Written and Directed by Oren Peli

Currently available on most Video on Demand platforms

 area 51

Review by Theron Moore

I don’t think I’m going too far when I boldly assert that the new sci-fi thriller, “Area 51,” has been the most talked about, anticipated UFO genre film since Spielberg made “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” in 1977.  And when I heard the film was made found footage style with Oren Peli of “Paranormal Activity” fame writing and directing it, I was honestly over the moon, I couldn’t wait.  So the $64,000 question is, did I like it, was it good?  The answer:  An overwhelming YES, I recommend this movie.

Here’s the long and short of it.  A group of young adults, led by the intrepid Reid, hatch a plan to break into Area 51.  Along for the ride is a girl whose father worked at the facility and died under mysterious circumstances.  Amongst the assortment of important papers he left behind is a map that’ll guide our heroes in their quest to discover what secrets are kept at the base. The kids have figured out a way to breach the perimeter and enter the facility.  And if you’re saying to yourself “why haven’t the Russians or Chinese figured this out yet?” that’s called a plot complication.  Leave it alone.  Just go with it.  Remember, it’s only a movie, it’s not meant to be real.

Inside Area 51 we finally see what it looks like.  The first floor is office space.   Everything else beyond that is industrial & scientific.  Lots of concrete, metal piping, gauges, air ducts and vault like rooms.  Nothing fancy.  It’s sparse, even bleak not to mention huge.  It’s located a mile underground with 40+ floors.

Eventually we see a lab chock full of creepy strangeness, a captured UFO and become privy to things we should never be witness to.  And that’s where I stop.  I won’t go any further because I don’t want to give the movie away.  Even if you hate found footage movies give “Area 51” an honest shot.  It has some real, genuine tense moments plus Peli’s vision of Area 51 is quite intriguing in and of itself.

The obvious criticism, though, is that it plays out like a video game, like a “first shooter,” but that’s the downside of making a found footage movie — it’s going to have this look and feel since it’s primarily first person perspective that’s driving the flick.

And like most Oren Peli projects “Area 51” takes its time building the plot before we really get into the “meat” of the movie somewhere around the 35-40 minute mark slowly building suspense and tension in the viewer, priming us for whatever horrors might reside inside the non-existent base later on.

I would also expect the UFO crowd to notice that Peli might’ve taken a little artistic leeway combining bits and pieces of possible Dulce myth with Area 51.  Not enough to sway the movie one way or another but enough nuance to cue in to it if you know what you’re looking for.  To his credit, though, the scene where the kids touch the UFO might be loosely based on David Adair’s experience at Area 51 back in the early 70’s, so kudos to Peli for that great inclusion if indeed he intended to do that.

And we briefly see the aliens, quick shots, that’s it; Peli’s signature technique he developed with his “Paranormal Activity” franchise, showing us only what we need to see and nothing more.   I know this bothered many people who were expecting some kind of big CGI reveal but it’s the fleeting glimpse of whatever these creatures are that get inside your head and play mind games with you.  It’s not necessarily what you see that frightens you but rather what you don’t see that may be hiding or watching you from afar, that truly terrifies you.  Peli has effectively used the power of mystery as a weapon to attack the viewer with.

Reid and Janna

The movie was shot in three distinct acts – Act I:  Introduction to the characters.   Act II:  The build up to Area 51.  Act III:  Inside Area 51.  He also did a fantastic job blending genres with this film effectively making “Area 51” both a horror movie and sci-fi thriller, treading that fine line without going too far in either direction. I use the term “horror movie” in the sense that the actual facility in the film can be thought of as a gigantic haunted house — there’s “something” evil in there, maybe many evil “things;” lurking, waiting.  And our protagonists have to enter Area 51, the “haunted house,” complete their mission, confront the evil and live to tell the tale.

The sci-fi thriller aspect of “Area 51” is what drives the movie and triggers the horror component creating suspense, allowing it to build slowly, methodically, upping the scare factor so when we do see the aliens, what little we do see, we’re taken aback, and when we see the UFO or the mad scientist lab we’re properly shocked and amazed.

I’ve read negative reviews of “Area 51” and I think it may have to do with the fact that a lot of moviegoers have been brainwashed by Hollywood and their overuse of CGI special FX.  Nowadays movie plots seem secondary to the special effects which more often than not are tasked with telling a story and in some cases, become characters within the film itself.   It’s almost like we’ve become so used to the big Hollywood FX that when it comes to this style of film making we instantly go ADHD and hate the film.

Peli makes movies the old fashioned way.  He tells stories and he takes time telling you these stories.  He builds suspense, hits you with a kidney punch then ends the movie abruptly, not allowing you to process what you’ve seen.  He makes you feel uncomfortable and he’s good at it.

From what I was told, there was no script per se, just a treatment.  The actors were basically told to improvise their parts with the majority of the movie being shot in one take giving the film that “real time,” quick feel to it, as if it’s happening right here, right now. Peli also included appearances by Glenn Campbell, Norio Hayakawa and George Knapp, well-respected individuals in the UFO community to give the film that extra boost of authenticity, which they did, and very well I might add.  Peli did his homework with this film and I commend him for that.  It’s always the details that we take notice of.

If you’re looking for fast food movie making with lots of big, loud, flashy CGI and need a UFO fix, watch “Independence Day.”  Show Will Smith a little love.  If you’re interested in something more, something with teeth and edge, watch “Area 51.”  Appreciate it for what it is.  It won’t win academy awards but it damn well entertains.

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By Theron Moore

morta skuld logo

One of the bands I really got into back in the late 80’s / early 90’s was Milwaukee’s Morta Skuld.  I saw them covered in another zine and decided to check them out myself.  They were and still are an amazing band.  For me personally, they epitomized what death metal was all about.

So I got hold of one of two demos they had available – “Prolong the Agony.”  “Gory Departure” was the other one.  And it didn’t disappoint.  It lived up to and exceeded my expectations. Dave Gregor and Morta Skuld have always been, in my opinion, one of the most unsung, underrated bands in the death metal genre.  They’re as heavy now as they were back in the day.

Church of the Necronomicon (COTN):  Please introduce yourself.  What instrument do you play in Morta Skuld?

 

Dave Gregor:  I’m Dave Gregor Guitarist/ vocalist.

COTN:  Do you think Milwaukee ever had an opportunity between ’91 and 2000 to become the next nationally recognized metal scene?

Dave Gregor:  I do and think it got to a certain point and then the music shifted as it normally does.  And with the Metal fest it put Milwaukee on the map.

COTN:  Had Morta Skuld enjoyed national success do you think it would’ve drawn attention to Milwaukee and turned that into the next hot metal scene perhaps? If not how close was Milwaukee to enjoying that kind of national success?  I mean Metalfest was a huge magnet to the city.  Do you think it had a huge influence on the metal scene in Milwaukee?

Dave Gregor:  I think not touring hurt us and the fact that we played the metal fest almost every year helped us to stay viable in the death metal scene.  And with metal fest being here it made Milwaukee a hot spot for many years. And I do think it had big influence on the scene for sure.

COTN:  I’ve been a fan of you guys going all the back to your “Prolong the Agony” demo.  Why didn’t it happen for you on a national level, on an MTV type scale?

 

Dave Gregor:  The type of music we play wasn’t played on MTV back in the day and we never did any videos to be played anyway. Our main label was Peaceville which we put out 3 albums on then moved to Pavement music. Right now we are working with local label Dread Records.

COTN:  Tell me about Jack Koshick and Morta Skuld.  I would imagine he is / was an amazing mentor / friend.  How has he helped you guys and how significant / important has Jack been in the Milwaukee metal scene in your opinion?

Dave Gregor:  Jack was awesome and took care of us very well.  He got us a lot of shows at the Rave with the best death metal bands at that time.  He wasn’t a mentor but more a manager, and he in my opinion put the fest on the map as well as the town.  So he was big part of the scene and where it was going.

prolong the agony

COTN:  What drove the Milwaukee metal scene to develop as strong and influential as it did in the late 80’s, early 90’s?  Do you think the alt / punk scene helped or influence it?

Dave Gregor:  I just think all of us who were into the music scene wanted to do something cool and new and at that time death metal was new. There were a lot of classic demos released in the scene in 1990 and that I think that paved the way for each band to feed off one another’s music and energy.

COTN:  Looking back on the Milwaukee metal scene of the 80’s and 90’s, was it as strong and dynamic as you remember it or if not, how do you remember it and how do you it see now?

Dave Gregor:  It was much better back then and more fruitful, but then again I was much younger and my view on things have changed a lot since then. But I remember a lot of shows and just tons of kids coming out and music being so much more a way of life then I do now. Now it’s “Can I afford to pay the rent or car payment?” versus “let’s get drunk and write a demo.”

COTN:  What’s the scene like today compared to back then?  Better, worse…

Dave Gregor:  It’s not what it once was but then again a lot of us are older and have kids and families so in that aspect things are much different. But I feel it was much more dynamic and organic back then as opposed to today. I do feel the bands are really trying to make the scene bigger and a lot of bands supporting one another.

COTN:  Tell me about Morta Skuld in the 90’s.  I remember you making a few records and then…it kind of stopped.

Dave Gregor:  Well we were on fire and wrote four albums in eight years so things were great until we found out one of the band guys didn’t want to tour. That hurt us and we didn’t realize it until the band was almost done. We passed up a lot of good opportunities.

COTN:  When did you know it was time to end Morta Skuld?  What were the events leading up to the band’s demise?  You formed another band after MS, right?

Dave Gregor:  We went on tour and our first gig was supporting Slayer at the Eagles ballroom. Then as we got closer to our second gig our drummer had some issues and then it was known he wasn’t into touring and we had to cancel everything and come home to no label no manager and no band. Sucked as we would be on the road today if things would have been different.

COTN:  And what convinced you to reunite and give the band a second shot?  What’s the status of the band now?

Dave Gregor:  Our old manager wanted to have the first two demos on CD and we went into studio and remastered it and then Eric Grief got us a deal with Relapse and that sparked us to get the band back together and perform. We are active and currently writing a new album with the new line up.

morta skuld group photo

COTN:  When you’re not playing in Morta Skuld what day jobs do you guys hold down?

Dave Gregor:  Nothing exciting just average jobs, factory warehouse etc.

COTN:  What label are you on today, what records do you have out and are you considering touring?

Dave Gregor:  We are on Dread Records and released an EP last year. We would love to tour but it is hard with no support and we all know to tour you need money. We are doing out of state gigs this year to expand our fan base and hopefully tour next year.  Thank you for this interview and your support and thank you to all the fans that allow us to do this and bring the music to the ears of people whom want to hear it. Cheers!

By Theron Moore

Vulcano

Bloody Vengeance

Greyhaze Records

Release Date May 18 2015

Vulcano BV Cover_WEB

Greyhaze Records is set to unearth Bloody Vengeance, the 1986 full-length debut from Brazilian death metal pioneers VULCANO.

Formed in 1980, VULCANO is thought to be the first band from Brazil, and possibly South America, to play extreme metal. An early influence for the likes of SEPULTURA and SARCOFAGO, VULCANO’s primal blend of black, thrash and death metal sparked a flame that quickly spread across the mid-80s underground metal community.

Considered one of the most important albums in South American (and beyond) extreme metal, Bloody Vengeance is being reintroduced to a new generation of maniacs. Fully remastered and restored, the album is accompanied by a DVD that features a live performance from the 1986 Festival Da Morte. Greyhaze Records will reissue this cult classic as a six-panel digipak CD/DVD on May 18.

The above was the press release.  Here’s the review:  “Bloody Vengeance” kicks ass.  I dig going back to the roots of anything I’m into and this record paints a great picture of where thrash was in 1986.  Tight, fast and aggressive in the vein of Possessed and maybe early Death as well.  I guess it’d be labelled “primitive” by today’s standards but I’ll take primitive over technical or progressive or whatever the hell we’re calling today’s more extreme types of metal.  Vulcano strips away the outer core of bullshit that tends to constrain a lot of today’s bands and plays from the heart.  No frills, no effects, just music.  Buy this record.

www.facebook.com/vulcanometal

www.greyhazerecords.com

www.facebook.com/greyhazerecords

Kastasyde

Gnosis

Self-Released

Release Date June 2 2015

kastasyde

Wow.  First track of “Gnosis,” “Natural State,” goes right for the throat with just a hint of old school punk, maybe?  I swear I heard trace glimpses of Minor Threat throughout this record.  “Gnosis” marks the third release from Chicago’s own Kastasyde.

There’s a lot going on here with this record musically.  It’s not thrash and I’m not even sure if it’s metal.  It’s loud, heavy rock that isn’t afraid to explore different sonic territories.  Tracks 3 and 4, “Gnosis” and “In the Spiral” are, dare I say, the slower tracks on the record.  “Gnosis” starts out quiet and grows in ferocity even taking a groove approach at times while “In the Spiral” is a doomy, acoustic piece that revels in what I took to be anger and sadness, with an almost introspective type vibe.

I like “Gnosis” as a record a lot.  It’s not purporting to be anything but heavy, loud, well thought out and well executed rock N roll.  They hit the mark with this record.  Check this band out and definitely pick up “Gnosis” ASAP.

www.facebook.com/kastasyde

Dysentery

Fragments

Comatose Music

Release Date July 10 2015

dysentery

I love death metal especially when it’s done the right way.  “Fragments” defines my last statement.  Gutteral vocals that accentuate the band’s juggernaut approach, musically crushing their way through each song.  This one’s heavy.  Certainly in the vein of bands like Pathology, Katalepsy and one of my favorites, Abominable Putridity.  There’s not a bad track on here which makes this a must for true death metal fans.  Posers beware.

From the press release:  Fragments was engineered, mixed and mastered by Adam Rourke at the RedRoom in Waltham, MA to ensure a high quality aural clobbering. To match the musical intensity, the band enlisted Marco Hasmann (Fleshgod Apocalypse, Septycal Gorge) to help bring the visual pummeling to life with the cover art. In support of the release, the band will be making their way all over the US in 2015 to spread their volatile death metal attack. Appearances at the Las Vegas Deathfest, Building Temples From Death Fest, Colorado Gutfest, New Jersey Deathfest and a tour of the west coast are just the beginning of their campaign of carnage. With the subtlety of a brick to the face, DYSENTERY are primed to once again to decimate eardrums with Fragments.

www.facebook.com/dysenterygrind

www.comatosemusic.com

www.facebook.com/comatosemusiclabel

 

Undead

False Prophecies

Listenable

Release: 12 May 2015

undead

Goddamn “False Prophecies” is kick ass!  Fast, moshy, heavy death metal with spot on perfect vocals.  Undead reminds me of a faster, heavier Venom or early Death but fuck it, this band is all its own, they follow no one.  “False Prophecies” is that type of record where you can’t stop listening to it; it gets in your head and demands to be listened to over and over.

Everything from the vocals to the music itself is spot on perfection with Undead’s “False Prophecies.”  This record is in my top ten best of the year right now regardless of what’s to come.

www.undeadofficial.com www.listenablerecords.net

www.facebook.com/listenablerecs

Witch of the Waste

Made of Teeth

Self-Release

Release: 24 March 2015

witch of the waste art

From the press release:  The band’s influence are diverse, ranging from CONVERGE to ULCERATE to RUSSIAN CIRCLES, and many points in between. WITCH OF THE WASTE’s stage show is a ferocious one, to say the least, recalling acts like THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN and CEPHALIC CARNAGE.

My review:  Loud, chaotic and frantic.  It’s an experiment in aural anxiety that’s owing as much to the bands mentioned above as well as some black metal as well.  But is it good?   Hell yes.  Is it thrash or metal?  No.  It’s what I’d call “Noize Rock” straddling metal, post hardcore, and even some grind elements.  And Witch of the Waste is good at it.  They’ve taken this somewhat new genre and made it their own with “Made of Teeth,” which is an apt description of their music, lots of edge, and lots of teeth.  Buy it, check it out, it’s worth your attention.  Fits nicely in between Converge, Dillinger Escape Plan, even Helmet.

https://witchofthewaste.bandcamp.com/ https://www.youtube.com/user/WitchOfTheWasteBand https://twitter.com/TheWotw https://soundcloud.com/witchofthewaste http://witchofthewaste.bigcartel.com/ https://instagram.com/wotwband/ https://www.facebook.com/witchofthewaste http://witchofthewaste.com/

By Theron Moore

1991 was a decidedly bleak year for me.  I hit a wall in life regarding work and school.  I was involved in a toxic relationship and felt like I needed to escape out of the corn fields of Northern IL.   So I did. I joined the USAF in September with a report date of March 15th, 1992.  Little did I know that all of a sudden my life was about to get seriously interesting again.

An old friend of mine made the trip from Rockford to DeKalb to track me down.  It was Mark Snodgrass. He told me he had a nighttime radio show on WLUV and that the Rockford hard rock / metal scene was going pretty strong. He told me about bands like Decadenza, Stone Mason, Blind Witness and one band he was really into, Pure Aggression.  He said I’d love this band and I did.

I think he knew I was struggling and this was his way of trying to draw me back in and it worked. I left DeKalb and returned to Belvidere to wait out my time until March 15th.  Looking back I’m torn on joining the military. I left Northern Illinois at a time when music was thriving and the scene was strong and opportunity was everywhere.

I wasn’t a soldier boy, never was, not now, not then.  But the military gave me structure and taught me a few things about life I didn’t know. Mark called me one night and said we should all hang out together, talk, see if there was chemistry and we hit off right away.

Greg was a cool guy from the get go.  He had an energy unbound that burned its way through Pure Aggression’s music as well as Greg’s personal and professional life. He knew he had this energy but he also knew how to harness and control it and that I believe was a huge factor in both him and Pure Aggression being as good as they were.

If I remember correctly, we ended the night late at “Uncle Nicks” gyro place downtown Rockford by the bridge.  It was a local hang for just about everyone I knew. And that was it, we were off to the races after that.  Pure Aggression is another band that made an indelible impression on me.  Great band, great guys, fun music and their shows were pretty amazing as well.

pa group photo

Theron Moore: How did the band start out?

Greg CIt was the mid to late 1980’s. At the time I had a few friends in high school. I felt like an outcast since I was a metal head.

I was made fun of and bullied for being Polish and being a metal head. I was called a devil worshiper and got into fights with people over that shit.  I didn’t drink, never been high, and went to church more often than many of the others in my Catholic school. Needless to say I fucking hated damn near everyone.

The few people I got along with at that time were either Metal Heads, or friends I had in the Martial Arts school I trained at.  Back then there was no internet so we used telephone modems and computers to dial BBS’s (bulletin board systems) to connect with people. I got into that and met other people who had similar interests, specifically with music.

I met Mark Atkinson (guitars), Jim Gade (drums and guitar) and several others who became good friends and roommates when we left our parents homes. Myself, Mark and Jim didn’t meet face to face for a while but constantly typed with one another on the BBS about music and other stuff. If I remember correctly, one of the first times I ever met them was probably at a Zyklon B (Later known as Sarkoma) show.

The first local show I ever went to was Zyklon B and Bludgeoned Nun (I think), New Year’s Eve 1987-88 (?) in Loves Park. After that was The Accused, The Brotherhood, and Bludgeoned Nun in downtown Rockford at Endless Nights. I tried to start a band in high school with the 2 close friends I had, but they were taking to long for me while they were working on their “musical style.” I wanted it NOW.

The feeling I had going to a live metal / punk / hardcore show, being in the pit and getting out all my frustration and aggression, was like no other feeling I ever had.  Metal was therapy for me, and shows were the ultimate way of connecting with myself and others, purely sharing in the love of music.

Once I had that live Metal / Punk / Hardcore show taste I wanted to be in a band and write music and lyrics. So I got closer to Mark and Jim and eventually we started jamming together. But we needed a base player.  Mark jammed with several others leading up to our sessions and one person that stood out to him was Jason Stewart.  We made a couple of crappy recordings on a boom-box and Jason liked it and came over to check us out and saw something there. That was the beginning…

 pa group photo 2

 

Theron Moore: What were the initial expectations for Pure Aggression?  Gig around as a local band, have fun or were there expectations that this would turn into a career?

Greg CIt started out as some young kids that hated a lot of the world, loved Metal and just wanted to create something special to ourselves and share it with other pissed off youths.

Theron Moore: Were there local bands that maybe inspired you to start a band or was it just the heavy hitters at the time like Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, etc.

Greg CWe went to see Sarkoma, Bludgeoned Nun, Forchristsake / Mirrored Image. They were the big bands in the Rockford scene at that time.  And one of my favorite “local” bands from Springfield, IL…NIL8But there were many other bands brewing in Rockford — Decadenza (later Watership Down), Atonement, Necrosis, Blind Witness, Devoid, hell I can’t remember all of them.

ALL of us eventually played shows with each other and had a blast.  I became close with the guys in Sarkoma and Bludgeoned Nun. I looked up to them musically and we had a mutual respect for one another. The music brought us together.  I spent a lot of time with Brian Carter (Sarkoma) going to the shooting range, camping, and training in martial arts (as well as the singer for BN, Ray Hart).  Even played softball on a team (we sucked but had fun!) with Tony (Sarkoma/BN) and Ray. I always got along with Stu and Mike “Hilly” as well. All those friendships are still strong today.

greg singing

Theron Moore: Describe Rockford’s metal / thrash scene back in the late 80’s.

Greg CI got into the scene before I could drive and had to hitch rides with older kids or friend’s parents to go to shows.  But as the 90’s came in many of us were out of high school, had cars, and got out.  Bands came together, lots of practice, and then we scrounged money to get studio time in the back room of the music store “Jus Jammin” in Loves Park, where I got my first guitar.

Jimmy Johnson created “The Noise Chamber” recording Studio in the closet of the back room of that place. Most of us recorded our first cassettes there on reel to reel tape. A big plug that helped the scene back then was Mark Snodgrass who started a local radio show called “Listen to This.”

He began playing Sarkoma and when we heard it we had to get our band on it!  I remember talking to the guys in PA after a practice night at my parents’ house while listening to the show.  I said let’s go find that station and give them our cassette. That was our first recording. Our first demo “A New Meaning of Death.” I didn’t know Mark at the time but dammit I wanted to get PA’s music on the radio. We went down there, knocked on the door and gave Mark a tape.

Mark and I talked later on and we found that we both had a passion for local underground music and wanted to promote all of it and help the scene.  His radio show promoted our first show at the Cherry Lounge in February 91-92? We sold a ton of our cassettes and Mark said he never had his phones blow up for requests like that.

We were excited and couldn’t wait to play our first show. As a matter of fact I think that is the first night we met, Theron.  Then you gave me the opportunity to write for “Louder than God” and I had a blast interviewing and seeing my musical heroes play live. Because of that I went to so many shows and engulfed my life in music.  Meeting everyone from Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) to Glen Danzig, Vinny and Roger from Agnostic Front, DRI, to being on the tour busses of Cannibal Corpse and Obituary. The list goes on…some of the best times of my life. Thanks man…

 

Theron Moore: Looking back on that scene, do you think Northern IL had a shot at becoming maybe the next “Sunset Strip” in terms of metal?  What do you think would’ve taken it to the next level?

Greg CI think that we had a lot of talented bands but it was so hard to get support on places to play and advertising (after Mark got kicked off the air).

If we would have had more support on a higher level, maybe…”Sunset Strip” LOL — never.  Maybe in our own minds. 

 greg now

 

Theron Moore: You did a demo that I believe was called “Trust No One.”  What were the expectations surrounding it, were you expecting to sell copies and maybe attract label interest?

Greg CIt was actually call “A New Meaning of Death.”  “Trust No One” was written by me and another song that was played a lot on the radio was “Human Flesh” written by Mark, about Dahmer.   We just tried to get our music out, pay for our recording and hope we made more so we could save for better equipment and more studio time. We did hope to get some label interest too.

 

Theron Moore: Was there any indie label interest in the band?

Greg CIf I remember correctly, we may have sent our next recording “Hate” to Metal Blade and ColumbiaWe did get some interest from Chaos Records, a subsidiary of Columbia. I think Mark helped us with that one. I know he helped us make some videos to send to the labels as well.  At that time Mark was a big part of helping us with art work, promotions and management. He had a talent and passion for the scene like no one else.

 

Theron Moore: Did Pure Aggression ever get a chance to open up for any big name bands back then?

Greg CA good friend of ours who was also the singer for Necrosis, John Cabrera began to get into promotions. He booked us a show with Six Feet Under.

Theron Moore: Was there ever any doubt in your mind about not going to college and doing PA full time and just trying to make it as a musician?

Greg CI have always been interested in bettering myself, be it through formal education, real world experience, reading, training in martial arts or training in firearms.  When I left high school I went to Rock Valley (community college), studied engineering with the possibility of taking over my parent’s machine shop.  But when I started taking the math courses, I realized I sucked at math and I didn’t have the passion for running a business.

I know I could make much more money and have better job security than music, but I wanted to do what I was passionate about. Cops” was on TV, I was always interested in possibly joining the military and I was always fascinated with good guys vs. bad guys.  I was reading “Solider of Fortune” magazines since I was in grade school, and day dreamed about helping the innocent and weak. So when a friend suggested I take a police science class it was a natural progression.

I learned more about all aspects of law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal level as well as our intelligence agencies. I began to read more about that as well as foreign affairs and international relations.  I was working part time, going to college, playing in PA, helping you with LTG (Louder Than God mag), helping Mark Snodgrass with his TV show “Look At This”, and going to the Kamishin Ryu Club (martial arts)…I was constantly on the move man. I could not stop.

However, once I got my Associate Degree in Police Science, I put more effort into the band to try and get us to the point of playing for a living. Yet, I still took a few classes on the side.  I did internships with the Rockford Police Department, and the Winnebago County Coroner’s Office, all while working and promoting the band.  However, once the band was near the end, I always said I would leave town, get a Bachelor’s Degree in Administration of Justice, and work as a Federal Agent in a Law Enforcement Agency.

My whole life I wanted to be a warrior. That was my strongest passion, helping others and fighting for what is right. While going to school I spent my money on going to shooting schools and getting trained up. Others blew money on drugs and booze, I spent mine on outdoor equipment, guns, gear, and training.

I ended up meeting my wife during that time, finished a Master’s Degree and I currently work for the Federal Government in Law Enforcement as a Special Agent.  I feel like I am the luckiest man alive. I have my dream job, wife, and kids. Now my passion is to spend time with my wife, son and daughter.  Eventually when I get closer to retirement I may work towards a PhD, and teach at a university, while training others in firearms at a tactical shooting school.

In my travels in life, especially being involved in the underground music scene, I have learned so much from a diverse group of people.  I have learned tolerance, forgiveness, and standing up and fighting for what is right. Even when we didn’t see eye to eye on drinking, drugs, and politics, (which happened a lot for me).  We respected each other and loved each other because of our passion for music.  All those things helped build my character and allowed me to love life more. 

 pa in action

Theron Moore: Pure Aggression didn’t make it to the year 2000.  When did you personally know the end was near for the band?

Greg CWorking on our last recording in 96. Jim and Jason were gone a few years back, so the only original members were me and Mark. The other guys who came in later gave us so much musically and we became close friends but they wanted to go into other directions. We were all fighting a lot over BS, stress, frustration, etc.

Jason West, who came to play drums for us had the opportunity to travel with a signed blues act and make some money. Paul Macaluso was getting close with the guys in Watership Down (formally Decadenza) and wanted to play with them. Micky Rosenquist was tired of it too.

So when Jason left to go and tour, Paul and Micky were done also so I said fuck it, I’m out of this town, and going to school far away from here.  I will say though, Jason, Paul, and Micky created some of our BEST shit. It was a great team and great time. I still love and respect all of those guys, I still feel lucky to have played with all the guys in PA. I still believe that they are some of the most talented musicians and artists I know.

Theron Moore: Do you have any regrets not taking Pure Aggression further?

Greg CI don’t regret a damn thing I have done in life. Mistakes and all, they make me who I am. I feel like I had the best of different worlds…music, law enforcement, and the best family life I could have ever imagined. Everything happens for a reason. I love all the steps I have taken to get where I am now, and I am grateful for the highs and lows.

Theron Moore: Any plans to re-release the band’s demo or other music on iTunes in the future?

Greg CWe did a 20 year reunion show a few years back and had a BLAST!  Jason West asked me about re-recording the songs before him as well as the ones we did together. Just talk at this point.  We are all busy with our lives, but I do hope we can make it happen in the near future.

Theron Moore: Is there a Facebook page or website you’d like to plug?

Greg CCheck out Pure Aggression on Facebook.  Mark Atkinson put our last recording which was done on CD, on Reverbnation. Also just YouTube Pure Aggression.  That last show we did was professionally video recorded by Brock Hutzler and he put up some music videos of the show…I also posted some OLD PA stuff as well…check it out and enjoy!

Theron Moore: What about your band members?  Where are they and what are they doing?

Greg CMark Atkinson is a manager at his work where he has been for over 25 years. He’s still playing music and teaching his young son the power of metal.  Jim Gade is married, and is using his artistic talents as a multi-media manager for the Rockford Ice Hogs, Metro Center, and Harris Bank Center.

Jason Stewart married with four kids and is a Deacon at my old Catholic church in Rockford and teaches religion at my old Catholic high school.  Paul Macaluso is married with kids and works in the cellular industry and still plays music.  Jason West is married, lives in Texas, and is a “hired gun” in music. He has toured the world with several different bands and styles of music and continues to do so. I can’t list all the bands he has toured/recorded with. 

Micky Rosenquist is married with two kids, teaches music at the Rock and Roll Institute, and is a singer, songwriter, and performer and runs Underground Squirrel Studio. I recently moved back to Northern IL and I work in Chicago with the same agency after working for nearly 10 years in NYC. Don’t play guitar or write songs anymore. Although I have introduced my kids to the guitar and metal.

I am a firearms instructor for my agency, still train outside of work (as well as at work), play with HAM (amateur radio) radio, backpack and camp.  My biggest hobby and guilty pleasure is Swiss watches. I collect a few, and hope to have more someday. And at this rate I will probably work in the watch industry.

By Theron Moore

Ad Nauseam

Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est

Lavadome Productions

Release: 31 March 2015

ad nauseum

Ever wonder what a soul sounds like torn apart?  This is it.  “Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est” has an evil sound and vibe to it leading me to wonder if demons and devils rejoice loudly each time this record gets played.

It’s a crushing record start to finish.  “Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est” is eight tracks of bleak, stripped down death metal, a compliment to this band as their sound is heavy beyond heavy.  The band is firing on all cylinders here, not afraid to change up gears and quiet down long enough to build mood and atmosphere then drop an anvil on your head with the ferocity and aggression of their music.

It’s hard to compare them to another band, nor do I want to.  Ad Nauseam are making music and doing it the right way; unique and not afraid to explore this genre their way.  We already have a Cannibal Corpse and a Deicide, now we need Ad Nauseam.  Check this record out.

Deathblow

The Other Side of Darkness

Self-Release

Release Date:  21 April 2015

deathblow

Five tracks of killer on point thrash and heavy as all get out.  I dig the time changes they play around with, especially on track two, “Means to an End,” which just kicks your ass.

For those not familiar with Deathblow they hail from Salt Lake City, UT and previously released a full length LP “Prognosis Negative” back in 2014.  Deathblow rock a retro style of thrash they pull off effortlessly, they’re naturals at this old school thrash genre.

Be curious as to what label scoops them up, they boys are ready and “The Other Side of Darkness” proves it.

House of Atreus

The Spear and the Ichor that Follows

Dark Descent Records

Release Date:  5 May 2015

House-fo-Atreus

“The Spear and the Ichor that Follows” is a sort of thrashy pagan style of metal with up tempo regal qualities to the music that gives it a big, massive feel.  It’s the kind of music that would accompany a “300” style battle or such.

The Spear and the Ichor that Follows” conjures images of enslavement, war, and the arena battles of the Greco-Roman era.  I like how it’s not afraid to stomp and mosh then open up wide with a track like “Heir to the Crown of Sodom” with a sound bigger than anything you’ve heard before.  House of Atreus will be an interesting band to watch in the next few years for sure.

Enforcer

From Beyond

Nuclear Blast Records

enforcer

Holy shit, you gotta be kidding me!  Straight up, no frills fucking metal!  “From Beyond” is what metal used to sound like before music got tangled up in the gears of the corporate rock mucking everything up for fans and bands alike.

This is denim jacket, bullet belt music for people that dig true rock N roll.  It’s not speed or glam but the boys aren’t afraid to go where they want musically.  If it sounds good and it feels right, they do it and that’s reflected on this disc.

From Beyond” is the kind of thing you’d hear alongside Cirith Ungol and Lizzy Borden many moons ago; a style of old school hard rock that was the foundation of what metal became.

This is a solid record all the way through and if this is any indication of what’s to come from Enforcer, who knows, this might just be the band that saves our style of music.

Ichor

Depths

Bastardized Recordings

Release: 5 September 2014

ichor

Pretty brutal record with some truly inspired moments of over the edge destruction especially “While Giants Sleep” which evokes images of a slumbering Cthulhu somewhere in R’lyeh which in my opinion might describe “Depths” to a tee.

11 tracks of blasphemous, other worldly death metal.  Very traditional almost old school sound paying homage to the forefathers of this genre.  Bow down to the Great Old Ones and allow Ichor to tell their stories…

Hammer King

Kingdom of the Hammer King

Cruz Del Sur Music

Release: 5 May 2015

hammerking

What’s a good way to describe Hammer King if you haven’t heard them before?  I’d call it 80’s influenced, fantasy driven, power metal and “Kingdom of the Hammer King,” ain’t bad.  It kinda takes me back to the days of movies like “Krull” and “The Sword and the Sorcerer.”

Hammer King are marching down the Hammerfall / Manowar path with this record but aren’t quite there yet.  This band is good, no doubt about that, but they’re young, they have a ways to go but if they keep writing songs like “II) I am the Hammer King” and “Figure in the Black” they’ll get there sooner not later.  Certainly a band to watch in the future.

CAVALERA CONSPIRACY

Pandemonium

Napalm Records

Release: 31 October 2014

cavalera

Complete. Fucking. Destruction.  In fact that’s what the name of this record shoulda been, “Complete. Fucking. Destruction.” But “Pandemonium” works too and aptly describes the record start to finish — just, sheer pandemonium and thrashified chaos.

The good brothers Cavalera dig deep into their metal souls and unleash something

Eternal Armageddon

Available on bandcamp

https://eternalarmageddon.bandcamp.com/album/black-thrash-bastards

Wow.  Love to say it sounded great but to be honest it’s a low fi sounding demo and what a shame at that since the band sounds killer just hampered by the production quality sound.  The demo is five songs and I have to tell ya, the band destroys.

Very thrashy, very tight with a lot of promise and soul but muddy sound couldn’t connect with it.  Beyond that can’t really say much.  Not gonna say yea or nea since I know young / unsigned bands aren’t rich and they give it their all and try and that’s all they can do and more power to ‘em.  Give it a shot folks, they’re at bandcamp.  Show ‘em some love…

Cognitive

Cognitive

Self-Release

Currently Available

cognitive

Blood soaked death metal from Cognitive, an up and coming band that’s getting a lot PR juice these days on the back of their self-released “Cognitive” record.  Musically this band is a ten ton boulder destroying everything in its path.  The production quality is terrific and the band is in top form here.

Cognitive is the total package with songs that have a very unique quality about them set against mid to fast tempo death metal with time changes in each song that enhance the bands’ already heavy sound with simply hellish sounding vocals.   This isn’t retread death metal, this is Cognitive forging new territory in a genre that needs growth by serious bands to stay alive.  Expect this band to be a leader, along with the likes of Abysmal Dawn, in the near future to come.  Buy this record.

Abiotic

Casuistry

Metal Blade Records

Release: 21 April 2015

Abiotic-Casuistry

Brutality be thy name.  I believe “Casuistry” is Abiotics’ sophomore release on Metal Blade and damn does it deliver!   Nine tracks of solid deathly mayhem.  The vocals mix it up between traditional death growls and black metal screams, the music is tight as fuck going back and forth between death metal and thrash and the heaviness factor is right there where it needs to be.

Track three, “Cast Into the Depths” has a nightmarish quality to it, an ethereal quality mingling amidst a wall of collapsing death.  Track four, “Violent Scriptures,” ups the insanity ante measurably with a song that could very well be the soundtrack to the “thing” that lives in the cellar in “Evil Dead II.”

Casuistry” is a crazy hybrid of thrasy death / black metal that doesn’t go too far in either direction, finding a nice happy medium with its unique sound abrasiveness. Definitely recommending this album as a buy.

Raven

ExtermiNation

Steamhammer / SPV

Release: 27 April 2015

raven

I can’t get over it, Raven actually made a good record!  If it sounds like I’m being mean or critical, no, I’m being honest.  In my most humble opinion their recent output hasn’t been that great or memorable.  “ExtermiNation” has broken that chain, thankfully.  “Destroy All Monsters” and “Tomorrow” are the perfect openers to the record.  Track three “It’s Not What You Got” keeps the party and the tempo going.  I’m already having flashbacks to the days of “All Systems Go” and “Stay Hard.”  This one’s a buy and hopefully, and this isn’t something I don’t always say, hopefully they’ll play more than a few cuts off this record on their upcoming tour.

Nashville Pussy

Ten Years of Pussy

Steamhammer

11 May 2015

nashville

Holy shit it’s the Pussy!  Been around a long time and if anyone can honestly say they’re the guys to take over Motorhead’s throne when they vacate it, it’s Nashville Pussy.  Ain’t a bad song on this record nor a bad song from this band ever.  One of the few bands that could do a Motorhead / Rev Heat bill and pull it off.

What the fuck do you want me to say, it’s NP!  Automatically great.  One of the few bands around still supporting sex, drugs and rock N roll and not bullshitting about it.  Nashville Pussy is the new Pantera and with “Ten Years of Pussy” they’re still preaching it ma’ brothers and sistas!  Eat this “…Pussy”  it’ll leave a good taste in yr mouth!

Sigh

Graveward

Candlelight Records

5 May 2015

sigh

Discovered this band back in the 80’s when they were signed to Wild Rags Records, ‘mem ber that?  Bizarre back then, still that now, that’s what I loved about ‘em.  Wild, extreme and unpredictable.  Without this band wannabes like Psyopus and The Number 12 and See You Next Tuesday wouldn’t exist.

I often wonder what’s going through the mind of this band when making music but I’m not sure if I really want to expose myself to that sheer wall of insanity.  And “Graveward” is a weird one.  Samples, electronic beats, thrash, the list goes on.  But does it work?  It does if you’re into Sigh, you’ll get it.  Sigh’s an acquired taste so if you’re not prepared to handle their brand of oddball metal it probably won’t make sense to you.  I have to say, check this band out if for nothing else, out of morbid curiosity.  You’ll be entertained.

Sirenia

The Seventh Life Path

Napalm Records

24 April 2015

sireniaseventhcd

If you’re into Nightwish, Epica, Amaranthe or Xandria this record’s for you.  It has that big, sweeping, cinematic feel to the music which the aforementioned bands have.  Beyond that there’s nothing new or exciting I can talk about regarding this record.  As far as I’m concerned it’s rehash.  It sounds good but it’s rehash.  If you’re a fan of the bands I mentioned before you’ll dig this record.  Not my cup of tea personally,.

I Am the Trireme

Gnosis: Never Follow the Light

Horror Pain Gore Death Productions

Release: 30 June 2015

gnosis

Not one of my more favorite black metal records but just…okay.   There’s inspired moments on this disc but for the most part nothing earth shattering, nothing I can get behind on.  I love black metal but I just can’t find myself talking it too much further.  “Gnosis: Never Follow the Light” just kinda sat there…

Rotting Bull

Beyond Ragnarok

Seriously heavy black death with this band.  7 tracks, super tight and brutally on the mark with each song.  This is what it sounds like when a soul is torn apart in hell for sure.  It’s a little old school in some parts harkening back to a Hellhammer type vibe and then changing up and going into full hell mode ala  Emperor / Mayhem / Dark Funeral as in the song “Part Two:  Auld Crow Murder Plot.”  Great record, solid band overall.  Check out “Beyond Ragnarok” here — http://rottingbull.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-ragnarok.

By Theron Moore

I first heard of Sarkoma when I was writing for SLAM Magazine, then more and more at the local gigs I attended, their name kept popping up.  It wasn’t until a few years later when I was doing my zine “Louder Than God” that I finally decided to interview the band.

I was at work sitting in the breakroom.  Some skater kid sat down by me and started talking about the Sarkoma shows he was at, I think it was Rotation Station in Loves Park.  A few weeks later Greg from Pure Aggression mentioned them to me, how he was friends with the band.  Now Sarkoma was a “must see.”

And what a show it was.  It was the band’s debut performance at a small bar outside of Belvidere after being signed to Grindcore Records.  Sarkoma and Forchristsake.  To say it was a fun exciting time would be an understatement.

Sarkoma

Church of the Necromoicon:  What year was Sarkoma started?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   1987 in Aaron Ingrams garage just the two of us. I was playing guitar at that point.

COTN:  How did the band members come together?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Stu and Mike came into band around same time as Aaron and i. we then moved it to Mikes basement where it stayed till it’s end

COTN:  You were a young kid at the time Sarkoma was around.  Was your personal goal to take Sarkoma nationwide and be a working musician or keep the band local and maybe consider school?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   At this point in my life all I wanted was to be a rock star, like Dave says “ I lived my life like there was no tomorrow…

brian carter 2

COTN:  Prior to be signed, was Sarkoma playing just Northern IL or all over the Midwest?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   We did mostly midwest shows. Loved doing all aged shows kids appreciate music more than drunks in bars…

COTN:  What larger name bands did Sarkoma do shows with?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   We never really did too many shows with bigger bands that I can remember.

COTN:  Do you remember that one point in time when it occurred to you that maybe Sarkoma could be bigger than just a local band, that maybe, just maybe you could score a record deal?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Of course that was when I heard us on the radio for the first time, but I never really thought much about what it was going to become. Just played rocked and let it live.

COTN:  Who found who when it came to Grindcore Records?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   A friend at the time was managing us ( Nick Senave ) he was working at Grindcore at aske me to give him a demo next thing we know we get signed on my 21st birthday.

COTN:  At that point in time the Rockford metal scene was pretty active.  Were you thinking that maybe Rockford could’ve been the next big metal scene outside of LA?

 

Brian Carter (Vocals):   No never crossed my mind.

brian carter

COTN:  Looking back at that era, what’s your opinion now, all these years later?  Do you think Rockford could’ve been the next big metal scene?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Not really, Rockford has always had great talent but without other like minded clubs and bars or places for these talented people to play, it makes it pretty hard.

COTN:  I believe you did two records with Grindcore — “Integrity” and “Completely Different.”  Were you able to tour the country for both records, if so, what bands did you tour with?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   The only tour we did had ¾ of the shows cancelled before we showed up, it was a great learning expierence. Made it all the way to mexico and back…good times

COTN:  What happened between Grindcore Records and Sarkoma?  I believe the label went out of business, right?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Ya but our 2nd CD was on Redlight records same label different name and different bands, more comercial bands

sarkoma logo

COTN:  Was there any label interest in the band post Grindcore?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Ya Redlight.

COTN:  What led to the dissolution of the band, what were the factors involved?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Two people wanted to go in different directions and they did, 1 wanted to get more heavy and one wanted to play rap rock, guess what one I am????

COTN:  Was it a good split or bad split?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Bad

COTN:  Why not revisit Sarkoma now?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   All members have moved on, and too much time has come between us.

the heavils

COTN:  Any plans to make Sarkoma music available on iTunes?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Not sure

COTN:  Is there a Sarkoma Facebook Page or website you’d like to plug?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Nope

COTN:  Post Sarkoma 2014.  What are you doing now?  Do you know what the other band members are doing?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Well after I was in a way more successful band called The Heavils we were signed to MetalBlade rercords for 5 years put out 2 CD’s and toured with some awesome bands, got to open for Slipknot 3 times opened for Slayer toured with Six Feet Under the Red Chord, Misery signals, Bloodhound Gang Devin Townsend produced our 2 release Heavilution, we were in Guitar Player Magazine twice, Guitar world, Rolling Stone. This was my proudest achivement in music.

BY THERON MOORE

When you think of guy who has a dream and a vision and then actually takes the time to carve it out, make it happen, that’s Mark, then and now.  First and foremost he’s a good friend.  He was a Cali transplant to Rockford Il back in the 80’s and became Radio DJ, repo guy, locksmith, band manager for Pure Aggression, you name it, he did it and then some.  Snodgrass played an important role in the 80’s rock scene in Rockford Illinois.   In his own words…

mark1

Church of the Necronomicon:  Mark, you like myself played kind of a peripheral role when it came to the Rockford music scene back in the 80’s and 90’s, you had a radio show and I did a zine.   Tell me about your radio show and how local music figured into it.

Mark Snodgrass:  The show was on WLUV in Loves Park, IL… Serving the greater Rockford area, sometimes down to DeKalb when I fiddled with the knobs on the transmitter 😉  What started out as a way for me to get “Alternative” music in front of a major city who only had Top 40, Country and Oldies as their choice at the time, became a major support system for the burgeoning local music scene in the Rockford area.

            While being different, eclectic and sounding like pirate radio was the initial draw for attention back when the show started, it was local music that rallied listeners, and support for my little show grew exponentially, as did the local scene now that they had an outlet to be heard by the masses, as opposed to a sweaty basement at the Cherry Lounge.

Church of the Necronomicon:    How did you get that radio gig?  What was the day and time you were on the air?

Mark Snodgrass:  I was a California transplant.  I grew up with choices and “alternatives” on the radio.  It was natural to me. So when I landed in Rockford, I was like, what the fuck?  Jeff Wicker is a radio “Personality?”  Time and Temp Jocks prevailed, and the music was the same song, at least every hour, with 5 or 6 in regular rotation. 

            I wanted to hear the stuff Nirvana was putting out (Prior to Teen Spirit).  I wanted to hear Dead Kennedys, Suicidal Tendencies… Classic Punk mixed with the new breeds like the Pixies, that new band called Pearl Jam… No one would touch that shit back then. Grunge was the term for the Mother Love Bone’s and Screaming Trees and of course Nirvana’s of the day.  And I wanted to throw in some twists, like Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen.

            I thought what I liked listening to had teeth, had a rhythm that wasn’t given a chance to be heard, and should at least be given a chance to be accepted or rejected… rather than being pigeon holed as obscure or to nonconformist.  Which ironically is exactly why the local music thing meant so much to me… No one gave these guys a chance. They were relegated to backrooms and basements. Friend’s parties and bootleg cassette tapes.  I saw the chance to deliver all of this over the airwaves in the second largest metro area in Illinois… and I took that chance.

            Basically, Reader’s Digest version of getting the show… I did what I preached from day one on my show.  You want to be “punk?” you want to break the rules? You want to cause change and revolt and make a difference? Then do it from within the system. 

            I got a job at WLUV as a salesman.  I worked there for a week, gained the trust of the owner, convinced him Rockford needed a local alternative show to replace the top40 and sports crap he was satellite shoveling to the masses, and got him to give me a time slot.  I started on Friday nights from 10pm till 2am, Pretty quick I got Saturday nights. Then Sundays. Then sporadically through the week… Live remotes n such followed and the thing picked up steam. Called the show “Listen to This.”

            That station had never been in the ratings, but my timeslots were placing, and on the weekends I was number one.  I was selling actual ads for my show and proved to Joe Salvi (the owner) that I was right.  We carried on like that for about two years, till I got too full of myself, thought I could do anything I wanted to do… The FCC took care of that by suspending me from the airwaves for 6 months following an investigation into reports of foul language and suggestive content.

            That’s not what they got me for, surprisingly, because there was tons of that going on. What nailed me was not logging commercials. They require you to mark down that you played a Dominos Pizza spot at, say, 11pm and it ran for 30 sec…Sears had an ad and it ran for 45 seconds, etc… What I failed to realize was that while I thought I was supporting the local scene, when I said, “Hey – Pure Aggression is playing at Hard Times bar tomorrow night and the doors open at 8pm…” THAT was a commercial.  I just thought I was doing bands and fans a favor.

            Even though I didn’t see a penny from that kinda stuff, the FCC saw them as commercials, because someone whether the band or the venue, was cashing in. Joe was in no position to argue with the FCC so he knocked me off the air.  Quite honestly, he was crying when he told me.  And… Quite honestly I was pissed and said fuck radio I’ll do something better, I’ll do TV. And “Look at This” was born. After two public access episodes I teamed up with Marc Peabody and landed on WTVO, then NBC. But looking back, I had a face for radio and should have made that my career.

Church of the Necronomicon:    Did you have any local bands on your show?

Mark Snodgrass:  I think I had almost every local band on the show 😉  See, when the story I just exhaustively told began, I was… a security guard. Yeah. Shut up.  Anyway, one of the guys I worked post with found out about my show, and he’s like, “You gotta hear these guys, maybe put them on your show sometime.” And proudly handed over a cassette tape of some dudes named Sarkoma. 

            I listened to a couple songs, kinda dug ‘em and said Fuck it I’ll Play it. Never promoted it, never advertised, just put “Dog” on one night while I was doing my show.  I never had the phones light up like they did that night. People were going crazy, fans were calling asking for more. People who didn’t know were calling asking who that band was I just played. 

            I started talking about it on the air. I never knew who they were or what to say about them. Remember, I wasn’t from around them parts for long.  I played “Holidays” I played “Trolls Opinion” (having no idea what it was about 😉 ).

            The rest of the week was filled with bands calling me to get on the air, notably Pure Aggression, who played a huge role in my deciding to really pursue and support the local scene.  But yeah, Flac, Sarkoma, Pure Aggression, Shatterd Plastix, Decadenza, DMZ… A lot of the bands hung around the station, played acoustic sets, helped me torment listeners…

            The station was crazy… my studio was basically a closet with a mixing board and cd players in it… and we would cram like 20 people in there… to fit any more we would have needed a lubricant.  And not just bands… I had open invites for listeners to bring by music if they wanted people to hear it and I didn’t have it. Hell, dancers came from State Street Station to party and, um… dance.  It was a wild scene, tons of fun. We never planned a night or a show. It just happened

Mark4

Church of the Necronomicon:  Tell me about the music format you had.  I remember hearing punk, metal, etc. on the show.

Mark Snodgrass:  It was eclectic… I have varied tastes, and I don’t think anyone only listens to one type of music, or locks into one genre.  A lot of Metal dudes dig Johnny Cash. Some Pixies fans love Leonard Cohen. Stu from then Sarkoma likes Tom Waits and I like it all.  So I played it all.

            Kinda like I said above… there was no format.  It just happened and evolved at the show went on. Never had a play list, never set a rotation, per se. Only thing I guaranteed was that I wouldn’t play the same song twice in a 4 or 6 hour show.

Church of the Necronomicon:   How did you meet Greg Czaczkowski from the band Pure Aggression?  Was it through the radio show?  You were also friends with Sarkoma, correct? 

Mark Snodgrass:  Greg called me shortly after the Sarkoma thing.  Yeah, I used to put my home number out on the air so people could call me and tell me stuff they wanted to hear.  So Greg called, and we ended up talking for like 4 or 5 hours.

            He was interested in getting his band, Pure Aggression on the air, sure.  But what struck me was his passion for supporting the local scene.  He knew a revolution in radio and local music was on the cusp of blowing up, and he damn well wanted to be part of pushing it over the top. 

            Greg is over the top. Anyone who knows him knows he doesn’t stop at 110%, He goes all out.  I’ve never seen him do anything half assed or mediocre.  After we got off the phone, I knew this guy was gonna be my best friend.  And so we were.

            He was one of the few who I met through the show that I became friends with because we connected, not because I could get him on the air.  Same with the guys from Sarkoma.  Stu, Tony and Brian, especially.  When I quit the TV show and there was no more looking, or listening or anything to this… They always showed love. 

            I never really heard much in the years after from most of the bands… Really only Pure Aggression, Sarkoma and Decadenza stuck by me in my normal, non-public life.  I owe those guys gratitude for not abandoning me in my “Has Been” years.

Mark2

Church of the Necronomicon:     I don’t think I’ve ever asked you this.  Were you a thrash or metal fan back then?  I know we went to a few PA gigs together, was it just to support Greg and the band? 

Mark Snodgrass:  I liked some metal, but it was Greg who introduced me to the really hardcore stuff.  I went to shows with him and was blown away by the talent those dudes had that others dismissed as noise… and the pure energy and stamina that bled from the stage… it wasn’t until I saw bands like Cannibal Corpse, Demolition Hammer and of course, Deicide – Live, that I became an honest fan. 

            He also turned me on to stuff like Ice T… I was into old skool stuff like RunDMC and Public Enemy back in the day, but the whole IceT / Body Count thing was phenomenal. Yeah, I owe that to Greg for broadening my horizons. 

Church of the Necronomicon:     At that point in time when Pure Aggression was active, the Rockford metal scene was thriving.  Did you think that maybe Rockford could’ve been the next big metal scene outside of LA? 

Mark Snodgrass:  I thought Rockford was going to be THE next big thing.  I always said, we’re going to be the next Seattle… Not just for Metal, not just for Grunge… But the amazing pool of talent that was swimming around back then… every Genre really had something special going on.  They should have made it… But… it kinda did the Rockford thing and fizzled.

 

Church of the Necronomicon:     Looking back at that era, what’s your opinion now, all these years later?  Do you think Rockford could’ve been the next big metal scene or not?

Mark Snodgrass:  Could’ve, yeah… But Rockford could’ve been a lot of things… and never really was. It’s… Rockford.

Church of the Necronomicon:   Looking back on it now, what circumstances do you think need to have happened then that would’ve propelled the Rockford music scene into the national spotlight?

Mark Snodgrass:  Hmmm… I don’t want to take blame or credit by saying if I would’ve kept my head together and my ego in tact and found a way to stay on the air, but I’ve always wondered if that was part of it.  Not even me, per se… but some outlet on the airwaves… it would have helped. 

            Couple other stations and people made valiant, if not misguided attempts at promoting local music, but it was all so… corporate.  And never given a chance. The difference with what I was doing is that I didn’t have a station owner or company telling me what to do. The closest thing I had to that was Joe telling me that he heard Fuck go over the air 5 times, and to please knock it off.

 

Mark3

 

Church of the Necronomicon:   Did you promote shows back then?  I seem to remember you might’ve done a Leaving Trains gig?  Tell me about that one… 

Mark Snodgrass:  I played a small part in promoting Pure Aggression and Decandenza… We made this quasi company called Arsenal Group Productions with a label of Mac10 Music, and put together some really cool shows. 

            Um… The Leaving Trains thing… was more of a Train Wreck. They sent this really crazy demand list of perks and such when they were going to come to town.  I flat out told their management I couldn’t provide anything of the sort, that I was just a small local dude and was lucky to find them a place to play at. Period. Cancel it, not gonna happen. Well, their label never told them, it never got thru that it wasn’t happening.

            They were totally, understandably, pissed off at me. They called me for two or three days with threats of… well, tons of bodily harm and shitting into orifices… Ha, I was pretty freaked out and never booked another touring band gig again. 

Church of the Necronomicon:   Were you at one point managing Pure Aggression?  Tell me about that, was it successful?

Mark Snodgrass:  In a way, a little. I tried… But I had no idea what we were doing.  Gave them some promo ideas, helped set up some shows, like a food drive for the homeless thing at Rock Valley College, but really, Greg was always the boss, it’s what he does, the position he puts himself in, because the guy has so much energy and dedication.

Church of the Necronomicon:     What were the circumstances leading up to you disengaging from the Rockford music scene and moving on with your life?  At that time I had joined the USAF and was out of town…

Mark Snodgrass:  After “Listen to This” on the radio, I did the TV thing on NBC called “Look at This.”  It was cool, and fun and all… Did to TV what I did to Radio.  But after like, a year and a half, I just burned out on TV.  It wasn’t the same. Radio… it was so… Immediate. If you did something lame, people called (me out) on it right away. If I did something cool, people called right away. I always had a built in audience, right there in the studio as well.

            TV… it was me and sometimes a camera man. And me by myself in the editing room.  And I’d work 60 hours a week to film, edit and package a 30 min episode… which I’d get no feedback on for two weeks when it aired. It was drudgery, and I’ve never felt comfortable in front of the camera. Not my thing. I was only doing it cause no one else did. So I bailed out. 

            I tried like hell to get back on the radio, but I was kinda black balled in a way. I made enemies of pretty much every station and jock I could make fun of. Ya know, we used to have bonfires at the station, burning other station’s stuff.  Listeners would drop off ZOK shirts and WXRX stuff and so forth to win “prizes” (we were low budget, a prize might be a dirty coffee mug with the station owners comb in it, or an old scratched gospel record I found in the AM booth, or a leg bone from a deer the station dog brought back from the corn fields to chew on, stuff like that).

            We’d make a thing outa burning them every few months.  I mimicked a lot of the other jocks and got kinda good at pissing off pretty much everyone. So going back to radio was outa the question. So, I went back to the profession I learned while living in Washington DC for a couple years. I went back to repossessing cars. Not much I could do for bands when I was jacking their folk’s cars 😉

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Church of the Necronomicon:     Where and in what direction did life take you post the Rockford music scene and your involvement with it?

Mark Snodgrass:  Well, I repossessed cars for years, man. Years.  About 7 years ago, my life hit a dead end. Three bouts with cancer and neck vertebrae surgeries, hating my life as a repo man, and a miserable marriage left me depressed, pilled out of my gourd and about to give up.  

            I had an early midlife crisis and blew my life savings on trips to Europe and cars and pills and… pills. Ha. I split with my then wife, met my present wife, and she convinced me that in order to be happy and get better, all I needed to do was do what I love. What I was meant to do. Radio is a very close second, but she convinced me to pursue my only real talent, which is art.

            I’m happy, have been clean (both cancer and pills) for 7 years now, and I own my own business. At my age, I had to face it that no matter how good I could paint, I’d never make money at it till I was dead.  So I “sold out” and went the graphic design route.

            Moved to the Quad Cities with Steph and my son from previous marriage and our son from my now marriage (he’s 5 now.. at 46 years old, that’s a trip in itself man) and got jobs at a few promotions companies till I built up a reputation kinda as THE designer in the area, especially when it came to Screen Print designs.  After a couple years I quit my jobs and start my own company…

Church of the Necronomicon:   What are you doing now?

Mark Snodgrass:  Good Stuff Graphics & Design Co.  That’s my place 😉  Do Commercial design and have a screen printing studio.  I do a lot of work for guys in the MMA scene here, and now nationally.  My style lends itself to fighters and stuff like that. Oh… and bands too 😉  I do other stuff, but it’s rare to see me do, like, Cub Scouts and cheer leader type stuff. I don’t do milk and cookies, I do blood and guts.

            I also design websites and signage, company branding, logos, stuff like that. Basically, when people want custom, one of a kind stuff, and not cookie cutter crap, they come to me. I love it. I get the same reaction when people come to pick up their stuff as when someone sees one of my paintings. I may have sold out and gone commercial, but I’m still an artist, and that’s what sets me apart.

Church of the Necronomicon:     Do you have a Facebook page or website you’d like to promote?

Mark Snodgrass:  At the moment, I’m revamping my webserver.  I just put SnodgrassInk.com up, which will be a bit of a social network for screen printers and designers. I’ll get goodstuffgraphics.com back up shortly, and will be launching a new site for my new label and bleeding edge design firm called AnarchInk at anarchinkco.com

            Oh, and ThatShirtSite.com is on the way. Till then, go see some of my stuff at my FB biz page: facebook.com/GoodStuffGandD …oh, and add me at facebook.com/PopeSicola

mark6

By Theron Moore

There were many local bands in the 80’s hard rock / metal scene in Rockford I dug but forchristsake was at the top of my list.  I loved their music, their live shows plus they were just the coolest, most down to Earth guys to hang out with.

I was invited over to their 4th Street apartment several times and it was always a great experience and 25 years later those memories are still strong with me.

Of all the bands I knew, Sarkoma and forchristsake should’ve been the breakouts, should’ve had national success stories but for reasons I don’t understand that success eluded them.  But who knows, in the world of music it’s never say never, right?

JS5

Church of the Necronomicon:  Before being called forchristsake was known as Mirrored Image.  Tell me about the origin of the band.  How did all of you know each other and at that time what were the musical influences that really kind of guided Mirrored Image musically.

Jerry Sofran:  Mirrored Image had been playing the Rockford music scene in the late 80’s before I joined. I was playing in Rude Awakening with Jason Williams, and when he joined Mossy and Mirrored Image he brought me with back in ’89. Musically at that time thrash ruled, and you can hear our take on it with such songs as “Horace” and “On Your Grave”.

Church of the Necronomicon:  Do you remember other bands in the Rockford scene at the time?  Was Sarkoma around then?

Jerry Sofran:  Rockford actually had a thriving music scene back in ’89-’90. We gigged with many fine metal/thrash/punk acts from the area, with the Sarkoma boys at the top of the heap.

Church of the Necronomicon:  There were a lot of bands playing back then doing everything from punk to metal. You had Pinewood Box & Bludgeoned Nun to Mirrored Image and Ript to Diamond Force.  Was there a lot of camaraderie among these varied bands or just the opposite?

Jerry Sofran:  There was a certain camaraderie among the members of the local acts even though we were very different stylistically. I, personally, was accepted by the locals, and grew fond of many Rockford area bands such as Sarcoma, Ript, and Last Crack.

JS6Church of the Necronomicon:  Who were the “go to” bands of Mirrored Image / For Christ Sake back in the day if you were looking to party?  How wild did those parties get, I’ve heard stories. Can you relate any experiences?

Jerry Sofran:  Oh man – we listened to and were influenced by it all back then. Music was evolving, and we were too. Jason Williams and I had Soundgarden, Maggie’s Dream and Jane’s Addiction, plus all the wild metal and thrash we grew up on in the ’80s like Slayer and Voivod.

      If the parties got wild, it was William’s (editor’s note:  lead singer Jason Williams) crazy ass usually leading the festivities. Boy ain’t right. I had the best years of my life hanging with that cat!

      I have a huge record collection, and during parties Jason would grab an album he hated, probably Lynyrd Skynyrd or something, and ask if he could smash it! So we thinned out my records that way. There were always strippers and whiskey around the seemingly daily parties at the 4th Ave house (you were there). I spent many a hungover morning reassembling our furniture after Jason flatbacked it!

Church of the Necronomicon:  Why the name change?  Was that ’89?

Jerry Sofran:  We changed the name back in ’91. We were looking to broaden our horizons regionally and nationally, and Mirrored Image seemed like a name for a local band. The way we changed our name was unique also.

      We did it in the middle of one of our shows. We abruptly stopped in the middle of our set, had Brian Carter, singer of Sarcoma, announce the name change to ForChristSake, dropped the new banner, and were off!

Church of the Necronomicon:  At what point did you start thinking that For Christ Sake had a real shot at being bigger than just a local Rockford band.  What was the turning point for the band?

Jerry Sofran:  I think the turning point for FCS, and more and more bands regionally and nationally, was the evolving styles of music rock bands encountered in the early ’90’s. Rock was reinventing itself (again), and we thought we could change the world. We were cock-sure that our signing with Gary Taylor and Re: Talent would lead to big things.

 

JS4Church of the Necronomicon:  Prior to hooking up with your future manager was the band playing steadily around the Midwest or just the Northern IL area?

Jerry Sofran:  We played mostly regionally, Rockford-Chicago-Madison-Milwaukee.

Church of the Necronomicon:  Tell me about finding yr infamous future manager Gary.  Who found who initially and how?

Jerry Sofran:  Mossy had a friend who worked for Gary Taylor, laid a tape on him, next thing he was in our funky-ass Rockford apartment offering to sign us. Now this was huge for us, as Gary was already managing Annihilator from Canada and Last crack out of Madison. Both bands were touring the world, had videos on MTV…

Church of the Necronomicon:  And was he the force behind getting you guys on tour through the Pacific Northwest?  I know you had a show booked in Vancouver, was that with Caustic Thought of at the time or was that where your manager was from?

Jerry Sofran:  Yeah Gary managed Caustic Thought too, and they were all from Vancouver B.C. We toured with Caustic up the west coast of the U.S. and into Vancouver. We also used to play with Caustic and Last Crack at CBGB’s in New York frequently.

Church of the Necronomicon:  Speaking of Caustic Thought, that was the band that had Byron Stroud and Devin Townshend who would later go on to have much success with their respective bands Strapping Young Lad, Fear Factory, Zimmer’s Hole, etc.  And I remember they were staying with you guys in Rockford for a short time.  Any stories / experiences you can relate?  You still stay in touch with any of them?

Jerry Sofran:  I remember the Canadians hated the low-quality weed in the midwest. Devin Townsend was a trip, man. He was on the first west coast tour when he played with Caustic Thought. That boy ain’t right, either. He went on tour with only the clothes on his back, his guitar and amp. No money, no spare clothes. His socks weren’t allowed in the van, so he tied them to the side mirrors while we traveled. We were shown a great time while with Caustic, especially in Vancouver, where the best strip clubs are located.

JS3

Church of the Necronomicon:  Was it around this time that you guys shot that pro video for one of your songs?  Whose idea was that, it had to be expensive.  Was the intent to submit it to MTV?  Was it submitted?

Jerry Sofran:  Well, our lady friends from KitKat clubs in Rockford paid for the video. We struck a cool deal with Kundalini films out of Chicago and shot a video we hoped would be good enough to release, but it never saw the air.

Church of the Necronomicon:  Where were the live scenes shot?

Jerry Sofran:  We shot all the live stuff at the Times theatre in Rockford. The video is posted on the forchristsake Facebook page.

Church of the Necronomicon:  Fast forward towards the end of FCS as a band.  After the shit hit the fan with the manager, etc., how long did it take you to move on musically or did you feel like you wanted OUT of music?

Jerry Sofran:  I did feel a break was needed. I’d never missed a rehearsal or gig in 12 years, and was going to take a year off, but my good friend, and last forchristsake  drummer Bunj wouldn’t have it. He made me jam, and we formed our next band, Fluid OZ.

Church of the Necronomicon:  So where does everyone go and what do they do when FCS is done?

Jerry Sofran:  Everybody joined or formed important local and regional acts. Jason Williams sang in the infamous Motormouth, then he joined Agent Zero for a few years. Mossy formed and toured with The Heavils, and is still making music today with his band Staggg.

JS2

Church of the Necronomicon:  How many years later did it take to get FCS back together and do the reunion shows?

Jerry Sofran:  We finally were able to pull it together back in 2010 for one successful reunion show at the Back Bar in Janesville.

Church of the Necronomicon:  Are there more plans for more reunions shows?

Jerry Sofran:  You know, they’re fun, but I really don’t feel the need for any more shows. Jason lives in AZ now, so…

Church of the Necronomicon:  In your opinion, what’s the Rockford music scene like today compared to the 80’s and 90’s?

Jerry Sofran:  There is NO music scene in Rockford today, and if anyone tells you there is, they weren’t around during the 70’s-80’s-90’s when Rockford had a thriving scene. Although I trust the kids are underground, just like we were, making the new vital sounds of the future.

Church of the Necronomicon:  What are you doing today, what’s your life like now?  Any Facebook pages or websites you’d like to plug?

Jerry Sofran:  Still at it, Theron. I play bass for Vanishing Kids. Based in Madison, Nikki is such a talented vocalist and inspiring songwriter. Along with her husband, and equally talented guitarist, Jason Hartman, I feel the band could make some noise in the current scene. Terry Nugent, drummer for my first band White Knight (1982-83), plays for us too, so I’m kinda in a great situation currently.

 

Vanishing Kids Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vanishing-Kids/328568887984

 

forchristsake Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/forchristsake/368543023754

Listen to forchristsake here:

http://www.last.fm/music/Forchristsake?ac=forchristsake

 JS7

Spirit Visions, by V A N I S H I N G K I D S

vanishingkids.bandcamp.com

BY THERON MOORE

Nader Sadek

The Malefic Chapter III

Score  8/10

nadar sadek

Nader Sadek ain’t your ordinary death metal band, in fact they kinda transcend those boundaries.  Take the song “Descent” where we find the band reaching deep inside their darkened, blasphemed souls to produce a song that’s haunting in it’s own right.  I like the fact that Sadek aren’t afraid to explore and change it up musically.  With “Descent:”  Three words:  Deep.  Emoting. Woeful.

I like this record because I get the feel that Nader Sadek allows the songs to dictate how their music gets presented, not the other way around.  They’re not falling into the trap of having to play fast, blast beat shit with harsh vocals because that’s what’s required of them.  They do what they do because Nader Sadek is vested in their music, and it shows.

The Malefic: Chapter III” was first released as a free CD in Decibel Magazine (#122), Terrorizer Magazine in the UK and Legacy Magazine in Germany (#94). “The Malefic…” will be available digitally soon. Can’t wait to hear a full record by these guys.  Buy now.

Ranger

Where Evil Dwells

Spinefarm Records

Release: 17 March 2015

Score  8/10

 Ranger

Speed metal up the ass, the way it was meant to be!  I liked “Where Evil Dwells.”  Personally I think this genre is getting saturated with a lot of groups trying to do what Ranger’s doing but as long as they keep doing what they’re doing with “Where Evil Dwells” I think they’ll secure a fan base that’ll keep ’em going for many years.

Ranger makes the grade.  Their mastery of this genre is apparent, they kill it on this record.  It’s good, they’re good.  The songs are tight lyrically and musically.  “Where Evil Dwells” feels natural and not forced and that tells me this band plays with heart, that they’re the real deal.

I don’t see myself getting tired of good thrash or speed metal which is another way of saying buy this record, you’ll thank me for it later.

 

Monstersworks

The Existential Codex

Eat Lead & Die Music

Release:  27 February 2015

Score  9/10

monsterworks

Alright boys, you got me.  The song titles are quasi scientific, it’s cool sounding, digging this in a very techie type way.

Monsterworks are as massive sounding as their name implies with the emphasis on riff heaviness. The harmonies, the melodies, the ferocity of the music is spot on.  I’ve been listening to this record the last few days and it hasn’t lost it’s punch.

The sound is new yet it’s old, it’s progressive in a heavy sense and not afraid to get out in front of itself and showcase something new and exciting.  Monsterworks is a band to watch, an exciting band to WATCH and “The Existential Codex” is a record you need to listen to.

Invincible Force

Satan Rebellion Metal

Dark Descent Records

Release:  10 March 2015

Score 9/10

 

invincible force

Death to god and all ye who worship him!  That’s  “Satan Rebellion Metal” in a nutshell but much bolder and louder. The record is a sick mixture of aggression and blasphemy tied together sinfully in a wall of sound, ten stories tall.  Invincible Force takes me back to the early days of death metal ala Massacre, Morbid Angel and Deicide.

If Invincible Force is the future of death metal I like what the future is shaping up to be.  There’s not a single thing wrong with this record.  It hits on every mark and goes a bit further.  Both the record and band never relent and did I mention heavy as fuck?  Why?  ’cause they are.  Buy “Satan Rebellion Metal.”

Saturnalia Temple

To the Other

Releases:  7 April 2015

Score  8/10

 saturnalia temple

Heavier than six, wet bucket loads of dirt on a casket getting lowered into a grave.  Heavy, heavy, grinding shit.  Listening to this record is like getting hit in the head with a hammer, repeatedly, tripping on acid.

I dig the depths they’re mining on “To the Other” in terms of how low and slow they can go.  Saturnalia Temple has effectively explored the depths of heaviness with “To The Other” earning many sludgeworthy kudos. Live, this band has to be amazing; kind of like what an avalanche sounds and feels like.

Saturnalia Temple ranks as one of the heaviest bands alongside Electric Wizard I’ve heard in a long time.  Check ’em out and get lost in the fog of fuzzzzzz…..

 

 

The Midnight Ghost Train

Cold Was The Ground

Napalm Records

27 February 2015

Score  8/10

 Opmaak 1

Oh thank the lord, a sack load of heavy, hopefully THC infused, bass heavy, bottom ended, demolition derby, inspired music.  The Midnight Ghost Train ain’t afraid to put a foot in yr ass and crank it up on their new record “Cold Was The Ground.”

It’s a little bit O’ Clutch coupled with a backwoods attitude on how rock oughta be — lots of distortion behind some good old, boogie down, muthafuckin’ rock.

I like the anger in the vocals, the musical vibe, everything on this disc gels right.  “Cold Was The Ground” is a deserved ass whuppin on what rock N roll has turned into ala the Avenged Sevenfold and Stone Sour bullshit we’re tortured with today.

Buy this record and be thankful music is still being made like this — grungy, sludgy, hard rock N’ metal.  “Cold Was The Ground” is the perfect soundtrack to taking a few cracks of the whip on yr back.  Consider both that and this record an attention getter.

 

Sacral Rage

Illusions in Infinite Void  

Cruz Del Sur Music

Release:  10 March 2015

Score 9/10

sacral rage cover art

Thrash of a different beast here.  Not necessarily retro but a band trying to capture a past sound in the present, no gimmicks, no nostalgia, reminding me of the old Metal Blade Records days when bands like Intruder, Helstar and Fates Waring filled their roster.

“Illusions in Infinite Void” is super tight, precision speed metal at it’s best.  You can rank these guys against the best bands of their genre past and present and Sacral Rage would still be a force to reckon with.  And the best part?  You’d never know they’re from 2015.

Not only is this good music, Sacral Rage is a reminder that metal continues to expand and explore music within itself on it’s own terms, something other genres like pop and country won’t do because of it’s rigid allegiance to a dead music industry and the starving corporate dollar.

Illusions in Infinite Void” is a must buy.  There’s an authenticity and genuineness that I haven’t heard with other bands of it’s ilk in a long time.  This one is the real deal.  Don’t be a poser.  Buy or die.

The Answer

Raise A Little Hell

Napalm Records

Release: 6 March 2015

Score 8/10

the answer

Good old fashioned rock N roll ala The Quireboys and Four Horseman.  I like what’s being presented here, it’s natural sounding, not forced to fit in a mold, not trying to be something they aren’t and proud of who they are.

Fans of 80s rock, good 80’s rock, will dig “Raise A Little Hell.”  There’s a healthy dose of soul and feeling with The Answer.  This is a band playing music they were meant to play and having a good time doing it which is hard to say for a lot of the actual 80’s bands that muddle their way through half assed tours nowadays.

“Raise A Little Hell”  isn’t afraid to wave the flag of rock N roll in a day and age when 80’s rock is more frequently than not, frowned upon.  The Answer could easily tour with the likes of Ratt, Motley Crue and Whitesnake and you’d never know they weren’t outta ’85.  Give this record a chance and have a good time with it.  Buy.

Infesting Swarm

Desolation Road

Art of Propaganda

Release: 30 March 2015

Score 8/10

infesting swarm

Oh so much heavy goodness with “Desolation Road!”  Blackn’d, deathly doom metal at it’s most downer best.

The theme of this record as I interpreted it,  is one of loss and the evacuation of all hope and positivity, bring the darkness and bleak existence most of us endure to the forefront ’till we’re laid to rest in a pinewood box or baked in some substandard crematory.

Desolation Road” is eight tracks of tortured existence put to music.   Musically, lyrically, the band and record are right on.  Doom on!

Gloson

Yearwalker

Art of Propaganda / Catatonic State

Release: 23 March 2015

Score 8/10

  gloson

Gloson is a fucking cement wall falling on top of you with their approach to deathly, doom inspired metal  — plodding, methodical and devastating.  No lives are spared and all souls get crushed listening to this monster.

Yearwalker” is a juggernaut of a disc.  Musically the band takes it time not relying on blast beasts or Cannibal Corpse inspired growls;  just hellish, heavy, muddy-tempo’d songs that hit every last emotion inside you.   The intent, musically, is to slowly and carefully pull you apart, limb from limb, with every track, force you to think, emote and feel.  Mission accomplished and well I might add.

Think Bolt Thrower without the progressive tempos and that’s close to Gloson.  Buy this immediately!

King Hitter

King Hitter

Restricted Release/Plastic Head Music

24 March 2015

Score 4/10

King Hitter

King Hitter takes their name from a Stevie Wright song, “King Hitter,” 1975.  The song rocks, it stinks of Bon Scott era AC/DC, in other words, it’s a black eyed bruiser in it’s own right.  And this band, King Hitter, you really want me to be honest with you?

It’s not good.  I thought it sounded like watered down COC meets even more watered down Machine Head.  I didn’t get that 70s hard rock groove they were trying to lay down, I couldn’t connect with it.

What a bummer considering not just the COC thing but the fact that vocalist Karl Agell (ex-Corrosion Of Conformity) and guitarist Scott Little did such great work in their former band Lead Foot.  For the record, that band had vibe, presence and force.  King Hitter doesn’t.  Won’t apologize for writing the review, just unhappy I had to do it.

Incinerate

Eradicating Terrestrial Species

Comatose Music

Release: 21 April 2015

Score 8 / 10

incinerate

“Eradicating Terrestrial Species” is nine tracks of straight up wrecking ball death metal with a twist — the album is sci-fi meets religion minus the faith aspect.  Ya got my attention, this is something I haven’t encountered before.  The record is an interesting concept well explored by Incinerate.

Sonically the band kinda falls into the realm of Abominable Putridity / Defeated Sanity / Cerebral Bore musically with the deep guttural vocals, blast beats, etc. but Incinerate is much more than that; this record proves it.

With this record the band has found their niche and lyrically they’re doing something different than other bands which is cool ’cause that’ll set them apart from their peers in this genre.  I definitely dug this record.  Check it out, buy it.

Death Earth Politics

Men Become Gods

Self-Released 14 March 2015

Score 8 / 10

dead earth politics

“Men Become Gods” is four tracks of good, solid thrash.  For a self released record the production value is top notch which makes me appreciate their sound and brand of music even more.

For some reason they reminded me of Grip, Inc. and Intruder ala the “Escape From Pain” EP which is cool since the Metal Blade genre of thrash is among the best that’s ever been put to record.

Dead Earth Politics is a cool band to check out and keep an eye on.  I think they’re ready to be signed, it’ll be interesting to see which label picks them up.

Anal Vomit

Peste Negra, Muerte Negra

Gates of Hell Records

Release: 5 May 2015

Score 8 / 10

anal vomit

Gut wrenching. Disgusting. Bile inducing.  Three complimentary terms to describe Peruvian based Anal Vomit’s “Peste Negra, Muerte Negra.”  First of all, how do you go wrong with a band who named themselves “Anal Vomit?”  You don’t.

“Peste Negra, Muerte Negra” is primal, no frills death metal with an old school nod to bands such as Possessed, Sarcafogo, Holocausto, etc.  It’s good filthy shit.

I like their sound and attitude.  AV are the dudes wearing chains and spikes diving into the pit at a Morbid Angel show and this record makes them a band to watch in the future for sure.

There’s a difference between imitating old school and embracing that sound.  Anal Vomit is the real deal.  And did I mention how cool their album art is?  Incredible and offensive to say the least.  Hell yeah!

Predatory Light

MMXIV EP

Pesanta Urfolk

Release: 30 March 2015

Score 9 / 10

predatory light

Just a two track release here but damn is it good!  Blackened doom metal with dare I say a slight Blue Cheer influence, especially with the drumming?  I think that’s fair to say.

Predatory Light kills it with both tracks on “MMXIV EP” cranking the heaviness factor past 11 and then some.  The band does a great job at incorporating atmosphere and building a sense of impending doom as with “Spiritual Flesh,” track two.  Nice fuckin’ touch!

For a two track EP Predatory Light showcases their sound superbly.  They nail a sludge vibe, change it up and touch on black metal, slow it down and go the doom route.  Great versatility here.  Cannot wait to hear a full length record from this band.  Get this release ASAP.  Fucking great!

Aelter

Aelter IV: Love Eternal

Pesanta Urfolk

Release: 20 April 2015

Score 7 / 10

aelter

I don’t think it’d be a reach calling this a concept record but it is somewhat of an acquired taste.  It’s five tracks including the intro — Death Eternal, Love Eternal, Life Eternal, Hope Eternal.

It’s not black or death metal, rather dark, atmospheric music with an under current of sadness and rage running through all four songs.  The best way to describe “Aelter IV:  Love Eternal” is, it’s the kind of music I’d expect to be the soundtrack to a David Lynch movie, specifically “Twin Peaks” and “Mullholand Drive.”  If this intrigues you then you’re a good fit for “Aelter IV:  Love Eternal.”  If not, check it out anyway.  It’s new, it’s different and deserves some attention.

MAMMOTH MAMMOTH

Volume IV – Hammered Again

Napalm Records

Release: 27 March 2015

Score 8 / 10

Mammoth Mammoth

I was expecting sludge but this is pure biker rock man, just pure 70’s inspired hard rock, the kinda band you’d see at a speedway jam wedged between Nazareth and Foghat waiting for Blue Oyster Cult to close out the gig before the demolition derby starts at dusk.

10 tracks, no ballads, just leather jacket, tattoo inspired music that reminds me of Nashville Pussy, Motorhead even Warrior Soul ala “The Wasteland” with just a dash of good old punk rock injected into it.

Best song on the record is “Fuel Injected” a rock N roll blueprint if ever there was one.  If you haven’t heard Mammoth Mammoth before then “Volume IV — Hammered Again” is a great intro to the band.   You’ll be pleased, Now buy.

Black Rainbows

Hawkdope

Heavy Psych Sounds

Score 10 / 10 black lights, black light posters, bell bottom jeans and 3 foot bongs

 hawkdope

Black Rainbows’ “Hawkdope” is a fine addition to the growing number of bands comprising The New Wave of Psychedelic Rock.  Stoner Rock you say?  Sludge Rock possibly?  Not even close.  This is heavier, yeah I said it — HEAVIER. Black Rainbows are part of The New Wave of Psychedelic Rock and fucking proud of it.  And trust me, they have the blown amps and the half deaf fans to prove it.

Never heard of The New Wave of Psychedelic Rock?  Too bad.  You’ve been missing out on the likes of Dead Meadow, Wooden Shjips, Thee Oh Sees, Black Angels, Fuzz and Ty Segall and that’s naming dropping just a few and now Black Rainbows have joined their ranks. Groovy!

“Hawkdope” sonically reminds me of Mudhoney’s fuzzed out guitar heaviness coupled with Ty Segall’s vocals but in the end it’s all Black Rainbows and oh how it works ever so nicely.

I just mentioned Mudhoney’s guitar sound.  If you can believe it, Black Rainbow’s guitar tone is fuzzier, murkier and much, much heavier sounding.  It’s like a mountain of fuzz face inspired goodness dropping on you at just the right time.  BUY, BUY, BUY.

The Slow Death

Ark

Chaos Records

Release: 16 March 2015

Score 8 / 10

the slow death

Who died?  No seriously — who died?  “Ark” is some monstrously depressing, funeral dirge music that features beautiful, almost angelic female vocals accompanied by who I can only guess is the Angel of Death singing.  On second thought, even the grim reaper weeps at the sound of “The Slow Death.”

Now I’m sure it sounds like I’m making fun of this band or I don’t like “Ark” but so not true.  I like the band and this record, it just redefines the genre of funeral doom for me in a good way, albeit suicidally depressing, but still…

“Ark” is six tracks of heavy, somber grooves; some with keyboards & synth, which under normal circumstances might detract from the metal side of the music but here serves to enhance and build mood, especially with “The Chosen Ones,” track one.  Holy shit.

I like bands that push music and art and creativity to the limit and pull it off successfully like Slow Death does with “Ark.”  Do not buy this record if you’re suicidal or off your meds.  Keep a broken razor nearby just in case…

By Theron Moore

Shredhead

Death is Righteous

Mighty Music

Release: 13 January 2015

shredhead

8/10 Score

Imagine Pantera and Exodus birthing out a kid and naming it Shredhead.  The kid’s a wild child, a hellraiser, likes the music loud, just wants to thrash, you with me so far?  I think you have the idea.  It seems clear that the mission with “Death is Righteous” is to bludgeon you back to a time when metal still had swingin’ balls and wasn’t so hipster and fashionista as it appears today.

What I like about this record and Shredhead as a band is that neither relents, not for a second, it goes for the jugular with every song.  I mentioned Pantera and Exodus before.  Imagine “Vulgar Display…” meets “Fabulous Disaster” updated.  That’s “Death is Righteous.”   A blueprint for metal and a schematic for how death shall come to us all, hopefully drunk or stoned, horns up!

BIO http://mightymusic.dk/albums/shredhead/  https://www.facebook.com/shredheadband http://mightymusic.dk/ https://www.facebook.com/mightymusic.us

Lord Dying

Poisoned Altars

Relapse Records

Release: 27 January 2015

lord dyingI

8/10 Score

Lord Dying embodies that Northwest metal sound that’s low end heavy, smelling of beer and weed and born out of a garage with the spirit of TAD hovering ’round.  That’s right, I said it, the great Tad.

This isn’t thrash, this is more akin to say The Sword, Black Tusk and Red Fang although we do get a slight taste of pit action with “Suckling at the Teat of a She-Beast” but the bulk of the record is just heavy groove with a big, riffy wall of sound and  massive drumming.  A great example of this is rack two, “A Clearing at the end of the Path” which is pure crushing power.

I dig this disc because I hear echoes of Mudhoney, Blue Cheer, Crowbar, Lemmy and High on Fire conjured up, dancing around a bonfire of skull and bone as only Lord Dying could do.  In the end, “Poisoned Altars” is a more evolved and involved style of heavy.  Buy this record now.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LordDying?

Hate

Crusade Zero

Napalm Records

Release: 30 January 2015

hate

10/10 Score

When you’re a death metal band calling yourself “Hate,” you’ve got a lot to live up to and I’m happy to say this band doesn’t disappoint. “Crusade Zero,” dropping Februrary 10th via Napalm Records,  is a head crusher of the highest order.

What immediately drew me in and connected with me was how well crafted the song structures were. It’s layer upon layer of texture, depth and complexity which death metal often lacks.  Not so with this “Crusade Zero.”

I like how they interpreted the concept of “heaviness” as it pertains to this genre and expanded it’s definition with songs like “Vox Dei (A Call From Beyond) that opens “Crusade Zero” followed by “Lord, Make Me An Instrument Of Thy Wrath!” and the final track “Black Aura Debris.”

Hate took a lot of time and energy branding this record with a multi dimensional sound that not many bands can actually pull off.  Their skill and artistry come through loud and clear.  Cheers to them.  Now go buy this record!

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/HATEOFFICIAL

Armageddon

Captivity & Devourment

Listenable Records

Release: 20 January 2015

armageddon I

8/10 Score

“Captivity & Devourment” is straight ahead, no frills thrash with just enough melody to satisfy even the staunchest fan without crossing the line into something else entirely.

This might sound odd but Armageddon have a good understanding of their musical identity and breadth of their genre as well.  “Captivity & Devourment” demonstrates a nice balance between heavy and melody allowing both to complement each other without either overpowering and disrupting the flow of the music.

Thus the bar of excellence is raised high with melodic thrashers such as “Rendition,” “Locked In” and “Fugitive Dust” which oughta make Arch Enemy stand up and take notice.   All in all a very good record and most certainly a band to be on the look out for in the future.

www.facebook.com/armageddonbandofficial

www.listenablerecords.net

www.facebook.com/listenablerecs 

Desolate Shrine

Heart of the Netherworld

Dark Descent Records

Release Date 13 January 2015

desolate shrine

9/10 Score

“Heart of the Netherworld” strikes me as the music you’d be forced to listen to in the waiting room of Hell.   It’s the sound of a thousand lost and tortured souls (Track 2, “Black Fires of God”) searching for light in a world consumed with darkness (track 5, “We Dawn Anew”) only to be whipped with chains and spat upon by the master (track 6, “Leviathan) realizing that hope for redemption and absolution is gone, futile (Track 7, “Heart of the Netherworld”).

“Heart of the Netherworld” is an apt title for a record that sonically is the incarnation of all that is hellish and nightmare cast in that which the band has described as “Netherworld” on this record.  Desolate Shrine churns out a harsh, blackend brand of metal that builds with each song, getting heavier and more intense until the pinnacle is reached with the final track “Heart of the Netherworld.”

This is an outstanding record that deserves attention.  Listening to it does feel like having been on a journey into the belly of some horrible beast.  The saving grace being that we, unlike the souls of the damned, are not trapped in this terrifying place that Desolate Shrine has so vividly painted on this record.  This is a highly recommended buy…

http://www.facebook.com/desolateshrine

Unrest

Grindcore

Unspeakable Axe Records

Release: 24 March 2015

unrest1

10/10 Score

“Grindcore” is just that — Grindcore but with a sharp, punk rock / crossover edge.  And anyone who thinks I’m referencing the bullshit that passes for punk today, you couldn’t be more wrong.  I’m talking old school.  Reagan Youth.  Verbal Abuse.  Negative Approach.  Millions of Dead Cops.  And that’s why Unrest sounds so fucking good on this record.

By the time you hit track 8, “Nothing (That’s All You Have To Give) it becomes very clear that these guys are really, really good at what they do from the way they approach their music to the way they write songs.  You really get the vibe that a lot of thought went into the making of this record, and you get that musically.

“Grindcore” isn’t relying on the Greenway inspired vocals or the constant blast beats, instead there’s a lot of intricate well placed musical change ups in songs that give it an extra. added dimension a lot of grind bands don’t have.

This record is 12 songs of pure grind / crossover / punk fun and if this disc is any indication of what their live shows must be like, right away they’re must see.  Buy this record now!

http://unspeakableaxerecords.com

http://www.facebook.com/unspeakableaxerecords https://www.facebook.com/unrestgrind

Nepente

I Will Get Your Soul

Cimmerian Shade Recordings

Release Date:  31 March 2015

nepente-cover-art-e1421793260351

Score 9/10

Nepente’s “I Will Get Your Soul” is the kind of music I would expect Freddy Kruger to listen to while killing.  It’s four tracks of abrasive, neck snapping, blackened death metal.  One listen to this record and you may actually find Slayer sounding timid afterwards in comparison.

My only complaint is that “I Will Get Your Soul” is only four tracks, I wish it was longer; otherwise it was right on in every way.  Nepente is a band I’m going to be on the outlook for in the future.

Nepente Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nepente.metal

Cimmerian Shade: http://cimmerianshaderecordings.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CimmerianShadeRecordings

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CimmShadeRecs

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdg2PMUxSikD5IClcBukNZQ

Taake Stridens Hus

Candlelight Records

Releases:  10 February 2015

Taake

Score 8/10

“Stridens Hus” is nothing short of splendorous brimstone beauty.   It’s the chorus of a thousand demons conducted by Hoerst himself backed by the symphony that is Taake.

“Stridens Hus” is a thinking man’s hellfire opus of inspired medieval beauty and equaled brutality.  From start to finish it’s dark, gothic and classical in both sound and approach providing a harsh and unrelenting environment both unwelcome yet pleasurable to the listener.

Truly decadent and madman inspired, “Stridens Hus” is sure to be a quick fan favorite.  Hoerst is in top form as the carnvial barker for this band of black metal freaks.  My only complaint is that seven tracks is not enough to tell this particular story…

Track Listing:

  1. Gamle Norig
  2. Orm
  3. Det Fins En Prins
  4. Stank
  5. En Sang til Sand Om Ildebrann
  6. Kongsgaard Bestaar,
  7. Vinger

http://www.facebook.com/taakeofficial

Bio-Cancer

Tormenting the Innocent

Candlelight Records

Release Date:  March 24 2015

bio-cancer 1

Score 7/10

You get ten tons of crunch and two pounds extra with “Tormenting the Innocent,” the band’s second record and follow-up to their debut disc “Ear Piercing Thrash.”  The songs are fast and the music has teeth.  Prisoners will not be taken and the circle pit will show no mercy.

Bio-Cancer shine on tracks “Boxed Out” and “Bulletproof” where their retro-thrash chops are put to the test.  Although their music does harken back to an earlier time they’re anything but a throwback.  They’ve clearly found their identity and established their sound with “Tormenting the Innocent” an album that delivers the shred.

https://www.facebook.com/BioCancerOfficial

Evil Invaders

Pulses of Pleasure

Napalm Records

Release Date:  February 27 2015

evilinvaders

Score 10/10

“Pulses of Pleasure” is the closest thing to 1985 you’ll ever hear that wasn’t recorded in 1985.  It’s pure speed, pure power.  Track 1 “Fast, Loud, ‘n’, Rude” is a testament to this statement.

“Stairway to Insanity” really caught my attention where we find Evil Invaders switching gears to bow down and worship at the altar of Iron Maiden done in only the way this band can do it, with full force.

I heard a lot of old Voi-Vod, Possessed, Raven, Whiplash, Razor getting moshed up and given the modern day treatment Evil Invaders style with “Pulses of Pleasure” which I really dug.

I can’t get enough of the retro-thrash sound when it’s done as good as Evil Invaders did with this record.  What really stood out to me was how well the band treated their sound with respect and dignity without going overboard with the nostalgia thing.  By doing this, by carefully walking this line it allowed them to not lose sight of who they are musically and as a band.  This is a must buy.

www.evilinvaders.be www.facebook.com/evilinvaders
Evil Spirit

Cauldron Messiah

Horror Records

Release Date:  Available Now

evil spirit

Score 7/10

Evil Spirit.  The name alone should be a hint what their music is about — a  little bit of black metal, a little bit of doom with just a touch of Hellhammer.  Thrashy.  Noisey.  Raw.  The perfect description, that which is, “Cauldron Messiah.”

Track one could be the opening / intro to a horror movie.  Track two, “Grey Ashes Of The Reptile” begins the journey into Evil Spirit’s bleak realm of terror.  The music is scaled down, partly due to the fact that the band is a three piece which begs the question, “How the hell do they create that wall of sound with just three people?”

What I like about this record is Evil Spirit’s keen ability to create a spooky atmosphere in a theatrical, almost cinematic manner.  It’s almost like you “feel” the music, making you anxious, feeling on edge.  From a sonic standpoint “Cauldron Messiah” has a primitive edge to it, lo-fi at times but wielding their volume level as a well trained weapon.  It’s worth a check out.  Look into it.

Website: www.facebook.com/EvilSpirit.Punishment Band contact: evilpunishment@hotmail.com 

Record label:  www.horrorrecords.com

www.facebook.com/horrorrecords666 www.horrorrecords.bandcamp.com 

The Sanity Days

“Evil Beyond Belief”

Candlelight Records

Release Date:  March 24 2015

sanity days

Score 10/10

I’m a huge Grim Reaper fan so hearing Steve Grimmett is fronting a new band with a new record was naturally great news to me but then learning that Onslaught’s drummer Steve Grice was drumming, holy shit, that’s nothing short of what I’d call heavy metal salvation.

“Evil Beyond Belief” is straight ahead, no frills, bad to the bone metal with a great 80’s vibe to it but the real question is…can the boys write, can they play?  Hell yes!

Not a bum track on “Evil Beyond Belief.”  You won’t find anyone resting on laurels, everyone’s in top form and Grimmett’s vocals are amazing.  Just give a listen to “Charlie,” “Satan’s Blood” and “My Last Words.”  Metal is back, folks, and in a big, large way.

Describing this band sonically is a cross between McAuley – Shenker meets Dio meets Metal Church but all The Sanity Days, killin’ it, cranking it past 10.   This isn’t retro speed metal or 80’s rehash, this is well thought out, well written, well played rock N roll by guys who know their shit and deserve to be HUGE.  I’ve already got this record on my “best of 2015” list and it’s still February. Buy, buy, buy and then buy another copy for a friend.

Steve Grimmett – vocals Steve Grice – drums Al Jordan – guitar Jase Stallard – bass https://www.facebook.com/TheSanityDays

Hacavitz

“Darkness Beyond”

Dark Descent Records

Release Date February: 24 2015

hacavitz

9/10 Score

What do you get when you combine old school Venom with modern day black metal with a touch of doom?  Hacavitz. Their new record “Darkness Beyond” might just be the bands best record to date.

Previous outings such as “Venganza” and “Kafun” were more thrashy / heavy death whereas this record is raw and primitive in spots where it needs to be but more focused and tightly honed allowing the band to take it’s time telling it’s musical story of gloom.

Because “Darkness Beyond” is less confined and more daring it shows a progression and evolution inside the band allowing Hacavitz to explore the craft of building mood and atmosphere to enhance the inherent heaviness of songs like “Livskit” as well as the title track itself.

“Darkness Beyond” is the future of black meets doom meets thrash.  How the band will top this record I do not know but I do want to see.  Hacavitz is a band to watch.  Buy this record.

Hacavitz Facebook www.darkdescentrecords.com Dark Descent Records Facebook Dark Descent Records Bandcamp
Frosthelm

“Endless Winter”

Blackwork (Alkemy Brothers)

Release Date:  March 22 2015

frosthelm

Score 9/10

Black metal from the hinterlands of North Dakota?  USA?  Yeah…and they’re good.  “Endless Winter.”  Doomed.  Forsaken.  Ungodly.

The instrumental “Glacial Eon” begins the disc starting out slow, mellow, then building into something fierce and ugly, a perfect segue into track two, “Storm of Teeth,” which might as well be ten nuclear bombs going off since that’s what it sounds and feels like.  And just when you think the worst is over, track three, “Forlorn Tides,” is a neck twister that shakes the holy ghost out of you.  But that’s the whole record in a nutshell, not just a few songs, the whole chimichanga.  It never relents, it just keeps going, and destroying, and going further.

Let me describe this band sonically as “well balanced” in the sense that the vocals are as wicked and evil sounding as the band itself is — together they could etch concrete.  Forget the comparisons to their Norwegian counterparts and just listen to Frosthelm and “Endless Winter.”  You’ll thank me later.  Buy this record.

www.facebook.com/frosthelm www.instagram.com/frosthelm www.twitter.com/frosthelm www.frosthelm.bandcamp.com

“Coalition of Hate” split with Conceived by Hate & Acheron

Morbid Skull Records

Release Date:  March 10 2015

acheron

Outstanding split with each band bringing their “A” game to this record.  Kind of a cool idea being that CbH and AKERHON each do three originals and one cover and let me say, they get the job done aptly.

Conceived by Hate, who hail from El Salvador, play a brand of death metal I’d compare to Sweden’s Necrophobic — thick, heavy and plodding. They covered DISSECTION’s “Thorns of Crimson Death”  and did a solid job nailing the tune.

Colombia’s AKERHON is balls out thrash.  They covered the Misfit’s “Where Eagles Dare” which seemed a perfect fit for the band.  Sonically they reminded me of Sepultura meets Rigor Mortis;  thrashy, speedy and making a shit list.

Both bands struck me as not relying on blast beats or growls to get a song over. They took their time with structure and progression, putting forethought into song composition and sound and trust me when I tell you it shined through on the original tracks each has on this disc.  The end result for Conceived  by Hate and Acheron was a natural heaviness that didn’t seem strained or contrived.  Both are bands on the “to watch” list.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Morbid-Skull-Records-Distro/339635656052678 https://www.facebook.com/morbidskullrecords  https://www.facebook.com/pages/AKHERON/219232631435984 www.facebook.com/conceivedbyhate www.conceivedbyhate.bandcamp.com