Interview with Lennon Midnight

Lennon Midnight came onto the scene in the very early half of 2015. Being one of very few industrial acts currently active in the Vegas scene they`ve shared the stage with well known artists such as Tim Skold, Psyclon Nine, God Module etc..

Having released a string of EP`s, retired from live shows and a new release in the making I got in touch with one half of the duo for what turned out to be quite a lengthy chat about industrial, occultism, graphic design and much more!

Start off by giving our readers a quick introduction. Who’s currently in the band, what are their roles and how long have you been around?

Hi all! Current band members are myself, Lennon Midnight, and Klebert Graves. We’ve always been a 2 piece since starting out. We’ve attempted to bring extra members onboard for live shows (mainly drummers), but that never panned out… so we opted to stay a permanent duo. I (Lennon) handle vocals, programming and production work. Klebert (Bert for short) handles guitars, bass and programming as well.

How long have we been around?

I believe we officially started in January of 2015. I walked into work one day (we both work together) and said “Bert, were doing the band thing! Come over this weekend and lets start messing with stuff!” and he did just that. Bert had been wanting to get back into playing guitar for another group and I’d never done the actual band thing, always just solo stuff. I had spent the previous few years really getting back into discovering music that made me happy again and that inspired me. I had met and hung out with tons of bands who passed thru Vegas (also took most of them out drinking) in those years prior and something went off in my head that I wanted to live out the dream of being in a band and performing that I’d had since high school! So, Bert and I started writing music together on a regular basis. I thought I had a good bead on writing and recording early on… how little did I know!!! There was a lot I struggled with initially, but that changed down the line when Nero Bellum and I became friends. He saw potential in what I was trying to put together and he started helping teach me about the production side of things. Not so much as in “Do this and do that to get this and that”, but more like “You might want to try doing this. Experiment with it and see where it takes you!”. Took about a year and a half to write and record the first album and it felt like such a huge accomplishment when it was all said and done! During that year and a half, we started playing live shows and really got comfortable with the live setting as well as with one another in the studio. Skip forward a number of years, another album and 2 EPs later aaaaaand here we are… almost done with the third album and tons of live shows under our belts. We’ve had nothing but a blast thus far!

Is there any particular meaning to the name “Lennon Midnight”?

Lennon Midnight was a persona name I picked for myself in 2014. It was a side of me that came out when I was going thru an odd time in life. I didn’t want a lot of people knowing who I was personally. I wanted to separate my personal life from my public persona, though in time… the Lennon Midnight side of myself has disappeared. I’m not the same person now that I was 5 years ago, and I think that’s a good thing!

Your music is a good mixture of industrial and metal, who are your main influences for your sound?

Industrial and electronic music have always been my top favorites ever since I was a teenager (some 20+ odd years back). I grew up listening to Marilyn Manson, The Prodigy, Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM, Crystal Method, Skinny Puppy, Sister Machine Gun, The Chemical Brothers, Underworld, Thrill Kill Kult, Rammstein, Ministry, Stabbing Westward etc… But this was all back when these bands were in their prime in the 1990s, when Industrial and Electronica were the hot shit on the radio, in movies and on MTV. I also grew up listening to a lot of Black Metal and Goth Rock/Metal. I loved Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Old Mans Child, Sisters of Mercy, The Cure, Type O Negative, Placebo etc. Black Metal blew my mind since very few people in the US at the time (meaning during the day of Enthrone Darkness Triumphant and Dusk and Her Embrace days). Id never heard anything quite like Black Metal at the time. Goth Rock/Metal always stuck with me as well. In 2004, after coming out of the rave scene, I rediscovered Industrial, Goth and Black Metal again. Dimmu and Cradle were still putting out records, I happened upon HIM and Lacrimas Profundere (both of which I was nuts about) and Industrial was entering its 3rd wave with bands like Hanzel und Gretyl and Wumpscut, so to my surprise, things had evolved and progressed in the time that I wasn’t paying attention to those styles of music… It was a huge delight to find them again, new and refreshed in so many ways. But Industrial, Goth and Black Metal still remain huge influences of mine to this day. I spent a good part of my youth (and even still now) listening to tons of techno music too. Im still very much a huge House music fan, I was also a very well known local DJ in the rave/electronic scene in the early 2000s, so my love of House music will never go away. I also love a lot of old school and underground Hip Hop. I think what really gets me about Underground Hip Hop is just how raw and direct it is. Lyrical rappers just rhyming over a beat, sometimes telling a story, sometimes just playing with words really hits home. Bert grew up listening to more traditional styles of metal and stayed in the boundaries of the US in terms of bands. His attraction to the metal genre stems more from the technical end as his knowledge of music theory blows me away. He has this amazing ability of breaking down songs to their core and taking influence from some of the most minute details that I have no clue about. Its a lot of fun to watch him write actually because he will put something together and pull elements from like 9 different metal songs he adores from a variety of different bands! I still don’t know how he does it to this day! But when it comes down to writing our music, both Bert and I take influence from ALL types of music out there. We look to so many different genres for inspiration! Hell, on one of the tracks for the new album called ‘Resigned to Fail’, Bert’s guitars were inspired by an old Cranberries song from the 1990s! I added some effects to the guitars to make them sound like old Type O Negative and it turned into such a neat mash up of styles!

You’ve played alongside bands like Psyclon Nine, Dismantled, Thrill Kill Kult, Tim Skold and God Module just to name a few. Do you have a preference between playing live and working in the studio ?

The bands we’ve shared the stage with thru our being together as a group is just mind blowing! We started Lennon Midnight as nothing more than an art project. We never thought we’d get to do what we’ve done in these (almost) 5 years! Sharing the stage with the bands you just mentioned was nothing more than a dream when we started out, and to me its still nuts that we garnered the attention from bands in our scene who are regarded as legends! Playing live initially started off as a lot of fun, but as time went on… it became a bit of a chore. Most of the local shows involving bigger names I wound up becoming personally involved in with either putting the show together and paying for it myself, or helping to plan the event with the promoter. So most of the time, I was running around making sure everything was going smoothly, that the bands were happy and that everything went off without a hitch. The few shows I wasn’t helping run were so much easier. At those particular shows, Bert and I would just enjoy our time there and chat with random people. Unfortunately, as its now 5 years later and both of our personal lives have changed in a lot of ways, were having to retire as a live act. We still plan on making music together as a studio effort… but the live show thing has to stop. Bert has 3 kiddos now and loves being a father. My small business I run on the side has been taking off like crazy and requires most of my attention when I’m not at the day job. Though, retiring as a live band kind of sucks in certain ways as we both enjoy the actual performance aspect of it very much. In the 5 years we’ve been making music and performing as Lennon Midnight, we’ve both had an absolute blast and we’ve done things we never thought we would! Neither of us would trade the world for it either!!!

Those bands I mentioned are all well known within the scene, how did it happen that you got to play with them and do you have any memorable moments from those shows?

Initially I think a lot of it boiled down to becoming close friends with Psyclon Nine. Nero knows a lot of people in the music world and being associated with Psyclon Nine definitely did help. Also I think some of it also came down to being the only active Industrial band in Vegas. It seems we built a fan base here and people really like us. We would get a lot of bookings from local promoters when any Industrial act would roll thru Vegas. I think another aspect to the attention we received had to do with how we function as an actual live band. We always get down in the audience and perform a good chunk of the show interacting with fans in the audience! If people know my lyrics, I usually let them sing parts of the songs. Bert always walks around and plays guitars in areas where people can watch. Hell, in LA when we played with Psyclon Nine in 2018, I had a good friend of mine get on stage and sing our cover of Marilyn Manson ‘Dogma’ with us just because he was at the show! A LOT of people really enjoy this aspect about the shows we play as crowd interaction is a must to us! One very memorable story for me was when we were up in Seattle with Psyclon Nine in 2017 playing at The Highline. Both Nero and I are huge fans of Street Fighter 2. We grew up playing the hell out of that game. We had been talking about Street Fighter on and off for a few months prior and when we walked into the venue during load in, off to the right near the end of the bar was a Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition machine! Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to play before the show… But roughly after everything was said and done around 2:30am, we finally got a chance to beat the hell out of one another! I think we got like 2-3 dollars in quarters and just had at it for about 15-20 minutes. It was an absolute blast. I remember someone on the other side of the room yelling at us, saying something about we needed to leave and we both just yelled “SHUT UP! WERE BUSY!”. It was damn good times! Were still due for a rematch as we were both pretty even skill wise in the game and a few buttons on both controllers weren’t working properly. Street Fighter is serious business!

I understand there’s a storyline that runs through your music, could you give a quick rundown of what the plot is so to speak and where it came from?

So the story line revolves around my ex’s through the past 20 years and what had been going on in my life at the time of each (or after). Though I try to fictionalize the storyline as much as possible to make it more interesting and work as actual songs, some of the factual storyline is still in there. When starting the band thing, ‘Fallacies’ was only meant to be a one shot thing. To me, it had a good story to it. But as the album finished up, I felt the story wasn’t done and we immediately started on the second album ‘Post Trauma’. There were events and story elements I wanted to talk about which happened after ‘Fallacies’ (hence the title ‘Post Trauma’). I felt there was one more part of the story worth telling after we wrapped up ‘Post Trauma’ and that was the beginning and how all the events leading up to what I wrote about in ‘Fallacies’ started, so we began working on ‘Beginnings End’ roughly 4-6 months after ‘Post Trauma’. Some folks have asked about ‘One Weeks Time’ and if it ties in story wise. It doesn’t, it was a one off song I wrote about an old friend of mine who committed suicide and how social media has ruined our attention spans. ‘One Weeks Time’ as a song started out as an experiment when I was just playing with custom synth building in Reason. Initially it was never meant to be a song, but as I played with it more, it turned into something I wanted to finish… and so became ‘One Weeks Time’. Including a re-recorded version of ‘Russia’ on ‘One Weeks Time’ was a bonus of sorts. We started changing how ‘Russia’ was played live. Basically the song grew and evolved to the point of what became ‘Rossiya’. I always wanted the song be harder than what was done on ‘Fallcies’. To me ‘Rossiya’ was the way I always wanted the song to sound, so we opted to redo it as an extra for the ‘One Weeks Time’ EP. Though, a neat bit of trivia which ties ‘Beginnings End’ directly into ‘Fallacies’ is ‘The Woman in White’. Her character actually sings in the last song on our new album called ‘Bury the Ghost’. She finds ‘The Martyr’ after he has destroyed everything in his world and doesn’t want to rebuild. The ‘Woman in White’ appears as if out of no where and shows ‘The Martyr’ that its time leave his wasteland behind. I wanted her character to make an appearance on ‘Beginnings End’ because she was a very important aspect of my life in the time frame the album is being written about. She is also still one of my closest friends in the world to this day. I think the only song I’ve written that hasn’t been out of frustration, anger or being broken hearted is ‘Savior’. That song is about a good friend of mine who spent the vast majority of her 20’s doing horrible things to herself and those around her and she finally found faith in something at the end of it all. She wound up changing a lot about her life and became a much better person because of it. But the song is a take on her life before finding faith in herself again. Hell, I could spend the next hour or so explaining what all the songs are about, but I think it would ruin certain aspects for people. Its always a lot of fun hearing from fans about how they interpret not only the lyrics, but the storyline as well. Some folks have been spot on and some have been very far from the actual idea, though I really love when someone interprets things differently than what I wrote! To me its fascinating on how people can adapt songs and lyrics to their own lives simply due to relating from their own experiences! With all of that said, the new album ‘Beginnings End’ is the prequel to the storyline. It’s about my ex ‘The Queen of Heartworms’ and how all the events of my 20’s prior to meeting the ‘Woman in White’ happened in certain ways. Though, again, its all very fictionalized with truth sprinkled in there. If you’ve known me personally for the last 20 years, you would understand the storyline elements fairly well. The main theme of the new album is about the mandatory destruction of your world after tragedy and trying to rebuild it… or as Tyler Durden from Fight Club said ‘It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything.’

You’ve got two releases out and one demo. What are you currently working on and when do you think we’ll see it released?

As I’ve mentioned in previous questions, I’ve still got that pesky new album ‘Beginnings End’ floating around that is due to be released. I was hoping to have it done by Oct 31st of this year, but unfortunately that didn’t come to fruition. I have one last song to write lyrics and record vocals on, but I’ve kind of hit writers block over the last 6 months! I’ve been spending a lot of time working with the production side of the album lately. I happened on a new mastering suite that works really well, though I have to level things differently for it versus my old mastering suite. I’ve been spending a lot of time working on how the songs “sound” in their final form over the past 2-3 months and I’ve learned a lot more about mixing that I didn’t know before. There are so many technical aspects to making music AND mixing music that with every song AND every album we put together, I always learn new methods and techniques I didn’t know about before. Its one huge aspect of making music I love, constantly learning new ways of doing things! But, ‘Beginnings End’ WILL be the FINAL album in the storyline. I have ONE more song planned that will wrap up the entire storyline that happens after ‘Post Trauma’ already in demo form. That will be the last song I release about an ‘ex’ simply as I’m tired of writing about that subject. Currently with ‘Beginnings End’, everything is written and pretty much in its final form. The entire album can be listened to from start to finish and I am very proud of what Bert and I put together for everyone this time around. Its an evolution of our sound, it really shows we have grown in our song writing and composition and its a really heavy album! Very metal sounding for sure! I feel as this being our last full album, it will really go out with a bang! Lots of different influences in this one for sure and lots of things we haven’t tried before (hell, there’s even a Metalcore inspired song on the album I think you guys will love). I am hoping to have the new album done and out by the years end. Again, just hit writers block and life has been super busy so music has taken a back seat unfortunately.

As well being a musician you also do some graphic work. You did the art for Psyclon Nine’s “Icon Of The Adversary” What else have you done and how long have you done this type of work?

I’ve been an artist all my life. I’ve been drawing since I could pick up a crayon, though I don’t draw much anymore. I’ll doodle from time to time, but nothing like I did when I was younger. When I was in the waste of time that was College, I majored in Multimedia Design and I had a full minor in Traditional Art. I miss those old college art courses as they were a lot of fun and I got to draw constantly! When I was 15 and going into my Sophomore year of High School, I took ‘Commercial Design’ which was a digital design class. I was introduced to Photoshop and Illustrator (mind you this was back in 1996 when both programs were in their infancy) and I was immediately hooked! There was a guy in my class who had been working in Photoshop since he was much younger and the stuff he was able to design was amazing. It really showed me what could be done in those programs! Since then, there’s literally not a day that goes by where I don’t use either Photoshop or Illustrator in some way or another! My entire professional life has been based in design. I’ve worked in design or graphics departments since my first job when I was 16. In 2007, I was hired to run a design department for a vehicle wrap shop here in Las Vegas and I’ve been doing that as a job ever since. I’ve changed employers a few times, but I’ve always been hired on as department manager or director. Outside of the day job thing, I’ve run my own business since 2007 called DorkiDori AutoCouture. I started it as an apparel line and since then it has grown into body kits, suspension and apparel. Im not going to go too far into the details, but if you’re into the Nissan 240sx and drifting, you might want to check out what I make. Speaking of album covers, I was the person who designed the artwork and cover for the re-release of Psyclon Nine ‘Divine Infekt’ and the Psyclon Nines current pentahazard icon that went with ‘Icon of the Adversary’. I designed all of the tour materials for the Divine Infekt and Icon of the Adversary tours as we. I made up a few spectrum analyzer videos for Nero as well. Mainly his modular synthesis videos and the 2 videos for Icon of the Adversary. Almost all of Psyclon Nine’s apparel for the past 5-6 years has been designed by myself as well. Designing for Psyclon Nine has always been fun because I get to go nuts with the darker side of what I make. Nero really enjoys the stuff I put together for him and I really love seeing Psyclon fans wearing the shirts I’ve designed at shows! A secret nerdy artsy fact about me, I’ve been painting Warhammer 40,000 miniatures since I was 10… though I haven’t painted in almost 8 years, one of my miniatures was featured on Games Workshops blog in 2009 and I’ve taken home numerous first place positions for the competitions I’ve entered. Art is my life in any way, shape or form. I live AND love to create! It’s why I was put on this planet and I fully embrace that fact

All of your releases have great artwork, how important are the visuals to you?

Thank you for the compliment! Sometimes I feel the artwork I design for our albums, EPs and silly little videos is kind of boring compared to what others do, but one thing I’ve found in life is sometimes, its very difficult to design for ones self. I’m just glad you and others approve! Visuals for the album art are a very important aspect in my mind. Unfortunately young people now very rarely know what its like to physically hold a CD or 12″ Vinyl release in their hands! There’s something very special about touching your music. While I was a rave DJ (mentioned earlier), touching my vinyl was a very magical and special feeling. Removing the vinyl from its sleeve, placing it on the spinning platter, dropping the needle on the vinyl, moving it back and forth for cuing, scratching with it and dragging your finger along the platter to help slow the record down (or twisting the platter pintle to speed it up) for beat matching is just a very special feeling… This must be why I still have 300 odd pieces of wax sitting around my house. I bought an all in one Pioneer setup a few years back that uses MP3s and CDs so I could mess around with DJing when I feel like it, but honestly its just not the same feeling as 2 Technic 1200s that use wax! But back to the original subject… with physical media always came album art! Album art to me defined the mood of the music you were listening to. One of my favorite album covers and CD booklets to this day is Stabbing Westward ‘Darkest Days’. The imagery that was designed for that album always gave me an amazing mental picture for what the album was talking about, what the music painted in my head and how everything felt in my imagination. It was a very dark, cold and pain filled album… and I think without the albums booklet, the imagery in my head would’ve been a lot different. Also, the booklet art for that album was created using a very very early version of Photoshop and the art is nothing short of spectacular with how limited the software was back then! I believe Chris Hall actually contracted the artist who did work for the Sandman comics back in the early 90s to do the art for ‘Darkest Days’.

The art for “Post Trauma” looks like something you could find in some old alchemical or astrological book. Do you have any interest in occultism? If so, how does that influence you and how deep does that interest run?

Ah yes, the cover for ‘Post Trauma’… There is a story behind that, but only a few people know it. The cover sigil was kicked off by something someone said to me at our record release show for ‘Fallacies’ and I’m going to leave it at that. I prefer leaving that particular piece of art open to interpretation, keeps it fun and interesting! However, the cover to ‘Beginnings End’ does have actual symbolism to it. The cover features a stylized Ouroboros which I felt played directly into the albums title and lyrical themes. It took me a little while to come up with the title ‘Beginnings End’, but once I thought of it, I felt it was perfect as its our final album as well as the prequel to the first 2 albums story wise. Neat little snippet while its on my mind, all 3 of our albums actually go in chronological order story wise based on alphabetical arrangement. I didn’t plan this, it just happened! As far as occultism, I find it interesting but its not something I really incorporate into my life or believe in. I do find some of the imagery, history and symbolism fascinating, but that’s about as far as it goes. So people have listened to our music and found it be anti-religious in some ways… which kind of baffles me as none of our music is anti-religious, nor our imagery. The inverted double slash cross on our first cover was actually a deconstruction for the leviathan sigil which was originally the symbol for sulfur, but means equality eternal. The top part of the sigil is where equality comes from and it represents equality of the sexes. That was the portion I wanted to use. While I don’t agree with Judeo Christian beliefs in a lot of ways, I don’t hate them or shun them. Faith is faith. If your faith brings you happiness and helps you be a better person, then I’m personally all for it. One of my best friends is a hardcore Christian and we banter back and forth quite often about our view points (I’m a Buddhist), but we do so to learn things from one another.

You’ve used the Russian language in some of your songs, why did you choose that of all languages and who’s the girl singing it?

So the song ‘Russia’ and ‘Rossiya’ are a fictionalized version of the first date I went on with the ‘Lady in Black’ back in 2009. She and her entire family are Russian. They immigrated over here in the 80s during the mass exodus of the Jews from Russia. We were together for almost 2 years and I LOVED the Russian language. I thought it sounded amazing and its so different from Latin based languages. I started ‘Russia’ back in 2012 when I wanted to get back into music again, the song was MUCH different back then (it was very dark wave/post punk sounding). When Bert and I got together and started making music, I wanted to finish that song. So as it went along, I wanted a female singing in the intro and I found a song called ‘Love is War’ sung by a vocaloid. The lyrics for the ‘Love is War’ intro worked perfectly for the theme of the album so I sampled them and here we are now! The original song is very VERY different once it kicks in versus what I used the sample for. The vocaloid version is more of a rock ballad of sorts… definitely not an industrial metal song.

When choosing spoken samples to put in your music, do you try to make them fit in with the context of the song or do you pick them a bit more freely?

Spoken samples I always try to keep within the theme of the songs, you know things that fit the mood or subject matter I’m referring to lyrically. As silly as it sounds, on one of the new songs on ‘Beginnings End’ called ‘Resigned to Fail’, I used two samples from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Its Q and Picard reciting Shakespeare I believe… The samples just fit so well with what I was writing about, and I finally get to say I made Star Trek Industrial! But joking aside, picking samples to use is sometimes daunting and very time consuming. The spoken samples I used in ‘One Weeks Time’ took about an hour of searching to find. The guy talking about suicide was some Christian help hotline guy. The video was roughly 2 hours long and FORTUNATELY, the samples I wanted were within the first 20 minutes of the video. The spoken sample in one of the new tracks ‘Unto The End’ took a little bit of editing to make work the way I wanted, but so perfectly fits the theme of the song! Musically, I love to use ‘Found Samples’, meaning things that are recorded from real life. Like rocks hitting bricks, creaking doors being opened, broken machinery etc. ‘Found Samples’ really do neat things when you stretch them or filter them out. They can set an amazing mood and feel to a track, even if just background ambient noises. I used a lot of ‘Found Samples’ for the song on ‘Beginnings End’ that bring very strange and uncomfortable atmospheres. Though, one of my favorite things I created for the album was the broken piano in ‘Bury the Ghost’. Its like 15 different racks in one instrument which created the piano. Took me a while to figure out how build the rack and how to get the damn thing to work with so many different things going on… but once it started working correctly, I was instantly in love! And its the first time I’ve used a piano in any of our tracks

I’ll leave the last word to you. Go ahead and promote any shows, releases or anything else you may have coming up .

Last words… Thank you to everyone who’s supported us through the years. While we are no longer playing live shows anymore due to both of us moving on in life, we still plan to make music together as writing and creating music was always the primary goal in our little art project as a band. We hope you all enjoy the new album when its finally released and I’m glad that so many of stuck by us! It was awesome to meet those of you we did in person at our shows out of state and it meant worlds to see you all of you in the audience doing your thing to our music. Thank you to Nero Bellum, Psyclon Nine and the P9 family for the amazing times we all spent together… Also thank you to every single band that brought us on to your shows. It was always such an honor to share the stage with such amazing talent. The last 5 years have been such an awesome ride and all of you, bands and fans alike, helped us live out a dream we never thought would come from this! I also want to leave a small bit of advice to everyone reading this… NEVER give up on your dreams. Always go for the big picture! Those that tell you something can’t be done and your ideas are silly or stupid, fuck em! Do what makes you happy! Don’t give up your drive for doing amazing things with you life. If we would’ve listened to some of the folks that discouraged us or said what we were doing was a waste of time, neither one of us would’ve lived out this insanely mind blowing time of our lives! So to anyone and everyone reading this, go forward and create! Go forward and kick ass! Go forward and live your dreams, its worth all of the pain, sacrifice and time spent doing something that makes you happy!!!

Review: Decent News "Monolith"

Decent News is an industrial metal band from Connecticut , New England County specifically.

Earlier this year they released their album “Monolith” through Machine Man Records and have since played a string of live shows as well as being featured on various compilations which is where I myself first stumbled upon them.

The first track of the 10 track album is the title track itself which brings us straight into cacophonous sounds of what I think might be classical instruments being abused along with a screaming vocal sample before we guitar and pounding drums hit.

Building up to a sequenced synth and screamed vocals with a steady pounding of the snare before breaking into indsutrial metal mania and screechiing sounds in the background with distorted voices going into an arpeggio quckly stopping up and picking back up in metallic soundscapes.

Definetly not a bad start.

Next up is “Black Box” where we`re greeted by a man talking about stealing millitary equipment before electronic and danceable synths come side by side with heavy guitars and suddenly its not as danceable but rather maybe moshpit inducing?

If nothing else I suppose you can start a pit at the dance floor of your local club to this track.

“Substance” welcomes us with ominous synthetic melodies which are then translated to guitar and quickly turning into a soundtrack to violence. I`d probably get in a fist fight to this song.

The guitars are reminiscent of old school thrash metal at times which is absoloutely a good thing.

We move on to the next track “Torture Me

It starts up with this almost sinister beat and polka like piano melody over 80s sounding synths.

Distoted yet clean , slow paced vocals crooning in what I imagine to be a dark room in a haunted house before the most diabolical guitar melodies appear almost inviting you to a dance with the Devil.

This track is so far my favourite as I just love it`s sinister mood.

The sweet torture leads us to our “Eyewitness

Beginnng with a vocal sample counting to two repeatadly, some light guitar strumming, a man in woe over loss and then crushing guitars and drums of some sort of thrash metal industrial mixture. The guitar work on this album really sets it apart from other industrial acts utlizing guitar which often only comes as some minimalistic palm muted chugging or a quickly played repetetive riff a la Ministry.

After exterminating all witnesses we tower over them as they bleed and whimper and “I`ll Be Awakened” comes seeping in with seductive synth lines and a four to the floor beat with clean yet aggressive vocals layered neatly on top.

It`s the shortest track thus far clocking in at 2:35 but in that times it gets done what it came to do.

Krokodil” is up next which I believe may have been my introduction to this band actually.

Some beautiful drum work leads us to melodic synthesis and rythmic guitars before the vocals come in recalling a first meeting with an unknown person or possibly subtstance.

There is a hopeful message within the lyrics so don`t be fooled by the calm yet aggressive delivery.

And then we dive into “The Mud

A little more on the sludgy side it drags us down and lets us drown in the soil.

Pyrophile” begins with what I imagine itd sound like if you set electricity on fire and then the kick drum comes along with the synths before breaking out the guitars and dark howling vocals that sound almost desperate in its delivery.

It changes its pace into a near dreamier synthesized soundscape but the edge remains firm and picks us back up in the metal vibes for a moment and drops us back down consistently before pummelling guitars bring us to bell like synth sounds which leads us to the end of the journey where we are offered some “Opiate”

With pianos, an intresting beat and some swirling sounds the singer speaks of running makeup and disease before the first hit of the snare drum comes along and creates an atmospher thats beautiful in its tragedy and yet remains some agressive qualitines through its gutiarwork that comes in and out throughout the song. While its title might make you think of drug addiction lyrically it seems more as if they want to be your drug addiciton. Decent News wants to be your Opiate.

And I aint checking into rehab anytime soon thats for sure.

Review: Ultra Silvam “The Spearwound Salvation”

Being from Norway I simply can`t escape those blackened musical roots and it is with that in mind I will be bringing you this review of the most wretched of sounds.

Ultra Silvam is a band from Malmö, Sweden who are amongst the very few who has managed to get black metal right. Free from simple and often childish nonsense these guys are dead serious about their work and it shows.

Their debut album “The Spearwound Salvation” graced us with its presence in march of this year and needs to be talked about.

The simple yet oh so effective artwork serves as a warning and a sign of what you`ll find inside.
The minimalistic quite DIY look to the art alone is reason enough to pick up this album.

We start off with the albums title track and it wastes no time going straight into black metal madness, ponding drums, scorching guitars and diabolical vocals right out the gate.

From the very moment this album starts youre in for one hell of a ride, this is whats been missing from the BM scene and I`m overjoyed to find that this filth still breathes and spreads its disease to each and every man, woman and child who walks the earth.

I must also point out the lyrics, each track has wonderfully penned words, carefully crafted in praise of those dark abominable things from which this music sprung.

While I could comment on the fast paced , high pitched tremolo picking I must say the atmosphere surrounding this album is what makes it stand out so much.

After holding you down and bludgeoning you right in your face the first track ends and moves quickly unto the next who bears the swedish title “Ödesalens Uppenbarelse” translating to “Desolations Revelation”

A steady drum beat and thrashing guitars come running towards you hungry for blood.

Absololoute filth spews from the vocalist as he delivers the word of the Devil himself.

Do not misunderstand or underestimate this release for not having melody because it has, it has sinister tones, orchestrated with intention to hasten the end of days and it just might succeed.

I certainly wouldnt want to be the one standing in these guyspath.

The revelations slows its pace and seductively lures us further in to dig it`s long, sharp claws deep within us, penetrating our hearts and tearing our souls asunder.

Third offering, “Birth Of A Mountain” keeps the fists coming towards us making us swallow teeth and spit blood.

If you cant feel the raw fucking passion behind this music then you might wanna check for a pulse. Heres a hint; You won`t have one.

There`s such a beautiful darkness to this track, the production of the album all around is right in that sweet spot and it brings out the best of these songs in a way others so called BM bands often miss all in the name of some bullshit crusade of Trve and Kvlt.

Well if you want a true cult then heres one for you and its name is Ultra Silvam.

Yet another swedish title “Förintelsens Andeväsen” “Destructions Spirits” jumps us from behind and drives it`s sharpened dagger in us , a short and sweet attack just under two minutes long that will surely send any headbanging maniacs to the hospital.

Cacophonous , chaotic. Malformed melodies of death and doom eclipses the sun and violently darkens everything.

Next up is “Wings Of Burial” starting off with more cacophony and a filthy groove for lack of a better term. that Satanic rebel yell cuts through and the fires spread, destroying anything and anyone that dares come near.

The echo of the lines “Drape my vision with ashes and blood
And defile my senses with ancient rot” perfectly describes what`s happening here. And we stand like frantic fanatics with fire in our hearts with open arms welcoming the funeral of the world.

A Skull Full Of Stars” The title itself should give a hint as to the pure unfiltered insanity it contains.

Pounding drums and soaring guitars drenches heaven`s gate in blood as the Devils messenger delivers the gospel of decay.

A guitar section which is truly filled with the most fiery passion comes and goes and towards the middle and breaks us into thrash glory.

And thus we have reached the end and what we find there deep down in those black pits is “The First Wound” feedback of guitars quickly picked up to destroy along with drums that punch several holes in your heart mows you down and breaks into complete and utter destruction.

This is one of those releases within the scene which will surely stand the test of time and live on to achieve legendary status.

The track stops, leaving guitars to ring out for a few seconds before entering into a new phase. The drums in this section is something of Bathory level glory , the slow and steady beating and pounding of the skin.

We`re brought back up in pace and layered over the punching of drums the guitars swings and sways and grabs us by our throats before flinging us up against concrete walls covered in the sharpest rusty nails and leave us bleeding as they walk away celebrating the utter violence.

If anyone dares doubt the greatness of Ultra Silvam you may be worhty of execution.

DEAD AGENT “SGT_SLTR_MLN” EP REVIEW

Ed Finkler is Dead Agent and is currently laid out on my autopsy table ready to be dissected.

The EP “SGT_SLTR_MLN” released September 27th with six tracks all wrapped up in blood red art courtesy of Sgt_Slaughtermelon / Matt Wallace.

So let`s cut to the chase and dive into this..

The opening track entitled “Order Disorder“begins with flickering synth sounds that feels as if they move back and forth from you, increasing and decreasing before the first sequences appear in a near horror esque manner warning you that somethings coming. Bubbly, bleepy bloopy glitched out sounds come in for a moment before the first hit of the kick drum and off we go with a nice, soft pad to lead the way.

Melodic lead synths to top it all off make this the type of track I`m sure fans of electro/industrial kids at the club would much appreciate. Personally I think it would be interesting to hear some vocals but I digress…

A good start nonetheless with promising sound design.

Next up is “Mutiliated

Again we have the sense of a flickering introduction but it doesnt feel repetetive, its engaging and interesting. Delayed sounds layered nicely over rythmic drums and lazer beam synths before what sounds like a short voice sample seconds before we get properly started but just as we do we also get dropped down again and picked up by more synthesized melodies where effected vocal samples seem to float just beneath the surface creating a very intriguing result.

As we move towards the end the song starts getting a little more violent yet retaining it`s softness and moving right into track number three; “Bit Shifter

Sirens beckon us closer, the bass warns but fails as we follow the call into unknown territory.

A delightful soft synth sequence appears and steadily grows louder, meaner and harsher.

So far it seems the Bit Shifting is taking its sweet time but misunderstand me correctly, its certainly not a complaint. I quite enjoy the aura of suspense such pacing creates. Unintellgibe vocal samples appear to lure us further towards the jaws of the shifter whos slowly spinning his web, getting ready to get its voltage controlled fingers on us all.

Sirens appear again accompanied by glitching yet soft sounds beneath, Im loving the siren sound for sure and am no stranger to putting it to use myself. The sounds and sequences to come gives me this highkey 80s vibe which seems to be growing in popularity these days surely thanks in part to shows like Stranger Things and its theme song.

We move on to the next track as we still attempt to break free from the web of the previous beast. “Frentik” starts us off with a slowly growing horror like soundscape but is quick to introduce us to synths that doesn`t sound too far from what one could find in various modular based music. A steady, slow drum beat and heavily effected vocals appear bringing us to beautiful melodic realms.

I will say Im not usually a fan of effect heavy vocals as I feel its often used as a crutch or a way to make something interesting out of the mindnumbingly boring but I believe Dead Agent pulled it off in a quite tasteful way here so I don`t mind it at all. This seems to be my favourite track of the EP thus far.

The sound of chugging distorted guitars move towards us and only makes me fall a little bit more in love with “Frentik” the sound design of this form of music is often overlooked but in a case like this it deserves to be mentioned and it`s done very well, something I wish I could say more often.

The previously mentioned modular esque sequences take us to the end and into second to last track “Home Automaton

What at first sounds like perhaps a mixture of sampled, slowed down voices or the sound of a plane either landing of lifting off greets us and the ceremony begins.

This seems to be more of a typical dance/club track with some interesting 8 bit sounds thrown in at frequent measueres. While I`m not generally a fan of the more club oriented branches of this genre the track keeps me engaged and each new bleep and bloop piques my interest.

About halfway in we drop down to a melodic atmosphere and a clap which grows and is accompanied by fast paced sequencing before the drums reappear and yet again the soundscape shifts but the consistency is firmly upheld and the track doesnt suffer from its frequent changes.

And so weve reached the end of our little autopsy with only one more to go, that being "New Patterns" which is in itself a good description of this EP as a whole as each song is different yet you dont feel like you\re listening to five different artists.

Our goodbye begins with the forementoned 80s esque sound and a nearly melancholic, one hit high pitch synth sounds take us into the temple of the cyber lords.

Theres a near darkwave feel to this for a moment before shifting its pace ever so slightly only to return to a more minimalist form.

Two minutes and just a few seconds into the end we explode into electronic frenzy as the drums march onwards and in comes what sounds like a effect ladden theremin which I absoloutely adore.

The Bandcamp version of the EP also comes with two bonus tracks. The Neo-Suprematism remixes of “Order Disorder” and “Bit Shifter

The first remix begins with a fairly fast paced sequence being repeated as thiings happen slowly in the background before it all crashes and breaks into a four to the floor beat with a fantastic snare sound and we all know how hard it is to achieve suck levels of sorcery.

The track trudges ever onwards, broken up at seemingly random points by glitched out noise.

Definetly worth it`s slot as a bonus track.

The next remix begins with a sampled spoken word which I assume may be lifted from a serial killer documentary as rythmic noises appear from beneath and floating synhts come closer turning harsher and more destructive by the second. Psychedlia galore is quick to take over and I imagine if one were to drop acid to any track of this EP this would be the one to do such activities to.

The angels blow the trumpets warning us of the coming end. The apocalyptic horn blows steadily in ominous tones as the glitchfest takes place below the surface. Though I must point out the glitchfest seems like a controlled chaos sort of affair, it`s a beauitful destruction indeed.

It fades out and once agan a disembodied voice greets us as the maelstrom slowly builds up underneath to give us one last taste of these wonderfully composed and layered sequences that run throughout the whole of the release

You know what, I dont see why I should have to keep attemtping to convince you, just go get this damn EP, I guarantee you you won`t be disappointed. And on the off chance that you are feel free to come fight me about it.

INTERVIEW WITH FALSE FIGURE

Burning visions from a city of misery, Oakland’s False Figure is part of
a resurgence of dark post-punk in California’s Bay Area featuring members of Adrenochrome and Cruz De Navajas (CDMX) At times chaotic, abrasive and others giving way to melancholic melodies that remain raw and vulnerable

After discovering them during one of my many bandcamp adventures I`ve listened to False Figure quite regularly. I found their social media pages and saw wonderful DIY drenched live show flyers which only made me like them even more, so i figured why not hit them up and see if I can find out more about them?

How long has False Figure been together and who`s in the band?
Andres: FALSE FIGURE has been a three piece from the start, it’s currently Ian on drums, Alex on bass and myself on guitar and vox

Ian: Andres and I started writing songs together about 3 and a half years ago, we met when we were both working as bike messengers in San Francisco. Alex has been holding down the bass for around 2 years. He’s a true rocker and a perfect fit, most skilled rhythm section partner I’ve ever had in any band.

Your sound is clearly inspired by the 80s scene yet it`s not simply a copy paste job. Besides the goth/deathrock scene where else do you find inspiration?
Andres: Black metal and melodic death metal. I’m hardly involved in the metal world today but when I was young, maybe 15/16 I was introduced to At The Gates when my friend pulled out Terminal Spirit Disease on CD at the record store in town and told me to listen to it. I probably listened to Forever Blind on that disc every day for the next year. I wanted to play melodies like that but it would take me a long time to evolve past power chords. The desire was always there. After my last band ended I started writing melodic fast riffs in minor scales not sure how I wanted to play them, they could’ve easily been black metal riffs but slowed down to a surf beat you get the melodic post punk that is early False Figure. I still write stuff sometimes that I realize sounds too close to the opening riff of I am the Black Wizards by Emperor.

Ian: I grew up with a lot of classic rock and 80’s punk music, shit like Tom Petty, Thin Lizzy, Husker Du, R.E.M., so my answers are always a lil “out there” for this band. Andres writes the hot riffs and I try to give him the right beat, the one the kids can dance to. I’ve played in a lot of straight up punk bands and what I like about False Figure is that I can explore all the beats of the other music I care about, specifically 80’s new wave beats, like stuff from The Cure, U2, Blondie, The Outfield. Again, my taste is kinda weird, but percussion-wise, that shit lands.

Is there a story behind the band`s name?
Andres: Ian and our old bass player had come up with it, I was set on other ideas that weren’t as catchy but we had to record and had a show coming up so we went with it. It worked for me because it various interpretations that didn’t sound like we were a try hard goth band. False Figure initially sounded like a false authority or something pertaining to the state which was relevant to a lot of the lyrics. Much of our early songs like Cardinal Cross are exclusively about being murdered by the state for insubordination. It can still be perceived in a spooky context too I guess, False Figure could be like an apparition. Alliteration is good too, so it’s a pretty versatile name that hopefully sticks in people’s minds.

Ian: Yeah. I came up with it when I was walking my dog with our first bass player. He wanted something that started with “F”. I said False Figure. It’s pretty open ended, make of it what you will, but I saw it as a reflection on all the masquerade’s in the waking world.

You released your EP  “a promised end”  this June, what was the writing and recording process like and how long did it take from start to finish?
Andres: We came back from a full US tour in summer of 2018 and hit the ground running with new songs. We kinda felt like exploring different sides of our skillset and didn’t wanna write the same songs over and over. Ian got the disco beat down and the guitar took more of a backseat. Except in Morningstar, that song is all gas all the time and gotta be dialed on guitar and vocals to play it perfectly live. That one is kind of the pinnacle of the old False Figure style. We had 4 songs that we had been playing live which was most of our set so we booked a day with our friend Kevin and laid down all the tracks in a day.

Ian: We banged that shit out boom boom boom.

Is this your first venture into music or have any of you been part of other things in the past?
Andres: I’ve been playing music since I was a teenager but none of my bands ever really did a whole lot. I joined a friends power violence band in high school but shortly after our drummer disappeared and stopped coming to school so I never got to play shows with them. I would jam with friends when I could but didn’t have a practice space again til I was 21 and started a band called Cop-Out with my old roommate John on bass and my good friend Evan on drums with me singing and playing guitar. I was going for Reatards/Oblivians/Goner and In the Red records style garage rock, real fast real loose pure energy. San Francisco had a big garage rock scene at the time with John Dwyer starting the Oh Sees and Ty Segall blowing up on his own. Aside from that there were a bunch of bad garage/power pop bands. All of that stuff felt disingenuous to me though. In my mind it was a bunch of art school cool kids where the look was more important than the sound and it showed. Cop-Out never really did much though. We finally recorded a demo 2 years after we started. 10 songs, never released on physical media. Our bass player moved suddenly to LA and we never replaced him.

Ian: I’ve been playing in bands since I was 14. I’ve been in a bunch of punk bands. Kinda too many to list and most spent time on the road but didn’t get anywhere. I play bass and guitar too but my chops are at drums.

Are any of you involved in other projects, if so, which ones and how do they differ from False Figure?
Andres: Alex and I currently play in a band called Adrenochrome which is in a similar vein, post punk but with more anarcho punk roots featuring Gina Marie from Otzi on vox and Brianne Hanshaw from Kurraka, and also Alex’s wife, on drums. I play guitar alongside my friend Javier as well in a band called Mala Muerte. It’s reverb and delay drenched slow jangly guitar sad songs in spanish. They’re songs Javier wrote maybe 6 or 7 years ago that he asked me to jam along too. We’re writing new songs and looking to re-record the the old stuff with the current lineup. And Alex isn’t here to chime in but he also plays in the Mexican darkwave post punk band Cruz de Navajas until they recently broke up. He’s currently working on something else thats similar I believe. 

Ian: I play drums for Cher Struaberry in Twompsax and her solo project. It’s trans riot-grrl music. We’ve been touring heavily and have new records coming out in the winter. I’m also playing guitar in a new band called Prism, rocker post-punk stuff, we just recorded a demo last week and will be playing shows this winter.

How long until you grace us with a full length album?

Andres: When someone gives us money to record it and put it out for us. Putting out records is expensive but when people care enough about it to give you label support it can ease the burden. In the meantime we record little by little. Expect an EP featuring new stuff regularly. When those pick up traction we’ll focus our efforts on a cohesive release.

The last word is yours, feel free to cover anything we may have missed or promote whatever you`ve got coming up in the near future!

Andres: I really wanna thank James from Transylvanian Tapes for putting out A Promised End on tape for us. He’s been a huge supporter of False Figure for a couple years and was really excited to put this tape out. It’s really cool to be put out on a label that does mostly metal because I know metal dudes know their shit and that’s the audience feedback I wanna listen to. It’s important for me to have your music be approved across genres, I like when I listen to a band in a scene I don’t really listen to and like it. It makes me feel like I’m learning something I’ve never understood before and it makes the world seem closer. James also put out a lot of friend’s bands so to be included in that party feels really good. 

We still have copies of our tape available for international shipping through him at:

transylvaniantapes.bandcamp.com/album/false-figure-a-promised-end 

Our LP and 7″ are available through our bandcamp: falsefigure.bandcamp.com
We can be found on Instagram and Facebook as well where we post most of our updates @Falsefigure 

Ian: Don’t let the bastards get you down.