Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Update 04/01/2015

Significant progress made today on the UtSoTLS.  All interviews have been completed as of yesterday and a major goal of the layout was completed.  Just a few more minor things and we are good to go.

The end beckons....

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Under the Sign of the Lone Star: Vol. I: Resurrection

Fear the return...

Cover:  ZKD, 2015.  

Ashes and Bloodstench: An Interview with Occultus of Funeral Ash:

As anyone reading this zine should know, Texas has a rich history of black metal bands dating back decades.  One band that is continuing the tradition of evil metal is Kingsville’s Funeral Ash.  This unedited interview was done by email with drummer Occultus and elaborates upon the band’s darkened existence.    Read and prepare…

1.  Currently Funeral Ash has a demo on its Bandcamp site, entitled "Enshrined in Darkness".  Tell us about the recording of this demo and why these three songs were chosen for this release.  

Occultus:  The demo was recorded in early 2013 not long after we formed the band in November of 2012. The songs were chosen out of pure necessity as we had no other material to speak of at the time the sessions were put in place to record. We were still searching to find ourselves and the path had yet to be laid.

2.  Funeral Ash began as a three-piece, added a fourth member for a short time, and is currently back to being a three-piece band.  Do you feel as if the “power trio” is the best arrangement for Funeral Ash moving forward, or would you consider adding additional members in the future?

Interesting question as this has been a topic of discussion within the coven as of late. Originally we did start out as a three piece with myself Occultus on drums, Malfeitor on Guitar/Vocals and Lord Slaughter on bass but after some time decided it was time to try to incorporate a new drummer as I was also contributing guitar & lyrics to the songs and felt the need to add a second guitar to the live attack. We played several shows as a four-piece but ultimately decided to keep to three.

We have entertained the idea of bringing in a new member again to "feel it out" but ultimately we will continue as a three piece as it is the best representation of the sounds we create in ritual. when the three of us enter a room together and start to play something other-wordly seems to happen, disrupting the flow between the three angles doesn't work in our case.

3.  If you could condense Funeral Ash's "mission statement" as a band to three words, what would they be? 

Spread Satan's message.

4.  For a newer entity in black metal history, the members of Funeral Ash seem to be very well-versed in blackened artists of the past judging by your music and presentation.  What would be some of the band’s main musical influences?

Celtic Frost, Venom, Von(satanic blood angel), Mercyful Fate, Darkthrone, Bathory, Dissection, Absu, Watain, Early Mayhem, Proclamation, Motorhead.

5.  Funeral Ash recently played a show where paint was donned for the first time (to my knowledge, feel free to correct me).  What brought about the decision to begin utilizing paint, and does it evoke a different energy in yourself while on stage than without?

Yes you're correct as that was the first time donning war paint for us in a live setting(Boozerz in Corpus Christi w/Spectral Manifest & Humut Tabal). The discussion of paint has been around since the bands inception but was never fully realized until recently.

We had always considered using it as a tool to further our rituals & now is in place and fully realized for the path laid before us.

6.  I hear that there will be a new Funeral Ash release this year, would you be able to provide any details on the nature of that release?  Go into as much detail as you would like, or feel free to shroud the release in secrecy until the proper time.

We are currently in the (slow)process of recording it ourselves in our rehearsal space, keeping true to the DIY ethos that we have placed within the band and pushing to finish it and have it out by spring-time/early summer through Southern Decay Media.

7.  Forgive me if there is any overlap with a previous question, but the U.S. has a number of respected black metal bands who have produced quality metal (there’s plenty of shit too but we’ll just ignore those bands, hehe).  What are some of your favorite blackened bands from the U.S.?

Absu, VON, Profantica, Grand Belials Key, Craft, Krieg, Averse Seferia(RIP), Nightbringer, Kult ov Azazel, Black Witchery, Thornspawn(RIP), Judas Iscariot, Ritual Decay, just to name a few. Alot of people tend to hate on the USBM scene but it is still strong and will never die with the seekers of truth.

8.  Again, excuse any overlap, but as the focus of Under the Sign of the Lone Star is on Texan bands, what are some of your favorite bands from this state, black metal or otherwise?

Plutonian Shore, HOD, Absu, Spectral Manifest, Averse Seferia, Skan, Humut Tabal, Satanik Goat Ritual, Judas Goat, Thornspawn, Imprecation, Oath of cruelty, Obeisance, Blaspherian, Morgengrau, Whore of Bethelehem, Rigor Mortis, ZZ Top. I could keep goin' but we'll stop there.

9.  For our viewers who have never witnessed a live Funeral Ash performance, what is a typical show for your band like?

Intense, raw occult black metal. All for the glory and majesty. Ave Satanas!

10.  Funeral Ash has incorporated covers of Celtic Frost (OUGH!) and Immortal into its live set.  Are there any other cover songs the band would like to put their stamp on in the future (live or recorded)?

Watain by the USBM band VON has been jammed in the practice space on occasion but probably won't ever get to be played live. Cover songs for us are something that we incorporate in special instances where it is appropiate.

11.  Any final words for the readers of Under the Sign of the Lone Star?

Thank you for featuring us here, check us out on Facebook, Instagram, Bandcamp & most importantly LIVE! Ave!

Unchain the Wolves: An Interview with Joseph Merino of Škan:

The lycanthropic horde Škan hail from Austin and play a feral fusion of black and death metal.  I was able to secure an email interview with guitarist/vocalist Joseph Merino that provides some insight into the band’s music and message.  Take a seat at the throne of The Old King…

1.  We can start with an introduction:  How did Škan form, and would you mind explaining the significance of the band name?

JM•  Škan was conceived in 2011 as a solo project.  I was writing music to form a band.  It was difficult to find other people to work with on this music.  After repeat attempts with others, I gave up trying to find people and decided to do this more or so as solo art.  I began writing and recording in solitude.  I met the bassist, Dan A., during this time.  Dan would come into the studio to lay bass tracks down for the songs that were being recorded (These are the songs from the EP, “The Old King”).  Dan was in another band at the time, and I was asked to join the band, Skrew.  I continued to work on Škan, and Dan would come to track bass on the songs that were recorded.

 Things begin to change within Skrew, and I decided to part ways with the band after certain commitments were fulfilled.  At that time, David B. (Drums), and William A. (Guitar) also decided to part with Skrew.  We all wanted to continue live music, so we decided to bring Škan out as a live band.  Škan was birthed into a live band November 2nd of 2013.  The first EP was released November 11th 2013.

 The word, Škan, comes from the Lakota Sioux language.  It has various meanings, but more or less can thought of as the motion of the universe.  I have my own personal definition off this word.  I am not a Lakota Sioux, nor do I represent the people of their tribes.

2.  The name of the band is officially Škan, however you often refer to yourselves as The Wolves of Škan.  What traits of the wolf do you find applicable to the band?

JM•  Ferocity, fearlessness, and freedom.  Action with conviction.  To carve one’s own path, straying  from the path societies are conditioned to tread .  The endless hunger for knowledge, and understanding through experience.  The nature of beauty and brutality.  Yes, freedom.

3.  The Škan sigil associated with the band is instantly identifiable and visually striking.  How did this sigil come to creation?

JM•  The design was manifested through the artist Norot, also known as Robert Cook.  I asked him for a design, and shared with him personal thoughts, philosophies, and concepts.  He took these things into consideration along with the music, and through him this design did emerge.  He is an extraordinary artist on many levels, and not just as a graphic artist.  I encourage others to explore his works.
( http://www.norot-art.com/ )

4.  Škan has already played several festivals, such as the Housecore Horror Film Festival in Austin and the third installment of the Day in the Valley of Death Festival in the Rio Grande Valley.  How would you describe your experiences at these festivals, and are there any other notable live experiences you would like to talk about?

JM•  These festivals, overall, were a positive experience.  I was able to meet some people that have now become friends.  The presentation we held was received rather favorably.  It was an honor to see some of the bands that came from great distances to take their part in these festivals.  As far as notable live experiences in Škan, I do not have much to express about it.  Often, during our presentations, things are blurred so bits and pieces of the experience are missing here and there.

5.  Škan is music that can be identified as a fusion between black metal and death metal.  What are some artists that influence you musically?  Also, are there any particular lyrical influences?

JM•  There are so many.  We listen to many types of music within the band.   As far as lyrical content, it is influenced from direct experiences in this existence.  If I am to name some early influences, the would include early Metallica, Blue Oyster Cult, Zeppelin, Sabbath of course, Skinny Puppy, Samhain, and there is much more than just these. Lots of classical, old blues, and old country music, and the list goes on and on.  Visual artist also have influence, as well as photography and other forms of art.  All these things have a way of stoking the fire within so to speak.  In these days, I personally listen to music that is rich with the convictions of the artist.  It is a rare thing to hear and see in music, or in art, in general.  To manifest one’s vision, thought, idea, or emotion into material form is truly an art on it’s own.

6.  Given as how the focus of this zine is on Texan bands, what bands from Texas do you enjoy listening to and/or going to see?

JM•  As far as metal, Hod, Headcrusher, Plutonian Shore, Special Guest Satan.  I also like Deadly Reign and Kriegblast.  Again, there are is a lot of music from Texas that is great.  There are many forms of music here (Texas) that is pleasing to the ear.

7.  When I saw your set at Beerland in December of 2014, there was a strong element of ritual that was present in the performance.  How important would you say that ritual is to the music (live or recorded) of Škan?

JM•  That is a subject difficult to elaborate upon for the sake of an interview.

8.  This is more of an open-ended question, so feel free to provide any answer that makes sense to you:  What does the phrase “To The Death” mean to you?

JM•  It’s a phrase I’ve heard on and off in life, and often in Watain’s literature.  It provokes thoughts of committing actions with complete attention and focus.  With all essence of one’s will, with out hesitation or second though.  Without fear.

9.  What does the future hold for the wolves of Škan?

JM•  Who is to say?  Tomorrow holds no promises.  As long as we are breathing, one will find much going on within our work.

10.  Are there any last words you would like to leave our readers with?

JM•  Keep your eyes and ears sharp.  When we come to your territories, come out and join us.  There are illusions to burn, and hell to raise.

Inverted Cross: Interview with Roger Gallardo of Hellpreacher:

This interview was conducted in 2010 for a publication I wrote for as a youngun.  To my knowledge, it is the only Hellpreacher interview ever conducted, or at least the only one on the internet.  This interview was conducted with Hellpreacher guitarist Roger Gallardo.

1. Me:  To start things off, how did Hellpreacher form?

Roger Gallardo:  We were just a group of friends that wanted to jam. We all went to the same High School (Thomas Jefferson), and that was basically it. We were not the most talented, but we just wanted to jam and have fun. Actually Danny Martinez was a great guitarist. Rest In Peace brother.

2. JH:  Hellpreacher’s style of music often blurred the line between death, thrash, and black metal. What were some of the band’s key influences?

RG:  Onslaught (Power from Hell), Hellhammer, Destruction, Kreator, Bathory, Sodom, and L.A. Slayer. I think we did a cover tune by all the bands mentioned.

3. JH:  How was “Resurrection” received by Texan metalheads at the time of its release? For early ‘86, that was some incredibly heavy stuff.

RG:  We only made and sold a handful of Demos, maybe 50-60. They flew off the shelf, we also shipped a few to other states. We really should have put Bloodbath on that demo. That song was just organized chaos. I just wish we could have played more shows.

4. JH:  Now, there were three songs on the “Resurrection” demo. I’m going to name them, and I want you to say a few words about each song. Just some memories of how they came to be written, certain influences on the songwriting, trivia, etc.


Resurrection: Were were [sic] just messing around at Javier's and I came up with the intro, next thing you know we're thrashing away. I think this song definitely has some Onslaught influence. People really enjoyed the end, after the solo (by Danny) the song keeps on thrashing for a few more seconds.

Parricidal: Once again, I came up with the intro, and then Javier would just start jamming along. I think most of our songs were created in the same manner. Once again, some more Onslaught influence.

Inverted Crosses: Danny actually wrote this one. I am not sure if he had this one with Deathtripper or not. You can tell it is not like the other songs. Great tune overall though.

5. JH:  There are also apparently some unreleased live bootleg Hellpreacher songs floating around the internet, according to a Hellpreacher fan page on Facebook. Have you heard these bootleg recordings, and if so, what are your thoughts on them? 

RG:  Yes, I have. There is a song on there called Bloodbath. This song is by far my favorite. Rick's vocals fit the song perfectly and Danny had a very catchy solo. We played this in Arlington, Texas at the Radiation Dump. We opened up for Rotting Corpse, and after the last chorus, Rick Chavana (singer, a.k.a. Dog) jumped into the crowd and was moshing in the pit with the crowd. The crowd and other bands really got a kick out of that. That was probably our best show. I used to have that live recording, but who knows what happened to it.

6. JH:  What were some of your favorite local bands that were playing in Texas around the time of Hellpreacher? 

RG:  Some of my favorites were Militia (1st demo only), Valkyrie, Morbid Termination, Syranax, Angkor Wat, and Rotting Corpse.

7. JH:  You were also in Rotting Corpse for a while. What was your time in the band like, and what are your thoughts on the band’s recent reunion? 

RG:  I think it is pretty cool those guys are still jamming. We had some good times. The Dark Angel tour was cool. We had some great shows in Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. I still talk to Steve Murphy (bassist) every once in awhile, but it has been years since I have talked to Walt. I hear he got a sex change.

8. JH:  When Hellpreacher disbanded, did you ever think that the “Resurrection” demo would still be listened to by Texan (and more) metalheads almost twenty-five years after its release?

RG:  No, I still can't believe it. I have talked to people in Brazil, Germany, France, Spain, and they know the demo like it came out yesterday. They talked about specific influences heard in the demo. It is really cool that people still talk about it after all these years.

9. JH:  Are there any newer bands that you’ve been listening to lately, metal or otherwise?

RG:  I listen to everything still. Some of my favorite bands now are In Flames, As I Lay Dying, Trivium, Carnal Forge, Devil Driver, All Shall Perish (Day of Justice is the best song ever composed), and to lighten it up a bit some Chevelle (Editor’s Note 1/19/2015:  I can‘t say I like any of these bands, but to each his own). Of course I still listen to S.A. and L.A. Slayer, Pantera (Far Beyond Driven, Reinventing the Steel, Great Southern Trendkill), and and of course Mercyful Fate.

10. JH:  Do you have any upcoming musical projects coming up?

RG:  I still play and record riffs here and there. My 99 song digital recorder is almost full.  It is hard to find time now, especially since I am going to school full time and raising a two year old. If I really like one of my songs, I will record the bass and maybe another guitar. Once those tracks are laid down, I crank it up on the big speakers, get behind the drum set, and play along. If I can find some time, I would love to re-record the Ressurrection demo, with Bloodbath on there of course.

11. JH:  Thanks for agreeing to this interview! Do you have any last words you’d like to throw out?

RG:  To James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich - F- YOU!!!!  [sic]  Music is not about making money, it is about sharing your thoughts, ideas, and musical inhibitions with others.  Ed .12/30/2014:  Five years later this is still my favorite part of the interview.