Artist Stephen Kasner (Sunn O))), Integrity, Justin Broadrick) Dead at age 49

Iconic artist Stephen Kasner who came out of the underground scene to create horror-themed art for films, books, and avant-garde and metal artists’ albums, died on Christmas Day. He was just 48. In addition to painting, art and other mixed media, Kasner also made music under the Blood Fountains moniker. He created art for albums from a variety of artists such as Khlyst, Sunn O))), Integrity, Lotus Eaters, Skullflower, Justin Broadrick, Subarachnoid Space, and Martin Grech among others. Kasner released the book Stephen Kasner Works: 1993 – 2006 (Scapegoat Publishing, 2007), a lavish career retrospective with text by various artistic luminaries and collaborations with Seldon Hunt, David D’Andrea, Dwid Hellion, Steven Leyba, and Steven Cerio. Dwid’s Integrity band posted a remembrance of Kasner on Social Media.  Continue reading

Victims – The Horse and Sparrow Theory

The Horse and Sparrow Theory (Relapse Records) really wants to let you know that Victims is about that Hardcore and D-beat life. Like every song on this bad boy is pre-loaded with that classic drum pattern. Every word is delivered with snarl and song with names like ‘There’s Blood on the Streets’ lets you know that these Swedes mean business. The only problem with all that is the in the pursuit of Punk rock fury, Victims forgot to write any memorable riffs. Continue reading

Ringworm – Death Becomes My Voice

Diminished twin lead guitars fade in above a filthy, distorted bass line. It segues into the intro of the title track, and Death Becomes My Voice (Relapse Records) begins in ill-conceived circumstances. This intro segment is a slow crawl through power chords and crashing cymbals, and completely unrepresentative of the album as a whole. When the main bulk of the title track begins it’s clear that the slow introduction was a calm before a storm, but perhaps an unnecessary breather to kick things off. It may have worked better somewhere in the middle of this unrelenting album as something of a palate cleanser, but more on that later. Continue reading

Psycho Las Vegas 2018: Live From Hard Rock Hotel And Casino

Psycho Las Vegas has grown and evolved over the years and has shaken off any comparisons to niche European fests and your traditional US fest, itself having no close comparisons, and being its own beast. Having everything under one roof including your stay can lead to late and debaucherous nights for some, packed and planned diverse schedules for the devout, a little compromise of both for others, but an all around good time for all. For a journalist working the fest, it goes by in a blur but you still experience having those stand out moments as well as highlights of your own. Continue reading

Maryland Deathfest 2018 – Baltimore Maryland

For a metal fan, especially an underground metal fan with a cultured taste, Maryland Deathfest is the holy grail of music festivals. They are metal fans, so they understand metal fans. It has grown by leaps and bounds like a little cottage industry with California Deathfest, Quebec Deathfest, Netherlands Deathfest, Days of Darkness and more to come I’m sure. As I attended my first ever full weekend, I saw incredible bands on my bucket list, met a lot of great people from all over the world, hung out with friends and basically had more fun than I could imagine. It was basically summer camp for die-hard metal fans. No judgments, no fights, no fake kung fu in the mosh pit, just all awesomeness 24/7. Fun for families and even dogs. Plus Natty Bo’s and cheap and delicious street tacos! Continue reading

Nequient – Wolves at the Door

A sea change seems to be afoot in the heavy music game. Young bands like Code Orange, Knocked Loose and now Nequient’s approach to the genre is to craft albums that pull from as wide a net of influences as possible and spinning that yarn into functional songs. On Wolves at the Door (Nefarious Industries) Nequient uses d-beat-laden Crust Punk as a framework, and stacks on Thrash, Grindcore, Hardcore, Sludge and Black Metal to create a collage of brutality. Continue reading