Welcome back, loyal readers, to yet another issue of mayhem, trance, and other outworldly themes... First off, I wanted to implement a few changes in the magazine itself, most notably is the way the lines and paragraphs are formatted, hope this makes things easier to both read and process (for me web site editor as well). Thanks to each and every one of you who kept up with us even through the minimal advertising. If ANY of you have any suggestions as to how to improve this little 'zine of mine, please let me know! Keep those letters, demos, email messages and the like coming! Please also make sure you take the time to listen to the classics soundfiles series, we spent a lot of time trying to track down some good ones for you, and please email or write us and let us know if you liked them or not! The address once again is:

Vibrations of Doom Magazine
c/o Steven Cannon
1133 East 53rd Street
Savannah, Georgia 31404 USA

mail address? It's:

Round 2, go 'head!



Time foe anotha letters page! Lots of the letters I got were off the 'net, but hey! It's the mass mailing invention of the century!

From: Fernando (

Hi Steven! I'm Fernando from Argentina and I love your magazine, but I can't download it 100% I think it's because the bad speed I have :< Please can you send me this (issue #12 - Ed.) via email? I have an internet page about King Diamond and Mercyful Fate if you like to see it it's at:

Steven: Hey dude! Glad to see readers in different corners of the globe. Makes me wonder just how many readers we DO have world wide! Send me your email no matter WHERE you come from and I'll try and reply to each and every one of you (though as I get more and more mail, I can't always guarantee replies in the letters page.) Anyone that has problems getting issues of the magazine can ALWAYS send me email and I'll do my best to zip it off to you!

From: CUE Records NL (

After reviewing your site I've decided it's not useful for us to send you promo's. What I saw in my brief visit was more heavy metal type of music then electronic. Unfortunately I have no time to read all past issues so I propose you email some relevant issues and maybe I'll change my mind.

Steven: Isn't this interesting. I recently ran into this web site dedicated to techno and electronic music, and I can't see how he missed ANY issue not having ANYTHING on techno, ambient, industrial, or electronic based music! As many of you know, and have seen, though we are ardent metal fanatics around here (with one exception) we also try to remain openminded when it comes to music. I would hope a label such as this, even being underground as it is, would understand the thought of being open minded. Surely, when we started out we were strictly a metal 'zine, but we realized that there is SO many diverse and different styles of music in the world that many people have never heard that we decided we had to branch out and explore new realms. While many of you are or have been listening strictly to one style, we hope that we can open your minds AND ears to new possibilities.

From: Joe Adams (

Hello. I am a friend with the guys of Malhavoc when I used to live in Buffalo, but now I live in the Atlanta area. I have the Malhavoc web site information, but it is still under construction, the address is:

There are 7 mp3 files for the new album which is in a new vein... Sorta techno but with a James touch. As for concert footage, I own NONE. James always said he'd make me some videos to keep, because if you look in "Get Down" I am in the credits as part of the Malhavoc family. Unfortunately things are up in the air right now.

Steven: Thanks for the info. Actually, Fierce Recordings stated in one of their letters that a new Malhavoc album was due out around summer of last year, so it's good to see that this new album is getting ready to be finished. I was also told that I would get some concert footage from James of Malhavoc, but he never came through. Must be a busy guy! Malhavoc live is truly an experience from what I have been told. Now if we can just get them to come down here!

From: gojira@UWYO.EDU (Patrick Moore)

Would you know where I might be able to find anything put out by the Los Angeles based death metal band Catalepsy or how I could get in contact with them?

Steven: It's funny, I can't remember if they were on Dwell Records' CD comp. "Heralds of Oblivion Volume 1" or not... Since I no longer have it. Anyway, I'll look into it for you, and if anyone else out there knows anything, please drop either me or Patrick a line. In the meantime, check out the Ultimate Band List (keyword search) and I have seen a couple of other links for bands with web pages.

From: "Vinyl Revival" (

Hi there! I've got a website up called Vinyl Revival - Turntable Performance Products. Vinyl Revival is a one-stop shop for record lovers. It features a Turntable Setup FAQ and a complete line of essential phono accessories including cartridges, alignment tools, cleaning supplies, suspension enhancements and more. Individual product pages include complete descriptions and technical papers on the various playback problems they address. The main focvs of the products offered is a comprehensive strategy of eliminating sources of feedback and distortion, achieving an extraordinary level of sound quality for a relatively minor investment. The site can be found at

Hey, thanks for the info. Lots of us still have classic releases on vinyl that may never be released on CD, so for those of you who want to preserve your vinyl, might want to check out this site!

From: Mike G. (

Hey Steven! Cool site and 'zine, I'm still new on the internet and recently surfed into your site and read through it. For 90's music I'm mostly into Progressive rock, doom, and the rare 90's bands with an old school sound. I've found about 80 percent of the best bands are expensive import CD releases which is very frustrating. It would be sad if I'm not the first one to answer your question (referring to the contest I ran last issue - Ed.) but not as ridiculous as my STILL not having "Cult of One" now that the new Whiplash CD is out! The 90's U.S. metal scene is frustrating! 'Last Nail in the Coffin' is from "Ticket to Mayhem." I bought their 1984 second demo "Thunderstruck" from them in 84, and if you have a good size video and/or audio collection give me an email if you'd like to do a few trades.

Well, it's official! Since no one else bothered to take the time to send a reply, Mike won this relatively simple contest and got his choice of two promo CD's from my vast collection (I sent quite a long list for him to pick from!) We may run another contest next month, and we're also thinking about running a video tape traders section IF I can get enough responses for it! The U.S. metal scene IS rather disappointing, and it's mostly from people that don't want to get involved! So get off your ass and DO something for the scene! Metal will die if we don't support the faith!


ABOMINANT "Unspeakable Horrors" (Wild Rags Records) SCORE: 94/100

WOW! This four piece hailing from Kentucky absolutely shred! These guys have the most amazing ability to blaze out ripping death solos, brutal fast drum beats, then with barely a second lapse slow it down to the extreme! Vocal wise, Mike Barnes has about 4 or 5 different voice styles, and all are very brutal! They have quite a lot of complex pieces, and my favorite tracks like 'Lost,' 'The Ecstasy of Sufferance' and 'Corrupting Morality' show a group with LOTS of promise. While some may see this as nothing overtly new, I see a release that shows amazing tightness, brutality, and the ability for each member to compose and arrange their pieces in great form. The only complaint I really had was with the last song, which had a few weak spots vocal wise, and 'Child of the Sky' had wierd acoustic arrangements. Explosive, powerful, the way a brutal album should be written, this kinda came out of nowhere and struck me senseless!

CHRIST ANALOGUE "In Radiant Decay" (Re-Constriction Records) SCORE: 43/100

I had heard a lot about this band from Todd and Gilbert of local Savannah band Vault Point Nine, but after listening to this CD I'm left with a rather disappointed feeling. First of all, their music is industrial with a minimal guitar influence, though it is there and quite heavy on tracks like 'This Shall Not Breathe,' 'No Daughter Icon,' and 'Cold Magnetic Sun,' the formula of aggressive vocals with some singing parts and some melodic passages just does not work for this album. Let's take it like this: I REALLY only liked about 3 songs on here, and parts of others, but the singing vocals didn't always sound right. Some of the instrumentation with the synths sounded a bit wierd, and on 'Rigor' I'm not sure WHAT they were trying to do. I can really understand their not wanting to rely on guitars for the heavier sounds, but their overall playing and vocal mix just didn't work out. Even on 'This Shall Not...' I couldn't get into their singing style. While I see potential there, I feel that something was amiss when recording this.

FLOWER KINGS "Back in the World of Adventures" (Foxtrot) SCORE: 90/100

Okay, so there are a LOT of you who talk about the brutal death metal bands with opera singers, and black metal bands that use keyboards and synthesizers, but you know this is nothing really new, in fact progressive rock brought a LOT of this into the metal community. Which is why it was very fitting to introduce to you all a very cool, very intense progressive rock masterpiece band from Sweden. And yes, Darxtar is from Sweden too, but The Flower Kings have not much to do with the space rock scene, save for the use of keyboards. Their musicianship is extremely top notch, check out their many instrumentals, most noted is the track 'Atomic Prince.' It's got keyboards, but also has some very intense and kick ass guitar riffs! My only complaint with the CD was the chorus lines on 'My Cosmic Lover' AND their slight tendency to get a little wierd on the instrumentation, but I cannot deny that there is so much intense and beautiful instrumentation throughout. Their title track 'World of Adventures' has the lines "We're children of the Woodstock nation" so you kind of get the idea of the type of vibes that are present in this recording. It's fairytale type on this one. 'Go West Judas' was to me a little TOO heavy for the rest of the type of music on the CD, but there are some great guitar riffs presented here too. 'Temple of the Snakes' was another great instrumental as well, using beautiful pan flute style notes set against an eerie backdrop. Also have to admit, that is one COOL painting that graces the cover of the CD! For those of you who want to hear good progressive rock, this is it, although I must say that some songs are LONG, a couple dip into the 13 minute range, but Flower Kings have a way of making one song sound like two or three, especially with their complex and very varied structures!

FRACTURE "Killernet" (Pendragon/Off Beat Records) SCORE: 68/100

Pendragon has been licensing some stuff from German based Off Beat Records lately, and this is a group based out of London, England. First off, the CD cover is quite evil looking, it's a picture of a bunch of computers with wires snaking out in the air and morphing into a wicked looking snake with jaws wide open and huge fangs bared! This CD was not quite what I expected, especially when I keep going back to listen to 'Programmed for Hell,' which is one of the most evil, dark, and brutal industrial pieces I have heard in quite some time! Even the lyrics on this one are scary: 'Electric wires are digging deep within a web of fire spreading poison sin.' The vocals are wicked, and there are some guitar pieces in this song that are waay vicious! Unfortunately, with the exception of maybe some snippets of songs and the song 'Comatose,' I think they lost a LOT of focus here, even though some tunes may make okay club pieces, they lose a LOT of that brutal vicious feel on the rest of the album. The guitars even got a little annoying on 'Downtown,' and 'Never Forgive,' where they were played it seems like on the last three strings, you know, the high notes area. The vocals were cool though, and even whispered on 'Terror Eyes,' which threw me for a loop with some melancholic atmosphere, interlaid with some pretty ambient pieces. That was kinda startling after hearing 'Programmed for Hell.' Their electro-work was quite good, though they can seemingly alter the mood, they should try and stay more focused. On 'Never Forgive' they repeat lyric lines a bit TOO much, they also did that on 'Programmed...' though it didn't matter there with all the other cool stuff going on. Not terribly bad, but they need to be able to layer the sounds, feelings, and atmospherics a little better.

FUNKER VOGT "Thanks for Nothing" (Metropolis Records) SCORE: 93/100

Though this reminds me a bit of heavier Front Line Assembly at times, I must say that it is quite danceable, and vocals that are quite brutal! Some that find industrial a bit too dancey may find that this disc holds many harsh and brutal moments! My favorite track here was 'The Land of Milk and Honey,' which shows them slowing the pace down a bit and using very sinister and deep distorted vocal pieces inlaid with death march style drums and wicked electro pieces. 'Remember Childhood' was also in this vein, but on the other end of the spectrum, 'Suspended Animation' has some nice ambient landscapes inbetween the harshness of the vocals and heavy beats. Lots of songs are good club pieces, harsh and heavy, and the lack of guitars in their repertoire will please the industrial heads who hate the six stringed instruments. The only downsides were 'This Circle' and 'Alone,' which were okay but not nearly as dynamic as the rest of the pieces. This is a Zoth Ommog license, one of many new signings the German label has been looking into. Future reviews will see more of the Zoth crew signings to Metropolis.

GEEZER "Black Science" (TVT Records) SCORE: 68/100

I had to admit I was a little skeptical at the announcement of Burton Bell's departure from the vox department of this, but let me say that the addition of Clark Brown was a very good choice on this record, because his singing voice fits this style better than Burton Bell in some ways. His screams and yells are VERY intense, unfortunately sometimes his voice is the only real highlight of the whole album. They utilize slower, creepier and haunting melodies on this newest release, which doesn't always work for some of the songs. However, there are some real gems on here, especially the almost death like growls which he displays on 'Area Code 51,' and his vocals were a real treat on songs that had good guitar work, like 'Number 5,' 'Has To Be,' and 'Xodiak.' 'Xodiak' was interesting for the melding of some slight techno beats with a thrashier set of riffs, and his vocal range is something to be noted. The opening track is reminiscent of some alternative style and that is kind of the problem, this record doesn't mix the heavy guitar sound with the slower paced pieces too well, and when they do, it is often just average. Though the lyrics to 'Unspeakable Elvis' were trippy, the song was a little wierd. 'Northern Wisdom' sounded too much like a very BAD attempt at progressive metal, but overall I saw some good work here, they just need to consolidate their sound and focus on one particular direction. Many will probably find lots of their material has appeal, though I only counted about half the CD was really good, the rest had some good passages and some rather bad work. Don't forget to check out 'Trinity Road,' which is probably the heaviest and fastest cut on here, I tell you that as a vocalist Clark is one to watch out for!

GROINCHURN "Sixtimesnine" (Marbil Entertainment) SCORE: 76/100

Many of you may remember the demo I reviewed of this kick ass grindcore style band from South Africa. Mark, the guitarist of Groinchurn, also produced this album and runs his own record label, Marbil Entertainment. This time around, it's a blistering grindcore assault once again, but tracks like 'Alien,' 'The Illusion of Free Will' and others show that they are willing to slow it down a bit and mix fast paced grindcore with some headbanging brutal chops. Most of the songs are no longer than 3 minutes, but they do vary things a bit from track to track. The lyrics are a trip as well, especially on 'The Answer is 42,' and 'Nothing to Say.' They're obviously having fun with this, and I was tripping out on the three and four different vocal styles they do, and yes they do that dual screeching vox thing quite frequently; on 'Alien' they have an insane wierd voice I've never heard before! 'Nothing Much to Say,' though, did run a little long, and some of the riffs were okay. It's quite brutal, not a perfect release but it definitely kept my interest! Even if you're not a grindcore fan you'll love the intensity of this project!

HAMMERFALL "Glory to the Brave" (Nuclear Blast Records) SCORE: 96/100

Hammerfall. Whatever images you may conjure up from the title are probably right on. I tend to think of it as a cross between Manowar style metal and a definite power metal influence, with just a touch of Bathory with the chorus lines and medieval/viking imagery. For those of you who are more commercially inclined, just think of an Iron Maiden/Fates Warning/progressive power metal outfit sound, but heavier! :> There are so many tracks to rave about, however my personal favorites were 'Stone Cold' (Joacim's vocals are VERY powerful at their peak on these chorus lines) and 'Hammerfall' with the Bathory male viking sounding chorus lines. VERY cool, and those guitar solos on many tracks shows a lot of chord changes! The guitar riffs are very well done, I thought I heard a little Running Wild influence on 'The Metal Age.' I can't complain too much, but I must say the one ballad 'I Believe' threw me a little on the vocal department, but otherwise a VERY strong release, and quite different from what Nuclear Blast usually puts out, but as you will soon see this is not the ONLY departure from Nuclear Blasts' usual brutality. VERY good release, and with the supposed resurrection of metal, maybe this release will get more attention than one would think. By the way, I must highly praise the Iron Maiden cover of 'Child of the Damned,' which shows yet again the GREAT vocal range of Joacim!

IKON "Flowers For the Gathering" (Metropolis Records) SCORE: 73/100

From deep down under (Australia) comes this three piece who play gothic that has a rather emotional lyrical edge. The combination of electrical and acoustic guitars, mixed with keyboards and a vocalist who is quite different from any other gothic band I've ever heard makes for interesting listening. Though the lyrics are heartfelt and emotional, the instrumentation doesn't always reflect the deep sentiments that Michael tries to convey, and that is a little bit of the problem here. 'Camouflage Heart' was one of my favorite tracks, especially where the lyrics are concerned, and 'Call of Despair' had more dynamic electric guitar pieces. Some of the chorus lines on a few tracks, most notably 'On the Trail of Tears' and 'Life Without End' were hard to get used to, but for the most part Ikon shows a bit of promise. I actually liked lots of what I heard; while it isn't great it IS listenable, and I could actually play most of the CD if under the right influence. Others may find this a bit more enjoyable. As far as I know, this is the first gothic release on Metropolis.

IRON LUNG CORP. "Big Shiny Spears" (Re-Constriction Records) SCORE: 43/100

This side project of members of Acumen and Clay People leaves me wondering just WHAT they intended to do with this collaboration! They utilize some choppy and at times thrashy guitars, which are noted on 'Pretty (Like a Porn Star)' and 'Crobar America.' However, sometimes even the guitars can't save the rather bizarre way that they mix the techno sounds and the vocals which are harsh in some places but sung rather wierdly in others. 'Sick' was a rather bland end piece, but did have some cool sounds and interesting beats! Even on 'Crobar America' which I did like, the heaviness was not consistent, but the extreme highlight of the disc was 'Join in the Murderous Chant,' which is actually two tracks, ripping, kick ass covers of Nitzer Ebb songs 'Join in the Chant' and 'Murderous,' just imagine Nitzer Ebb with brutal guitars! This could have had much potential, but I will keep this for the ripping Nitzer Ebb covers which went over VERY well at a local club here in Savannah!

JUNO REACTOR "Bible of Dreams" (Wax Trax/TVT Records) SCORE: 72/100

Juno Reactor has made a transition from Cleopatra Records over to Wax Trax, and in my honest opinion their newest release is not quite as good as their previous work "Beyond the Infinite." The CD starts off with 'Jardin de Cecile' which is light, atmospheric, quite dreamy and trippy with midtempo beats. 'Conga Fury' had tribal drums, which are used quite a bit throughout the disc, and also quite beautiful female vocals. Then my alltime favorite track, 'God is God,' is quite intense, with heavy short bass drops, tribal female vocals (which did get a tad annoying on a few places), cool lyric samples and very hevay instrumentation! A few of these tracks would make good dance floor hits, but unfortunately, their material gets rather substandard up until the end of the disc. The bonus track 'High Energy Protons' was a high energy techno piece and quite enjoyable. One of the other interesting things was on the track 'Swamp Thing' where they used a bit of New Orleans' style blues guitar, complete with the slide style playing ala Robert Johnson! They do show a neat ability to mix different styles and sounds, but most pieces were rather average and didn't really move me much. They weren't terrible, just average. Some may find this disc more intense than I did, but what I liked I really enjoyed.

LEAETHER STRIP "Self Inflicted" (Cleopatra Records) SCORE: 96/100

DAMN! I was quite disappointed with "Legacy of Hate and Lust," but this album showcases Claus' maturity level along with the same dark and dreary industrial influences we all know and love. The disc starts off brutally with 'Hate Me,' which has killer lyrics and very harsh distorted vocals! The main thing that is noticeable on here is Claus' use of beautiful ambient landscapes and nice synth pieces inlaid with heavy, harsh beats and that vocal style we all know and love! 'Coming up For Air' is very unusual: It starts out with flutes and breaks down into a Nine Inch Nails style (from their first album) slow dance piece, Claus even sounds like Trent in spots! Of course, Trent could never have done this so well! There's so many good tracks I don't really know what to point out, but 'Showroom Dummies' is about the heaviest along with the first track, and that has a startling contrast of light and dark sounds. The X Files theme was a dark and eerie version of the TV show song, which they should think about scrapping in favor of Claus' version! 'Are We The Sinners' showcases Claus' vocals at nearly a whisper and is a very emotional track, this album is quite a surprising piece and shows that Mr. Larsen is a master at evoking various moods within the industrial realm through his synthesizers and drum beats. DO NOT ignore this album!

LIVING SACRIFICE "Reborn" (Tooth and Nail Records) SCORE: 99/100

Okay, before you are wondering just WHY this album rated so high, I have only one word to say: CONSISTENCY!! This album kicks ass from track 1 all the way to the end! They are utilizing a different vocalist this time around, they do a hardcore influence vocal wise, and very, VERY slight industrial tinges as well. Their guitar riffs are what REALLY grabbed me the most, all these songs (with the exception of 'Awakening,' which had some good riffs but not as consistent as the rest of the album) had riffs that just didn't let up! 'Sellout' started off with a killer acoustic passage like they did on "Nonexistent," then it just ripped right into a killer double bass pattern with some intense riffage! Maximum cranium crusher here, I can listen to the whole album all the way through, heck, maybe I should have given this album a 100!!

MALEVOLENT CREATION "In Cold Blood" (Pavement Music) SCORE: 83/100

This was kindly handed to me by Malevolent Creation themselves when they came to Savannah. Touted by the band as their sickest and heaviest yet, I have to say that for the most part, this is more speed oriented than the last full length "Eternal." Lyrics this time around deal with lots of hatred for various types of people, especially racists, narcotics abusers, hypocritical christians and the like. The drumming ability of Derik is simply phenomenal, and there are even some slower pieces on tracks like 'In Cold Blood,' and 'Leech,' though they are not presented very often. Jason's vocals are very heavy as well, he even does some dual style vox, utilizing a screeching Lee Dorrian type effect, though not very often. My one complaint was that many of the songs' beginnings tend to sound alike, after all, the blazing speed does tend to bring one to that conclusion, however it is apparent that the album is a vicious masterpiece, even if the lyrics on 'Leech' did seem a little silly. A vicious album, even the guitar work on pieces like 'Vision of Malice' and '7' (written in roman numeral style, apparently the song lyrics deal with the seven deadly sins) are quite interesting in their own right.

NILE "Festivals of Atonement" (Anubis Records) SCORE: 83/100

The black hand of Set reaches down and touches the skulls of these South Carolina minions, bidding them to spread the darkness envisioned by the ancient Egyptian gods. Basically a very creative death metal outfit with dual style vocals that could only be described as the darkness and anger of the ancient gods themselves! There are lots of fast paced riffs throughout the disc, and their drummer is quite a speed demon throughout! I recently had the chance to see them live, though they were missing their Egyptian ambient sounds. The lyrics are waaay cool as well, and the whole CD (for the most part) reeks of darkness, ungodly power, and is very unique! The lyrics especially are very innovative, dealing with all things Egyptian. High points of the disc were the tribal drums and flute pieces inlaid with some kick ass guitar riffs on 'Wrought', though a couple of songs were a little long. This band still has a little work to do on perfecting the Egyptian sound into their death metal music, but I must say I was impressed at the way they put everything together! The music is very brutal, so fans of diehard death should find this to be quite a powerhouse, though the slow parts on the last track 'Extinct' may be difficult to grasp for some. They have a new record that should probably be out by the time you read this, on Visceral Productions. (Actually, we have an interview with them in this issue! - Ed.)

OLD MAN'S CHILD "Born of the Flickering" (Century Media) SCORE: 85/100

These black metallers go back to the roots--a few keyboards and effects, some grinding beats, and pure thrash! This is purely evident in 'Christian Death.' The power and majesty that the band puts in this song is incredible, with pounding drums and hefty guitars that take us back to days of old. The vocals vary a little on this CD, from death metal growls and black metal screams to gothic moans for the blood curdling fear that they intend to put into our hearts. The title track utilizes a collage of grinding blasts of drums, gothic orchestrations, and thrash--the one thing that keeps this band very unique. 'King of the Dark Ages' is very similar in its elements, but is even more brutal, and had me banging my head from the very beginning! Many other tracks on the CD grind with some pretty hefty beats, one of the many strong points of the CD! The only complaints I have about this CD is that some of it is pretty similar (well, a lot of other bands are, but I've had experience where thrash can get kinda monotonous), and it could have been a little heavier throughout; a little more bass and crunching guitars in there. I think a little of it was the production; a CD like this would be superior with the production emphasis on the heaviness. But ignore this, meditate on the darkness present as we relive the glory days of thrash!
-- Review by Chris J. Waters --

SIX FEET UNDER "Warpath" (Metal Blade Records) SCORE: 51/100

I REALLY wanted to like this disc, especially after the waaay cool interview we ran this issue! Many people say "Well, it's Cannibal Corpse's old vocalist mixed with slow Obituary style guitars." I tried to be a bit more open minded than that, but unfortunately most of the songs tend to have the same set of riffs and vocal patterns getting over-repetitive, and there really isn't a whole lot to some of these songs. I like Chris's vocals though, his Carcass style screeching has grown on me, but his vocals were REALLY bad on '4:20,' a song that I had to admit was cool the way it was written. Lyrically there are some rather twisted themes, but there are also some insightful and thought provoking topics especially in 'Caged and Disgraced' and 'A Journey Into Darkness.' The lead guitar work is quite killer as well, and 'Revenge of the Zombie' was quite a brutal piece! Some other songs I probably would have liked even more had they thrown a bit more variety into the mix, and on some lyrics that were repeated quite a bit, Chris could have varied his vocal style a bit better. It's not terrible, but it just didn't sit really well with me. The cover tune 'Death or Glory' was also pretty intense and I enjoyed that piece too.

TESTAMENT "Demonic" (Mayhem/Fierce Recordings) SCORE: 91/100

Those of you, like myself, that have been disappointed by Testament's releases after "The Legacy" have no reason to be upset by the change in direction they present on "Demonic." And, yes, Chuck Billy has added extremely low death metal growls to his vocal repertoire, BUT, the thrashy headbanging kick ass guitar riffs are present in abundance! A song like 'John Doe,' however, keeps the style of old school Testament, it's not ENTIRELY death metal growls here, there is a good variety. 'Distorted Lives,' 'Jun-Jun' and 'Murky Waters' are great examples of tracks that are written well musicianship wise, worthy of attention for those into both death AND thrash metal! 'Hatred's Rise' has lyrics that reminds me of "The Legacy" album topics, and 'Murky Waters' gets very eerie when they slow down the pace. On the downside, what was the point of the very short 'Nostrovia,' and 'New Eyes of Old' didn't really do much for me. Also, 'Ten Thousand Thrones' had a rather different sound guitar wise, but for the most part the rhythm guitar parts were dynamic, the leads and lead solos blazing, thrashy and tight, and with Gene's drumming abilities (his last recording for Testament, as he is now in Strapping Young Lad) this album should be not be left unnoticed!

THRILL KILL KULT "A Crime For All Seasons" (Red Ant Records) SCORE: 29/100

I didn't feel like writing My Life With... so I shortened it. And the only crime I can see is anyone buying into this. First off, the song titles are pretty lame, sorry guys. I was so looking forward to this after so many years, I was willing to forgive song titles like 'Sexy Sucker,' 'Mr. & Mrs. Bottomless Pit' and 'Fangs of Love.' It sounds to me like they spent too much time doing bad drugs and something is definitely off here. Only 'Feel the Bite' is anywhere near redemption, and that's because it's kinda mellow, has some nice guitar riffs, and there is mostly female vocals. The regular singer (I don't even know his name, like it matters. The vocalist they use now is obviously NOT the same one that was on "Confessions of a Knife.") gets VERY annoying with his silly lyrics and even the instrumentation sounded really drugged out. 'Yesterday's Void' was okay, but most of this crap sounds quite bad, I think they should have taken more time to put together a solid record. I will ALWAYS prefer "Confessions of a Knife" over this any day. This even makes their first record look REAL good ("I See Good Spirits and I See Bad Spirits" it was called and there were only a few good tracks on that!)

TIAMAT "A Deeper Kind of Slumber" (Century Media Records) SCORE: 97/100

WOW! Tiamat has progressed into a Pink Floyd'ish type of sound, but they do it in a rather different way. There are SO many beautiful tracks on this I really don't know where to begin. 'Teonanacatl' was the first song that started out with the slow, dreamy pace, though the lyrics on this were a little unusual: "You can stay at my place if you want, I'll sleep on the floor?" Small complaint really. This is yet another CD I can trip to, ranks right up there with Hawkwind, Hacienda, Darxtar and the like. 'Four Leary Biscuits' was probably my least favorite track, though there was some good instrumentation there, especially with the flutes, it was just a little too off kilter for my taste. However, the last six tracks on this disc were just more than perfect! 'Kite,' a short two minute piece, had just breathtakingly beautiful ambient notes, that Kenny G style horn playing swept over an ambient landscape was unreal, too bad it was only 2 minutes long! Johan's vocals fit really well with this style, he has almost completely gotten away from the death metal style and I believe is actually starting to sound like Pink Floyd's vocalist! 'Only In My Tears it Lasts' reminds me a LOT of P.F.'s 'Learning to Fly,' especially with the tribal drums at the beginning. HIGHLY recommended! What more can I say?

ULVER "The Madrigal of Night" (Century Media Records) SCORE: 34/100

For those not in the know, a Madrigal is a composition piece for several voices set to a short secular poem (NONE of these "songs" were very short - Ed.) Well, there is ONE screaming voice that does not vary at all, and I can't seem to understand the words to this "poem" about a wolf. I was not impressed by this CD because it came across to me as almost pure noise. (Yeah, but just listen to stuff like Merzbow, Namanax, and stuff like that, THEN tell me what sounds like noise! - Ed. again!) It was all extremely fast and very, very underproduced; sounds like this thing was originally recorded slow and put in a high speed dubber. I must admit, the guitars were okay, but their playing speeds never changed. They were always hyper speed and kind of high pitched. I could hardly hear the drums except when they were going super fast, which was basically throughout the whole CD (and the drums would be like a faint blurring noise). There was a Spanish guitar piece in 'Wolf and Fear,' but it never fit in with the rest of the song. There were also some eerie sounding preludes to each song, but they weren't that impressive. The only song that somewhat caught my interest was 'Wolf and the Night' because of a few keyboard notes and guitar screeches. Other than that, they need a lot of improvement. And what's with the "wolf" thing? (Um, like every song? - Ed.)
-- Review by Chris J. Waters --

VARATHRON "Genesis of Apocryphal Desire" (Cursed Productions) SCORE: 47/100

This CD contains their two demos "Procreation of the Unaltered Evil" and, obviously, "Genesis of Apocryphal Desire." There are also some unreleased tracks, which in my opinion is their best material on the CD. The first two tracks are not very good, in fact they are both taken from their first demo "Procreation..." which was done WAAAAAY back in 1989. The most unusual thing about the first two tracks is the vocal style, especially on the echo effects, sounds to me like swamp gurgling! Hehe. Anyway, on their second demo, they do show the ability to write fast and slow songs, 'La Reine Noir,' and 'Genesis of Apocryphal Desire' were quite good, but a lot of their material really didn't do much for me. The two unreleased tracks (besides 'Great Seal of Graal' which is significantly older) are 'The Mystic Papyrus' and 'Deep Beneath an Ancient Domain' and have better sounding guitars and vocals. They are classified as Black Metal though for the most part they sound like a death metal band. I haven't heard any other material, this is really my first exposure to their works even though I have heard OF "His Majesty at the Swamp" or something to that effect. Only a few tracks I could really get into, and considering that this is older material, maybe I'd like some of their more recent stuff. (The two unreleased tracks are from '93 and '95, respectively.)

VARIOUS ARTISTS "A Black Mark Tribute" (Black Mark Records) SCORE: 81/100

THIS is a rather interesting "tribute" album. There's covers of pop songs, techno songs, 70's and 80's hard rock and metal songs, and a punk song! The best cut on here was Soulquake Systems guitar ripping version of Prodigy's 'Firestarter,' and I didn't even like Soulquake's last album! Bathory's version of 'Ace of Spades' was most noteworthy for the viking style he used, complete with male viking vocals in between the chorus lines! Though it was slowed down quite a bit, it did run a little too long, but was very original for a cover! Tad Morose surprised the hell out of me with a ripping cover of one of my favorite metal bands from days ago: Savatage's 'Power of the Night' and lemme tell ya Tad's vocalist does a hell of a good job vox wise! Corporal Punishment's cover of 'It's a Sin,' an old Pet Shop Boys song had a rather gothic/metal twist to it complete with Type O style deep vocals and it even gets heavy and thrashy on the guitars! For you death metal fans, Necrophobic did a cool cover of Autopsy's 'Ridden With Disease,' I mean come on, do you think Necrophobic in all their evilness could do anything else? For all the innovation and originality, though, there were some weak points, most notably Divine Sin's 'Eternal Dark,' which was originally done by Picture, who I can only assume from what I've heard was a glam metal style band. Hexenhaus' version of 'War' was nothing special either, their vocalist got annoying at times, as did the vocalist of Morgana Lefay, though they pulled off a BIG surprise by performing Kiss' 'Parasite...' but in a TECHNO style! WOW! Morgana Lefay is NOTHING to do with techno, but they made it sound quite good! So what does that mean for M.L.'s next album? Hmmm... A good compilation from a label that I thought would NEVER be able to pull this off, but it just goes to show that even the mighty Black Mark can experiment with the musical spectrum...

VARIOUS ARTISTS "Sci-Fi Cafe" (Hypnotic/Cleopatra Records) SCORE: 87/100

A rather interesting idea, techno and industrial bands get together to do covers of TV theme songs! Believe it or not, this is not an entirely new idea, some years back The Jams did 'Doctorin' The Tardis' based on Doctor Who, and Orion did a ripping dance floor version of the Star Trek theme song. Which reminds me of Astralasia's version of Doctor Who, which is faster paced with some trippy trance sounds and Dalek voice samples. It's good but the Jams' version is better. And, Loop Guru's version of Star Trek has nice ambience inlaid over heavy jungle beats. It was rather interesting, though it did get a little strange in parts. Leaether Strip's version of the X-Files theme was just brilliant, adding a dark and haunting presence that seemed to be missing from the original version (It also appears on his full length CD reviewed elsewhere in this issue). LCD's version of 'Independence Day' was the worst cut on here, which really surprised me because I like so much of what they do. I also think they missed the point of this compilation, adding their own voice samples which got very annoying and over-repetitive. Pressurehed's version of Lost in Space was great, even though I don't remember the theme song sounding like that, but then again all I remember was the theme from the older black and white episodes. Download's 'Ode to Rollerblade' was quite bad as well, the vocal samples were quite dumb and the instrumentation was wierd. The other Star Trek cover was the doomsday theme, not sure from where, done by Information Society. This piece is quite different as it is more symphonic and not really a danceable techno piece, however it is a pretty sinister piece! One of my other favorite tracks is 'Dune, the Prophecy Theme' done by Electric Skychurch, and even though I wasn't too impressed by their last release, this track is quite beautiful, filled with wonderful ambient textures and a soothing, yet relaxing female vocalist! Quite a winner here, and some tunes would make good club pieces!

VARIOUS ARTISTS "Theme: Desire" (Beautiful Records) SCORE: 66/100

I'm not sure what the real "theme" of this CD was, but suffice it to say it has an interesting mix of bands both signed and unsigned who release ambient noise, slight gothic, and electro touches. The CD starts off beautifully with Caul's 'The Garden,' a tune featuring beautiful male and female church style choir vocals, nice acoustic guitars, and light bell notes! Very relaxing and hypnotic! The other standout tracks are The Changelings 'The Pomegranate,' a 48 second piece featuring beautiful but haunting female vocals, and the best track on here is Jarboe's 'Everything for Maria,' utilizing beautiful female sung vocals, electro tinged acoustic guitars, a gothic touch, and they're even from Atlanta! Estraya's 'Caterpillar Butterfly' was pretty as well, but overall there were some rather wierd and unusual "pieces," they weren't really songs as much as they were ambient landscapes, or light noise pieces. Like 'Delphinium Blue' by Mandible Chatter: This exemplified most of what the other tracks sounded like, and it seemed like some pieces were rather simple and needed more feeling and instrumentation. The exception was C17H19NO3, the brainchild of John Bergin who we featured in a past issue, his track 'Skin' was rather devoid and mildly serene, I actually questioned his presence on such a compilation due to his usual harsh and brutal sounds, but the track 'Sanctity' was quite surprising due to nice flute sounds, good atmospherics, and a few more piano and symphonic sounds! Partial proceeds from this sale go to AIDS research and patient care, so if you're looking for some unusual etherial, ambient, and gothic styles, you may find that most of these tracks might be up your alley. There's 15 tracks, which should be something presented for everyone.


HANZEL UND GRETYL. Interview with Vas via telephone.

Though many industrial bands deal with heavy guitars and synthesizers, these spaced out pioneers deal more with a mixture of Hawkwind/Darxtar style space rock and industrial than anything else. Their newest release "Transmissions from Uranus" is a heavy, kick ass, ORIGINAL type of sound, going so far as to use tribal/jungle beats, soundtrack samples, and unusually heavy atmospheres! They started back in 93 actually, after what Vas explains as her whole dissatisfaction with the music industry: "Loopy and I were in other bands doing other music, and we hated that whole scene because people were so aloof and not into the music, more into their drug scenes and their wierd mental problems, so we said let's find machines and do our own music and not have to depend on other people to do music for us. Our demo ''Kinder Music'' is what got us signed to Energy Records, who snapped us up immediately. We got a band together after we made our first record and toured with Marilyn Manson of all things! Then we did ''Transmissions...'' and are touring with Sister Machine Gun for that."

Their first record "Ausgeflippt" is a bit different from their newest release, but there are a few reasons behind that, one of which was previously mentioned, so listen to Vaas and she'll tell you what went on: "Our first record was just Loopy and I in the studio with our machines, we didn't have a live band at that time, so we didn't have that energy, making us more ambient and experimental. After we'd been on tour and we had a band and everything, we decided to kick more ass musically! More danceable, more guitar oriented material was what we went after. We're heavily influenced by heavy guitars and some jungle and drum and bass music, stuff we have heard in clubs though none of us listen to any industrial music. We like to blend the two styles a bit with the heavy guitars. Jungle is cool, though, but a whole night of it really gets annoying, however we like to take the elements of all different styles of music and just throw it into a big pot and mix it all together." Their album is now in heavy rotation at Club One here in Savannah, most notably the track "Pleidian Agenda."

Going back to some of the lyrical topics for "Transmissions..." was a fun question to play with, and Vaas tried to fill me in on things she finds interesting: "My lyrical influences come mainly from the many books I read about dark, futuristic topics. I'm very intrigued by unexplained phenomenon in the universe. Like in the year 2012 everything will change, the whole solar system will go into the photon band and all the energies of the Earth will change. There will be three days of darkness, catastrophies will happen on Earth, lots of people will die. You will have to prepare yourself spiritually to deal with these things; supposedly, these are prophecies. Some of this is biblically based, but the Mayan calendar has these things prophesied as such. Also a lot of channelers have seen these events when they channel, and there's a lot of books written about these things. Scientists have even said that the Earth is moving in this direction itself. Who knows what will happen really, we're just going to have to wait and see. Some books I have read are like ''The Pleidian Agenda'' by Barbara Clow, which basically explains everything; it's her channeled information which is all history, all biblical, all astrology based. You take this book and want to throw it against the wall because you can't believe you're reading this! It really hit me hard. Since I've been on the road I've run into many people who have read this book, and it surprises me because the book is rather hard to come by, you can only get it in certain new age book stores. Another book I read is ''You are Becoming a Galactic Human,'' I'm not sure who wrote it, then there is ''Genesis Revisited'' which is very scientific and it explains the beginnings of the solar system, it mentions Sumerian prophecies and things that are happening now and in the future." Mentioning the Sumerian culture got me to talking about Tiamat, the dragon, who Vas mentions: "Tiamat was the name of the old Earth! I just read a book about that a few weeks ago, we write a song dealing with that, and then I opened up Alternative Press and I see a band mentioned in there by that name! That was a bit strange for me!" I then proceeded to mention that though they were black metal, then atmospheric death metal, they totally evolved into a Pink Floyd'ish type of sound (see the review and digi sound clips elsewhere this issue - Ed.) "I think everyone should evolve and learn and continue on with life and stuff. That's so cool and interesting to me, that's why everyone's becoming so aware of this stuff little by little. One thing leads to another and then we're all knowing about these ancient, futuristic events that are happening, it's down to the whole consciousness of the Earth."

Live, Hanzel Und Gretyl is quite impressive; their stage show consists of a big spaceship, cool lights, and Kuba and Luba, their friends from outer space! "We are a four piece on stage: I play guitars and sing, Loopy plays guitar and is in charge of the sounds and samples that we put on the DAT tape and play those live. Gingerbread plays bass and Seven does the drums. We're able to pull off ALL the sounds and samples live, and we just add a live presence to that, so it sounds SO much heavier and is much more powerful than the record could ever be!" Quite a bold statement considering the record is very heavy and brutal! They are also getting ready to do a third album, which is said to be a little more experimental than "Transmissions..." probably more club worthy since they are doing their own remixes and as I was talking to them, they were actually in the studio as I spoke to them and were recording an EP which should see the light of day around the end of the year. My last question for them was were they into any of the psychedelic space rock I grew to love, like Darxtar, Hawkwind and the like, and Vas relates a rather interesting, yet sad, story: "I LOVE Hawkwind. It's kinda bumming me out too, because Hawkwind is playing in New York in a couple of weeks and they wanted US to open for them! They thought we were the perfect band in New York City to do the tour with them, but we had to turn down the tour because we had to do the CMJ thing seven days after that, and we're in the middle of mixing things and we also had to rehearse for our tour. Check THIS out: Lemmy is going to be playing with them on the tour!" Trippy news from one of my favorite bands! I told them also about Darxtar and the Flower Kings, hopefully when they tour again I will try and present them with some tapes of this stuff, in the meantime they will be touring up until the end of the year, so go and check them out, they're REALLY heavy live!

NILE. Email interview with Karl Sanders via email

Many of my loyal readers may remember the Anubian Lights CD review we did some issues ago, and from that have gathered that I am very much into Egyptian culture and influences, so when I heard about a band that mixes death metal style playing (see the review of their "Festivals of Atonement" CD this issue) with Egyptian ambience and Egyptian styled lyrics, you know I tried my best to seek this out! I saw them play in Atlanta with Incantation and their brutal heaviness was quite astounding! Having their start like damn near any other band of their caliber, Karl remarks: "Pete and I played in several bands together when we met Chief in 1993. After an initial period of conceptual indecision, we settled on the Egyptian Death Metal theme and put out ''Festivals of Atonement.'' Then we did the ''Ramses Bringer of War'' demo which did very well and let to the deal with Craig and Visceral Productions. ''Festivals...'' got a mixed response; some people picked up on what we were trying to do, and others were I suppose willing to give it a fair review. But the ''Ramses...'' demo has been knocking everyone on their asses! Marco called it ''stupefyingly brutal'' and I have heard similar comments from others." Of course, I was curious as to how extensive their knowledge of Egyptian lore and culture was, to which Karl replied: "We are all amateur Egyptology buffs. I had always been fascinated by both the Egyptian and Sumerian cultures and had been wanting to combine that with my love of Metal and epic soundtrack film scores. I have piles of books and spend quite a bit of my time doing research for song ideas. Musically I recently was turned onto Trial of the Bow and Disembowelment. Godly stuff! I listen to authentic Middle Eastern and African stuff - like the Toraia Orchestra, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the Burundi Drummers, The Gyuto Monks of Tibet, Ravi Shankar, Dead Can Dance, SPK, and even Peter Gabriel (?!?!)"

Even though the "Festivals of Atonement" CD is pretty old, they DO have a new CD about to be out (It's probably out now by the time ya read this) and it is said by Karl to be light years above and beyond their two previous works. I'll let him explain: "It's 11 songs, and nothing will prepare you for it. It's very precise and very fast. There are perhaps a few bands on the planet that are maybe a little faster but we chose to stay within the range of what we could cleanly execute. We tried to really pay attention to cleanliness of execution so that listeners could actually HEAR what we were doing. Mixed in with the furious blasting and riffing of ''Nephren-Ka'' we have a whole bunch of Middle Eastern and Tibetan influences. There are obvious sections where we actually used those sounds as well as a subtle approach incorporated where the death riffs on electric guitar are actually made of stuff I have ''borrowed'' directly from Middle Eastern and African musicae! So if you REALLY scrutinize the new CD, I think this combination approach makes for a more valid conceptual blending. On the other hand, it could just be all the stuff I listen to getting jumbled up in my brain and coming out in my writing. There's enough going on musically with ''Nephren-Ka'' that even if you don't like all the ancient sounding stuff, you will still be entertained by the sheer musical variety that we try to include within our framework. Of course too, the main difference between any of our earlier recordings and this one is the obvious musical growth for this one, but also we changed studios for the new album. The Sound Lab where ''Nephren-Ka'' was done is a fully automated 24 track digital studio where as ''Festivals...'' and ''Ramses'' were done on 16 track analog. (WOW!) We used the exact same guitar and the exact same Marshall, same drum kit and everything, but the digital stuff just doesn't mush out when you are really blasting away. Also, trying to mix a song like 'Wrought' was a nightmare with only 16 tracks (From ''Festivals...'') That song really called for at least 32 and that would have still been recording several different instruments on one track." So I wanted more detail on the new album, as Karl hadn't yet touched on the intricacies of each track. Details, man! I want details! This is the album I'm going to be drooling over waiting for it to hit my mailbox! Fortunately Karl didn't make me wonder too much: "Okay, for instance, 'Stones of Sorrow' is this HUGE epic slave rebellion song. It is ultra Roman-army-assembling-for-battle orchestrated and moves into a double bass driven doom section and then builds into a furiously heavy instrumental section where I am screaming a chapter from the Book of the Dead. Then it moves through an exquisitely heavy and sorrowful guitar solo and ends with a section I can only describe as the ''UNDEAD USHABTI'' (caps are HIS.) section. There are assorted little instrumental bits spliced through the record where we incorporated other stuff as well but we paid particular attention to the pacing and focus. By that I mean we had definite ideas that this was an album that should raise blisters on people's ears with speed and intensity! As much as I love floating off into ambient bliss on clouds of Eastern Opium delusions of musical fantasy, we wanted to really slay people with intensity the first time out. We are saving some of our slower more unearthly exotic stuff for the next album when perhaps people have had a chance to see what we can do and are more willing to accept more experimentation from Nile. Some song titles from the forthcoming release are 'Smashing the Antiu,' 'Barra Edinazzu,' 'Kudurru Maqlu,' 'Serpent Headed Mask,' 'Ramses Bringer of War,' 'Die Rache Krieg Lied der Assyriche,' 'The Howling of the Jinn,' 'Pestilence and Iniquity,' 'The Opening of the Mouth,' and 'Beneath Eternal Oceans of Sand.'

Yes, they DO incorporate more than just the guitars, and as we close this interview out, I'd like to say that live I heard some of the Egyptian guitar sounds, but no other type of instrumentation. There is a reason for that, some of which was explained above, but Karl further elaborates on this and their touring situation: "The reality is, when you're an opening act (which they HAVE been for the most part) with limited soundcheck and only a brief set time allowed, especially like on the Deicide or Broken Hope shows, it is completely inappropriate to try and put on a full blown ethno ambient dreamscape sound collage. It is time for carnage! People are there for the most part for some sonic butchery. Everytime we tried to pull out all the ethnic instrumentation on these larger shows people would stop moshing and just go 'duh?' so now we only play our full set when we are the headliner and have enough time to stretch out the pace. On record we mix it up about 50/50 between synths and real instruments. Pete is Lebanese so we have access to his family's assortment of antique authentic Lebanese instruments. Stuff like the oud, tamburas, dumbek, duduk, thrumbekki, shekere and lots of other things I can barely pronounce! But that stuff rarely ever goes out of his house. To expand upon the touring thing, we have been doing mainly regional shows (they are from South Carolina) with the occasional spurt of opening slots for national acts. We are trying to find a way to get over to Europe in 1997 or early 98 but hell, our record hasn't even been released yet and we are still relatively unknown and as yet unproven. We'll have to see what we can make happen!"

SIX FEET UNDER. Interview with Chris Barnes

What started out as a side project between members of Obituary and Cannibal Corpse has now grown into a full fledged outfit, with lead vocalist Chris Barnes doing the killer screams he was noted for on Cannibal Corpse releases. Commenting on the reason behind his departure from Cannibal, Chris states: "I was in the studio with Cannibal, and they wanted to go in a different direction from what I wanted. We didn't see eye to eye anymore, and I don't keep in touch with them anymore. I wish I could have finished the last Cannibal record, I wrote some pretty good stuff. They actually redid the whole album." I enjoyed the last C.C. album "The Bleeding," for the slower parts were extremely heavy. So to me it seemed like a natural progression for many of the bands involved, Cannibal, Monstrosity, and Six Feet Under all benefitted from the lineup changes in my opinion.

Commenting on the state of death metal today, Chris thinks that "Basically death metal has gotten kinda boring. A lot of stuff is just monotonous, with the same old bands doing the blast beats, the production sounds the same no matter who does it. Most people aren't interested in writing things that they like, they just write for a category of music, things that they think people will like. Six Feet Under will take music one step at a time, and evolve as we go along."

The new album "Warpath," which should be out by the time you read this, is very good at portraying quite a bit of diversity and intelligence especially where the lyrics are concerned. "Basically," Chris explains, "the outline of a lot of the songs on the record touch upon the fact that we have basically lost a lot of our own personal freedoms and human rights that were guaranteed at birth from our first breath of air. We've traded those freedoms and personal choices for modern day conveniences. It's like a brainwashing of society to think and act a certain way, a lot of that was brought about by the Catholic Church or Christianity that spread into politics. Politicians saw how well the Bible worked as a propaganda device so the government started using their own versions of brainwashing techniques. We've all been hit by this mass hysteria and we haven't really opened our ears up to hear it. A lot of the lyrics are my anger at what this society has become, it's gotten pretty crazy!" Seeing a lot of injustices in history, he sees, as I do, that Christianity has done a lot more harm than good: "I think it was invented to keep the masses under control, to keep them revolting against the people in the minority, that is the people with money. It keeps the people down. It's unbelievable that people still buy into it in this day and age, and what's even sadder is that "Christians" (quotes are MINE - Ed.) persecute other types of spirituality in this country. This country was supposedly built on Christian ideals but in reality it was set up by wealthy landowners that escaped Europe and basically perpetuated that same lifestyle as they did in Europe. I don't think this was ever a free country, I mean after all we came here and started murdering the native people right away. Politics and religion, in my opinion, go against human nature and has caused more death than it has good in people's lives."

We started talking about the song '4:20' off the new album, which is about pot, believe it or not! It was a trip for me to see a band finally do a song with this title, which is best explained by Chris this way: "I haven't written one song without using marijuana! I use it as a spiritual means, and also it's a medicinal thing for me too, I use it to help me with my asthma. It's definitely helped me a great deal, and is a very big part of my life. Through the song 4:20, the number is adopted from a police code meaning there is marijuana smoking in progress, and we made the song exactly 4 minutes and 20 seconds, we also recorded it on Cannabis New Year April 20th. On the bigger picture, though, the song is saying you have to let go of your perceptions. It's like what you've been told about things isn't necessarily true because you really don't know where that information originally came from and what the original reason was for putting that information out. Like now it's common knowledge, but for a long time people didn't know that George Washington, the father of our country, grew hemp out in his fields! Isn't that a trip. Many countries were built on weed and some are starting to grow it now. Lots of things are happening that the government doesn't tell us."

This reminds me of the movie "Murder at 1600," where there was SO much information being kept from the homicide D.C. detective played by Wesley Snipes, information which went back all the way to the era of George Washington! So how corrupt IS our government? "There's a book," adds Chris, "by Nome Komsky (unsure of the spelling - Ed.) who exposes some government scams and internal government coverups. He basically says that any accountant can tell you the numbers don't add up for as much taxes as people pay to the government. In the 1930's, income taxes were set up to help fund the war effort and nothing else, but they kept the taxation policies in effect to fund the New World Order, which they set up after World War II so they could set up industry in other parts of the world they helped destroy. Through the federal income tax and all other taxes we have been brainwashed into thinking we need all these conveniences and big government to run things for us. In effect the N.W.O. is a unilateral police force that is basically going to dictate every countries way of life in the near future. They effectively demonstrated their power with the whole situation in Waco, Texas. What people need to do is start thinking about this stuff for like 5 minutes out of the day, and realize that we don't need to waste our time and money for someone else. Population control is something else people don't think about, like these 'incurable diseases,' Aids and what not that are killing people off. The government hasn't told us the truth about Aids, and a lot of things, hell even the stuff we eat is poisonous! Chickens that normally take 1 year to mature are being matured in 6 months by pumping hormones and chemicals into them! When asked why they haven't allowed chickens to mature fully, they say that chickens develop cancerous tumours after a year, so we've been eating cancerous chickens?!?" Getting back to pot, we share the vision that there are other uses for Cannabis besides just to smoke it. There's lots of other uses for the plant, and it is just a PLANT, okay? Chris agrees: "Look at wheat for instance. One small aspect of wheat is to get grain to ferment to make alcohol for men to drink, but we still grow wheat because we know there is still a thousand other uses for the goddamn plant, like cereals and stuff. So how is that hypocrisy, how does that make sense and how do people still let stuff like that go on?"

Furthermore, I noted to Chris that we've tried to argue the points that if you smoke weed and drive a car it's a lot safer for the population than if you are totally bombed out of your skull on alcohol. Yet they still let the alcohol thing go (prohibition be damned). I guess the government is making so much money off of alcohol that they don't want to stop it. Chris' reply? "Well, they do it for a reason, the same reason they still allow cigarettes to be sold for so many years. It's population control is what it is. They know we're becoming overpopulated, they have to guarantee that 150 to 200 thousand people die each year due to alcohol and tobacco. They can't sit in front of bars and wait for people to walk out and then pull them over for D.U.I., because they want people to kill themselves, kill other people or at least get a chance to, just because they have to look at the big picture. There's a whole other viewpoint back there that no-one really looks at because they're scammed into forgetting about the big picture and having that carrot dangling in front of their faces."

We got into several other topics about corruption and governmental screwups, like the 12 police officers in Savannah arrested for actually carrying and distributing drugs, and more things about which the government hides from it's people. Needless to say, it was one of the most interesting conversations I've ever done for an interview, so if any of this has you intrigued yet, go pick up the new Six Feet Under album and check out what all Chris has to say! He IS a bit open minded, and actually admits to liking the old Prodigy stuff, especially that painting on the inside cover where one of the ravers extends a finger to the English police! A few other notes about the album, before we wrap up, according to Chris: "We recorded the album back in April and May of this year, and worked with Bill Metoyer and Brian Slagel. It was done in Tampa at Morrisound studios. We worked really hard, did some different techniques, and it sounds really good, we're really proud of it!" They plan on touring for the new record very soon, once the album has been in distribution for awhile, so do yourself a favor and go check them out!

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD. Interview with Devin IN HIS VAN in Atlanta.

Six people in a van. Seven weeks on the road. Cramped conditions, driving all the way DOWN from Canada, armed with only a Playstation and a burning desire to kick ass and take names. Devin Townsend is a man on a mission, and bringing his all out crazed assault of burning metal tinged industrial noise is not something EVERYONE can handle. He runs the risk of alienating people, losing fans, and generating poor responses from people who came out to the concerts he has been playing to see Testament. Nevertheless, for those in attendance at the Masquerade in Atlanta, people were stunned at the sheer over the top brutality, speed and hatred fueled aggression that is Strapping Young Lad. "City" is the atomic fuel that puts S.Y.L into overdrive, and as related by Devin, "It was recorded under a different set of circumstances than our first release. The first record was more or less me coming out of all my side projects up to that point, the rock stuff, and contending with all the emotions that I was feeling. I was originally signed to a project called Noise Scapes which was signed to Relativity Records before I ever did the Steve Vai thing. That was essentially a combination of the emotions of S.Y.L and the other project of mine entitled Ocean Machine. The project was dropped by Relativity because they said it was too schizophrenic. I can assure you though that I don't write the music in accordance to 'what should I be writing this time,' or 'what should I do as a continuation of the last record.' The first record was ("Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing" - Ed.) more of a total rage piece, while ''City'' was more of dealing with the questions I had when I was having to contend with myself BY myself, as opposed to being under the jurisdiction of the people I was employed by. Compared to the first one, I'd say ''City'' is a pretty dark record, more concise and much bolder, but now I can't relate to either."

Before we dissect their newest work of art, I had to mention what a cool and laid back guy Devin was, it's quite a contrast to the psychotic angst filled rage that is seething from stage corner to stage corner at their show. And their lyrics ARE an issue, especially with the overt use of many four letter words, so I had to ask how he felt about the PMRC, the whole parental advisory sticker issue, and censorship in general. His reply was not quite what I had expected: "First of all," Devin declares, "let me be VERY clear about this, I could not care any less about who buys my records, about who WANTS to buy my records, or who comes to see the show. We as a band could care less, actually writing these lyrics is really just a release for myself, sort of like my science experiment. The profanity is what I say when I was in that head space. If it doesn't want to get released, and the people aren't into it, I've got other things to worry about. My rent is 800 dollars a month, so it's really irrelevant. Lyrically, though, everything that Strapping deals with is positive, I'm trying to reinforce the idea of ''I'm sick of you perpetuating the idea that yes, I am a victim. MTV tells me I'm a victim so yes I am a victim. Give me a hand to hold onto and I'll stagger around blindly accepting the fact that I'm from Generation X and I'm screwed.'' However naive I was when I was writing the lyrics, all the issues I deal with for Strapping are NOT offensive in the least in my mind. Yeah, I use TONS of profanity, BUT it's because I was angry when writing. The issues, though, I'm not saying be irrational, I'm not saying go out and do drugs, I'm monogamous in a relationship and willing to deal with the responsibility of what I do; the whole point is that it's me going, Geez, you're such a fool, you're all idiots, get it together, it's as simple as that. As far as kids not having access to music they may like, I did when I was a kid. My parents didn't let me have Running Wild and WASP CD's but you get them, if someone really wants it they will get ahold of it. Maybe when they get older they can get it, and parents won't stop them if they really want it, they can't stop their kids from doing drugs and having sex with their classmates. It all depends on how badly you want it."

Devin wraps things up by telling us his future plans for his band and side projects, including his Ocean Machine project. "Ocean Machine," Devin reveals, "will be coming out soon, we start working on it when we get back from our tour of Australia. It's going to be released on my own label, it WON'T be out on century Media because I have a nonexclusive contract with them. This means basically that I can do whatever else I want to do above and beyond Strapping, as long as it doesn't interfere with S.Y.L. stylistically, and Ocean Machine is quite different from S.Y.L. in many respects. The only problem I am having right now is trying to find someone in America to release the Ocean Machine project, though I do have distribution for it through Sony and Virgin in Japan. Strapping Young Lad will be working on a third record, which I will start writing in January, and it should be ready by April. We're doing this big gig in Japan around December, which will see Strapping opening up for Ocean Machine! We'll be doing some Australian dates which is kinda their version of the Lollapalooza tour, and we're also playing the Dynamo." Finally, for those who haven't heard yet, Gene Hoglan is now a solid member of S.Y.L., as you may know he was in Testament previously, and everyone seems to be cool with it. Jed, their guitar player, also played guitars for Front Line Assembly during their F.L.A./Die Krupps tour!

THE MISFITS. Interview with Jerry and Michael at the Masquerade in Atlanta.

Armed with a new album "American Psycho," a new record label, and a do it yourself attitude that has put them in the spotlight, The Misfits are back and better than ever! Jerry gives us some insight as to how the process worked for the recording of the new album and how things go these days: "Everyone collaborated for the writing of this album, plain and simple. That's the strongest thing we can say about ''American Psycho'' right now, I mean you have 18 songs that are quite different throughout, it's not the same repetitive crap from song to song. It's got many fresh and innovative ideas, and then Michael comes down with some new twists for a particular track and we would add to that mix, making it even better than it would have been if it was just Michael writing material. That's one thing we really didn't have with Glenn, and it's not that we didn't want to work it that way, but we were doing our jobs and Glenn was writing material while we were out financing the band. After we got our name back in 95, after long court proceedings, we decided to quit our jobs and put full time into the band, to us THIS was our fulltime job. ''American Psycho'' was developed after two months of solid songwriting, and we feel that our number one rule should be that every album has to get better. This next album will probably take about four months to write and will be twice as good as this one!"

Michael's vocals are quite good for the new album, and everything seemed to have gotten better this time around. Michael states that he had never heard any Misfits music before he joined the band, citing his influences as early Danzig music, Guns 'N' Roses, Skid Row, etc. which actually worked out better in Jerry's opinion: "We realized that we were doing the Misfits without Glenn due to Glenn's sudden uprise in popularity. So when we started looking for a new singer, we didn't want someone who resembled Glenn or even sounded like him. We weren't trying to reproduce 1977, we were trying to do a Misfits for 1997. The equipment is better, artwork, production, and even our songwriting IS better, since it's a group effort. We did the best job we possibly could, so you can either take it or leave it! People come to our shows who have been into the band for nearly 20 years, and for every old fan we lose we gain like 10 more. We have a democratic vote on material with the whole group, so every person in this band has input, and I can't stress that enough. Like the guys who produced the album, Danny Ray and Michael Alago from Geffen Records, would sit down with us every Thursday afternoon and set up conferences where we would go over every line of lyric and every song and every riff for like two months to get everything together. We went through this album with a fine tooth comb and really took our time, a luxury that we never really had before."

I wanted to take some time out to address issues that had been raised where the Misfits Bible is concerned. Jerry isn't too keen right now on the way the whole internet situation has gone, and for those fo you not in the know, the Misfits Bible is supposed to be THE fan base for the Misfits. Michael hates the Internet, and Jerry will tell us what has transpired with the web site devoted to fans, most of them bordering on fanatical status: "When the internet first came along, we were very open minded about it, and wanted to get into it. People vent a lot of anger, and argue whether Glenn went to photography school or not, and call each other names over whether he did or didn't. It has really no bearing on anything that's ever happened or will happen in the world. Michael was doing all our email for us, basically kissing people's asses, and being way cool because he could type and knew computers! And people were giving him crap! So I'm sitting there reading hours of email from people giving Michael crap about this and that, and it's like ''What is this? Don't you have anything better to do? Go mow the lawn, go ride a bike!'' On the positive side, though, we were getting like 100 emails a day, and of course the Fiend Club membership is free, it's ALWAYS been free. Mark Kennedy runs the Bible out of the University of Virginia, and he does a GREAT job for us, it's like a job and a half. The site looks great, the source of info is great, and he does buffer all the bad messages and mail; the only thing that comes to us is something important, like people want something signed or they need to put people on the list for a show. We put up notices when we were doing shows in Europe, telling people that if you're on the Misfits Bible, come down to the show and we'll put you on the list for free, just do a show review for us. We had people on damn near every stop of the tour sitting on the front steps saying ''Hi I'm from the bible.'' People back home were well informed about what went on at every show, and it was great! We actually gave the new Earth A.D. shirts to the internet people as gifts for coming down to the shows and helping us out, so they were the only people in Europe who had these shirts, as they weren't out in the States yet. In that way I like it, they come down and introduce themselves and they relay information into it. It's a sad thing that every time we stuck our noses into the internet scene there was always someone there to punch it, but in reality the internet is a very deadly weapon." Or a powerful tool, as we have seen.

The song "Dig up Her Bones" has seen rotation on 120 minutes here in the States, and they have other offers as well. As some of you may know by now, their song "Mars Attacks" didn't quite make it into the movie of the same name, which Jerry now suggest might have really been a blessing in disguise: "I feel that even though it was a great song for the movie, the fact that it actually didn't make the movie may have been good for us, as people would have said that since it was a hit with Tim Burton (the director of ''Mars Attacks'' - Ed.) that is what gave us all the hype and publicity for our release, they would have said that our movie song was what got us our contract with Geffen Records. Now for our second album, Wes Craven calls us up and says that he wants to use ''Dig up Her Bones'' in Witchmaster, actually he wants to use footage from the video (which was unfinished at the time of this interview - Ed. again) and so we told him we will re-edit it for his movie. He told us he was also doing Scream II. We played a killer show with Megadeth in Seattle, which was great, and sitting in the parking lot of a truck stop we started playing around with a new song, which will be entitled Scream II. So basically we have our new hit song for the second record which isn't even finished yet! Now we have to write all the rest of the songs, but so far I have a few things written which might see release. Doctor Chud has a song called Spider Baby which we really like and also has done a Jeckyll and Hyde song which is really cool. When we find a good song and we can give it a name that matches a movie we'll do it. Michael wrote ''This Island Earth'' which was actually named ''Planet Earth'' and we changed the title because of that movie. Michael wrote ''American Psycho'' a week before the album was recorded, and wrote ''Dig Up Her Bones'' when he was 14 years old! We had to bring the lyrics up to speed a bit, but I mean this guy writes the song that is the pick off the album after we've been working for 20 years and he wrote it when he was so young! So I feel that Michael more than fills the shoes of Glenn, and everyone else just rose to the occasion. Our new album I feel is our best album, and the only record I feel that even comes close to it is ''Walk Among Us,'' BUT the packaging and production is so much better, that it doesn't even come close to our new one. This is what everyone needed to see to believe that we were for real." Finally I might mention that the Misfits have been put out in front of everyone's faces, so even bigger name acts like Megadeth and Sick of it All have been touring with these guys. They are totally cool, totally do it yourself, they have NO booking agency and no tour manager you have to go through to get things done, when you want an interview or backstage or photo passes, you speak directly with the band. Not only do I admire that, it's one of the most honest and direct ways of dealing with the relationship between press and the bigger than life status most bands seem to project, so if you have any other reason to check the band out, at least understand that they, like myself, believe in the strength and integrity of the music first and foremost, and the best way to get your message across is to put it directly in front of the people without hiding behind others. Enough said, here's one fan waiting for their next album to be unleashed upon the world!


Okay, well the first thing everyone may have noticed is the absence of the Noteworthy Items section. We may bring this back next issue, it's just that there was SO much stuff I wanted to put in this issue, I felt it would have been better to do a bigger N.I. section next issue. Besides, I wanted to have the magazine start running more interviews and record reviews. Also I'd like to say that I am starting to service a LOT more labels that I initially got ahold of off the internet through email correspondence; you all are seeing that starting with this issue right here!

The web site may also have, and it will be finalized hopefully in the next month or two, a lyrics page for a lot of classic albums! We thought this would be a neat addition to other lyrics servers that don't really have the rare and obscure albums by Tank, Running Wild, Agent Steel, Liege Lord, Onslaught, and other classic slabs of metal. It'll probably end up being really big, and if people like it we'll more than likely include lyric sheets from other genres of music, I just hope we can find the space for it all! Besides, how many of you have cassette copies of old school albums you can't find anymore? Wouldn't you like to know what the bands are singing about? I have quite a lyric collection right now, so look for that to be finalized in the next month or so. We're also thinking of starting up a separate page which will be kinda like a dedication to mellower types of music, stuff you can listen to while "under the influence," if you know what I mean! There has been some wonderful music written while under the influence of marijuana or other type of substances, and this page will be rather detailed and the sound clips will be longer, in fact they may include entire songs for your ultimate relaxed, listening pleasure! We want to know what YOU would like to see most, so please keep those letters (snail and email) coming!

The letters page is doing well, though it's rather slow going, we are hoping more people will get involved. Thanks once again goes out to Megan and Chris, my web page manager and designer respectively. Chris Waters, my best friend and reviewer who is now up in Atlanta at college and is sorely missed by many people, all the bands, record labels, clubs, and friends I've met in various cities who support, respect and appreciate what I do, and most importantly, YOU who took the time to read this magazine and send me your feedback, YOU are the reason why I will try my best to keep this thing going! Also, a very, VERY special thanks to Patricia Saunders, the one person in this town who has been able to keep me on track and help me get it together, I love ya baby!! Until next issue, Adios!

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