By Theron Moore

I got turned onto “Lights Out” about six months ago when a friend and fellow horror buff sent me a link for this movie.  “Dude, you gotta check this out!”  It was my first experience with the genre of short film, not short as in under an hour but short as in just a few minutes in length.

What blew my mind about “Lights Out” is that Sandberg was able to tell a complete story in under three minutes, the old fashioned way — proper pacing, building textured layers of suspense and utilizing sound as a storytelling tool.

The end result was Sandberg winning Best Director in the 2013 “Who’s There Film Challenge.”  His new short, “Pictured,” is available on youtube.  Ladies and gentleman, David F. Sandberg…

lights out

Church of the Necronomicon (COTN):  Has the horror film genre always been your passion when it comes to filmmaking?

David F. Sandberg (DFS):  Horror has always been a part of it but I like all kinds of films. Sci-fi and horror (and especially a combination of the two) are my favorites though.

COTN: I’ve heard you’re not an avid reader so where do the ideas and inspiration come from for your short horror flicks?

DFS:  I do still read from time to time but usually I’ll spend my reading time on screenplays. So far ideas have mostly come from my surroundings. I was turning off lights in the apartment and saw shadows which became Lights Out and Lotta {editor:  Lotta Losten, his wife) has a creepy old photo of her relatives that inspired Pictured.

COTN:  What sparks your creative process when it comes to a film idea?

DFS:  I guess “what if” questions. What if this was possible? What if you had this power? What if the camera on your phone showed the future? I don’t believe in the supernatural but I love the idea of those kinds of things. It’s great for stories.

COTN:  What is your work environment like when you sit down to write out movie ideas?  Are watching TV, listening to music?

DFS:  For shorts it’s usually just ideas that sort of come to me while doing other stuff. For a 3 minute short there’s really no need to write a script, I can keep that in my head. I’ve written some longer stuff, both by myself and with Lotta, and in those cases I usually write without distractions like music or TV.

COTN:  Does pop culture inspire you to write?  For example, what kind of music are you into?

DFS:  Of course I can get inspired if I see a great film, or even a bad one, but I don’t think I’ve been inspired by music though. I love Japanese horror comics and Junji Ito in particular. I haven’t played video games in a long time (feels like I’m taking too much time away from other stuff) but I love the Half-life games and Resident Evil (4 in particular).

COTN:  What is your creative process like?  Do you write out your film ideas in story format or outline?  If so, have you considered taking those stories further into a book?

DFS: For feature stuff I outline and I’ve written some parts in a story format, like backstory for characters. I’ll probably stick to screenplays though since that’s kind of how my brain works now. I read a book the other day and it felt wrong to have everything in past tense as opposed to the present tense of screenplays.

COTN:  How did the concept for “Pictured” and “Lights Out” come about?

DFS: I was turning off lights in the apartment and saw shadows which became Lights Out and Lotta has a creepy old photo of her relatives that inspired Pictured.

COTN:  After watching both of your horror short films I said to myself “He gets it!” because you’re getting scares the old fashioned way by telling a story, building levels of suspense and shooting scenes in such a way that it evokes a fear response inside us.  In your opinion why do most modern, horror filmmakers not “get it” and fall back on the CGI thing to tell a story and “try” to get scares?

DFS:  Well thank you! I have CGI in my films as well, although it’s more out of necessity since I don’t know to do special effects make up. The problem I guess is overdoing it. I loved “Mama” until we start seeing her CGI face all the time. The less you see of something the scarier I find it to be and when it’s CGI monsters your brain can kind of tell you that thing isn’t really there and you lose all the scariness of it.

COTN:  Do you think modern filmmakers rely too heavily on CGI and maybe have become lazy or complacent because of all the great technology that’s out there to make a movie?

DFS:  I think they’re too reliant in many cases but it’s also understandable in a way. CGI blood looks terrible but you can get more takes when you don’t have to reset a bloody scene every time so I guess that’s one of the reasons. I’d try to avoid it though. The worst is when they use CGI to create what are basically people like in “I am Legend.” That movie could have been so much better (well at least not as terrible) with people in make up instead.

COTN:  Here’s a flip side:  Do you think movie going audiences have settled when it comes to movies that are heavily CGI or video game like with their visuals / approach?  Have we lowered our standards?

DFS:  Maybe. I think there’s some fantastic CGI being done though like in the new Planet of the Apes films but it usually doesn’t work that well in horror films. I guess it’s a combination of nobody spending $200 million on horror films and no matter how good it is you still know it’s CGI so it takes away some of the scariness.

COTN:  I understand you have an agent and you’re working in Hollywood now.  Can you talk about any upcoming film projects you’ll be doing or involved with?

DFS:  Unfortunately I still can’t reveal a lot of details at the moment. Hopefully soon though because there’s some really exciting things going on with some really exciting people involved and I feel like I’m about to burst. I just want to tell everyone!

COTN:  Will you be making “Pictured” or “Lights Out” into a feature length movie?

DFS:  Yes! Lights Out is in the works right now and everyone I’ve pitched the full length story for Pictured to have been very excited so I have high hopes of getting that made as well.

COTN:  What does 2015 hold for you in terms of movie making?

DFS:  If things continue going as planned we’re shooting the Lights Out feature in 2015.



By Theron Moore

I was listening to a band called Vulvectomy over Thanksgiving weekend whose music can only be described as disturbing to the core fiber of one’s being.  Naturally this led me to iTunes to chase my sickness further with more gore infested death metal ala the Mortician releases.  I needed “Hacked up for BarbecueNOW.

Blessed be iTunes to sell me even more music I can’t afford by showing me related bands and songs about death and mortuaries and morticians and that’s how I discovered Barry The Mortician, a true find that I’m sharing with all of you.

His self titled EP is a four track gem.  How do you NOT go wrong with these song titles:

             “Spraying Liquid Death”

            “Tits Possessed by a demon”


            “Instructions to Kill”

I checked out the song samples, they sounded good, did the download and was very happy I did.  The music is solid death metal from a guy named Barry doing the whole gig himself.


Church of the Necronomicon (COTN):  I’m dying to know, excuse the pun, all about

Barry the Mortician. Are you Barry andare you a mortician?

Barry the Mortician (BTM):  I am Barry I am not however an actual mortician.


COTN:  Is this a one man project and what city are based out of?

BTM:  It is a one man project as of now with guest appearances based out of Champaign, Illinois.


COTN:  Give us your background and what Barry the Mortician is all about, ’cause the music is

great and this is the first I’ve heard about you.

BTM:  I started writing in 2011 after being inspired buy bands like Cannibal Corpse, Six Feet Under and Chimaira.


COTN:  I just got your EP from iTunes, it’s great, listening to it right now. It’s four songs, wish it was longer. Any plans for a full length?

BTM:  Thank you! I have enough for a full length right now, I’m just finishing up tracking and mixing. Release date is TBD.


COTN:I have to say, I enjoyed your song “Tits Possessed by a Demon.” where did that one come from?

BTM:  It was inspired by the movie Paranormal Activity.


COTN:  Speaking of inspiration, what sparks you to write a song? Is it watching movies, music, etc?

BTM:  Mostly horror movies. On the new album I have a few songs based on a concept

rather than a movie.


COTN:  Do you approach this genre with a sense of humor? If so, give me some insight into that.

BTM:  I definitely do. I take the music serious but vocally try to tell stories that have some

humor in them.


COTN:  Has Barry the Mortician played out live much?

BTM:  Nope, never.


COTN:  What’s the band status right now?

BTM:  Active, still planning for first full length.


COTN:  What bands are you listening to right now that you’re recommending?

BTM:  Right nowWithin the Ruins, Revocation, Six Feet Under and Gaped.




Deadly Scenes

Kaotoxin Records

Release Date:  1/12/2015

On January 12, 2015 Kaotoxin Records will release “Deadly Scenes” from Parisian avant-garde rockers 6:33. (North American and digital releases follow on January 13). The first pressing will come in a limited edition (1,000 copies) DigiSleeve, bundled with a free 26-track label sampler. A special cassette version limited to 100 copies will also be available exclusively from Kaotoxin.

Fair comparisons have been made to Mike Patton, Mr. Bungle and Devin Townshend and dare I toss add Rammstein to that mix as well?  If you’re looking for death or black metal you won’t find it here.

Deadly Scenes” is an oddball mixture of synth pop, old timey musical and jazzy, melodic / even operatic vocals accompanied by heavy a heavy guitar / drum sound that truly defies classification of any sort.  I’d call it prog but they kinda go beyond that tag as well.  Dare I say it’s the musical equivalent of going to the circus on acid?

I usually try to pick certain tracks off a record I’m reviewing to showcase but damn if every track on this record is a separate and unique experience unto itself.  If you’re into adventurous, one of a kind, highly experimental music that’s a little bit rock and little bit of everything else, 6:33 ‘s “Deadly Scenes” is your record.


Abysmal Dawn


Relapse Records

Released October 2014

Cover art for new record "Obsolescence"

Cover art for new record “Obsolescence”

Love Abysmal Dawn, love this record.  “Obsolescence” is a face puncher from start to finish with  matched vocals and music that lay out the blueprint for what death metal was meant to sound like.  And the artwork for the cover?  Amazing, kind of reminds what I’d see from Pestilence or Suffocation.

Songs like “Be My Demons” and “Inanimate” sound like they were composed from inside the very bowels of hell itself, heavy as fuck and just as evil. What I like about this record aside from what I’ve already mentioned is that it tells a story, it takes you places, paints a picture for you, not that it’s a concept record but it gets into your mind and it starts drawing pictures with each song.

Abysmal Dawn’sObsolescence” is a superbly crafted, multi-textured, multi-layered record that needs to be in every metal head’s CD collection.  If Dante were alive he’d adopt this record as the soundtrack to his masterpiece, “The Inferno.”

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The Mountain

Dark Descent Records

Released November 2014

Cover art for "The Mountain"

Cover art for “The Mountain”

Mountain” is the sophomore effort from Sweden’s Anguish, the follow-up to 2012’s “Through the Archdemon’s Head” further exploring their sludgy, trudgy, doomy brand of metal clocking in at 48 minutes over eight tracks.

“Mountain” is aptly named; heavy, foreboding and looming.  Songs full of despair, sadness, despondency and regret caked in the permafrost of Sweden’s hinterlands and the ancient tales buried there.

As far as doom and gloom go, it’s here.  Heavy, plodding metal, check that too.  I like “Mountain” but after a few songs I think I’ve got the gist of what the record is about and it’s not bad, not saying that all.  If sludgy, slow-ish, despair laden metal is your thing buy Anguish’s “Mountain,” you’ll hit the mother lode here.




Kaotoxin Records

Released July 2013

Cover art for "Blestem"

Cover art for “Blestem”

Colosus is the solo project of SIDIOUS’ drummer Krhudd who performs all instruments and vocals on this record.  “Blestem” is a bleak sojourn into the realms of pain and at times, the ambient soundscapes of black metal.  A great way to describe “Blestem” is simply: The sound of a tortured soul.

Eight tracks of anguished screams, sadness, the futility of being and utter darkness.  If suicide had a soundtrack, it would be “Blestem.”  If depression had a sound and voice, it would be Colossus.  Not for the mentally unstable.

Believe it or not, I liked this record but I think it’s an acquired taste.  You have to really, really dig experimental, dark, ambient styled black metal and the ensuing dark mood and atmosphere it’ll surely create inside you.  Consider yourself warned.


Convent Guilt

Guns for Hire

Shadow Kingdom Records

Release Date 1/13/2015

Cover art for "Convent Guilt"

Cover art for “Convent Guilt”

Fucking great!  Convent Guilt play a style of metal I’d dare say harkens back to the sounds of NWOBH with a good emphasis on Saxon.   Shadow Kingdom Records’ Tim McGrogan had this to say about Guns for Hire:

“We cannot wait for everyone to check out CONVENT GUILT Australia’s Traditional Heavy Metal scene is truly impressive to the Shadow Kingdom Records family. We just don’t see good Heavy Metal coming out from there; we see outstanding Heavy Metal that exceeds our expectations, just like fellow countrymen, JOHNNY TOUCH.

            CONVENT GUILT has an 80’s Punk flair that sometimes dominates their sound. They have a strong mix of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal bands like IRON MAIDEN and SAXON, while MOTORHEAD is heard feathered throughout, along with a heavy dose of 80’s JUDAS PRIEST and 70’s AC/DC.

            The songs are extremely catchy and well crafted. On top of all of that, this band sounds like they’ve been recording together forever with their amazing sound and production. Guns for Hire is one of the most accessible releases of 2014. We’re thrilled and proud to have this band on the roster.”


            McGrogan is right on.  There’s a strong Saxon, Maiden, Priest vibe that takes you straight back to the days of Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades” era.  Rockers like “Angels in Black Leather,” “Don’t Close Your Eyes” and “Guns for Hire” highlight this eight track effort.  Buy this record when it comes out but in the meantime go to bandcamp and stream “Angels in Black Leather,” “Don’t Close Your Eyes.”  You won’t be disappointed.

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Reign of Ungodly Creation

Comatose Music

Release: September 2014

Cover art for "Reign of Ungodly Creation"

Cover art for “Reign of Ungodly Creation”

Brutal nine song offering, check out the track listing:

  1. Noncelestical Orisons Cataclised in the Passage of Ninb
  2. Supreme Wisdom of Blasphemy in the Reign of Ungodly Creation
  3. Mystic Transformation in Encrypted Scrolls of a Grievous Sermon
  4. Aberrant Ablution by Filthy Excrements of a Grotesque Crassamentum
  5. Psalm Carnage in the Ghoulish Chapel of Gehenna
  6. Ghoulish Requiem for a Macabre Daemonarch
  7. Prophetic Despise Under the Pendulum of a Sacrilegious Throne
  8. Devilish Domain Vortex in the Gloom of Wicked Ziggurat
  9. Veracity in Relics

Yeah, you guessed, Decimation means business with this record.  Fast paced death metal with guttural vocals that kind of reminded me of Abominable Putrity,  early Carcass and Devourment, either way no complaints from me.

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Destroying Divinity

Hollow Dominion

Lavadome Productions

Release: September 2014

cover art for "Hollow Dominion"

cover art for “Hollow Dominion”

Hollow Dominion” finds the band in somewhat of a dark, doomy place with this record.  The music through all eight tracks conveys a sense of impending doom or apocalypse that’s waiting just around the corner giving each song an unsettling, eerie feel.

All in all it’s very well crafted death metal that doesn’t follow the “one trick pony” path that a lot of genre related bands do.  There’s a lot of nice change up with the vocals and the pace of the music, song to song, to keep your attention.  Very reminiscent of early Massacre and Morbid Angel.

If “Hollow Dominion” is any kind of indicator as to how good Destroying Divinity will be in the future, I can’t.  This is definitely a band to watch, keep an eye on them and buy this record.

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Dire Omen

Wresting the Revelation of Futility

Dark Descent Records

Release:  November 2014

Cover art for "Wresting the Revelation of Futility"

Cover art for “Wresting the Revelation of Futility”

Wresting the Revelation of Futility” is an excursion into the chaotic, often obtuse darkness that characterizes Dire Omen’s sound.  This is doomy death metal where the music stands out front and the vocals create a background soundscape.

I think you have to be a fan of this style of music to “get it” which I don’t think I am or do. It’s odd that the music is out front while the vocals are in the back so to speak.  I don’t know if it was meant to be this way, maybe it was mixed wrong, maybe the band is trying to create a wall of sound but it just didn’t work for me.

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Generation of Vipers

Coffin Wisdom

Translation Loss

Release: October 2014

Cover art for "Coffin Wisdom"

Cover art for “Coffin Wisdom”

I think I’d describe “Coffin Wisdom” as punk-inspired-noise-rock in the vein of Today is the Day, Unsane, or the Am Rep bands of yore which is good news for the Deftones who have yet another band to steal their sound from.

It’s ok to call this extreme music because the songs just wouldn’t work another way, that is, thrash, death metal, etc.  Generation of Vipers have crafted together and extremely good, well thought out record with “Coffin Wisdom.”

I like the heaviness carried throughout, it’s used as a tool to progress the music and matches well with the vocals which you have to do playing this style of music.  “Coffin Wisdom” showcases what the band had previously accomplished with “Howl and Filth” just in a broader, more textured sense here.  Buy this record…

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