Bofo Kwo – Space/ Time Carnivorium

Bofo Kwo – Space/ Time Carnivorium
Sliptrick Records
Release Date: 30/06/2020
Running Time: 44:36
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

Good evening, my good brethren and sorority of the Church of The Poisoned Mind. I trust I find you all well, hale and hearty, or are you dying gracefully on your silken chaise-longues after a weekend of drug fuelled wanton debauchery? I myself have been sharpening my wits on the skulls of hapless former victims and putting ignorance about our Lord and Master, The One Who Walks Backwards, to the sword. Normally with a foul snicker, a gallon of aviation fuel and a match. There are some right ignorant bastards out there, boys and girls. It is your duty to educate these motherfuckers and sharp sticks just ain’t gonna cut it. You’re going to need to go full on Highlander on these arseholes and use claymores. You don’t cut with a claymore, you hew. Like Conan the barbarian did – “Sweat dripping from his bulging sinews and from beneath his square-cut mane of black, shoulder length hair, Conan hefted his impossibly large two-handed broadsword (fnarr fnarr), roared a challenge to his heinous foe before plunging his extraordinary blade to the hilt (fnarr FNARR!) into the soft groin of his enemy. Tearing upwards with a sobbing gasp (what the FUCK was it about Robert E. Howard and his obsession with Conan’s weapon and what he was doing with it?), a welter of entrails and blood coated his hands and the vile beast shuddered its last, to fall stone dead by his sandaled feet.”

Quality writing, that. I’m sure you were just as entertained and edified as I was by that little pastiche. As usual there is a point to the madness. What? What do you mean you don’t believe me? You absolute SHOWER!!! ANYWAY, to drag you all back to the point of all this, I am listening to a magnificently barmy Finnish band called Bofo Kwo, and the record is entitled ”Space/ Time Carnivorium”. This is a concept album by some Finnish mentalists from Helsinki, detailing the journey of three cannibals (Bofo Kwo, Bomari and Wamufo) among the stars and their adventures as they leave trails of devastation, murder, and probably a lot of half eaten meals behind them, before graduating to eating alien flesh (hope they had a sophisticated lab setup to test for pathogens – imagine contracting some mental new form of alien hepatitis) and then performing a last human sacrifice before hoping to attain the power of immortality via mystic teachings of the ancients and becoming the Golden God. Oh, and they appear to arbitrarily start a war against Rex Talpas, The Rodent King, because fuck you, Rex, your people are fucking delicious with a barbeque glaze and a nice Caesar salad. This is spectacularly insane stuff, not out of place on an Esoctrilihum album, and that worthy Frenchman is seriously fucked in the head… Bofo Kwo aren’t quite as demented as Esoctrilihum but they are close. I should tell you about the main characters in the band as each band member plays one and then we have this strange kind of meta-black death metal hybrid where the members of the band perform as the characters while playing the music – it’s not like Coheed and Cambria where the story was told from the point view of a narrator in Claudio Sanchez. We have Bofo Kwo , The Cannibal King and his associates. They are Wamufo and Bomari, albino twins, one male and one female and they follow/ are dragged along in the wake of Bofo Kwo and his abundantly clear cannibalistic psychopathy.

So, a cut above the usual Satanic bollocks that BM bands normally spew out then. I imagine Bofo Kwo listened to Emperor’s “Prometheus: The Discipline Of Fire & Demise” and thought that they could come up with a more insane concept after drinking a shitload of something potent. While the musicianship is by no means close to Emperor’s lofty standards, this is a mighty fine blackened death/ deathened black metal record. It’s rather less frenetic than traditional black metal, but this to your advantage as there are many little things and other genres of music that creep around the edge of your cognition. There’s little touches of industrial music, or goregrind and my personal favourite – Bofo Kwo have rediscovered power electronics. Don’t panic, metal purists, they are kept strictly as mood enhancers, although I’d personally like to hear Bofo Kwo take BM in a whole violent, new direction and meld power electronics with black metal and see what kind of carnage that bastard chimera could wreak among an unsuspecting populace…

In the spirit of this being a concept album, it is going to be impossible to choose a favourite song as it has to be listened to in sequence in order for you to follow the story effectively. The songs do stand out as individual entities though – I particularly enjoyed ‘Green Leviathan’ as a stand-alone song. But then the lyrics reference previous songs and you need to go back to understand it fully. It’s not so much a listening experience, as much as a get horrifically fucking stoned, buy some expensive headphones and sink into your mind’s eye while you get bludgeoned to death by chronically insane Finnish people experience. It is a bleak musical picture that Bofo Kwo paint. The music is cold, barren and steely and the performances excellent. Main vocalist Ted (playing Bofo Kwo himself) alternately roars and howls and shrieks in an entertainingly deranged fashion that fully meets with Dark Juan’s approval. The music is intricate and interesting and the mix passable. It’s difficult to hear cymbals and the producer appears to have not been able to make his mind up about whether he wanted to embrace the purity of the traditional lo-fi black metal sound (guitars sounding like they have been recorded in a Norwegian forest in a gale force wind by a microphone that has been fashioned from razorwire, sputum and polystyrene cement. From a submarine off the Swedish coast) to the warmer, thicker aesthetic of death metal and dare I say it, grunge (guitar and bass sounding like they have been recorded on equipment created entirely out of meat. In a slaughterhouse. In the unrefrigerated bit) and this leads to a sometimes confusing sound. However, the bass is enough to eviscerate you cleanly at twenty five yards, and the riffs are just simple and effective killing machines without embellishment.

And I think that’s where my main problem with Bofo Kwo lies. They should have gone BIGGER. With the overarching tale underpinning the songs and the aesthetic, I think Bofo Kwo have been too reserved with the music. They should have thrown the entire fucking kitchen at it. You’re telling a story about intergalactic cannibals – you simply can’t go too big. It’s not fundamentally possible. Anyway, I’m being churlish. This is that rare thing, a record that is interesting simply because of how many norms it breaks. It is musically adventurous, not afraid to delve deep for influences that might escape you on the first listen, and let’s face it, Dark Juan is a fucking sucker for concept albums. I love them. There are many things you will miss during the initial listen of this record and by jiminy it rewards repeated attempts at it. Just to hear Whitehouse-esque power electronics. Add to this that Bofo Kwo are doing this on their DEBUT album, and you have to conclude that once the rough edges are knocked off, this bunch of maniacal cannibal holocaust Finnish mad bastards are going to do great things. I think I am in love.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System(Patentoitu tumman Juanin verihiutausluokitusjärjestelmä – fuck it, close enough!) awards Bofo Kwo a splendidly bonkers 9/10 for a record that is a gnat’s wing away from greatness.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Plate Of Hate
02. Second Sun
03. Epic
04. New Destination
05. Green Leviathan
06. Bullets of Despair
07. The Massacre

LINE-UP:
Ted Egger (Bofo Kwo) – Vocals
Janne Winther (Bomari) – Backing Vocals
Kimmo Lindholm (Wamufo) – Lead Guitar
Elmo Winther (Lord Elmonioz) – Backing Vocals

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/BofoKwo/
www.bofokwo.bandcamp.com/

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Basement Torture Killings – Lessons In Murder

Basement Torture Killings – Lessons In Murder
Bizarre Leprous Productions
Release Date: 22/05/2020
Running Time: 33.45
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Ah, the sheer joy of murder. That release you get when the first jet of arterial blood sprays your face and then the completion you feel when you watch the light and the terror fade from the eyes of your victim, mainly because they have refused to be turned on to the Left Hand Path and away from their False Prophet and his strange dad in the clouds. The One Who Walks Backwards requires nothing more but adulation and the occasional blood sacrifice, which isn’t too much to ask, is it? Children are a burden anyway. Turn towards where all the cool kids are going and embrace Shaitan and piss off all manner of upstanding, elderly Christian neighbours! If you do it with the prodigious power of Basement Torture Killings played at a similar volume to a Saturn V rocket lifting off then it will be entirely to your credit when you take a trip downstairs and the Horny Old One is assigning you your own personal Hell. Which in my case would be no virgins, No alcohol, endless boy bands and K-Pop (and FUCKING BABYMETAL! WHO THE FUCK THINKS BABYMETAL ARE A GOOD IDEA UNLESS YOU HAVE STRANGE AND DISGUSTING IDEAS ABOUT TINY, PSEUDO TEENAGE JAPANESE GIRLS?!? Oh, wait…) and meat dishes all about the place. Delicious, aromatic viands that I can’t eat because animal flesh does not pass my lips.

Basement Torture Killings (for the rest of this review will be being referred to as BTK because I am fucking lazy. Just realised they share the same initials as good old neighbourhood stalwart and dedicated family man Dennis Rader) hail from that bastion of good taste, manners and politeness known as the UK and already I am a fan simply because of Beryl. Now there’s a lass after my own depraved black heart if there ever was one. An acid growling lady who’s just my type – deranged, homicidal and covered in gore up to the armpits. In fact, so far I love the lot of the demented fuckers – Tarquin is an accomplished death metal guitarist and appears to have three arms, such is the speed of his playing. Dr. Krause clearly has time on his hands after exploratory surgery to hit the bass like a man possessed and The Faceless Killer is clearly an insane mutant with many more limbs than are required for a normal life. All are absolutely batshit crazy and Dark Juan desperately wants them to be his new best friends as we all share similar interests…

The music on this record is classic splattercore, a la Autopsy and early Carcass, complete with the warped sense of humour that runs through every Carcass release. It’s also nearly as brutal as The Berzerker. I said nearly. Nothing can touch the brutality of The Berzerker’s debut record. However, just the thought of a BTK and The Berzerker tour has given me butterflies in my tummy and sent a tumescent explosion of sex wee clear out of the window of Dark Juan Terrace, much to the chagrin of my neighbour Leon and his dog, Shadow. Shadow seems less concerned than Leon. Call the underwear ambulance, Dark Juan has utterly fucked another pair of pants.

Now, you are all no doubt aware that I like a bit of death metal and splattercore because I incessantly bang on about how amazing Carcass are and BTK are most worthy contenders for the throne. Lessons In Murder is a fucking terrific classic DM record. It ticks all the boxes and I even like the slightly ropey production because it lends itself better to the music than the Morrisound clone jobs that most DM bands use. My only real complaints are that the cymbals are too high in the mix and the bass is extremely quiet. I love Beryl’s vocal style, although she is more proficient at the more highly pitched Jeff Walker-esque phrases, but she is a very good DM vocalist and the lyrics are dark as fuck too. We have murder, rape, torture, snuff and all other kinds of things that make me want to show the Christian virgins of the parish just what damnation feels like. The guitar phrasing of a number of the songs are very Cannibal Corpse like but it all still sounds fresh as fuck because it is played with passion, and dare I even say that there are a couple of bits where melody creeps in and adds a whole new dimension to the horror. Otherwise, the use of more crunchy guitar tones than usual for the genre lean the whole aesthetic more towards Carcass than the American classic DM bands like Morbid Angel and Death.

The songs are all short, sharp and utterly lethal blasts. If you want something to drive down a late-night road to, don’t listen to BTK. You’ll be picking up the most unfortunate whores at truck stops and butchering them to the point of not being recognised as a human being. Not good when you are delivering a load of bathroom ceramics to Motherwell. The whole record clocks in at a speedy 33 minutes long and this is a Very Good Thing because death metal should always be the aural equivalent of several sharp and fast stabs to the gut with a serrated knife. Each song starts with a small vignette from serial killer interviews or from educational films about murder before proceeding to remove your face, trample it into the dirt and then stamp on the raw flesh left attached to your skull with fucking big ass hobnailed combat boots. This is death metal with the pretension fucked right off. BTK exist for one reason, and that’s to kill each and every last motherfucker in the room with them, which will harm merchandise sales, but if it makes Beryl happy then I’m down with it.

I can’t pick a standout song because I have been transported back to my happy teenage days of discovering new levels of brutal music and how it made me feel happy when I was dreaming of eviscerating innocent religious folk on their own altars. Basement Torture Killings remind me of why metal is great – the simple happiness of listening to people just like you playing their hearts out and just living it, you know? Every song is crisp and razor sharp and deadly in the extreme. There should be warning signs around it and an exclusion zone. It’s infectious, heavier than a pair of plutonium underpants, faster than an airline asking for a bailout and so much fun it hurts my poor, blackened heart. I love BTK. I really do. A future classic death metal/ grindcore record.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has had to temporarily change from Blood Splats to Blood Gallons as splats just don’t seem to cut it right now. It also recommends this record to your attention if you are one of the young, new neophytes to the Protectorate Of The Faith because by God it will have your parents worrying about you and just what you get up to in the churchyard at night, you filthy little perverts. 10/10 for the most fun I have had with my clothes on in ages. Now to get Beryl out of hers…. Be seeing you!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Armchair Psycho Or Pure Predator (A literal description of the fans of BTK.)
02. The Three Step Hit Formula (I did a four-step once. That was at the Grand Hotel in Llandudno before it set on fire. I fainted dead away. Then my appendix exploded, and I had to have it out in Gwynedd Hospital. It’s a salutary experience waking up in a foreign country’s hospital with Pobol Y Cwm on the TV and a small, wiry and clearly homosexual nurse with a gold tooth called Dafydd asking whether you are OK… Er, yeah, what the fuck’s going on?)
03. DIY Store Murder Kit
04. Exercising Your Dominance (Dark Juan has no trouble with this.)
05. Erotophonophilia (Lust Murder) (Sexual arousal or gratification contingent on the death of a human being, fact fans! Otherwise known as a normal Saturday night around Halifax. Especially around the back of The Acca…)
06. Public Displays of Aggression (Generally giro day in Aldi when there are only two bottles of white cider left.)
07. Psychoflage
08. Resolving The Body Problem (Just don’t call Dyno-Rod.)
09. The Pen Is Mightier Than Another Splayed Corpse (It is not mightier than the sword, otherwise I’d be spending the rest of my days in chokey.)
10. Objectification (Something Dark Juan DOES NOT do…. No, fuck off. I don’t.)
11. The League Of Extraordinary Killers (I SOOOOOOO hope this is a thing and they are taking applications for membership. People are always on at me to extend my circle of friends.)

LINE-UP:
Beryl – Horrific Goratory Of Perverse Verse
Tarquin – Hideous Sermon & Manipulator Of Ripped Sinews
Dr. Krause – Low End Bowel Rupture
The Faceless Killer – Beater Of Human Skins

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/Basementtorturekillings/
www.basementtorturekillings.bandcamp.com/
www.instagram.com/btksnuffgrind/
www.youtube.com/user/BTKMurderTV

www.facebook.com/BizarreLeprousProductionCz/
www.bizarreleprous.bandcamp.com/music

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Sertraline – Clouded Minds & Silver Lines EP

Sertraline – Clouded Minds & Silver Lines EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 15/05/2020
Running Time: 19.43
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Hello again, ladies and germs. I appear to be compulsively communicating with you this evening. I can’t stop listening to metal and spewing words out. It’s not like I have even had any Bolivian marching powder today. Unless they have shoved a metric fuckton into this bottle of Sol beer I am drinking. It’s been a testing day at Dark Juan Terrace and I still haven’t made it to the supermarket for the weekly shop. Yes, even hellpriests need to do the weekly shop. I go through a fearsome quantity of oils and unguents – they are so much better for conducting the electricity, you see. You can’t go around torturing nubile young things without lubrication and blood is a shockingly bad lubricant… not to mention it doesn’t smell as nice as moonflower and ylang ylang…

I know, I know. I’m supposed to be writing about records. This time it is a five track EP from the estimable Sertraline, progressive technical metallers from the grim streets of Stoke On Trent. Don’t mock them. Someone has to live there. More than one of the populace of Etruria has claimed to this hellpriest that the best thing about Stoke is the A500 out of it towards either Nantwich or Stafford, depending on whether you run North or South. It does have its advantages though. There are many convenient service stations on your way to Alton Towers through it…

So, “Clouded Minds & Silver Lines” is the EP I am currently enjoying. I’m going to do this review a little differently than normal and do it song by song, if you’ll permit me, with a brief overview at the end. Let us plunge up to our necks into some British heavy fucking metal…

Track one is ‘Inside Out’ and it opens with a gloriously soaring vocal from Lizzie before she demonstrates that she has some serious chops at the lower end of the range as well, switching from clean and waspish to gravel throated vocal martyrdom with no discernible effort. Backed by a band of some quite frankly breathtaking musicians, this song effortlessly sets out the Sertraline stall from the opening moment. Almost impossibly technical and superbly produced, this is a fucking brilliant song.

‘Mean To Me II’ is next, and is a kind of sequel to a song off the 2017 EP “Guilty”. More mid paced than the opener, this song gives the players of instruments time to shine, with some freakishly delicate and complicated guitar work involving distended harmonics and choppy, deadly riffing and Lizzie swapping between a guttural roar and a blank eyed, lost little girl voice before they all launch into one of the finest middle eights I have ever heard. We are talking goosebumps and sex wee everywhere. Gallons of sex wee everywhere. The carpets are ruined. All my pants are utterly destroyed. I haven’t seen Lord Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover since he disappeared down the stairs just in front of the sex wee tsunami. This is a fucking brilliant song.

We are three songs in with ‘2205’ and my enthusiasm for Sertraline is beginning to look like a localised ecological disaster. Sir Zeusington Zeus, KCVG, VC, MM, DFC and Bar is looking unfavourably upon the mad, half drunk human cavorting wildly around the room, despite the fact he has been permitted to sleep ON MY BED and Hodgson Biological-Warfare is shouting at me because he got hit full in the face by sex wee and he doesn’t like it. Mrs Dark Juan is also displeased, because a) the carpets are ruined, b) the carpets are RUINED, c) she can’t find Igor either and d) she’s just remembered it was my turn to make tea and I have been seduced by Lizzie and Sertraline. Rather more uplifting in lyrical content than the previous two songs, it slides effortlessly into the lugholes and gives your poor, drug addled brain what can charitably be described as a right good seeing to. This is a fucking brilliant song.

Song four is ‘Screaming For Sleep’ and it’s more fast paced than ‘2205’, but again the musicianship is remarkable in its richness and complexity. Another song with a fucking amazing middle eight and frankly Sertraline are draining me dry, right now. The pressure wave has just blown the front door off the hinges and the street is filling up. There’s animals and furniture heading in all directions. Mrs Dark Juan is screaming about divorce again. Send help. Please. This is a fucking brilliant song.

Fifth and final song is ‘Isolation’ and frankly there is no hope left for humanity. Even though I am now a dried and withered husk, the sex wee just keeps flowing and a number of countries are reporting seismic activity due to the weight of fluid. Iceland is particularly worried because they are having lots of tremors and think that the emanation of millions of gallons of sex wee might have destabilised their already energetic geological fault and that there may be a volcanic eruption. There’s talk of Dark Juan being put on trial for crimes against humanity at The Hague. My defence is literally going to be, “ITS ALL SERTRALINE’S FAULT!!!!!!” This song is notable for the fact that Sertraline don’t seem to give a fuck who they are hurting anymore and just go in for the kill like the seasoned assassins they are. Everything wonderful about Sertraline is distilled into this one piece of musical mastery. There’s polyrhythms. There’s guitar riffs that only 18-fingered mutants can play. There’s syncopation and drumming that can only be performed by supercomputers thanks to fractured time signatures and the vocalist reaching ever further into her vocal range. And the ending is sublime. Fractured riffs play over a single held keyboard note and the virtuosity of guitarists Mike and Tom, and bassist and Keeper Of The Sacred Sauce Hendo is displayed in such a way that I am never picking up a stringed instrument again. There’s no point. This is a fucking brilliant song.

This was supposed to be a quick review. Instead it has turned into another 1000 word epic. Sorry, not sorry. Also, why the hell aren’t Sertraline ABSOLUTELY FUCKING MASSIVE RIGHT NOW?

Buy Sertraline records from now on otherwise I am going to find and execute every single last fucking one of you.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System thinks Sertraline are fucking brilliant and offers them a prostrated 10/10 because they are just too awesome to be mere mortals. Maybe I have found my gods at last. A contender for record of the year, in my humble opinion.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Inside Out
02. Mean To Me II
03. 2205
04. Screaming For Sleep
05. Isolation

LINE-UP:
Lizzie – Vocals
Mike – Guitar
Tom – Guitar
Hendo – Bass (keeper of the famous Northern relish?)
Si – Drums

LINKS:
www.wearesertraline.com/
www.facebook.com/WeAreSertraline/
www.twitter.com/wearesertraline
www.instagram.com/Sertraline_Official/
www.youtube.com/user/wearesertraline

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Bloodyard – Orchard Of Corpses

Bloodyard – Orchard Of Corpses
Self-Released
Release Date: 01/05/2020
Running Time: 42.27
Review by Dark Juan
8/10

Hello, my mischievous little munchkins and pixies. I trust you have all been cavorting around ancient forests like the good little misanthropic spirits you are and terrifying small children? Capital, my pernicious little piskies, capital. It seems that you are now allowed to go and get a haircut, but you aren’t yet allowed to adorn your skin with art. Because tattoo studios aren’t some of the most hygienic places in the world are they? I normally avoid politics because it’s a) Boring as fuck for you lot to read, b) I’m right and you’re wrong (TRUST ME ON THIS!) and c) the art of debate appears to have died a grisly and unpleasant death because we are all apparently snowflakes repeating fake news, regardless of which point of view we have. Suffice it to say that the current parasite inhabiting Number 10 appears to be hell bent on killing off our entire scene and I AM NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT! Apparently the choleric Mrs. Phillips from number 42, Saddleworth Road can now toddle off and get her fucking blue rinse sorted out and gossip with her equally unhealthy friends at a 1 metre distance in a hair salon full of hair clippings but we can’t get fucking tattoos or piercings and go and watch some heavy fucking metal played live in a sweaty, salty club somewhere. Even the mop topped fuckwits have their beloved fucking football back. It is not right and Boris is a right pigfucking cunt.  I’d like to curse the entire planet but that would leave me no virgins to defile and that would not be a good thing. I get testy when I am not able to perpetrate horrors on the wildly resisting bodies of nubile young victims. I’d like to say that that is my rant over but it probably is only the beginning… For the record, Dark Juan does not like football – if I want to shout myself hoarse for 90 minutes at people who aren’t listening and don’t give a fuck anyway I’ll just go to work as normal and I don’t have to pay investment groups gajillions of pounds for a season ticket to go and be wet, poor, cold and deafened.

Well, this is thrilling. I have, clenched in my sweaty and considerably sexually aroused hands the debut album from Lancaster death metal speedsters Bloodyard. Led by Amazonian, and not in the least bit frightening, frontwoman Donna Hurd, who appears to have been doing unspeakable things with acid, broken glass and large amounts of gravel to her voice, they have unleashed a record that would have done a very well established act justice. This is an excellent debut. My arousal only increases. You lucky things. I must note that it appears, from my past couple of reviews, the UK is undergoing a rather splendid wave of British death metal at the moment. And especially fronted by the fairer sex. This is not me being misogynist (although the darker ideas I have about ladies absolutely are…) this is me commenting that I find it gratifying that women are standing up in a genre that has not been historically populated by women and making it their own. Both Basement Torture Killings’ Beryl and Bloodyard’s Donna are as good as the classic male vocalists of the genre and actually better than the David Vincents of the world. I’m conflicted about the past couple of sentences because I’m not trying to draw comparisons. I’m all about equal rights (rites?) and I am a feminist, and to my sensibilities I have just been tremendously sexist, where all I was trying to say was that Donna is a great DM vocalist. Fuck’s sake. Being woke is hard sometimes. It’s staying in the review because I do think it a great thing that more extreme genres are starting to be populated by women and I believe in being honest with all you good folk out there. Extreme metal has been a sausage fest for too long.

Let’s move to less deep water where I can’t get myself in trouble any more, shall we? The music is excellent. The guitar sound is rather more crisp and legible than most death metal and there is an undercurrent of more traditional metal underpinning Bloodyard’s sound that proves to be an advantage, as it manages to break the unrelenting brutality up and makes “Orchard Of Corpses” something greater than the sum of its parts. There are also little thrash touches – on “Antithesis” especially there is an extremely Slayerish moment… I’ll let you all find out what that is. The fact that the band hail from the Historic County Palatine of Lancashire is another point in their favour considering your favourite Satanic shock rock hack is a Lancastrian boy too (apart from Donna, who is very obviously Scottish, but she does count as Northern and therefore brilliant!) The drumming on the record is tighter than a gnat’s chuff, the bass happily vibrates your nethers into a state of priapic excitement, the guitar work incisive and sharp, and the vocals facemeltingly intense. What’s not to love?

There are a couple of negative points I’ll quickly address because they are minor and don’t really impact on my enjoyment of the record – there is a slight case of musical schizophrenia as Bloodyard do appear to have moments of being unsure as to whether they want to be full bore death metal or add some groove in there, and a couple of the songs do feel to be a bit overlong, “Antithesis” (that song again!) could comfortably have had a minute shaved off the end of it and no one would have been the wiser. But, and this is a BIG FUCKING BUT, it is a debut album and a very, very good one. Everyone has to start somewhere and hopefully quality control will become better as Bloodyard continue their hopefully meteoric rise.

Standout tracks are “All Hail The Crimson King” which is just meaty as fuck, “Antithesis” which combines death, groove and thrash in a fashion that can only be described as sexual and the title track, which is old school DM of the highest calibre. Hopefully we are seeing a NWOBDM forming with Bloodyard in the vanguard.

To summarise – Bloodyard’s battlewagon is combat ready and devastatingly lethal, but the engine is missing a beat or two. Otherwise it’s a matt black, lead belching death machine razing everything, and butchering everyone around it. Just the kind of thing that gets my lust murdering tendencies fired up. Well done, you beautiful bunch of axe murdering bastards.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Bloodyard a blistering 8/10 for a first class debut. Can’t wait to make them the soundtrack to my own personal apocalypse.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Blood Begets Blood
02. Mortem
03. Rupture The Mask
04. Orchard Of Corpses
05. All Hail The Crimson King
06. Stack The Pyre
07. Choke
08. Purge The Rot
09. Antithesis

LINE-UP:
Donna Hurd – Vocals
Nick Adamson – Guitar
Dave Cowley – Bass (Proof of my theory that all bands have a hidden Dave! There is ALWAYS A DAVE!)
Matty Lee – Drums

LINKS:
www.bloodyard.uk/
www.facebook.com/bloodyard666/
www.twitter.com/Bloodyard
www.instagram.com/bloodyard666/
www.soundcloud.com/nick-adamson-4
www.youtube.com/user/bloodyard1

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder

Interview with Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder
By Dark Juan

Good afternoon, you beautiful bunch of misfits and miscreants! I trust you have been following the gospel of Dark Juan and have given your livers a workout worthy of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime? Have you been defiling with wanton and base lusts the bodies of those closest to you as you have been exiled for the good of the realm? If not, I WANT DETAILED REPORTS OF WHY NOT ON MY DESK THIS AFTERNOON! If there was ever a time for peace and love to flourish it’s now, boys, girls and persons of other genders. I request and require that you show love to everybody. Love is the law.

In other news, I spoke to one of my musical heroes and it was surprisingly NOT the fucking car crash I expected it to be, considering I am an enthusiastic and somewhat demented amateur music journo. Couple this with an accent thicker than the mud at the bottom of a drain and a sense of humour that could charitably described as baroque and you might consider that Mr. TREVOR FUCKING STRNAD OF THE BLACK FUCKING DAHLIA FUCKING MURDER actually deigning to speak to me and being a consummate gentleman throughout was something of a minor miracle. He happily appeared to be able to put up with all kinds of amateur nonsense, such as a Northern monkey rapidly riffling through notes and simultaneously soiling himself and Lord Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover alternately yowling, barking, meowing and for one glorious moment mooing. He did this with grace, class and bonhomie. Trevor did, not Igor. Igor’s a twat. I present to you all, my Church of the Poisoned Mind, the verbatim conversation we had, INCLUDING my deeply embarrassing fangirling.

I wonder whether animals can have species dysphoria? It would explain much about Igor. Anyway, the “interview”…

Dark Juan: Good evening, Mr. Trevor Strnad. I’m Dark Juan and I am the ridiculously overexcited idiot responsible for the 10/10 review your album “Verminous” got from Ever-Metal.com.

Trevor fucking Strnad!!!: Ah, thanks a lot man, that’s awesome. I’m very flattered by that.

DJ: (frothing in a frankly disgraceful fashion): Mate, what a record! In fact it’s not a record; it’s a weapon, man!

TS: (Laughs ): Fuck yeah, dude. Glad you like it man.

DJ: (heart rate still not normal and running off pure adrenalin and copious amounts of cider): It’s awesome. Forgive me for being a prat because this is my first time interviewing a major metal star and I’m shitting bricks about it!

TS: (one wonders how often this man comes up against pretenders of music journalism): You’re doing good man, no worries.

DJ: (desperately trying to appear professional and failing catastrophically): “Verminous”, first of all, a total contender for record of the year as far as I am concerned.

TS: Big words there, I like hearing that, man. Thank you so much.

DJ: First time I listened to it, it was almost simplistic, but on repeated listens it opens up in front of you and you have got these polyrhythms and super complicated riffs and your vocals range from the depths of hell to taking God’s head off with a buzzsaw. It’s got everything.

TS: (struggling gamefully on and proving his professionalism considering the fact that there hasn’t been an actual QUESTION yet): It definitely has more layers to it (than previous releases) and I don’t think it reveals itself fully the first time you listen to it, you know. There’s definitely some information to unpack over time.

DJ: (Deciding that now is NOT the time to preach his own somewhat confused faith): Yeah, I get that totally. Do I detect a SLIGHT HINT of antireligiousness in there, by any chance? A tiny bit of not liking the church?

TS: (Perhaps composing a stern email to the PR company to make sure this doesn’t happen again in his head): What else is new, man?

DJ: (finally managing to marshal his confused thoughts into a form that might actually have a question in them): So, your vocal style. I’ve noticed that you have said that Carcass was/ is a major influence on you. Was that Jeff or Bill’s vocals?

TS: (the man is a legend. He hasn’t yet screamingly clawed for the end call button): Well, it’s both actually. I wanted to be able to do both vocals with one person. I know I’m not the deepest, most guttural on the low end of all the guys out there, but I’m influenced from that Bill Steer mid rangey grittiness you know. It was listening to the “Tools Of The Trade” EP, that was the first glimpse of Carcass that I had and it’s still my favourite of their output you know? I have the “Tools Of The Trade” tattoo on my arm and yeah, dude, I’ve just been aping those guys ever since (laughs) and on the song “How Very Dead” (on “ Verminous”) I was trying to sound like I have an English accent and really going for Carcass.

DJ: (on safe ground at last!): Yeah, I thought I detected a real classic Carcass vibe on “The Leather Apron’s Scorn” – my favourite song on the record.

TS: Yeah, that song’s cool man. It’s different for us. It’s kind of progressive and very groovy. There’s a lot of groovy stuff on this record which is kind of new territory for us. Yeah man, that’s a definite high point of the record for us. A very creative song.

DJ: I have been a fan of The Black Dahlia Murder since 2003 (Trevor interrupts in surprise, “NO WAY!”) Yeah, man, you’re one of my favourite singers…

TS: You’re making me blush over here!

DJ: (inappropriate sense of humour immediately making an escape out of the box it had been beaten and forced into): Never thought I’d hear a bearded man tell me that but (TS is busy laughing) this record really does transcend all your other releases to date as far as I am concerned.

TS: Thanks, man. Yeah, “Nightbringers” was such a success, and having Brandon (Ellis – lead guitar) in the fold now we have a lot of creative juice and everything was just going right so it just gave us the confidence to push things a little further than we have done in the past. We are very happy with how it came out and it feels like a very proud moment for us.

DJ: (finally behaving like a fucking journalist!): Talking of Brandon, what did he bring to the party that wasn’t there before do you think?

TS: Um, Ryan (Knight, ex-guitar) was another awesome songwriter too, so I don’t wanna slight him but Brandon has this youth and this excitement to be here amongst the band. He’s just the most creative person we have had and he’s the most musically inclined, honestly. He’s the most educated, I mean he taught himself to play guitar from different sources on the internet and has never taken a lesson in his life which might surprise a lot of people. He’s just kind of a virtuoso and he looks at music in a different way and we have all been learning a lot from the guy even though he’s the youngest member of the band – He’s wise beyond his years and he has definitely taught us a lot about songwriting and different detail you can weave into a song and to consider the very minutiae of a song and I think that’s what makes these songs special , a little more elbow grease and he’s got a unique way at looking at songcraft and I think it’s kind of affected us all and we’re just trying to keep up with the kid. He’s lifted us all up and inspired us all and he’s definitely the guy you want in your band! Just feels like a really great time in TBDM history and feels like a real high point right now.

DJ: (having nearly shat himself with relief at getting a reasonably interesting question in before his already shaky confidence falls apart): That’s something that really shines through on the record I think. That kind of indefinable something where you can just tell that people are really enjoying playing that song, that’s what shines through on “Verminous”. That’s what makes it special I think.

TS: (doubtlessly relieved to be talking about the album instead of responding to Dark Juan metaphorically prostrating himself in front of him): Right on man, I’m glad that came across. It was fun to build from the ground up. Giving Brandon more control this time, with him recording most of the record, I think was a good move and gave us more control and able to take it really slow and look at things with a microscope. I think this is going to be our recording process from here on out because it was so successful. He stepped into the band and wanted to have a big piece of the pie and be creative and in control of things and we trusted him. We trusted him a lot on “Nightbringers” during the mix and he took a lot of control then and he just showed us what he could do, so this time we trusted him with more responsibility and the record is that much better for it. He’s just that kind of take charge kind of dude, man.

DJ: “Nightbringers” was such a massive success, you were touring that for two or three years, right? I mean, touring “Verminous” is kind of on hold because of coronavirus which means you could end up touring an album that’s a year old. What does that make you feel like? Do you feel the songs will stand the test of time or do you chalk “Verminous” up to experience and record a new album for the touring cycle?

TS: Um, I still think people are going to be excited to hear the songs and they have a lot of time to listen to it and fester on it. Honestly, from our point of view being in the band, there’s nothing better that could have happened during this than drop an album. That’s the ultimate content you could have and entertain all these bored people right now. The pace of life at the moment is so freaking slow. There’s time to enjoy art and absorb it, so in a weird way I think this has turned out to be advantageous, you know? Um, it’s just that it was nothing that we could foresee but we could have got caught at the end of a record cycle with no new content or anything else to offer up so honestly it’s turned out to be the best kind of thing that could have happened, I think. Honestly, it has hurt the sales a little bit, not being able to go to the record store, also we were booked to go on tour with Testament which would have been our biggest tour ever. But I’m hoping we can just jump back into this thing and pick up our momentum where we left off and hopefully people will be excited to hear these songs.

DJ: This record, I’ve found when I listen to it, third or fourth time through, you have so many different influences on it… Instead of the straight up melodeath on previous releases, there are so many disparate influences you have managed to weld into a cohesive whole and it could all so easily have sounded like a load of metal pans falling down the stairs. Has the songwriting taken longer than usual, or is it luck or judgement?

TS: It’s a lot of years of experience of writing Black Dahlia Murder songs. In the last few years, I think the goal has been to make the most dynamic music we can make. Music that really takes you on a ride and has different emotional flavours to it and I got to agree that we did add a lot of approaches that we didn’t have before. We got songs that are pretty rock injected where we close the high hat and just rock out and we have never done that before. You have “The Wereworm’s Feast” for example which is very King Diamond influenced, very classic heavy metal feel to it. Yeah, I think this record has a lot more style and we are becoming more comfortable and spreading our wings and focusing on that aspect of it. It is definitely a cocktail of that classic Black Dahlia Murder sound but also mining from different corners of heavy metal.

DJ: (having managed to obtain the dizzy heights of competence for all of seven minutes before plunging back down into the black murk of idiocy): I finished the review off by claiming that “Verminous” is the first metal album that doesn’t need more cowbell.

TS: (Laughs): We definitely did put some rock in there! It’s Brandon’s influence. He’s not like your normal 26 year old. He’s definitely a child of the 80’s and he’s very progressive in what he writes and he has pushed us all in that direction to be more creative with what we do and lifted us up and we are all just trying to keep up with him and he’s inspired Brian (Eschbach – guitar and vocals). Brian has turned out some of the best songs he’s ever written and it’s just a great line up right now. It’s the culmination of a lot of positivity, a lot of great times together – we toured together for three years off of “Nightbringers” together and had a great time and a lot of success. We just took all of that praise for that record and the positive vibe and just pushed it into this record and it made us very creative and something that felt new for us.

DJ: (in sensible question SHOCK!): Do you know what kind of response you had with online and pre-sales? Are you selling well?

TS: (Clearly wondering what sort of madman has been allowed to talk to him this time): Yeah man, we have hit the charts pretty hard which was surprising. I have to credit a lot of it to our fan club, the Blast Fiends, they have a Facebook group that really focused on collecting Black Dahlia stuff, vinyl variants and they are just total hounds for the record! So some of those guys showed up and bought a lot of copies and they are like our unofficial street team and they have really pulled for us so we could hit the charts hard, and we made some waves in the press because of it. Even during this pandemic we are able to make waves so that’s pretty cool.

DJ: Got any words for the Blast Fiends while you’re here?

TS: Thanks a lot guys, we really appreciate it. We do this for you guys and you are a huge part of it and we have yet another victory for the Black Dahlia campaign!

DJ: (still panicking like a schoolgirl but much less obviously now): “Verminous” – The title gave me the impression you were trying to evoke the seedy underbelly of life in general. Do you want to expand on this? Are we (the metal kids and the alternative people) the kind that are creeping out of the sewers to terrify the norms?

TS: Yes, that’s how I see it, man. The world on the album cover is sort of a metaphor for our place underground, literally underground. I look at metal, and especially death metal as this kind of hidden world, a secret that most people can’t see. They can’t see the value of it, they can’t see the culture of it and they can’t see the positivity of our scene, and how it’s like our lives and it’s so important to us and it’s a secret, a hidden world and it’s a plague we’re spreading, like a plague of knowledge and an awareness, an awakening to this world of freedom from religion, creativity, free thought and unfiltered art. I mean, death metal is not made for everybody – it’s made for a select few and it’s a labour of love. If we had any delusions of trying to become rich or hugely famous we would have been a totally different kind of band. It’s an act of love and something we pride ourselves on making this music and staying extreme. This is the culmination of years of hard work, trial and error when writing in the past and I feel like we are an older, wiser band right now but also that we are still young with regard to how creative we can be. I feel like this is the opening of a new chapter where we can be more creative as a band. We’ve been together for twenty years now of history with the band, but I still feel we have another 20 years. I can’t see us doing anything else. It’s been my entire life, this band, we’ve gone so hard in one direction and Brian especially, being the other original member, and we have to just see this through. We have to keep going and I feel honoured that people have stuck around and we have had so much success and that’s a big inspiration to make our music as good as we can and to keep our fans happy. It’s a never ending thing, man, and it keeps snowballing out of control, the success of this thing and we have to honour the initial opportunity Metal Blade (record label) gave us and just push it to the hilt.

DJ: (gotta hit those clichés!): Do you view “Verminous” as your “Reign In Blood moment”, or is it more your “Show No Mercy” moment and you are going to grow bigger and more expansive?

TS: (to his eternal credit, NOT rolling his eyes at the demented Englishman): I kinda see “Nightbringers” as more like “Reign In Blood”. It was more of an attack, attack all the time record with a lot of information crammed into it. More of a barrage, if you know what I mean. “Verminous” is more a “South Of Heaven”, where it has a lot more variety and is more dynamic. It still has its fast parts, but it’s much more like us opening our doors, spreading our wings and using this dynamic energy. We wanted the album to feel less samey and have real variety in the songs and let the songs stand out as their own entity. We tried to make the compositions more epic, this time around, definitely less intensity at times, perhaps some buildup, to have some tension, release and to have the chance to really emote this time round. We have a lot of melancholic songs that are gripping on that level and trying to be a more emotive package as a whole and really trying to elicit a response from the listener.

DJ: (now having calmed down somewhat and actually doing what he’s supposed to): Songwriting techniques – how do you go about it? Do ideas spring from a single riff, or a lyrical idea, or a title idea? How does The Black Dahlia Murder work as a musical entity?

TS: The lyrics come second. I’ll have a list of some ideas that I kick around but for the most part I’m reacting to what I hear in a song. Either guitar player will demo the song in ProTools and by the time I hear it, it has both guitars, it has bass and it has programmed drums that sound pretty good. Then our drummer rewrites the drums hit for hit what will end up on the album and then I’ll start writing with it. I’ll sit with it, I’ll listen to it a gazillion times in my fucking underwear and really it’s a challenge to me and something I look forward to. Listening to the song a million times and then plotting how the plotline is going to go up and down with the music. I try to make the story fit every moment of the music and it is a challenge to write in those confines but it’s also very cool when it all comes together. I try to make the lyrical climax come with the musical climax so it makes this bigger picture. I really care about the lyrics and it’s not just something I scribble down but I try to bring somebody in. I try to make the listener go to a different place or imagine a different character. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s a hell of a challenge though. The rest of the guys pretty much write in solitude, either guitar player and it’s been this way for a long time now since we had members living out of state and we are pretty used to being spread out – there’s a lot of WhatsApp group texts that we talk to each other through, emails with ProTools files and we are used to this way of working now. Before we all used to write together in one room at band practice, but now we don’t have a traditional band practice anymore. We will get together before a tour all in the same spot and freshen up on things for a couple of days but now we rely on everyone looking after their own upkeep at home and keep their chops up on their own time and that’s a big responsibility but it’s just how this thing works now. The creative process is something I look forward to – every time I come back to it I’m excited to see where the band is musically and with every record there’s a big jump with creativity and I think the guys absorb a lot of information during three years of touring. We play a lot of music to each other, we play a lot of shows, see a lot of bands, so even though we are cranking out these records at a fairly alarming rate, there is a lot of growth between records and this is the most growth we have had between albums and a lot of it has come from “Nightbringers’ ” success. I’m looking forward to the future man. I see us pushing the boundaries further in the future.

DJ: I’m looking forward to seeing you tour in the UK as soon as this virus is done with. You’re going to be hungry. I expect you’ll be tearing my face off…

TS: There’s talk about maybe January for Europe and the UK. I think it might be our first tour back, but I’m not sure just yet.

DJ (who actually really does need to visit the lavatory at this point such is the relief of ending this extremely stressful experience): How different is Trevor Strnad, mad bastard throat with The Black Dahlia Murder, to Trevor Strnad sitting peacefully at home?

TS: I dunno man. I don’t really feel that I have two faces. I feel like I’m the same person here too (at home). A fun, easygoing metalhead. A lot of my life revolves around music, you know, collecting music and being a hound for the underground and checking out new bands and checking the scene… getting metal in the mail every day… I don’t look at what I do with The Black Dahlia Murder as a job, that’s an insult to it I think, it’s so fun. It is hard too, there’s a lot of sacrifice and a lot of hardships. Tours are largely very boring – there’s a lot of waiting around and shitty travel situations and you can liken it to camping at times. It’s not really glamorous and a lot of people don’t really think about or see the amount of work that it entails. I basically gave up my entire life to do this and I love it, I love staying in touch with the underground and it fuels my passion for The Black Dahlia Murder. I’m pretty much the same guy behind the scenes, you know, a big metal nerd!

DJ: Maybe a slightly quieter one than on stage…

TS: A little more reserved. There is a dark part and it’s a release for me to be on that stage and embodying the demonic characters that I have conjured up. Getting into that villain role – I feel that death metal is villain music and we’re the villains to societal norms and religion and it’s all about celebrating freedom, celebrating the underground and the friendship and the culture that’s there and there’s so much positivity there for “negative” music. I think people give us a bad rap, man.

DJ: Thank you, Sir Trevor of Strnad, for putting up with me barking drunken questions at you and basically flailing desperately to appear like I know what I’m doing… You fucking legend.

TS: Thanks a lot, man, it was fun. Take care.

And that’s fucking that. If you need me, I’ll be in a darkened room with an IV of absinthe and 24 nubile young virgins. Knock before you enter, otherwise it’s at your own risk.

Buy “Verminous”. It’s awesome. And so is Trevor Strnad.

“Verminous” by The Black Dahlia Murder was released by Metal Blade Records on 17.04.2020.

LINKS:
www.tbdmofficial.com/
www.facebook.com/theblackdahliamurderofficial/
www.twitter.com/bdmmetal
www.instagram.com/theblackdahliamurder_official/
www.youtube.com/user/blackdahliamurdertv

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous

The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 17/04/2020
Running Time: 35:53
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

It is pitch black, so dark you can’t even see your hand in front of your face. A sinister pall hangs over the place where I am walking and a hunter’s moon feebly tries to shine down through the scudding clouds and the wind howls through the trees and down the narrow track I traverse. Somewhere in front of me I can hear the hurried breathing of another person. I know where they are. I have been following them for quite some time. Silently and without hurry. My boots make no sound against the damp earth and the smell of petrichor floods my senses. The breathing has turned left and is currently waiting (or concealing themselves) behind a large and venerable oak tree. I stop dead, and make no sound. Not even my breathing is audible. Clad as I am in black from head to foot there is no way I can be seen in the eldritch dark.

Movement! From behind the tree there is a rushed and panicked lurch towards the path. I reach forward, obtain a fistful of hair, pull back and draw my beautiful blade across the exposed throat. When you do this, your victim can still scream. It’s not like in the films where a razor-sharp blade instantly shuts someone up. In reality, you keep sawing until you’re through the windpipe and you’re virtually holding a severed head in your hand. Death is a messy business…

Ah, hello! I didn’t hear you come in. No, it’s not blood, it’s an art installation I’m playing with. Good evening. I’m Dark Juan and you are no doubt here to be educated and entertained by my thoughts on “Verminous”, the latest offering by the rather splendid The Black Dahlia Murder? As I suspected. Please do be seated in this sumptuous wingback chair by the fire and perhaps I can offer you a warming brandy? A rich burgundy? No? Absinthe? As you wish…

TBDM (I keep spelling murder wrong and it’s getting on my tits!) were formed in Waterford, Michigan in 2001, and it was around 2004 that they came to my somewhat dubious attention as a band that were happy to play with genres, much still be heavier than all the female members of your family in their very best depleted uranium pants. “Verminous” is their ninth album release and it really should be illegal under Strategic Arms Limitation Treaties as this is not a record I’m listening to, it’s a fucking weapon! Opening with the title track after a bit of a TBDM hiatus, I’m immediately looking for the skin off my face, because it has been instantly torn off. The band has lost none of the savagery that permeated early releases, instead honing and sharpening their sound, and forming delicate scalpel bladed death machines instead of charging at you and clubbing you to death with the nearest rock. However, here be melody and structure instead of blastbeat driven histrionics. This is a very thoughtful record. On first listen, it’s almost superficially simple, but then you listen again and you hear some magnificently complex arrangements played at warp speed. On repeated listens the album opens up in front of you like a carrion-reeking corpseflower, showing you incredible beauty within the stench. There are simply some sublime arrangements on here. TBDM describe themselves as a melodic death metal band but they are something much, MUCH greater. Effortlessly taking black metal influences, prog, death metal, tech death and classic metal and welding them into some kind of horrific matt black murder machine belching everything short of Zyklon B from its exhausts as it cuts a bloody swathe across an unsuspecting world, TBDM redefine just what extreme metal is. And this is even before you get to the powerhouse vocalist that is Trevor Strnad. A man who appears to be possessed by at least four different demons, judging by how his range encompasses earthquake inducing low tones, the kind of midrange a buzzsaw emits as its blade passes effortlessly through your midsection to the high notes emitted by the swarm of killer hornets currently enveloping your head, plunging their venomous stings deep within it, Strnad remains one of this hellpriest’s favourite vocalists.

The album steamrollers you on the first three tracks. TBDM are out to kill you, pure and simple. How good a strategy this is for creating a fanbase I don’t know, but they are all clearly psychotic and every song is a finely crafted piece of complexity and dare I say delicacy. The violence is placed upon a teetering precipice of musicianship as the band ask the listener the question, “Just how far do you want to go?” The production of the record by the band themselves is another high point. Arctically clear and cold, the production is superb and utterly fits the music although the band have managed to still retain soul and personality in the music – most modern tech or melodic death opts to have a sonically sharp, but utterly lifeless production that shows off the instruments, not the songs. Here the production manages to weld the instruments into a cohesive whole, where no one part overshadows another, yet every instrument has its personality shining though. Bonus marks for excellence.

Highlight of the record for me is the simply hypersexy ‘The Leather Apron’s Scorn’. Six songs in, an extremely complex opening sequence breaks into staggeringly heavy chugging and Strnad howls like he’s about to have an embolism. There’s even fucking cowbell! TBDM literally have covered all bases on this one. It is just staggering, there are time changes, polyrhythms, vocals that go from the depths of hell to the heights of the upper atmosphere before the middle of the song reminds us of classic death metal with the guitar soloing, then there’s some black metal speed and it is just jaw dropping in intensity. This is just ONE song. The whole album is this sonically complex, which is why I have decided to concentrate on just one song. Otherwise we’d be here all fucking day.

Dark Juan is currently just sitting quietly in his seat, staring aimlessly into his computer screen, trying to put words to what he has just heard.

There are no words.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has decided that this is the first record in the history of heavy metal that does not need more cowbell. 10/10.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Verminous
02. Godlessly
03. Removal Of The Oaken Stake
04. Child of Night
05. Sunless Empire
06. The Leather Apron’s Scorn
07. How Very Dead
08. The Wereworm’s Feast
09. A Womb In Dark Chrysalis (Interlude)
10. Dawn Of Rats

LINE-UP:
Trevor Strnad – Vocals
Brian Eschbach – Guitar, Vocals
Max Lavelle – Bass Guitar
Alan Cassidy – Drums
Brandon Ellis – Lead Guitar

LINKS:
www.tbdmofficial.com
www.facebook.com/theblackdahliamurderofficial
www.twitter.com/bdmmetal
www.instagram.com/theblackdahliamurder_official
www.youtube.com/user/blackdahliamurdertv

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Lucifer Star Machine – The Devil’s Breath

Lucifer Star Machine – The Devil’s Breath
The Sign Records
Release Date: 03/04/2020
Running Time: 42:42
Review by Dark Juan
Rating 8/10

It is evening at Dark Juan Terrace, Mrs. Dark Juan is making facemasks upstairs in her eyrie and I have the pleasure of the company of Number Two Furry Son Sir Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover while I write this. When I say pleasure, I use the term loosely as he is variously shouting at me for my beer or trying to steal my crisp butty, the thieving little hellhound bastard. I have trained him well. He has been exiled from the eyrie because he is such an unutterable tiny terror. He honestly bullies a dog four times his weight. He has now left the room and I am instead blessed with the anal artistry of Number Three Furry Son Hodgson Biological-Weapon. He has just dropped a fartbomb of such stupendous filth that even he has left the room in disgust. Do you see what I have to endure in order to bring you such factual and splendid record reviews, dear children of the dark? I will attempt to stave off oxygen starvation and the possibility of being poisoned in order to bring you the benefit of my wisdom regarding Lucifer Star Machine’s latest opus “The Devil’s Breath”…

I don’t mind telling you, Novichok has nothing on that dog’s arse. I had to leave the room for a good ten minutes. Not a problem because I needed to get another beer.

Lucifer Star Machine are a German punk n roll band formed initially (and somewhat confusingly) in London, however they now reside in Hamburg and now have an all German line-up. With stage names. Dark Juan likes stage names. But theirs aren’t as good as his. He thinks…

Yeah, enough of the nonsense. What do Lucifer Star Machine sound like? The blurb the PR company very kindly sent says, “The Devil’s Breath is a high-energy mixture of classic rock, punk, a touch of metal, and a hint of 1950’s Rock’n’Roll…”

They are nearly right – there’s little to no metal on display here. It’s rock and roll and punk fused. And it’s pretty damned good. Imagine The Offspring and “Earth A.D.” era Misfits meeting Nekromantix and having a bloody good piss up together and then forming a band and you have a rough idea of what this bunch of German miscreants sound like. You’re fortunate – I have decided to forgo the usual nauseating sadomasochistic sexual metaphor I normally employ. It’s been a trying day. Frankly any album that starts with the words “Catholic Church sex abuse scandal” has already earned a million goodwill points considering my virulently anti-church stance (no matter how much fun it is deflowering virgin Christian girls upon the sacred altar in front of a packed house of increasingly shocked parishioners while the priest weeps quietly in the corner and I shout “Hail Satan!” at the moment of completion. Thus, another goth girl is created and the Church loses another sheep from the flock…) and sets the tone for a record that, although done before by the likes of the Hellacopters et al, has a certain charm all its own.

Opening cut ‘The Void’ crashes into the lugholes like a six foot, and ridiculously friendly pink mohicaned punk who’s pissed up at half ten in the morning and has staggered by accident into your venue of choice. This is good time music. Music you drink to and dance and do stupid things to. The kind of music that inspires Jackass style madness off your garden chair involving you, Smudgy the cat, the paddling pool and five very drunk friends. And a trip to hospital. And every song is like that. Speedy, fun, entertaining and well produced and accessible. Some punk can be samey and difficult to listen to and LSM are not like that. It does make it hard to pick standout songs from the record because it is an album that rewards you listening to it as a complete body of work rather than a song here and there. Lucifer Star Machine are the soundtrack to your stupidest ideas and they are to be commended for that. Every song is pretty much three chord punk madness, but played with a sense of fun and enjoyment you seldom hear on a record until you get to the last track which is the title track. Where Lucifer Star Machine delve perilously close to Green Day style chart bothering with acoustic guitar but thankfully with a suitably satanic lyrical content to save it from my righteous fury. That was a close one, meine herren!

Dark Juan officially recommends Lucifer Star Machine to your attention. If you like something less heavy occasionally then you’ll probably love it. If you’re a snotty purist, go fuck yourself. With a JCB or something. Make it count.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Das Patentierte Dunkle Juan Blutspritzer Bewertungssystem) awards Lucifer Star Machine 8/10 for a jolly hockey sticks, fun record that will be best enjoyed fucking hammered on a beach with ladies all around you. Of course, Dark Juan would do this while in the black desert in Iceland with Nordic hotties everywhere. Just saying…

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Void
02. Dwell In Misery
03. Cruel Hearts
04. Baby, When You Cry
05. The Night Is Young
06. Eat Dust
07. A Touch Of Death
08. El Camino Real
09. Pretender
10. Evil Blood
11. Midnight Crawler
12. Your Love Remains
13. Devil’s Breath

LINE-UP:
Tor Abyss – Throat
Mickey Necro – Guitars
Marshall Speed – Guitars
Benny Zin – Bass
Jay Impact – Drums

LINKS:
www.luciferstarmachine.com/
www.facebook.com/luciferstarmachine/
www.instagram.com/lucifer_star_machine/
www.spotify.com/artist/0OadEGpCQGopnStMsULCig
www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ0btWSJQ5kJE3RMn8yDyYA

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Anvil – Legal At Last

Anvil – Legal At Last
AFM Records
Released:14/02/2020
Running Time: 50:31
Review by Dark Juan
4/10

Greetings and salutations from a dark and gloomy Dark Juan Terrace, my dear followers of the Left-Hand Path. As I am staring through the mullioned and open window from my meditation chamber (where there is a disturbing and frankly boring lack of nubile young virgins with innocent eyes and a faith in the False Lord that has just got to be libertined out of them) I am assailed by the smell of petrichor and there appears to be calm before a storm. The clouds are heavy, black and pendulous and all the birds have fucked right off somewhere. My glorious and vicious pack of hellhounds are all asleep on my bed. There’s also no cheese or alcohol in the house and the police are starting to take a dim view of my increasingly desperate excuses for being outside – Apparently telling them you are hunting for virgins is not an acceptable excuse in West Yorkshire, nor is claiming you have been living in the woods for twenty years and have chosen that moment to re-enter civilisation. Apparently, my clothes were too fresh smelling and well-pressed for that one to work…

So, to business. I’m listening to venerable Canadian metal stalwarts Anvil’s latest release, “Legal At Last”. It appears that they have a blueprint and they are not deviating from it one fucking jot. Experimentation is not a word in the Anvil dictionary. What we have here is a heavy metal album that literally has been transported through time from 1984. We have gang backing vocals, big chant-a-long choruses, an utterly derivative production where everything is snare drums to the fore, songs about weed, drinking, surveillance and how great Anvil are. Unfortunately, Anvil aren’t that great, and it has always been a mystery to this hellpriest as to why Anvil have enjoyed such a long career, when they have basically released the same album for the last twenty years. This is so utterly derivative it is sucking the life out of me. When you have other bands like Cloven Hoof (who are of a similar vintage) STILL managing to make traditional metal sound fresh and fun, it makes Anvil almost become a less amusing version of Spinal Tap – a band with steadily decreasing relevance clinging to past glories, helped with an ageing fanbase who all still wear their original 1982 tour shirts and look with disdain at the neophyte metaller who has just discovered the One True Path and malign them cruelly for not liking “the classic stuff”. Well, fuck you, OLD GUYS! This record might have been a good release in 1985, but now it is just tawdry, man.

Opener and title track “Legal At Last” is basically a paean to how great Anvil are. Yes, there is a punchy staggered backing vocal but I have to be honest here, Lips’ voice is not to my taste and this self-aggrandising bullshit got the teenaged Dark Juan’s back up so much that glam rock is still a no-go area because it would only take one phosphor bomb and you could wipe out a room full of primped pussies just from the fumes of the hairspray igniting. Second track “Nabbed In Nebraska” is equally boneheaded and has just insulted my intelligence so much I’ve just ordered a conventional bombing strike on Toronto to revenge myself upon the place for even giving us Anvil in the first place. “Smoking weed ain’t no crime” howls Lips. Clearly it fucking was in Nebraska, you numpty. Also, smoking weed ain’t big or clever. It generally makes you a combination of sleepy, talkative, food obsessed and very bloody annoying. And smelly. Very very fucking smelly. Track three on this apparently never-ending record is “Chemtrails”. Oh dear. Oh dear. Hackneyed and derivative and clearly Anvil have no idea of airspeed friction and contrails. Take it from me, dear friends and acolytes, I worked on aircraft at Manchester Airport and there are NO FUCKING NOZZLES FOR DUMPING CHEMICALS ON CIVILIAN AIRCRAFT!!!! Or I would say that, because I am one of them, you will all immediately howl… Grow the fuck up.

And so it continues – one of the few redeeming qualities of this record is that it does at least have a positive environmental message that is timely in the song “Plastic In Paradise”, but then they also have a song called “Glass House” about surveillance of the world populace, which is an interesting subject but ruined by some truly banal lyrics. “There is no place to hide, nowhere to go inside,” “There is no lock, there is no key, when you lose your privacy,” and the ABSOLUTE winner (and cheerfully grammatically incorrect,) “Me and you, living in a zoo.” Musically, Anvil still come across as a more muscular Twisted Sister with added metal attitude, but everything about the record is one massive fucking cliché, man. Overpowering drums? Check. Massively overproduced guitar sound, multitracked to fuck because there is only one guitar player? Check. Utterly faceless bass robot? Check. Gang vocal? Check. Battering the floor tom a lot? Check. Ham-fisted attempts at political commentary? Fucking check, check and check again. There is simply no fucking excuse, when metal is undergoing a renaissance of sorts currently, to release such dated and unoriginal music, especially when contemporaries are making good albums again.

Metal has moved on from this. At best, this record is a curiosity showing just how stagnant metal can be without new blood to move it along. It has some good riffs, some good song structures but Ozzy Osbourne did all this considerably better on “The Ultimate Sin.”

In 1986.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System wants its intelligence quotient back. 4/10 for one of the most average records I have ever heard from “legends.” Bah. And indeed meh.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Legal At Last (I wish you weren’t.)
02. Nabbed In Nebraska (Don’t take controlled substances there, then!)
03. Chemtrails (Load of old pony, bach.)
04. Gasoline (More to worry about here than fucking chemtrails.)
05. I’m Alive (Clearly the Nebraska State Police were feeling charitable.)
06. Talking To The Wall (Is this while Accept have their Balls To The Wall? That’s a bit worrying.)
07. Glass House (Good concept, utterly shit lyrics.)
08. Plastic In Paradise (Timely and important. No, not taking the piss at this point.)
09. Bottom Line (Of your wife’s colossal pants?)
10. Food For The Vultures (An excellent metaphor for this album.)
11. Said And Done (Not quite yet, but hope springs eternal.)
12. No Time (Bonus Track – I read bonus track as a song that didn’t make the actual choice of songs for the album, but we will bung it on anyway.)

LINE-UP:
Steve “Lips” Kudlow – Vocals/ guitar
Robb Reiner – Drums
Chris Robertson – Bass

LINKS: (2 3 4 – lol) – (This is a terrible joke, even for Dark Juan’s standards – Rick)
www.facebook.com/anvilmetal/
www.twitter.com/AnvilMetal666
www.instagram.com/anvil.metal/

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Distorted Visions – Born Dead

Distorted Visions – Born Dead
Self-Released
Release Date: 05/03/2020
Running Time: 32:46
Review by ‘Dark Juan’
Rating: 8/10

Salutations, you horde of blackened fiends with chronically dry skin on your hands from washing them too much. I recommend cocoa butter or the blood of your latest victims as moisturiser. Assuming you have murdered them at an acceptably socially distanced… ahem, distance. I am Dark Juan, and there is no alcohol at Dark Juan Terrace, and I am not allowed out to buy any more either. Henceforth, I’m drinking astronomically strong coffee and not thinking about eating any more food, as this fucking coronavirus appears to have had the unexpected symptom of making all my clothes shrink. My Second Invocation Robes (Spring Weight) are unaccountably snug around the midsection and I have absolutely no idea why. Anyway, today’s stream of consciousness nonsense is brought to you by Milanese nu/metalcore (it sez ‘ere) four-piece Distorted Visions. Milan is in Italy, for any of you who might be geographically challenged. Believe it or not, I have met some people in the past who thought that England was part of London. They got the shortest of shrifts, as you might imagine. Dark Juan is not a man who suffers fools gladly.

Gaze upon my field of fucks, my most benighted congregation of the lost, and see that it is utterly barren. I gave my last fuck somewhere around 2003.

Distorted Visions appear to be having some kind of metal personality crisis. They are musically schizoid – as if Static-X and Fear Factory jumped Killswitch Engage in a dark alley, took them to a lab and started splicing their relative DNA together to see what kind of chimera was created, before Korn and Sepultura fucked it up by breaking in and pissing in the petri dish… However, the hellish hybrid adapted and burst out into Milan’s metal scene and released “Born Dead”, their debut record.

Produced by Lacuna Coil’s bassist Marco Coti Zelati (terribly, as it turns out) Distorted Visions switch maniacally between hardcore beatdowns, metalcore riffing and the beeps and squelches and staccato tempos of nu-metal, before further muddying the waters with elements of cyber metal keyboards and the occasional snot-nosed vocal style of Jonathan Davis as his most obnoxious and unpleasant. It is indeed a confusing mix, but somehow, just somehow, these young Italian maniacs hold it the fuck together. By rights it should be a horrible fucking mess, but it all somehow works.

However, the production of this record lets it down badly. It is muddy as fuck, far too bass prevalent (the anti-Metallica?) and the drums sit far too low in the mix. Cymbals are hidden behind walls of unintentional low-fi bass twanging and the guitar spends quite a lot of time being almost inaudible, again due to the bass being overpowering. Is producer Marco Coti Zelati a bass player by any chance? Wink wink…  And I fucking hate the sound of the snare drum with a passion only second to deflowering Christian virgins upon their sacred altars and turning them to my own peculiar gospel. Normally involving inventive uses for crucifixes and chalices, the poor things… There are swathes of samples, and sharp, keening keyboard beneath the bass-led sonic torrent extremely reminiscent of Fear Factory and Static-X, and the sharp, staccato style, almost deconstructionist riffing of the late and lamented Mr. Wayne Static makes more than a few appearances along the way. But then Distorted Visions fool you with some meaty as fuck breakdowns and then some almost Chino Moreno like Deftonesy vocals before thinking fuck this for a game of soldiers and returning to level your fucking house with the power of METAL!

Opener ‘Introspection’ would not be out of place on a Fear Factory remix album (like “Fear Is The Mindkiller”) before you are knocked six feet backward with the first tune proper ‘Every Time I Die’ (Metalcore speed in the verse, Korn backing vocal, Static-X keyboard, back to metalcore with the riffing and solo on the middle eight) which is a fucking killer song and a hell of an opener. ‘Paranoia’ grips you with a very Korn-esque, speaker swapping guitar sound before the vocal of Marco (incidentally, a splendid growler, but sometimes tries far too hard to the detriment of his own voice) kicks in. The chorus is a simple pump your fucking fist in the air affair but that ain’t no bad thing, cowboy. Stand out songs are ‘Harakiri’, and the interesting and angular ‘Seventeen’.

Shitty production aside, this is a fucking good record. Inventive, formed from disparate elements but fused to a satisfyingly massive whole and heavier than your mother in depleted uranium knickers. Distorted Visions, I salute you. You’ve made a massive debut record.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Il Sistema Brevettato di Valutazione del Sangue Schizzare di Dark Juan) awards Distorted Visions a suitably gore soaked 8/10 for a really fun record to listen to. It rewards repeated listening mightily, but loses marks for the world’s shittiest production and too much reliance of breakdowns. Otherwise, fucking impressive!

Forza Italia! E forza Milano!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Introspection
02. Every Time I Die
03. Paranoia
04. Undefined Pain
05. Gore
06. Burn
07. Seventeen
08. 99.9%
09. Disintegration
10. Harakiri
11. Scars
12. Priority

LINE-UP
Marco Cicala (Toro Loco. Please don’t confuse the stupid English person any more than he already is by mixing Italian and Spanish for fuck’s sake! Grazie.) – Vocals
Emanuele Cicala (E.M. CLEARLY this man is a fan of Ever-Metal.com and therefore a man of taste and discretion) – Guitar
Tiziano Baruffi (Tiz [Was?] Oh, Google it. I can’t be arsed explaining. However, Sally James though…) – Bass
Davice Dalla Pozza (Dave. Proof of my theory that every band needs a Dave)– Drums/ vocals

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/distortedvisionsofficial/
www.twitter.com/DSTVisions
www.instagram.com/distortedvisionsofficial/
www.spotify.com/artist/2lAxZwqY9zAwvj0NcTrd3F
www.youtube.com/user/emaxcicala3

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

THE DOVE – by ‘Dark Juan’

THE DOVE
by
‘Dark Juan’

I had received the invitation to the party somewhat out of the blue. It was from someone who was outside my scientific discipline as they were not known to me either personally or professionally, but who clearly had a knowledge of my field, judging by the contents of the polite note sent to me accompanying the actual RSVP, signed by one Dr. David Fielding. The invitation was printed on a pale, almost white, blue card – tastefully inscribed by hand and requesting my attendance at a gathering at the weekend, in a hall tolerably close to my home. I was intrigued and also somewhat fascinated as my disciplines of aeronautical metallurgy and crash analysis are not well populated and are somewhat niche sciences, only called upon when disaster strikes and governments want answers, and to have a note expressing the desire to pick my brains about a “small problem” he was having was a welcome change from my usual routine. The note, although friendly and urbane in nature, yielded little clue about his “small problem” and I quickly resolved to attend the affair as my curiosity was piqued, both by the gentleman and the chance to grapple with a new problem. Yes, I replied cordially, I would be delighted to attend this function and to make the acquaintance of Dr. Fielding and the other guests. I acknowledged the dress code (suit, tie, but not TERRIBLY formal) and dutifully nipped out to the post office to post the reply first class, this being Tuesday and the party being Saturday.

A quick Google search after doing this small chore of Dr. Fielding turned up precious little, besides a few minor papers published in various scientific and metallurgical journals on his chosen field of stress-strain analysis. This didn’t unduly concern me as his field of specialty is even more rarefied than mine, although he probably had done more actual work beyond the research I covered with my search, which to be fair was quite half-hearted.

Saturday soon dawned, however. A busy week because of a small aircraft crashing at Church Fenton in Yorkshire had flown by (a terrible pun, I know!) and my analyses had confirmed eyewitness statements that the starboard wing had folded and broken at the root due to fatigue failure, causing uncontrolled departure from normal flight and an unrecoverable crash by the pilot, who had by some remarkable miracle, survived the accident but was in intensive care. Anyway, I hummed cheerfully as I bathed, shaved and donned my favourite grey Christian Dior tailored suit. Suitably attired and shod, and having availed myself of a small whisky on the way out, I made my way to the taxi I had called in a good humour.

Upon arrival at the hall, my coat was most courteously taken to the cloakroom by an extraordinarily polite young lady, who then accompanied me to show the way to the main room where the affair was being held. As I crossed the threshold, I was relieved of my invitation by a young, uniformed serving gentleman who propelled me in the direction of the bar and made sure I was provisioned adequately (with a stiff single malt over a single ice cube, as was my wont) before pointing out Dr. Fielding speaking to a small group of men and women at the far side of the room, near the large window. As I walked over to introduce myself, I noted the natural warmth of his personality on his lean face as he discoursed with his listeners. He appeared to be a jovial man, dressed in tweed and radiating bonhomie and good humour. He was otherwise unremarkable, looking pleasantly average in all departments as he appeared to listen intently to his conversationalists and sip from a balloon of brandy. He espied my arrival, and excused himself, strolling over to greet me.

Dr. Fielding shook my hand firmly, but without the excess pressure that men trying (and failing) to prove their own fragile masculinity use. I returned the gesture and greeted the gentleman cordially.

“Dr. Fielding. A pleasure to meet you, sir, although I am still somewhat confused how you have heard of me and how I can be of service to you, what with your “small problem.”

The good doctor looked directly into my eyes, and replied, “My dear chap, please call me David. I read the scientific and technical journals of metallurgy and failure analysis very closely. You kept appearing in them and your articles were arresting and concise, yet factual, which is a rare and treasured combination in academia, I am sure you’ll agree. The problem of which I spoke is merely a ten minute walk over the fields behind the house. But first let us enjoy the company of these fine people for a while longer.”

I nodded my assent and proceeded to mix with the other guests, including Mrs. Fielding, who proved to be a charming and erudite lady, quite capable of holding her conversational own with some of us fusty academics and engineers. At length, Dr. Fielding requested the pleasure of my company to view his small problem.

His problem was certainly unusual. Without a word, he gestured at it and the scaffold erected around it. I was taken aback, confused and affrighted. Dr. Fielding’s problem was a crashed aircraft, but of a type I had never seen in flight as it had been retired from service many years ago. It was a De Havilland Dove, in the colours (the “raspberry ripple”) of the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. That was interesting as to my knowledge the RAE hadn’t flown any Doves. Equally strange and disturbing was the fact that although the propellers were bent and the aircraft clearly had force landed, there was not a single piece of debris, or a trail where the aircraft would have dragged along the ground, leaving a furrow in the earth. It was as if the aircraft had been dropped from just above the ground into its current position. I looked for the serial number so I could possibly identify the aircraft and report it to the military authorities, but there did not appear to be one extant on the fuselage or tailfin. I turned to Dr. Fielding and spoke brusquely.

“Doctor. How has this happened? There is nothing that indicates that this aircraft met its demise here. It appears to have had its accident somewhere else and been brought here for purposes unknown. Forgive me for asking, but is this some kind of test, or unpleasant joke? Has any of this been reported to the authorities? None of what I see makes any kind of sense.”

Dr. Fielding turned to face me, all good humour absent from his face and his mouth drawn into a thin-lipped, tense line.

“Sir, I regret it is no test or joke. The local constabulary are aware and as far as I know have contacted the air force and Farnborough. Both organisations have denied having this aircraft in their inventories since the 1970s and wish nothing further to do with the matter. The owners of the house brought this aircraft to my attention one week ago. I have lain awake and puzzled as to how and why it has ended up here. All I know is that it is horrible. We cannot gain entry to the aircraft…” Here the doctor shuddered violently. “Pray, have you looked inside the cabin or the cockpit yet?”

I had not and told Dr. Fielding this. He merely indicated with a tired wave of his hand that I should go forward and said,

“Perhaps you should inspect it.”

 I pressed the doctor but he refused to be drawn any further into a discussion, merely maintaining that I should look for myself and then come and talk to him. He then descended the scaffold, moving like an old, stiff man.

I was dreadfully overcome with the fear of what I might see in the cockpit area, without knowing why, and every step along the fuselage brought a corresponding increase in dread until I very reluctantly reached the cockpit glazing – or what was left of it. Fighting against my instincts, I bent my head and looked inside.

Oh, the horror! I stumbled back and bounced off the handrails on the scaffold and fell to my knees, unable to blot out the scene within the cockpit by closing my eyes. My earlier whisky turned instantly acid in my stomach and I fought down the urge to vomit. The flight crew, pilot and co-pilot were still in there! And grotesquely, still in their seats forever joined together by a piece of stanchion or airframe that had separated from the aeroplane in the crash and punched through both heads, skewering them neatly, yet horrifyingly. Death must have been instantaneous. Sitting down as I was at eye level with the corpses, I found myself unable to drag my eyes away from this terrible tableau. Both crewmen were dressed in flying kit, and to my eye (even as I shuddered and heaved and struggled to contain myself) it was clear that their equipment was vintage, as was the uniform dress they wore. Both had their eyes open and both pairs of eyes had the milky film of death covering them. I shook off my horror and moved to the nose of the Dove. My fear then redoubled itself as it appeared that the dead eyes of the co-pilot had followed my ambulation and he was yet staring directly at me, without my having discerned any movement of his lifeless, cold eyes. Trembling, I took out my mobile phone and set it to record the horror within the Dove. I moved back towards the side glazing and took video of myself doing this, pausing at the side glazing to discover that the co-pilot was once again piercing me with his dead gaze.

This was enough for me and in a paroxysm of terror I threw myself from the scaffolding as fast as I could move and raced the full distance back to the house, where Dr. Fielding was waiting for me. I rushed straight past him and headed for the bar where I indicated I should like a large single malt, which I drank speedily. I ordered a second double which I imbibed even more speedily before turning upon Dr. Fielding, shaking with rage and terror. It took a moment to realise that all the guests had departed.

“WHY DID YOU NOT WARN ME OF THIS?” I demanded, loudly and hoarsely, my composure and manners utterly destroyed by what I had witnessed. “The co-pilot LOOKED at me! But he was dead! Stone dead. And there was no putrefaction of the corpses, yet they are clearly from the past… I have no idea…”

My voice trailed off as the enormity of my experience hit me, and I sat heavily in the chair behind me as Mrs. Fielding muttered intently into the doctor’s ear. He turned and said,

“My wife thinks you should come and spend the night at our house as you have had a very unpleasant shock. I agree with her. Please come outside and I will bring my car over to you.”

I was in no fit state to argue or disagree, as the grim tableau of the cockpit and the lifeless eyes of the co-pilot pierced me though once more in the eye of my mind. With shaky hands, I pulled out my phone and replayed the video.

Nothing. Not a damned thing. Just black on the screen. My expostulations of horror and terror and fear were clearly heard but there were no images. Gripped by disappointment, I replaced the phone in my pocket and loosened by tie and collar. Yet, I knew what I had saw and the images were all too vivid in my mind. I nodded assent to the doctor and his wife, not trusting my tongue, and followed them timorously to the car park.

The doctor and his wife got into a long, low Mercedes car and started the engine. It was parked next to a steep slope (the hall I had visited being at the top of an escarpement). I don’t know what happened to the doctor but the car reversed suddenly and plunged down the slope, hitting a rock that upended it, and it landed upon its roof with a stupefying crash and clamour upon the tarmacadam road beneath the hill.

I immediately rushed down to offer assistance. I shattered the passenger door window of the car in somewhat of a funk as it has been a most trying day and my mind has clearly resorted to action in place of cowering in fear, and pulled Mrs. Fielding free of the vehicle, trying to not cut her on the fragments of glass and failing in some small measure. Pulling her clear and sitting her up against a bollard, I got her blood upon my shirt as I stripped my suit jacket off and placed it around her shoulders. She was crying, the tears streaking mascara down her cheeks as fragmented words spilled from her between gasps for breath and wailing. One sentence was discernible – just one.

“Oh my God, it’s happening again!”

Then she returned to incoherence and tears. After assuring her she would be safe, I raced back to the car and reached in to turn off the engine, as Dr. Fielding’s foot was wedged against the accelerator and the engine was screaming. The noise ceased as the engine juddered to a halt. I spoke feverishly to the doctor, trying to ascertain if he was seriously injured. There was no response from him and to my horror I noticed that there was a gaping wound pumping scarlet blood from his arm, but it was the arm I needed to pull in order to get him out of his wrecked car. I came to a decision and pulled. Thankfully the doctor moved fairly freely as he was unconscious, but as I had to exert greater force to extricate him through the window of the car something deeply unpleasant happened. I de-gloved the doctor’s arm. In a spray of blood, the flesh came away from the doctor’s arm and I held a flopping, repugnant and bleeding mass of flesh and skin in my hands. In my already shocked state, I fell to my knees and vomited copiously and threw the appendage from me. My back was turned to Dr. Fielding as I prayed to God and continued to retch, until I became aware of a sound behind me.

I was terrified and afraid to turn as the noise, a grinding, BONY sound became underpinned with a thin keening. I forced my head to turn and to gaze upon the misshapen figure of Dr. Fielding standing. Looking at me with a ruined face and ululating in his throat. My sight was drawn to the tendons, cartilage and bones of his arm as it slowly and horrifyingly re-shaped itself. The bones of the hand retracted into the radius and ulna as they cracked themselves and stretched forward into points, flattening and fusing themselves as they did so. The mouth of Dr. Fielding opened and the ululating became a scream. A scream that was utterly inhuman and without syllabification. And of constantly increasing volume. Aghast, and frozen to the spot with terror, I watched as the bones of his arm finished their grim metamorphosis and I watched also as the jaw of the doctor grew ever more inhumanly wide and the scream became alien and so loud it robbed me of my senses. Still the doctor’s jaw stretched, sinews snapped and the jawbone audibly cracked and the screech started to create harmonic pains in my head. I threw my hands over my ears to drown out the noise from that impossibly wide mouth and squeezed my eyes tight shut, yet still the sound increased and I became conscious that I was screaming myself, yet I could not hear my own expostulations. I opened my eyes as the pain in my head became too much and then what was the doctor lunged, mouth agape and eyes of obsidian.

I looked down to my abdomen and felt the bone blade tear upwards. Pain became my universe. I looked into the eyes of the doctor and saw nothing but black.

Black forevermore.

Disclaimer: This short story is solely the property of Dark Juan. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.