Review: Haapoja / Dephosphorus Split

Handshake Inc.

To me, splits are monumental and still very new - little brother to the mighty Compilation. I love the idea of two or three bands coming together, occasionally feeding off each others creativity and sharing their fan-base for crisscrossing exposure. Now, I'm no stranger to the stylistics of self-professed 'astrogrind' band Dephosphorus and its because of their presence on this split that I'm now experiencing Haapoja as well.

There really isn't any surprise when it comes to fact that america really sucks at Grind - I've yet to find a single American Grind-band that can touch upon acts like Dephosphorus - or even Warfuck. The stark difference being that there is a lot of sharp imagery and painstaking detail that seems to go into foreign grind - fusing of genres that just barely happens over in the red, white, and blue. And, though Haapoja considers themselves more part of the Hardcore genre then anything, there is no denying that they share a similar grind-feel as Dephosphorus. The entire split moves at a breakneck pace as well, featuring more rhythmic Crust-like songs then I've ever heard from Dephosphorus - a bit more digestible but not enough to steer towards more mainstream Grind/Hardcore bands, the rawer elements are still ever-present. Haapoja shares the same rhythmic approach, however, their vocals seem to follow a non-linear approach compared to the music played. Its almost as if the band couldn't stand to pull themselves too far out of obscurity and vouched to hold onto the elements which made them unique. 

For the speed and ferocity of this split, everything seems to be in order. Both Haapoja and Dephosphorus have such tearing intensity that its hard to imagine a more perfect match-up. Sure, things tend to be a little more composed and a lot less raw then previous efforts from, at least, Dephosphorus but the slight change is definitely nothing for the worst. Still prepare for a complete assault on your ear-drums, this time accompanied by Haapoja.



REVIEW: A Prophecy Misread - Demo

In what I'd consider a unique occurrence, I managed to simultaneously receive this Demo and see a live performance by the band in the same night - awesome. Also, there isn't much to say about this bands history as they've actually yet to really release anything - making their Demo somewhat of a rarity for those interested (which should be you because this one is good guys, I promise).

So, what I know is this: A Prophecy Misread is a Albuquerque band which really just plays music for the love of it. Its members are all made up of people with some experience playing in smaller bands so they know what they are doing. As for expansion, they aren't exactly trying to barrel their way to the top. And, honestly, they seem to really just be in it for the music.

Their demo really expresses love towards what they listen to, though the vocals of front-man Malcolm clearly push the band in their Metalcore/Hardcore direction, the structure of songs shows strong influence from Melodic Death Metal bands like In Flames. Of course, this is why I have such a strong interest in what A Prophecy Misread has done with their Demo. The band has such a mixture of influences and generally goes in their own direction, therefore they've developed a very unique difference when it comes to most Metalcore bands prominent these days - A Prophecy Misread doesn't really try to emulate. Not to mention, their live performance was razor sharp. You'll struggle to find a band that sounds so clean cut with recording and live work - all without the backing or funding of any labels or using any fancy studio.

Bands like this were the whole point of me starting Direnotes and I suggest anyone with a active internet connection check them out.

A Prophecy Misread is:

Gilby V.-Guitar/Vocals
Kyle D.-Guitar/Vocals
Harlando M.-Bass
Dylan "The Kid" T.-Drums
Malcolm R.-Lead Vocals

REVIEW: Nihilo - Dum Spiro Spero

NIHILO - Dum Spiro Spero
Subversiv Records

Nihilo has been rampaging under the radar for some time now, around 10 years, while I've been plagued with some of the most ear-bleeding Death Metal bands to date. I ask now, why is it bands like Nihilo aren't more prominent - why isn't Nihilo more prominent? Because, honestly, this is Modern Death Metal done right - so right.

Sorry to basically shove all other struggling bands under the colossal human-chum drenched hoof of 'Dum Spiro Spero' but its completely deserved. There are bigger and more popular bands then Nihilo which would certainly wish they had even a semblance of talent this group does. So, what is the difference between this and some of the other drivel I've been subjected to?

Well for starters this band in no way aspires to copy anything - there is no gore-laden cover art, no nods to 'we're just like Cannibal Corpse!' and none of that overbearing and completely idiotic BROOTL scene crap (ugh!). Nihilo literally sounds like this: Death Metal. These guys wanted to play it, so they clearly just played what came naturally to them; what they liked - rather then forcing some boring sound out. Better yet, songs are composed as such that they actually work with the vocals (which actually have range) and every one of them actually feels like an actual different song rather then bleeding together.

My main flaw is that I don't own it and that you don't either. Why are you even reading this? You should be listening to 'Dum Spiro Spero' now.

REVIEW: Bloodscribe - Prologue To The Apocolypse

BLOODSCRIBE - Prologue To The Apocalypse
Gore House Productions

Curse these releases! It seems that Death Metal has brought about a rough divide these days. On one side you have people trying to pull it from the depths of guttural insanity and back to its roots - the other just wants to see how nonsensical one can make the lyrics (cause if you aren't OV THE BROOTL, your not cool enough to understand apparently). Some just play it down the middle , I can respect that, but Bloodscribe does not - they completely tip the axis.

I really want to get this out of the way, I understand why people like this and I completely support the vocal style - many bands I've reviewed have been similar and I didn't give them a bad review whatsoever. However, Bloodscribe has a very unique flaw and that is having a band that clearly is held down by a questionable choice in vocal style. Whereas bands like Cattle Decapitation and Swine Overlord own this sort of thing, it feels just a lot like Bloodscribe had to slow everything down in an attempt to fit. As a result, 'Prologue To the Apocalypse' feels quite a bit stilted - tragic for a band that is obviously very talented.

To say that its all bad would be a lie. There are a lot of quick glimpses into the capabilities of Bloodscribe on 'Prologue To the Apocalypse.' Moments where a Punk influence is heard or even subtle call backs to older Death Metal groups that clearly inspired Bloodscribe. Honestly, I could have done with less chugging generics, whereas the band was clearly trying to sound a certain way, and gone for more of a experimental feel - which the band actually shows occasionally.

Bloodscribe is not the worst thing to come out of Modern Death Metal but its not too special. There is some clear talent, sadly stilted by an attempt to fit a certain structure rather than create something new.

REVIEW: Nailgun Massacre - Boned, Boxed and Buried

Nailgun Massacre - Boned, Boxed and Buried
Xtreem Music

You know, Gore-grind has really stole the aesthetic of Death Metal for me. Yes, I'm aware most refer to it as 'Death' because its speculated that the band Death is where the genre originated but I'm talking about the downtrodden angry and depraved bands that followed - stuff like Massacre, Morta Skuld, and Impaled. It was always the type of metal where you'd hear about your fellow man being torn to pieces; senselessly slaughtered. And I guess those topics were better presented when it came to Death Metal - especially since I could actually understand what was being said. Thankfully, bands like Nailgun Massacre bring the gore and mayhem back to its roots.

I'm not going to lie, Nailgun Massacre is almost comedic in its approach - maybe I'm just a sick individual but there seems to be a hint of dark comedy in these lyrics. Song titles, such as 'Where's the Head?' or 'Stinky Stench' just seem to help forward that notion. Honestly, I love it. It feels like for once I don't have to scroll through a lyric booklet to understand whats going on - and, with the sheer amount of grind my inbox has been subject to, its nice to experience something like that.

Regrettably, 'Boned, Boxed and Buried' doesn't really scream original. The band does know how to play, they put the songs together well and they fit comfortably within the masses of Death Metal bands you can find just about anywhere these days. But, I really feel like this band needed to do something to up the ante a little. The subject of gore can be diverse and extreme, not that Nailgun Massacre isn't, but I feel like the whole album could have been more then just good if I'd experience more intention when it came to the, accidental or not, darker comedic undertones.

Nailgun Massacre is like a C-Movie. There are enjoyable moments throughout but the overall product leaves something to be desired. Of course, in-between there is enough blood and guts to detract your attention from the problems at least for a little while.

LIVE REVIEW: Skull Fist, Night Demon, Elm St. with Locals Holocaustic and Suspended - 01/18/15 THE BLU PHOENIX ABQ

Skull Fist, Night Demon, Elm St. with Locals Holocaustic and Suspended

I've long been back and forth to many Canadian Venues in my time: bars, basements, etc - all very easy to find and known by the majority of the public. However, Albuquerque, NM seems to hold a wealth of temporary and almost secretive venues for a person to check out bands from all over the world. There doesn't really seem to be much discrimination from labels or bands as to if they play at these places - which I love.  The idea of venues made strictly for music appeal to me, I've never honestly experienced something like this - until I arrived at The Blu Phoenix.
Strange to say but there is a level of mysticism when it comes to finding a building in the middle of a industrial area that is only marked with a Blue Phoenix. It all feels like something out of a mystery -or horror- novel. But, upon entering you soon discover the space is fantastic for live music - obviously set up by people who know what they are doing.

Albuquerque band Holocaustic
The first band that played, sadly to a very small crowd, was Holocaustic - one of two local bands. These guys were clearly still feeling out their sound - jumping all over the place when it came to song structure and musical influences. They played loud and fast but they were overall stiff when it came to stage presence (though, no worries on that as its something that comes over time). However, when it came to vocals they really nailed the Thrash/Death mix of the late 80s and 90s. Honestly, if the songs were kept more focused - Holocaustic could be great. A band with enormous potential. And ouch, was it just me or did the guitar player hurt his hand out there? That is some dedication to keep on playing like that.

Amanda Castillo of Suspended
One of my favorite parts of the night was definitely when Suspended got on stage. Its always great to see Death Metal live, even better that it was a trio (blame my love of bands like Celtic Frost when it comes to trios). For added effect, my wife and sister tagged along - not too experienced with the genre, they didn't expect such a powerful sound from a all-female group. My main gripe with metal is the misconception that women can't do anything beyond Metalcore, Symphonic, or Power sub-genres. Needless to say, my wife and sister were completely blown away - as was I, by the amazing guitar work of Amanda Castillo. Of course, her bright green ESP LTD made it hard to not pay attention to her playing. Though that isn't to say the show was completely stolen by her, the bassist Jessica Armstrong seemed to effortlessly play her parts. Sadly, the drummer Channing Concho was thoroughly stuffed in the back so it was difficult to see much - a flaw I found persistent with The Blu Phoenix's setup. No doubt, I hope I hear a lot more from Suspended in the future.

Jarvis Leatherby of Night Demon
Brent and Jarvis of Night Demon
Of course, the main point of attending this show was to catch the spectacle that was Night Demon. This band, making their way from Venture, CA, knew how to put on a live performance. Even after catching a peak at their upcoming material - there is no preparing you for what this band is capable of. I've caught a lot of computer wizardry being used in my time when it comes to bands of this caliber performing live - even catching singers singing backup to their own recorded voices. But Night Demon is pure. Clearly there is a strong emphasis on emulating bands like Sabbath and Danzig - some songs and themes making me extremely nostalgic of the days when I'd listen to both. I can only imagine they put a lot of time and energy into doing the absolute best they could live - instantly making fans out of my guests and I. Better yet, Night Demon included a added theatrical element to the whole performance (one that I wish I'd been able to catch properly on camera). While playing 'The Chalice', Night Demon had a man dressed as death (akin to the cover of their self-titled release) and beckon the audience to drink from his chalice. I've never seen anything like this and it was a huge touch that made the whole show twice as good. If you've decided to own their upcoming album 'Curse Of The Damned' - I don't see why your not making a effort to see one of their live performances.

Aaron Adie and Ben Batres of Elm St.
My condolences honestly go out to Elm St, the entire performance was fantastic but for the life of me, I couldn't hear Ben Batres vocals. Which is a freakin' shame as the band came all the way from Melbourne, Australia and I know for a fact that their hard-hitting Metal Anthems aren't as good without his equally powerful lyrics present. Still, I felt that what I heard was great. Aaron Aide practically made love to his guitar on stage, almost as if he expected to be considered some sort of guitar god in the future - which he probably could considering how he pretty much stole the show for me. It seemed like there were a lot of great Guitar players playing. Again, however, the drummer was situated where you could barely see the guys performance. You could hear everything was being played great but any sort of flair these drummers tried to put into their playing went completely unnoticed.

Jonny Nesta/Skull Fist
Zach Slaughter/Skull Fist
For some odd reason, the reasonably small crowd present at The Blu Phoenix mostly disappeared by the time Skull Fist started playing. I have no idea why because Skull Fist's classic Heavy Metal sound, look, and occasional humor made them one of my favorite performances of the night - even with the small crowd they put all of their all into the show. I can imagine these guys spend their time completely enthralled in Hair and Heavy Metal since Skull Fist even has the look completely nailed. Their music, for better or worse, is completely stuffed with solos. At some point Singer/Guitar Player Zach Slaughter and Guitarist Jonny Nesta just starting flinging individual guitar parts at each other. It finally all culminated in Nesta hopping on Slaughter's shoulders during the final song. Of course, the band's long and spectacular performance included a tonne of other great moments including a cover of Angelwitch's 'Angelwitch' and a drum solo by drummer JJ Tartaglia.

So, in retrospect Night Demon and Skull Fist really stole the show when it came to the touring bands. Elm St really needed to have their vocals pushed up in the mix - Batres attitude and lyrics would've made them unbelievable. I think the bands were also so different from each other that its impossible to say any were better - just different. The whole night was full of amazing performances and I would go back to see any of these bands again in a heart beat - including Holocaustic and Suspended.

Though playing Guitar while someone is playing Guitar on your shoulders - Skeletons offering me Chalices and Eternal Life? That is going to be a hard couple of moments for any future bands to top.

QUICKIE REVIEW: Synsophony - 'Rabbit Hole'

Acephale Winter Productions

I've been trying out noise for some time, trying to get a feel for it and see what exactly its all about. This honestly turned out to be a completely ignorant course of action due to the fact that Noise is, in fact, noise and Drone is just... Droning! Synsophony, for better or worse, decided to drop their new track on me just as I was expressing my overall hate for the bafflingly famous Merzbow. Thank hell and heavens that this piece draws no comparisons to that ear-puke.

To be honest, I usually think of things like this as soundtracks - there are so many sci-fi and horror movies that could really benefit from something like 'Rabbit Hole' to drive them. This is all about atmosphere and its not too far to say that this isn't music, but rather a 'sound-scape.' I feel like I'm about to get murdered after being drug through some dank and dripping crawlspace - nasty stuff. However, why I'd ever use this sort of sound for anything in my day to day life just baffles me. Are there people out there who like to exist within a atmosphere of expressionless dread and nothingness? I don't know - and for all that exists on this godforsaken planet, tell Synsophony that their image for 'Rabbit Hole' cheapens whatever enjoyment I got from it.

REVIEW: Flummox - Phlummoxygen

Flummox - Phlummoxygen
Tridroid Records

The day of schizophrenic Alternative-metal such as Mr. Bungle and early Red Hot Chili Peppers has long passed. To me, the entire craft was swallowed up by the fact that people generally find more complicated and obscure music harder to digest - oddly even more then most extreme genres. Personally, I enjoyed the odd nature of it all and especially the ironic and over the top themes that can come about. Though I wouldn't exactly call Flummox 'hard to digest', I'd certainly refer it to a more refined cousin of Mr. Bungle, however.

What Flummox has going for it is that, despite the heavy funk and acid-drenched progression, the whole package is pretty user-friendly. I could listen to 'Phlummoxygen' all day long if I wanted to and probably not get too bored of it. The tone and nature of this album, despite not always being too upbeat lyrically, is almost always of a twisted upbeat nature. Much to my surprise and enjoyment,  Flummox's less upbeat tunes (such as 'Ancestors Earth Removal') are almost always over-saturated Stoned out Doom tracks - and I simply cannot get enough of that.

Thankfully, Flummox isn't brought down by its obvious influences. While bands like Mr. Bungle usually had tracks that devolved into a muck of unpleasantness - nothing here does. Though seemingly random in nature, the opening tracks which strongly define 'Phlymmoxygen' still make sense to listen to and connect well to all other sections of the particular song its part of.  My only complaint? 'Didja Espanol', though sort of funny, seemed like a filler track with no real point in existing.

If your looking for something different, for the most part you'll get it with Flummox's 'Phlummoxygen' - the rest of it, expect some great Doom-styled tracks.

REVIEW: Black Cilice - Mysteries (On Echoes And Dust)

Check out my latest review -Black Cilice 'Mysteries'- on Echoes And Dust

Click Here

REVIEW: Ecferus - Prehistory

Fragile Branch

I'm not afraid to admit that I own and have reviewed droves of heathenish material - and I'll keep doing it. Its not that I am personally an Atheist, follower of Satan, Pagan, or anything like that. Its just that, simply, I just like hearing alternate viewpoints on life - even if they are negative. Ecferus marks the first project I've experienced (even in my time writing for other Magazines) to explore the topics that it does - or at least present them in a manner more obvious. Admittedly, 'Prehistory' is probably the best possible title one could give to something as oddly ambitious as this.

What I like best about 'Prehistory' is that Alp, creator of Ecferus, opted to frame his tracks with LoFi landscapes of sound -thunder, water, bugs, nature- to frame what exactly was going on. Better yet, there isn't exactly an overabundance of this; it does not act as filler in any way. Of course, fancy effects and settings aside - Ecferus is a powerfully intelligent breed of Black Metal. In a age where Black Metal is determined by its 'generation sound', I honestly couldn't place it on that scale. Everything here feels progressive, but not in the sense of the genre, but as if Ecferus genuinely was opted to be a experiment in originality within its confines. I actually feel as though there is a story flowing through these lyrics, something needing to be expressed but is ultimately and inevitable misunderstood. Its almost as though creator Alp wished to express his feelings towards creation, mysticism, and humanity as a whole but his frustration bred this horrible and wonderful beast of an album.

Fans of dissonant, emotional, and thoughtful Black Metal - you have your contender. If Ecferus 'Prehistory' doesn't make it to your ears this year then you're missing out on something so spectacular in the making. I don't usually promote labels or anything but the tape will be available early February via Fragile Branch.

REVIEW: The Agonist - Eye Of Providence

Century Media Records

The first show I'd ever seen live, when it comes to metal, was headlined by The Agonist. Though it was a cold hellish night and I'd had to walk several miles to get to the venue, a small bar called The Red Dog - that night cemented my love for small venues, live music and the genre as a whole. Before that, I'd been infatuated with this Canadian Metalcore act, the concept of a woman singing any amount of harsh vocals was completely new to me - especially when the domineering 'female-fronted' acts at the time were Evanescence and Nightwish. Of course, after attending the show I began to pick up their albums one by one until 2012's 'Prisoners' but at that point, I didn't quite feel the same creativity of drive from the band - especially compared to the excellence of their second album 'Lullabies For The Dormant Mind'. Of course, the story goes that Alissa White-Gluz parted ways with The Agonist, I'm sure there are many fan theories present as to why (sorry, this article won't be getting into that mess), but eventually the band picked up Vicky Psarakis - who'd been making vocal covers on Youtube up to that point. My thoughts on Vicky Psarakis are as follows: she is a superior replacement. This thought is only further reinforced as I experience 'Eye Of Providence.'

Of course I'm going to talk about the vocals first, its the main burning question on every fans mind. Well, no need to worry, Vicky Psarakis does hold up rather well. Actually, it almost feels as though she completely enjoys what shes doing and has some serious passion for it. She does try to keep everything within the typical The Agonist style of layered vocal soundscapes, soft feminine vocals paired with extreme, and the occasional chorus effect comprised of the singers own voice rather then a hiring group of people or something. Its all very true to The Agonist and, rather then being a follow-up to 'Prisoners', this album actually feels more in-tune to the far more superior 'Lullabies For The Dormant Mind.' So, if you are a fan of the vocal experimentation present on that album, you'll fear very much at home with 'Eye Of Providence.'

Vocals aren't the whole band and I feel that the rest of The Agonist really doesn't get enough attention. When I'd saw them live, the entire band nailed every track they'd played, their playing was always clean and I swear to god there wasn't any mistakes present the entire night. 'Eye Of Providence' really ups the quality of song-writing of previous albums - some familiarity does exist, because I doubt The Agonist is about to infuse Black Metal into their sound anytime soon, but its only at intervals which the band allows Miss Psarakis to shine vocally. Outside of this, there are countless fantastic moments where the playing shines - sometimes even more then the vocals - and sometimes things get extremely technical. No doubt, this isn't one of today's Djent inspired Metalcore acts.

I can't give enough praise to 'Eye Of Providence', after listening to it several times I'm still not tired of it. The spirit of 'Lullabies For The Dormant Mind' is here, rather then the questionable 'Prisoners'. The new singer is extremely enjoyable, plus the band shows how they can keep evolving musically - even after all this time. If this album is a show for The Agonist's future, I'm on board.

REVIEW: Astral Blood - Self Titled EP


If you've read my INFESTUM Review, you know that I love it when Black Metal steps out of its boundaries to do something new. And, contrary to popular belief - the rawness and complexities of the genre are far more flexible than one would think. Truth is, Black Metal is primordial in every aspect - thus the perfect catalyst for many experimental musical structures. ASTRAL BLOOD, who obviously know their way around the horrid and blackest depths of the genre, seem to pull the entire genre out of the muck by the teeth. This, people, is what can be done when Black Metal has any sort of production value at all.

Though I suppose you could say the chords and progression of this album has pretty much been done to pieces, it hasn't always been quite done like it has on this EP. You see, ASTRAL BLOOD not only creates a wall of sound but applies texture to it. Towering and daunting, you'll always feel a sort of mysticism or reason as to why something was put into the music. Vocally, as vocals are almost always the defining aspect of Black Metal are beyond fantastic. Tearing highs are accompanied by bellowing lows at times, a extremely rare feature of Black Metal - and when the inevitable singing comes into play, it doesn't linger long enough for someone to slap the label 'symphonic' onto the EP.

Of course, my love for this EP also comes strongly from the fact that these Minnesotan Masterminds did not opt for the LoFi route. Don't get me wrong, I love LoFi - it has its place. However, I can really get behind bands taking genres out of their safe-zones, especially when they raise the bar like with this EP. Hell, even the 'Interlude; which is completely comprised of a sort of spoken-word poem, is fantastic. Its not often I care for exaggerated accompaniments or anything but it all feels at home of this short but sweet EP.

Why 2014 Was One Of The Worst Years For Music

Huzzah, hooray! Its the end of another year. We've all had some ups and we've all had some downs this 2014. Hell, for most it was said to be the worst year they ever had. Countless Reviewers and Critics are saying it was the worst year for Video Games, while others are claiming it was the best for Movies. And that is great for Movies because most have been wish-washy the last few years, especially when it comes to Horror Movies. However, Direnotes does not reside within those two realms. My specialty, as if I'm some professional or something (yeah right), is Music - more specifically Metal. Though, with this article I'm pulling out of my comfort zone. This is why I feel that 2014 Was One Of The Worst Years For Music.

So, great albums came and went this year for sure. Epic, expensive, and yet fantastic releases such as BEHEMOTH's 'The Satanist' and whatever MASTODON was doing came about to lift our expectations to unreasonable heights. The bar was literally raised on the auditory medium when it came to some of 2014's musical outputs - even in Pop with the advent of some actually talented new superstars such as MEGHAN TRAINOR coming about. All of this is fantastic news, its all great and more for the fans. So, pick up those CD's and Vinyl's - do your thing. But, my god, why did all of this need to become so political?
Fear thy waste-line! 

It stands that people love to whine on the internet but nowadays people tend to turn to the internet, so rife with countless people looking to start a fight for fun, for the main opinions. It seems that with every release came a major stur that often made no sense or was reaching so far that it was almost pathetic at time. Whereas lyrics and visual content used to have little surprises or inside jokes hidden for years, eventually dismissed as harmless in most cases (i.e. OINGO BOINGO's 'Little Girls'), this year every little thing was hideously torn apart by the masses in order to find even the slightest hint of controversy possible.

It seemed like in 2014 almost every song that made it out to a significant mass of people had some startling side-truth, bias, racial, or sexist claims attached to it. I could sit here listing the songs that somehow garnered a complete media breakdown over a simple line - such as 'All About That Bass' with 'You can tell them skinny bitches that' which somehow spread mass hysteria and controversy that it was somehow against the whole of people which kept their weight under 200 pounds. Yet, bands like EMMURE seem to be able to say and do whatever they want without any consequence (then again, maybe nobody really cares about EMMURE anymore). Somehow, songs like NICKI MINAJ's 'Anaconda' also slipped from media attention despite the fact that they were massively popular and mostly featured lyrics glorifying relationships based on drug use - where was the article on that?

So scary.
My lord, the amount of time I've spent dissecting BABYMETAL is both bewildering and completely embarrassing. My thoughts on the matter, however, have come to a simple 'Eh'. It's not any surprise that Japanese people have played metal just as long as we have. I actually used to follow quite a bit of Japanese Metal (DIR EN GREY, X JAPAN, UNsRAW, OZ, etc) and it sort of got me on the track to writing music. The presence of younger women singing happily to generic riffs isn't anything new at all, its been done for ages now. However, somehow people seem to acknowledge to success of Amuse, Inc's corporate manufactured band BABYMETAL as some sort of immense threat. Funnier even is the fact that this fear bled somewhat into mainstream media - all because three girls are front-runners in a performance act that happens to feature metal.

It is with great sadness I must say, at the peak of BABYMETAL's supposed notoriety, the universal reaction made me greatly ashamed to say I was affiliated with the metal-scene in any way. You had grown men literally panicking on Youtube over the advent of this band, people on social media were crying out, more people ended up liking it (just because it was different) then expected so, of course, this meant that metal was utterly ruined. Sadly, most of these fools were so stuck on their views of the genre to realize that bands like this have been around a long time - including in North America.

It took me sometime to even discover what 'Metalgate' was and to my horror, it was just the work of sexist, misogynistic, racist. The backlash, of course, was handled with the grace of a 6 year-old who got called a 'poopyhead.'
probably one of the world's most successful trolls to date. The tactic was to brand numerous things -media, bands, fans, etc- with offensive keywords such as:

The reason I refer to this as 'Everything-gate' is that the word gate was thrown around for nearly everything - there was a Gamergate, Punkgate, Popgate, and all were equally stupid. If the whole thing had stopped at a few whining fans and articles it would have been fine - but no. Instead, people began to thrust Metalgate into a ironic notion and parody the whole thing, effectively kick-starting the whole affair for those who came late to the party -i.e. Direnotes. The entire affair should have been left alone and rot because, just as with BABYMETAL, articles and claims like this have been always been around. You would think as a collective whole, people would have realized this by now.

Music was good in 2014 but the drama, the forced controversy, the fan backlash however was not. Sadly, the result of this widespread drama, which lasted months at a time, resulted in so many great reviewers and artists shying away from Social Media and even writing in some cases. Though scandal and whatnot has become somewhat of a 'norm' in today's society, it is going too far when its beginning to weight down those who are part of it - no matter how small that part may be. Racism, sexist, feminism, little girls singing to metal, people hating on what you love - its all been there from the beginning but when the dramatics of it all become the main focus of Music over the Music itself then there needs to be a change.


REVIEW: Dhampyr - Oceanclots


The advent of black-gaze has so completely jaded me these days. For some reason, my focus on that particular sub-genre had me so simultaneously entranced and annoyed that I forgot all about these Progressive Atmospheric Black Metal groups altogether - and, you know, that is a damn shame. Though DHAMPYR isn't the best of the best or the most focused group, I feel just listening to it has brought me back to the roots of why I enjoy Black Metal at all.

Firstly, this is definitely a rough underground production but not to that annoying tin-box extent. The loud extreme nature that pervades the majority of 'Oceanclots' works with the cavernous and murky atmosphere that this LoFi route provides. And, when DHAMPYR decides to tone things down - the clean sections are usually accompanied by sympathetic vibrations that add a strange eeriness and uneasiness even to these softer parts. Oh, yeah, and there is some wild sections that attempt to infuse drone and noise into the whole thing - good news, it works extremely well on 'Oceanclots'.

The praise I could give this entire album is endless. It, somehow, makes me recall old favorites such as FELL VOICES and sometimes even SATYRICON (though not lyrically). However, the albums sometimes accidentally shifts gears too fast and the clean sections collide with the extreme in somewhat unpleasant ways. Sometimes, it even feels like maybe DHAMPYR didn't know how to connection two separate parts but this is only thinly evident in the opening track 'Mine Isabella of Frosts and Poppypins'. From there, it seems the whole thing really came into place - accidentally or not, 'Oceanclots' is still a superior and extremely enjoyable album in the extreme/black metal spectrum.

The only people that won't like the nature of this album are either those who prefer raw, completely classic extreme/black metal in the vein of IMMORTAL or those who just don't like extreme metal. Otherwise, this enormous cavernous eerie and depressive experience just isn't something you should miss.

REVIEW: Desert Storm - Omniscient (On Echoes and Dust)

Check out my latest review on Echoes and Dust - DESERT STORM's 'Omniscient'.

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REVIEW: Keeper/Sea Bastard - 777/Astral Rebirth SPLIT

Splits are somewhat of a fascination to me, often I'm introduced to two separate bands that feed off each others energy or even sometime they contribute to one joint idea. In this case, both KEEPER and SEA BASTARD do both - though, I'm sure if these were two separate releases the content would be almost the same anyhow.

Both 777 and Astral Rebirth are Monolithic, thoroughly Blackened, Sludge/doom tracks; both are likely to pummel you by the time your surpass their extreme lengths (777 - 14 Minutes, Astral Rebirth - 20 Minutes). However, the two aren't entirely the same aside from their slow pounding nature. KEEPER kept their side of this split slightly cleaner, though 777 leans far closer to black metal than SEA BASTARD's contribution, while Astral Rebirth is sloppy and dirty as hell (not in the bad way). I find the differences welcoming as even splits I own sometimes bleed into each other - these don't. It makes everything feel like one cohesive thought or idea while still having the two bands retain their identities.

If I could pick a favorite of the two bands on this split, there is no doubt I'd go for KEEPER's '777'. There's just something so much darker about the marriage of black-metal and sludge - like OLD WITCH, it just adds a horrific atmosphere to everything. Its not even that SEA BASTARD's track is bad, I enjoyed it all the same - but sometimes I felt that perhaps the vocals on Astral Rebirth didn't really suit what was going on as much as KEEPER's did.

This Split is going to be released soon on vinyl via Medusa Crush Records and I highly suggest it for fans of all Blackened genres. Sadly, no stream yet but feel free to see what the band has to offer on other releases below.

KEEPER Stream: