The Machinist – I Am Void

The Machinist – I Am Void
Self-Released
Release Date: 04/12/2020
Running Time: 52:36
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Greetings, my followers of the Horned God and keepers of my twisted gospel. It is I, Dark Juan, fresh from going full Jonathan Pie at the television and having had a stern telling off from Mrs. Dark Juan. Whereupon I have retired to my bedchamber in what can only be described as a magnificent sulk and stuck on the first record that came up on my electronic magic box of tricks (otherwise known as an elderly and temperamental Acer Aspire laptop that has been telling me for at least two years that there’s no memory left) which happened to be from The Machinist, who are a bunch of clearly insane and phenomenally dangerous psychotic Mancunians, which means they are entirely normal for denizens of the city of my birth. However, we are here for my thoughts on “I Am Void”, being their debut album, and the question is, if these mad, MAD Mancs have released a perfect peach or a pile of diseased, foetid arse?

Let us find out together.

First things first, you, dear readers, have to know that the blurb that came with this record was an out and out damned lie. It described the music as “A fusion of blasting black metal and machine driven death metal.”

What it should have actually said was, “HOLY FUCK WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO MY FACE AND WHAT IS THAT ABSOLUTELY UNHOLY AND BLASPHEMOUS SONIC WARFARE COMING THROUGH MY HEADPHONES AND TURNING MY MOTHERFUCKING BRAINS TO SOUP?!?”

You know how I’m ALWAYS banging on about The Berzerker and they hold the record for the most brutal and intense record ever made in their debut self-titled album? Well, hold on to your fucking trousers (and your underwear, because you’re going to be blown clear out of the fuckers), boys and girls and all other genders, tonight we celebrate the new kings of sonic violence, because our longstanding me(n)tal monarch Luke Kenny has been bested. Yes, not even our magnificently demented Aussie friend can stand in the way of The fucking Machinist. The sex wee quotient is explosive. There’s flashing red lights and klaxons everywhere and Alaska has declared a state of emergency because the sex wee storage tanks off the coast are in danger of catastrophic failure from sex wee overpressure…

Fucking JESUS, this record is savage. It’s all blades, heavy calibre machine guns and flamethrowers and artillery all rolled into one. Take the love child (for love child read absolutely murdering bastard fucking killing machine chimera of hatred) of The Berzerker, Akercocke and Anaal Nathrakh and try

to imagine that sound. Got it? Nah, mate, you aren’t even fucking close! There’s distorted kick drums, the kind of drumming that can only be accomplished by killer robots with heavily engineered pistons for arms, razorwire riffs that are not so much music as simple vessels for murdering entire rooms full of people in one go and vocals that bear no resemblance to any noise made by a human larynx ever before. I don’t even know how to describe the howling madness and predatory growls to an acceptable standard. There hasn’t been words yet invented to describe what I’m listening to. This is literally murder in musical form. It’s wide eyed, blood flecked, spittle drooling homicidal madness rampaging round at supersonic speed, roaring and shrieking sheer batshit insanity at extreme and inhuman volumes two inches away from your face. It will be no surprise to any of you to learn that I fucking love The Machinist now.

Although the music is primarily a hyperspeed amalgam of the most primal and martial black metal and the unrelenting brutality of death metal, that isn’t to say there are not subtleties at work here. Oh no, like a psychopath experiencing fleeting moments of clarity, The Machinist dial back the lunatic speed and blastpower and slow down to be like the most evil of serial killers to whisper in your trembling ear exactly what horrors they are going to perpetrate upon your helpless corpus. ‘Departure’ is the most notable example of this, as is album closer ‘Schwarzschild Radius’, both songs having the kind of power electronics found on Whitehouse records, and for all the speed and sheer madness these Mancunian sonic serial killers employ, they are surprisingly technical musicians, with multiple tempo and pattern changes throughout songs and different movements therein also. The keyboards employed throughout the record are never intrusive and at times remind me of when Emperor used then on ‘Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk’ and they add a gothic and often futuristic element to the sound of the Machinist that gives them the gravitas and grandeur that was missing from The Berzerker (who had opted for ultraviolence and gabba techno) and much more like Emperor mixed with the complete uberaggression of Anaal Nathrakh with added industrial precision. The industrial element of this record cannot be ignored, for it is this that lifts it up from contemporaries and gives it the je ne sais quoi to make this album truly, TRULY special.

I’ve run out of superlatives. Wait…. what? This is their DEBUT album? THIS IS A FUCKING DEBUT RECORD? HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? Jesus fucking Christ, how are this bunch of howling mad bastards going to top this one? It is not possible. It will cause a massive rupture in spacetime and destroy the universe as we know it if they get any faster or heavier…

Ah, I’m on to you, you fuckers. Nothing less than total musical apocalypse is your plan. Where do I sign up to join, our kid?

So yeah, this is the Holy fucking Grail, ladies, gents, and gentlepersons. It is rarer than rocking horse shit. It is a perfect debut album. I never thought it would ever happen but this is a fucking perfect debut album. I know I’m repeating myself. My brains are liquid and running out of my nostrils thanks to The fucking Machinist.

Right then, The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is utterly fucked beyond repair. The Machinist have broken it. It’s a 10/10 from it (it’s a googleplex out of ten as far as I’m concerned, but Rick has a scoring system and he has decreed that we use it properly for he is possessed of considerably more wisdom than I, who has literally frothed maniacally for over a thousand words during this review) and I wish I’d fucking heard this before I submitted my top ten records of the year because this should be in there. At the top. IT IS THAT GOOD.

EDIT: I changed my top ten list. So at least you know what I think is the best release of 2020 already…

TRACKLISTING:
01. Extinction Event
02. Skin Is Not Enough
03. The Sky Has Opened
04. Approach
05. Bleak Affirmations
06. Depopulate
07. Death Cults of Abraham
08. Magnificent Desolation
09. Departure
10. Schwarzschild Radius

LINE-UP:
John T – Synths, Drum Programming, Vocals
T – Guitar
Scott W – Vocals
K. Mackinnon – Guitar

LINKS:

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 PROGRAMMABLE ANIMAL

INTERVIEW WITH PROGRAMMABLE ANIMAL
‘One Step To Hell’
By Stephanie Stevens

Press play to the album “ONE STEP TO HELL” from Chicago’s…

PROGRAMMABLE ANIMAL and you get submersed into the emotional and raw personal stories that have been seen by the eyes and felt by the heart of founder and frontman Drepsea. The loss of a loved one, a tale of drug addiction and the overwhelming effects of Narcissistic souls that creep into our lives sometimes. This band has the sound that captivates me due to the industrial and metal soundscapes, but it was how the lyrical content, and the way it was delivered, pierced my soul and made emotions awake in my heart. That really drove me to fall in love with this album from start to finish.

The band has a way of intertwining chaos and beauty on tracks like ‘ONE STEP TO HELL’ but then can delicately mesmerize you with a track like the beautiful n dark ‘AS ABOVE, SO BELOW’ and then firing you up with the sultry yet heavy ‘QUEEN OF FIENDS’. Beauty, anger and compassion is what this band is made of and it is truly an epic listening journey.

The past  is also something of notability for this band! After getting a taste of this album I went backwards into the discography. One thing to be said is the band has stayed true to the “sound”, but you can instantly appreciate the growth, the developing and the honesty which has stayed intact. Older albums like “END OF THE TAIL” and “DREPSEA” are just as influential as the new one. The way they bend genres to manipulate it into a sound all their own is tantalizing as they have made it into a unique, expressive and relentless journey of madness and beauty.

The storm of truth not only bleeds out of Drepsea on this newest disc “ONE STEP TO HELL” but made its way into this interview which I had the honour of having with him. I am elated that now I am ‘in the know’ of PROGRAMMABLE ANIMAL and I hope you all enjoy this truly impeccable album and chat with this amazing artist.

Q:PROGRAMMABLE ANIMAL has been around for a few years now. Can you give us a quick synopsis of how this band formed?

Drepsea: The band was started years ago as a solo project. Music gave me a sense of identity, soul, and purpose. Programmable Animal was a creative outlet for me to express my views.

Q: You go by the name DREPSEA which was an album of yours back in 2014. What made you take on that persona and do you feel you are creating another form of yourself when you create for the band?

Drepsea: The album “Drepsea” was the cultivation of this character. I would say this persona expresses my truth. Within the music and lyrics, I’m telling exactly how I feel. On an everyday basis we portray a version of ourselves that is socially acceptable, and that can be a multitude of different versions given the situation. The idea of Drepsea isn’t that…it’s my truth.

Q: Your music definitely has the mix of industrial, dark aura and at times could sound chaotic and insane (in a good way) especially listening to your last disc “END OF THE TAIL”. How does the band set the tone when you start writing for new albums etc?

Drepsea: It primarily revolves around the situations I’m dealing with at the time. “End of the Tail” was an end of a particular “tale” in my life that was dark, yet a turning point. Due to the circumstances at that time, I started making poor decisions, I was engulfed by bitterness, and delved into chaotic situations. I realized the path I was going down was purely destructive. “One Step to Hell”, fundamentally acted as a means to pull myself out of my own hell. I wanted to take a more empowering approach that no matter what kind of hell we face, we can break the spell. It can start with incremental steps, whether that be associating with the right people, overcoming our vices, or pursuing our passions, etc.

Q: Making art from pain and heartache usually makes for brilliant work. Your new disc “ONE STEP TO HELL”, defines that. For you what were the pros and cons of getting your emotion out as lyrics?

Drepsea: I 100% view it as cathartic and therapeutic. Anytime we express our truth, it’s always a pro. Bottling up our feelings inside can make someone go mad.

Q: Growing up who were the artists that formed your appreciation for music and what you believe as a performer, who adapted to your way of making music?

Drepsea: There are so many, but two come to mind. KoRn because of Jonathan Davis’ lyrics. It was clear that he was hurt, the music was just raw and powerful.

Also, Nine Inch Nails. The first time I heard “Closer” I was in awe because it had such a unique sound. I was maybe like 5, I didn’t know what the hell the lyrics meant haha, but the sounds were nothing like anything I’ve ever heard before.

Q: Have you ever done theatre or acting and is it something you might venture into if you haven’t already?

Drepsea: I honestly haven’t besides for our music videos. I appreciate the art behind it, though who knows what the future holds.

Q: On the new disc you talk about almost losing someone to drug addiction and dealing with the passing of a loved one. These topics resonated with me. 5 years ago, I lost my mom then 6 months later lost my boyfriend to drugs n alcohol. My question is two parts

1. How do you deal with loss and what would you tell fans who are having hard times with that aspect?

2. Do you feel that people dealing with the disease of drugs n alcohol can eventually become stronger than the demons that are courting them to these deadly substances or its always going to temp them?

Drepsea: I’m sorry to hear.

Art and music were a means for me to reflect. Personally, with my recent loss, having spiritual beliefs helped mitigate certain feelings. Dealing with loss will be different for each person though. It does take time to heal. For fans, try to look at the brighter side of the life that the person lived and remember the good they brought into the world. Loss can be a reminder to us to make sure we treat others the best we can. Most importantly, try to enjoy the moments we have with them.

Absolutely, we can overcome our demons. I’ve been around many people with drug issues. One situation I found myself in was having to perform CPR on someone close to me in order to save them due to a heroin overdose. That person is doing a lot better now, no recent episodes. We are all capable of ridding ourselves of addictions / similar issues. Again, it’s forward thinking, start making small changes, eventually it starts to make “hell” less severe. Yes, the voice lingers but only if we allow it. Try to surround yourself in a better environment and reassure yourself you are capable of overcoming it. When in doubt, reach out to someone.

Q: You worked with two producers who have worked with some giants in the industry. How much did you learn from both of them about magnifying your songs and also anything they said to you vocally to expand or focus more on, since the album is a more personal storyline for you?

Drepsea: Both definitely guided me into the right direction. There were things that I didn’t think of that they pointed out and through that, it made the songs better. We did some of the recording with Chuck Macak at his studio. After, I took the individual parts and recorded a bit more at mine. Eventually bringing them to Sean Beavan. It was simpatico, he would send me a mix and it was right each time. I wanted to take the listener elsewhere, to create the personification of flesh in battle with the soul. Hence, the industrial sounds contesting against ambience. Sean nailed this approach; he is a sound genius and understood the project fully. Very glad we crossed paths. In terms of lyrics, there was no suggestion on anything. I wanted to stay true to me, that’s important for me as an artist.

Q: Another step for the band is having Negative Gain behind this record. How did that partnership happen and what is the most important thing for you when beginning a relationship like this?

Drepsea: Negative Gain noticed Programmable Animal back in 2018 with our release, “End of the Tail.” At that time, I was playing guitar as well for a couple of well-known acts in the industrial scene: Hate Dept. & Project 44. I met Micah Skaritka from NGP at Cyberfest in Chicago, my intuition was telling me I will probably be speaking with them again lol. Over time we all chatted, and I also worked with Christian Bankes who runs Fade In PR. He’s another person who I respect and really believed in this project. He helped pitch the record to Roger Jarvis and Micah at the label. The rest is history. The most important aspect is trust, I trust them. This goes with everything in life, find people who are good and who you trust.

Q: What advice would you give a new band looking to do something off course of the norm for music but hesitant about not being accepted?

Drepsea: Persistence is key. Doing something different is a good thing, that’s how some of the most prominent musicians came to be. They pioneered a new sound. Of course, you want to relate in some regard to the audience, music is communal. If you love and are passionate about what you’re doing though, odds are someone else in the world will be too, you just have to find them.

Q: Where can people support your band and music, and do you see any plans in 2021 for a tour?

Drepsea: Our album “One Step to Hell” is on Spotify, Bandcamp, etc. You can also find us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc.

www.linktr.ee/programmableanimal – Links to everything Programmable Animal.

We are optimistic about 2021 and touring / playing, though we will see what happens with the pandemic. Most important, we want our fans to feel safe.

Q: Empower another artists and tell us why they inspire you?

Drepsea: The artist that inspired me the most would be Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Apart from the unique sound, what intrigued me the most was one person composing each part in a song. It was the same approach Prince had; I fell in love with this idea. It led me into learning multiple instruments, eventually making my own songs.

The End

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘One Step to Hell’ (Official Video)

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Stephanie Stevens and East Coast Romper, and has been released to Ever Metal on this basis. 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.

INTERVIEW WITH KISSING CANDICE

INTERVIEW WITH KISSING CANDICE
‘The New Chapter Of HORROR’
By Stephanie Stevens

Impacting the music world with their brand of metal/industrial music; The demented, chaotic, abstract horror visuals from the bands look to the videos and live stage presence they have brought to stages, Long Island, NY’s KISSING CANDICE is one band you are very unlikely to ever forget.

The band is opening the real gates of Hell with new single/video ‘Tapeworm’. With a refined sound and musical growth, you can hear on their newest track, I believe it’s just the tip of the iceberg of what is to come out of the bands 2nd full-length album!

This is the next chapter into the wonderfully psycho, creepy aggressive world of KISSING CANDICE.

I had a chance to chat with Joey Simpson AKA Aunt Donna, the vocalist and founding member of Kissing Candice. Tom Sciro aka DREAMER, the original guitarist and 2nd vocalist of the band and Mike Grippo aka GRIP the original bassist of the band as we talked more about the evolving growth of the Masks, the growth of the music, the 5 year anniversary of the bands 1st full length album “BLIND UNTIL WE BURN” and so much more

Q: I love talking to you guys because not only do I love your music I adore the creative side you have for the visuals. With that being said I want to jump into the new mask’s look. You guys worked with a few different special effects people. Was this the next level of creating the masks or had you worked with others before to make your older ones?

Grip: Dreamer and myself worked with Jeff Koncor on our masks. He also did Suffront’s, the transition masks, and fan masks! Also, thanks for having us again, it’s always a pleasure!

Joey: I had the honour to work with special effects legend Tom Savini  and his partner, special effects mastermind Jason Baker. They brought the new Aunt Donna look to an entire new level.

Q: How have the masks evolved since last time?

Grip: They’ve only gotten crazier and more intense. But it’s still an evolution. (Shout out to Jeff Koncor who did my mask. Dreamer’s, and the transition masks!) You can still look at us and know who we are.

Joey: With new music comes new masks, new faces , a new sound, a new message. For Aunt Donna, she’s only gotten more weird, more hungry for the bizarre.

Dreamer: The new masks are an evolution of the character we each have built. We just tried to focus on certain aspects that we wanted to showcase in them.

Q: Do you feel the masks are your inner personality to a tee, and if so, does it change your mindset when they are on and you’re performing?

Grip: We kind of like to think of it as a reflection of our dark side…Those sides are the ones that are in control during the performances.

Joey: Absolutely. When the mask goes on the world shuts down and things that matter take a time out (I like to think of it that way). It’s show time. It’s time to do what Aunt Donna wants, what she desires.

Dreamer: For me, it’s definitely some parts of my personality, but not my day to day. It’s super visceral, so it absolutely contributes to when you have it on and how you act.

Q: ‘TAPEWORM’ your newest single creates that signature sound the band has come to be known for. When you started writing the new songs was there any particular part of songwriting you wanted to redefine or focus and how did that process go?

Grip: We believe that on ‘Safe Word’ we found “our” sound. On this one we wanted to hone in on it and refine it while also expanding it with some out of the box ideas. Zach Jones has been a game changer for our sound.

Joey: The band flew out to a house in Vegas for 3 weeks along with our producer Zach Jones. In that time frame writing was amazing, It was such a creative experience in so many different ways. Things I can’t even describe unless you were in that room. So different than any other studio time we have had. The only thing I will say is, it all came together the way it was supposed to!

Dreamer: The recording process was one of my favourite experiences in being in this band. Totally open minds, some ideas, head time and living in the studio for a month. It was a super creative and fulfilling experience and I was able to just go to all the places I’ve heard in my head, whenever I wanted. We wanted to just make a unique, honest and raw record that we loved. We did just that.

Q: Your 2nd full-length is on the verge of coming out and with the chaos of 2020, you had some extra time to really perfect everything. Did you change anything drastically or swap out any songs for others when you went back and listened to the album?

Grip: We were really happy with how the album came out. This time has given us the opportunity to seek out some guest vocalists to add (a first for us), have Maor Applebaum master the album, and focus on creating more visuals for the release. It was really just slight refinements that make a huge difference. Nothing was cut or added…just made a little bit better.

Dreamer: No, it was pretty much smooth sailing on that front. We messed with mixes and mastering, but like I said before…we made a record that we love.

Q: I know you guys love pushing the limits and love evoking emotion, especially in a visual way. With the ‘TAPEWORM’ video did you guys have to pull back the reigns of the horror/gore aspect at any time because of the fear of being censored?

Grip: There have been times we’ve stepped back and been like “WHOA, this is too much to put anywhere on the internet without having it pulled down”. But that wasn’t the case with ‘Tapeworm’. We knew the song was dark and we needed visuals that represented it. I’m much more worried about our next music video being censored!

Joey: YES!! Some of the original shots I wanted to do would have been censored for sure. It’s very hard to market something over the top gore HAH!

Dreamer: Not at all. We don’t care lol. Just went for it. If we like it, we do it.

Q: How hard was it shooting the video because of all the policies, rules, etc due to Covid and if you shot in NY?

Grip: We shot at The Meat Locker in NJ…and hey…we’ve been wearing masks for years!

Joey: Lucky for us it was a small, closed set with the band crew and some close friends that helped make this video possible.

Dreamer: It’s always a hassle for video stuff in general, we just had a few extra steps. But I genuinely thank everyone that was a part of it to allow it to happen!

Q: 2015 was the last time you put out a full album. In between, there have been EP’s and singles to keep your fans full of your amazing music. What made you feel it was time for another full-length?

Grip: It’s been way too long. We’ve wanted to do this for a long time but have been in between record labels. We finally decided we don’t care, and we will crowdfund it and pull the rest of the money out of our own pockets to see it happen.

Joey: We just knew it. It was time to shed the old masks. Shed the old sound and release the beast.

Dreamer: We had been wanting to do one for a while, but things just kept coming up. We were definitely long overdue.

Q: Along with new masks is the storyline for the new album anything conceptual or does it have a common thread to each of the tracks and does the music incorporate what your masks mean to you?

Grip: There are a lot of different concepts on the album. This is us exploring what we can do with our sound and vision. We just wrote what felt best with Zach and then recorded it.

Joey: I’ve been saying from the beginning of making this album, it’s really not an “album“. It’s more like a horror movie. I can’t explain. But when you hear it front to back you will understand !

Dreamer: The new album is just a mouthpiece of things happening today.

Q: 2020, you are celebrating the 5-year anniversary of your 1st full-length “Blind Until We Burn”, is there anything you are doing to commemorate it?

Grip: Yeah! When the album originally released, the samples had to be cut, the artwork changed, and a song removed. So, we are doing a super limited 5-year anniversary edition strictly pressed to vinyl and cassette!

Q: Have you guys had any plans on releasing a live stream show for your fans and what is your view on these as we all know touring is off limits at the moment?

Grip: We’ve kicked the idea around but with everyone living in a different state at the moment it’s hard to pull off with all the restrictions.

Joey: The live music world is on a hard pause, for how long no one has a real answer. A live stream? Hmmm you’ll have to wait and see.

Dreamer: We are still considering that for something in the future.

Q: In the past have you guys auctioned off your older masks or stage clothing for fans? Any funny stories about that?

Grip: Yep, I have sold off all my old stage gear and masks. It doesn’t mean a whole lot to me to keep it on a shelf in my bedroom, I would rather use the money from that to move the band forward. Also, there are fans out there who cherish it way more than I do, and it means a lot to me they are able to own a piece of something they are so passionate about! Funny stories? I sold 20 of my bloody BUWB era V-Necks to one person in bulk for super cheap haha!

Joey: My buddy Austin has bought every Aunt Donna mask I have ever worn. It’s amazing he now owns more OG masks then I currently own haha. Also, Gavin & Johnny have this amazing place called the KC Kave. Look it up. I can’t even begin to describe it.

Dreamer: Someone owns Grippo’s stockings. Lol.

Q: If you could sum up 2020 in one sentence what would it be?

Grip: Do I really even need to shower?

Joey: “FUCK THIS SHIT” – Super Humman.

Dreamer: Garbage.

Q: What is the biggest misconception people have about the band KISSING CANDICE?

Grip: That because we wear masks, we are like every other band with masks. We are different. Or we do it because we think a gimmick will help sell it. It’s a way of conveying emotion.

Joey: Everything.

Dreamer: We aren’t Slipknot or Mushroomhead.

Q: What is the best way right now fans and music lovers can support your band?

Grip: STREAM ‘TAPEWORM’ ON SPOTIFY ALL DAY! Also, join us on Community where you can directly text with the band and we do a ton of free giveaways. The first 2 texts are automated sign up texts but from then out it’s all us! You can get in on that by just shooting a text to,

+1 631-206-5808

or going to
www.my.community.com/kissingcandice

Also! You can pick up the limited edition 5-year anniversary of BUWB here!
www.kissingcandice.com/store?category=BUWB+5+Year

Joey: www.kissingcandice.com/ – music , Merch and more!

Dreamer: Buy merch, buy music, anything that links back to us.

Q: Empower another artist and tell us why they inspire you?

Grip: Trent Reznor. I don’t think he needs empowerment because he just got inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. However, his inspiration on me has been enormous since I was a child. He is so progressive with how the industry works and is insanely creative. Definitely my musical idol…also he brought us Marilyn Manson…and then a feud with Marilyn Manson!

Joey: Honestly Post Malone. He started out at the bottom. Everyone gave him shit, talked shit, looked down on him. He never gave up and didn’t let anything stand in his way. Now he is one of the biggest names in music.

Dreamer: Scythe Gang 666, because Zabb is the softest in the game.

The End

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Tapeworm’ (Official Music Video)

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Stephanie Stevens and East Coast Romper, and has been released to Ever Metal on this basis. 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.

Monolith – Sentience

Monolith – Sentience
Self-Released
Release Date: 13/11/2020
Running Time: 53:10
Review by Beth Jones
7/10

Hands up who likes Progressive/Tech/Djent/Industrial/Electro Metal??!!! Ah good!! Me too! Well I’ve got a little something you might like.

Monolith is a one-man project that’s got all that and more. It’s the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist, and an old friend of mine, Nathan Hughes. And his debut album, “Sentience” has just landed. Formed as a project for his university degree in 2018, Monolith has grown into his ‘passion project’, culminating in this release. It’s a meld of everything, like one big metal caravan filled with whatever the hell you want, ready to set off on a trek to wherever the hell you want, down all the twisty and turny A roads and dirt tracks you can find! Metaphorically speaking!

The album explores a myriad of soundscapes, infusing synth effects with more traditional metal instrumentation. It starts with ‘Sentience I – Awakening’. The opening couple of bars sound like ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, which I thought was pretty fitting for the direction this album is aiming to take. But it quickly becomes a guitar and drum driven track full of darkness and intrigue, as well as a myriad of complex rhythms and interlocking sections. A great start.

‘Lucid’ is up next. Groove funk central!! It starts off with drums and some pretty nifty bass licks, and then tumbles into groove laden guitar. But don’t get too comfortable, as some crazy synth then drills into your brain followed by a ridiculously complex rhythm section, then some full-on thrash! It’s impossible not to move to, but do NOT try to bang you’re head, as you will either a) get annoyed at yourself for going off beat, or b) look like you’re having some kind of episode.

‘Departure’ takes you on a much floatier and more calming journey to start with. Massive reverb on a solo guitar, with wave sound effects in the background, lead into bass synths, and a Pink Floyd style guitar solo that’s indulgent, but not to the point of it becoming tacky. It’s just peaceful. I likey. ‘Skyline’ comes next. This takes the crazy djent prog madness of the first two tracks, and the mellowness of ‘Departure’, and chucks them both together, purely because it can. It also has synth sax, again, because it can. Although, I’m a bit of an old fuddy duddy when it comes to wind instruments, because I was brought up in a house full of very proficient sax players, and synth versions of them grind my gears. They just sound corny. Sorry.

Anyway, moving on! In the middle of the album, at track 6, ‘The Elusion’ we’re introduced to some more new sounds. An almost 90’s grunge feel, cloaking, but not completely obscuring, the crazy proggy madness that we have been gifted with so far. Given the point in the album, and the track name, I think this is very cleverly thought out bit of placement. Possibly a metaphor for the ‘more socially acceptable’ version of ourselves that a lot of us over here in metal corner have to create in our day to day lives, in order to be accepted within ‘normal’ circles.

The next tracks, starting with ‘The Price Of Reality’, are a much darker journey. Slower than what has gone before, and with more trepidation. ‘The Price Of Reality’ using sludgy doom inspired sections, and ‘Lost’ making use of a minor key, an altogether slower tempo, and synth strings, giving it a stark and overarching feeling of sadness. Being a melancholy soul, this is my favourite track on the album. The musicality in the instrumentation really is superb here, and the progressions and cadences almost send it into the realms of a classical composition.

‘Cmd_Shutd0wn’ sees us heading swiftly back into Electro/Djent, and is hugely Gojira inspired. It’s only a small track, but it’s no less technical. It also marks the beginning of the reverse, which will bring us full circle to the sounds that opened this album. This is more noticeable however in the penultimate track, ‘Transcend’ which draws influence from everything that has already been introduced, and neatly packages it into a little under 4 minutes. ‘Sentience II – The Neon Dreamscape’, closes the album in much the same way, ending with the same synth sounds that we were first met with in the opening bars of the album.

Musically, this album displays the undeniable talents that Nathan has, as both a musician and a composer. It’s also superbly mixed and mastered, given that the sound is huge, but was basically put together in his bedroom. But, there is a fairly large elephant in the room, that I haven’t addressed as yet. This album, in its current form, is purely instrumental, and is crying out for vocals. While every track is masterfully constructed and played, there is a vocal shaped hole in them all, that needs filling to take this album to the next level. Maybe I’m biased as vocals are my thing, but for me, with vocals, this album would be a solid 10.

That said, if you like any of the aforementioned musical styles, you really should check out “Sentience”. With Monolith, and this release, Nathan has taken a really great step onto the metal project ladder.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Sentience I – Awakening
02. Lucid
03. Departure
04. Skyline
05. Overseer
06. The Elusion
07. The Price of Reality
08. Lost
09. Cmd_Shutd0wn
10. Transcend
11. Sentience II – The Neon Dreamscape

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones 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.

EMQ’s with OBSELITE

EMQ’s with OBSELITE

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Detroit, Michigan, USA based Cyberpunk Industrial Metal band ObsElite. Huge thanks to Justin Kelter for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

My name is Justin Kelter, I am the vocalist of ObsElite. I also contribute guitar riffs and have a small hand in what goes on with all the programming when it comes to synths and drums!

How did you come up with your band name?

Before we ever started, I was playing around with the idea of starting an industrial band and threw in a bunch of words that reminded me of Cyberpunk culture. Obsolete was one of them, which is also a great Fear Factory record. but our guitar player was like “how about Obs-ELITE” and we were all like, Yes, that’s it.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We are from Detroit, Michigan, USA. The entire Midwest and coast metal scene is great! My other band Euphoria Ω , which is a Thrash metal band, has toured all over the place and has made a lot of great connections. ObsElite being more of an electronic Industrial metal band might get a different reaction but that’s what we want. too expand to different crowds.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

We just released our first EP, “ICON OF SIN”, October 7th, 2020. We are brand new and are still building but we have received nothing but amazing feedback.

‘Bloodsport’ (Audio)

Who have been your greatest influences?

I listen to all sorts of music so it’s hard to pinpoint specific sounds. I grew up loving Ozzy, Randy Rhoads, Dio, Mötley Crüe, then later I got into grunge, and then heavier stuff like Testament, Death, Possessed, Kreator… Now I listen to a lot of Synthwave and Industrial music.

What first got you into music?

Black Sabbath, hands down.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

3teeth. They are probably the best Industrial Metal band currently and I love their style. They are definitely going to be a prominent influence on our full-length when we start writing it.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Wacken, Hellfest. and 70k Tons of Metal.

I worked 70k Tons of Metal, so I know first-hand how amazing it is. Wacken; it is every serious metal musicians dream to play that festival.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Hmm…I can’t say I have ever received anything out of the ordinary. Alcohol and party favours are always common.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

If you have ever struggled in your life, and you have a dream, don’t let go of it. Do anything and everything you can to make it come true because we only have so much time to live on this planet and life’s too short to be wasting your energy on things that don’t make you happy.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Chuck Schuldiner!

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I do a lot of things outside of music. I cosplay, I model, I’m a public figure of some sorts. I’ve been in a semi-successful Thrash Metal band for the past 5 years and now with this band, ObsElite, it’s a brand-new realm for me to explore. People know me from all sorts of things in different parts of the world and sometimes it can be difficult to live up to, and be the Spokesperson of your craft, your brand, everything you do and stand for, 24/7. Sometimes you need a break from being that person everyone on the outside see’s you as.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Have every genre of music, even the ones I don’t like, have a fair chance for more people to be exposed to different styles of music. it seems like in America, the media only cares about Rap and Pop music. The majority of people aren’t given so much of an opportunity to hear music outside of those realms because the media doesn’t support it if it’s not as profitable.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Death – “Leprosy”
Beastie Boys – “License To Ill”
Fear Factory – “Genexus”
Korn – “Issues”
Megadrive – “198x”
Nirvana – “In Utero”
Obliveon – “Nemesis”
Metallica – “Ride The Lightning”
Judas Priest – “Painkiller”

Honestly, I could go on forever. I listen to so much different stuff.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Vinyl sounds the best and has the best aesthetic out of all of them, but CD’s are easy to make and sell easily. Digital is just convenient, and tapes are cool for a limited release.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

ObsElite hasn’t played a show yet because we are brand new and our music is mostly programmed. but in Euphoria Ω , we played in Hamburg, Germany and that was the best show I have ever played…period.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Professional Wrestling.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Snoop Dog, Hideo Kojima, Keanu Reeves, Poppy, Rob Halford.

What’s next for the band?

We’re currently working on a new EP called “Windows 90-H8”, we are hoping to release it by the end of 2020 and we wanna do 2 music videos as well. Then after all that we want to work on a full-length.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Facebook, Bandcamp, we are on all streaming platforms too.

www.facebook.com/obs3lite/
www.omegacorecords.bandcamp.com/
www.instagram.com/obs3lite/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/62roGzA1xVvnO24FZ0kjw8

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

I am not familiar with those lol.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

That about covers it! I just hope everyone enjoys what we do and looks forward to all the new music and video’s we will be putting out very soon!

Cheers!

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of 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.

Skinflick – The Dead Evolved (Mini Album)

Skinflick – The Dead Evolved (Mini Album)
Self-Released
Release Date: 31/10/2020
Running Time: 32:19
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

‘Tis All Hallows Eve, the night is dark, and ye spirits of olde awake from their immortal slumber to roam free upon the land, searching for their portal to the next realm. The Samhain sacrifices are high, and the symbolic feasting of the darker half begins. Also, some shit hot music gets released! Namely, here, in the shape of a special Halloween release by Bangor’s favourite solo psychotic industrial metal project, Skinflick. To be fair, he’s probably Bangor’s only psychotic industrial metal project, but that doesn’t make him any less important!

This 7-track mini album is a special release, to coincide with Halloween, which charts the end of the world leading to the dead rising. In fairness, that’s a pretty good description of certain areas of our little country, too!

As we have now come to expect with Skinflick (AKA Justin Williams, Lullaby For A Unicorn), this release explores electronic soundscapes, with heavy low-end bass sounds, and dirty, sludgy noises mixed into pulsing drum rhythms, and atmospheric synth sounds. Atop of that discordant mindfuck sits half sung / half whispered vocals, just at the level where you begin to question if the voices your hearing are actually on the recording, or just the ones in your head. Shush now damn you! I’m trying to write a review!!!

All in all, this is a pretty nifty release, put together by Justin in his little cave of madness and depravity, and engineered superbly to capture the atmospheric dread and despair of the apocalypse. If you like anything industrial, or electronica, this is worth a spin. And at 32 minutes, it beats watching a Halloween special of any TV series! I don’t have a favourite track, because I feel it needs to be listened to as one whole piece.

Sleazemeister, as I will now lovingly refer to Justin, has again managed to throw down some thumping drums, fat bass, twinkly synths, and freaky vocals, to create a very competent industrial indulgence. Lovely job Sleazemeister, lovely job. And even if it’s not your cup of tea, chuck it on loud on your stereo, as it will certainly freak out any little terrors who come knocking on your door expecting treats! That’ll teach them to mess with ancient rituals they don’t understand. Mwahahahahahahaaaaa!

Anyway, sleep well my pretties. Don’t have nightmares.

TRACKLISTING:

01.The Sun Shines On The Sinners
02.The Sinkhole Sky
03.The Death Surprise
04.The Dead Rise
05.The Dead Insane
06.The Dead Evolved
07.The Dead Crushed

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones 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.

Anaal Nathrakh – Endarkenment

Anaal Nathrakh – Endarkenment
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 02/10/20
Running Time: 41:04
Review by Steven Hooke
9/10

There may not be a band that completely and totally summarises the state of planet Earth in 2020 quite like Brummie extreme metal titans Anaal Nathrakh. There’s been plenty of punk albums this year that rag on US and UK politics, social commentaries and global injustices, and there exists a near-limitless supply of blood-curdling grindcore, black metal, death metal, etc. albums to really amplify the feelings of internal frustration, Mick Kenney and Dave Hunt though bring together both sides of the turgid, decaying coin and leave you constantly coming back for more.

And it’s been pretty much the case since their inception over 20 years ago. Although Anaal Nathrakh have offered a rare glimpse into their lyrics for the latest album, they have traditionally remained reserved and protective of them, with tr00 necro experts piecing together unofficial lyric sheets, depicting the inner-monologue of Hunt’s mind as he lambasts religion, modern society and political leaders all in the name of a false freedom. The title track – which both opens the album and was used as the lead single prior to the album’s release – shows no shred of backing down, admonishing people for their callous mindset of “I side with whomever gives me a better reward” instead of looking at the bigger picture of how any particular declaration, political or otherwise, helps a broader audience.

It’s a real, organic response to the world. Hunt even states “personally, I feel more cynical, more bitter, with a greater sense that the world is fucked, and is continually re-fucked by people who have no idea what they are doing.” It’s all stuff that’s happening today too, ‘Punish Them’ acts as a short but scathing commentary to the situation involving a British woman in Malaysia being sentenced to death for allegedly smuggling drugs into the country (reportedly against her will). As barbaric as it seems to condemn someone to death for a crime even in 2020, the infamous comment sections of newspaper pages showing people to have no compassion or empathy when dealing with a person’s life. ‘Singularity’ deals with the human race’s innate ability to destroy itself, and that we’re losing our own identities to artificial intelligence, social media culture, all the while allowing a small room full of people dictate the behaviour of entire countries just to please a small fraction.

As previously stated, it’s not just lyrically where A.N. excel at bringing forth clouds of despondency; always expanding the realms and limitations of black metal to create images of horror in their sound, “Endarkenment” continues the trend of “let’s make something really bastard heavy, add a melodic bit that people can sing along to, but sing in a King Diamond-falsetto and sound like a ravenous harpy”.

Again, the title track is an early example of this as well as a prime example of Mick Kenney’s ability to tell a story through music and structure. Pitched as the complete antithesis of ‘enlightenment’, the high-pitched shrill vocal echoes Hunt’s clean delivery of “endarkenment”, the encroaching evil in an already chaotic and unstable environment. ‘The Age of Starlight Ends’ is another great example of this, with the pitch of the chord progressions steadily increasing, only to drop on the bellow of the chorus.

The deeper into the album you go, the more experiences you are sure to find. ‘Thus, Always, To Tyrants’ is a song that sounds like it’s collapsing in on itself, with some exceptional guitar work from Kenney for good measure, ‘Libidinous (A Pig With Cocks In Its Eyes)’ and ‘Create Art, Though The World May Perish’ sound plucked from an alternative universe where Niklas Kvarforth pursued a career in power metal and ‘Beyond Words’ is dissonant noise that make Author & Punisher blush.

“Endarkenment” is a triumphant onslaught of aggression. An ever-elaborate world of discordance and melody, knee-jerk reactions and patience, fear and, well, more fear. But if nothing else, it is a testament to a band 20+ years and 11 albums in that can remain concise and relevant to the world around them, but to also maintain such a profound level of quality in their delivery.

Anaal. Fucking. Nathrakh.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Endarkenment
02. Thus, Always, To Tyrants
03. The Age Of Starlight Ends
04. Libidinous (A Pig With Cocks In Its Eyes)
05. Beyond Words
06. Feeding The Death Machine
07. Create Art, Though The World May Perish
08. Singularity
09. Punish Them
10. Requiem

LINE-UP:
V.I.T.R.I.O.L. – Vocals
Mick Kenney – All instruments

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke 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.

Conflict – Decision Code

Conflict – Decision Code
Self-Released
Release Date: 01/04/2020
Running Time: 63:54
Review by Beth Jones
9/10

I’m on holiday this week! I had planned a week full of doing those niggly little jobs in the house that have been put off for months, however today’s activity, putting up shelf units in the garage, has been cut short by the nemesis of the missing piece! Damn you flatpack! But, it has given me a chance to get stuck into some reviewing! First up on my list, Russia Industrial Death metallers, Conflict, and their 4th studio album, “Decision Code”. This was released back in April, but I’ve only just got round to it! Sorry, my bad!

I’m known to be rather partial to a bit of industrial metal, so my ears pricked up when Rick offered me this one, and it also has two of my favourite industrial artists, Jayce Lewis and Burton C. Bell, guesting! With this latest album, Conflict have delved into the exploration of a concept. Set in a dystopian future, Decision Code explores the conflict between man and machine – a concept that is becoming less unimaginable by the day.

The album starts with ‘2048’, a track that melds futuristic electro synth with rhythmical and mechanical guitars and beats, and Anna ‘Hel’ Milyanenko’s tortured growls. It certainly sets the tone for the album, purveying an image of the torment of the soul in a world run by machines, where the sense of ‘self’ is being lost in automation. The album continues in this vein, with most tracks being in a minor key, adding to the weight of the whole sound. It’s industrial, but it juxtaposes the mechanical monotony with progressive and almost djent style rhythmical sections. It’s certainly apocalyptic. It brings to mind the dirty, oil drenched landscapes of futuristic disaster movies, where only the strongest can survive and must fight to save what is left of the planet. It would make a great soundtrack to a movie or video game of this ilk.

An interesting bit of diversity is added in track 5, ‘Megapolis’, with the use of a melancholy saxophone line, which almost serves as an echo of the past, where free will and free thinking were still a thing. Many of the tracks also use synth strings which add to this melancholic yearning of the whole album.

This isn’t really an album to have a favourite track on, as it is more of a whole concept, and so should be taken as a whole piece. But for me, there are two that stand out. Firstly, track 11, ‘Deadlock’. This is the track that Jayce Lewis guests on. Aside from the fact that his vocals always get me in the feels, the chord progressions within this track are very pleasing, and it brings the heat down a little in the middle section to explore more piano and string sounds. This leads into a section of bass and drums in an irregular time signature, which wet my progressive whistle!

The final track, ‘New Industrial Order’, is also an absolute banger! Fully instrumental, apart from a small section of spoken word towards the end, its creepy introduction brings to mind a battlefield, at the point of ‘calm before the storm’. The warring factions standing motionless to either side, their eyes narrowing, assessing their foe, preparing to engage. Only here I get the feeling the foe are machines, and regardless of who wins the battle, there will be no real victory. As the track builds, it progresses into chugging chords and powerful rhythms. This would be the perfect soundtrack to a battle sequence played out in slow motion. It’s mournful and melancholy, and a brilliant way to finish the album. It almost feels like there should be a ‘To be continued…’ caveat at the end.

My one criticism with Decision Code is, for me, the synth sounds are at times, too far forward in the mix, and the clean vocals a little too far back. However, this doesn’t detract from the overall effect of the album.

Musically, this is an album of tracks that are riff laden and full of steel-like chunkiness, with a combination of tortured growls and clean vocals, neither of which outstay their welcome. It’s also really bass driven, which gives it a grind that’s very pleasing, in a masochistic kind of way! It sticks with the concept and portrays it extremely well. It’s always pleasing when an album fulfils a brief, and this is certainly one of those occasions. If you like the industrial nature of bands such as Meshuggah, Gojira, or Fear Factory, you will really enjoy this album.

TRACKLISTING:
01. 2048
02. Autonomous
03. Art of Resistance
04. D-Evolution (feat. Dave Lowmiller)
05. Megapolis
06. Decision Code (feat. Alex Blake)
07. To Serve and Protect
08. Room 101
09. Speechless (feat. Karsten “Jagger” Jäger)
10. The Architect (feat. Burton C. Bell)
11. Deadlock (feat. Jayce Lewis)
12. New Industrial Order

LINE-UP:
Anna ‘Hel’ Milyanenko – Vocals
Aleksey Kurpyakov – Bass
Rodion Skityayev – Guitar
Mikhail Conflictov – Drums

LINKS:
www.conflict-metal.com/
www.vk.com/conflictmetal
www.facebook.com/Conflictmetal
www.instagram.com/conflictmetalband/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCmnwlgm9GGZHt_pWSgjaFmw
www.conflict-metal.bandcamp.com/

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones 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.

Black Vatican – Arcana Lament

Black Vatican – Arcana Lament
Self-Released
Release Date: 18/01/2020
Running Time: 47:01
Review by Dark Juan
7/10

…As I continue to whip the poor wretch in front of me, the bands of pain across my back increase, iron hot and tightening across my shoulders, although the pain I am suffering must be nothing compared to the glistening red stripes of agony across her slim, trembling back. Her blood runs in rivulets down her back and stains her skirts a deep scarlet. Yet, still she does not cry out. This wretch, this WITCH, this doer of evil! Thankfully, the Most Holy Inquisition came across her in the commission of her crimes and all that remains is confession before we pass sentence and she goes to meet her dread maker in the bowels of the most awful hell, far from the eyes of the Lord my God, her saviour and saviour of all mankind. How I love him as I do his august work on this evildoer, this hellion! With renewed vigour from my faith in the Lord I swing my bullwhip and open up another vicious wound upon her soft flesh. The red of open slashes now has flecks of white bone showing through. Rib cage and spine are becoming gradually exposed. My Cardinal motions for me to cease my Holy ministrations upon the person of this servant of the Devil. He places his hand under the chin of the witch and raises her face to gaze into his. He speaks kindly to her.

“My child, repent of your sins and confess them and I promise you a quick and clean death and you can go forth to the forgiveness of the Lord our God and live eternally in Heaven. I beg you to confess and end your pain. Only the cleansed can go to the Lord.”

The witch spits blood flecked defiance straight into his face. Her dark, liquid eyes narrow and flash hatred and she whispers, hoarsely because of injury and pain as she replies, voice choked thick with agony and disgust.

“Never. I never acknowledged your God. Your prayers were never for the likes of me and my kin. You seek only domination and dominion over all. You crave new demesnes. Look at your wealth in the silks you wear, how well fed you are, how your skin is unmarked by pox. Yet you want more. You will not hear me scream even as I burn and I WILL NEVER DO YOUR BIDDING! I follow the Left Hand Path and I am a member of the congregation of the Black Vatican!”

Four hundred and thirty six words just to make a tenuous link to Black Vatican, an American two-piece hailing from Kansas City, whose latest offering I am currently listening to, entitled “Arcana Lament”. And a strange, ill-proportioned beast it is too. An arabesque with unsuited limbs. Beauty and perfection subtly distorted in ways that render you uneasy and afraid. Like an elegant, beautiful hand whose fingers are just that tiniest bit too long and thin, and the nails look rather sharper than normal. Black Vatican have taken Paradise Lost, Rotting Christ, Cradle Of Filth and KMFDM and early Ministry and performed gross, disgusting medical experiments upon them and fused them together in some horrific kind of gothic black metal industrial chimaera. This, as you might imagine, makes for an interesting listening experience as these are all fairly disparate influences at work. The song structures and lyrical content lean very much into the dark gothic wonderland that Dani Filth appears to inhabit but then suddenly a song will go cold and industrial and bleak. It’s surprising how well that sort of segue works even if Black Vatican relies on it a little too heavily. Equally so with the short, sharp, choral single note chants that appear on at least three songs. Still, everyone knows that Dark Juan is a sad old goff and this sort of thing is enough to worry West Yorkshire County Council because of the possibility of sex wee flooding. Again. I have to say I am really enjoying the album despite the fact that Black Vatican appear to have used a fucking Bontempi drum machine with the most appalling cymbal sounds and shitty drum tones ever. It sounds like a fucking toy monkey bashing cymbals together over a fat man hitting an upturned bucket with a drumstick composed of rats with rigor mortis. Painfully obviously sequenced does not even begin to describe how shit the drum machine is. Get an Alesis SR-16, chaps, and do it properly, please.

Vocalist Erik Ramos boasts a broad range of tones, from guttural belly rumbling through to a very engaging Dani Filth-esque howl which is regretfully sparsely employed considering this is what Erik excels at. Production wise, it’s ok – everything is clearly heard although everything can be somewhat smothered by keyboards and drums at times. There is a distinct lack of production finesse, however, and there are some unusual breaks in the arrangement of the music and the record clearly sounds like it has been recorded on a budget of 37p and a packet of fags. The guitar sound used by Cole Roberts varies wildly from Akercocke like lo-fi razorwire single string work through to full bore metal riffing with a sound not unlike the guitars on “Cruelty And The Beast” which fits the kind of cold atmosphere the record projects rather well.

I love anything gothic or industrial and to have something that is both is a real treat for me. Fans of gothic metal might find this a challenging listen because of the industrial sounds BV use – most goth metal is a warm and intimate experience closely in touch with the darker parts of your soul whereas BV operate out on the fringes. They are occupied with the darkness and the cold outside of you. The terror without rather than the horror within. Industrial fans will appreciate the cold and dispassionate feel of the record and might also enjoy the slower numbers. Stand out tracks on the record are ‘Morrigan’s Forest’ and ‘Vampiric Combat’. Special mention for unexpected comedy gold goes to ‘Witch Of Scarborough Fair’ which is a gothic rewrite of the notable Simon and Garfunkel classic. Listen, lads, if gothic doom metal gods My Dying Bride can fuck it up royally (their cover of Scarborough Fair is execrable) then you don’t stand a chance with it! Leave Simon and Garfunkel alone!

In conclusion – I totally get what Black Vatican are trying to achieve and applaud them mightily for it. I feel that they might have a problem by having a foot in the camp of both gothic metal and industrial. A judicious lean in one direction or the other may well pay dividends, because the middle ground they inhabit is a sparsely populated one indeed. Also, for the love of god buy a decent drum machine because the one you’ve got is shite! Niggles aside, I’m a fan and I’d love to see what Black Vatican could achieve with a decent recording budget.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has regrettably only ruined one pair of trousers with a modest amount of sex wee and awards Black Vatican 7/10 for a record that impresses with the scale of its thinking, but is let down by execution.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Loss, Greed and Necromancy
02. The Alchemist
03. The Vistas
04. Witch Of Scarborough Fair
05. Dreams Of Hecate
06. Morrigan’s Forest
07. Vampiric Combat
08. Again, The Vistas Again
09. Reincarnations Of Dreams

LINE-UP:
Erick Ramos – Vocals, Bass
Cole Roberts – Guitars

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/blackvatican6/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/4kpB2ccJ7queKwRZfc2qOm
www.instagram.com/vatican.black676/
www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_g8qpFwPhU

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.

Static-X – Project: Regeneration Vol.1

Static-X – Project: Regeneration Vol.1
Otsego Entertainment Group
Release Date: 10/07/2020
Running time: 40:36
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Hiya, you dark and seething proud beauties! I am Dark Juan and I am here to use this very powerful electric cattle prod to force you all onto the path of righteousness. What was that, Miss O’ Brien? The cattle prod? No, won’t hurt a bit. What? The Geneva Convention? What about it? No, Miss O’ Brien, it doesn’t count because we are not at war. Now, get in line or so help me, Satan, your arse is going to smell like a Burger King kitchen when I use this prod on it at some length. I’ll even supply my own special sauce…

Do forgive me, my most loyal and tolerant readership. I had recalcitrant neophytes to deal with. I doubt Miss O’ Brien will be troubling me again soon.

We are here for a most somber occasion. It is to review the last works of Wayne Static before his untimely death, which robbed me of one of my favourite vocalists. This record (“Project: Regeneration Vol.1”) features the last vocals recorded by Wayne and new music that was in production at the time of his death. Laudably, the rest of the original Static-X line-up (Tony Campos – Bass, Koichi Fukuda – Guitar and Ken Jay – Drums) spoke to Wayne Static’s family and were given their blessing to create and release this album in honour of him. Now, Static-X always had an utterly unmistakable sound and whether you’re a purist or you’re open to new (s)experiences, you’ll instantly recognise the music. It is a staccato, industrial tinged, danceable melange of pop hooks and crushing metal with added electronic flavours. It is a highly polished stiletto shaped attack vessel painted in the shiniest reds and blacks letting loose with directed energy weapons. It kills but it kills cleanly, cauterising hideous wounds instantly with directed laser beams. The guitars are sharper than a diamond edged sawblade, flaying skin and flesh from bones with surgical precision and Tony Campos’ bass is a particular point of note (on previous releases the bass tended to be suppressed in favour of more sexy guitar based stuff) as it sounds just like the ominous rumbling just before that mountain side over there comes crashing down in a glorious welter of destruction. This immediately adds a new level of heaviness to the familiar glacial, crystal clear sound that Static-X normally employ. The record sounds exactly as you would think it might – A heady mix of “Wisconsin Death Trip” era howling and spitting and the later, more considered sonic fury of “Cannibal” and “Shadow Zone”, where Wayne got to spread his vocal wings and actually proved he was a very good singer instead of just an extraordinarily coiffed howler.

A nice touch on the record is on the intro track “Regeneration” where the famous “Yeah, it was very stupid” sample that started “Push It” (the band’s first single) creeps in. Honestly, I nearly cried (Lies and slander! I have no emotions and to say otherwise is patently libellous!) I have loved Static-X ever since they first broke through and their technology-fuelled metal spoke to me in a big way and satisfied a need that was gnawing at me at the time, the need for originality. Metal was a fairly stagnant place back in the nineties (nu-metal and rap crossover were the common flavours of the month back then) and Static-X didn’t just break the mould, they booby trapped it with a metric fuckton of gelignite and rode the resulting blast wave of destruction to ever greater heights. Everything that was great about Static-X has been distilled into this album – the metronomic and complicated drum patterns, the extremely highly produced and distinctive guitar tone and the unusual vocal patterns of the verses and choruses with added thunderous bass and much more electronics then previous releases. You know what I’m like for electronics… Static-X always sounded arctic and cold and this is not the case for this album. This is warm and almost intimate compared to other releases. I wonder whether this was a deliberate choice, reminding us that we have lost a friend…

Standout songs? Ah, fuck it, the entire record is fucking brilliant. It is literally everything I loved about Static-X. It’s big, it’s bombastic, it’s shockingly danceable. It’s metal. It’s electronic. It’s evil disco! It’s strobe lights and Gatling guns and tracer bullets and mirror balls and laser beams. It’s glittering and lethal and beautiful and unique and special and Static-X will always remain one of my favourite bands. Every song is a perfect Static-X song, from the out and out rapid fire insanity of ‘Otsego Placebo’ and ‘Terminator Oscillator’ through to album closer and the nearest Static-X will ever get to a ballad, ‘Dead Souls’ with Wayne dialling back his usual rabid delivery in favour of an almost croon (don’t worry, the man still sounds like he is being tortured with anguish and uncontrollable rage.) It is also produced by the man that understood the band best, Mr. Ulrich Wild – the man responsible for the antiseptic sound Static-X primarily employed on “Wisconsin Death Trip”.

I can’t help thinking the brevity of this review is not doing the record justice. It’s an absolute fucking killer 3am blast down the motorway record. It’s an ultra-polished, original sounding heavy metal record from a true band of innovators. Without Static-X there would be no King Satan and that would be a very bad thing indeed. It’s machine music for organic lifeforms and it twists genres and metal itself into such interesting new shapes I can’t help but have my breath taken away by it. Even if I wasn’t already a fan, this record would have turned me into a squealing fangirl instantly. The guitar riffs are things of deconstructed perfection. Yes, metal purists will whinge their fucking studded leather panties off that it is “not metal” but which motherfucker set them up to be the arbiters of taste and judgement? I AND MY FELLOW REVIEWERS AROUND THE WORLD ARE THE ARBITERS OF TASTE AND JUDGEMENT! They are still listening to fucking Accept records from 1986 and not seeing the irony in slightly homoerotic lyrics such as “Surprise attack, coming from the back…” and refuse to accept that metal is a diverse and exciting genre encompassing all kinds of sounds and influences – Christ, Static-X list everything from Mortician to The Crystal Method and the Sisters Of Mercy as influences and a style of music that evolves has to be better than one stuck in the 1980’s, in a corner of a bar, beer belly straining over the skinny jeans and biker boots it is still wearing, and the same Motorhead Bomber t shirt, lamenting how metal stopped when Metallica released the Black album. Give me cyber metal like Static-X any day over the tired rehashing of the same songs again and again. Metal has grown into so many different new things. Give Static-X a go if you haven’t before. It’s heavy and it’s violent and oppressive but it is also shiny and fresh and exciting. Kinda like the first time you discover you’re incredibly submissive and you need a Dom/ Domme…

Static-X – music to have disturbingly kinky and violent sadomasochistic sex to involving shiny black PVC and lots of oils and unguents. It is the perfect soundtrack and I am quite sure Wayne would approve!

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has listened to this album so many times he will be singing it when he’s dead. Static-X are awarded an untouchable 10/10. Absolutely flooding the local area with sex wee ready for Vol. 2. RIP Wayne. You were taken from us too soon.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Regeneration
02. Hollow
03. Worth Dyin For
04. Terminator Oscillator
05. All These Years
06. Accelerate
07.Bring You Down
08. My Destruction
09. Something Of My Own
10. Otsego Placebo
11. Follow
12. Dead Souls

LINE-UP
Wayne Static – Vocals
Tony Campos – Bass
Koichi Fukuda – Guitar
Ken Jay – Drums

LINKS:
www.static-x.org
www.facebook.com/staticx/
www.twitter.com/OfficialStaticX
www.instagram.com/staticxofficial/

Photo by Jeremy Saffer

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.