On Direnotes and the Compilation...

Direnotes is, or was, the pet project of Keith H. - who, whilst dealing with a multitude of personal issues, used it as a way to connect with the music he loved and as a avenue in which to deal with his depression.

Now, nothing terrible happened to Keith, he's still alive and breathing (he even had a stint with streaming games online). However, at the point of developing a compilation in memory of his brother, a multitude of issues cropped up. Firstly, him and his wife had been struggling with financial issues, and found that their utilities were shut down. Walking home, he'd been shot at, and developed a fear of leaving the house, agoraphobia. The compilation itself had him in contact with family members who thought that it was some sort of lucrative project, and felt that they needed to have some stake in it (despite the little money he expected to make being promised to charity). And, atop all of that, memories of his brother had been drudged up - leading to his mental condition worsening.

Now, I don't blame him for this. He has asked me, if the artists involved wish it, to post the finished compilation on Bandcamp. Of course, the money made will still be given to charity and any mentions or arrangements made during its development will be honored.

Otherwise, me - Leatis Brooks, will be taking over the site and continuing to review whatever material is sent to metalkeith1988@gmail.com! I hope to help grow Direnotes and, in the future, renew the domain.

REVIEW: The Projectionist - The GallowForest Eulogy

THE PROJECTIONIST
THE GALLOWFOREST EULOGY
APPALACHAIN NOISE RECORDS & TRUE PLAGUE RECORDS

I try my best to give every band or project a fair chance, but there are times when I just can't find much to salvage from a particularly fetid attempt. So, as you can probably gather, The Projectionist is a disaster – even though it all sits atop a bed of rather competent song-writing. I'll try not to linger, but here is my opinion.

Low-fi, standard black-metal fair – you have your ambient sounds, a waterfall I believe; there is a really nice, yet simple, guitar bit; and in typical DIY fashion, you can hear the sound the strings make as fingers slide across them, personally I enjoy this. Sadly, this is the first few seconds. You are immediately slammed with the most obtuse, artificially distorted, vocals I've had the displeasure of hearing. This auditory diarrhea, feels like a lame attempt at sounding 'black-metal' by adding a cheap filter instead of actually practicing and developing a genuine style or sound. It whines and screams over everything, sometimes drowning out the actual music completely in favor of providing you with some offensive, badly executed, wailing. It should all end there, but it really doesn't. To further assault the senses, there is absolutely no structure to the vocals – they just whine and boom and squelch over everything without much reason, almost like spoken poetry (but not). If you've ever heard a hip-hop song where the 'DJ' randomly yells their names over the song, at the least sensible time for absolutely no reason besides letting those listening know that they are there, its something like that, only much worse. At times, I feel like there was some attempt at a Silencer-esque stylistics, but I might just be giving The Projectionist more credit then is deserved. I usually use the descriptors 'hideous,' 'gut-wrenching,' and 'filthy' in a more positive context, as most metal uses its harsh vocals in a sensible and understandable way, but this is garbage.


Hilariously, as I was getting at earlier, the underlying music is pretty well done. I liked it, I thought there was potential – until those vocals hit me over the head with a rubber baseball bat. And I guess that sums this whole creation up rather well. It's like a rubber baseball bat. Sure, it looks like a bat, it somewhat functions as one, but there is no denying that its just a imitation of an actual baseball bat. Truly, The Projectionist is an imitation of a black-metal record. Almost as if someone heard the genre and assumed that it was the easiest route to releasing an album of their own.

INTERVIEW: Richie Brown of Mindscar

INTERVIEW
RICHIE BROWN
MINDSCAR

How do you achieve such a large sound with only three members? Especially during live gigs?

The same way that Rush does, by playing our asses off.

Now it's said that your cover art is completely comprised of blood and semen, what exactly was the motivation behind such a decision?

Creating What’s Beyond The Light took many personal sacrifices from an entire group of people. The large amount of blood used is symbolic of the large amount of energy that went into creating the album. Metallica mixed a small amount of their blood and semen together for the cover of Load and Behemoth used a small amount of Nergal’s blood in the cover painting for The Satanist. However, No one has ever used this much blood for an album cover. It’s alarming to see in person. Naturally, my semen was the icing on the cake.

Would you say artwork is just as big a part of music as the music itself?

Artwork is extremely important! You gotta have the visual aspect of things covered! However, music itself is the most important.

Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

Some notable, musical influences of mine are Trent Reznor, Danny Elfman, King Crimson, Dissection, Dimebag Darrell, Shostakovich, Jason Becker & Ihsahn from Emperor. Non-musical influences include movies, especially Alejandro Jodorowsky’s films, literature, science, nature and life experiences.

What band would you say was your biggest influence?


When I was a kid, I was heavily influenced by Metallica and Pantera. Metallica inspired me to begin playing guitar to begin with. Pantera inspired me to write heavier riffs and take my leads to the next level. These two bands were the bread and butter of my self-taught guitar education as a kid.

What's a day in the live of a Mindscar member like?

Each one of us is constantly writing new material, teaching music lessons and working towards improving at our instruments when we’re not on stage. We all like to keep busy and are all involved in other projects as well. I have recently been traveling and playing guitar live for Nader Sadek in different countries.

What the funniest or craziest thing you all did together as a band?

We accidentally took some crazy drugs that we would never knowingly take due to a miscommunication with someone who was providing hospitality for the band on tour. It was an experience that none of us will ever forget. We are all very health conscience to begin with so it was a scary surprise.

What's the most bizarre thing to happen while you were onstage?

Sharting in my pants. Haha! After years of touring, it was inevitable. All the belting from my diaphragm puts a lot of pressure on my guts. Now I literally don’t eat for about 6 hours before a show or else I’m in the danger zone.

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions!

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk! Cheers!

REVIEW: Swampcult - The Festival

SWAMPCULT
THE FESTIVAL
TRANSCENDING OBSCURITY


The Festival is a multi-part take on Lovecraft's short-story of the same name by the wonderfully obscure SWAMPCULT. I've read the original myself, as I own far more Lovecraft collections then a person should, and a lot of the details are here – albeit a lot of liberties were taken with its scope. Whereas the original is painfully straightforward, much like a good deal of Lovecraft's tales - and no doubt the main reason why it never became as popular as his more fleshed out tales- SWAMPCULT tries to infuse a bit more purpose into it all. In fact, the CD release even includes a set of story cards to match the tracks and help fill you in on their version of the story. It's insanely clever and wildly entertaining to follow everything – it draws you in just like Mercyful Fate or King Diamond did with their story-based albums. Better yet, it's more than a loose story concept, you'll actually know what is going on if you follow the lyrics.


There isn't really that many bells, whistles, or theatrics here, however. You are pretty much getting what you'd expect from a band going by the name SWAMPCULT. It's filthy, yet somewhat basic, stuff. With the first couple of songs, the band sticks to a rather straight-forward, usually chuggy, riff and runs with it until the song is over.  It doesn't really give a good impression as to what to expect from The Festival, especially when you're hearing something that initially sounds rather plain and uninteresting. Thankfully that all changes rather quickly as the album begins starts get rather boisterous around the third or so track. In fact, at this point the vocal style becomes extremely reminiscent of Tom G. Warrior's Hellhammer days, almost to the point of duplication at times. Tracks like 'Chapter III – Al-Azif Necronomicon' sound like they could be right at home on Apocalyptic Raids – albeit they are far better produced. It's almost as if, at this point, you're less being told a story and more being given a sermon by some demented priest. That being said, the wonderful story focus suffers somewhat as the vocals become far more muddy, albeit more suitable for the genre. Likely, you'll be too caught up in the music and mayhem, at times, to really pay attention to what is going on with The Festival story-line.


Story based albums are always some of the best and best remembered as well, but when you pour a bevy of low-fi filth and wailing vocals atop it all – it can only get better (for me, at least). This isn't exactly the most original concept but it is highly effective, but even if it wasn't – the music itself is good enough to keep things going. High praise for SWAMPCULT's The Festival!