Merril’s Musical Musings: Her Despair and Best of 2019

Her Despair and Best of 2019

Greetings and Salutations for a brand new year and decade that I am confident will be filled with amazing music. I’m Ro, your musical tour guide, and today I want to share with you some of my favorites from the past year and introduce you to a Goth rock outfit from the UK called Her Despair. Their music will take you right back to those 80s afternoons sitting in your bedroom listening to cassettes—or perhaps your vinyl collection—waiting for the night to fall and bring with it the creepy darkness where anything can happen and life is just a little more interesting.

Her Despair melds together sounds of Peter Murphy and Sisters of Mercy as well as current artists like Nightwish and HIM. Their latest release, Exorcisms of Eroticism, was released in summer 2019 and contains melodic jams like “Pandaemonium” and “The Exorcism,” which has an appropriately dark music video to go along with it. “In That Moment” is my favorite track on the EP. The haunting, romantic vocals dance over the dichotomy of the synthesizers and guitars, giving it a nostalgic sound, but you could also expect to hear it on a modern-day alternative rock station. “Like a Crucifixion” is another excellent example of their sound. A steady rock beat with powerful lyrics make for an enjoyable combination and will have you slipping into Her Despair like a comfortable pair of black fishnets…or a worn pair of Doc Martens. 

For more on Her Despair, check them out at the links below. 

The Exorcism” video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Clqrj6rftJA 

https://www.facebook.com/herdespair/

https://www.instagram.com/herdespairband/?hl=en

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVZhKFjVsq1Wpbruy-dryuw/featured

 

Ro’s Recs

Many great albums were released in 2019, and while I’m not a big list maker, I thought I’d share a few of them here. Some bands have been with us for decades like Slipknot and Korn and others were new to me. Bands like Papa Roach, Sleeping with Sirens, Volbeat, and Bring Me The Horizon took big risks on a new sound that paid off well. We lost Vinnie Paul from Hellyeah, but the band gave him a beautiful sendoff with Welcome Home. Motionless in White and New Year’s Day put out powerful albums that cemented their status in the rock community as artists that have fought long and hard to be there. Baroness returned from a harrowing tragedy to put out a strong album. I Prevail had a fairytale beginning with a cover of Taylor Swift and this year they’ve been nominated for a Grammy! And lastly, The Hu, Fever333 and Bad Wolves were all new bands to me that I am glad I took a chance on. I hope you will too. 

Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind

Bring Me The Horizon – Amo

Papa Roach – Who Do You Trust?

Hellyeah – Welcome Home

Motionless in White – Disguise

New Year’s Day – Unbreakable

Volbeat – Rewind, Replay, Rebound

Korn – The Nothing

The Hu – Gereg

Baroness – Gold and Grey

Bad Wolves – N.A.T.I.O.N.

Fever333 – Strength in Numb333rs

Sleeping With Sirens – How It Feels To Be Lost

I Prevail – Trauma 

There’s a wide variety on this list, a little something for everyone, so as we prepare for a new year of music, give some of these a listen.

What are you looking forward to in 2020? Leave a comment and let me know what music I should be looking out for in 2020. And with that, Stay Tuned for more of Merrill’s Musical Musings…

 

10iversary Chilling Chat with Michele Roger

10IVERSARY

Michele Roger is a speculative fiction writer living in the Detroit area with her spouse and her evil cat named Monster. She also writes paranormal romance under the pen name M. M. Genet.  You can listen to her most recent, free podcast, Agent For the micheleOrchestra wherever you get your podcasts or on iTunes.  When Michele isn’t writing, she is a harpist and a music composer for podcasts. Michele appeared on Season 1 Episode 9 with “Taste of the Dead,” Season 2 Episode 13 “Santa Claws,” Season 3 Episode 25 “The Conservatory,” Episode 31, Season 4 Episode 43, and Season 13 Episode 160. She is the spark that started the Wicked Women Writers.

1.)    How old were you when you first became interested in horror?

My earliest memory of reading horror was with my friend Terry Akerly in the 8th grade.  My mom didn’t really approve of a girl reading horror at the time, so Terry shared his Stephen King books with me.

2.)    What is your favorite kind of horror? (i.e. Classic, Splatterpunk, Slasher, Gothic, etc.)

Reading is like everything else; one’s tastes change as we get older.  While I gravitate towards Classic and Gothic, I’m open to reading just about anything that has a new spin on it; be it paranormal romance or alien horror.

3.)    What is your favorite horror novel?

There is a special place in my heart for Thinner by Stephen King.  In college, I was studying to be a lawyer.  The main character is a slightly unscrupulous lawyer who gets cursed by a gypsy for his dishonesty while presenting a case against her.  The curse is so simple and so elegant.  I loved that about the story.  King took an everyday occurrence with an average guy and turned it into something that kept me reading well into the night.

4.)    What is your favorite horror TV show?

Honestly, I don’t watch enough tv to be able to answer that question.

5.)    What is your favorite horror movie?

It probably sounds cheesy, but my favorite horror film (and its tough to choose) would be The Woman in Black.  There is so much to love.  The main character is young and naive but is a male and a lawyer.  (Lawyer theme again.  I never realized….ok anyway)  So many stories the main character in distress is female.  I really enjoy that role reversal.  Also, the predator/ghost is female.  Also, another trait and role reversal that I enjoy.  Add the creepy gothic mansion, a time pressure element of the receding and swelling tide and the primary prey for the predator being children of a village an entire community longs to protect and you have a perfect movie.

6.)    How did you first become involved with HorrorAddicts.net?

I wrote a short horror story and a friend of mine encouraged me to send it to HorrorAddicts.  That was roughly 2008?  I’m guessing.  Emz encouraged me to send in more.

7.)    What is your most favorite memory of the HorrorAddicts.net Blog? (i.e. favorite blog post written by you or someone else, favorite funny memory, etc.)

HorrorAddicts offered a horror writing contest for just women.  The stories that came from that contest were so well written and so well received.  I had been writing horror and science fiction for a while, feeling quite alone in Detroit.  All the other speculative fiction writers I knew were male.  The all women’s writing contest opened a door to other women all over the country who were writing all kinds of horror.  Eventually, some of those stories became a book and now we have a writing group for female horror writers.  So much good has come from HorrorAddicts.

8.)    What is your favorite part of the blog? (i.e. Book Reviews, Movie Reviews, Interviews, Game Reviews, Free Fiction, Crafting, etc.)

Whenever I’m looking for something or someone new to read, I check out the Book Reviews.  I also like to read the interviews on my lunch at work.

9.)    Why is this part your favorite?

The book reviews are just a handy resource.  Sadly, my small, Michigan town outside of Detroit doesn’t have a local bookstore anymore.  We have one big chain store but finding someone in there to recommend horror is often like finding a needle in a haystack.  HorrorAddicts book reviews and interviews fill that void.  I find new and established authors, learn a bit more about them and find new titles to pick up for my next night of reading.

10.)  What would you like to see on the HorrorAddicts.net Blog in the future?

There are a lot of people making short horror films.  It might be fun to showcase them?  A B Horror movie film festival to stream???

Addicts, you can find Michele’s work on Amazon as Michele Roger and as M.M. Genet. You can find her music here.

Merrill’s Musical Musings:Coyote Kid

 

Merrill’s Musical Musings with Coyote Kid

Greetings HorrorAddicts! November is the month of gratitude, and I’m sure we are all grateful for music. I’m ecstatic to be here with you to share a new album by Coyote Kid and to share some of my current musical musings and obsessions.

I’m utterly transfixed by this new album from Minneapolis-based Coyote Kid. I recently attended a writing workshop where the presenter talked about writing to your id, you know, that place where all of your happy meets. Upon first listening to their song “Strange Days,” my id perked up and listened greedily. Dark atmosphere, jangly guitars, a horn section, a male singer with a full, tortured voice that exudes emotion…Check, Check, Check! I hear a little Bad Things by Jace Everett, a little Big Wreck, a little Dick Dale and some Concrete Blonde. 

Some standouts on the album titled Skeleton Man include the title track, “Femme Fatale,” which has a Quentin Tarantino-esque music video with a beautiful woman and a vampiric car, and “Run.” The band describes their sound as cinematic and I concur. There are several moments on the album that would provide the perfect soundtrack to a film. I can see Antonio Banderas with his guitarra in a Robert Rodriguez film, or imagine a scene from the HBO show True Blood where creatures of the night stalk the unsuspecting folks in Bon Temps, Louisiana. 

You can find Coyote Kid at the following links and you can even become a patron on Patreon to unlock special content. 

http://coyotekidmusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/coyotekidofficial/    

https://twitter.com/coyotekidband

https://www.instagram.com/coyotekidofficial/

https://music.apple.com/us/album/femme-fatale-single/1468490521

https://open.spotify.com/artist/0MW6kFfsIdCMs4IF9WDAzb      

Ro’s Recs

September saw a slew of new releases from bands I’ve loved forever. One of the standouts was the latest from Italian metal band Lacuna Coil. Their latest album Black Anime is heavier than their previous release and full of fantastic tunes like “Layers of Time” and “Reckless,” but it’s the opener, “Anima Nera,” that has the witch in me chanting happily. Cristina Scabbia is a goddess and I urge you to give them a listen. Black Anime on Spotify

Hellyeah suffered a tremendous loss this past year with the death of beloved drummer Vinnie Paul, formerly of Pantera and Damageplan. The band soldiered on and released their album Welcome Home as a tribute to Vinnie. There are some massive grooves on this album such as “Oh My God” and “Boy” that will rip your guts out and stomp all over them and you’ll love every second of it. The track “333” will get you ready to jump up and get in the pit. There is so much raw energy in this album. Chad gray really went deep with the lyrics on this album and the anger and anguish are tangible. I know Vinnie would be proud. If you’re a new fan, get ready to fall in love. You can listen to Welcome Home on Spotify.

That’s it for November’s Merrill’s Musical Musings. I’d love to hear what you’re thankful for this month. Which band has your gratitude? Leave a comment or find me on social media: Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Stay Tuned for more Musings and Rock ‘n’ Romance…  

 

Merrill’s Musical Musings: Zwaremachine Review


Greetings Horror Addicts! I’ll be your new tour guide through the melodious and sometimes macabre world of music shared with HorrorAddicts.net for your greedy consumption. I’ve been a music fan my entire life, especially the metal variety, anything you can dance to and most places in between. In my day job, I educate America’s youth, sometimes even on the subject of music. I’m also a mom of two teenagers, both of whom are huge music fans, and at night, by the light of the full moon…I write stories full of hope, love and rock ‘n’ roll that often have some sort of tie-in to horror, the occult, monsters…you name it. I want to thank Emz for bringing me out of the darkness and into the…well, more darkness, but a different darkness, full of fellow music and horror lovers. 

This month we’re listening to an industrial band out of Minneapolis called Zwaremachine. Music that can take you away to another place is exciting and always worth a listen, and upon pressing play, Zwaremachine did just that. I immediately imagined myself dressed in black leather and chains walking into the depths of a seedy nightclub in a warehouse in the middle of a bleak urban landscape full of all the cool-kid creeps and crawlers. It was easy to picture a vampire having a sip from a willing patron at the bar, or a witch telling fortunes in a dimly lit corner. Bodies are moving in time to the driving beat, reaching for that climax where the DJ drops the bass when John Wick comes blasting through with machine gunners on his tail. Any music that can drop you into a scene like that and have you anxious to experience what’s next is a win in my book. 

Zwaremachine have been on tour in Europe and the Midwest this year. They are currently working on a special edition re-release of their 2018 album “Be a Light” with worldwide distribution. In September the band will be back in Europe on the “Elektro Tanz Tour” dates in Belgium and the Netherlands with Vuduvox(FR/BE). 

Zwaremachine will be performing as full line up with Mach Fox(vocals/synth), dbot(bass/vocals) and they have recruited Dutch percussionist Dein Offizier(drums) for these shows “to give the full impact of their minimal hypnotic approach to body music.” I highly recommend that if they play near where you are you give them a listen! I’m a huge proponent of attending live shows and supporting musicians, so check them out.

Fans of the Underworld or Blade series will most likely dig their sound. Their song “Remain Unseen” (especially the VUDUVOX Remix) is an ominous track that made me think of Nitzer Ebb and Rammstein. If industrial is your bag, check out Zwaremachine.

In preparation for writing this review, I got a kick out of reading this interview with their leader Mach Fox from the Horror Addicts archives. https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2018/10/12/terror-trax-zwaremachine/

If you want to hear more for yourself, check out the band at these sites:

WEBSITE:http://www.zwaremachine.band/

streaming/dl: https://zwaremachine.bandcamp.com/

ig/twitter: @zwaremachine

I’ll be back next time with more music reviews, but I’d like to end each post with one of Ro’s Recs (that’s me!). For my first recommendation, I have to give it up for Slipknot’s latest We Are Not Your Kind. This album has all the rage and hostility one expects from the Iowa band, but there’s a vulnerability and urgency in the lyrics that is a welcome surprise from these veteran metalheads. I was fortunate enough to see them on the opening night of the U.S. Knotfest Roadshow and I was elated to experience the new songs live. Highlights for me include Spiders (oh yeah, you’ll keep that piano riff in your head for a long time after) and Critical Darling and A Liar’s Funeral are phenomenally heavy. Check it out, let me know what you think. You can reply here or you can always find me on the socials @rlmerrillauthor or in my evil lair at www.rlmerrillauthor.com. I can’t wait to hear what you think of Zwaremachine and the new Slipknot. 

Stay Tuned for more of Merrill’s Music Musings on HorrorAddicts.net…

Terror Trax: Ashes Fallen

Band Name: Ashes Fallen
Members: James Perry, Michelle Perry, Jason Shaw

Ashes Fallen:
Youtube
Facebook
Web

Answers by band leader James Perry

Ashes Fallen song you are excited about right now

James: I love all of our songs! I’m really happy with “Start Again”. That was the very last song we put together for the album, and we barely got it together in time, but it turned out great. I love how it sounds, the lyrics are something I really wanted to say, and I’m so proud of us for getting it done in time. Sometimes that pressure and focus from a deadline can really inspire something good.

What singers or bands inspired you growing up?

James: I grew up in a house filled with classical music. I think being exposed to the classics still inspires a lot of how I write. Like most kids of my generation, I was all about the Michael Jackson “Thriller” album. He was just so cool. Later, the first time I saw   on MTV, it changed my life. I wanted to be an electric guitar player. A little later I got into Pink Floyd (like many high school kids do) and they were a huge influence… the huge sound and sound effects, the simple melodicism of David Gilmour’s leads, the depth of the lyrics… Everything changed for me again at age 15 or so when I first heard Skinny Puppy. They were my gateway drug into all this spiky, black hard-edged music I’ve come to love.

Who are your favorite artists today?

James: I still enjoy a lot of metal. Devin Townsend is my favorite musician of all time and he’s still doing amazing work. There’s so much great new dark music happening now. I just heard a post-punk band from Berlin called the Golden Apes for the first time the other day and they were just great. An amazing voice, really dynamic songwriting. A few years ago, Michelle and I saw a post-punk band from Mexicali called Silent and they completely blew our minds. Such great music and such a powerful force onstage. There are so many older artists that are still out there doing amazing work. Gary Numan’s most recent album “Savage” is possibly his best work ever. Killing Joke’s last album is just so good too. There are so many great bands here in northern California too, in and out of the goth scene. Believe me, I could go on and on.

What non-musical things inspire your music?

James: My songwriting tends to be autobiographical, so a lot of what’s inspired my writing has been my own life experiences. I occasionally get inspired just watching films or shows, sometimes I’ll hear a snippet of the soundtrack and think “what if they went THIS way instead of that way?” I find film soundtracks very inspiring anyway.

Is there a place where you go to be inspired?

James: Michelle and I are fortunate enough to be homeowners, and she loves working on the house. She’s making it a space where we can both be inspired to create.

What’s been the greatest achievement of your band?

James: We’re a very new band, so at this point it was just getting our first album finished in such a short time! We’ve only been a band since February 2019. In July, we did a brief tour with our friends 13th Sky, and I really wanted us to have our album finished and ready to sell for those shows. It took one hell of a lot of time and effort from everyone to get there, but we did it!

Where was the coolest place to play? Where did you enjoy yourselves the most?

James: Every show is fun in its own way! As of today, we’ve only played nine shows as a band. I think the coolest place we’ve played so far was Batcave S.F., held at the Knockout on Mission Street in San Francisco. It was wild! Lots of cool bands, drag performers, an awesome crowd… I think the most fun I’ve had at a show so far was the time we played Powerhouse Pub in Folsom on a Wednesday night. We had a decent turnout for playing late on a weeknight, and the club’s got great sound and a nice big stage which is always inspiring, and even though it was late and hot and we were all tired, we were just ON that night. Looking forward to more shows!

What are your favorite horror movies?

James: I enjoy the classics. Dracula. Frankenstein. Nosferatu. I just love the imagery and craftsmanship of those early films and what they were able to do with limited technology. Michelle showed me “Shadow of the Vampire”, a horror film about the filming of Nosferatu and I thought that was really great. I’m not into any slasher stuff, give me something atmospheric and psychological, not blood and guts. Michelle’s a huge fan of vampire films and has a massive collection. She’s also a huge fan of the Hannibal and Penny Dreadful TV series, and we’re both looking forward to the new Penny Dreadful City of Angels.

What was the scariest night of your life?

James: Maybe scary isn’t the right word, but the night I flew to New Zealand, unannounced, to ask Michelle to marry me was pretty nerve-wracking! I was so nervous she’d figure out what I was up to. But somehow I pulled off the surprise!

If you could play anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would be your opening band?

James: Anywhere and everywhere! I live for this stuff. I played in Guadalajara, Mexico as a fill-in guitarist with 13th Sky earlier this year and that was the wildest show of my life, such passionate music fans down there! I’d love to get Ashes Fallen down there as well. I also really hope we get to play in New Zealand some day so Michelle’s old friends can see her owning the stage! As for an opening act? We love it when we get to play shows with our friends. Maybe for my birthday one year I’ll set up a big show and have us and all our friends’ bands play.

What are you working on now for future release?

James: We’re pretty fully engrossed in playing live right now, but we do hope to have a new EP or single out early next year. I’m writing a few riffs here and there and thinking about which old, unfinished songs I’d like to try to explore with this band; believe me, I’ve got a ton of them! I wrote a lot of the songs on our debut album myself before we were a band, so I’m definitely looking forward to us doing more writing as a team. We’ve also been talking about putting together a proper music video for one of our songs, so watch out for that! We’ll be sharing more video footage from our live shows as well.

Final Thoughts / Anything you want to tell the listeners?

James: Go out to a show! There are so many great local, national, and international bands out in the clubs giving it their all to half-empty clubs that are struggling to keep their doors open. I love seeing shows and playing live so much and I don’t want it to die out completely.

Terror Trax: SINthetik Messiah

Band Name: SINthetik Messiah

Members: Bug Gigabyte is the only member; drums,
keyboard, guitar, vocals, programming, writing lyrics, and sound design.
Everyone else who has been apart of this project was a
temporary collaboration, especially for live shows.

Album/Song/Tour we are excited about right now.

I’m excited for my next release on the 13th “Black Sheep (Feat Hart Fortenbery )”

What singers or bands inspired you growing up?

Portishead, Nine Inch Nails, Orgy and Deadsy

Who are your favorite artists today?

I have so many today, and their styles can range from classical to hardcore drum and bass.

What non-musical things inspire your music?

This question can be loaded. However, emotions and people are non-musical sources of inspiration. What is the human condition? What is the human soul? How does it affect one another? How does it affect me? The propaganda of the new age and the people who blindly follow. Spiritually and the duality of it all.  What is real, what others define as real. Because there is more of the same answer by so many, Does it make it real or have we all been deceived to further divide us?  I’m not talking about religion, I’m talking about self. How far is it when it becomes selfish or selfless?

Is there a place where you go to get inspired?

Two places that really trigger my inspiration; going out and seeing a live show or going out in the middle of a forest with a tent, hand drum and making a big fire. Sometimes dancing around it helps.

What’s been the greatest achievement of your band?

I’ve had many achievements I’m very proud of, but when you see a class of children that are underfunded, and I’m able to provide art supplies or instruments to them, because our educational system is in the toilet here in Louisiana, that, I think is one of my biggest achievements.  The dramatic difference in their confidence and work when having the right tools makes it worth the countless hours and lack of sleep I’ve spent trying to raise money for them through my benefit television show.

Where was the coolest place to play? Where did you enjoy yourselves the most?

So far the first year I played Southern Gothic Fest.  It is what really helped me spread the word of Industrial Dubstep; what I’m known for creating.  This was the first time I’ve ever played in the goth scene. This was something I’ve always dreamed about when I was a kid, because the city I’m from there is no goth scene.

What are your favorite horror movies?

Hellraiser.  The thought of a dimensional being who is into some really kinky dominatrix stuff that has no safe word is really terrifying.  haha

What was the scariest night of your life?

The only thing you have to fear is fear itself. The Boat Man and I are friends.

If you could play anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would be your opening band?

I want to play in Ibiza on the beach, on a full moon with Fever Ray and Dead Can Dance. I would have more of a tribal electronic witch set planned out…only meant for that one show.

What are you working on now for future release?

I just finished reworking a track for The Other La, that was originally produced by CJ Pierce of Drowning Pool.  It should be out in a couple of months.  Now I’m working on my first full-length album that will feature the vocals of Ms Cat Hall.

Final thoughts / Anything you want to tell the listeners?

First I want to thank HorrorAddicts.net for being so kind to me, and I want to thank the people who listen to my work.  It does mean the world to me. My love and respect goes out to all of you.

http://www.sinthetikmessiah.bandcamp.com

http://www.twitter.com/buggigabyte

http://www.instagram.com/sinthetikmessiah_official/

 

 

Terror Trax: I Ya Toyah

Band Name: I Ya Toyah

I am One Woman Army, Ania Tarnowska:
lyrics/composition, recording, production, vocals, guitar, keyboards

Website: iyatoyah.com

What singers or bands inspired you growing up?

Opeth, Iron Maiden, Nine Inch Nails

Who are your favorite artists today?

I have a lot of favorite artists, varying in styles and it’s impossible to state just one as it’s endless list of talent I admire every day.

What non-musical things inspire your music?

Observation, conversation, nature

Is there a place where you go to be inspired?

It is a Forest with a Bit of the Light- a spot in the woods not far from where I live. I named it myself but it’s my to-go place when I seek mental relaxation and peace.

What’s been the greatest achievement of your band?

I’ve been honored to share the stage with Mortiis during his North American Tour, as well as with Grendel. I had a pleasure working with Rhys Fulber and have him remix one of my songs, “Flashback.” Mostly though, I feel the greatest achievement is to be a part of the amazing industrial electronic scene – it is a priceless experience.

Where was the coolest place to play? Where did you enjoy yourselves the most?

I love playing at Crucible, Madison WI. I adore their stage, sound and green room plus hospitality and vibes of everyone…I love Reggies rock club in Chicago and really enjoyed playing at The Forge, Joliet. Another amazing place I cannot wait to return to is Club Anything, Milwaukee WI. Owner Todd is a sweetheart and the place has a certain magic that feeds you with very positive energy.

What are your favorite horror movies?

I love Strangers. It is more of a thriller but I like the authenticity of the plot. Psycho is another good one. Anything Hitchcock and David Lynch.

What was the scariest night of your life?

I was 12 and was on my way back from music school ( I studied guitar, piano, and vocal performance). My dad drove the car and we got into an accident. I remember being terrified that he will die…I ended up being the one that almost did- but I don’t remember it as I was already in a coma. The fear of losing my dad and having to tell my mom about it was paralyzing.

If you could play anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would be your opening band?

I’d love to play at the venue called Dalhalla in Sweden. It is built on the rocks and shaped like an amphitheater. The setting in nature is absolutely magic and so is the sound. It is on my bucket list and as far as an opener/lineup goes, I don’t even know as there are many logistics involved, some of which would probably be out of my control.

What are you working on now for future release?

Currently, I’m working on releasing the remix of Puppet song done by Adoration Destroyed. Together with Lumbra Records we are filming and putting a dark-themed video for that song. I’m very excited as the remix is amazing!

Final thoughts.

I want to thank you for your support! You coming out to my live shows and supporting my releases makes what I do possible. I love you! ♥