Showing posts with label Ghost. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ghost. Show all posts

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Before Ghost there was Repugnant

Before Ghost, Tobias Forge was in a band named Repugnant? I had NO IDEA, so thanks to THIS article on Metal Sucks. Death Metal isn't really my jam, but this... not too bad. And from the opening guitar, you can 100% hear that it's Forge's writing. So here's them playing live and that guy that looks kind of like he could be in the Misfits? That's Papa! Always cool to see where our beloved musical icons come from. 


I've struggled with Demián Rugna's 2017 film Terrified multiple times. I liked it, but I didn't feel for it as others who seemed to feel it was the scariest film in years did. My theory is this is due to the fact that I fell asleep during my first viewing (not the film's fault at all), and that tends to rob some film's impact for me. It happened to Duncan Jones's Moon, it happened to Denis Villeneuve's Arrival, and I'm pretty sure it happened to Terrified. Regardless of how I felt about it as far as being "scary," Rugna definitely crafted a confident, competent Horror film that I wouldn't hesitate to others. So it is with no small amount of fervor that I came upon Bloody Disgusting's posting of the trailer for his new film, Where Evil Lurks. Here's the trailer:

I was torn on actually watching this; as you know if you've been reading these pages lately, I've become very anti-trailer. In spite of that prejudice, and cautious that I might once again rob Rugna's film of power, I watched it and can happily confirm this is truly a 'teaser.' Well done, IFC. I can also say I am 100% in just for the sound design alone. Where Evil Lurks is supposed to have a theatrical run starting on October 6th, and will hit Shudder on the 27th of the same month.


Almost two years ago, I posted about giving up on Clive Barker's Scarlett Gospels. Well, I decided recently to give it another shot. 

I'm not really far enough to pass judgment again, but this definitely still feels less elegant than any other Barker I've read. The opening scene sees the five remaining Black Magicians in the world (?) resurrect a sixth, more powerful one to try and survive a culling carried out by The Priest (don't use that other nickname!), who is now working separately from The Order of the Gash, attempting to amass all the world's Magickal knowledge for some as yet unknown purpose. The scene begins rather poorly and doesn't really feel like Barker until "The Demon" shows up. Here, I still get a sense that Barker is overdoing the gross-out factor in a misguided attempt to recapture something of his past works - which were all elegantly revolting and not nearly as gauche - but I'm hanging in and hopefully coming to terms with this in a way that will allow me to A) finish the novel this time and, B) enjoy it. Reminder to self: This man is a genius, an icon, and any Barker is better than no Barker.


The Lucid Night - The Mystic Journey EP
The Lucid Night - The Celestial Voyage (single)
Lord Huron - Long Lost
Low Cut Connie - Tough Cookies: The Best of the Quarantine Broadcasts
Godflesh - Songs of Love and Hate
Repugnant - Epitome of Darkness
Carpenter Brut - Leather Terror


From Jonathan Grimm's Bound Tarot, which you can buy HERE. Just a reminder that Grimm's new Tarot Deck, The Hand of Doom Tarot, is both gorgeous and live on Kickstarter right now. Here's the LINK.

• Page of Cups
• X: Wheel of Fortune
• Queen of Swords

The Page or Princess of Cups is a card I associate with inner vision, and taken with the Wheel in this case, I see ideas growing to fruition. Therefore, good day to write. Balance all that out with the Watery aspect of Fire and I'm reminded I have a major distraction going on in Chicago at the moment. Reading all these together then, tells me to get the writing in where/when I can today - even a little will be productive.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Ghost Covers Iron Maiden!!!


From the forthcoming Phantomime EP, out this Friday! Pre-order HERE


I've been sick AF since Saturday, so I watched a lot of movies over the last few days. I'm not going to post trailers for everything, but there are a few I'd like to mention. First of those is Gary Busey in a Richard C. Sarafian film, Eye of the Tiger! This was probably my favorite viewing experience. I don't know, seeing Gary Busey kick the hell out of a gang of ruthless bikers. Here's a trailer:


I'd put this flick up against a lot of similar movies from the same year - 1986 - that feature box office candy like Stallone and Armold; Eye of the Tiger is really well-made, and Busey turns in a solid performance. 

Also of special note from what I watched over the weekend, 1994's The Guyver.


I have some vague memory of seeing the imagery from this film somewhere about the time it would have received release press. More recently, when Fangoria interviewed Steven Kostanski about his influences on Psycho Goreman (Fangoria Vol. 2 issue 10) he mentioned The Guyver, so it was in my peripheral. Then, I noticed that Darcy had uploaded the full movie in the old Monstervision presentation to the Lost Drive-In Patreon, and I figured, what better way to watch it, right? Cool flick; not exactly my cuppa, however, as usual watching pretty much anything with Joe Bob amplifies it. I've thought about this a lot, the idea that even a movie you hate can be made enjoyable (to a degree) when you have the proper context for it. That's something Joe Bob excels at providing, and I usually find myself better able to put myself in the movie's headspace. I'm sure there would be conditions under which this theory would break down; I doubt very much that even if Joe Bob hosted The Notebook I would get a kick out of it. Then again, who knows?


I continued to make my way through Alan Campbell's final book in the Deepgate Codex series this weekend, but I also had the itch to read some old Spider-Man comics, so I dug out Web of Spider-Man 40-42, the "Cult of Love" storyline, only to realize I'm missing the fourth and final part.

Not really a big deal; I located issue 43 on eBay, so I'll get to read that in a few days. More important than the story was the general tone of the story. 80s comics are very much recognizable, especially Spidey. They reflect the New York of the time, but also the world and society of the time. The art and writing are a certain 'way' - again, a lot of that has to do with topics that haunted Western Society at the time. Vietnam was a big one, but in this case, echoes of the Tate/Labianca murders and the fear of 'cults' that crime inspired. I wasn't there to read through metaphors of societal trauma, though. No, I was there because the 80s was when I started reading comics and Spidey, while not a mainstay, every-week purchase, had three ongoing monthly titles that I cherry-picked from quite often, and it's always super cool to go back and re-experience those books. 


Blut Aus Nord - The Work Which Transforms God
Nabihah Iqbal - Dreamer
Nirvana - Nevermind
Greg Puciato - Child Soldier: Creator of God
Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Black Sabbath - Sabotage
The Beatles - Abbey Road


Easing back into it with a single card Pull from Missi's Raven Deck:

As usual, this deck just knows. I'm abstaining from drinking any beer while I've been sick and thinking of carrying it on until the weekend, just to further give my body a break. My fever's gone, but I was up most of the night last night coughing, so I'm exhausted at the moment. Ginger Ale remains a close friend.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Ghost - Jesus He Knows Me


Ghost gave us an Easter surprise by announcing a new five-song, all-covers EP due out May 18th on Loma Vista Records. You can pre-order HERE.

These between album EPs the band releases are generally hit or miss with me; I love 2013's All You Need is Ghost - not so much with 2016's Popestar, which had one of my favorite tracks from the band (Square Hammer) and a bunch of fascinating covers, most of which I just don't ever feel the need to go back to that often (although their "Missionary Man" is admittedly pretty cool). One thing Popestar confirmed for me is that Tobias Forge's ambitions are boundless, and I'm fairly certain at some point in his future, he will craft a Musical that will catapult him into the even further reaches of success.

Juxtaposed against Popestar, Phantomine feels like it may split the difference; while I'm not familiar with "Hanging Around" by The Stranglers, I'm excited as hell to hear them do Television's "See No Evil,"  Iron Maiden's "Phantom of the Opera," not to mention Tina Turner's 80s Thunderdome anthem "We Don't Need Another Hero." I just don't know what to expect that one to sound like.

There's also a video for this track up on youtube, however, it's age-restricted and only viewable HERE.


My haul for NCBD today:

I am SO excited about the return of James Tynion's Nightmare Country. The first arc made it into my Favorite Comics of 2022 list, and I have no doubt this new arc will continue the glory. The closest thing I've seen to having Sandman back again.

My growing fondness for Jeff Lemire's work prompted me to pick up the first issue of this new Phantom Road series and I thought it a great set-up for a Horror story.

Hot on the heels of my Sins of Sinister reread, the final issue of Storm and the Brotherhood will hopefully prove another total mindfuck.

X-Men Vs The Brood. 'Nuff said!


Black Sabbath - Eponymous
Church of the Cosmic Skull - Is Satan Real?
Ghost - Jesus He Knows Me (single)
Kyuss - ...And the Circus Leaves Town
Holy Serpent - Endless
Ruby the Hatchet - Fear is a Cruel Master


From Jonathan Grimm's Bound Tarot, which you can buy HERE.

I'm having a lot of trouble interpreting this pull. More than I have perhaps ever had on any other. So I'm going to have to dig a bit. First glance, it feels like an acknowledgment that sacrifice can bring you to the threshold of change, but you have to be careful about the changes you make. 

Friday, December 30, 2022

My Ten Favorite Albums of 2022

Whereas last year, I had moments that suggested I may not be able to cull ten new records for a list, this year I had no similar problems. LOTS of new music in 2022. What follows is the list of my ten favorite albums released in 2022.

Top Ten Albums 2022:

10) Beach House -  Once Twice Melody

I've been a bit slow on the uptake with Beach House. While I've been partaking in their music for probably close to ten years, I always kept them at arm's length. In fact, it wasn't until two or so years ago that my cousin Charles recommended I give the track "Elegy to the Void" my undivided attention. That song, from the band's 2015 album Thank Your Lucky Stars, proved to be the track that opened an entirely new dimension to the band's music for me. Since then, every album that drops plays a slightly more important role in my year, culminating with this year's double album, Once Twice Melody, which, like Mastodon's Hushed and Grim last year and another 2022 album higher on this list, is a double album with NO fat. Every track is perfect, the order is essential, and it all builds into a fitting snapshot of the quieter moments of my 2022.

9) H6LLB6ND6R - Side A

Here's a first - H6LLB6ND6R is made up of the Addams family, who also have a film in my top ten films this year! The movie is likewise titled Hellbender, and just like this record, it's a really fresh take on what a stripped-down, independent project can accomplish. If this is bedroom-producing, I want more. Every track has a hook, and yet, the sludgy, pummeling goodness still hits hard. Add in an early Jucifer-vibe to the doubled vocals, and I just couldn't put this one down. 

8) Greg Puciato - Mirrorcell

Everything Greg Puciato does moves the needle well into the red with me. Mirrorcell is no different. That first single, "Lowered" with Reba Meyers from Code Orange is a massive track, and really helped to define my year. The rest of the album takes the slightly fractured feeling of Puciato's first solo record, Child Soldier, and smooths it into a more coherent whole. I miss the f*ck out of DEP, but I can't really complain when their singer is giving us albums of this calibre.

7) Carpenter Brut - Leather Terror

Until Leather Terror, Carpenter Brut's records always felt like they were half-there to me. I dig several of them to varying degrees, and the OST to Blood Machines is fantastic (but that's a score, and thus, something a bit different than an album), but there's always been a... I don't know, call it a whimsy that sneaks into the vibe and leaves me a bit cold. But that's just me. I also think my regard for CB may have suffered by my being such a fan of Perturbator-  anyone else working in that realm of "Synthwave" or whatever you want to call it felt a few notches behind. 

But as I said, ALL of that is my own baggage, and should not be misconstrued as judgment against the extremely accomplished musician known as Carpenter Brut, who proves me 100% full of shit on this new album. This one SLAMS, the guest vocalists all do fantastic work, and the one-two of tracks "Day Stalker" and "Night Prowler" is something to behold. 

Baggage ejected; can't wait for the next record!!!

6) The Mysterines - Reeling

My elevator pitch for this band is meant to evoke honor, and yet I realize it essentially sells the Mysterines short. "PJ Harvey singing for BRMC" is enough to convince folks to give this band a chance, but having listened to the record countless times and seen them live (my first post-vaccination show), a comparison like that does nothing to convey the raw gifts on display in Reeling's perfectly tight 13 songs. This is Rock n' Roll that lives and breathes with a confidence and cool that places it right up there in the lexicon of bands that will live forever - Iggy, Bowie, the aforementioned PJ and Motorcycle Club. A lot of that is owed to singer/guitarist Lia Metcalfe, who emotes a conjuration somewhere between Nick Cave's mystic knowledge and PJ's "Fuck U" attitude.

5) Final Light - Final Light

Brutal, majestic, mysterious: take the neon pentagram glow of Perturbator's music and wash it in the medieval blood of the north often associated with Black Metal and you still can't quite get close to capturing the sonic environment of this record. One thing's for sure though: It's a storm! 

I've spent A LOT of time this year using Lustmord's various instrumental music as a soundtrack to my writing because of the doorways his musical manipulations open. Maybe more than anything else on this list, Final Light provides a very similar experience. There are dark places herein, but they're inspiring and beautiful and, if you catch them just right, they'll take you places you won't be expecting.

4) Sylvaine - Nova

I'd never heard of Sylvaine until I saw them open for another band on this list, and live they absolutely blew me away. When I fired up this year's Nova album I found that, just like that live show, this band's studio mastery creates an all-encompassing experience that is visceral and beautiful and at times, sad and scary. That's pretty much exactly what I want from my Post-Black-Metal-Folk-bands, and Nova shot to the top of that list the moment I hit play on this one.

3) Zeal and Ardor - Eponymous

To quote my good friend Keller as we stood in L.A.'s Echoplex this past October watching Z&A tear through 80% of the new, eponymous record, "These guys are truly post-genre." Yep. Every album just gets bigger and better. Can't wait for the next. 

2) Ghost - Impera

I was not a super fan of Ghost's previous record, Prequelle, and while I've never stopped recognizing Tobias Forge's genius, his work doesn't always align with my taste or what I perceive as the promise whispered by those first two-and-a-half Ghost albums. So in the run-up to the release of this year's Impera, I had assumed this would be another quasi-disappointment. 

Wrong. This is easily my favorite Ghost album behind Infestissumam. Something about the arranging and songwriting on this one - I'm not sure if it's because I'm at a place where I have reassessed and embraced so much 80s Hard Rock I once detested, but I feel elements of a lot of that here, only transmogrified into something sleek and modern. Side A closing tracking "Watcher in the Sky" is my favorite song by the band behind "Year Zero," as well as my second favorite song of the year, and it carries a lot of weight here. That said, every single track moves me and gets stuck in my heart, even the mellowest ones, because they all fit together into this beautiful puzzle called Impera and make for a thrilling snapshot of an artist who has still yet to tap into his reserves.

1) Orville Peck - Bronco

It is a rare breed, the musician who can follow up a widely praised - and deservedly so - debut album with an even better sophomore record, let alone one that is a double album. Orville Peck, however, knocked this one so far out of the park, Pony seems like it came out a decade ago. Bronco is thrilling, with every track outshining the previous in lyrics, melody, and above all instrumentation. Like Impera, Bronco takes what has come before and influenced it - in this case the pomp and circumstance of 70s country instrumentation - and weaves it into a beautiful portrait of the years that preceded the album and those yet to come. Also, like Impera, one of the songs on the A Side - in this case, "Out of Time" - is my favorite of the year. What a perfect fit to my exodus from California and my move to Tennessee. 

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Inbetween States: The Magick of A Large Country


One of my favorite tracks on Ghost's Impera, an album where I love every track. Is it madness to say this is my second favorite of their records (behind Infestissumam)? I don't care. I love this record.

So, after packing all day last Saturday, and loading all day Sunday, my good friend Keller and made it from LaLaLand to Clarksville, TN in a day and a half! It was awesome. We left immediately after packing (he helped a bit near the end, but I wanted him crisp to drive first-shift, knowing I would be exhausted. My Horror Vision Brother King Butcher and our friends Maddie and Kenta really threw down with us on the move - no easy task when you realize that K's Mom pretty much had, once again, not packed much of anything before day-of). Keller drove from 11:00 PM Sunday, 7/31, until around 7:00 AM the following day. We stopped at a gas station in Flagstaff, AZ, and accidentally hit the skirt of the truck on the concrete bumper guarding the pumps.

Thank god for that bumper.

This is a 20-Foot uHaul truck, and as you might imagine, there's a learning curve. However, everything was ultimately fine because we paid $199 for uHaul's Safemove insurance. SO worth it, and honestly, we were already paying close to $7000 for the truck - it would have been half the price if we trekked over the border into Nevada, however, the monetary benefits would not have outweighed the sanity benefits of picking that truck up down the street from our house. 

So my first driving shift began about 7:40 AM (we hit a McDeath's near the gas station for a breakfast sandwich and COFFEE). I'd come to peace with going back to eating meat the week before - that's something I'll hopefully correct again soon, and while I try to avoid McDeath, you really have little choices on the roads between states, so again, I accepted the circumstances for what they were. That shift lasted fourteen hours - I was on fire! Seriously, I did not want to relinquish the vehicle. It was as though I had tapped into something. I've read and thought a lot about the hypnogogic states long drives induce, but this was something even more powerful. I've always thought there is Magick in this country, in the sheer size and what that does to our consciousness as we traverse it, and I think that's what Keller and I tapped into while driving. 

So shifts:

Keller: 11:00 PM-7:00 AM
Shawn: 7:40 AM-9:00 PM (time shift puts us at local time ~11:00 PM
Keller: 11:30 PM-3:00 PM


I-24 kind of divides Clarksville into two textures. Where we stayed last month with my parents was West of the 24, closer to Fort Campbell, and it has a bit more of a hodge-podge feel. Still nice, but it's a lot of strip malls with Vape stores and Payday loans shops. East of the Highway is decidedly crisper. It's mostly new developments, new stores, etc. When K and I rolled into town with my folks at the end of June, we entered the city through the West side and honestly, it knocked our expectations down a few pegs. After getting priced out of the Murfreesboro/Lavergne/Smyrna area by Angeleno homeowners, seeing this side of Clarksville felt a little like a defeat. When our Realtor eventually explained the divide and showed us around the East side, we felt a lot better, hence why we bought the house that we did. However, as the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so I carried an almost unconscious, background anxiety around with me through the sale, inspections, packing, etc. When Keller and I drove in, Siri had us go a totally different way, using the 31, which is essentially a long, scenic surface street. A bit stressful with a 20-Foot truck, but it totally did the trick. All my low-level disappointment evaporated. I fucking LOVE it here.  K and I sat outside on our back porch last night and watched a lightning storm. 


We haven't had the internet, and we haven't had any time to watch anything, but if all goes well, tonight we'll be digging into some of what we missed. Here's where I'm planning on starting:


And, of course:


While I've been fairly skeptical about what feels like the nearly impossible feat of adapting Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, I am hearing nothing but good things from people I know. Of course, it remains to be seen how I feel about it - as Sandman is one of my all-time favorite and most influential comics, but my mind is open.


Finally going to start reading James Tynion's Something Is Killing the Children, thanks to Gerald at the Comic Bug, who sold me a set of the first five issues with David Mack covers for half-price as a going-away gift. Look at these:

So far, I'm in. Issue One is a FANTASTIC set-up. 

I'm glad I waited to start this (although for investment purposes, I wish I had that first-printing #1). Tynion's 3-issue The Closet just wrapped this past week, and it cinched him as one of my favorite current writers in comics, so I have a nice big run of SIKTC ahead of me to look forward to.


Orville Peck - Bronco
Ghost - Impera
Goatsnake - Black Age Blues
Zombi - 2020
Ozzy Osbourne - Diary of a Madman
Adia Victoria - A Southern Gothic
Calexico - The Black Light
Fleet Foxes - Shore
Ella Fitzgerald - Best of, Vol. II
The Bangles - Different Light
Anthrax - Worship Music
Cults - Static
ZZ Top - Eliminator
Billy Idol - The Roadside EP
Deafheaven - Ten Years Gone
The Contours & Dennis Edwards - Motown Rarities 1965-1968
SOD - Speak English or Die
Blut Aus Nord - Disharmonium
Blut Aus Nord - Hallucinogen


From Jonathan Grimm's Bound Tarot, which you can buy HERE.

The first pull here was done on Wednesday, August 3rd 2022. The second night in the new house. K didn't arrive until the following night, so this was Keller and I hanging out after a second hard day of unloading. I had procured some Mushrooms from a friend back in LaLaLand and saved them for this trip, so when we knocked off for the evening, we opened fresh beers and ate about 2 grams each.

First, yes. I shuffled.

The fact that I laid down 13, 12 and 11 is crazy to me. I read this as the sacrifices I endured (saving $, dealing with all the difficulties of moving your life across country) to perform a massive life-changing ritual (the drive), rewards me. And I'm feeling that reward. Everyone loves this house: Keller couldn't get over it, Kirsten loves it, her Mom loves it, and Sweetie loves it. Oh, and I love it. 

Friday, March 11, 2022

Ghost - Impera


Ghost had a big ol' Release Ritual for their new album Impera, out today. You can still order the album HERE. As I write this, it's 11:00 PM PST, so the full album dropped two hours ago when the East Coast hit Midnight. 

I'm definitely losing some of the "to hell and back" vibe I had with Ghost, but I still feel like their music is fantastic, even if not always what I want it to be. Oh, how I long for Infestissumam, and to a lesser extent, Meliora ("Circe" is probably my favorite song by the band, or at least a close second to "Year Zero"). Even more than their actual music, I have long been interested in the course Tobias Forge has plotted out for his music. Since Popestar in 2016, it has been my prediction that Forge will eventually do a big budget broadway musical - I really see so much of that theatrical DNA in their records and their live show. Only time will tell. In the meantime, I'm off Friday - when you're reading this - so I'm up late with my first go-through of Impera running through my headphones and it sounds great. Again, not always what I want, exactly, but still great.


A new featurette for Marvel's Moon Knight dropped earlier in the week. I'm trying to avoid seeing too much, but I broke down and watched this, can vouch that there are no real spoilers included here. The show begins March 30th, and I find myself counting the days. I want to like this one so much - with MK a favorite character and Benson and Moorehead as showrunners, well, this seems like there is no way it could possibly disappoint me.


I'm still not sold on the way the costume looks on screen. I'm really hoping I get over that, or the images we're seeing are early on in the costume's evolution. I refer back to Netflix's Daredevil here, where at the end of the first season when Matt Murdock transitioned from the Fran Miller-inspired black mask to the actual DD costume, I was totally taken aback, but by the second season the rough edges had been rounded down. Regardless, Moon Knight is really hanging on as a favorite at the moment, and it has A LOT to do with Jed Mackay's current run on the monthly book - issue #9 in particular - which just blew me away. Making the House of Shadows the new Midnight Mission was a stroke of genius...

And then there's this:

I'm a fan of Marvel's Black, White & Blood books, even though I've not actually picked up all that many of them. This, however. Holy shit. I never would have anticipated them doing a Moon Knight installment. I've always tried to be consistent with the character; I missed out on the 80s series completely, cherry-picked at the 90s one, and missed the Charlies Huston series altogether, but loved the entirety of the Brian Michael Bendis run that followed shortly after. Then the Warren Ellis/Declan Shalvey - well, let's just say that's holy in my eyes, and one of the things I've loved about the interpretation since - and what I expect to love about the Disney+ series - is the Mr. Knight persona. That's the kind of genius you expect from a collaboration between Ellis and Shalvey, and I've been continuously happy to see it garnering so much of the character's continued evolution.


The Dillinger Escape Plan - One of Us is the Killer
Ministry - Filth Pig
Ghost - Live From the Ministry (Impera Release Ritual)
Mötley Crüe - Shout at the Devil
The Twilight Singers - A Stitch in Time EP
Ghost - Impera


Taking a break from the Thoth deck and moving back to my beloved Raven Tarot:

A reminder to take knowledge from even the most obscure or upsetting places. This feels like it figures in to my current state of mind, which is about 30% paranoia. I'm looking for answers as to how to continue with my life, how to streamline the next series of large steps I have to take in order to get the hell out of my current paradigm and into what's next. Lot's of setbacks, lots of arrows. But there are always distractions and detractors. The point is to move beyond what we know and just make it happen. Lucifer certainly did.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Pike Vs The Automaton

Oh my god. Rough day yesterday, then I woke after a recuperative 11 hours and 18 minutes of sleep (haven't slept like that in over a decade, but my body needed it after yesterday, which I will get to shortly) and find Matt Pike's solo album Pike vs the Automaton has dropped! Three songs in, and I love this. I mean, out of the first three tracks, it was tough to decide which one I wanted to post: "Abusive" opens the record, and I loved it the second I heard those opening chords. Track 3, "Trapped in a Midcave" opens with such a throwback to The Art of Self Defense era High on Fire it seemed the natural choice, but in the end, how do you not post the track named "Throat Cobra". Shit, what a great Friday already!


First, I LOVE that HBO has titled the second season of their SciFi/Body Horror show Raised By Wolves, Raised By Wolves 2. Episode 4 dropped last night, and as with the previous three and all of season one, I am repeatedly left scratching my head at where any of this is going - in the best possible way. There is NOTHING like this show, and I find there is no way to estimate where any of the plot threads are going, where the beats are landing, or to what lengths it will go to get stranger and more Horrific in a very Ridley Scott's Alien kind of way.

I'm going to go ahead and post the full first episode here - courtesy of HBO's youtube channel. 

If you've not seen it, this one is definitely worth your time. And if you dig it but don't have HBO Max, I can assure you, if Raised By Wolves isn't enough to justify the cost of a few months subscription price, then the Turner Movie Classic suburb of the app more than makes it worthwhile. 


I saw this on Ghost's youtube channel, called and received a cool little message that included this picture. 

I feel like Ghost is going back to their old-school weird, counter-intuitive approach to marketing, and I like it.


Pearl Jam - Vs. *
Justin Timberlake - Justified
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Plagarism EP
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Ire Works
Alice in Chains - Eponymous
Urge Overkill - Saturation
Urge Overkill - Oui
Pike Vs the Automaton
Tricky - Maxinquaye
Burial - Antidawn
Beach House - Once Twice Melody 


* I still get a chill everytime I listen to the opening track on Pearl Jam's second record, "Go." I've never been a huge fan of the band or even this particular album - Ten is spotless start to finish, Vs has its ups and downs for me, although I love more of it than I don't. But the energy in this opening track and the emotional charge to Eddie Vedder's vocals is powerful stuff, mate.


One of the things I love about the High Priestess, and this Raven Tarot High Priestess my friend Missi made me, is the inclusion of Joachim and Boaz, the two pillars from King Solomon's temple. They represent Love and Understanding, Knowledge from unifying the two. When I look at this card, I see the Kabballahistic tree of life between the two pillars, and the High Priestess sitting in front of the image, occluding several of the sephiroth. Not just any sephiroth, either. She is blocking the lower spheres of perception, making it difficult to discern the path from where we are, to those higher planes of consciousness at the summit of the tree. This card, then, often reminds me that although the path to my intended goal is unclear, unifying disparate information, or simply acting out of love and understanding, will reveal the path I need to take. This is especially pertinent at the moment. The 'rough day' I referenced above - now two days behind me as I type this final part of this post - involved a failed biopsy on my right lung. Long and the short of it is, I have had a condition known as sarcoidosis for several years now. Actually, probably more like a decade +, it just took the doctors a bit to figure out what it was. Sarcodosis is a chronic inflammation disease, and not necessarily as troublesome as the word disease implies. However, it's something you keep tabs on. So every 6 months or so, I go in for CT scans so my Pulminologist can track the amount of difference between my pulmonary inflammation - has it increased or decreased. At one point, they tried treating it with the steroid prednisone, however, that produced a side effect that gave me terrifyingly blurred vision, thus, my doctors promptly removed me from the treatment. 

During the pandemic, I did not see my Pulminologist. Also, I'm a typical male in the respect that I hate going to the doctor and following up on this type of shit. Whatever. I have already excepted that this is probably what will eventually kill me. Fine - let's just push that off as far as possible, right? 

Anyway, this past October I went in for my first CT scan since May 2019, and in reviewing the images, my doctor saw a 1cmm shape that, "may be nothing, but let's be sure."

Yes doc. Let's be sure.

So a biopsy is ordered. Or it was supposed to be. November came and went and I never heard from the doc's office. We moved into December and I figured now it's the holidays, so I'll wait until January. Come the first week or so of 2022, I start calling to talk to someone.

I cannot get through. At some points, there's not even an answering service on the line, it just rings and rings. I start to fear the doctor has died or retired or something. Then I get a phone tree, and am able to leave  message. 

I never hear back.

Okay, what the absolute fuck, right? Finally, about three weeks ago, I finally get someone. They transfer me to an amazing woman in booking that is mortified at my experience when I describe it to her. She sets out to book the biopsy as soon as possible, does, and I go in this past Thursday. Only, the little fucker they need to access - via a 26cm needle inserted through my back into my lung - is behind a fucking rib. We spend a great deal of time practicing various combinations of my holding my breath, exhaling, etc, all to try and get the doctor performing the procedure a shot at accessing the spot in question. During this, my right lung begins to collapse. 

Needless to say, that's where we stop. 

I spend the better part of that day in the hospital on oxygen, having X-Rays every two hours to make sure my lung is reinflating on its own. 

It is. 

During this time, I have nothing to occupy my time, so I spend six or seven hours basically meditating; practicing very specific, purposeful deep breathing. I figure it's good for me all around, and should hopefully help my lung regain its proper shape. I am trepidatiously discharged that evening. I'm in pain and still somewhat short of breath, but I'm markedly better. I watch episode of Raised By Wolves 2, then turn over and go to bed at about 7:00 PM. I sleep 11 hours and 18 minutes and wake up feeling great. The pain in my back, side and chest that came from the inserting part of the procedure is reduced by about 60%. My breathing feels better still. I go in at 9:00 AM for another X-Ray and talk to the doc afterward. The lung is still partially collapsed, but I have a follow-up with my Pulmonologist on Monday and we will decide how to proceed. 

Which brings me back to the High Priestess. 

This has, as I feared it might, paused our move. Not for long, but the path to our goal has become obscured. I have to figure out how to get a sample of this damn thing, and I'm pretty sure it's going to require being put under and attached to a machine that can breathe for me. Not a fan of this idea, however, if it will provide the results, it has to be done. I already know the other option is, since this might be nothing, to wait and see if it gets bigger, which would be alarming but would also, in theory, make it easier for them to get a sample. Not sure I want to wait, though, especially because once we move, I'm fairly certain I will be switching to a PPO insurance plan, which traditionally includes more out of pocket expenses. 

But I want to charge forward, cut a path through to the results I want as fast as I want them, because I want out of this fucking state. I want to be closer to my friends and family in Chicago, and I want to get away from the place where liberals act exactly like conservatives, and ubran expansion continues unchecked into realms that will absolutely damage the infrastructure of the city and, consequently, its inhabitants' lives. Elected officials in most states suck, but California - and LaLaLand in particular - is off the fucking charts. I need calm, less traffic, and some semblance of sanity.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

New Ghost Single - Album out March 11th!!!

First single from the forthcoming album Impera. Man, it's been a minute... glad to have Papa and crew back. You can pre-order Impera HERE, but a word of caution - be careful. Their prices seem incredibly cheap this time around - I've always felt Ghost's merch was crazy expensive - but they really hammer you with add-ons while you're checking out. I fell for it (happily), but be warned.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Boris & Merzbow Take You on a Journey


One of the records I received as the Relapse Records 30th anniversary golden ticket winner that I've only just been able sit down and really listen to is the Boris/Merzbow collaboration 2R0I2P0, which apparently translates to RIP 2020. It's a kind of tough, noisy record, however, there are moments of sheer, sublime majesty within. This is one of those.



What the actual f*ck is going on with Ghost? I'm certain these new webisodes are leading up to an album announcement, and I can't wait! Also, I'm enjoying the return to their weird approach to viral marketing they've long been famous for.


Bridge City Sinners - Here's to the Devil
Boris and Merzbow - 2R0I2P0
Bohren and Der Club of Gore - Sunset Mission 
Bohren and Der Club of Gore - Patchouli Blu
Bohren and Der Club of Gore - Piano Nights
Bohren and Der Club of Gore - Dolores
X - Under the Big Black Sun
Russian Circles - Memorial
Kowloon Walled City - Container Ships
Palms - Eponymous
Danizig - Eponymous
Type O Negative - Origin of the Feces
Carpenter Brut - Carpenterbrutlive
Type O Negative - October Rust


A warning about obscuring things, which perhaps is to remind me about the changes coming over the next year. I'm hedging some bets and need to be sure to keep others' well-being in mind while doing so (this is all work related). 

Monday, September 16, 2019

Ghost - 7" of Satanic Panic!

Ghost released two new tracks last week. At first listen, I'll be honest and say I wrinkled my nose a bit. After a few more, I've come around a bit. I get the campy 70s thing, I just don't particularly care for it. Still, new Ghost is always something to look forward to. However, now I'm curious. Since the second record, Ghost's M.O. has been an album every two years, with an E.P. in-between. Do the two tracks released as "Seven Inches of Satanic Panic" constitute the entire release, or is there more still to come?


In keeping with the theme, I watched Chelsea Stardust's Satanic Panic last night. Solid horror comedy, with some very bizarre scenes. Watch Rebecca Romijn read recently excavated intestines was fantastic, and I'm always happy to see AJ Bowen.


A new episode of The Horror Vision went up Saturday. Featured film is Richard Stanley's Hardware, but we hit all kinds of stuff, from Wes Craven's original The Hills Have Eyes, to Mindhunter Season Two, to the theatrical release of Ari Aster's Midsummer.

Check it out:

The Horror Vision on Apple

The Horror Vision on Spotify

The Horror Vision on Google Play


Playlist from the last few days:

Pixies - Head Carrier
Ghost - Seven Inches of Satanic Panic
Ghost - Prequelle
Twin Temple - Twin Temple (Bring You Their Signature Sound... Satanic Doo-Wop)


Card of the day:

Change. This is good. I've been so stressed out from work lately, I'm having night terrors. First time for that, and it's pretty fucked up. Also, my diet is not what I want it to be, and I need to change that; I've developed a running fear of heart attacks due to the stress and the amount of red meat I've been eating. Change won't be easy though, because having K's mother live with us means for the last year and some change and continuing forward, there's a lot of food in the house I would normally not buy. I need to figure out a way to topple this current paradigm. I also need to get back to my breathing exercises and meditation, which, after a good start, went out the window with my Chicago trip. First part of the battle though, is recognizing what needs to Change.
Read my books: Shadow Play Book One: Kim & Jessie A Collection of Desires: 7 Tales of Modern Horror

Thursday, July 11, 2019

2019: July 11th Nicolas Winding Refn Interview

Frank Black Appreciation Week continues here with probably my second favorite all-time Frank Black-related track, from the first Grand Duchy album, Petite Fours. With its men in black, government UFO cover-up vibe, this track always reminds me of a sequel to Space (I Believe In), from The Pixies Trompe Le Monde. Listen to Black's voice on those refrains - soul searing. I love everything about this and the album it's on.


After Stranger Things 3, K and I slipped back into episode two of Nicolas Winding Refn's bleak-as-all-holy-fuck Neo LA Noir, Too Old To Die Young. This show! It seems to me the second episode will be the firewall - anyone not in NWR will give up halfway through. Others will revel in the slow, contemplative nature of this hour-and-thirty-seven-minutes of a film maker drinking his setting and characters for tone and nuance. It's a fantastic piece of filmmaking and actually built up enough momentum that I had to force myself not to drift straight into the next episode, primarily because it was already past my bedtime.

Here's an interview with Refn; I'm leaving this here but not watching it until after we finish the series, just in case there are spoilers.


Ghost added a lyric video for Faith, my favorite track from last year's Prequelle record. I'm not usually into lyric videos, but this is pretty cool. Also, if the band's previous protocols are still in place, by my calculation we should be getting an EP from these guys any time now.


Playlist from 7/10:

Low - Trust
Tennis System - Shelf Life (Pre-release Single)
Tennis System - Pain EP
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - Up Your Alley
Judas Priest - Screaming for Vengeance
David Bowie - Heroes
Drab Majesty - Careless
Judas Priest - Firepower
Johhny Marr - Call the Comet
Balthazar - Fever
Zonal - Eponymous (Pre-release Single)
Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Godfodder
Frank Black and the Catholics - Pistolero
Ritual Howls - Rendered Armor


Card of the day:

Paradigm shift. Not 100% on how this fits into my life at the moment; as usual, my inherent reaction is to read it as regarding my writing. Currently unable to mop up two things because of a hanging third. Does this say leave that third behind? Switch gears? Maybe, but an open loop is an open loop, especially when it comes to 'solving' something you've invested a lot of time and creative energy into.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

2019: February 27th - The Chromatics' Nite Back in Print!

There's a whole slew of music re-released recently on Italians Do It Better, and of particular interest is The Chromatics' 2004 album Nite, long OOP and recorded/released before current lead singer Ruth Radelet joined the band. You can order Nite HERE; there's links at the bottom of the page for a ton of other music from both The Chromatics and Glass Candy, all on beautiful limited edition vinyl.

Now I just wish IDIB would release the old Glass Candy and the Shattered Theatre demos. I'd love to have Night Nurse, Love Love Love, or Brittle Women on vinyl.


Consistently entertaining as all hell:

Finally! The return of Punk's Not Dead! And the new mini series is titled, "London Calling." How awesome is that? Might have to spin some Clash today to prep.

Playlist from 2/26:

Firewater - The Ponzi Scheme
Young Widows - Settle Down City
Jaye Jayle - No Trail and Other Unholy Paths
Bob Mould - Sunshine Rock

Shockwaves Podcast #134 dropped last Friday and the back half of it is an hour-plus interview with Tobias Forge of Ghost. After the lawsuit by his ex-ghouls bringing his identity to light two or so years ago, I've avoided all interviews with the man. I think he's really adept at rolling with the punches, and the lawsuit hasn't hurt the band at all, though it has changed its persona's course for sure, but this one I couldn't pass up. You can find the episode (and all the others) on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever fine podcasts are desalinated. You can also go straight to the source HERE.

Finally, at 12:00 PM noon CT time, Mondo/Death Waltz is releasing the John Carpenter/Alan Howarth soundtrack to my favorite JC movie, Prince of Darkness, or as I like to call it, Prince of Fucking Darkness. You can grab that HERE, just know there are probably a bunch of fanboy motherF*&kers like me who have alarms set and intend to be sitting at their computer with their fingers poised over the Order button on Mondo's site.

No card today.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

2019: February 6th: New Bob Mould!

Sing it brother! Talk about hitting the f*&kin' nail on the head. Bob Mould has always had a knack for hooky, endearing, emotionally charged melodies, especially on his choruses. This is no different, but Lost Faith is also bleaker than anything he's done in a while. Love the accordion on the end of the track, and as far as videos go, I'm not usually a fan of videos with the artist standing in the camera, aping playing their instrument, but here the aping is intentional, and, what's more, powerful. Because Bob wears his age on his sleeve and it helps. It helps someone like me, who lost his aging reference just over three years ago and is looking for someone to help him navigate the onset of the back-end of his system's course.

Mr. Mould's new record, Sunshine Rock, is out on Friday from Merge Records. Order it HERE.

The name of the game today is one step back, anticipation for two steps forward. Let's see if that pans out in today's card when I get to it below.

I've been on a bit of a Ghost kick lately, and I was surprised to find I've come back around to Prequelle with a considerably kinder regard. In fact, it's actually working its way up to ranking in with the rest of the Ghost records. Still my least favorite, but I'd imagine I'm finally looking at it as an album in its own right. Also, all the Ozzy solo stuff is probably curbing my expectations mixing them with reality.

My current favorite track.

Watched Velvet Buzzsaw two nights ago. Really dug it. Dan Gilroy pairs with Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo again, adding Toni Collette, Natalia Dryer, Zawe Ashton, John Malkovich, and a bunch of other great talent to turn in a funny little romp through the world of high class/high cost Art and turn it into... a slasher flick. I mean, it took a while for that to happen, but there's a point where I became lucid in the midst of a classic slasher trope and realized, "Holy cow, this is a slasher flick with Art as the killer!"

That idea alone should be enough to get you to watch it. For me, there's also the fact that I adore the way Gilroy shoots nighttime Los Angeles. He has an eye for catching its beauty, as previously seen in the fantastic Nightcrawler. The trick, I believe, is to shoot LA at night, because at night it is beautiful. During the day LA is, for the most part, gross.

Playlist from 2/04:

Joy Divison - Closer
Skid Row - Slave to the Grind
The Devil and the Almighty Blues - II
Ritual Howls - Turkish Leather

Playlist from 2/05:
Ghost - Infestissumam
Ghost - Prequelle
Boy Harsher - Careful
King Buffalo - Longing to be the Mountain
Battle Tapes - Form EP
Ghost - Opus Eponymous

Card of the day:

While there was nothing lazy about my night last night - I spent it hardcore cleaning/rearranging stuff in the apartment that had gotten out of hand - I did not write. This is a reference to that. Also, in reading around online to expand my interpretation, I'm reminding this is an 8 so it corresponds to Hod, which is all about structure and logic, which had a lot to do with my impromptu organizing jag yesterday. Today? Write!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

2018: November 17th

The video for Ghost's Dance Macabre dropped almost a month ago and, for the first time, I didn't immediately post it here. Truth is, I didn't even watch Dance Macabre until this morning. Why?

Prequelle was released on June first, and at the time I spent maybe two weeks rotating it through my playlist before I abandoned it. So this is also the first time a Ghost record dropped and didn't take up months of my sonic real estate. I like Prequelle, I think it's a great pop rock album, but for my own personal tastes, it's a bit of a step in a direction I'm less interested in actually listening to than observing.

What the hell does that mean?

Ever since I heard Ghost's cover of Imperiet's Bible, the closing track on 2016's EP Popestar, my theory has been Ghost is moving toward becoming mass appeal entertainment, rather than simply being 'a rock band'. My money is on the band - or rather Papa/Cardinal's - next phase being a high-level musical. And I've felt since the first go-through on Prequelle that as an album, it is a step in that exact direction. And that's awesome. To reach that level and still be singing about Satan makes me very happy. That said, musically there are a lot of other groups that do for me what Ghost used to. Prequelle doesn't have a Year Zero or Circe, i.e. a track that hits me hard, and instead eschews that for an infinitely more pop/polished sound. Which is also fine, for the most part. But Dance Macabre? For my money, the worst lyrics I've heard in a while. Definitely the worst on a Ghost album.

Ghost's first record, Opus Eponymous, is, lyrically speaking, full of metal tropes, so that record is also not my favorite. But Infestissumam and Meliora have extremely strong lyrics, and those are the records that made me a rabid fan of the band. So to go from Year Zero's, "Crestfallen kings and queens cavorting in their faith," to, Dance Macabre's "I just want to bewitch you in the moon light/Want to bewitch you all night," hurts my heart a little. That one element of that one song seriously affected my entire relationship with Prequelle, and sadly I haven't listened to the record since the month it came out.


Last night, thanks to my friend and fellow Horror Vision co-host Anthony, I had the pleasure of seeing Ghost live again. As I suspected, seeing a lot of this new material, even Dance Macabre, endeared it to me a little more. This morning then, I finally surrendered to a new-found curiosity and fired up the video. And what do you know? I found the video to be an awesome visual accompaniment - nay enhancement - for the song, and beyond that, a fantastic entry to the band's mythos. Because that's what Ghost is building - and by that I mean the man behind it, who I still would rather remain nameless even if his identity has been revealed at this point - a mythos. And that's what I think the imminent musical will be about: their Heaven and Hell, Black Magick mythos.

Enough Ghost, let's talk comics.

Still feeling poorly. This isn't flu, but it does seem to have the tenacity of a flu bug. Attending an arena concert last night probably wasn't a great idea, but those tickets were purchased months ago and the sickness came on fast, so I didn't want to leave my friend high and dry. Also, it was good to get out of the house for a few hours. Today will consist of more convalescing, so that means I'll be finishing Robert Payne Cabeen's Cold Cuts (so good), and then delving into a few comics. I mean to keep on with a few issues for my Chris Claremont's Uncanny X-Men re-read, and then pick up with issue #2 of Menton3's insanity conundrum, Monocyte.

I've had this one since it came out, four issues from IDW back in 2012, I've never been able to successfully read this series. Monocyte requires so much set-up and backstory that the actual story kind of gets lost. I tried with an issue or two back as they were being released and then bagged-and-boarded it, waiting for a day when I might feel up to the task of trying again.

That day has apparently come. I read issue #1 a week or so ago and, although I still feel the book is a bit too stout for its own good, I enjoyed it. The art is ridiculous, as all Menton3's stuff is.

Playlist from 11/16:

Chelsea Wolf - Hiss Spun
Chasm - Divine Illusion
Various Artists - The Fantastic Mr. Fox
Tom Waits - Rain Dogs

Card of the day:

There's an obvious pattern of late with all these orange cards, so let's talk about what this color might have to tell me about these recent draws.

Orange is an amalgam of yellow and red, yellow representing Air and red Fire. So that's intellect and anger, or strength/drive if we're inclined to interpret it in a non-hostile way, which I am. Add to this the Three, which corresponds to Binah, or the Great Mother and Understanding. I'm tempted then, to interpret these deluge of Orange in my pulls this week as a cue to use my brain to better understand where I'm going with this novel, and have the strength to re-wire the things I already know still need re-wiring. Which isn't much, but it's a touch daunting.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Bonus track from Prequelle. I didn't love this record the first time I spun it, now it's seriously grown on me. The throw was that Ghost has moved from a guitar-hook laden outfit to concentrating on vocal melodies. Also, bringing in the piano for basic song structure and composition. After Bible, the final track on 2016's Popestar E.P., I began to speculate that Ghost is working toward composing and presenting a Broadway musical. I am even more convinced of that now. As far as "It's a Sin," I've always dug Ghost's choice of covers, and this is no different. Fits perfect.

Playlist from 6/04:

Massive Attack - Protection
Ghost - Prequelle
Mastodon - Remission
The Soft Moon - Zeroes
The Smiths - Meat is Murder
Electric Citizen - Sateen
Viet Cong - Eponymous
My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult - 13 Above the Night
Underworld - Barbara Barbara, we have a shining future
Underworld - Barking
Burzum - Filosfem

Card for the day:

Wands can be seen as the creative spark, the Will of the Magus, the Living Spark or Essence. It's Will is tantamount, and you cannot hold it back. This sentiment perfectly describes my recent 'Oppression' at my own hands. I've a creative spark with this project I'm working on, bearing down on a deadline, but I've begun to feel restrained by it. I need to shirk that by taking some extra writing time and outlining this short story in my head, instead of oppressing that spark by blinding trudging along on T12, which I'll still work on daily, but perhaps just rope it back a bit; enough to sneak in some time on this new spark.