Friday, May 26, 2017

EP Review: ANGUERE Cadeia

ANGUERE
Cadeia
Imundo Records
Anguere may sound familiar if you read Simon Brown’s November review of their Estado de Cboque video. The song was from their full length Choque the Brazilians released independently in December 2015. Choque is available for Bandcamp streaming with their latest EP Cadeia released May 16. Think of Sepultura blown back as a hardcore band with angrier vocals and you have a basic idea of their sound. In the two years since their last full length the band has become heavier and condensed their energy into slightly shorter compositions. The band states this is the current culmination of their growth as a unit, tightening the thrash, groove and native rhythms into intense explosions of controlled energy. I know little of the hardcore scenes in Brazil or the political climate surrounding them, but there’s something about the three tracks of this EP suggesting that being involved in them is no walk in the park. The complete running time is eight minutes but it’s executed with a tempestuousness so ferocious it makes many of the newer U.S. bands sound subdued. As difficult as it is to out-heavy an underground giant like Sepultura, Anguere is taking South American metal and hardcore to the next level. The heaviness of Cadeia vibrates with the destructive potential of the most devastating nuclear warhead ever built, and threatens to reduce you to a puddle of entrails within seconds. Eight minutes is all listeners can endure before their brains are crushed to gruel. This is not to say the band deliver this brutality with refinement, as the songs are carefully arranged to calculated to hook you and build in intensity. As the lyrics are sung in Spanish, as far as their subject matter you’d have to ask the band about the inspiration for them. Independent movies made in Brazil like City Of God are brutal representations of being a kid there. Judging from them, corporate gentrification and media spin likely pales in comparison to what kids have to endure. Cadela is the aural equivalent of the poverty and violence shown in those movies, and is the closest you’ll come to being there aside from traveling to Brazil to sample it firsthand. The most groundbreaking underground music has always come from less affluent communities (NYC’s lower east side, the working class neighborhoods of England and Germany), and the Brazilian scene has gained longevity over the years. Anguere and other bands we haven’t heard of yet seem poised to be the next wave of S.A. bands to make an impression on extreme music.  -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Barricada
2. Cadeia
3. N.O.I.A (Ninguém Olha Para Indivíduos Atormentados)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

CD Review: BERDOO Made in USA Metal

Made in USA Metal
Made In Metal Records
Berdoo’s Made in USA Metal is an all instrumental album. What I like about an all instrumental album is, you can tell how well the band can just play. And you can really hear the notes they play. It has a nice balance mellow and high energy. Dreamie is a slower mellower track, while Feeling Electric is more intense and high energy but has a little bit of a techno sound. Solitude Times may be my favorite track on this album. I really like the smooth bass and bluesy sound on it. The Death Spiral was another good track, it has a lot of old school thrashy heavy metal feeling for me. Berdoo was formed in 1985 in San Bernardino California. They are a hard rock metal biker band. But, personally, I pick up a little southern rock sound as well. The band is made up of JC Berdoo-guitar, songwriter, vocals, as well as producer and self-promoter, Iban Nezz-Bass, and Al Lesis-Drums. Berdoo has gotten much of their influence from Black Sabbath, Black Label Society, Pantera, and Randy Rhoads. They have performed with Twisted Sister, Alice Cooper and Flotsam And Jetsam among many others. -Deanna Revis

Track list:
1. Topshelf
2. 420 Ride
3. Mind Control
4. Solitude Times
5. Spawn
6. Dreamie
7. Feeling Electric
8. The Death Sprial
9. 81
10. Legend
11. The Adventure Begins (Bonus track on Itunes and Reverbnation).

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

CD Review: GHOST TOAST Out Of This World

GHOST TOAST
Out Of This World
Inverse Records
To be released June 7, 2017
I definitely want to hear more from Ghost Toast. I was very impressed by the powerful guitar, strong bass, as well as hard hitting drums. The cello adds a kick ass touch. I thought all of the Out of This World album was well written/composed with the perfect balance of slower tracks and hard hitting heavy tracks. Some of the tracks, such as Last Man, with the bits of speech have somewhat of an end of days feel, which fits well with the music in my opinion. I definitely like the high energy sound Ghost Toast has. -Deanna Revis

Track list:
1. Ka Mai
2. Gordius
3. Alia
4. The Dragon's Tail
5. Minotaur
6. Kaia
7. Last Man
8. Ishvara
9. Pawn of Fate

Video Review: VOID INN I Can Hope

VOID INN
I Can Hope (Official Video)
Butoh performer: Marco Nektan
Director of photography: Jakov Simovic
Editor: Milos Kasalovic
Production: JK Videos
After watching this video I can honestly say I would love to see more from this band. I really liked the way it was done in black and white with only flashes of members of the band. That, in my opinion, was a great way to do a heavy metal video. It gave you somewhat of a feeling of a horror film, but at the same time you just kind of questioned the sanity of the individual. It also seems as if you can feel his pain, suffering, and sadness as it drives him insane. I really like this one because watching the video and listening to the lyrics, I could feel his screams. The strong female vocalist backed by an outstanding band makes this video and sond one I will be sure to recommend. Void Inn formed in 2010. Influenced by Danzig, Megadeth, Metal Church, Metallica,Judas Priest, and more. Members are Jelena Vujanovic-lead vox, Sinisa Pejovic-guitars, Kaspars Gringregs-drums, and Enrique Hanijosa-bass. -Deanna Revis

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Psychic Interview: MARIE BARGAS

Interview with psychic/radio host MARIE BARGAS

I contacted you through author/playwright Tony Sokol who I recently interviewed. How long have you been acquainted and are there any projects you and he have worked on together?
Tony and I should have met in the early 90's. While he was doing Vampire Theatre I was on camera as the first "Vampire Expert" for Entertainment Tonight around the buzz for Coppola's Dracula. When he contacted me for Alt Variety in April 2016, we found that connection and he first used me in a quote for his article on Anne Rice in Den of Geek. Since then we became fast friends since we have so much in common. He has quoted as an expert on the occult and metaphysics in his Den of Geek coverage for such shows as "Penny Dreadful," "Game of Thrones" and "Salem" to name a few. Professionally, we are also a good fit because before I became a Celebrity Psychic I was the PR for a Beverly Hills Couture Accessories Designer off and on for 15 years and specialized in getting clothes on the red carpet with Oscar Winners and Nominees. Both of us have built careers on celebrities and pop culture content, but privately we're both "bats" so to speak and have a simpatico in that respect. Our "incubator" Entertainment 2morrow hatched "Hollywood Tomorrow" which was broadcast last year in November on NBCs EXTRA WEEKEND EDITION. On that broadcast I predicted that Moonlight would win best picture and it did. Tony is my personal "Psychic Whisperer" and has been extremely instrumental in promoting me and keeping me grounded since I'm a triple air sign. Musically, we connect because I am the first wife of Oscar Winning, Emmy winning record producer John King aka King Gizmo of the Dust Brothers. John won the Oscar for scoring FIGHT CLUB and a Grammy for producing Beck's ODELAY. Although I lived and breathed in another area of the music biz, as you know that is a very small fraternity of insiders and I felt safe in getting close to Tony because he's real and raw and I knew he wouldn't use me just for my connections. We're real friends and that is so important to me because I have so few. People try to use me for my contacts and connections all the time. With Tony I'm a respected partner, friend and bestie. In this world full of fakes and users that means a lot.

How much info did you provide on Vampire Theatre when it was featured on Entertainment Tonight?
I didn't cover it all beyond a mention. At the time I think Tony and I actually spoke once or he heard me on the answering machine but we never connected. He dealt with ET in NYC and let them on a merry chase. I think that's why they did the whole segment on me. I was the protégé of Greg Bismark aka RAT BASTARD who was the King of the Goth Scene at the time. We thought of ourselves as aristocrats. Years later Greg was confirmed at the hereditary heir to the title of "Baron Von Bismarck" but for me he will always be Le Barone. He worked at Pan Pipes Magickal Marketplace during the time it was owned by Fairuza Balk. I worked at 20th Century Fox so I was not out of the bat cave, however, Greg took great pride in knowing that I was chosen as the Vampire Expert from castings done on both coasts. Back then I was thinner and gorgeous. Ah ... that's showbiz. In the scene I was "Claudia" to Greg's "Lestat." I believe that Greg was in high position at the Ordo Templi Orientis. I am not at liberty to discuss what kinds of magick he taught me although you can venture to guess. New York was another planet for us or at least for me. Greg was also an actor at the time who had just starred in a horror movie and I was working as an executive assistant to a Vice President at a studio so vampires, magick and entertainment were part of the mix. Greg kept me protected and isolated from the rest of the scene. He took care of me in so many ways. I believe that Greg and Tony could have been counterparts on both coasts. While the wars were raging I was hidden, protected and safe. Today I look back on those days with an appreciation for how protected I was. I never thought I'd meet Tony who is of course your "Armand" because as you know Armand destroys Claudia. Funny how things worked out don't you think? Claudia and Armand are now besties. Last year it was fun connecting with Christopher Rice. He's definitely on our list to interview because of the book and the TV series.

Did you meet Fairuza Balk when she was the owner of Pan Pipes Magickal Marketplace? If you saw The Craft, how accurate was it? Was there more realism or sensationalism? What was the nature of your work with 20th Century Fox?
I met Fairuza Balk in passing during the early days of Pan Pipes. She was friendly, but aloof because of her star status. The Craft was about 50% real and 50% Hollywood, but the interest in witchcraft exploded onto the radar because of it. I love that movie because it brings back so many memories. I was an executive assistant at 20th Century Fox. It was a dream job for this kid right out of film school.

What quote of yours did Tony Sokol borrow when he penned his article on Anne Rice?
"Only the genius of a woman exorcising her own demons could have created a vampire rock star to whom the modern woman would willingly offer her tender throat,” Marie Bargas, aka King, who was the Vampire Expert on Entertainment Tonight in the nineties, said after an impromptu interview. "Akasha's unbridled madness is an aphrodisiac to Lestat until he is figuratively under her feet and he becomes the Shiva in supplication to her Kali."
"Our love affair with the handsome Trickster began with Rice's Vampire Lestat and continues today with Marvel's Loki. Generation after generation, we swoon at the embrace of the bad boy who cannot be reformed, because we know intuitively know that he is better in bed," Bargas told us. "The bite of a vampire and the commingling of pain and pleasure is penetration in a world teeming with limp dicks."
At the time of the interview Tony and I were just getting to know each other and I presume that he published my comments without taking out a single word because they were provocative to say the least. From then on we've had some pretty interesting conversations. As a Kashmir Shaivist and psychic, my love affair with the Dark Lord Shiva, who in my experience is THE Vampire God was reflected in my words. I love God, more deeply and more intensely than any nun in a convent.

How extensive has your research been on Shiva? How much knowledge have you gathered through your research?
Shiva, otherwise known as the "outlaw," is the benevolent Destroyer who is worshiped at midnight in graveyards by his most extremist cults. The long haired muscle bound Lord of Yoga (Yogeshwara), Lord of Tantra, Creator/Preserver/Destroyer has been in my life since day one. I was born on the first day of Navaratri (dedicated to Kali) and came out of a near fatal car accident with a scar in the shape of a crescent moon and a star on my left hand. His favorite consort Kali is a vampire goddess created from the Divine Feminine in order to "suck the life" out of demons in order to protect humanity. In my faith the vampire queen is a savior and redeemer not a monster or an outcast. Kali is celebrated for her capacity to destroy and Shiva adores her because she is fierce. Classic depictions of the pair show Shiva laying prone underneath her feet, but the misinterpretations of this have a decidedly Western, misogynistic viewpoint. I was taught that he is laying underneath Her in order to calm her rage. Magickally, the image is very similar to the diagram of an electric circuit. Shiva is the grounding and Kali is the active energy once grounded that produces light and POWER. Shiva is inactive in this dimension unless and until he is "mounted." And then their sexual union transfers His powers of creation to Her and she returns that Power to him in order to "give him life." But in my view, lacking a penis She penetrates Him with her fangs ... and he loves it. In His form as the wrathful Bhairava He has fangs himself. Together they are a remarkable vampire God and Goddess. Their sexual union because of the intensity of the exchange of energy is palpable and trans-formative every single time. Kali's body is an alchemical vessel that transforms whatever she takes into Herself whether it be the blood of demons or the semen of her consort into something else of Her own creation. The metaphor resonates in the collective unconscious.
In the context of the modern world where men are emasculated by anti-depressants, anxiety and over stimulation by free internet pornography women long for an erection that isn't fueled by Viagra in order to realize their inner Goddesses whether they admit it or not. The Vampire Goddess, Mistress of Time, Lady of Death is the ultimate femme fatale who is the sexual Stepford Wife of the Destroyer ... and yet ... Shiva is faithful, devoted, appreciative and supportive. She is His Equal and He not only loves Her for what She is, He celebrates Her. I have to admit that months after Tony and I had that conversation I left my boyfriend of 8 years and have since moved on to another committed relationship. Tony has that effect on me. He influences me. He's my "Psychic Whisperer."
I'll tell you a funny story. Weeks ago, my current flame who I'll call "Blue" had an out-of-body experience after trying to repair a vape cartridge filled with grade A Sattiva. He's got a prescription of course. After the Sativa saturated his fingers and hands he literally felt himself leave his body. When he woke me up at 3:00 am he was babbling about seeing a tall blue guy in the astral and complaining about a huge unblinking eye in the middle of a vortex in the ceiling of our living room. Blue is not magickal in the least. He has Buddhist leanings, but he grew up Christian. It did not surprise me that he saw Shiva because we have a fully charged black Shiva lingam from Mt. Kailash in the altar in the living room. A lingam in this case is a black stone representing the phallus of Shiva. Admittedly, I worship an erect black dick. Haha. Back to the point ... It was up to me to literally "mount" him and bring him back to reality ... and then I told him ... very gently ... that he had seen a God ... uh huh ... things get pretty damned interesting at my house. Anyway Tony was the first to comment that I've been subliminally calling Shiva to enter "Blue" by giving him that nickname months ago because of his blue eyes. And Tony also reminded me that marijuana is a typical offering to Shiva. Things like that would slip through the crack if I didn't have Tony around.

Have you heard many stories about out of body experiences similar to the account you described above?
I've never heard of an out of body experience happening quite like what happened to Blue. There were several mitigating factors. I work regularly from home so the "portal" to the other dimensions is very accessible. And I have a fully charged black Shiva lingam on the altar. And finally, although cannabis is used in the worship of Shiva the typical way of imbibing it is in a drink made with milk and honey called Bhang. I've never heard of anyone going into trance because of topical exposure, but I guess there's a first time for everything. Please note that we only buy top shelf so I'm sure that the concentration of THC was above average.

Where do you usually shop for the ingredients used in your Shiva rituals? Do you go to local herb shops in the village?
In Los Angeles there is a wealth of East Indian groceries and markets. I also live near Artesia which is a substantial East Indian Community. My prize which is a fully charged Shiva Lingam from Kashmir was purchased from the Shirdi Sai Baba Temple in Tarzana.

Tell the readers about the radio program you’re going to be doing with Tony Sokol, Magick Lab Academy which will air on Spiritualists Online radio. How was it born and what do you plan for it?
By popular demand Magick Lab is shifting gears and focusing on the non-secular mechanics of manifestation, preservation and disintegration with an emphasis on spell work that is fast, easy and brings desired results. Magick Lab is friendly to all spiritual paths based on the premise that there is no “dark” or “white” magick and that all Gods, faiths and practices lead back to one. The bigger purpose of Magick Lab is to unite the community, not separate it based on conflicting ideologies. Magick Lab teaches us that the nature of any magickal work is solely dependent upon the intent, karma and spiritual motivations of the practitioner. The force or the energy itself is neutral.
Likewise, the formulas for manifestation are represented in many paths and many cultures. Magick Lab simply distills these formulas into basic elements that work universally. You do not require an extensive background in the occult or witchcraft. You do not require experience in working with “The Secret.” Since Magick Lab is non-secular you are not required to convert or believe in anything that you don’t believe in, hence the name “Magick Lab” vs. “Goddess … or Temple of …” Magick Lab makes magick accessible to everyone.
Magick Lab is non-secular because the basic formulas for manifestation, preservation and disintegration are present in almost all religions and spiritual paths. But, instead of recognizing the similarities our current society chooses to recognize the differences. This causes separation, strife and war. The purpose of Magick Lab is to strip away the boundaries between each of us so that we can come together as one. In this way Magick Lab strives to encourage peace and unity within the magickal and mystical communities.

Who are the first interviews you featured on SOC Radio? How much information were you able to share with your listeners?
Our first interviewee is an old friend who aside from being a very talented hoodoo man is a rising reality show star. Caiza del Shadeo is a pseudonym. Like me is half-in and out of the broom closet. Our premiere broadcast was in karma because in the "Magick Lab" system is checking the balance of your "karma bank." I teach that karma works like a bank account. Magick demands that we make "withdrawals." If good karma earned equals the amount of the withdrawal then magick is successful and there is no blow back. If good karma is lacking then you can become "overdrawn" which causes spiritual and magickal "late fees" and penalties.
Our second broadcast featured astrologer James David Wade in a discussion of the impact of the Venus Retrograde.
Artist and art curator Lisa Derrick, the ex-wife of Lee Arenberg, guested on our last show with Madame X. The two magickal practitioners, Lisa is (OTO among other things) and Madame X is vampiric had a meeting of the minds. The highlights included readings that I did for both women on two different decks. I have Lisa and Angel Oracle reading and Madame X got a reading from the Vampire Deck. And the readings ignited a discussion of the connection between the Divine Feminine Archetype "Babalon" and the emanations of Shakti, or She with 10,000 Names.

What’s this about a live chat show you will host on the Paranormal News Network?
Chickie Haute approached me to do a live show. I was inspired to do more on camera work because I have found that I connect better with my audience. Interestingly enough our first show exhibited a lot of orb activity I believe because I was under magickal attack. As you can see from the news stories about it the blue diamond for me was SHIVA. Shortly afterwards AMMA came to town and as I was watching her perform a fire ceremony that same blue aura appeared around her which confirmed for me that AMMA is a living saint. My protégé, Kolika Elle Kirk, guested on my second show. Aside from being a very talented witch Kolika is a gourmet chef who owns the Pistachio Bakehouse in Kansas City, Missouri. My plan is to continue to develop her media persona as a Kitchen Witch. I created the FB group "Witchcraft and Wellness" originally for Ed Fitch (author, Magickal Rites from the Crystal Well). Kolika has excelled at being the admin by combining her knowledge of the craft with her practical knowledge of cooking and nutrition. She helped heal her mom of cancer with nutrition!
As you can see, in this part of my life I am fulfilled by empowering young people, most notably witches/wizards who are in the mainstream arts: music, acting and even cooking to name a few. These young people incorporate "magick" with their talents in ways that are palatable for mainstream consumption. I'm very proud of them. They're my "kids.”
Kolika and I have known each other for at least a decade give or take. She is an amazing, powerful little witch. I'm so proud of her. She helped cure her mother from cancer by cooking her super nutritious meals. She was a natural at cooking school. Pistachio Bakery her own business is doing well.

Tell the readers about your work as a medium and how you have grown in this field since you started. How did you first get started as a medium, and how have you been mentored through The Spiritualists Online Circle of Mediums?
I've been a reluctant medium for the past twenty years. I am openly and unashamedly a "chicken shit." In the past couple of years I've matured enough to confront the dead on common ground instead of fleeing at the first sign of phenomena. Through my show at The Spiritualists Online Circle of Mediums I am being mentored which is something that I have needed since day one. These days when I pulled the "Death" tarot card in a reading, it's like the "Bat Signal" and within minutes or hours a spirit will reveal itself to me. The only thing is, I could really use my own sleek black "batmobile" these days. Now that I've said it, let's play a game and see how long it takes for my ghosts to deliver. You hear that guys? I'd be more amenable to being a medium with a black convertible Miata. "So Mote it BE." I began quite unexpectedly after my car accident and scared myself silly for years. Julie is just beginning to mentor me. In the meantime the dead insist on speaking.

What is "The Horsefly Chronicles” and what is your role and history with it? What subject matter is being discussed on the show?
I am the new consultant. In the past few weeks I've uncovered links to UFO's/Annunaki, the fact that the house is near a recorded ley line and the connection between the Ancient Egyptian connections is reinforced by the presence of two pyramids only thirty minutes away.

What predictions have you made in print or on TV that came true? Were these predictions about performing artists, actors or athletes?
I predicted that Kim Kardashian was going to have a meltdown I week before Kanye lost his mind and I predicted that Moonlight was going to win the Best Picture Oscar.

How do you see yourself evolving spiritually and professionally within the next three years? Are those goals within your reach?
Aside from being a celebrity psychic I would like to continue my career path as a producer/writer for TV.


-Dave Wolff

Monday, May 22, 2017

CD Review: HAZE OF SUMMER Znoi

HAZE OF SUMMER
Znoi
Soundage Productions/C.D.M. Records
Available in digital and CD format
One listen to Haze Of Summer’s debut recording Znoi is enough to make a clear point of it being black metal, however there are notable conceptual differences that widen the spectrum of extreme music and cross more boundaries. The first is the collection of band photos are not what you would expect, the next has to do with the overall concept. While most black metal bands use conceptual settings of autumn and winter, Haze O Summer chooses conceptual settings not normally associated with the genre (though I’m sure there are exceptions). The band is based in Podollsk, Russia, a country where presumably there are brutal winters not seen in the U.S. So you would expect vast plains of snow drenched nature, tall and majestic mountains in the distance, and maybe even the cry of a wolf or two. If this is the imagery you’re anticipating, you’re in for a surprise as the harmonious phantasmal guidelines of black metal are turned on their heads. By first impressions the six compositions included on Znoi depict the season of new life when everything is reborn in glory and splendor, continuing through a sweltering summer. I don’t consider this a detriment to the band or their range of view, as we know there are no restrictions on what artists can do with extreme music. I can see where Haze Of Summer may have been coming from during their time spent devising and developing this concept. Znoi have been a logical progression if the band views fall and winter as a period of slumber for the old gods and religions after they were overwhelmed and suppressed. Perhaps Znoi is a narrative representing the cycle of nature in which everything ‘dies’ to return to life in due time. As the age of one god wanes, the age of many returns from the darkness to inherit the light. I’m thinking a bit much of John Boorman’s 1981 movie Excalibur; this is basically what I was reminded of as soon as I was immersed in the experimental rawness here. I found myself wanting to know more about the concept of this opus. I suspect there is much more to this narrative since each song depicting the months has a divergent tone. As the lyrics are printed in Russian I can’t readily describe the complete story, so you’d have to contact the band to know more. All you have until you hear from them is a lyric video for the final track August which has subtitles in English (produced by Good Pictures). This promotional clip is worth checking out alone for its perceptions of nature and the insight the English translation gives you into their concept. The expanse of the Russian landscape hinted at earlier is present, with intimate images and breathtaking shots of the night sky. The song is a fitting conclusion for the album as it calls for one more celebration before autumn appears on the horizon. Writing strings, keyboards and atmospheric sections is nothing new for black metal, but Haze Of Summer figure out how to present those instruments to complement the songs in new ways of their own. Adding spoken word sections and other instruments such as those used in techno pop recordings are elements you wouldn’t expect to work in metal, but Haze Of Summer pull it off surprisingly well. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. March
2. April (feat. Lazar from Arkona)
3. May
4. June
5. July (Anno 2205)
6. August

Saturday, May 20, 2017

EP Review: EPOCH OF UNLIGHT Foreshadows

Independent
Memphis, Tennessee’s Epoch Of Unlight is one of the first U.S. black metal bands and one of the bands who were interviewed for the January, 1997 debut issue of Autoeroticasphyxium. This issue is long out of print along with the next five issues, but other interviews included Curse, Insatanity, Blood Storm, Murder Junkies, Abazagorath, Exhume Distribution and Endemoniada Zine. Drummer and founding member Tino LoSicco (also of local bands Ash of Cedars and Incineration) was on board since day one and represented the band in their interview. Their earliest lineup as a death metal/grindcore band was named Enraptured. A self-titled demo was recorded and released in 1993 before they switched to Requiem a year later. Though nothing was released by the band at that time, they added black metal to their death metal/grindcore roots and became Epoch Of Unlight. E.O.N. released three demos, two EPs and three full lengths besides appearing on a split EP with Goatwhore (during which time they were signed to NY’s The End records), then stuck with gigs in the southern region of the U.S. and working on demo material for the next decade. 2015 saw their new EP Foreshadows which can be streamed at Bandcamp with three older releases (the 1996 EP Within the Night, the 1997 demo Black & Crimson Glory and a demo of the 2001 album Caught In The Unlight). E.O.N. has also kept the same lineup since ‘94 (Lo Sicco, guitarist/vocalist Jason Smith, guitarist John Fortier and bassist Joe Totty); their only lineup change was adding a new lead vocalist in 2016. This is an intense release balancing black metal, thrash, melodic death metal and a bit of traditional metal, with inventive arrangements. Having played together for many years the band is comfortable working together and familiar with each other’s musicianship. And yes the lyrics are at their Bandcamp page. The verses and choruses are kindred in tone to those written by Darkthrone, Immortal and Ancient from 1993-98, being highly descriptive in their darkened tales, while the music provides strong visuals. Wrath Of The Cryomancer instantly drew me into its narrative making me eager to see how it would turn out. This quality of the music and lyrics grows with The Möbius Path (Numerus Bicallis!), Night Hunt and ...Of Feral Eyes. All Light Dies (In The Hyper-Naught) ends the EP on a perfect note. Certainly a triumphant return for the band, and check them out on Youtube as well as Bandcamp. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Wrath of the Cryomancer
2. The Möbius Path (Numerus Bicallis!)
3. Night Hunt
4. ...Of Feral Eyes
5. All Light Dies (in the Hyper-naught)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

CD Review: AFTERMATH Killing The Future

Touting themselves as “one of the original crossover bands of the 1980s,” Aftermath from Chicago, Illinois were active from 1985 to 1996, disbanded and reformed in 2015, I wonder why I hadn’t heard of them in the eighties, but I recently discovered several bands from that era while surfing on Youtube and there are likely many more I was unfamiliar with back then. After reforming they fortunately decided to re-release their debut demos (Demo #1 from 1985 and Killing The Future from 1987) for a new generation of thrashers to release their pent-up frustrations to, under safer conditions than letting it out in the street. During the time they were active Aftermath has refined their old school aggression a few times, forging new avenues for it classified as “proto crossover thrashcore speedcore,” “dark technical progressive experimental thrash metal” and finally “dark progressive experimental thrash.” No matter the incarnation, they remained faithful to their shared vision from their first practice. It remains to be seen how their dedication will pay off thirty years after they got together. At any rate, the re-release of their first two demos on Killing The Future is a blast from the past you’ll want to hear if you appreciate pure in-your-face thrash metal fire. This is not the kind of band you heard of on MTV, they were the band you read about in Metal Forces and other fanzines like Metal Core and Nightmare, corresponding with them through snail mail. Their similarities to D.R.I. and Wehrmacht on the second demo are obvious from the start, as they were recorded when Stateside thrash and hardcore bands began pushing their limits of volume and velocity, and the level of dexterity to which they could take their songwriting. When Will You Die and Meltdown from Killing The Future '87 have breakneck speed, spot on musicianship, precise time changes and relentless vocals. As I listen I also wonder how U.S. thrash metal would have turned out if more bands like this were active and fewer tried to go mainstream. These songs will convince you how far they went to show the talent and ability required to play thrash. The only band active when Aftermath started was S.O.D. but other thrash and thrash-core bands I am reminded of include Cryptic Slaughter, Lethal Aggression, Ludichrist and Carnivore, all bands that took that much needed next step. The songs on Aftermath's 1985 demo (including Sentenced To Death and Revenge) are a little more similar to early thrash/hardcore, slightly less blast than the second demo but the guitars, drums and hardcore elements do much to push them along. I would also recommend checking out Eyes Of Tomorrow, a full length released in 1994. It was recorded in 1988 but it's release was delayed due to financial reasons. Two songs from this album are uploaded at Shadowkingdom Records' official Bandcamp. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. When Will You Die? (Killing The Future, 1987)
2. Going No Place (Killing The Future, 1987)
3. Chaos (Killing The Future, 1987)
4. Meltdown (Killing The Future, 1987)
5. War For Freedom (Killing The Future, 1987)
6. Sentenced To Death (Demo #1, 1985)
7. Revenge (Demo #1, 1985)
8. Shotgun (Demo #1, 1985)
9. The Aftermath (Demo #1, 1985)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

EP Review: OPERA AT THE MASSACRE From The Deepest

Independent
Opera At The Massacre is a melodic death metal-core act founded in Mexico in 2011. Don’t let their postmodern melody fool you, this band is as crushing as any purist death metal band and don’t rely on subtlety to make their point. From The Deepest is their debut EP released in 2016; for an intro and three songs it’s weighty and compelling enough to reflect the adherence to bombast and heaviness generally shared by Mexican underground bands. OATM boasts a female vocalist who readily holds her own alongside her male counterparts from her home country or elsewhere. It would be hard-pressed not to be attentive to her throaty, gravelly growl while attending these tracks; you might even suspect her abilities go beyond many male DM vocalists (excepting accomplished elders such as George Corpsegrinder, Glen Benton or Will Rahmer). If this is still an issue with some genre fans Rubi Rodriguez eradicates any doubt, delivering the most durable vocals I’ve heard from a woman since I listened to Lori Bravo and Nuclear Death on their Wake Me When I’m Dead demo. Taking in what the band brings to From The Deepest indicates why such vocals are needed for it. Firstly the piano intro On The Way for its haunting overtones sounds like it could have been composed for a goth metal or black metal album. Slaves In Agony with its lead harmonies, crunch, groove and aggression, exhibits range of influences conveyed with equal fervor. On this song Rodriguez demonstrates a singing voice as well as an ability to procure a guttural roar. From The Deepest comes together with Reviving The Corpse and The Punishment Of False Suffering, on which their groove/thrash sensibilities are developing agreeably. One drawback is that the Bandcamp uploads of these songs aren’t accompanied by the lyrics, which can be a disappointment to some who need to read along to get the whole package. I will make one concession that this can get in the way when listening to a band. I believe on the other hand that experienced vocalists in extreme music can perfect their diction to match their brutal style. With practice Rodriguez has the potential to develop her approach if people listen closely enough.   -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. On The Way (Intro)
2. Slaves In Agony
3. Reviving The Corpse
4. The Punishment Of False Suffering

Monday, May 15, 2017

CD Review: RUNNING DEATH DressAge

Punishment 18
The earliest moments of DressAge make it apparent that Running Death retained their years growing up with Iron Maiden, particularly from Killers to Powerslave, and even more so growing up with Megadeth from 1986 to 1990. Those bands delivered performances of high energy, energy the German thrashers emulate more than adequately. One might think this is something like how Megadeth would have sounded if they hadn’t made the occasional mainstream friendly effort later in their career. It may be slick, melodic and polished but DressAge is thrash with sufficiently strong ties to its roots, unconcerned whether people find it too excessive, too grating on their nerves. Aside from the fact that no band emerging from Germany can emulate the working class atmosphere Destruction, Sodom and Kreator captured on their demos and early vinyl releases but at least some of it exists in the pounding drums and frenetic guitars here. These elements are as extravagant as you can expect from a band determined to prove that substance overcomes style and passion overcomes hype. One complaint I have from listening is Simon Bihlmayer’s vocals sound too close to Dave Mustaine, and this tends to take me out of it, but the progressions show the band gradually coming into their own. The bio with the digital download said the band bring rock influences into the cuts. When I heard some now and then, they mostly serve to enhance the album’s total aggression rather than diminish it. At the same time, quality thrash metal has always survived on its purism and if a thrash band knows how to write and compose properly, softer rock influences are not needed. Running Death do a fine job proving you don’t have to completely change to grow as a band. Their biggest strength is still in their connection to the early and mid-80s. -Dave Wolff



Track list:
1. Courageous Minds
2. Dressage
3. Delusive Silence
4. Heroes Of The Hour
5. Duty Of Beauty
6. Numbers
7. Beneath The Surface
8. Anthem of Madness
9. Safety Second
10. Refuse To Kill