Saturday, 18 November 2017

REVIEW


DOBHAR CHU-GLANAIDE LOUGH CS
Obscure and mysterious entity Dobhar Chu return with a second tape of utterly depraved and demented BM filth. While the first tape was a DIY piece of rot dubbed over a Bill Cosby stand up piece (as a side note, I was pretty enthralled in ol' Mr Cosby's routine as it unfolded itself on the B-side, he sounded quite fuckin drunk and had a natural story telling ability in his delivery, in-spite of all his flaws which surfaced later) this second tape leaves behind the instrumental ambience of the first and instead places the jackboot firmly over the throat and pushes down.

Both sonically and visually lifting from traditional BM outta Poland and Norway respectively, Dobhar Chu's approach is caustic and forward propelling. The drum machine being programmed by a psychopath gives this recording a truly unhinged and degenerate feel, at times it is so fast that it feels like a blur of broken rusted metal and snake hiss chants fed through an echo chamber. When this fucker kicks into gear though, it sounds like perfect, inbred BM played by a loner who grew up listening to way too much Ildjarn and Forbidden Citadel of Spirits.

Titles such as "Hymns to the Legions of the Horned One" will give you an insight into the avenue Dobhar Chu heads down, and while I may subscribe to no religious agenda myself, I tend to prefer it when BM of this ilk explicitly does. Artistically you would expect no less from a tape that is presented in such a way as this one is, and Dobhar Chu do not let you down.


DOBHAR CHU INTERVIEW WILL APPEAR HERE SHORTLY


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

REVIEW


BASILICA-"INFINITE REGRET" CS
Sir Jacob Hellas from Wasted Paper Zine/Malphas turns his hand at downtempo, waste trodden ambient. I was expecting this to be slightly more pride filled and overflowing with Canadian sympathies due to J. Hellas's body of work so far, instead we are dragged through something that Posh Isolation could have released back when they were still relevant to the underground. This is two tracks or outwards thinking astral plane wandering dirge. Fenriz's Neptune Towers project is actually the most apt comparison I can think of right now, although the Bondage themed artwork juxtaposed against mind bending magic eye cubes and mathematical equations offer insight that perhaps there is more going on here thematically than one might first assume.

The beauty of ambient as meandering as this is that you the listener can imprint whatever impression you want on it, Jacob surely had some design in mind while concocting this one freezing Canadian night, but beyond the song titles "Infinite Regret I" and "Infinite Regret II" and a few seemingly unrelated tid-bits inside the layout, the rest is left up to you. Such disregard can be dangerous and strangely liberating I imagine, allowing others to look at your work and make of it as they will, no statements or manifestos, just an obscure line such as "do Angels ever cut themselves shaving" allows ones mind to wander, tripping the light fantastic only coming to rest as the harsh sound of the tape player cutting off jars you back into reality as the piece runs its course. This really is music to get lost in. 

Saturday, 11 November 2017

SACRAMENCE-CREMATIONS 2 X CS


SACRAMENCE-CREMATIONS 2XCS
Sacramence’s output has been quite varied to date, this is a project that has been released on labels as disparate as Knife Vision (a label best known for blown out BM) and Clan Destine records (a label that pumps out Mixtapes like it’s 1984 again) Despite all this, don’t think that Sacramence isn’t focused, far from it. To me this project reflects quite accurately the underground DIY ethos that exists in 2017 and due to that it will impact listeners in varying ways and with differing effects. The underground right now is a confusing, bewildering and all-consuming place, one where you can get easily disenchanted and lose your way, or even worse blindly fall in line with every single thing you are fed. Initially, I paid very little attention to Sacramence, to me they were simply yet another one-man project that may have played Deathrock/Dark-Wave/Black Metal or Post Punk, descriptions of their releases did little to sway my indifference and it wasn’t until it was cheaper to add their “Lovers Seek Dominance” tape to my Youth Attack order than it was to leave it in the store for the vultures that I started to pay attention. I then read the interview in Nokturnal Subjugation zine, this piece stood out starkly among the other bands featured in this issue, I found myself enthralled and often noticed his opinions and feelings reflecting some of my own, I realized then that I had fucked up by skipping over this project. This wasn’t some by-the-numbers vanity effort, the themes were rooted in deep thought, gnostic contemplation and astral meandering. I was intrigued.
“Cremations” is Sacremance’s latest album and will see release courtesy of the Found Remains label on December 15.  The double tape is split up with the first cassette featuring the “Cremations” Full Length while the second tape houses remixes, B-sides and live stuff. I am not usually in need of extra bits such as outtakes or extended additions, I would rather buy a cheap Death Metal album on CD than grab the die-hard gatefold remastered edition on 180gram vinyl or some shit. That being said, I like the notion of including these extra pieces here, they don’t come across as self-indulgent or unnecessary, the eccentricity of the artist sharing ideas is the theme at play here, but more on that tape shortly. 
“Cremations” starts off as one would hope, with a project such as this you are not always sure what you will be met with, I found the deep trance inducing nature of the intro to “Machtpolitik!” enough to intrigue me and ask questions of what will confront me next. The success of Sacramence here is that without you realizing it, deadened, hollow vocals are chanting hymns of broken hopes and dreams and you can’t put your finger on the exact moment they begun, it is that dream like quality that captures you and pulls you in deeper as each song progresses. “Cremations” works as a whole, as well as in individual songs and that is no small feat. There are moments of EBM sleaze coupled together with Dark-Wave woe, Sacramence’s wet, moisture soaked nights of debauchery intermingle effortlessly with pitch black mourning and loss resulting in a strangely romantic yet ultimately hopeless recording that echoes those feelings experienced in times of great flux. There is an undeniable pop sensibility across “Cremations”, and by that, I mean that at times you find yourself completely caught up in a moment, be it the refrain found in the opener that exists as a point of reference while the song seemingly degenerates into disgust before capitulating into a brief gabba styled frenzy, or the lost and distant “Coronation” that utilizes lo-fi depression in a similar way to the better tracks from the “(Strange Songs) in the Dark” album from Merchandise. This is an outsiders view of pop music, one that is derived from feeling utterly useless when hearing a song about love on the radio due to recently losing it as opposed to embracing such a moment due to an act of familiarity and relating to such events. This leads us perfectly into the highlight of “Cremations” the aptly titled “Modern Love” which opens up the B side, this claustrophobic frenzy of a track fuses together those vastly differing sounds once perfected by Tollund Men and Lust For Youth into a singular song of hopeless devotion to that which will ultimately bring about our downfall. Along the way tracks such as “Solstice” or “Crooked Police” operate on another level altogether, offering respite through moments of reflection in what is otherwise a reasonably heady mix of modern electronic mastery.
This leads us into Tape 2. Ever since Today is the Day unloaded the epic “Sadness Will Prevail” double LP I have developed the mindset that an outing of this format can and should be listened to on separate occasions. Double Tapes (or LP’s/CD’s) are too much to compartmentalize in one sitting, especially in this ADHD existence. Tape 2 doesn’t feel like an “Extras” tape thrown in for the sake of it, the tracks here, even when previously heard on the first tape, offer further insight into Sacramence’s worldview and approach going forward. I am yet to fully appreciate the Techno universe and the punk undergrounds embracing of it, but I see merit in the repetitious throbbing thrust of such dance edits existing and while I still think the actual full-length “Cremations” stands proudly on its own, I am reminded here on Tape 2 about those times spent listening to Wumpscut on the car stereo and the deep sense of disturbance I felt hurtling along a lonely highway in the dead of the night.
“Cremations” is a perfect foray into the dank underground of electronic projects. These 2 tapes showcase a burgeoning spirit and go to great efforts to traverse the vast landscape that has been laid out before its arrival. Offering a unique and individual take on this is near impossible at this stage, and while Sacramence may not have reinvented any wheels, they have certainly commandeered the vehicle and turned it down a path into the strangely disturbing and downright unnerving with this blend of crushed, romantically disintegrated electronic music. Highly Recommended.

BUY HERE (DECEMBER 15)

LISTEN HERE






Monday, 6 November 2017

REVIEW


ROBBER-S/T LP

Things I have heard about Martin Bryant

1-He drowned his father in the family dam.

2-While sitting in the passenger side of a car he was known to lean across and pull on the steering wheel. This is how the person he inherited money from (as well as the house seen in the above photo) died.

3-He used to show pornography to his next door neighbours kids when they visited.

4-He permanently bolted a surfboard to the roof of his yellow Volvo to look like an avid surfer.

5-He planned to carry out his attack on the ferry that went to the Isle of the Dead, but a parking attendant at Port Arthur told him to move his car, and while doing so the ferry left without him.

6-Visitors to Port Arthur thought that when Bryant was shooting the shit out of the Broad Arrow Café it was actually some sort of display or attraction being held by the site, and they ran towards it to take part in the event.

7-There was a second shooter.

8-The Government bought refrigerated trucks just a few weeks prior to the attack, the same refrigerated trucks were used to transport the bodies of Bryant's victims.

9-My mum called me out into the backyard to look at the helicopters flying over-head, we didn't know at the time there was bullet riddled victims of a mass shooting inside of them.

10-He chased two sisters out of the Port Arthur carpark and into the surrounding bush. While they were hiding behind a tree he snuck up and shot one, letting the other one live. Cold fucker.

11-One victim inside the Broad Arrow café pulled his now fiancé's (he had proposed to her that day) lifeless corpse on top of himself to hide from Bryant's onslaught.

12-Tasmanian police responsible for this area were attending a drug tip off (one of the first of its kind for that particular area) which turned out to be a hoax, resulting in the longer than usual response time to the attack.

13-A trained police sniper in the unit camped out around the hotel Bryant holed himself up in, had his sights lined up on Martin as his scorched and burnt body exited the hotel. Little did he know that family members of his were killed in the mass shooting, he missed his one chance to exact revenge.

14-This is Australia's worst mass murder in History.

15-Robber sound like all of the above and more. This LP is pure Australiana, the malice, the murder, the fuck-ups, the loners, the degenerates and the deros.

(the above statements may not represent actual facts and should not be taken as gospel)

REVIEW


SMUT ODE-ZINE
Years ago I occasionally worked in Launceston (which is basically the more bogan, scum fuck part of Tasmania, up the Northern end of the state, roughly a 2 hour drive from where I live) On these trips I would get put up in a hotel, and nights were spent either watching horrible commercial TV or reading even more horrible magazines (Terrorrizer)

I knew of this 24 hour Fish and Chip shop that also sold porn magazines, it was a bit of a trek, but on one particular night it seemed worth it, I had probably been away for a few days at this stage. I set out around 9pm. I got lost along the way somewhere, but I did find it eventually. Unfortunately, on this night the counter was manned by a young lady, probably a bit rough around the edges too, so I felt a bit sheepish buying my stick mag from her instead of a bloke, but after a quick cursory glance at their extensive selection I grabbed one that I knew featured penetration (SWANK) and with minimal eye contact the deed was done.

Smut Ode reminds me very much of the disappointment and frustration I felt when I returned to my room that night to discover that all the juicy (literally) parts had been covered up by small (or sometimes ridiculously large) black stickers. The anticipation I had built up while stumbling home was fucking ruined by having to painstakingly peel off these surprisingly hardy black dots. I briefly wondered which poor censorship board cunt had the job of placing them over each point of entry (and quickly realised it was more likely an underpaid foreigner who had that task). 

The thing is, Smut Ode is an art zine, so the blanking out of extremities is no doubt there to incite this type of reaction, and for that it is a glaring success. This is a look into the world of glitzy porn advertising, reminding me of those silky smooth photo-shopped bodies that adorn printed publications opposed to the worn out and fatigued carcasses that are spread across online hubs. Those days before iPhone porn were certainly something and Smut Ode pays homage to this.







Saturday, 4 November 2017

ULTRAS INTERVIEW


D&O- tell us about the origins of Ultras?

JACK- The origins of Ultras begins back in late 2014 when me and Dustin met at a show in San Antonio where his band Daz and the Dogs was playing. I was in the Army and stationed at Fort Hood at the time, and I heard that there was a skin there who was also a soldier stationed on Fort Hood. Well we hit it off, and ended up hangin with each other in the barracks back on base. We would usually get drunk, play records and chain smoke. We both appreciated the fact that we had similar tastes, wanted to blast loud Oi, and get off base as much as possible to go wild on the weekends. He was one of the few skins I met in the Army. The topic of us starting a band came up a few times but didn’t become a reality until early 2015 when I had finished my time in the service and I was living in Austin, which was about an hour away. It was good timing, because Oi and skinhead was going through a golden age that year. There were a lot of bands kicking off, a lot of great shows and parties, and lots of people meeting each other and having fun. It was definitely a strange moment in time because people didn’t hate us for being skinheads then, or hate us for being in the military, or various other things that would be considered grave indiscretions in the punk scene in Austin now. I think the slightly younger crowd just latched on to the edginess of rollin with skinheads, being booted up, occasionally listening to off-limits things like RAC, and just the general aesthetic. Ultras started with me Dustin and Ethan, and two other guys who ended up not staying on board. It worked out well though because that’s how we got Bobby (drums) in the band somewhere around fall 2015 and really started writing the songs that are on our demo. We started the band to just play some loud fucking Oi and to live up to what we were and have fun doing it. Then eventually we realized we weren't like everyone else, our music was different, and our general stances on things weren't politically correct. I am only pointing that out to explain how we went from loved to hated in a year.

D&O-Do you find that you now get automatically lumped in with a particular group of people by default when you hold certain beliefs about America and its people? Has this had any ill effect on Ultras for booking shows or releasing music? How do you deal with this?

DUSTIN- Yes, it does lump us in with a group of people. Because of us being Proud Americans, nationalists, etc, we get labeled as Nazis, white nationalists, racists, fascists, and other names. We're not ethnic nationalists, not for a white-only America, but for a proud and strong America, and take it back to the original American values. Because of our beliefs we have been blacklisted to shows and kicked off bills because "we strike fear into marginalized peoples hearts" apparently, and are too problematic for all of the liberals’ little hearts. We just laugh about it now, and don't really mind because we do what we want, and write the music we want. We don't care what these other people think, they don't matter.

ETHAN- Yeah, absolutely. The last time we tried to play a show the venue was pressured by certain groups to drop us from the bill and the whole show ended up not happening. We certainly have enemies.


D&O-Underground music thrives on scenes, Ultras feel slightly unique to me in the fact that I can’t see you fitting in nicely with anyone. Is there a scene in Austin that you can exist in? What kind of shows are you playing? Are you constantly the odd one out?

ETHAN- Yeah, there isn't really an oi scene in Austin, just a handful of bands that sort of have oi elements or have skinheads as members I guess. We haven't been able to play any Austin shows in about a year but before that we had done a couple small local gigs at pubs that went well, and when Jack, myself and some of our friends lived together in a house we would sometimes have parties and play impromptu, very drunken sets for our friends and some of the local skins. Our best shows have been in Houston and San Antonio, we got to play last year with Oxblood in San Antonio so that was cool.

D&O-Patriotism is a long-standing theme in the style of music that Ultras play. You don’t shy away from this either, you have a song called “Patriot” on your first tape. In Australia we were bought up with a confused sense of identity, and it wasn’t acceptable to be a proud Aussie for a multitude of reasons, this has stuck with me to a degree. It feels as if the US right now is torn on this topic, you have one side calling the other racist and the other side calling them snowflakes. Firstly, how hard is it personally to come to the realization that you are a proud American who is confident about voicing this to the public? Were you born proud or is this something that dawned on you as time progressed?

ETHAN- For me, this subject could fill an entire interview... I don't think that with our generation the situation here is too different from what you described in Australia, at least in the music scene.

D&O- Punk at its core is nihilistic and rebellious; Patriotism seems to be the opposite of that. You have a line where you say, “I stood up proud, stood out from the rest of the crowd” which shows that feeling of being different; I would have thought America was more accepting of Patriotism right now after the election of Trump and what his slogan was? Have you seen a shift in American pride recently?

DUSTIN- There has been an influx of post-election nationalists arise from the ashes but there has also been the complete opposite. The punk scene is mostly Anti-American commies and social justice warriors. That's why those words I wrote are very relevant right now. On the other hand, there is the opposite side, which all of us are blacklisted from these shows and we receive threats from the reds; that they never seem to go through with, when the time comes. The media mainly covers only the negative attention that President Trump gets because they want to cater to the SJW's.

D&O-Violence is a central part of the Oi/Street punk sound; Ultras display this in a simple and brutal way, many of your songs deal with beatings and fighting. Is violence the only solution for such situations? Are your songs biographical or are you singing about what you have seen and working through the best way to deal with it upon reflection?

DUSTIN- It's a mixture of both. It's about some fights that we have been in, in specific situations. It's also about some of the combat I've seen in Afghanistan. 3 of the 4 members of Ultras are Army Veterans. Violence is not the only solution to certain situations, but in our experiences, that's what it usually ends up leading to.

ETHAN- I think it's a little bit of both...the point of the music is certainly not to incite violence but I really hate poser neo oi bands that sing about fighting and have violence as an aesthetic but are actual fucking cowards in their real lives.

D&O-I am no expert on the vast background that the Ultras pull from musically, can you talk a bit about how you discovered street punk/Oi and what were the most influential aspects you came across that left the largest mark on you?

ETHAN- I've been listening to punk in a general sense for about 10 years now. Oi was always something I liked but it wasn't until the past 4 years or so that I started digging more deeply into the genre.

D&O-The camaraderie found in the Ultras is in stark contrast to what you tend to see in punk with its loner, us against the world mentality. How would you describe the friendship amongst the Ultras crew? How long have you guys known each other for?

ETHAN- Yeah, we are about brotherhood and sticking together, I think we are all sick of the fleeting friendships and social climbers in the punk and hardcore scene at large... I’ve actually known Bobby the longest, when I was 14 and starting to go to punk shows I would go see his band Blunt Force Trauma a lot.


D&O-Tell us about Austin, Texas? How has the recent political climate affected the city do you think? The idea that the working class of America needs to be looked after more, is that something you saw personally in your own area? Is that what making America great again means? How do you see such a statement and how does it resonate with the general population of Austin do you think?

ETHAN- Austin, Texas is a cool city and a nice place to live but the people in the music community and social scene are incredibly close minded which has only been exacerbated by the nationwide political climate and increasing polarization over the past several months.

D&O-Knife Vision released your tape in the US, a label known for an eclectic line up of bands. The perhaps more aptly titled Street Rock Music did a different edition of the tape for the Russian elite. Why did you choose this approach for releasing the tape? Both are quite different artistically, is there a version of the tape which reflects the band more accurately?

JACK- Originally, we went with Knife Vision out of perfect coincidence. John who runs Knife Vision is a friend of mine in my hometown of Columbus, OH. I was back in town visiting last summer and going out drinking to meet up with old friends. Well I ran into John and ended up telling him about Ultras, and I gave him a listen of our recently self-recorded demo that we hadn't done anything with yet except put up online. He thought it was badass and wanted to put it out for us and we were more than happy to do that because we like what Knife Vision has been doing and the bands he's been putting out. The reason we did the Russian release on Street Rock Music is because a Russian guy from Moscow really liked our demo and asked to put it out as well. He said he would do original art and translations for it. No offense to John but I think we were all even more stoked for this release because it meant Russian skins were gonna be getting our tapes and we were going to have a unique audience over there. The artwork was fucking sick too. I don't think either version reflects us more strongly than the other; they both are great in our book.

D&O-Do Ultras subscribe to the “Don’t tread on me” motto?

ETHAN- Sure, the Gadsden flag to me is a symbol of what America once was and what it could be.

D&O-Final words?

ULTRAS- We’d like to close by saying we are working on a record which should hopefully be out by early 2018

WHERE FROST REIGN

The mighty Where Frost Reign have seen fit to scan and upload the Fetish Ritual Newsletter I did as part of the D&O 2015 Newsletter.

Find it here

FETISH RITUAL NEWSLETTER

REVIEW



DER STURMER-EXALTED IN WAR TAPE
The thing I like about “The Blood Calls For W.A.R!” or the Capricornus split is Der Sturmer’s simplistic intolerance and brutality. Those recordings embody the NSBM sound perfectly by tapping into the same prejudices and rejections found in the movement it spawned from. You could hardly call the cavemen like clumsiness on those early recordings “Black Metal”, it sounded far closer to a RAC blend of punk crossed with Absurd or something equally as inept.

“Exalted In War” was recorded live in the studio during 2016, I had steered clear of modern Der Sturmer due to mixed reports, but figured with this being live in the rehearsal space it may showcase their raw and crude form in a better light, hopefully giving me an insight into how to proceed further with this bands latest incarnation.

Unfortunately, the Der Sturmer we are met with here is completely underwhelming, relying on shocking cover photos, full colour war time artwork and knee jerk song titles instead of quality, memorable musicianship. The methodical and regiment induced battering I enjoyed has been replaced by this chaotic mess that does legitimately sound like modern day BM, and by that, I mean boring and uninspired. The once ridiculously glorious vocals that spat forth vitriolic filth are now awash with distortion and sound closer to a Bone Awl clone. The run time is over indulgent for what is essentially a rehearsal tape and all in all there are far better outfits pushing their ideologically challenged worldview in a far more menacing and threatening way. NSBM relies on clear messages, simple structures and a proud heritage, this tape has none of this. It seems as if Der Sturmer are simply going through the motions here.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

SARIN SNOW INTERVIEW


D&O-Sarin Snow seems to be just one part of the bigger picture that makes up your involvement in underground music. Maybe we should start by discussing how you discovered the underground and what do you think it was about this small and dedicated bunch of artists that resonated with you and made you want to be a part of it?
SARIN SNOW- My induction into underground music occurred around the time of 5th or 6thgrade when I began noticing older kids around town wearing “Fiend Club” shirts. The iconography of the skull logo was alluring, and I immediately wanted in on whatever this club was. Since then, I have felt the need to go deeper and deeper down the hole. Eventually in high school, I found a group of liked minded people. We would rotate between doing stupid shit and showing each other hardcore/punk bands. In high school, I was also introduced to black metal through a kid in freshman German class. The most influential bands for my “development” were Integrity and GISM. I was drawn by their sheer intensity and how they expanded on their respective formats. Their work, cited influences, and associations led me down a path of transgression that included noise/industrial music. GISM’s imagery was like nothing I had seen before that point. It created a militaristic aura outside of any knowledge of the fabled personalities.
I don’t think I can properly articulate what exactly resonated with me. I grew up in the crowded greater Los Angeles area. I was surrounded by people, yet I felt completely alone due to some sort of juvenile disgust for them all. I found a handful of people to relate to and the underground music – its imagery, tone, and dedication –made sense. The medium of DIY symbolized a sort of freedom that could be enriching. I have always been inclined towards extremity, and underground music fostered that through topics that are not addressed elsewhere. Hardcore/punk had what I perceived to be an extremity of passion. Yet, it was black metal and noise that fulfilled this inclination completely. Both inhabit a periphery in their own ways.
The more time I spent in hardcore/punk/DIY circles, the more I realized I have disgust for most of these types as well. Their social games almost turn me completely off from wanting to be associated with any underground subculture. Hardcore/punk is almost completely sterilized, and it seems like these adult children have had their eyes on underground metal and noise. Even so, there are still dedicated people involved to find affinity with beneath all the rubbish. There will always be artists who push the boundaries set by both the dominant culture and so called “fringe” (dominant culture lite) that they inhabit.
D&O-What projects have you done prior to Sarin Snow and what other projects are you also doing now? Can you see any correlating line between them all?
SARIN SNOW- I’ve been playing music off and on since I was 14. Mostly just insignificant projects with friends that didn’t produce much aside from local shows. Currently, Sarin Snow and Special Breed are the two projects I am involved with. The creative say I have in both projects varies. Sarin Snow is completely my own endeavor. Meanwhile, Special Breed calls for a much more minimal approach from me. While the style, imagery, and themes of both projects are quite different – I believe beneath the surface, both projects deal with an unspoken gravitation towards death found in the genealogy of man. Of course, it is two very different perspectives of that gravitation.
D&O-I was interested to find out that you are in Special Breed alongside Marco (Raspberry Bulbs/Seedstock etc) And while this is a Sarin Snow interview, can you talk briefly about that project and how it came about? Marco seems to operate on another level altogether, releases simply appear seemingly from nowhere and they all have that special sound which he pretty much invented. I am interested in the processes behind that project?
SARIN SNOW- I can’t speak for Marco or his methods/motivations. I was brought into the fold because they needed a bass player. The songs and concept of the band were already laid out by then. Special Breed is his creation. Riffs are presented to me and the bass lines are molded by whatever the songs call for. The concept and sound resonate with me, so I am pleased to be part of the unit.
D&O-You do the Slave Chandelier imprint, there is an underlying current that exists between the aesthetics of the label and Sarin Snow, it is almost unspoken really, it is very hard to put your finger on. What does Slave Chandelier stand for to you? Is there an overruling set of values that it holds or is it far simpler and freer from constraints?
SARIN SNOW- Slave Chandelier stands for power first and foremost. Power seems to be the ultimate law of Nature and all its creations are drawn to it; whether it be intimate submission in a locked room, soldiers marching in unison, the ascendency of one beast, the universe’s strength against an insignificant Earth, etc. There are numerous forms of power, Slave Chandelier is interested in their interpretations regardless of how challenging it can be. There seems to be a growing social tide from the left that is resentful of power. Slave Chandelier stands against this tide. I believe there is deep meaning to be found within power, meanwhile, the world this social movement wants to bring about is one of spiritual meaninglessness and powerlessness.
The underground provides a variety of mediums to express an aesthetic of power, whether its noise, metal, or hardcore/punk (the latter seems less common in doing so these days). So, the values are less of a stylistic dogma and more so focused on a cohesive aesthetic approach. Slave Chandelier will release music and art that I believe in.
D&O-You are also responsible for the artwork on your releases, as well as some of the art in the Special Breed tape. What is the inspiration and motivation behind the art and collages that you do?
SARIN SNOW- The inspiration for Sarin Snow and Special Breed’s collages are quite different. The two Special Breed collages reflect the spiritual quest and consciousness of a soldier as an individual outside of any particular political cause or context. Working within the restricted framework of the lyrical content was ultimately satisfying because the end product deviated a bit from my usual output.
With Sarin Snow art, I’m interested in images that are striking, yet ambiguous in their intended use. Like words, images convey multiple interpretations, but ultimately silence (death) is the final conclusion. I find great beauty in this circle of existence and the artwork is a testament to that. Faces of death and ecstasy intermingle because ultimately, they are part of the same beautiful process of endless decay. I am interested in altering images and creating a new context for them. I think the Oscar Wilde quote I used in the Divine Thrust artwork is a useful explanation - “those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt”.
D&O-there is a sense of power coupled together with hopelessness that resonates throughout Sarin Snow, the lyrics hold a deep feeling of passion and energy and the overall aesthetic of the project also portrays this, with the collage work colliding in stark contrast to the sparse B&W lyric sheets. There is a simplicity to it all. What was the overall impetus to start Sarin Snow and how has it evolved over the course of it?
SARIN SNOW- The project started around the time I moved back to the Bay Area after a few years away. The area and I had grown in different ways since my first stint here, almost as if going in opposite directions. I found the social climate nauseating. Living in a cold spacious warehouse added to my feeling of isolation. Most of my time was spent alone consumed in reading. I felt surrounded by hideousness. I began acquiring equipment because I felt this was one way I could purify the world around me.
I wanted to portray isolation in its truest sense. I don’t think of it as a melancholic thing. Isolation can be unhindered power. It can be a fortress where acts are committed away from witnesses. Isolation can be two beings wrapped up in their fleeting fire. Isolation can be an atavistic force waiting to rejuvenate the world. Isolation can be a subjective experience in the greater pool of death. That’s what I had in mind when I began the project and I’m sure will be the foundation for the project regardless of its development or topic at hand.
D&O-The two tapes so far (Imposing Light and Divine Thrust) sound very similar in execution and tone, there is a clear idea here. I like that; many noise projects chop and change between each release. Can you explain the overall desire and need to continue mining the particular sound that you do with Sarin Snow? Can you see it changing drastically in the future do you think?
SARIN SNOW- I want each release to move forward, yet there is a focus on a grander unity. Every aspect of the sound is a meticulous attempt at getting across an underlying mood. Of course, I want the material to be interesting, but the desire to evoke a particular feeling is always there. With Sarin Snow themes, motifs, and imagery will resurface as if born anew. This reflects my cyclical world view – every bit of pain, strife, pleasure, genocide, victory, grand love is bound to recur again and again. Energy flows ceaselessly towards death and this endless march is what Sarin Snow contemplates. I think PE is the perfect medium to get this across the way this project desires. Perhaps, the sound evolves from releases, but I am intent on it embodying a united canon.
D&O-Sexuality and how we relate to sex has long been a staple for Powerelectronics, Sarin Snow certainly continues with this, not in a blatant over the top way though. There is a sinister nature to it with your music. Sex seems to be far more open and free in these current times, while still quite prudish and confused with the older generation struggling to come to terms with the different definitions of sexuality. Sarin Snow takes an almost medieval or traditional occult leaning angle to the whole process. Is there a discussion around sex and sexuality that you are tackling here or is it best left unsaid?
SARIN SNOW- Blatant sexuality as a shock tactic is too easy and has been overdone. I want to participate in something more interesting and genuine to myself. I am put off by both modern liberal and conservative views of sexuality. The current generation has tried to appropriate their sexual expression as a means of independence and agency. It all comes off as some sort of vapid exhibitionism stemming from inferiority complexes. When freedom and pleasure are the ends, the transgression resembles a mockery of itself. Sex positivity, leftist “sluts”, BDSM fashion, street sex fairs, and so forth is all a charade. It is all an extension of the same liberal values they denounce, the embodiment of a lethargic culture devouring itself. True eroticism is something much more severe and shattering.
My perspective of sex is not empowering; it is complete negation. In sex, man and woman find a union within the other that erases their individuality. This non-being flows with death as long as consciousness disintegrates with every thrust. In sex, we are unveiled to reveal something mystical and ancient beneath us. Greek mythology reflected sexuality’s sinister and divine natures with Leda and the Swan, the abduction of Persephone, Adonis and Aphrodite, etc. These stories and names are allegories for the forces within the sexual realm, forces that possess us. Master and servant come together in a ceremony that is much grander than themselves. Sexuality also reveals a part of human nature (for lack of a better term) that can never be done away with despite illusions of civility. The sexual act can invoke the cruel beast that man will always be through its sadistic aspects when the beloved drowns in your strength. The individual dies in this flood of power. Ultimately, the erotic (to me) is unity with a dark lost sovereign; becoming both its incarnation and subject.
There are times when Sarin Snow seeks to recall these acts, not through detailed descriptions, but through evoking a feeling.
D&O-Violence is also intertwined throughout your recordings. It is violence as a necessity, is that where we are heading as a society or have we always been there?
SARIN SNOW- Violence has always been with us and always will be. All our triumphs and advancements rest on the shoulders of violence. It is hypocrisy to cry against the injustices of society when that moral high ground was only made possible through a history of violence.
War is essential to life - whether its waged by nations or by an individual, whether its physical or spiritual. Strife can have a cultivating and rejuvenating effect. Modern western society/man is at a standstill. Our way of life has allowed us to expend energy on more symbolic ventures – social sciences, morality, ethics, etc. At the peak of our existence we are now riddled with guilt and dissonance. There are enemies determined on destroying the West, yet we are consumed by Utilitarianism and have discussions about the human rights of an ISIS soldier. As a society, we yearn for the moral high ground, but why? My interest in the subject doesn’t even lie within a political context, I am more focused on the metaphysical consequences. When we forgo and betray our violent tradition, we become spiritually weak. Energy ceases to flow in the name of harmony. Man becomes stagnant and complacent by his own emasculation. Throughout world history, there is no example of a thriving culture that denounced their virility. Where there is life, violence will find a way.
D&O-Lyrically where do you draw inspiration from?
SARIN SNOW- A large part of inspiration comes from what I read. The biggest literary influence is Yukio Mishima. He tends to be a typical source in the greater realm of dark music. However, this influence comes from more than just a surface level reading of his work. Within a year, I had read all his translated works, which can be interpreted in a philosophical manner. In his writing, I discovered his obsessions and they related to my own obsessions. It is all meant to be a serious engagement with the author and material.
Other literary influences are Marquis de Sade, Julius Evola (especially his metaphysical works), Ezra Pound, Ernst Junger, Arthur Rimbaud, Oscar Wilde, Charles Baudelaire, Rainer Maria Rilke… Again, the usual suspects in this subculture, but I seek a more extensive perspective.
Aside from literature, the lyrics draw inspiration from beauty. To me, beauty is something hierarchical and elitist, intertwined with power and virility. Those who are powerful should be beautiful and those who are beautiful should be powerful. The lyrics depict images, acts, and scenes I find beautiful –vigorous bodies, masculinity, aristocracy, classical art, Venus in the arms of Mars, death. I want beauty to reclaim its throne.
D&O-Musically Sarin Snow harnesses the sounds of pure PE alongside an almost militant Death Industrial march, this makes for a sound that is somewhat timeless. What have been the primary influences on the sounds we hear in Sarin Snow.
SARIN SNOW- In terms of PE, Streicher and Deathpile are large influences. I don’t attempt to mimic either project, but look highly at the intensity and extremity of the sound. Another main influence is Burzum’s Filosofem. It’s not the actual sound that influences me, but what is accomplished by it. No other album has struck me in the same way. It feels like its own creature and can articulate so much in the atmosphere presented. That is the ideal for me as an artist.
D&O-American underground noise is flourishing. Bedroom projects are everywhere alongside tape labels and one-off projects. There is no longer a question of how does one stand out from the crowd, it is more how does one go about finding those who would find a project such as yours interesting and inspiring? Someone mentioned how the underground is simply just artists feeding off each other which then brings about blind support due to camaraderie. How do you ensure what you do portrays the message you intend? Are we preaching to the already converted?
SARIN SNOW- Perhaps it sounds shallow, but there is a deliberate emphasis on the aesthetic as a whole. Imagery, titles, and language are all meant to make an immediate impression. This is how it finds those who would resonate with what is being portrayed. I’m not sure if there is a single message that I am trying to get across with the project; I’m not an ideologue nor am I interested in the masses. Sarin Snow is more of a mirror. It reflects what I find beautiful. It reflects the mortal stream towards death. Ultimately, a reflection of myself. The attention to detail towards the material ensures a clear and accurate vision of this mirror. Others may find their own reflection within it.
I do agree with the sentiment of blind support in the underground. I see this across the spectrum of underground subcultures. Everyone just wants to get along, be friends, garner likes, and most importantly, not upset anyone. The base of such behavior stems from insecure people being disingenuous. I suppose, one can only take their craft seriously while being sincere with their art and interactions.
D&O-What are the next steps for Sarin Snow?
SARIN SNOW- The third tape, Love Incarnate, will be out by the time this is read. I want to focus on recording and releasing a steady stream of releases. The time between the second and third tape was longer than desired. This was due to the project being put on hold because of personal issues that could only happen in the Bay Area. From Love Incarnate onward, my trusted accomplice E.V. is brought into the fold. But, it is still very much my project.
There is a split planned. I’d like to do a couple more tapes before working on a longer and more elaborate release. I would also like to play a few gigs. Like time, Sarin Snow marches on…


Saturday, 28 October 2017

COMBAT FORCE INTERVIEW




D&O-Hardcore seems to be at an extremely odd stage right now. Divisions exist that have fractured it almost beyond repair. It is nothing like it was when I discovered it, and to be honest I think I prefer it now, it’s easier to work out which side to identify with, less smoke and mirrors. Can you start by talking about how you discovered HC and how it has lead to the formation of Combat Force?

MH: I gradually got into hardcore through being generally into punk as a teenager and would say I was fully into it by age 17. I think this is agreeable for all of us in Combat Force, as we like to have a mix of hardcore with punk and Oi elements. It helps that we grew up with it.

AB: My dad introduced me to early punk at a young age, and eventually I was drawn to the more aggressive sound of hardcore and oi. The idea that started Combat Force was to blend the best elements of both styles. Our demo, to me, is like a blend of early American hardcore and Hodges-era 4 Skins.

AZ: Well, I didn’t really discover punk first and then hardcore. Instead, because of my older brother, I discovered traditional ska and reggae at a very young age, and that eventually led me to punk, oi, and eventually hardcore. When I was 15 I went to my first hardcore show and haven’t looked back since. To me, Combat Force brings together the best aspects of 80’s hardcore and early oi.


D&O-Are any members of Combat Force active in other bands or projects, be it now or in the past? Can you see a distinct link between these bands and how you approach HC in general?

MH: I was in Civilized until about two years ago. I think the sound of CF and Civilized is different, but a lot of people I know/met from that band, such as James Trejo, have been very helpful and are the reason we are able to exist in the hardcore scene as a newer band.

AB: I played drums for a couple of Culture Shock (Denver) gigs a long time ago. Combat Force and bands like Culture Shock approach hardcore with the same mentality, but with a pretty different style. Both bands have an aggressive and uncompromising sound, and it helps that both of our demos were recorded by James (Trejo).

D&O-Denver has been responsible for some of the more savage HC bands over the past few years. Civilized and Cadaver Dog are two examples. Is there something unique about Denver that spawns such negativity? Combat Force expresses a similar distaste for life, and I know hate and HC go hand in hand, but there seems to be a special blend found in Denver projects. Where does this come from do you think?

MH: Denver is not a hype scene, and sometimes you play shows to people who don't care or understand what you're trying to do at all. Bands rarely stop here on tour and that is also very frustrating. We work very hard for little reward and I think that is some of the anger you hear in Denver bands.

AB: In Denver we are very isolated and separate from trends in other scenes. What that means is that we don’t really care to play stuff that fits with current popular trends that you find on the coasts. We are all we have, and we have no outside support. That can be very frustrating. Mike summed it up perfectly.

AZ: I moved here a couple of years ago from the Los Angeles area, but I can say that Denver makes you feel isolated and unwanted by other scenes. Most bands I would care to see don’t come here (fair enough), but that results in not exposing people here to what’s happening in hardcore and punk in general. That isolation turns into not giving a fuck about what everyone else is doing. Sometimes that can be bad, but when done right it turns out good.

D&O-You self released a brutal and scathing Demo tape. Four tracks of pure disgust. It captures the essence of HC as it stands right now in 2017. The sounds can be linked back to the 80’s yet there is no retro feel whatsoever and that is no small feat. What were the feeling within the band when you wrote those four tracks and how accurately do they portray the individual members stance on the world as it stands right now?

MH: We're all different but I think we can all agree that we're pretty sick of some of the people who think they run shit here and that comes out in the songs.

AB: For me, it’s an expression of my personal dissatisfaction with our scene as it stands and hardcore on a national level as well. There are extremists on both sides of the fence. I don’t like you, I don’t care. 

AZ: We didn’t want to be a ‘worship’ band that tries to exactly emulate a particular band or era. We tried hard to not make it sound like just another generic punk and hardcore release in 2017. I wanted something hard and legitimately pissed-off sounding.

D&O-There is a line on “Scumbag”, where you say “Your social justice is just a disguise”. That right there is surely a declaration of war and firmly confirms which side of the line Combat Force stands on. This is beyond HC and punk and bleeds into everyday existence; it is the battle for rights and how to uphold them. USA seems like a very dangerous place right now, one where a statement of violence such as the ones you make on the demo can and will be held against you. How important was it to make such a stance clear and to firmly align yourself against those hypocrites who don’t seem to understand what they are fighting for?

MH: Those lyrics seem to get taken out of context, and we are by no means against social justice, quite the opposite. People think it's this "Anti PC" thing and it’s not at all, it’s a stab at people who use those ideas to build social capital and take advantage of others by false pretense.

AB: In the hardcore and oi scenes here I have personally had to deal with the worst breed of idiots on both sides of the line, who have no ability to think for themselves. Scumbag is my ode to those who use calling others out to increase their social standing, especially when they are guilty of the same thing as the people they call out or blacklist from the scene. 

AZ: To me, the song is a message to those spineless cowards who blindly follow to be popular. Fuck that.

D&O-Calls of racism and the alt-right are being leveled at anyone who doesn’t tow the line and blindly follow. What has your personal experience been with this? Can you see any end in sight where people can rationalize and argue without generalizing and name calling? In addition to this, making such a violent statement as the one that you do on the demo, does that now force you to live up to these actions all the time, is fighting and kicking heads a way of life for Combat Force or is this more a statement of what is to come?

MH: There are a lot of people here that like to level serious accusations over nothing or because you're not friends with them. It can be dangerous as far as reputations go. But we don't take it too seriously because we are not racist or right wing or anything near it. I think it'll move on in good time and most of those people, in Denver at least, are far more interested in being cool than in Hardcore and they'll move on to the next phase soon enough. I don't think we have to live up to a violent image, we aren't pro-violence we're just not taking shit, people here would never say something in person, at least they haven't yet.

AB: We are not a political band, though we firmly stand against racism as a band and none of us align ourselves with right-wing politics. I also have no tolerance for the witch-hunt happening in our scene and I’m never afraid to stand up for myself against these clowns.

AZ: Many people these days demand ideological purity. If you don’t agree with everything that they or their narrative say, you’re a bad person, or worse, a racist. No debate or dialogue: if you have a legitimate disagreement, you’re fucked. Funny thing is, these same people are straight up cowards and will never tell you anything to your face. The Internet is where they thrive. 

D&O-From down here in Australia it seems as if the USA has gone fucking mad. Completely off the rails, the political climate makes no sense, police brutality is rife, there is a real us vs them mentality present that we cannot understand. Can you explain it at all from inside the beast? Is this the age where the most hateful and negative HC will arise due to such a climate surrounding everyone, or is it all blown out of proportion by fake news?

AZ: It’s been shitty before this election. That’s not to say that this election wasn’t unique, but I think we should acknowledge that there have been problems before. I can’t really explain here how the current political climate emerged, but I’m sure it’ll be studied for years to come.


D&O-The mighty J.Trejo (Cadaver Dog/Civilized etc) recorded the Demo. How did you guys meet him and what sort of impact has he had on not only Combat Force but also the Denver HC underground in general? His vision and work ethic is elite to say the least.

MH: I probably met James 9 or 10 years ago just through similar interests in hardcore/punk. James is Denver HC, he's the hardest working guy here. He’s in most of the hardcore bands here and he’s written pretty much all the music for those bands. He's been really helpful to us by recording our demo and recording the EP, which will come out on Youth Attack in the future.

AB: I met James when I was 16 and started gong to shows, I’ve enjoyed all his bands and it’s a pleasure to work with the madman.

AZ: I met James through Mike and Alex, and he’s been tremendously helpful not only in recording us but in promoting us, and showing Mark McCoy (YA) our stuff. James is the mastermind behind every good Denver hardcore band. Enough said.

D&O-Youth Attack announced that they will be re-releasing the Demo tape on 7” along with releasing your follow up release. YA is a unique label and one that divides opinions worldwide. There is an attention to detail and perfectionism present in all of the work that Mark does and it has pushed underground music into areas that it may not be comfortable with. What does this mean for Combat Force, do you have any expectations going in on this? What will eventuate from this meeting of the minds do you think?

MH: I really respect what Mark does and he's easy to work with and very collaborative. He has a lot of suggestions and helps out a lot through each step in the process and I'm happy to be a part of it. I think the meeting of Combat Force and YA will mean a solid release that's worth it.

AB: I would say that we are outliers on the label, but Mark seems to have a thing for Denver bands starting with ‘C’ so we went with it. I look forward to working with him and seeing where this goes.

AZ: I’m stoked to work with Mark. He’s been really kind and passionate about our music, and that makes us want to work with him even more. He has the same vision for the band as we do, but he also brings new and cool ideas to the table. I’m very excited for the EP, which is currently in the process of being recorded.

D&O-Is violence the only solution?

MH: No, but it isn't unnecessary.

AB: Sometimes it’s the only way to get your message across.

AZ: Depends who you’re fighting.