Wednesday, October 19, 2011

MURDER JUNKIES - Road Killer CD review

MVD Audio
Genre: Scum Punk
Rating: 5/5

My main reasons for reviewing this are that I'm a fan and have seen Merle and company at least half a dozen times since the 90s. Secondly every review I've read about this was written by uninformed idiots who should be tied up, pissed on, shit on and finally shot in the face. For those uninformed losers on the interweb yes the MURDER JUNKIES were GG's last backing band but after his death Merle kept the band going with drummer Dino Sexx and a variety of guitarists and vocalists. They first put out two releases (a 7"er and a 10"er) with Mike Denied on vocals. But unfortunately Mike didn't work out. They next had this other guy whose name escapes me (Superstar?) singing for them on tour for a while but that just didn't work out for them to record something. Jeff Clayton from ANTISEEN even did a short tour singing for em. I've seen them twice with their new singer Harold “PP Duvay” Rogers and he's a great addition besides reminding me more of Mike Denied than GG. No one will replace GG Allin and Merle never would try. That's why I am sick and fuckin tired of reading these inept losers writing about the MURDER JUNKIES as if GG's shadow looms over them to the point where they cannot be judged on their own merits.

Well fuck all of those idiots because Road Killer is the best thing they've ever done although it is the first proper MURDER JUNKIES full length. Calling this long awaited is putting it mildly. This is Scum Punk Rock n Roll. It's that unholy grail that you climb sleazy mountain to find. Opening with "Once a Whore" which is an outright sing along classic. Three chords and a bad attitude. You want offensive fuckin punk fuckin rock then check out the unkindness of "Two Dicks in Your Mouth" or "My Little Fuck Doll". Guitarist FC Murder is another great six string slinger which Merle seems to always get playing for the MURDER JUNKIES. The guy is another graduate from the Thunders punk rock n roll school of guitar riffs and solos. Of course knowing Merle's tastes it was no doubt that there wouldn't be some country (or is it cuntry?) influenced cuts on here. The best representation comes on the final cut "Piss Drinkin Jew" but you can hear some country punk influence on "One Rail Away" as well as "48 Days". All I can say is finally, FINALLY Merle has recorded the fuckin masterpiece of scum we fans knew he would put out someday.


GRIDLINK - Orphan CD review

Hydra Head
Genre: Grindcore
Rating: 1/5

A few years ago when I read about this band I thought they were from Japan but it turns out that they're actually from Hoboken, NJ, the place of my birth. All I can say is whatafuck happened to that armpit of a burg to produce something like this. Something else I remember reading was the praise this band received. After listening to this I have to say that GRIDLINK deserves as much praise as I'd give a dog who took a big shit on a sidewalk in Jersey. This is simplistic sounding grindcore with a nutbag screaming. The guitars are somewhat technically played but other than their all out speed this band brings zero to the table all in twelve minutes. This thing played twice through before I was finished reading the promo info. If there's praise to be handed out I'd give it to the author who wrote all of this bullshit in the promo describing this band. So what if the singer's vocals are described as "deranged and tortured". I grew up in fuckin Jersey and let me tell you from experience that by nine o'clock on a Saturday night you heard a lot of deranged and tortured screams from the neighborhood and it wasn't two cats fucking either. Of course that was long before that whole fuckin area of Jersey became gentrified. The once mean streets of Hoboken, New Jersey are now full of coffee shops, hipster bars and in plain sight fag holes. Grindcore from Jersey? This is pretentious bullshit for people who are easily impressed.



MOON - Caduceus Chalice CD review

MOON - Caduceus Chalice CD
Moribund Records
Genre: Black Metal
Rating: 3/5

I always wanted to see what a one man black metal act's basement really looks like. I don't have one where I live, the crawl space doesn't count. But I grew up in a house with a fairly large basement and I just can't conceive the idea of recording a black metal album down in one. How could staring at the water heater, some halfway constructed bicycles, dust, cobwebs and a few boxes marked Xmas decorations would influence one to create atmospheric black metal. Obviously these artists must have finished basements with carpeting and walled in rooms. A basement in Australia is where Miasmyr recorded this which was first released on a limited edition cassette through the Dutch label, Wolfsvuur Records back in February 2010. Now it has been re-released by the good people (very good black metal people) at Moribund Records. Miasmyr (aka Paul Marsh) is responsible for all vocals and the instruments played on here (guitar & keyboards as well as programming)

Caduceus Chalice is one of those late night, turn off the lights, press play and close your eyes type of atmospheric black metal releases. The whole idea is to bring about a hypnotic trance like state in which to carry your mind off into the realm of the underworld and it's glorification of darkness. You like that last line about "glorification of darkness"? Well good because I stole it. While listening to this the only real visionary experience I got was watching myself poke my arm with a lite cigarette to stay awake. I wasn't on some astral plane either since I've got the burn marks to prove it. For me this is more background music to scare away things like small creatures that party in the darkness or even kill them. Seriously after listening to the over eighteen minute closer "Chalice" I went outside on my front porch for a breath a cold fresh senses awakening air. I found a dead snake on the steps. It's tail was wrapped around it's own neck as if in self induced strangulation. So this is depressive, suicidal and freaky to say the least.

Caduceus Chalice is also a tour de force in low fi production standards, as if that was going to be a surprise. Miasmyr relies heavily on the keyboards for most of this. When the guitars are employed it's in that pissed off hornet's nest variety. The vocals sound as if he was screaming from upstairs, maybe even through the floor boards. All in all I think if you're a fan of this style then here ya go as long as you remember that it ain't kvlt unless it sounds like shit motto. But in all seriousness one would think that in this day and age of technology the production on here could be much better. Others have done it quite well. Secondly since Miasmyr is not a black metal newcomer (he's played in several black metal outfits in Australia since 1999) one would think he knows there's a fine line between creating an audio transcendental landscape and inducing sleep with consistently boring drone. If there's a future for MOON then it's got to be better than this one.




SODOMIZER - Jesus Is Not Here Today CD review

SODOMIZER - Jesus Is Not Here Today CD
Deathrash Armageddon
Genre: Thrash
Rating: 3/5

What's in a name? Well for this Brazilian thrash act I'd say alot. SODOMIZER might be new to most thrash fans but they've been kicking people's butts (ahem?) from their home in Rio de Janeiro for a decade now. I first heard about em back in 2007 with their second full length The Dead Shall Rise to Kill. This little eight song blasphemy here is their third full length overall. SODOMIZER's brand of influence leans more towards the Teutonic Thrash realm of SODOM (obviously), DESTRUCTION and KREATOR. Their lyrical content is less Satan more horror/zombie movie influenced. Sound like a lot of fun don't you think? Add to that the production on here gives their sound an old school 80's feel. Obviously these guys are not part of any revival plus most of their songs surpass the four minute mark. The opening cut "Lucio Fulci" even starts off with some haunting piano interlude to induce the horror movie motif'. Unfortunately Jesus Is Not Here Today is also just the some of it's parts that being straight forward thrash with a gimmick. Overall it's a decent listen especially tracks like the previous named one plus "Fighting With Zombies", "When The Devils Order Is Better Obey" and the title cut. Supposedly with this release they're about to take on the world. I'd love to know what the name of their world tour is going to be.



ASTROFAES - Dying Emotions Domain CD Reissue review

ASTROFAES - Dying Emotions Domain CD Reissue
Negative Existence
Genre: Black Metal
Rating: 5/5

If you mention Ukrainian Black Metal to the average metal music fan all you will get from them (if you're lucky) will be something close to an acknowledgement that the Ukraine exists. (Although I wouldn't try to ask em to find it on a map) For extreme types (aka: you readers) the response is much more rich since it brings to mind a number of bands whose style of music within the genre holds with it the spirit of the Slavonic lands. The music conveys a savage attitude built upon by honor defended in blood, pride in heritage and remembrance of ancestors. The blackened music varies in degree but not the attitude behind it. Most extreme types know of such Ukrainian Black Metal acts like NOKTURNAL MORTUM, LUCIFUGUM as well as the various bands created by Roman Saenko, BLOOD OF KINGU, DRUDKH and HATE FOREST. ASTROFAES have also been on that list of Ukrainian acts who have branched out from their homeland to be enjoyed and respected by listeners the world over. ASTROFAES started out back in the mid nineties and are still around today. The band's last release was the Shu-Nun EP from 2008. Although they've been prolific all throughout the past decade having band members participating in other Ukrainian BM acts kinda puts a hold on the creative process.

I'm sure we'll see something new sooner or later but till then it's their past works which need to be discovered by a whole new group of fans. Thankfully Negative Existence has re-issued ASTROFAES debut full length from 1998. For me this is a double treat because for starters it's a damm great album in my not so humble opinion. Secondly this release has not received the respect as those which followed it. I chalk that up to in part from the ignorance of modern writers and to those who actually hate black metal but like all of those indie rock imitators and thieves. The greatness of this release is that it's melodic black metal which is fairly raw in production but still has this massive ferocious atmosphere to it. The band at that time consisted of Thurios (whose also been in HATE FOREST, DRUDKH and BLOOD OF KINGU) and Khorus (also from KHORS) Between these two individuals the music created on here is far more exhilarating to listen to now then the lion's share of blackened acts today playing masquerade.

Once the dark short instrumental opener "The Black Woods Theory" draws you inside the doors firmly shut locking you into a blackened realm of oppressive might. Your first introduction is the album's longest cut "Fiery Mysticism" which takes what the Scandinavians did traditionally with black metal and then weaves it with Eastern fury and flavor. The added keyboards work to add background atmosphere but are not symphonic in any way. "At Nightfall" and "Path To Burning Space" are my favorite cuts on here. Both of which have this pummeling wall of blackened sound which crushes everything in it's wake. The latter cut even adds more than enough Eastern folk elements in it's first half to distinguish it from what some would perceive as Scandinavian BM. "Necromantical Screams" is practically blackened thrash that could mow down an army of outwitted bystanders. The song even contains drum rolls which could be interpreted as bodies falling to the ground. "Ad Infinitum" (Dark II) brings about a needed break from the onslaught by adding an atmospheric interlude albeit an aggressive one with pagan chanted vocals instead of the primary blackened rasp which is the mainstay of what Thurios offers. This only lasts about halfway through the song when the blackened fury returns. The title cut is as close to a true Nordic influence on here as it gets since it reveals an obvious EMPEROR style with the keyboards playing a more prominent role.

The final cut on here, A Song of the Night Birds, is a short haunting piano instrumental which works in perfectly as a closer from all of the battle weariness which proceeded it. Even though this has been remastered the original rawness is still in place. Plus this edition has new artwork which I think is better than the original. With so many bands of the past getting dusted off and repackaged to new listeners I'd say this is a must for anyone who into discovering the true essence of Ukrainian Black Metal.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

HEINALI and MATT FINNEY - Ain't No Night CD review

Paradigms Recordings
Genre: Avant-Garde/Drone
Rating: 5/5

For some metal fans when the discussion of non traditional metal is brought up their reaction is similar to sticking a cross in Dracula's face. Even though I consider myself knowledgeable and open minded to an extent there are times when I'm ignorant when it comes to non traditional metal's more avant-garde acts. Just because I've said some good things about SUNN-O))), BONE OWL and the second BORIS release doesn't make me an expert let alone a fan. So when this one came in I wanted to pass on reviewing it. Then I figured that HEINALI and MATT FINNEY are about as extreme as it gets when it comes to their music. So I tried to find a guest writer to review it. You would have thought I asked someone to fuck a disease ridden crack whore without a condom. So since no one would come to my aid I opened a fresh pack of smokes, popped open a beer and pushed play.

After two spins of this the only safe word I could come up with was drone. The band's promo material (they're a duo) did provide a few more descriptive words for ignorant fucks like me to use. Unfortunately I'm not one of those promo pack copying indie rock loser schmucks who cut and paste every little detail for lack of original thought. Secondly (cue quiet voice) I particularly don't care to use the word "doomgaze". For me what this duo creates musically is Drone. Although I also added "avant-garde" in the genre description because after twenty years of writing about extreme music I've learned an important lesson. Posting "avant-garde" is to pretentious music snobs like yelling "free meth" is in a biker bar. Not only is this act a duo they are fairly unique in that Heinali (who's from the Ukraine and is responsible for composing the music) and Matt Finney (who's from Alabama and is responsible for writing the lyrics along with providing the vocals) have never met each other face to face.

Now if you think that's a little uncanny guess what, these guys have put out four releases together of ambient drone. I've never heard anything by them before. That alone is why this one here needs some investigating. Ain't No Night contains four cuts and it's important to note that Matt Finney's contribution falls more under spoken word poems. If you're familiar with some of the recent releases by ALCEST then you will get a feel for HEINALI and MATT FINNEY. The first cut "In All Directions" is eleven minutes of bleak ambient pain from Heinali's Spanish Inquisition style of guitar torture in order for it to release excruciating noise. Finney's words softly flow over all of this at certain points which just makes it all even more uncomfortable. The second track “Tinderbox” actually has something of a beat to it with some decent bass drum and snare usage and pushes things into a more fuzzy psych level of drone. The third cut “Ain’t No Night” is the biggest surprise on here since it lays awash with electronica for a little bit but then switches off to pure minimalism. At times I was imagining Finney as a beatnik poet while jazz/blues influenced drone spills out on the floor like liquor poured from a bottle.

The final track “Hallelujah” starts off with a gentle piano that switches to something which sounds like an electric fence on the fritz. Heinali is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist who is probably torturing a guitar to it's ultimate limits to create such distortion. One wonders if he's even allowed in a guitar store in his native country once the clerks realize what he's really up to. “Hallelujah” also showcases Finney’s most direct spoken performance on here. It's as if he's a spirit in the room with you (something of which I do have experience with). Finney invokes an unsettling feeling of misery throughout the composition until the end where you're expecting him to say "the sun will come out tomorrow" as an offer of hope. He doesn't, actually the song ends with a snap of a snare drum but you know the sun will rise tomorrow and life will continue as normal until you get this duo's next release. I come away from this not as a new fan but with a better appreciation for the talent involved in creating this release. Although I'm still a ignorant fuck when it comes to drone.



Sorry no new video material but here's something you will enjoy.

Monday, October 17, 2011

CANNABIS CORPSE - Gateways to Inhalation music video exclusive

CANNABIS CORPSE are currently on the road in support of their smokin (I had to say that)new album, Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise which is out now on Tankcrimes Records. SCUMFEAST METAL 666 gave it a 5/5 therefore you know it's a must have release for 2011. The band has been criss-crossing the US alongside THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER and ALL SHALL PERISH. One crazy night in Pennsylvania started with a broken-down van and ended with a balls-to-the-wall DIY gig, complete with THIS video!

Here's the story:

Last Saturday, October 8th, 2011, CANNABIS CORPSE's van broke down and they missed their slot on the "Ritual Tour" that night with Black Dahlia Murder and All Shall Perish in Lancaster, PA. Through the band's Facebook page, they were able to put out the word that the band wouldn't make it and asked if anyone could help out with a DIY late night gig in the area. Rich "Bebo" Abraham of Richolow Films, a Lancaster based metal music video company got in touch the band and coordinated a show for them right down the street from the BDM show to start at midnight. The guys made it to the venue in time to watch BDM and after the show marched with 100 local thrashers to a small venue up the street. A complete rager commenced. Richolow Films caught it all, and now SFM666 has posted up the video for all you maniacs to enjoy!

This video is also appearing on another site but Fuck them, I got the same press release.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

HELLCRAWLER - Wastelands CD review

Hollow Earth Records
Genre: Death Metal/D-Beat
Rating: 4/5

After I listened to the first couple of cuts on this Slovenian band's debut full length I realized two things immediately. The first was that this act got their band name and album title correct. If I were to imagine what the survivors of some post apocalyptic event would sound like if they started a band then this would be close to it. The second thing is that this five piece act obviously found some DISMEMBER, ENTOMBED and DISCHARGE records in the rubble in order to influence them a bit. By the end of this it's obvious that the old school Swedish stuff were listened to most. By the way people used to slam dance to that just like it was Hardcore (a little fact some people seem to have missed).

Just for the record though HELLCRAWLER are not playing by the rules on here. The first cut "Devastation" opens with a movie soundbite from Mad Max (?) then from there it's onto some headbanging death n roll which is pretty damm good. Just to add some diversity they break it down in the middle and drop some Doom on ya plus add a melodic solo before returning to the pounding riffs. You have to listen to this all the way through to notice how this band has a pattern going on. Name dropping those bands earlier is minor to what all HELLCRAWLER is doing on here. The second cut "Rattlesnake Tavern" starts off similar to the first cut with punishing fury then the band changes directions by introducing some melody which would likely get a crowd raising their horned fists high into the air.

Wastelands is a decent release simply because the band surprises you with every song on here. On a few cuts I wish they would just stick to the punishing formula because they have a brutal sound going for them. But the variety they throw at you, like a Doom instrumental as their title track followed by "Post Apocalyptic Revolt" with it's Iommi opening riff, is hard to argue against. In the end this is thirty minutes of unrelenting extreme music and the equivalent to being strapped into a chair for continued torture.




RAPEGOAT - Man Cannot Be Saved CD review

RAPEGOAT - Man Cannot Be Saved CD
Mystery School Records
Genre: Punk Fuckin Rock
Rating: 5/5

The first time I listened this CD was at a Sunday afternoon cookout at the girl friend's house of my good friend Andy Miller (vocalist for the punk/metal band KNOWLEDGE IS FOR FOOLS). He told me I had to check out RAPEGOAT and that they were going to be playing Scumfest 2011. So there we were sitting out on the back patio on a Sunday afternoon with the smell of meat slowly searing on the grill with songs like "Cunthair Moustache", "Dripping Bloody Skull" and "Gore Tits" blasting forth from the boombox. Yeah I know, you wish you were me. So now I have my own copy for review given to me by RAPEGOAT's vocalist, St. John the Baptist, while we were at the HOT GRAVES and MIDNIGHT show the other night. Yeah I know, you wish you were me.

RAPEGOAT, the name itself suggests more than just an extreme band name. (although a cool band name sure helps) RAPEGOAT are punk fuckin rock as in the sound, style & fury from back in the day before all the hairdo clown caricatures and self censorship of the nineties took the threat out from the lion's share of the genre. This is scumpunk, the offensive stuff which was covered back in the pages of the original Scumfeast Fanzine back in the late 90's. This is snot punk, like blowing your nose on the face of the guy wearing a RANCID shirt in front of the stage. This is a middle finger salute to all bands who take the safe sedate route in their musical careers in order to be accepted and get a gig at Disney owned clubs. This is a threat from the underground which doesn't advertise itself like a commercial.

When I listen to Man Cannot Be Saved it reminds me of the time back in 1979 when I first heard the SEX PISTOLS being played on a college radio station. Not that RAPEGOAT sounds anything like the SEX PISTOLS but it's just that feeling you get when listening to something and thinking by doing so you're committing an illegal act. Yeah you know that feeling don't ya and you like it. Don't look now but I'm swimming in a filthy cesspool of sounds that just might be offensive to 99% of the music listening public, some of whom actually claim to like punk rock as long as it conforms. This North Carolina act doesn't sell itself short on that with these eleven tracks.



HOT GRAVES interview Scumfeast Metal 666 exclusive

Florida's HOT GRAVES has become one of SFM666's favorite bands in 2011. After reviewing three of their releases (two EPs and their latest full length) it was a simple decision to do an interview to go behind the scenes. Also finally seeing them perform at a local club with MIDNIGHT helped as well.

SFM666: Let's get the obligatory band info question out of the way first. How did HOT GRAVES come about?

Myk: It is known far and wide, but I was in THEE KVLT OV OUROBOROS and also BY THE HORNS, with Matt in the latter, and I had an idea for a caveman thrash ensemble engaged in Punk/Metal alchemy that we could easily get involved with on the side ov our other projects which would be simple and nonchalant and just..... fun. Then, we enlisted Hutch from Secrets She Kept to play bass, which wasn't much ov a stretch given his punk rock roots.

Matt: Once we had a few songs, we were trying to find a second guitar player, and Dustin from BY THE HORNS heard the demos and expressed interest in coming in. We would've asked him before, but we thought he was too busy. The rest is your basic get-some-songs-play-some-shows scenario.

Hutch: Then it just took over.

SFM666: Your band name comes from a MIDNIGHT song which is about necrophilia. So at this time would you like to admit that you're into necrophilia? Just for the record a 'dead fuck' doesn't count as necrophilia.

Myk: We're certainly into MIDNIGHT...

Matt: All I can say is, it's all rock and roll to me.

SFM666: I've been watching the tour blogumentaries on your Youtube channel. Will you be doing one for this tour?

Matt: I'll be taking a lot of footage, and the plan is to make a video, but we'll see what happens. I don't set anything up in advance, so I have to let it come to me.

Hutch: Matt has footage from NOLA, our show with WATAIN, all our recent exploits... And we haven't even seen it. Notice how the last Blogumentary of the Sweat Management tour ends in "Episode 3 coming soon.....".

SFM666: I see from watching your tour blogumentaries that you like dining at Waffle House. Just for the record I like Waffle House as well especially late at night as long as there are no local college kids there making a nuisence, pissing off the waitresses and low balling on the tips. What's your favorite thing on their delicious menu or what would be your usual order? How do you take your hashbrowns? Got any weird or funny experiences there? (hey late night & with alcohol involved, I've seen some funny things at the one here in Raleigh.)

Myk: We've eaten at a WH in Raliegh, actually, but we were probably the funniest thing there. These guys who were traveling with us who were broke, they gave them free waffles and coffee, straight up just being charitable. I respect that. I always get the slam with the hash browns covered.

Matt: Where I come from in the Midwest, we don't have grits and stuff, so I get my hash browns with cheese. I do like the chocolate chip waffle.

Hutch: I get my hash browns fully charged, and it's nice to know there's an ice cold coca cola waiting for me at Waffle House.

SFM666: Would you recommend the Bert's Chili to other bands who plan to tour in a crowded van?

All: NO.

SFM666: One of the videos you have on your Youtube channel is for the song "Madman" by PENTAGRAM from your Necros Mixos Sacrificio covers EP. You use film footage from the 1964 Hammer Horror classic The Masque Of The Red Death. Are you fans of old horror movies?

Matt: I got into a Vincent Price kick one weekend, and I while I was watching The Masque of the Red Death I kept hearing our Pentagram cover to the scenes. So I as soon as it was done, I downloaded the movie and cut it up into that video. I liked House on Haunted Hill as well.

Hutch: Not only am I a big fan of many genres of horror movies and post-apocalyptic films, but I also read horror fiction and Sci-Fi / Fantasy. Basically, I just like Wizards, Monsters, and murder.

SFM666: Speaking of the Necros Mixos Sacrificio EP, was there a vetting process on what songs you wanted to cover?

Myk: We kinda towed the line between doing songs we wanted to reinterpret, and songs that already sound like what we're going for. Half ov them, we had already played live, and just wanted to document for ourselves, really. It usually starts with an idea that I have for a song to cover, and then we see if we agree.

Matt: Like most bands, we've been doing covers for fun since we started playing, and even recorded covers on our first two demos. We even included a cover on our first 7" on Greyhaze records.

SFM666: You did "White Faces" on there so who's the ROKY ERICKSON fan in the band?

Hutchy: We all are. We all like many things that aren't metal or punk.

Myk: Roky and The Devil's Blood are something we've listened to pretty consistently as a band whilst on the road together. We played with WATAIN as mentioned before, and their guitar player was the dude from The Devil's Blood, and we didn't figure it out until the day after. Which was probably good, because we would've fanned-out on him HARD.

SFM666: Is Satanik Records your label?

Myk: Yes.

SFM666: So how did Fenriz from DARKTHRONE learn about you in order for you to appear in one of his Band of the Week blog postings?

Myk: From correspondence with Kat Shevil, I believe. She bothered him about us, he took interest and got in contact with us, and we sent him the unmastered, out-ov-order version ov KIWP and he liked it enough to make us BOTW ASAP, FOAD.

SFM666: When I reviewed your new full length Knights in White Phosphorus I called it 80's Hardcore with blackened vocals and used some of my favorite bands from back in the day (POISON IDEA, the DAYGLO ABORTIONS and BATTALION OF SAINTS) as references. I've seen other reviews were you've been called blackened thrash to d-beat. Do you agree with all of those descriptions or do you have one of your own?

Matt: We agree, and we kinda coin ourselves D-Beat Deathrash, but it's all a mash-up of these elements that make what we do.

Hutch: We're gonna print HELLBEAT on all our merch and see if it sticks. I'm also thinking" fuschcia-loving genre whores" should end up on some shirts as well.

SFM666: As far as your new full length Knights in White Phosphorus, some of those songs have appeared on a few of your early releases. Was this just to get all of your best or favorite material all on one release?

Myk: Our early releases were just demos, aside from the D-Time 7", but even re-recording Desecration Time was necessary to us to make this album what we envisioned it to be as a crystalization ov our sound at that time. Some songs had evolved somewhat, some just had to be there for our own continuity.

SFM666: I see that James Murphy has been getting around lately as far as working with new bands on their releases. How did it come about with HOT GRAVES getting him to do the mastering for your new full length Knights in White Phosphorus?

Hutchy: James Murphy has been doing a lot lately. He did my old band Secrets She Kept newest album as well last year. I had nothing to do with getting Murphy for that album though. It is, however, quite awesome to have him work on two of my releases so far. He does great work.

Myk: I actually talked to Andrew from The Atlas Moth when they were on that big tour with St. Vitus and Helmet, and at the time I was in a twist about getting it mastered, so he suggested James. Then I pursued it, and now it is so.

SFM666: What about Northern Horde Records, how did you get involved with a Canadian label?

Myk: They approached us and wanted to put out a full length, and I was in contact with a member ov Skagos (who they put out as well) who had great things to say about them. They have been awesome so far, and they put out plenty ov other great bands, so it's been a pleasure.

SFM666: Since your music is Punk/Metal combined do you see that type of cross section of fans in your audiences?

Myk: Absolutely.

Matt: We get our share of crusty punks, but otherwise it's mostly a metal crowd. We are definitely a metal band with punk influences, and not the other way around at all. That's just me maybe.

Hutchy: Fuck you Matt, we're a D-Beat band with metal influences.

SFM666: Have you ever received a backlash from either group of people ie: punks who don't like metal/metal fans who don't like punk? What about the opposite effect, people walking up after a show thanking you for the performance as well as turning them onto something they haven't heard much of?

Myk: We've definitely had crusty types who don't cotton as much to the more metallic elements ov our songs, they'd rather we just blast full-on d-beat charge outs perhaps. The same people walk up and ask me "Who is this?" when we play The Accused tape before we go on, so who knows?

Hutchy: I'm continually confused by the desire to keep punk and metal so far apart. I love when I listen to a band and I can't tell whether it should be tagged "punk" or "metal" in my iPod. Hell, Saint Vitus covered Black Flag in the 80's. Punk and metal have been copulating forever, it's awesome, and I don't care if you don't get it. To answer your question though, no I can't recall either of those scenarios playing out.

SFM666: Since making a living off of one's music/art is rare I'm sure you guys actually have day jobs. Would you care to share what exciting occupations you have when you're not performing?

Myk: Pizza Pimp. DJ.

Hutchy: Service industry. I've been working in restaurants for about 13 years. I have two kitchen jobs, one in a real restaurant and the other at bar where I'm all alone in a one man kitchen. I get a lot of Hot Graves business done in the one man kitchen.

SFM666: For anyone out there who's in a band and plans to do weekend or short regional touring in a van, what tips/advice would you give them?

Matt: The weekend warrior tours are great if everybody in the band still has day jobs because you can travel pretty far and not have to take more than a few days off work. No matter how kick-ass your band is, you still need time for word to spread...

Myk: Just keep doing them, I'd say. Build any momentum you can.

SFM666: So this tour starts off on October 7th with a CD release show in your hometown, Gainesville, FL and from there you're working your way up the east coast starting on October 12th (I'll include the tour dates in the post) and then coming back with some gigs in Asheville, NC and Atlanta, GA. So will this be your longest tour so far?

Myk: I think last year's Sweat Management Tour was our longest, and even that was only a week and a half. We're playing with MIDNIGHT this go around, so we are fuckin' amped even more than usual.

SFM666: Since you've been putting out releases on a fairly quick pace (I've reviewed three in 2011) what's next on the release front from HOT GRAVES? I read that you're working on a all covers full length, is that true?

Matt: No more covers for a while. We have been kicking around the idea of releasing a compilation of all the covers we have recorded (and a few new ones probably) along with a DVD of a bunch of videos from our Youtube channel as well as "preciously unreleased footage."

Myk: The all covers thing became Necros Mixos Sacrificio, although we'll probably do another volume ov that sooner than later. We have ideas for more covers, but really we're about finished up writing our new album (and then some) and getting into the demo phase for that. We did begin demoing, but we had problems with our recording equipment. So now we'll probably do that after we return from this tour, and then we'll be heading out in November to play both the Forward To The Apocalypse Fest (which includes a bonus all-ages matinee mini-fest called Rasing Hell Fest that we are also playing) in Savannah, GA and also the Goregrowler's Ball in San Antonio, TX, which is an amazing 3 day event that we are super stoked about. So the rest ov our year will be quite busy, and I personally am quite pleased. We also have tracks in the can for a split we're planning with the awesome Aussie riff pimps WHITEHORSE, so hopefully that will happen sooner than later as well.

For more info on HOT GRAVES check out any of their sites

Youtube channel:



Buy their stuff from:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

ARCHAIOS - The Distant CD review

ARCHAIOS - The Distant CD
Dark Canvas Records
Genre: Death Metal
Rating: 4/5

I believe this is my first time reviewing a release from a Dominican Republic band. I'm glad to get it since music knows no borders, getting the bands allowed entry into your country (like in the states) is another matter. But anyway here we have ARCHAIOS who are unashamed melodic death metal to the point where they could give some of those older Swedish bands a run. This is their second full length and after a spin I'd say they have that some Gothenburg sound plus the galloping MAIDEN rhythms and guitar pyrotechnics. Although there are times when they fly off the plate and dive into prog territory like near the end of the title cut and on "Legions". I must admit that I don't get much new melodic death metal in for review (not like years ago) nor do I go out looking for it. It's just a matter taste and having a few favorite bands that you latch on to over the course of time. I'll admit that last ARCH ENEMY release really blew. But these Dominicans seem to have progressed beyond what I'd usually call generic. When I saw that their debut release Out of the Shadows came out back in 2006, things started to fall into place. According to the promo info ARCHAIOS are "the Dominican Republic's premiere extreme metal act." Well that depends on how many extreme acts there are in that nation. But they've been honing their craft now for five years since their debut. No wonder they're tighter than a frog's ass (and that's water tight). I'd bet that if I was playing this outside of the UNEARTH show that's coming to town. Most of the thong of melo-death fans in line would demand a ticket refund and use the cash to buy this. Then start a pit in the street.



DEAD HEAD - II Demo review

Self Released
Genre: Psych Punk/Doom
Rating: 4/5

Whenever I'm at that point of feeling jaded because of writing about the same type of music day after day something will get sent in that makes me smile because it's different or reminds me of something cool from the past. This band here did it to me this time around. (then again I'm old school so demos are always cool) DEAD HEAD are a four piece act out of Olympia, Washington who could have stepped out of a time machine from 1971 or 1981 for that matter. I say that because on this their four song demo they have an aggressive psych punk sound which is paired up with elements of doom. It's like SIOUXIE AND THE BANSHEES meeting up with SABBATH. The band's vocalist, Caroline Motley, kinda reminds me of Siouxsie Sioux in that she has that strong vocal presence and tone to her voice which doesn't convey emotions too subtly. Everything is straight forward whether it's anger, sadness or regret. It works perfectly in this structure since the band's sound is fairly open.

You listen to opener "Dead Head" and each instrument is clearly distinct and equal as far as the sound quality. "Dead Head" is a bluesy number starting out which picks up speed and a pissed off attitude at the three quarter mark. "Dawn Patrol" is where the band's punk influences rise to the surface and collide headlong into the early 70's blues rock and psych damage courtesy of guitarist Wolf Mythrendear. The guitar tone on here is incredibly retro and on this cut is where you can really understand my use of the two name dropped bands. Motley's vocal emotion on here is comparative to a roller coaster. While listening to "Journey to a New Home" I was thinking "holy Geezer Butler I can actually hear the freakin bass" being played by Anton Sedar. (not that you can't hear if on the previous cuts because you can) While he's having fun guitarist Wolf Mythrendear is tweaking Iommi blues soloing until he kicks in with the standard power riff. Shades of SABBATH's first LP with Yiannia Bekris's drumwork playing that perfect accompaniment. The song finally gives way to a bad trip experience. (no personal anecdotes from me on that one)

On the final cut "Star Light Express" (with the riff from "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" starting it out) the SABBATH and BANSHEES collision returns but unfortunately it's the shortest cut on here. Obviously I was left wanting a whole lot more. Then again it added to the mystery behind this band. I didn't get much info in their promo e-mail other than addresses and a poem;

"Through the sodden dark nights and days of the Pacific Northwest
forest black despondent sounds caress our consciousness, like night
pressing down on our lives. Our thoughts all robbed by dimming light,
the trees they whisper winters soul, our minds all a mist of autumns
ghost. We ask you to come, alone for us to dream of you listening
under our caress of agony."

Other than that I had to find all the other info using my skills learned as a CIA operative (yeah right, I Googled their name) I don't know what the next step is for this band. If the pattern for 2011 (when female fronted doom bands came to the forefront of the genre) continues then they will put out a full length so another new interweb doom scribe can find another way to name drop JEX THOTH and BLOOD CEREMONY in a review. Trust me, even though those two acts are good, DEAD HEAD has nothing truly in common musically with them. In fact I think the DEAD HEAD have uncovered a trail that hasn't been used in a long while. I like that and I also like that they sent an actual address for people to order their demo. I haven't received an actual brick and mortar address since Scumfeast was a print zine back in the freakin nineties.



Dead Head
P.O. BOX 835
Olympia, WA 98507

Dead Head "Black Despondency" from Descend the Stairs on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

THE WOUNDED KINGS - In the Chapel of the Black Hand CD review

THE WOUNDED KINGS - In the Chapel of the Black Hand CD
I HATE Records
Genre: Doom
Rating: 4/5

In 2010 this English Doom band's release The Shadow Over Atlantis (also on I Hate Records) was included in the SFM666 best of the year listings. My final words on it's greatness were "Mushrooms, a box of razor blades, a Gibson SG (Tony Iommi playing it optional), sitting in an opium den, black lights and some cough syrup." Now a year later my first reaction to this one was "holy crap!" I'm sure all of their fans have similar comments. The big news for THE WOUNDED KINGS is that band mainman Steve Mills (guitars/keyboards) has an actual line-up on this latest release. Not only has Mills brought in new people for guitar, bass and drums duties but long time collaborator and vocalist George Birch has been replaced with Sharie Neyland. I believe Birch just wanted to move on so Mills followed the path of many other acts in the past year by turning his band into female fronted doom. I'm not complaining one bit since Neyland's vocal presence gives this release more of a gothic/occult ritual splendour.

In the Chapel of the Black Hand is not full of any real surprises, as far as the vocal change, which would take away from last year's The Shadow Over Atlantis. In fact it's a fairly simplistic release as far as Doom goes with three long cuts and one short instrumental. The opening song "The Cult of Souls" starts out with some Hammond organ giving one the feeling of a church service. That goes on for a little over a minute until Mills breaks through the surreal atmosphere with slow solid riffs. It's right at the two minute mark when Neyland's sultry oratory kicks in. Yes 2011 will be called the year when female fronted bands took center stage within the Doom genre. There's enough bands now to dedicate a festival toward it. Yeah that would be a bad idea but can you just imagine what next year is going to be like with all of the band wagon jumping copycats? Yeah well even though "The Cult of Souls" is a good cut it starts dragging along after ten minutes and it's over thirteen minutes in length. Although it doesn't drag as much ass as the fifteen minute "Curse of Chains" did on their An Introduction to the Black Arts split with COUGH also from 2010. By the way COUGH's close to twenty minute opus on there was about as exciting as being in a hospital bed hooked up to a Thorazine drip.

This release continues on with "Gates of Oblivion" which starts as if it bleed from the opener. It's not until the after three and half minutes of a funeral doom procession sequence that the song identifies itself as being different from it's predecessor. If they plan to play this live they better pull out a chair for Neyland while she waits for her vocal part to come in. I'll give her a lot of credit since her vocals soar right over the dread to grab hold of you. The woman has a perfect vocal delivery for Mills' compositions. Mills' riffs can be a little repetitive on "Gates of Oblivion" but with some fine solos, the keys laying down the gothic atmosphere and Neyland's vocals running almost throughout the thirteen minutes of this cut they used the time very well. I'll guess and say that the instrumental "Return of the Sorcerer" was the last song recorded for this just to fill space. Luckily it was like a cup of strong coffee to break out of the haze which features piping hot solo weaving it's way like a snake throughout the oppressive riffs. The finale and title cut left me wondering if Mills was recycling riffs off of his same albums much like ELECTRIC WIZARD does these days. Sure as hell sounded like it until Neyland's milk curdling vocals kick in. It will be with this cut that people (re: new doom web scribes) will make comparisons to BLOOD CEREMONY, which is understandable because of the dark psych atmosphere permeating throughout. Now if they also mention JEX THOTH then they're ignorant.

Be that as it may In the Chapel of the Black Hand is a step back for Steve Mills and company as far as comparing it to past efforts. I give the guy credit for bringing in Sharie Neyland on vocals but in the long run she's a one trick pony in that department. Think about it, how much long drawn out gothic tinged doom can you withstand before you go out scouring cemeteries at night in search of partying goth kids to kill in order to sequester the inner rage that is brought on by boredom? By the halfway mark of these songs, minus the short one, I was staring at the wall of CDs wondering if I should double check to see if they were all in alphabetical order. A daunting task to say the least but I had the time. Something else which comes to mind while listening to In the Chapel of the Black Hand is that it seems rushed. It's as if Mills wanted to get something out quickly. Remember there was around a year and a half gap between their 2008 debut Embrace of the Narrow House and last years The Shadow Over Atlantis. Maybe in a year Mills can return with something better.



TRUTH CORRODED – Worship The Bled CD review

TRUTH CORRODED – Worship The Bled CD
Ultimhate Records
Genre: Thrash/Metalcore
Rating: 3/5

Although this is my first time listening to Australia's TRUTH CORRODED they have been around since the late 90's and have a fairly large catalog of releases including three full lengths prior to this. Musically speaking I'm not a fan of metalcore but I won't let interfere with what this band brings to the table. The first thing I noticed about Worship The Bled is it's uncompromising power which of course is the template factor in "core" metal. Vocalist Jason North has that generic singing style familiar to metalcore which I call the wounded and angry dinosaur scream. You need that to be able to sing over artillery blast like riffs and jackhammer drumming. Something of note is that this band has a re-tooled line-up. Band members, the previously mentioned North, guitarist Mark Lennard and bassist Greg Damon Shaw are joined by new guitarist Darren McLennan who's responsible for the lead work on here. They also have a session drummer Kevin Talley whose also pounded the skins for such core favorites like DAATH, CHIMAIRA and MISERY INDEX. I can honestly say the man is a machine on here plus Talley adds an abundance of fluid leads which almost float above the mayhem created by the others. That's something you notice quickly on the release's second cut "Hunt All Heroes". The opener "Knives of the Betrayed" merely sets the stage with a catchy riff that draws you in. Once inside, each following cut grows with intensity with marginal variation into a huge aggressive monster. Some perfect examples are "Pride of Demise" as well as "The Great Waste of Flesh" both of which follow that previously mentioned theme. The climax is "Summon Abyss" their over seven minute closer which could be the first ever metalcore epic. Decent release but I'm sure any metalcore fan will call it greatness.



CROOKED NECKS - Alright Is Exactly What It Isn't CD review

CROOKED NECKS - Alright Is Exactly What It Isn't CD
Handmade Birds
Genre: New Age
Rating: 1/5

If I look up a supposed metal band's name on one of the various Metal info sites and that name doesn't come up then my bullshit detector sounds an alarm. Hell it went off after I read the promo material which accompanied this, then I went into my bathroom and threw up. Afterwards I did the only thing I could which was to visit a colleague's website from England who posts releases to download. She's basically an indie rock babe who actually knows something about decent metal be it modern black metal, doom, post rock, experimental sounds as well as the crap that hipsters like. I figured CROOKED NECKS would be right up her alley. In fact I got more than I bargained for because after I learned about this band's history I went to the bathroom and threw up again. Before I even get into this band let me tell you about their music. This release came to SFM666 under the guise of post-black metal. Ladies and gentleman (and you others) just because you can rasp your vocals/screams does not automatically mean you're black metal. If that were the case than the sounds of those getting butt raped in prison would also be considered black metal vocals. Next up this is not metal music. This is new age, air fart, drone stuff which is listened to by people I don't wanna know nor live near. Chances are I don't because I live on the east coast and not the left coast. So lets just get everything straight and admit that this is not metal or extreme music of any kind. Is it good? I wouldn't know for lack of having something to measure it up against. It's like the situation your in sometimes when your at a Chinese buffet and you don't recognize something up at the buffet table. You don't wanna touch it. According to my English lady colleague it's soothing as well as fifteen other descriptive words she found in the Thesaurus.

As far as the history of CROOKED NECKS goes they are two guys from Colorado(?). One guy Shane is responsible for all the instruments while the other guy, Andy, is the vocalist, although there's not much of that. Before this they were called FRAIL who I've never heard of but they thought there were too many bands out there using the same name so they changed it. Another thing is that Shane the instrumentalist was previously in a bunch of basement black metal acts some of whom have underground respectability. I'm not going to name em all or give my full opinion on those acts but suffice it to say that Shane has been around. Which brings us back to CROOKED NECKS and their release. There are individuals in the avant garde realm who wanna call this just another side of metal. I disagree with them because by doing so they openly admit that their specific brand of music lacks credibility. Therefore they must latch on like a parasite to something which already has credibility, a fan base and a network for communication. Also who says a musician can't play various types of music which can fall into a multiple number of genres? If a country music artist can record a metal album which got a review in a major US metal magazine (they did give it an average review). Then why can't a metal musician record music that's not metal and be judged on the merits of that outside genre? Calling this post black metal is not only an insult to this act but also to the intelligence of every black metal band as well as their fans. Slapping this "post" tag in front of genre titles in order to give a band credibility has gone from ridiculous to out of control. Alright Is Exactly What It Isn't is the type of release for people into new age music. You might even find it soothing but black metal is exactly what it isn't.



Monday, October 10, 2011

KRAMPUS – Kronos’ Heritage CD review

KRAMPUS – Kronos’ Heritage CD
Self Released
Genre: Folk Metal
Rating: 3/5

Well I haven't been keeping up with Paganfest this year but it seems that the season of it is way over. Still this folk metal act from Italy would fit in well with that bunch. KRAMPUS is an 8 piece (crowded stage) folk influenced melo death metal band who actually released this in 2010 but I got it now (?) sent in for a once over. It's only three cuts but after one spin I thought it was in the same vein as their northern neighboring genre peers ELUVEITIE. The folk elements are mostly used as a backdrop with an occasional keyboard, violin or flute solo while the metal structure blazes along. As far as the other folk instruments there's bagpipes, whistles and an Irish bouzouki somewhere in the mix. I've seen photos and they're furries like Finland's TURISAS plus they wear warpaint. Still there's a decent melodic tone throughout these three cuts which will please anyone out there looking for another Folk Metal band to blast during your yearly 'I Wanna Be A Warrior" party. At times the vocals can be annoying with the intense screaming added with beast growls. On the opening title cut there's some clean vocals in the chorus. The other cuts sound like they were borrowed from ELUVEITIE. I use to really get into the whole Pagan Folk Metal thing but after so many bands have jumped onto the ship it's lost some of it's original appeal. The key word is "original" which KRAMPUS is far from being but as far as entertaining yeah especially if you just can't get enough.


THE GARDNERZ - The System of Nature CD review

THE GARDNERZ - The System of Nature CD
Abyss Records
Genre: Doom
Rating: 3/5

Well isn't this sweet as in drinking poison. They're a Swedish four piece and this is Doom. When this release opens with "The Art of Suffering" and it's low toned solitude as it's structure unfolded I was expecting something along the lines of MY DYING BRIDE. Then the monster vocals and stabbing guitar soloing commenced which let me know that we're dealing with something not so ordinary of a Doom act. I should have expected it since with a band name like THE GARDNERZ, hey what's that all about. Back in 2010 this band self released this but now it's been re-released on Abyss Records with two covers tacked on it's rear. I'll ruin it for ya since one choice is fairly unique, "Bloody Vengence" by VULCANO and one is not so unique "Servants of the Warsmen" by WINTER. Aside from that what this band brings to the table is their ability to altar time signatures without ruining the ebb and flow of their songs. Their second cut on here "Lady in the Grave" makes that clear early on and it continues throughout The System of Nature. You could call it Doom for the ADD afflicted (but don't call it Technical Progressive Doom or I will find and kill you) especially with a vocalist like Niklas Ankarbranth who also likes to switch things up from a patented death growl to blackened venomous rasps and sinister laughs. Guitarist Wilhelm Lindh's playing style is much in the same vein. He throws heavy standard doom riffs, tremolo picked rhythms, acoustic styled plucking, fiery leads, sometimes all in one song like he does on "Your Final Solution" and "Born to Consume".

Unfortunately all of that off your meds destructuring does lead to some monotony. While Lindh and Ankarbranth are doing their best at making you react like a cat chasing a laser pointer the rhythm section of bassist Francisco Martin and drummer Juan Pablo Donoso are simply keeping time. It's as if these guys really are on different time schedules since Lindh and Ankarbranth are from Sweden where as Martin and Donoso are from Chile. Whatfuck is right plus those Chilein guys must of froze their ass's off if this was recorded in Sweden during the winter. No wonder they're slow sounding. At least Martin gets some bass soloing in on "More or Less" and Donoso finally gets to toss in some fills on the latter half of the album's cuts. By "Flaw in the Axiom", the seventh song, things get to the boredom point. It's as if the band simply ran out of ideas and become a conveyor belt of first part rehash. Yeah sure it's Doom, it's repetitive but I'm talking about song structure as well as technique and songwriting. The first half is interesting but the second half is a blatent repeat. If it wasn't for the covers I'd say stop at the release's half way mark.



THOUSAND YEAR WAR - Tyrants and Men CD review

THOUSAND YEAR WAR - Tyrants and Men CD
Abyss Records
Genre: Death Metal
Rating: 4/5

On the surface this sounds like melodic death metal from Sweden with blackened vocals. In reality it's Hiram Lohr from Alaska who recorded the guitar and vocals plus had a now former band member on bass. They sent that recorded material to session drummer Fredrik Widigs (THE UGLY and DESULTOR) in Sweden to lay down the drum tracks. After that the full length got mixed in Sweden by another guy and holy crap they had an album to present to a label to which they got signed to. You see people it ain't so hard to do. Alright in all fairness it took a little while for all of this to come about but in the end Hiram Lohr's vision became a reality. Besides if you wanna get that authentic Swedish Melodic Death Metal sound then send it to a Swedish studio. Tyrants and Men is all of that as well as having some cool looking cover artwork. Hiram Lohr has decidedly made this release sound genre perfect.

For anyone who reacts to Swedish melo-death the same way Dracula reacts to a cross you might wanna just pick this up for old time's sake. Let's be honest now, we all have a few AMON AMARTH releases which we love and THOUSAND YEAR WAR isn't far from that template. There's plenty of catchy riff action attacking cuts like "The Storm I Ride". If that's not your pleasure (then screw you since I think it's a great cut) then songs like opener "Defiance" or the epic battle hymn of "No Gods No Masters" will have you doing the invisible grapefruit pose. I would not call everything on here a winner as far as my taste but it's still a cool sounding album. Hiram Lohr's vocals are a mix of the blackened rasp as well as traditional deep throaty death metal growls. So there's the variety factor which keeps thing interesting. Another point where this release is appealing is in the songwriting. Hiram Lohr's has a cool ability at following a recipe and yet make some things standout. "Warriors of Defiance" is pure battle metal with a hint of that Euro folk influence poking it's head in around the halfway mark. All in all it's a decent release which is a surprise since I hardly listen to this type of stuff anymore.



BLACK DEVOTION - Cathedral of the Black Goat demo review

BLACK DEVOTION - Cathedral of the Black Goat demo
Self Released (soon to be released on Unholy Vision Records)
Genre: Black Metal
Rating: 4/5

A close friend of mine sent me a video link on Facebook (aka:Facecrack) to one of her boyfriend's band's songs, and asked my opinion of it. I thought it was pretty damm good since it had this evil atmosphere as if the sounds of the lower regions of the world were emanating from crevices at it's surface. I also mentioned BEHERIT, SARCOFAGO and PORTAL as reference points. The next thing I know is that the band's release is in my email awaiting a review. So I'd better say something nice about this one or she'll delete me from her friends and frankly I just can't take another deletion. OK that's bullshit (the deletion part) but this band certainly is not. BLACK DEVOTION are into full on Orthodox Devil Worship plus their logo looks similar to BLACK WITCHERY's. Like I was telling this priest at the gas station the other day, while I was filling up a gas can for that night's arson, that the biggest problem lately with the whole US Black Metal scene is that there's not enough true Devil worshipping going on. There's plenty of phonies out there on that symphonic trip plus all of those hipsters who worship used clothing stores and believe the devil resides inside every convenient store burrito. BLACK DEVOTION are truly fuckin serious and it definitely shows in their sound. This is pure blackened hell which will chase away any scenester fuck unless they wanna be part of the sacrifice. Although I'd doubt they would want em.

BLACK DEVOTION is a three piece consisting of Myrmydon on bass and lead vocals, Nocturnus Dominus on guitar, drums and backing vocals as well as running Unholy Vision Records. For playing live purposes they have KOMMANDANT drummer David Swanson filling in. Despite the deviations I threw around earlier BLACK DEVOTION's music is not just skirting the themes from the ideology of Devil Worship. In fact this release as well as the band concept is based on the Cathedral of the Black Goat which Myrmydon runs. If the music on here is an indication of what membership in the Cathedral of the Black Goat is like then I'm sure the Jehovah Witnesses don't have to worry about their door knocking territories being threatened. BLACK DEVOTION's music is blackened death doom and hate. This is the sound that first crept up out of the ground in South America back in the late eighties. Then emigrated to Scandinavia by some stowaway clutching a copy of SARCOFAGO's INRI LP to his chest as he hided out in the bowels of a some rust bucket of a ship while living on a diet of rats. Once in Europe some guys in Finland got a hold of that record then started the band BEHERIT. Afterwards the world was never the same again. Yes this is THAT sound. It's not overwhelming and in your face but instead creeps along low to the surface until it makes contact and then infects you.

I'm not sure if this is the pre or post mastering copy of the release and I don't have lyrics. Yes I'm sure they would be fun to read aloud at a family gathering, unless your family wears hooded black cloaks as church clothes. The songs on here, six of em, all run at the same speed which I like to call "brutal" which is somewhere in between a mechanical death metal pace and blackened riff frenzy. I wouldn't even characterize Myrmydon singing style as actual vocals. It's somewhere in between the noise you hear emanating from inside an underground steam pipe and the sound you hear when you're standing in front of a cave inhabited by bears who have just woke up hungry from months of hibernation. Both of which I have experienced personally. As far as Nocturnus Dominus's guitar work goes imagine sticking your head in a hole then getting stuck only to find out there's a hornets nest deep inside buzzing and they're coming for you. His drum work is like the pounding beats of your heart in that situation. Yes this is THAT sound and just like those who first let it loose upon us it is still sinister and hypnotic. This thing repeated it self playing three times before I realized that their were flames shooting up from below my floorboards. Lucky for me I'm marked.

Aside from the tremendous power this music conveys on the listener there's so much more to it's creation story. According to the info Myrmydon forwarded to me this release has been a long time project in the making going back to 2006. So their band name is more than the sum of it's words. If there was a downside to this release I'd say that by the fifth cut "Le Dragon Rouge" things sound monotonous. I'd go along with chocking it up to this being more of a religious experience, which is what I say about BLACK FUNERAL's music as well. When you're listening to the opening of the final cut, "The Pact with Lucifuge Rofocale", there's this cavernous vocal sound of relief which for some the end spells orgasmic joy or a sigh of thankfulness. Trust me on this one because I don't care what religion you are. At the end of your ceremonies there's a sound of relief in every one's voices come near the end. Don't believe me? Then stand outside of a church and see how many people go back in for seconds. Be that as it may Cathedral of the Black Goat is definitely not something you will find at Hot Topic in the mall. Nor will it be discussed over coffee at some downtown hipster crowded cafe where losers wear nose studs to feel edgy. No this is strictly for the true diehards of underground black metal because it contains THAT sound.



Sorry people but there seems to be no video music for this band.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


photo by Wicked-Lens-Photography

What better way to spend a sunny Saturday Fall afternoon and a leather wearing evening in North Carolina then to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the NC METALFEST at the Wilson County Fairgrounds where it all began. Something else to remember was that this was the first one held after a six year lapse. Think of it as North Carolina's version of Wacken Open Air. OK the Wacken metaphor might be a stretch but hey there were 30 bands of various genres of Metal, 3 stages, it was outside and a lot of people were drinking. Too me that's close enough plus it was in Wilson, North Carolina (pronounced "will sin"). Not only was I there to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Fest but I was also working at the Buttons Made For You table which was situated perfectly so I had a good view of stages A and B. Speaking of buttons there's probably going to be a few high school kids in detention this week for wearing a 'I heart VAGINA' or a 'Fuck You You Fuckin Fuck' button to class which they bought from our merch table. Look if any of you high school people are reading this remember if the authorities ask where ya got the buttons, tell em at the mall but tell your friends ya got em from some cool people at the NC METALFEST. Oh well more on the button sales later. Overall the 2011 NC METALFEST was a success in bringing out a whole bunch of people young and old to hear some of the state's best Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Before I even get into the music a very special thanks needs to go out to Tony "Dio" Leonard, Glen Stewart, Ray Lewis and Robby Rodwell for making this event happen.

KNOWLEDGE IS FOR FOOLS ends their set with a blazing climax. photo by Tabby

PART ONE: The Beginning

There's nothing like waking up early on a Saturday morning, loading up the truck with tables, buttons, band stuff and then traveling the back roads of North Carolina past the cotton fields to a Metalfest. The first band was going on at noon so we (aka: me Mr. Wolf, Andy Miller singer for the band KNOWLEDGE IS FOR FOOLS as well as Buttons Made For You owner/operator plus his lovely girlfriend Kristian) had to have our merch stand up and ready to go long before that. First beer cracked open at 11:30 on the dot. By the way kids when it comes to drinking and working all day and night I'm a professional. Although Andy did mention that there would be a lot of drunken fuckers stumbling around during the show. Who would have guessed that most of them were our closet friends and hanging around our merch table before sun down. More on that one later. As far as all of the bands go there is a complete list at the end of this piece but I'm only going to highlight who stuck out by for various reasons.

The PABSTMAN singing "Drink Fight and Fuck". photo by Tara

One of those bands was NO MERCY from Sanford, NC who opened this whole shabang on the A stage. To be the first fuckin act at a festival is a tough job but this band pulled it off well with their brand of Thrash. Another cool band STOKE THE FLAMES started early on the B stage and even kicked up some dust when a pit broke out. It didn't last since some 7 foot tall juggalo dude trudged in and cleared it. I know he was a juggalo because afterwards he came over to the merch table and bought a handful of ICP and other juggalo buttons, yeah Buttons Made For You sells all types of buttons. Strange as it may seem (yeah there's a sarcastic self promotion side to that) another act who got the crowd excited as well as left a few covered in blood was Raleigh's own KNOWLEDGE IS FOR FOOLS. Hard Rockin Punk/Metal with a pumpkin meets a chainsaw surprise for all of those crazies up front. The chainsaw was delivered on stage to singer Andy Miller by special guest, the one & only (who else would do it?) beer super hero Pabstman. Little did the crowd know that the pumpkin was filled with blood. While the words "Drink Fight and Fuck" echoed across the Wilson County Fairgrounds from the B stage at 1:35 in the afternoon the astonished, although in some cases enthusiastic, fans were splattered in blood. Although that wasn't all since along with an ear full of great music and blood they caught Andy Miller's now classic set ending fire breathing spectacle.

KNOWLEDGE IS FOR FOOLS demonstrates chainsaw fun with a pumpkin. photo by Tara

PART TWO: The Afternoon

From that point on it was extreme metal time and button selling unfortunately I didn't get much time seeing who was playing over at the C stage. When chances came to head over there the bands were finished although Andy told me that all of who he saw was good. Another act that stands out wherever they play is BROADSLAB who actually were able to do a 30 minute set. The band that describes themselves as a lil' bit of BUZZ-OVEN, a lil' bit of SABBATH and a lil' bit of Allman Brothers (?) has been known for their long sets of sludgey, stoner jams but as always wherever they play the crowds scream for more. One thing of note BROADSLAB are cool people, great musicians but they can't take down a pop-up tent to save their lives without breaking it. They were set up next to our merch table so we watched, with devilish laughter coming from us, as they broke camp which consisted of breaking their pop-up tent, dragging the tent bag across a patch of straw making a trail and leaving behind a trashy site which would have made a hippie cry. Ya gotta love it. As far as button sales went we figured, as far as genres go, Thrash band buttons were a big seller at the NC METALFEST followed closely by profane/funny slogan buttons, Black Metal and Classic 80's Metal. Another thing I noticed on this Saturday, other than it being Black T-shirt Day in Wilson (Unofficial) was that the band shirt of choice was IRON MAIDEN Killers LP shirts. I saw six people wearing them including the one I was wearing. I knew I should have worn the VENOM. As the button table was thriving with business I caught sets by KNIGHTMARE (sorry guys but I could not find any info on ya) along with another act who played afterwards but whose name I don't know good stuff. Another band, and yeah they're old friends, who always get the crowd wound up, screaming and drinkin is AUTOMAG who brought their brand of southern fried, whiskey and beer fueled metal to Wilson. They pretty much ended the day's festivities.

My Life My Curse bring the crowd up on the C stage. photo by Wicked-Lens-Photography

Fans showing support for Metal and Broadslab. photo by Tabby

The return of ONYX. photo by Wicked-Lens-Photography

PART THREE: Sun Coming Down

Probably the biggest surprise for me was seeing the reunited ONYX for the first time. ONYX (once again sorry but no site) were a Rocky Mount, NC based Metal band who were big locally back in the day and played the very first NC METALFEST, although back then it was known as The WILSON METALFEST. ONYX was one of this show's high marks for me because these guys were NWOBHM and Doomish. Another act that brought on some extremism were ATROCIOUS ABNORMALITY who were the day's most brutal of acts, although I'm sure MOROSE VITALITY who were on the C stage would argue that point. Either way brutal death metal was well represented at the NC METALFEST. Speaking of local and extreme, I was surprised that some local/extreme metal and support the scene types were absent from this event. I'm sure they had a decent excuse. Still there was a large crowd at this show, with many staying all the way to the end, more would always been better. Like I said I'm sure those few who decided not to be there had a good excuse. Special thanks to the vendor ladies who were selling hot dogs, pizza slices and hot pretzels (I had one of each) and it went well with the beers. Some people really went all out by bringing in their own grills to cook out on. By the way did I mention it was a Bring Yer Own Beer (cans only) or whatever you could bring in a cooler event? Well there you go. A big salute to the two guys I met at the merch table who came out to see KNOWLEDGE IS FOR FOOLS and carried around a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon with them until it was empty. They bought two buttons, one an ECW WRESTLING button and the other one was GG ALLIN. I'd also wanna thank those people who bought those black metal buttons. One young lady picked up a bunch of Norwegian second wave stuff, no DIMMU or CRADLE for her. She was pinning the buttons on here jacket as fast as she was handing me the cash. I like people like that, she was also wearing a MAIDEN shirt, Killers LP what else. I did see one guy wearing a Number of the Beast shirt. Some other band shirts of notice were a lot of SLAYER (obviously) MEGADETH (two people had hoodies) some METALLICA fans with one brave guy wearing a Death Magnetic shirt. Big surprise was the amount of OPETH buttons sold as well. Speaking of bravery, alcohol mixed with extreme music some times doesn't mix. According to the nurse on duty at NC METALFEST there was only one major injury at the event which was some guy over near the C stage who got punched in the face after he called a 5th degree black belt a faggot. Someone also puked in the men's room. To that guy I just have to ask why did you puke your guts in the men's room when you had a few acres of land on the fairgrounds to empty your stomach on? Another fun fact, Andy told me there were going to be a lot of drunken fuckers out there at NC METALFEST. Strangely enough (depending on your point of view) a lot of them were our friends who were crowding around our merch table. For future reference don't spill beer on the fuckin buttons!

AUTOMAG rocks the NC Metal Nation. photo by Wicked-Lens-Photography

If you don't like Metal you can kiss their ass. Photo by Tara (by the way that is Tara in the photo)

Most seen Band shirt of the day winner, IRON MAIDEN's Killers by Wicked-Lens-Photography

MOROSE VITALITY rocks the C stage. photo by Wicked-Lens-Photography

STRANGELUST rocks out the evening on the A stage. photo by Wicked-Lens-Photography

PART FOUR: Bring on the Night

When the sun finally set below the horizon the lights went up and on the stages came the "troo" Metal. Yes for all of you people reading this (and I know you are) who are from other parts of the country as well as overseas (SFM666 is big in Europe) North Carolina has some decent Black Metal, Death Metal and Thrash but the lion's share of this state's greatness lies in classic Heavy Metal, NWOBHM and Power Metal bands. Unfortunately for us at the merch table someone nearby blew out the power on the outdoor outlets. We ran a cord over to one power poll to turn on our lights and we got zip. We had flashlights but once it got really dark sales dropped to zip as well. That was ok because it gave us unlimited time to catch some outstanding performances. STRANGELUST is another band from the state's Metal past who I never seen before (which features Glen Stewart from the website NCSCENE on vocals) and surprised the crowd by pulling out a NAZARETH cover "Hair of the Dog". At the end of their set they left most in the crowd in front of the 1st stage yelling for more, the younger ones scratching their heads asking "did they originally do that song" and me at the merch table saying "I can't believe they did a fuckin NAZARETH cover." Well ONYX did do JUDAS PRIEST's "Breakin the Law." Another one of my favorite local bands HELLRAZOR brought their brand of Thrash and Classic Metal sounds to the B stage. This was was when the only mishap of the day happened as far as time on stage goes. HELLRAZOR was still in mid song when on the A stage DARK DESIGN was bringing on their brand of Power Metal. Everyone knows my love for Power Metal, just ask Jeremy Golden of Heaven and Hell Records yeah ok that's a joke. Although I've seen DARK DESIGN a few times before and I must admit they're a very talented band and their vocalist Andrew Bertrand is amazing. You Europeans reading this should check them out. Another act which I've seen a few times before is TWISTED TOWER DIRE who are now fronted by vocalist Jonny Aune formerly of VIPER, after the passing of longtime singer and fan favorite Tony Taylor. I've seen both eras of TWISTED TOWER DIRE but on this night it was the first time I heard the songs off of their new release, Make It Dark, done live. Also Jonny got a haircut and looks cool as fuck swiging a microphone stand around on a decent size stage. Speaking of new releases the night was capped off by the return to town of WIDOW who were also showing off new material from their soon to released new CD, Life's Blood. Call me a fan or bias but don't ever call me wrong because WIDOW is the best all around band from North Carolina. Their NWOBHM style is always going to be exciting to hear as well as watch being performed on the A stage which they were doing on this night. I remember many years ago when they never wanted to be the last band to play on a bill but tonight they were the headliners. Also for how long they've been around (including the days of SORROW BEQUEST) they deserved to end that evening's festivities. By the way their new stuff sounded great and I'm looking forward to getting the new CD.

One important thing to mention about NC METALFEST 2011, Beautiful Women.

PART FIVE: Good Night Wilson

We had already taken down the pop up tent when things got dark and had packed up most of the truck for the ride home. After a little clean-up around our vender's site it was time to say goodbye and hit the road home. A few thank you's also need to be mentioned. First off thanks to my good friend, Roadkill, who was working security. I asked if he could help a lady friend of mine, Laura, find her lost cell phone and he immediately got one of the other security guys over to our merch table with a flashlight to help the her out. She found her phone. Another big thanks to those sound and light guys for doing a great job. I don't know if there will be a NC METALFEST 2012 although a lot of people screamed "See Ya Next Year" from the stage. Like I said earlier this was the first one out at the Wilson County Fairgrounds in a few years. Tony "Dio" Leonard has done smaller Metalfest type shows at The Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh featuring an average of 8 to 10 bands per show. I've been to quite a few of those shows and thought they were decent plus everything for production is at the club so you really don’t have to worry about bad weather like with an outdoor show. Tony still plans to continue doing those shows in the future.


To view more NC METALFEST photos go to:!/pages/Wicked-Lens-Photography/165453036835138

Nuff Said!

NC METALFEST band list:

DRILL 187 (Reunion)
ONYX (Reunion)