Sunday, March 29, 2015

HOGS OF WAR - A new hardcore band created from an old school cloth

Interview conducted with vocalist Greg.
Hogs of War is a relatively new band which is made up of scene veterans. What made you guys decide to form this unit?
After the No Solution show with Sham 69 I kind of got a wild hair up my ass and wanted to play out again. I’ve been doing art so long I forgot how it feels to play music again, it’s in my blood. I post up on FB and Adrian replied. We discussed what we wanted to do and churned on with..James replied and then we recruited Cory and the Hogs were born.

What is the origin of the band name? My first impression is that it’s a play off The Exploited song “Dogs of War”.
That’s a crazy question, we just threw names around on a group text some of them would’ve cracked you up, some bizarre shit being thrown around. Then Hogs of War was agreed on.

Is this group a continuation of the sounds you created in bands such as No Solution, Vice Grip, Formula for Victory and Krullur?
Yes and no, it has all the elements of all our past bands just mixed together and something different, but still and angry, hard and pissed as ever.

Besides having a wealth of experience playing in bands, you have also been extremely active in creating art for flyers and album covers. Can you give some insight about your passion for art? Who are your influences?
My passion for art goes back way before my days of hardcore in kindergarten drawing Kiss, then to Iron Maiden covers. I was in about 7th grade a friend had a Thrasher with an ad for Septic Death. Now that I have the Attention that shit blew me away never seen anything like that before.. I spent a majority of my early punk/skater days drawing every picture Zorlac put out in Thrasher and ordering stuff from early Pusmort. Those packages were amazing, usually came with 2 posters and he would always write a letter and sign it..I said that’s what I want to do with my art. Another ground breaker in my style was Agnostic Front-Cause for Alarm which still to this day is the best Punk/Hardcore cover of all time simply amazing!! I started seeing more of Sean Taggart’s stuff in zines and what not, kind of hard in the days before the Internet. Then when Todd McFarlane dropped in Hulk, and Amazing-Spiderman he had a big impact on my style as well. It’s been a dream come true seeing that my art has gone global with Total Chaos, pretty stoked about it.

Keeping with the previous question, you have had the fantastic opportunity to become a designer for Embassy Skateboards. How did that come about? How has it been working with them so far?
Met Lee Leal at a skate contest and showed him my work. He was stoked and asked me if I wanted to a series with John Gibson, Craig Johnson, Todd Prince, and Ken Fillion..Being a product of the Mid-80’s skate scene I said hell yeah!! As mentioned above, Pushead doing the graphic for Zorlac I kicked a ton of the Gibson’s and Johnson’s around in my day. It was a dream come true and I was honored. I proudly display mine next to my Zorlac models on my wall.

Being a longtime veteran of the Houston hardcore scene, what changes have you seen in the past few decades?

Want me to sugar coat or be honest with this question? Being involved in the Houston scene for nearly 25yrs now I’ve seen a lot of faces come and go. Hardcore to me has always been about inviduality and just being yourself, and fuck what people think, walk your own path. I think hardcore has lost that identity with the whole gang/crew mentality. Back in the day we were just friends hanging out for each other didn’t have flaunt it or all dress the same, we just looked out for each other. Now days shows are nowhere as violent as the back in the day, the fear is gone you could just feel it in the air. Now days kids all have their little agendas too pc and hugging trees or being to easily offended by words just basically retarded yeah I said it.. All follow the latest trends that bands push out to them. I still can’t believe Krishna is still relevant in Hardcore blows my
mind. I just wish that shit would go away.. Religion in my opinion has no place in Hardcore. Don’t even get me started on Veganism, probably the lamest thing to ever hit the scene. Keep your opinions to yourself and don’t force them upon me... I go to shows not for a damn rally, shut up and let the music do the talking.
The Internet is another thing that has changed, the scene kids read shit on there and try to school me on stuff that was happening in the 80’s. I just shake my head. It’s taking a lot away from the integrity of things. Remember when you would search and search for that one record and were so stoked when you found it at Record Exchange. Now it’s available at the click of a download, I’m guilty of it, but it’s not as rewarding as hunting stuff down by getting out of the house and hitting multiple record shop several times a week. Internet has its advantages with eBay, my guilty pleasure. I’ve been able to acquire stuff I’ve never seen or would ever see in a store in Houston.
Back to Hogs of War, when can we expect to see you live on the stage? What do you have planned?
Well May 1st our first show with you guys ay Rudz, and some recording coming along very soon.

Thanks for the interview. Feel free to have the last words.
Be true to yourself, and always follow your dreams and passion in life. Never let that flame cease to be and never let others put it out.. Peace out..

Friday, March 20, 2015


Here we have another cool release by Bazillion Points. I just have to say that they are one of my favorite publishers. They just continue to press books that really speak to me. Already they’ve release such great titles as Swedish Death Metal and Metalion: The Slayer Mag Diaries.
Initially I expected this book to be like Destroy All Movies: The Complete Guide to Punks on Film. That book covered every movie imaginable that had some sort of punk rock element (fantastic book that I need to review as well). However Heavy Metal Movies is not limited to the music or culture on a film. It covers any movie that would seem to appeal to heavy metal listeners, everything from movies that have a metal soundtrack, documentaries, concert films, metal musicians acting to insane b-movies.
It’s definitely a great reference guide for looking up everything from the typical classics to long lost favorites. Although not completely illustrated, it still has a fair amount of rare movie posters that will remind you of a time long ago. At 560 pages, there’s a wealth of useless, yet fun knowledge. I highly recommend it. This is definitely not a book that will collect dust on my shelf!

Also below check out a good interview with the author.

Monday, March 16, 2015

ROUGHDALE Southern Decay in the 21st Century #1 zine review

So it was a cold, rainy Saturday. My allergies were driving me insane with a constant sneezing and runny nose. Needless to say I felt two steps behind in my energy level. What also didn’t help was the fact that I had been out late the previous night. So with those complaints, I was out driving to the record store, Vinal Edge to be exact.
Finally arriving my destination, I did my normal routine of scanning the front area looking for show flyers or whatever promo items. The first thing that caught my eye was a Xeroxed, black and white zine. This sort of the thing always interests me. The cover featured two guys holding bottles of alcohol with their eyes marked over. I figured it was a new music zine with reviews. So of course I grabbed one.
Fast forward 5 days later. I finally had an opportunity to sit down and give it a proper read. To my surprise, it was not a music zine. It was a fictional narrative of some strange, unrelated (at least that’s what I got out of it) short stories.
The editorial, written by J.C. Spann, rambles on about procrastination, late night drinking and solitude. Basically it is self deprecating giving the reader negative reasons of why to not read his publication. Well I know that type of psychology. He really is using those words to entice the reader. People in general are more attracted to negativity. So, for me, the intro worked in grabbing my attention.
The stories seem to jump around in different situations. The beginning tells about someone in a car going to Thanksgiving dinner with George Bush senior and junior. However they make a stop in a trailer park. To the narrator’s surprise, inside a trailer there was a rape shower with a leather collar and chains hanging from the ceiling. The narrator fights his way out of the trailer to evade a presidential rape.
The other stories tell about long, drunken drives at night, working a boring clerical job at Huntsville prison and going to a High On Fire concert. None of the stories are abundant in action, but they do paint a realistic picture of some strange scenarios. So I say the stories work in regard to keeping my attention. My verdict is that I do look forward to reading the 2nd issue.
As for the author, I know very little about him other than a picture collage in the zine. That section features images of Gorgoroth records surrounded by beer cans, a guy wearing a Darkthrone t-shirt and a hooded person pointing a rifle. So I can conclude they like good music. I am all about supporting independent thinking artists. So go check out their Facebook page:

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Nephilim Terror - Blackened Death Metal Melody

Interview conducted with Tom/Guitarist.
First off, I must congratulate you on the Saturnus EP. That is a fantastic release both in the music and recording! Give some details on the writing and recording?
Thanks! It was quite an experience getting it done. By the time I got back in the band the material on Saturnus had already been written mostly by guitarist Marvin Ruiz and drummer Blake Allison, both very solid musicians who can seriously write a tune. For the recording and mastering process we went through Corey Redick at Serra Studios in La Marque Texas. Corey really did an outstanding job making that album as heavy as it could possibly be, and we are all very pleased with the final product.
Your band has always had a great sound. I first saw you live at a Sound Exchange show some years ago. At the time the band sounded great, but you really have morphed into a mature, brutal sound. The death metal element is still strong in your music, but I do sense some black metal influences as well. Has this been a gradual progression?  
I would say it’s always been there. In the beginning when we were getting our very first songs out, I really felt it was important to keep that kind of black metal/Scandinavian style in the writing. We are all big melo-death and black metal fans, so that will always come out. The death metal aspect actually came a little later, trying to be a littler heavier
Vocally and musically Nephilim Terror is a complete extreme metal band. I know there has been a lot of hard work put forth. Can you please tell us about your beginnings and how this group all came about? 
I can do my best, haha. Blake responded to an ad that I had put out on Craigslist looking for people to start a band with. I also had just recently met a bass player named Ryan, who was also going to school for audio engineering at the time, so I got him in on it. The three of us met up for the first time and we had our first song down in it’s entirety in about an hour or so. It was one of those “we just kinda clicked” moments. Trying to find another guitarist, Blake had played in a band with Marvin, and he fit in naturally as well. And then there was this kid Danny who would skip school and hang out with me and come to practices, who just so happened to do vocals, and it turned out he was one of the best vocalists I’ve ever heard. So we really lucked out there. He was another perfect fit. We had our first show March, 5 2009 at Texas Metal Fest opening for Carcass and Suicide Silence.

In a previous conversation you mentioned the band going through a possible line-up change. How is that going and when do we expect to see you back on the stage? 
Yeah, recently Danny and Marvin have parted ways from the band mutually. Both just wanting to do something different musically, which we totally support and understand. We have a new vocalist, Sean McFarlin, who just slays, and we are currently trying out guitarists. Hopefully after getting the guitarist situation figured out, we can start playing some shows again.

I know you had taken a hiatus from the band but are now back in full force. How has the writing been with your renewed input? 
Good, I hope! Haha. From the start my basic elements when writing for this band have always been catchy melodic lines, classical use of harmonies, and SPEED!! haha. We are looking to slow things down a bit however, bringing more rhythmic syncopation and a little groovier style along with atmospheric qualities with what we already have going on.
You are definitely a great technical guitar player. How are your studies in musical composition coming along? When is the graduation date for your degree? Also, once complete, what are your aspirations? 
Man, thank you so much. Studying theory and composition is a very long and tedious process, especially for being a lowly self-taught metal guitarist haha. I enjoy studying with my peers and teachers though, I have a really fun time playing in my jazz ensemble as well, a different environment to say the least. I’m going to get my Associates in Arts with a field of study in music this semester, after that I should be getting my bachelors in composition within the next two years. Although lately I’ve been thinking of changing to music education. IF I get all that done I would like to find a teaching job teaching guitar at a music studio or a private school.
DannyCarroll.jpgLast up, what’s in the future? Any new recordings planned? 
We are currently writing new material for a full length we want to get out as soon as possible. So just taking care of that and hopping on some shows! We’ve also been wanting to organize a tour so we might try to get that going to promote the new EP

Now give some final words. 
All I want to say is a huge thanks to yourself for asking me to do this, you’re a badass in every way possible. And thanks to everyone whos supported us so far! We have many great things in store so stay tuned!

Friday, March 6, 2015

QUEST FOR FIRE – Memories from the drive-in

           The other day I did my routine viewing of the 1981 film Quest for Fire. I watch it every few years, for one because I like it and two, it reminds me of my childhood going to the drive-in. I saw it on a double feature with Conan the Barbarian…what a great bill! I can still remember sitting on the hood of my parents’ car and leaning back on the windshield watching this epic movie. Well by today’s standards it’s not all that epic, but for me as a child it was. When the previews for it hit TV, I saw cavemen and wooly mammoths, I had to see it!
            It’s amazing how the drive-in experience seemed so great, but in reality it sucked. The sound was pure crap. Basically all the sound came through a beaten up speaker that you would hang on the car window. I am sure there was some crystal clear sound going through those suckers! Then you had to deal with the weather elements. That is a whole other issue. Also there were distractions of people getting intoxicated, acting like fools and brawling. If drive-ins were still the norm I am sure the crime would be worse…but would create some great people watching!

            The first time I saw a movie in an actual theater was seeing The Empire Strikes Back. That was a whole new experience. The place was clean, the picture was clear and the sound was upgraded. I also remember one of the theater patrons looked like Mark Hamill. Luke Skywalker made a guest appearance.
            Not to get off track, but back to the prehistoric movie in discussion. The film only looks slightly dated, mainly because of the wooly mammoth effects. However, all in all, it remains a great piece of primitive story telling. I am not going to get all into the plot but the direction does a great job of turning one problem into a cool adventure for the three main Cro-Magnon protagonists. The film’s dialog is made up completely of languages created by Anthony Burgess. Not much sense would be made with cavemen speaking a modern language.
            The cast is pretty interesting. The lead character is played by Everett McGill who you may recognize playing villains in films such as The People Under the Stairs, Silver Bullet and Under Siege 2…..oh and Dune. Also starring, from Sons of Anarchy fame, is Ron Perlman. Perlman, making his film debut, didn’t need much make-up to look like a caveman. Rae Dawn Chong, Tommy Chong’s daughter, plays an annoying cavewoman. A little known fact is professional wrestlers The Exotic Adrian Street and Giant Haystacks had small parts as well.

            Currently the movie is streaming on Netflix. Go check it out. It will make you appreciate running water and a bar of soap.

Monday, March 2, 2015

God Fearing Fuck - Retro Grind-Crust in the new age

Interview with Diego.
I must say when first hearing your band it felt like a deformed hand grabbed me by the throat and violently drug me into a time warp back to the late 80s-early 90s age of grindcore. To me your music seems to pay homage to such greats as Terrorizer, S.O.B., Extreme Noise Terror and Nausea. Your thoughts?
Thanks man, I think the sound we get is because of our writing process and influences. All of our songs are written as a band. We get to the practice space, kill some beers, and do what is fun.
Our backgrounds and influences mesh very well. I have a heavy metal/stench style with experience on bass, guitar, and doing vocals so I have a decent ear for how things should sound especially with being in key and timing goes. Taylor is a master at coming up with ripping riffs and his speed at dishing them out is unmatched! We literally have to agree the writing needs to stop sometimes because we have so much material to work with.  Tony has influences from an unlimited amount of bands which really gives him a substantial ear for the song writing process. I think his vision of the band is very clear to him which is nice because I can be a drifter at times. The idea of the bass tone he wants and gets really gives us the low end of heaviness that we wouldn't have otherwise. The drums have become a very driving part in song writing also, Napo knows the right times to step in and take charge. He has become a very heavy hitting and confident drummer which is exactly what we need. We like to create a clean and crisp slate for Ryan to work with, we got lucky getting a great sounding vocalist. We can always count on Ryan to kick ass at every show no matter what obstacles are in the way.
By the time a song is done its been through the ringer, I always know that what we end up agreeing on is a reflection of our strongest areas combined. We have learned how to work together as a band and we are getting better every time.

Your currently have a 6 song demo available in digital format. I really like it! I listened to it like 7 times in a row. Do you also circulate a hard copy?
Awesome! I'm glad you liked it! We just pressed some tapes and have been getting rid of them fast. Right now we have only been selling them at shows.

I really like the production of the demo. The guitars and vocals are raw as hell. I also was drawn to that thumping pop of the snare. Was this an in-house production for you guys?
No, we didn't record it ourselves. After recording Krullur I don't think that's something I ever wanna do again! Well at least not as drawn out of a process as that was.
We recorded with Chris Ryan at Sterret Street Studios, he was a great guy to work with. He was very patient and skilled at what he does. I highly recommend.

Do you have any plans of doing an official release…vinyl?
Fuck yes, we are actually now in the process of planning our journey onto vinyl. All the music is ready to be recorded, we will be in the studio very soon. The plan is to do a 12" split with Alimanias and then do our own 7".

Your grinding music is accompanied by horror, post apocalyptic images. With that being said, do your lyrics cover all the acts of kindness that humanity bestows to the earth?
Haha, well in this band we all let Ryan take care of the vast majority of the lyrical content. So songs like 'Burn The Church' and lyrics like...

"Man made god in his image.
Blind, scared, stupid, and full of hate."

...are some beautiful and poetic hymns that should (but don't) accompany every Sunday church service IMO. But hey, maybe one day...

Are you the sole person in charge of the band art? Online I’ve seen some great drawings and show flyers you have created. Let’s dive into that aspect a little. Tell more about your art background. Did you start as a child? What are your influences? With your finished work, what digital imaging programs do you use?
Our friend Ryan Timony did the cover of our demo and our logo design, I do a lot of the art now but that doesn't shut any doors for who we might use in the future.
I always drew as a child but never really got good until I put a lot of time into it and that didn't happen until I went to state jail.
I did time for cutting some priest’s penis off and kicking it up his ass /: naw not really...
I used to be a drug abuser, that ended with me getting arrested while ditching my burning vehicle in front of a gas station. I was on foot and fucked up outta my mind with various illegal drugs. They only charged me for the blow.
First I was sentenced to a 6 month in patient rehab. During that time I drew an 84 page comic of the descent into hell in straight ballpoint pen. I have never drawn straight pen to paper like that again but I know it taught me very much. It mainly taught me to keep going, to push through the drawing, and to have creative adaptation. I had a friend smuggle the comic out of rehab and never got it back.

I got out of rehab and straight to a half way house which I eventually fucked off and ended up busted doing more time now in State jail.
In jail the only peace I found was creating my own reality. I saw many reach out to the 'god' of this earth as is written in the book of holy shit. It was pathetic. Prisons are rampant with bible being passed out. I used mine as rolling paper and filled revelations with demonic images. My mind was very ill feeling all of the time, silence was a true treasure to have. When I would draw I would mentally shut out everything going on around me. The permeating noise, the ugliness of the tank, and the defeat in everyone's eyes would for those moments be gone. I learned the true power that images can obtain if designed with intent.
I learned to build tattoo guns during my incarceration and did many tattoos in return or food, tobacco, and weed. Though I never pursued tattooing again since my departure it is definitely something I don't regret. It helped keep me sane.
So that was my first dive into understanding and creating art. I used the microcosm I was in as a testing ground for things like using subliminal messages and even understanding how they make others react. I did 15 months in all plus the 5 months in the court ordered half way house. After I was free of the legal system I took a long drawing hiatus. Now I am back at it with a clearer mind than ever.
My influences were strictly Satan, hell, and demons for a very long time. Satanic imagery will always be the seed from where my art began to bloom but it definitely isn't its extent.
Right now I am working on a comic I wrote. I have Daniel Shaw doing the inking which is amazing! I draw all the pencils and he inks all the pages then I do the lettering and color.  It has been a long journey so far and we both have busy lives but it continues. Completed it will be a 48 page introduction to what I hope will be an ongoing series. I have learned so much in the short time collaborating with Daniel, no books compare to his 20+ years of inking.
For finishing up my art I use mainly Photoshop and sometimes adobe illustrator. Those programs are extremely great for getting the most out of your art but will only take you as far as the time you've invest studying them. They are both overwhelming to get into but after hundred of hours they start to pay off.

Let’s step back in time for a minute. Previously you had a great tenure in Krullur. Please tell a little about that era of your playing career.
I actually first tried out for Krullur when I was 18, so it was 2005-2006? Even though I only played guitar at the time I said I would try out on vocals.

I remember I was with a group of my friends and we had just bought a ton of booze from a convenience store that used to sell to me even though I was under age, in the midst of it my phone rang.
Its Kyle Laven "Hey are you gonna make it out? We are all waiting..." I had totally forgotten that I was supposed to try out for this band he said he was in. Having flaked out twice already he said this would be a strike out if I didn't make it. Fuck.
Ditched what I was doing and soon I was fucking hammered drinking vodka out of a water bottle with a 40oz king cobra and a red MD 20/20. I was singing Black Metal by Venom. I blacked out after running through the song a few times. I never heard back about being accepted, I'm sure it sucked. At that time Kyle Laven and Tommy Coston were the guitar players in Krullur, (they never ended up playing live) Marty was kicked out during that time.
I didn't see Jay again until I had gone in and out of jail, which was preceded by Kyle and I crossing paths again but now I had a shaved head (because jail) and hadn't played anything in a long time, its was around 2009. Krullur was now Kyle and Marty on guitars and Jay on drums. No bassist, no singer. Kyle again suggested I try out but on bass this time. I was living with him at his parents’ house and I would go over to Jay's house with him for practice anyway. I fucking sucked and Jay really had no intention of keeping me in the band at all. Kyle told me later that he had to keep begging Jay to let me come over and jam, (for the record IDK if that's true) I really did have a long way to go and there was no telling I would ever be any good. This persisted.
Kyle started slipping on his playing and we noticed that he was using too many of whatever he was doing. Kyle's drug use got worse and I was finally getting a grip on bass and now also vocals. We played as a four piece never doing any shows rehearsing twice a week.
It finally got to the point that everyone realized Kyle wasn't gonna work out. It really sucked, the negative effects that getting 'fucked up' was having became more apparent. At this point I had already moved out of his parents’ house so I didn't see him outside of practice as much as I used to. We decide to kick him out. He felt betrayed.
Kyle came to our first live show at the engine room. The line up was Jay on drums, Marty on guitar, and me on bass and vocals. It would stay this way for 5 years. I think that's the last time I ever saw Kyle. He is the sole reason I was able to join Krullur which led to Krullur breaking a 5 year stagnancy. I do miss when Kyle and I were best friends.
From that first show on we continued to play live, practice as always was Thursday 8-10pm and Saturday 8pm-12am. Some of the bands we did shows with were Deceased, Condition Critical, Hellwitch, Solstice, PLF, Warbeast, Insecticide, Lethal Aggression, Deadly Reign, Vital Remains, Social Decay, and many more local/touring acts. I think we always put on a pretty solid show though I do remember there being things I could have done better when I first started hitting the stage.
Throughout my time with Krullur, Jay and I recorded the 'Grounds For Termination' EP. I think it came out really well for having done it ourselves. It got Krullur signed to HorrorPainGoreDeath records.
A few things contributed to my decision to quit Krullur, in the end it demanded too much time for something that I felt was worn down for me. It was a great ride to be a part of and I regret nothing, I would do it all again in a heart beat. Till this day it is the longest thing I have ever stuck with. I hold the utmost respect for Jay and Marty, we went through many things together and I will always remember Kyle for being a great friend when he was.
Krullur and I may cross paths on the stage again, no one can be sure.

Was GFF a project created while in Krullur or was it formed after your departure?
God Fearing Fuck was already created and in the process of really taking form. I’m the last piece that joined creating the line up we have now.
I joined God Fearing Fuck a few months before I called it quits with Krullur. The last show I did with Krullur was Jan 10, 2015 at Mango's which I wasn't even supposed to play. Their singer got locked up the night before for some traffic shit so I filled in on vocals. I didn't wanna leave them, the promoter, and venue hanging.

Since appearing on the live scene, it seems like you have been busy playing quite a bit of gigs. How has the reception been? Have you brought over some of the Krullur audience?
The reception has been awesome playing live both with Krullur and God Fearing Fuck. I have a very high respect for people who support music and art but especially live shows. I think a live show is a very honest form of art. What I mean is that much like our live's energies will ring out and eventually fade away as do all the notes, drums, and vocals (plus whatever other sounds/instruments) at a show and none can be redone, its all done in one shot. Much like a life each show has its mistakes, its brilliance, and it's own purpose as it finds its way to the eschaton. Everyone has their reasons for going to live shows and supporting the extreme music I have been a part of. The community has always treated me well and I appreciate every person that has watched any show I have been a part of.

I think the God Fearing Fuck shows bring a lot of extreme music lovers out as did Krullur. Its hard to tell if the different fan based have crossed over much but I think they have for the most part.

Ok, thanks for the interview. Please feel free to leave any contact information, websites, etc.
Thanks, Jeff.