felt necessary, not yet anyway. I may not consider myself good enough to be dubbed as a “true” artist, but I recognize that whatever I create evokes a unique response from each viewer much like art does. Among my current viewership, accurate readings of what internal processes I’m externalizing through makeup has been an infrequent occurrence. With that in mind, expressing my true self with this particular method doesn’t make me feel vulnerable. Most don’t really pick up on how influential my subconscious is on my hand during each brushstroke, so there’s little concern for being too revealing.

Asphyxium Zine: Does improvising your designs without blueprints or pre-planning give you more room for expression? Is it too much for some to handle if they’re unfamiliar with black metal or goth?
Chinzyllah: Although it may not be the best approach for those with limited patience, it absolutely provides me with the freedom to authentically express myself. On average, the assemblage time for my makeup alone usually takes anywhere between two to four hours which has definitely helped with improving my patience over the years. As for my chosen presentation being too intense for some, that can be immediately confirmed by having me enter the local grocery store in my full form. I was born and raised within a small tourist town, so I’m sure you can imagine the many gawks and fearful mutterings I often receive based upon their beliefs in highly inaccurate stereotypes.

Asphyxium Zine: What about your Christian upbringing did you most want to rebel against? Are you still in that frame of mind or do you feel you have grown on your own terms since then?
Chinzyllah: As your typical angsty teenager, I just really wanted to rebel against my parents and their predetermined destiny for my life which had no consideration for the person I truly am. Looking back, nothing healthy ever came from trying to be one with their god growing up. My mother would regularly claim that I wouldn’t have had so many struggles in life had I just given Jesus more room within my heart and mind. Meanwhile, the large religious target placed upon my back during childhood predisposed me to over a decade’s worth of bullying and almost led me into a dysfunctional marriage years later. Although these negative experiences were indeed painful, I don’t think I’d be as well-equipped for life had it not been for those growing pains.

Asphyxium Zine: What kind of stereotypes have you dealt with, and how did religion play into them? In what ways was the left hand path an answer when it came to choosing your own path?
Chinzyllah: I’ve been met with several stereotypes throughout my existence, the most common being the goth stereotype. People who aren’t even vaguely familiar with the gothic subculture really let their ignorance shine through, when they make the assumption that I’m inherently evil due to the dark elements I adorn myself with. I understand that some folks are well-intended and are just trying to compliment my sense of style the way they know best; so I try to remain respectful in hopes of debunking that stereotype’s validity. When you throw religion into the mix, it becomes much more tiresome for me to acknowledge as most religious folk have perceived me as a missionary’s conquest. Venturing down the left path was necessary for my journey of self-discovery, it’s also what saved my life in a way. If I’d remained on the Christian road that I was brought up on, I don’t believe I would’ve been able to accept myself for who I truly am or feel anything besides shame.

Asphyxium Zine: How important a role, if any, do the mediums of music and film play in your self-expression?
Chinzyllah: Honestly, I’m not a huge movie buff. When the mood strikes, I enjoy classic horror films and well as select modern film series like Lord Of The Rings and Underworld. With how little I watch movies, or even just general television, I can’t say that the film industry has had a significant role in my daily life or the way I choose to express myself. On the other hand, music has definitely played a major role in my form of self-expression and shall continue to until there’s nothing left for me to express. When the music stops, so do I. Creating anything without the musical accompaniment to fuel me throughout the creative process, would be comparable to going on a deep sea dive without a breathing apparatus.


-Dave Wolff

Interview with Corban Skipwith of Relentless Reviews with Corbz by Dave Wolff

Interview with Corban Skipwith 
of Relentless Reviews with Corbz

You post music reviews at your Facebook group “Relentless Reviews With Corbz”. Were your earliest reviews of artists you were friends with or artists you found online?
Since I was young I’ve had this obsession with music. I always thought it was normal to study, learn and binge listen to music all day but I soon found out it wasn’t. I started actually three to four years ago just because I knew so much I thought why not!
My first attempt was called “Kaioken’s Knowledge Knock Outs” and the reviews I did were short and really bad. I cringe when I look back at them. Justin Hunte formerly of HipHopDx and The Needle Drop’s Anthony Fantano inspired me. To be honest, when I first started with my amateur take on reviews I was just reviewing the albums Anthony Fantano covered, so essentially I started off as a hack, haha.

Was “Kaioken’s Knowledge Knock Outs” on Facebook or was there an official website?
It was just random posts I made to my Facebook. I’m glad I never made that go viral! Haha.

When did you start “Relentless Reviews With Corbz” and how actively did you promote it?
I don’t remember, but the original name for the current group was “Kaioken’s Musical Debates and Reviews”; something like that. Then it was changed to what you see now.

How extensive was your study of music, and how did it help to satisfy your obsession with it?
I never actually had any official extensive study. All the knowledge I’ve acquired was from self-study, researching different artists and genres, taking time out to watch interviews and listen to new music to broaden my horizon!

How many genres were you studying before you became interested in reviewing? Where were most of the interviews you watched, and what pointers did you pick up from them?
I studied all genres, but the two genres I started off loving was Hip Hop and Heavy Metal. I guess watching various channels and interviews I picked up small stuff like: interesting questions, ability to keep the conversation going, room set up etc.

Were the channels you watched mostly on Youtube and other platforms like Facebook and Reverbnation? Where did you read the interviews you researched?
Yeah, mainly on YouTube. I use to watch everything from behind the scenes footage, interviews, Q and A’s, etc.
The one interview that stood out most to me was this interview with Dani Filth (Cradle of Filth) regarding his latest album (at the time) “Darkly Darkly Venus Aversa”. As the album is focused on the demon Lilith who in some variations of the bible is considered to be “the snake” that convinced Eve to eat the apple and cast her and Adam out of the Garden of Eden.
Anyway, Dani Filth described the album, “Lilith is such an interesting character, in fact religion as a whole is such a fun fairytale”.

Are you self-educated as a writer, or did your formal education in high school and college have a part in it?
I am self-educated, though I excelled in literature in high school which led to my passion for writing reviews down the line.

Who were the authors you were studying most often while taking literature in high school? Where did you make the connection between reading and reviewing?
None specifically. In literature we would write poetry, and the two poets I remember being fixated on most was the lead singer of the Finnish band HIM, Ville Valo, and the lead singer of UK band Cradle Of Filth, Dani Filth. Their various takes on dark poetry fascinated me most and the later one helped me learn new words as that band often uses complicated words.

How many poems did you compose in high school? Do you still have any of them in your possession?
I actually had a whole folder of dark poetry and rap lyrics. If I remember correctly it was all super moody, depressing, purposely controversial content as I was fighting a lot of emotional issues at the time and writing was my escape. I think it’s under my bed somewhere actually, haha.

Any examples of lyrics Ville Valo and Dani Filth wrote that you found inspirational, or do you generally appreciate all of their work?
From HIM it was: “The kiss of vanity blessed me with a spiritual murder/Fed the gods of war insatiable/Your home is where the dark is, I should have told her/Embraced the fire indestructible”. From Cradle Of Filth it was actually the whole song “The Cult of Venus Aversa”, the intro track to their album of the same name.

How did your professors respond to you presenting metal lyrics? Were the songs you shared taken seriously or was there bias to overcome?
I remember the one time I showed the HIM lyrics specifically to one of my teachers she was just confused and didn’t understand it at all. But I remember when I had to write a poem about this book for school the teacher Mr. Davidson said to me, “This wasn’t the format of poetry I was looking for but you have a rare writing talent that not many people in the world have.” I still remember those words to this day, haha.

Did you always want to write exclusively about music, or were there other mediums you were interested in at any point?
This was actually my last option, I originally wanted to be a rapper or a producer. But when that fell short I realized the only thing I was ever good at was writing so I decided to take my knowledge and my literature skills and start writing reviews!

How do you think you would have fared as a rapper if you had pursued it?
I always wonder this, and I feel I would have done horribly. I can only seem to think of one or two creative ideas at a time and I’m super inconsistent on any real material, haha.

Was writing poems ever an option when you were considering long term careers?
No, not really. It was only ever a hobby for me.

How cathartic was it to write the lyrics you preserved in your folder? How do you feel looking back on them now?
I was born into a religious Mormon household so to hear such passive atheism coming from my favorite singer at the time was crazy! Haha. I feel quite cringy to be honest, some of them I think were pretty cool, but a lot were dumb and over the top.
In fact I was so out of touch with reality that one time during this math test I had with this teacher I couldn’t stand I write down absolutely ridiculous nonsense in the answers like “go kill yourself” or “satan is king” which ended up getting me expelled if I’m not mistaken. I was really messed up back then and I’m just happy I grew into my love for writing and turned it into something proper.

How much of an impact did your Mormon upbringing have on you, and why did you feel you needed to rebel? In what ways did that rebellion shape who you are?
It had a massive impact on me, I mean don’t get me wrong it taught me a whole lot of useful stuff like how to tie a tie, wear a suit, how to be polite, manners etc and there were tons of extra-curricular activities that I really enjoyed.
But for me the toughest part was the censorship of everything, I mean we weren’t even allowed to watch ‘The Simpsons’ growing up let alone South Park or Family Guy.
If it had swearing we had to turn it off, so I had many clashes as a teenager with my music and especially as a moody teenager trying to piss off my parents so my music was extra explicit it’s was just a tough time for me (musically) at least.
But now as I’m older, Me and mum and dad have a super strong relationship and I just don’t bring up music with swearing to them or if I write a review or do an interview with someone with heavy swearing I just tell them beforehand not to tune in or read it, haha.

Were Justin Hunte and Anthony Fantano people you knew personally or artists you admired before you started reviewing?
Unfortunately, I had never met them. To me they were and still are rock stars in their own right and I still hope to meet them one day down the line!

You cover rap and metal on your Facebook profile. Since the late 80s/early 90s rap and metal have often crossed over (Anthrax and Public Enemy, Biohazard and Cypress Hill, Slayer and Ice T etc). Do you consider the two genres compatible?
I definitely think they can be! My top picks are normally Run DMC/Aerosmith – “Walk This Way” and Jay Z/Linkin Park – “Numb Encore”. I feel they showcase the best of both!

What about the way rap lyrics are penned speak to you? Are they similar to lyrics by metal bands?
I’m more fascinated by the wordplay aspect of rap. How many words can they fit to one sentence, how complicated can they make it? How creative? There are just so many ways a rapper can manipulate and work the lyrics; with Metal I’m always interested in the story aspect.
What kind of overall story or vibe can they give off? Cradle Of Filth did an excellent job at conceptual albums by telling these fairytale like fantasy stories in the albums with every song building the narrative stronger! HIM had the best “vibe” incorporated what they dubbed as “Love Metal” by making a name for themselves with moody, larger than life goth ballads. They really spoke to me with how much emotion was made in each song.

How do listeners of rap and metal respond to your reviews? Do you think you’re bridging the gap between both “camps”?
I feel they are very positive! When I write a metal review I tag and share it to all metal communities, but since my group is filled with a mixed bag of tastes you get the occasional reaction or share on a post that differs from their own personal taste! I chalk it down to out of support for my writing, but they could just like to be diverse so there’s that possibility.

Can metal and rap cross over today as when those songs by Run DMC/Aerosmith and Jay Z/Linkin Park were recorded?
I believe it can more than ever! I mean look at artists like Ghostmane, Scarlxrd and Denzel Curry to name a few who are making a career combining the two styles in various ways and it works! Plus you have the “Soundcloud era” of music which often features metal and hip hop influences!

Who are some of the artists you recently reviewed for your profile, and how much notice have the reviews gotten since they’ve been posted?
There was this one duo called Brick Da Foundation. I reviewed their album “Bell X Brick”. After a few days of the review being out, they said, their album appeared on the Apple Music charts! Not sure how much I had to do with that, but they seem to think it was a lot so I’ll take the compliment haha.

Have you considered starting a blog to post your reviews, and possibly expanding to interviewing bands and artists there?
I’m working on a podcast with a close friend who’s also a rapper, so there’s that. But I’m not sure yet I’m always down for anything!

Is there anything you can reveal to the readers about the podcast you’re working on? Is this podcast streaming now or is there a launch date? How did you come up with the idea and what will be aired on it?
At the moment not really, it’s really super into it. All I can say is that it will be featuring a guy called Bailey McLean. He’s a hip hop artist that goes by the name “Bayza” who is an Australian hip hop artist on the rise and a close friend of mine!

How well known a rap artist is Bayza in his home country? Are there sizable rap scenes over there?
Not too well known yet, but big things are on the rise for sure! It definitely has a cult following the Australian Hip Hop Scene, if I had to compare the sound it would be a combination of West Coast production mixed with UK Grime vocal performances. Definitely an acquired taste.

Which internet platforms are you considering airing the podcast on?
That I’m not sure of yet, we will have to wait and see!

Though writing poems was a hobby, if you were to start again, would you consider publishing them in a book or magazine?
Yes, I don’t see why not! If they were good enough, I haven’t tried writing poetry in a while but I’ve always had this concept for a book with this premise: A mysterious foreign man visits a town and comes across a woman who has a whole lot of troubles in her life, and he makes it so that she vents to him and he acts like her psychologist. After every session he converts her troubles into a musical overture, then at the end of the book he presents to the whole town his grant musical overture representing her life, troubles and redemption!

Do you ever think you would start writing that novel you described? Do you know of any publishing companies you would take the finished book to?
I hope I have the opportunity in the future, I would currently say it’s just a pipe dream but I never know what the future holds! And no I haven’t thought that far ahead with it.

You told me recently you’re writing an article to land a position with a major music magazine. Is there anything you can fill the readers in on about this?
Yes! Well I have the possible opportunity to be a freelancer for Rolling Stone Magazine if I can nail this article. It’s a big order but all I can do is put my best foot forward and see what happens!


-Dave Wolff

Monday, May 3, 2021

Full Length Reviews: Misanthropik Torment "Murder Is My Remedy" (Misanthropik Records) by Dave Wolff

Band: Misanthropik Torment
Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Country: USA
Genre: Blackened death metal
Full Length: Murder Is My Remedy
Format: Digital, vinyl, limited edition CD
Label: Misanthropik Records
Release date: April 1, 2021
Misanthropik Torment is a blackened death metal band founded and fronted by The Leviathan, and to say his music is something the faint of heart and faint of mind should avoid is a massive understatement. MT personifies brutal vengeance and the destruction of human vileness while seeking to educate through the chaos theory, demonstrating how it functions on societal and mental levels. It demonstrates what happens to one’s mental capacity when one is “pushed too far”, requiring thought and meditation as much as a visceral response. The Leviathan’s newest release “Murder Is My Remedy” is as much a call to thought as action, which should possibly be locked away in a vault for its potential to destroy society. Misanthropik Torment’s early material from 2019 was extremely raw and abrasive, apparently intended as a representation of the disorder resulting from propositional incongruity and cognitive dissonance. I’d guess this is where the “seething hatred for the sickness of humanity” theme comes from, the idea that people present an image of being enlightened while behaving in a predatory manner. Expressed in The Leviathan’s early work for MT as an assault on your senses much akin to this cognitive dissonance, this project may be too much to stomach even for fans of the most extreme of extreme music. But its way of addressing human nature is intelligent in its own way though this may not be apparent by first impressions. From 2019 to 2020 to 2021 MT has become more refined and sophisticated as The Leviathan has experimented with tighter songwriting, more precise musicianship, more complex song structure, melodic rhythms, and experimentation with keyboards but there is still something raw and dangerous about it. To “better yourself” philosophically would defeat the purpose, so as much as Misanthropik Torment has matured as musicians and songwriters he has also decided to head in the opposite direction philosophically and conceptually. Keeping their older raw black/death metal influences and the tight crunch and grind added there are some hints of influence in Pantera and the bands that came after them. It may not be completely safe for consumption but it will alter your perception of the world if you allow it to. –Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Erick Leviathan: Vocals
Josh Freeman: Guitars
James Pasini: Bass
Hector (The Beast): Drums

Track list:
1. Purge
2. Misanthropik Mind
3. King Of Fools
4. M.I.M.R.
5. Sadistic State Of Mind
6. Zero Fucks
7. Benighted & Death
8. The Victim Has Died

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Full Length Review: NoisePoetNobody "Insanity Mirror" (Scry Recordings) by Corban Skipwith

Band: NoisePoetNobody
Location: Seattle, Washington
Country: USA
Genre: Dark ambient, experimental, drone
Full Length: Insanity Mirror
Format: Digital album
Label: Scry Recordings
Release date: April 2, 2021
It’s 8:42pm here in Melbourne Australia, just about to knock off for the night but not before a long-awaited album review so for all of you here is another Bandcamp representative.
*INSANITY MIRROR* by ‘NoisePoetNobody’.
So this is the latest project by experimental artist ‘NoisePoetNobody’. A reoccurring trend for me these days is discovering new artists by the day and this is definitely one of those times, I’ve had no prior knowledge of this person leading up to this album and I’m all the better for it because the best way I can describe this 6 track project is ‘an experience’.
So first off this album flows all together in one, from the opening track to the last minute of the finale it all comes together as one ‘streaming’ piece of music with each song containing its own little waves and bumps along the continuous path that is this album.
To me this feels similar to an album like ‘Rainbow Mirror’ by Prurient in the context of every song is unique but forms together as one sonic consciousness if you will keeping your mind focused and entranced the entire ride. If you were to blend Drone Metal and Noise this would be the result, it’s very bare in its presentation with very minimal production and sounds used throughout the run time but that’s obviously an intentional move by the man to keep the album feeling ‘raw’ and ‘uncomfortable’ giving it that extra ‘awe’ factor so to speak.
With no words or vocal samples, this thing is definitely a go-to for the Drone fans out there, although there isn’t too much grand instrumentation or larger than life choir backgrounds or intense apocalyptic vibes going around it’s still quite the journey, more custom to an indie sound with its use of the ‘less is more’ practice coming into play.
Look, if you’re looking for the most groundbreaking and Sky splitting Drone/Experimental albums this probably won’t do you justice, but what it will deliver is a creative use of the minimalistic tendencies and sound palettes, provides the listener with a creative take on dark ambient music that is equal parts interesting and nerve-racking.
I’ll link the Bandcamp down below, please go support the guy! He’s doing a great job and I’m excited to see what’s to come next from him!
https://noisepoetnobody1.bandcamp.com/album/insanity-mirror. –Corban Skipwith

Lineup:
Casey Chittenden Jones: All instruments

Track list:
1. can't see it now
2. blind light box
3. look at this view
4. your other image
5. ugly bent reflection
6. zero focus angle

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Full Length Review: Bones Of The Earth "II. Eternal Meditations of a Deathless Crown" (Independent) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Bones Of The Earth
Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas
Country: USA
Genre: Doom/sludge/stoner metal
Full Length: II. Eternal Meditations of a Deathless Crown
Format: CD, tape dad cassette
Label: Independent
Release date: April 2, 2021
What’s going on everyone!
It’s *METAL TIME* again! And I think it’s time to take it back to a genre I haven’t covered much on here so without any more wasting time, Bones Of The Earth “II. Eternal Meditations of a Deathless Crown”.
So this is the latest album by Bones Of The Earth who is a new band I’ve discovered and I’m all the better for it!
Because among these six tracks you have quite the interesting blend of Sludge Metal/Groove Metal.
So, what they have going on is an album with incredible pacing combining the slow moving elements of Sludge with the also commonly slow elements of Groove to find that little sweet spot in the middle.
Most songs feature these heavy-handed but melodic guitar progressions and methodical drum patterns to sync, some songs would just feature mainly instrumental before any words kick in which gives more of a ‘Progressive’ metal feel I suppose but the sound and production incorporated give it that strong sludge, an apocalyptic vibe that bands such as ‘Eyehategod’, ‘Acidbath’ and early ‘Swans’ are used to its awesome!
Another element of the music is the vocals! With the main singer sounding like his own combination of Phil Anselmo and Henry Rollins. You have that strong in-your-face attitude that both attribute to but also that heavy punk flair that Rollins brings combined with the relentlessness that Phil possessed so all in all a fascinating mixture to have on the record but it works! The more I listen to this project, the more it hits me how well it’s constructed based on all the elements coming together as one!
For a band I just recently discovered, they are really good! They do a great job bringing back to life a prominently lost genre and upgrading it to fit the modern era with heavier instrumentation, devastating vocal performances, and more!
If you’re looking for a consistent, good time then these guys are for you! The link will be below and make sure you go support them!

Lineup:
Raif Box: Bass, vocals
Erik Ebsen: Guitar
Cody Martin: Drums, vocals

Track list:
1. Decline
2. Machine Rising
3. Peaceseeker
4. Inoperable
5. The Empire Never Ended
6. Reclamation

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Full Length Review: Juha Jyrkäs "Sydämeni kuusipuulle" (Earth and Sky Productions) by Dave Wolff

Artist: Juha Jyrkäs
Location: Helinski
Country: Finland
Genre: Kantele folk metal
Format: Digital album, limited edition CD
Label: Earth and Sky Productions
Release date: February 12, 2021
Imagine pagan and folk metal entirely recorded with traditional instruments, and this is what to expect from Juha Jyrkäs’ debut “Sydämeni kuusipuulle”. Jyrkäs is a musician and author from Helinski, Finland who has written short stories, novels and lyrics for the Finnish folk metal band Korpiklaani (Clan of the Wilderness) from 2006 to 2012. For him, the most convincing way to sustain Finland’s cultural origins is to forego writing and composing modern instruments in favor of with the kantele, a traditional Finnish instrument dating 1000 to 2000 years. With the gusli (Russia), the kokle (Latvia) and the kankles (Lithuania) it belongs to the zither instruments of the Baltic Psaltery. Unsure as I am that Jyrkäs is the first musician to record in this manner (who knows how many others are doing so), he is expanding on material extreme metal bands recorded with multi-stringed electric guitars and bass, presenting opportunities for new, over-and-above songwriting techniques. When I listened I got the feeling I get from Loreena McKennitt’s “The Mummer’s Dance” or Sarah Brightman’s “Harem”. Is it metal or world music? In the end it doesn’t seem to matter.You may forget this album has anything whatsoever to do with underground metal as it sounds like an altogether different style of music. If you really become immersed you may find yourself leaving the modern world behind to a distant period when these instruments were first constructed. The ambience created between them and the other instruments employed in this recording (such as jouhikko, bagpipe, saz, mouth harp and various percussion instruments) feels like another world where there’s no compression, iPods or even electronic keyboards. I mean the album was recorded with modern equipment but Aslak Tolonen who did recording, sound engineering, mixing and mastering gave the album enough atmosphere and resonance to make it a macrocosm akin to a piece of history carefully preserved and unaltered by modern sensibilities. One that feels real as opposed to a museum exhibit. “Sydämeni kuusipuulle” goes beyond genre classification; it’s art. –Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Juha Jyrkäs: Vocals, electric kantele, bass kantele
Pekka Konkela; Percussion
Hittavainen: Violin in “Tulisydän” and “Honkajuurella Asunto”, Estonian bagpipe, saz, mouth harp and backing vocals in “Voimaa”
Milla Asikainen: vocals in “Hämärästä Aamunkoihin”, “Korpien Kutsu”, “Tulisydän” and “Honkajuurella Asunto”
Tero Kalliomäki: Electric jouhikko in “Otson Voima”, “Korpien Kutsu” and “Juhlapäivä”
Gorba The Cat: Purring in “Otson Voima”, “Korpien Kutsu” and “Juhlapäivä”
Avdakeja Andzhigatova: Vocals in Kamass language in “Juhlapäivä”

Track list:
1. Poimotus
2. Kymmenen Kyrvän Nimeä
3. Otson Voima
4. Hämärästä Aamunkoihin
5. Manalan Valtikka
6. Korpien Kutsu
7. Nuole Mua
8. Voimaa
9. Tulisydän
10. Honkajuurella Asunto
11. Juhlapäivä

Monday, April 26, 2021

Full Length Review: Sylvatica "Ashes and Snow" Format: (Satanath Records) by Dave Wolff

Band: Sylvatica
Location: Aarhus, Midtjylland / Nyborg/Odense, Syddanmark
Country: Denmark
Genre: Melodic Death/Folk Metal
Full Length: Ashes and Snow
Format: Digital album, compact disc
Label: Satanath Records
Release date: April 20, 2021
While searching Satanath Records’ Bandcamp profile I hoped I stumbled across something worthwhile with Sylvatica’s sophomore full length. What I found was melodic, heroic, and extremely caustic; something like old Amorphis but with twice the conviction and technical capabilities, with some Amon Amarth and Enslaved poured into the cauldron. I got the impression of setting sail through an endless landscape of icebergs, watching the sky, the horizon, and even the water catch fire in the wake of your sailing vessel. The carefully thought out, meticulously arranged, classically tinged intro promises a memorable collection of tracks on the way. “Ashes and Snow” doesn’t disappoint as its consistent heaviness and relentless drumming add infinite weight to its classical and folk/pagan/symphonic elements. It’s a marriage made this side of Valhalla that’s not too overbearing for the unprepared metal fan who hadn’t expected such crushing songs. Sylvatica travels all the way back to 1994/95 and develops the density and thickness of progressive death metal as well as its atmosphere and proficient melody. The deep, guttural, and higher-pitched vocal fry are more than suitable for an album like this, fulfilling the role of a berserker captain leading his throng (represented by the melodic backing vocals) into battle, and the guitar solos are enough to stimulate listeners of Yngwie Malmsteen. All these fundamentals are properly layered and granted as they need to be, coming across as natural results of the songwriting. For a band’s second album, “Ashes and Snow” is presented as a masterpiece, and it’s more than worth a chance if you’re looking for music that’s simultaneously heavy and epic. –Dave Wolff

Lineup:
Jardén Schlesinger: Vocals, guitars
Christian Christiansen: Guitars
Thomas Haxen: Bass, backing vocals
Jacques Harm Brandt Hauge: Drums

Track list:
1. Daybreak Ashes and Snow
2. Pillars of Light
3. Creation
4. Cosmic Strings
5. Helios
6. Halls of Extinction

EP Review: Darsombra "Call The Doctor / Nightgarden" (Independent) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Darsombra
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Country; USA
Genre: Trans-apocalyptic galaxy rock
EP: Call The Doctor / Nightgarden
Format: Digital album
Label: Independent
Release date: April 2, 2021
What’s going on all, I’m back again with another album review!
This time around I’ve discovered one of the most unusual bands yet, and that band is none other than Darsombra and their exclusive EP (that will later be a double album), ”Call The Doctor/Nightgarden”.
So, as with all new music the album cover and track titles can only do so much in helping guess what the album is going to sound or feel like, I’ve heard brutal albums with plain or peaceful album covers, then mellow albums carrying the most disturbing of images it’s all relative and today neither the album cover nor tracklist could have prepared me for what I heard.
For started the first track ‘Call The Doctor’ which is over 14 minutes long has this strange fusion of electronic and Progressive Metal. The best way I could describe it is what would have happened if you combined Daft Punk with someone like Porcupine Tree.
It’s gone the one and only spoken lyrics which is ‘Call The Doctor’ said in this real 80’s Synth Pop style with it almost auto-tuned and lingering in the background.
There are a lot of interesting elements such as the constant guitar riff combined with the future introduction to the electronic elements spoken about earlier, you’ve also got some strange vocal harmonies making the ‘ooooo’ and ‘eeee’ sounds in between certain parts of the song.
The next track ‘Nightgarden’ I feel and the stronger emphasis on the electro/synth sounds as it started off with this prominent Synth chord that follows the track as the guitar follows with stronger and longer riffs and solos.
What’s interesting about this track besides the occasional use of sparkle sounds is at the end there’s this 1 minute lingering of owls in the night, when I was listening to this album I was walking my dog at night so it wasn’t the best time to hear this sound and maybe it wasn’t done on purpose probably just forgot to trim the end of that looping sound effect, or maybe it was I’m not sure either way I can safely say it’s got a strong ‘ambient’ quality to the song, has a more consistent vibe than the first track and it makes you feel like your in a psychedelic experience (someone has to give this a try and see).
Overall, a very creative two tracks, and as said above it’s apparently meant to be a part of a bigger double album and if each track on this album is as long as these two then that will make for quite the lengthy but surely immersive experience!
Link above if you want to go support them! They definitely deserve it! –Corban Skipwith

Lineup:
Brian Daniloski
Ann Everton

Track list:
1. Call The Doctor (Sun Side)
2. Nightgarden (Moon Side)

Friday, April 23, 2021

Single Review: Desaster "Learn To Love The Void" (Metal Blade Records) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Desaster
Location: Koblenz, Rhineland-Palatinate
Country: Germany
Genre: Black/death/thrash metal
Single: Learn To Love The Void
From their upcoming full length “Churches Without Saints” to be released on Metal Blade Records June 4, 2021
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release date: April 13, 2021
What’s going on everyone I’m back with another absolute banger!
This time it comes from the band ‘Desaster’ and the track is ‘Learn To Love The Void’.
I’ll tell you now, as with all new bands I discover I never know what to expect in terms of sound, deliver, performance etc but I can tell you now what I WASN’T EXPECTING was a Death/Thrash Metal fusion that would blow me away!
First of all the vocal performances are insane in the best way possible! The vocalist brings out the best in the track with his ‘mad’ delivery of psychotic laughed and maniac and depraved screaming and death growls! It really helps you stay invested in the track the whole way through and leaves you wanting more!
The next thing great about this song is the instrumentation! Combining the elements of Death Metal and Thrash metal it’s the kind of sound that would give early run Cannibal Corpse a run for their money!
So all together with the key elements of
-Fast and Heavy instrumentation
-Monstrous vocal performances
-Killer production and tempo
It all makes up for one of the most exciting and blood pumping metal songs I’ve heard all year!
If you haven’t checked it out I highly recommend you do so! Great job guys! –Corban Skipwith

Lineup:
Sataniac: Vocals
Infernal: Guitars
Odin: Bass
Hont: Drums