Interview with a Komrad

Komrads: The one man industrial crusade led by Zachary Burnett hailing from Rochester,NY recently signed to Negative Gain Productions and is not wasting any time. August 20th will see the release of the album “The Wolf”, the follow-up to 2018`s self-released “Resistor”.

I`ve trudged through the debris of broken analog synthesizers, drum machines and ash to find front-man/leader of the revolution, Zachary Burnett and interrogate him about his latest collection of machine-driven hymns and the Komrads agenda.

Let`s start off with something fairly simple, what is the origin of the name Komrads

I picked the name for a couple reasons.  The main inspiration was Waynes World 2 when Wayne holds a fundraiser at a Soviet Union themed club called Comrades to raise money for Waynestock.  I changed the spelling because if Korn could do it then why can’t I?  Also it’s a gender neutral pronoun, an all inclusive term.  When you’re at a Komrads show, we’re all comrades.

You started out as a full band and eventually ended up as a solo project which seems to be the opposite of how things go in this scene with bands often started as a solo thing and evolving into a full band later on, how do you think you`ve benefited from this move?

The main reason I went solo was because of the relentless touring schedule I was working up toMy previous band members, Jesse Halstead and Joe Sexton, we’re great sports and I couldn’t have gotten this project rolling without them.  But life happens and spending months on the road with an unsteady income is less than appealing to most sane people understandably.  The biggest benefit of being solo is I have little to no overhead cost and if I wanna pull over and go to Starbucks for the third time that day there’s no one to argue with.

Your new album “The Wolf” shows great musical range, opening track “Crossfire” setting the tone with it`s doomsday sound design, “Exile” showcasing the rock/metal influence and “The Cure” seemingly living in between post punk and industrial. To what do you attribute this seamless slithering between the worlds?

It’s mostly to keep things interesting for myself.  I’m a fan of all genres within the “Goth” realm and I love to pick elements of each and mash them together.  Sometimes it turns out great, other times not so much.  I started this project without really picking a direction to point myself fully at.  It’s definitely been an experimental journey trying to figure out exactly what Komrads is to me.  With this album I’ve found a lot more confidence in what I want this project to sound like.

This is your first time operating within the industrial borders [or lack-thereof] what made you wanna go this route? What about the industrial concept so to speak was it that attracted you to it?

What really pushed me into this territory was the fun factor.  Maybe not a whole lot of people think of the word “fun” when they hear industrial.  I’ve been drifting back and forth between the post punk/darkwave and industrial realms for a few years.  After touring with Skold and opening for Pigface, Suicide Commando, and Psyclon Nine I found myself enjoying the energy output at those shows more and more.  It seems more fitting for me to pursue that route given I already instinctively have an angsty, aggressive approach when I produce electronic music.  So diving deeper into Industrial just seemed like the next logical step for me.

Komrads – The Wolf

The wolf as a symbol is found throughout time in nearly every culture, which interpretation, if any, influenced the album to the point of choosing it as its title?

I chose to name the album after the track I had titled The Wolf.  It was the last song I had written for the album and it’s deeply personal about my resentment and outright hatred for someone close to my immediate family.  I won’t go into details about this specific person but due to a series of events over the course of many years, this persons involvement within my family has left me sort of cast out, a lone wolf you might say.  

Who is responseable for the albums artwork and what was the idea behind it?

I was scrolling through my Instagram feed as I often do and I came across this outrageously badass drawing of my favorite Pokémon (Haunter). I immediately followed Keith West/HangxFang after checking out the rest of their work. I asked if they could draw up something for me with a Wolf as the focal point in a cemetery of sorts and barely a week later I’m looking at what would become my album cover. I’m planning on working with this artist again and I highly recommend them. Very friendly and fast turnaround for quality work.

The music of Komrads is largely built on hardware equipment and heavy use of sampling, was this a conscious decision? Why not simply open Fruity Loops and program up a beat or two?

I guess you could say it was a conscious decision to use hardware instruments as opposed to software.  I played guitar in punk and metal bands for years, some drums too so having a hands on approach just made more sense to me.  I want to physically feel the instruments I’m playing, twist the knobs and push the pads myself.  Maybe my performance will be less precise and limited but that brings me back to the fun factor.  Physically hammering on MPC pads and dialing in the synths and drums as they’re looping brings me a lot of joy that I don’t feel when just sitting in front of a computer screen.  My DAW is largely just a means to record the outputs of my gear.

On the topic of equipment, which piece of gear would you say was essential to the creation of this album and why?

I couldn’t have made this record without my Akai MPC 2500.  That is the key to all of my operations for this project.  I’ve compiled tons of samples on it and I love the workflow.  Aside from that I heavily used a Roland SE-02 and Korg Minilogue and often ran them through an Industrialectric Incinerator silicon fuzz pedal.  I practically made those synths scream and chug like guitars.

You`ve played a fair amount of shows and tours, opened for several well known acts within the scene and have a tour of your own coming up in October. Being a solo act how do you go about translating the music for the stage? Do you have a live line-up with you and if so, who does it consist of currently?

As of right now I perform solo live as well.  I used to bring all of my gear with me and that became a massive headache.  Now I have a minimalist rig put together so I can get on and off of stage in less than five minutes to make way for the other acts.  I run backing tracks, several pedals I process my vocals through, and a synth or two for some extra flair and performance.  I also supply and operate my own lighting rig.  I’ve spent countless hours dialing in lights that bring a lot of movement and life to my stage performance.

Having a consistent flow of releases whether it be stand alone singles, EP`s or whatever else, what do you have planned after the album drops?

I have a couple things in the early stages of planning but nothing set in stone.  I am planning on releasing remixes off of this album in one form or another.  I also have plans to collaborate with a few other artists but I won’t be divulging any further information on that at this time.  I’m lending my vocals for a few features that will be out late this year or early next year as well.

Blind [Single from The Wolf]

As you know, Sounds & Shadows is all about supporting smaller artists/bands from around the globe. Who are some of the current underground acts you`re into these days that you`d want our readers to check out?

STCLVR (pronounced Street Cleaver) is easily one of my favorite underground acts in the scene right now.  They’re a solo industrial artist based out of Jamestown, NY.  They slam out releases quickly one after another lately and each one blows me away.  I highly recommend checking them out if you’re into harsh industrial.  Some other favorites I highly recommend are 6th Circle, Bustie‘, and The Russian White.  All three of those acts vastly differ from each other but they’re all among my favorites that I think deserve a little more credit

When industrial was but a foetus [pun intended ; ) ] there was various political as well as spiritual and occult ideologies tied in to the music whether that be in terms of the creators outlook or the methods and equipment used to record said music, while this seems to have taken the back-seat in the modern era in favour of the more club-friendly interpretations of the genre I`d wanna know if the ways of old has any influence on how you create, think about and execute your art?

I think a lot of the original and older acts in the Industrial genre had no intentions of receiving club play.  I don’t set out to write music with a political agenda but sometimes, and more so especially on this record, that’s exactly what happens.  When I’m not yelling about my personal feelings my anger/grief usually finds itself pointed at political issues.  I do appreciate when my music is played in clubs and I do strive to write hooks now and then but I’m writing this music to build a connection with an audience.  I’m of course influenced by the likes of Skinny Puppy, NIN and Ministry, but I want to take that influence and combine it with everything else that makes me who I am, and put it out there as something new and fresh.

Find Komrads on the following pages



Negative Gain Productions:

New album ” The Wolf ” out August 20th 2021

Nekromantheon – The Visions Of Trismegistos

Since 2005 my fellow Norwegians in Nekromantheon have made frentic metal that grabs you by the neck and pulls you right back to the 80s and the hey-day of thrash/death metal.

Nine years after their last album theyre back with The Visions Of Trismgistos, described as "bringing forth the spirit of old metal again" and its most certainly an accurate statement.

Throughout the half hour consisting of 8 tracks Nekromantheon shows that the spirit is alive and well with manic lead guitars soaring through bringing legends like Trey Azagthoth to mind immediatly along with classic albums by both early Sepultura and Morbid Angel. Are they reinventing the wheel? No, do they need to? Not really. While theres no shortage of self-proclaimed old school death/thrash bands out there it`s easier said than done to achieve not only the sound but also the atmosphere and vibe such a proclamation might suggest.

From the opening title track to the relentlessness of Faustian Rites and highly atmospheric Scorched Death, the pure mania of Thanatos Nekromantheon has definetly hit the nail on the head with this one. Recorded with mostly analog equipment at Chaka Khan Studio as well as other locations around Oslo this album feels like a lost classic from back in the day resurfacing, being rediscovered to finally achieve the well deserced praise.

Throughout the album we find references to Gnosticism in the lyrics, something that will only ever please me, while much of the lyrical content in this genre can too often be fairly copy/paste nonsense and the usual bad zombie movie description Nekromantheon delivers a touch of substance for those who wish to dig a little deeper and find out what theyre talking about. How serious the trio is about the contents of their lyrics I cant comment on but I do hope it`s more than just a show as that would check each point on my proverbial list.

Overall this is a gritty, pounding and fervent collection of songs. Short, sweet and to the point, as it should be without any meandering going on. Production wise Id say its perfectly balanced and hits the right spot for anyone looking for fresh metal in the vein of those ancient Gods of the 80s.

Rudimentary Peni – Great War

Rudimentary Peni is a band truly shrouded in mystery. Born in Abbots Langley, June 1980, this group has released their dirging punk rock drenched in lovecraftian lunacy sporadically throughout the years, showing up when you least expect it before dissapearing back underground again, leaving nothing but the music and Nick Blinko`s beauitfully macabre, dark and entrancing artwork.

Now, as the world is ravaged by plagues of all manners, the Peni is back with the EP “Great War”, released by Sealed Records the EP consists of 10 tracks in true RP fashion, short, sweet and as dirty and gritty as it ever was. I first heard rumous of this release a few years back and according to Sealed Records it was indeed recorded a couple years in the past. Thematically the EP is based around the World War 2 petry of Wilfred Owens which is in line with the 2009 single “The Chances” also based on such poetry and was , untill now, the most recent sign of life from RP.

No Rudimentary Peni release can be talked about without mentioning the artwork. Blinko has carved out his own, unique and instantly recognizable style over the years and although decades have come and gone, surely one would recognize the artist if putting debut album Death Church`s cover alongside Great War.

“Anthem For Doomed Youth”, opening track and first single off the album greets us with a heavy, gritty bass line, Blinko leading the sermon into glorious caocophonous drums, guitars with the distortion set to 11 and all the atmosphere you could ever want from this latest offering.

“Path Of Glory” comes in and hits you like a freight train, classic RP all the way with driving, crushing guitars and pounding drums with Blinko`s instantly recognizable vocals as the rotting cherry on top creating an almost proto black metal sound.

“Crimson Sun” begins as a doomy drige, interrupted by a rapid drumbeat reminiscent of early industrial cutting through, in and out throughout the one and a half minute track, as is the usual lenght of any RP song as long-time devotees will know.

“Mental Cases” brings the pace down but not too much, overblown distorted chaos and yet a sense of serenity hidden beneath the layers of pure filth , this is Death rock with a capital D. No spindly Christian Death imitation guitar to be found here, just pure wonderful chaos and dirt.

“Asleep” clocking in at just under three minutes is the EP`s second longest track and it sounds like an absoloute whirlwind. Blinko in the eye of the storm, howling his maddening gospel unto the ears of any man , woman and others, that will hear. Fading out into the void and bringing us into “Blood For Seed” which brings to mind more than one of my favourite RP tracks, sure to take a place among them. “A Soldiers Dream” comes crashing in like a tornado in your head, ripping you apart at the seems at an unrelenting pace for two mintues and twelve seconds then throws you into “Strange Meeting” which sounds like the sonic equivalent of an uphill batte with is relentless, steady and gritty guitars marching ever onwards like some dystopian machine from a distant yet eerily familiar realm. “Witness” delivers some wonderfully crunchy bass lines cutting through the distorted to death guitars, like your average post punk band on a cocktail of copious amounts of amphetamines, rage and madness.

“The Old Lie” coming in just two seconds shy of three minutes is the final track and the finale story of this Great War. Millitary drums layered under drones of doom and gloom going on endlessly into the night with Blinko front and center leading the way to god knows where. Overall the Great War is indeed great. A worthy addition to the sporadically released EPs and albums from one of the 80s most mysterious entities. Im glad theyre back and Im glad to see Nick Blinkos art adorning the vests, jackets and skin of many in the scene these days, lets hope they know what it is and have been blessed with this cacophony rather than simply seeing a cool image to put on themselves. The EP feels very much in line with previous releases such as Archaic and No More Pain and Im sure anyone whos anxiously waited for a sign of life from RP wont be dissapointed.

Great War is available as digital download, vinyl and CD via the link below:


Bestial Mouths is the musical child of Lynette Cerezo. Originally created alongside her husband Bestial Mouths has been the place of purging for any and all of what may plague the mind and heart of Lynette wether it be the external world, the divorce from her husband and idea of continuing on by herself in a field she had little to no previous experience in, all wrapped up with tribal percussion, howling vocals reminiscent of the icon that is Diamanda Galas and the most wonderfully artistic, beautiful DIY music videos in this scene at the moment.

I recently took part in the online event The Dark Circus X where Bestial Mouths was also on the bill, this resulted in me rediscovering them and getting in touch with Lynette to inquire about music, spirituality, videography and anything else that fell into my mind

You make some really great looking videos, what`s the process like for that and do you collaborate with others on manifesting whatever vision you may have for a song?

It’s very important for me to present a visual that captures the spirit and meaning behind Bestial’s music. The process is different all the time. Some of my songs have a very strong visual concept from inception, an unbendable vision; sometimes I love to see what individual directors intuit from the music. The process can become a very collaborative project where we work off/ with each other, which I love. Creating a video is absolutely a variation on performing and I really enjoy it.

While writing, do you keep visuals in mind for future videos or artwork to accompany a song or even an album?

Oh yes, of course. I seem to always have ideas swimming around in my head. 

There`s a primal element to your music, the combination of the instrumental aspect and your voice can reach truly harrowing as well as beautiful planes, what did you envision when you decided to do this, especially so when doing it on your own?

I envisioned exactly this—reaching other souls, connecting and giving others these emotions and vibes.

Correct me if I`m wrong but you`re originally from Florida and currently live in Berlin? What is it about Berlin specifically that seems to have attracted artistic people for so long that can`t be found in other parts of the world?

I grew up mostly in Florida, but I’ve lived all over the USA. Bestial Mouths was originally formed in LA. 

Berlin attracts so many artists in all forms of media, even now in plague times. It’s really a wonder to be able to be among all this energy. Also the cheaper cost of living as well as Europe’s support of the arts is much greater than Americas. There’s just more opportunity in Berlin.

I believe I read somewhere that you struggle with anxiety and ad/hd ? How do you think that affects your work if at all?

I’ve dealt with long term depression most of my life, which breeds anxiety as well. I am certainly no stranger to panic attacks. Certainly having a short attention span has shaped the way I perform. I essentially mediate before each show to get into my zone. I never put breaks between the songs, or chat with the crowd. Honestly, even if I look at the audience I lose focus. I notice too many details, down to people’s earrings. It’s too much! This I’m sure is also what makes Bestial shows more ritualistic.

Unfortunately I do believe my depression has more of a negative effect on my output. For some artists it can be fuel, but not me. It stops me and breeds insecurity and self-doubt. A. lot of people would call my music ‘dark’—maybe it comes from all this. I think the goal is facing what we are afraid of.

You`re a self-proclaimed workaholic so it would be silly to not ask what you`re currently working on and when we might see the results of it?

I seem to be most at peace and ease when working and having something close on the horizon (as you might guess, stopping lets the anxiety creep in). I also love a challenge and moving forward to keep learning and developing. I’m excited to show the world our new remix album and video we did for the ADULT. remix. Bestial also has a new song that will be released on a limited 7” that comes with a zine and video, and I have a new collab song and video as well plus a few more collabs in the works. It’s a lot more challenging at the moment with the pandemic to know what’s next. So I try to flow as water and stay hopeful.

Bestial Mouth`s visual side is some of the most striking work out there right now, is there a specific message you try to convey with each album cover that relates to the music it represents?

Thank you for the compliment. It means a lot to know that this is noticed because I do put a lot into every visual for these releases. I believe in a full concept with the music, art, and videos; it would be impossible for me to create something without imbuing it with all of these attributes, fleshing it into something fully realized.

The message of course varies per work. But with the last EP INSHROUDDSS I was in a cocoon stage, overcoming a divorce and taking the reigns of Bestial all by myself. I had a lot of pain and betrayals to overcome, and I really had to work to find the strength within me. The LP RESURRECTEDINBLACK is the next phase of the moth emerging— though nothing is ever 100% recovered or perfect. The scars and effects remain just as the realization that the moth’s life is very brief. Death is always close behind.

What`s the creative process like? How does a Bestial Mouth song begin?

Just like the videos, that can take many forms. We have created in numerous ways. Sometimes I have a strong message or lyrics I want to convey, so we write the music to fit that. Sometimes we may come up with some amazing synth parts, and build the meat of the song upon those bones. I also tend to write in cut-up or collage forms, and that can really shape how a song is built. 

Your logo is quite simplistic in being the B and M on top of each other, it brings to mind certain occult teachings specifically those of Peter J Caroll and Austin Osman Spare with their work regarding sigils, are you a spiritual person in any way?

The logo was actually hand drawn by James Livingston of Black Horizons. Years ago we did a tape release and he created it. I felt it reflected Bestial perfectly.

I do not prescribe to any true occult or dark magicks, but I believe in the beauty of the Earth and all that is living. One can never truly know if energy spirits and souls share this reality with us. All I know is the trees can speak if you listen closely.

Both yourself and an artist like Lingua Ignota carry elements of the iconic Diamanda Galas, do you remember how you first came across her work?

I am very fond of Kristin’s work for sure, she’s amazingly talented and insanely good live. I wish I could remember when Diamanda first came into my life; I truly can not imagine the absence of her energy.

Considering the intensity of all that is Bestial Mouths, do you ever feel as if you`re being too vulnerable, exposing yourself too much for comfort?

This is a great question because I do believe I bare it all. This does leave me feeing like my skin has been ripped off, especially after a live performance when reality slips back in after the show ends. I often get confused during interviews and on social media; like, how much do I say or show? But I have shown it all, so what more would people want to know? 

I do not mean this negatively at all. I just get confused. I love to connect to others and I am not trying to be mysteriously ‘cool’ or anything. Maybe because I do expose so much in my art, I’m left insecure as what else to give outside of that.

Without getting into the details I`m aware of you having to face several personal struggles on top of the ongoing pandemic, are things more stabilized now as opposed to at the beginning of all this? How do you think it might colour the next Bestial Mouth release?

I feel I have been truly lucky during this all because life has turned more positive for me overall, but there has been a lot of uncertainty as well. The struggle to stay afloat and maintain the hope to keep going is an uphill one. What is next for live art and music—will it return, and in what form?

Even at this moment I wait to see when I shall return to Berlin as most of my stuff (including my live gear) has been in boxes for a year now. I can not say at this moment what effect it will have on my music, but all comes from the heart and soul, all is colored by experience and life. We shall see.

You`re part of the label Rune & Ruin, what made you want to take on such a job, what do you think you can bring forth as part of it?

I wanted to bring strong hard-working women together and give them the opportunity and platform to do it. 

As for the future I am not sure of those cards; I will have to see how the world evolves.

You`ve shared the stage with the legendary Genesis P-Orridge, what was that experience like?

One I will never forget and feel so fortunate to have. It was Gen’s birthday actually. I felt so starstruck, yet quite relaxed due to Gen’s warm persona.

The space below is for you to use however you wish, recommend some music, books, movies or maybe share a favourite quote, shout outs, whatever you feel like!

It’s time to write your story and touch the Void.

(PS thank you for taking this time with me~ xoxo Lynette)
Bestial M
Facebook • Instagram • Soundcloud • Bandcamp • Twitter


OUT NOW in Vinyl & DigitalBandcamp

(Still) HEARTLESS EP (Cleopatra Records) Bandcamp • iTunes • Google Play
HEARTLESS LP (Cleopatra Records) iTunes • Amazon • Google Play • Bandcamp
Down To The Bones 7″ (Cleopatra Records)
Cleopatra • Bandcamp • Amazon

Nicole Marxen – Tether

Just the other day as I was checking out a few bands on Bandcanp I scrolled down to the section with recommandations from the artists and/or recommandations based on fans of who evers page youre currently on when for whatever reason, this image caught my attention. Despite its dark colouring it stuck out somehow and gave off a certain intriguing aura which combined with its title drove me to click on it and be taken onto the page of Nicole Marxen for her debut solo EP Tether released in February of 2021. Not knowing what to expect I hit play and waited. What I heard within these four tracks was amazing, haunting, dark electronic music which after having listened to the EP a couple more times over the past few days I still cant truly compare it to anything else, that said Im also not exactly known to be the biggest fan of what I`d call dance oriented music but I digress…

The titular opening track builds up in a crescendo and as the voice of Nicole Marxen begins her “Meditation on the grieving process” along with gentle swirls of noise before the beat kicks in with hypnotic, seductive rhythms, yes this release may be based on grief however you can dance as you grieve. Not to make light of the subject matter but as the saying goes we could be crying in the club.

As the track progresses new, intresting elements and sound design appear, some more int the forefront than others. Its truly taking you on a journey into its own dark world as Nicole howls..or weeps along before a sudden ending and were given "Moonflower". Ambient sonic textures with a single kick drum hitting the rate of a slow heart beat accompanied by what one might interpret as a rapid ticking clock untill it breaks into a funereal dance complete with wonderfully layered yet seemingly simplistic synthesis , a steady beat, a pulsing bass line..If the opener track didnt cause you to immediatly fall into a state inbetween love and melancholy this one certainly will. Yes this could be heard as part of a DJ set at any Goth night but this is the type of song that just has that indescribable aspect that hits you straight your heart, guts, nuts, whatever you got going on. Its a slow, almost gentle punch that leaves the mark of sorrow burned onto your flesh.

“Bone/Dust” opens up with dark, filthy bass lines and Nicoles stunning voice, luring you into the dark like the Siren of myths. A manic repetetive kick drags you deeper down untill youre surrounded by a choir of countless dark beings of an unknown species. This is minimalism done right, I think…Untill about half-way through when what I immediatly want to refer to as rock based drumwork kicks in along with melodic, dramatic synth lines, rising and falling like waves appear and vanish just as quickly.

The final track, “Wild Again” begins, at this point you can feel the sorrow setting in, the slow, deep, crushing feeling is perfectly mirrored by the music which creates the feeling of dropping from deadly heights. Aural doom is the term that manifests from my unconcsious throughout this closing track, truly, it feels like an ending but perhaps it could also hold a sense of hope? As I currently do not have access to the lyrical content Im not able to analyze them and am left to judge by the feelings the music creates in me, how my body, mind and soul respons to the frequencies continually being fired towards me before all of a sudden its over. The end has arrived and though it was harrowing at times you`re left with the morbid wish of it continuing for just a little more.

I absoloutely urge you to check out this release, it is also available on cassette via Bandcamp and we all know how important it is to support the arts so if you can spare the cash, do consider grabbing the tape, even if you don`t own a tape player and just want to support Nicole Marxen in her exploration of grief.