Press Release: TAG Updates

These press releases presented by TAG Publicity.
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Dark electronic act LUDOVICO TECHNIQUE has released the official music video for their single, “Absence.”

Legendary Misfits Guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein will be launching the As We Die World Abomination Tour 2018this Spring. Beginning February 21st in Clifton, NJ, the tour winds through North America before crossing to the UK March 26th in Birmingham, England, and will later move through Russia before finishing up April 9th in St. Petersburg, Russia; KILLUS and DeadXll will be joining on the UK and Russia run. Upon his stateside return, Doyle will also be performing at the 20th annual New England Metal & Hardcore Fest on April 21st at The Palladium in Worcester, MA.

“America’s Most Dangerous Kult” hits the road again this April 2018 for Part 2 of their 30 Anniversary Show – a 14 city North American tour commencing April 10th at Trixie’s in Louisville, KY.

To commemorate the milestone, the band turns back time to perform their first two iconic albums on Wax Trax! Records – 1988’s I See Good Spirits And I See Bad Spirits and Confessions Of A Knife (1990), along with other TKK club favorites from that era.

Joining founding gurus Groovie Mann (vocals) and Buzz McCoy (keys, production) will be veteran performers Mimi Star on bass, drummer Justin Thyme, and “Bomb Gang Girl” Arena Rock (vocals).
04/10 @ Trixie’s – Louisville, KY
04/11 @Exit/In – Nashville, TN
04/12 @ Southgate House – Newport, KY
04/13 @ Token Lounge – Westland, MI
04/14 @ Musica – Akron, OH
04/15 @ Mohawk Place – Buffalo, NY
04/17 @ Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA
04/18 @ Knitting Factory – Brooklyn, NY
04/19 @ Stanhope House – Stanhope, NJ
04/20 @ PhilaMOCA – Philadelphia, PA
04/21 @ Fish Head Cantina – Baltimore, MD
04/23 @ Pour House Music Hall – Raleigh, NC
04/25 @ Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
04/28 @ Wire – Berwyn, IL
Tour Info

Dark Electronic Pop act A DARKER COLOR BRIGHT(ADCB) has taken on the iconic Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg classic “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and re-imagined it as a melancholy instrumental, made even more so with black and white imagery of human destruction and carnage. War, poverty, and nuclear terror fill the screen in frightening and heartbreaking reminders of moments in history, all of which directly reflect many issues and concerns in today’s society. Consistent with the artist’s generally foreboding tone, ADCB says of the release, “I’m just getting started.” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is yet another entirely self made video by ADCB, raising the question: How much can one person, single handedly, actually do? ADCBs’ multiple singles and releases of different genres and styles, while somehow keeping an underlined tone, make it apparent that you really can’t predict which direction this project is going.

Syracuse rock band The Alpha Fire has released the official music video for their single, “Trail of Tears.” Filmed by Wade Spencer(Imagen Records) at the abandoned Seneca Army Depot in Upstate NY, “Trail of Tears” is a third person narrative which journeys inside the mindset of a lost soul. It is a dark and brooding representation of the seriousness of the current mental health crisis in America “‘Trail of Tears’ is the debut single from the The Alpha Fire. The song itself is a representation of the struggles that we face every day, and the strength and determination that it takes to overcome them. ” – The Alpha Fire

Perth based Australian progressive metal band Nucleust have dropped a new and hard hitting video for The Symphony Of Revenge, warning – it’s pretty graphic!

This track comes from the bands debut album Terra Cerebral which was released July last year.

“The instrumental of the track was written by guitarist Max Palizban with the story in mind, and vocalist Shannon Marston and Max wrote the lyrics together that tells the story of a fictional girl who is raped and her life is affected dramatically by this awful event. Her father who is unhappy with the result of an investigation decides to take matters into his own hands resulting in the demise of the rapist only to find that his vigilante justice, although momentarily satisfying did not remove the pain from his daughter’s life. This changed all their lives forever not necessarily for the better. Some wounds will never heal.” – Nucleust

American Power Trio PRONG has announced the continuation of their ZERO DAYS TOUR with a series of West Coast dates alongside POWERFLO. After a solid year of touring with the likes of Testament, Obituary, Sepultura, and Exodus, as well as filling key slots on the European Summer Festival Circuit, the band now brings it back home to the states, including a highly coveted, co-headlining run with HELMET.

Pioneers of the alternative metal genre, PRONG have continued to re-invent themselves by challenging the status quo every step they take, as seen on their 2017 release, Zero Days.

Distilling hip-hop, heavy metal, punk, and rock into a potent sonic strain, POWERFLO lives up to its name. The vision of GRAMMY Award-nominated Cypress Hill spitter Sen Dog, downset. guitarist Rogelio “Ray” Lozano, Biohazard vocalist and guitarist Billy Graziadei and ex-Fear Factory bassist Cristian Olde Wolbers, the band draws on thie powerhouse pedigree to collectively smash boundaries with their 2017 self-titled debut.

“Prong is absolutely ecstatic about this upcoming, quick West Coast run with POWERFLO. We are very happy to announce this run of shows with these guys. It really makes a lot of sense: two hard hitting bands whose members have a great history together! It seems to me that the shows are going to be high energy and intense!” – Tommy Victor

PRONG with POWERFLO & Special Guests:

03/29 @ Club Red – Phoenix, AZ

03/30 @ Slidebar – Fullerton, CA

03/31 @ Slims – San Francisco, CA

04/02 @ The Ritz – San Jose, CA

04/03 @ Studio Seven – Seattle, WA

04/04 @ Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR

04/07 @ Backstage Bar – Las Vegas, NV

04/08 @ Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA

Director and Musician Drew Fortier has announced his latest film project, a documentary about the late Faith No More / Bad Brains / Cement / Primitive Race Chuck Mosley. The film was initially conceived as a narrative on the legendary singer and musician’s then burgeoning comeback, and Chuck originally agreed to the project through a typically irreverent voicemail.

Drew Fortier (Bang Tango, Zen From Mars) will return to a familiar spot behind the camera in 2018 to direct Thanks. And Sorry: The Chuck Mosley Movie.

While playing a handful of shows on guitar for Chuck Mosley (Faith No More, Bad Brains, Indoria, Primitive Race) in 2017, Drew and Chuck discussed the framework of a documentary about the singer/songwriter’s life and his reemergence on the scene.

“I am incredibly excited to tell Chuck’s story,” said Drew, who also directed 2015’s Attack of Life: The Bang Tango Movie, “I believe everyone will be able to get something positive out of the finished project of what will be Chuck’s film.”

Chuck passed away unexpectedly on November 9th 2017, a couple days after leaving a voicemail for Drew… in his best Bane impression.

“I’ve decided to go ahead with the video…I mean, not the video, but the documentary on this one, Chuck Mosley. He seems like a pretty expansive and explosive character. I think he would be perfect for the part of himself…”

Mosley had recently completed sixty-plus dates on his Reintroduce Yourself tour and recorded a solo record with producer Matt Wallace (Maroon Five, Deftones, The Replacements). On November 3rd 2017 his band, Primitive Race, released their sophomore effort Soul Pretender, currently rising up the NACC Radio 200 chart.

These press releases presented by TAG Publicity.
For more information go to:


Terror Trax Review: The Creptter Children

As a metal fan, particularly the darker side of rock whether it be industrial, black metal, doom, gothic or others of that ilk, I’m always open to listening to new bands. Asleep With Your Devil is the new EP from The Creptter Children and I had no idea what to expect and knew nothing of the band. At the end of my first round of listening, I went straight back and listened to it again…and again.
This is an excellent collection. There is not a duff track amongst them and three have a definite ‘earworm’ quality, namely: “Watching You”, “Asleep With Your Devil”, and “Killer”.
The singer has a voice as good as Izzy Hale of Halestorm and Sharon del Arden of Within Temptation. Musicianship and production is excellent without losing the edge I like to hear in metal. This is wonderful and I am now going straight over to Twitter to start sharing their music.
*The Creptter Children will be featured on #159 of coming in August 2018!

Stephanie Ellis can be found at and on twitter @el_Stevie.

When Stephanie is not writing reviews, she is co-editor at The Infernal Clock ( a fledgling publishing venture and is also co-editor at The Horror Tree’s Trembling With Fear online magazine ( where they’re always open for flash submissions. She has also had short stories and a novella published in a variety of horror anthologies and magazines.

Terror Trax: Sarah Black of Valentine Wolfe

Valentine Wolfe is an accomplished and talented band. The self-described Victorian Chamber Metal Duo, consisting of Sarah Black and Braxton Ballew, resides in Greenville, South Carolina. They are married, have been making music since 2006, and have accomplished much during the past eleven years. Valentine Wolfe has produced albums, played conventions, and scored Shakespeare plays. They were’s Official Theme Band for seasons 10-12 and won Season 11’s Best Band contest. This honor was awarded during the finale of Season 12.

Recently, I discussed the award and various points of interest with Sarah Black. She is a gracious lady and provided many insights into the world of Valentine Wolfe.

NTK: Hello, Sarah! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me.

SB: Sure thing!

NTK: Valentine Wolfe was the winner of Best Band for Season 11. How do you feel about this award?

SB: I am very excited and honored by it.

NTK: Did you and your husband expect this win?

SB: I did not expect it at all! But, we do both love horror. I love reading horror fiction, and I love horror movies, and my favorite TV show is Hannibal. So, maybe, this love of horror comes through in some of our music.

NTK: What kind of horror fiction influences you? Do you have a favorite author?

SB: Right now, I am really liking Neal Stephenson, although he may not be considered horror. I also really like Stephen King. I also really love Mary Shelley and I am looking forward to reading Frankenstein again soon.

NTK: Which of King’s book or stories is your favorite?

SB: I really enjoyed Salem’s Lot and also, Mr. Mercedes.

NTK: Did you enjoy the film adaptations of his books? What horror movies are your favorites?

SB: I have not seen any film adaptations of his movies but I am excited to try some. I do love the Frankenstein movies! I also love Crimson Peak. That one has great music and great costumes, and it just looks so good.

NTK: Do those films inspire your music when you compose?

SB: Absolutely! And, since next year will be the 20th Anniversary of Frankenstein, we are going to try to do something with it. We’ve done programs at schools in the past for our Edgar Allan Poe music and had great success with that, so for this year, I think we’ll try to work up a program about Mary Shelley.

Sterling School, in Greenville, has been super receptive to us coming out and playing our Poe songs for the kids during the month of October, when they study him. So, we want to have some meetings with the teachers and coordinate something about Mary Shelley.

NTK: Will you make a new album in the vein of Once Upon a Midnight, your Poe-themed CD?

SB: We want to meet with the teachers first and let them help guide the focus of the project to see what will be the best fit. But, yes, we probably will have an album similar to Once Upon a Midnight.

NTK: Do the kids show a lot of interest in your programs? Do you get a lot of questions after your performances for them?

SB: Yes! The kids love it! They are encouraged to sit still and be very polite but then Braxton will tell them that since we are playing Metal that they can get a little crazy. It’s so cute to watch!

The teachers have tried to keep the question and answer section after our performance more related to Poe questions but the kids are interested in us as musicians as well. It is so nice for us to show kids that making their own stories and playing music that they like is a viable lifestyle choice.

We performed for Sterling School’s month of “Poetober” in previous years. The school wanted to have their own little convention and we played at that as well. The kids all did their own panels and it was pretty impressive.

NTK: Speaking of conventions, have you played any lately?

SB: The last one we played was the Atlanta Steampunk Expo. It just started up this year. We had such a great time there. We performed a live and improvised score of the film Nosferatu. The next one will be Marscon.

NTK: You’ve mentioned in the past that you’d like to score a silent film. How was the scoring of Nosferatu received?

SB: Everyone said they really enjoyed it! And, we were so happy to get such a great opportunity.

We scored The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari earlier this year at a convention called Monsterama and then we also did Nosferatu at the Main Library here in Greenville, SC.

NTK: How is scoring a film different from composing an original song?

SB: It is very different for me! I have been used to writing songs out and then practicing them and then performing them. Improvising live is a bit exhilarating and terrifying! I love both experiences and I hope to be able to continue to do both in the future.

NTK: Valentine Wolfe has provided the theme song for the last three seasons of’s podcast. How did it feel to hear your song, “Broken Pieces,” as their theme song?

SB: That was so cool! I am very excited about that!

NTK: Now that your time as the main theme song is up, will you submit a new song to the Band Contest?

SB: We just might! I love that the theme is, “This Place is Cursed.” It has inspired me to start writing a song with those lyrics and if I finish the song in time, I will certainly submit it! I don’t want to take up space that could go to a different group and I wouldn’t want anyone to get sick of us, but I do love this theme so I was inspired to get writing. We’ll see what comes out of it.

NTK: Do you have any other future projects to share with our readers?

SB: We are still in the planning stages, but hopefully we will have some kind of Mary Shelley project for next year. I’m not sure yet if it will be an EP or a full-length album yet. We did an album in 2015 called “The Ghosts of Christmas Past.” I have been super excited about the idea of playing a Haunted Dickens Christmas Show or maybe doing something similar to that. So, I would also like to get more holiday music together for next year.

NTK: Sarah, I could talk to you all day. Thank you for taking the time to chat with me. Good luck on your future endeavors and congratulations on your Best Band of Season 11 win.

SB: Thank you so much.

Press Release: DreamReaper

Goosebumps Press Release placing second in a remix competition for Powercyan’s “Disciples of the Night,” synthwave artist DreamReaper decided the best use of the prize money was not new equipment or software, but rather to purchase an enormous collection of original 1996 Goosebumps trading cards.After tracking down a seller, failing to negotiate a good price, and impatiently waiting for shipping, DreamReaper is now in possession of nearly 1000 cards bearing the classic images of haunted masks, sentient dummies, possessed cameras, and even one of a dad hooked on plant fertilizer.

As the artist put it, “In today’s uncertain economy, there is no safer investment than limited edition children’s collectibles manufactured in the mid-1990s.” In addition to hoarding the cards, the Phoenix, AZ based musician has begun to include them in merchandise orders and gives them away to fans at shows. Locally, he has become known as “that fucking Goosebumps guy,” a badge he wears proudly.

Today DreamReaper surprised fans with a special new Halloween release: a remix of the iconic TV show’s opening theme.

Available as a free download, “Goosebumps Theme” is a modern electro reimagining of the original that reinvigorates the soundtrack for today’s dance floor. The artist utilizes his signature retro-influenced synthwave sound to flip this ’90s TV favorite into a club-ready electro banger.

Featuring huge distorted French electro bass, creepy piano arpeggios, gritty slap bass, and enough sound effects to open your own haunted house, fans of Justice, The Glitch Mob, and all things spooky are sure to enjoy DreamReaper’s fresh take on this classic throwback.

DreamReaper’s “Goosebumps Theme” is the Halloween banger you never knew you needed.

DreamReaper doesn’t know when enough is enough, and is currently on the lookout to grow his card collection. He encourages any readers with large caches of Goosebumps cards to contact him.

Please direct all inquiries/harassment regarding this matter to


Download Full-Res

About DreamReaper:

DreamReaper is a Phoenix, AZ based electronic musician who specializes in heavy electro inspired by ’80s horror movie synth scores. Think the Stranger Things soundtrack on steroids. He has independently released two EPs, the latest being 2017’s Astro Blaster. As a reviewer on Bandcamp put it, the EP is ”a record that you won’t be able to listen to sitting down… irresistible and unstoppable.”

While the origins of the DreamReaper sound lie within the rapidly growing synthwave/retrowave movement, specifically the “darksynth” style popularized by artists such as Perturbator and Carpenter Brut, DreamReaper enjoys taking the genre in a more modern direction and is not afraid to draw inspiration from contemporary electronic styles including French electro, glitch-hop and drum and bass, as is apparent on the 2017 Astro Blaster EP and recent singles.

DreamReaper states it’s his goal to try make his music be as heavy as possible while simultaneously as groovy as possible, an approach he has been pushing even further on material for his upcoming debut full-length, due for an early 2018 release. The careful balance between these two elements is constantly at play in his work; a track is just as likely to have an epic electro drop as it is to have a funky slap bass breakdown. His recent Goosebumps remix is a perfect example of this dynamic, and only a small sample of whats to come from this promising new artist.

DreamReaper is guaranteed to sandblast your face off with his unrelenting assault of overpowering synths.” -Raccoon via Bandcamp
…one of the most exciting new names to watch out for.” -Synthallica


Guest Blog: Gland by Hormones


Artist: Hormones

Track title: Gland

“Conventional music laws” absolutely doesn’t describe my music… It’s more like musical impressionism, instrumental, not based on melody at all, but rhythms are the interesting thing about those tracks. Rhythm, in my creation, is an ALGOrithm, which a listener need to think about and figure out. Combination of math and music. So when the listener figures out the “abstract” beats and bars, it gives him more than a satisfaction from the sound, melody, atmosphere, etc. but also a feeling like solving a mystery. Obviously, the listener would have to play the track more times so he could think about that… Algorithm instead of normal, 4/4, boring, for ages overused rhythm gives a new dimension to the music.

So I explained all the weirdness about my music and now I should be more specific about the “genre”. Instrumental, an atmospheric/abstract, dark/horror, cacophonic, low tuned sharp guitar sound (the main guitar sound is played on bass guitar with hard distortion) combined with a sweet soft guitar that makes a contrast. Dirty bass, regular drums, piano, some sythns.Sounds good when home alone, or walking in a city at night…

Bio: Karel Fošumpaur, CZE, 17 y.o. “Hormones” (one-man-band). Track “Gland” from the first self-titled album “Hormones”.

By The Fire Edpisode 142: Challenge 6: 3,000 to 5,000 word story on Horror and Music


In episode 142 of the podcast, the challenge for The Next Great Horror Writer is to write a 3,0000 to 5,000-word story that includes music, horror and musical instruments. The story will be judged on musical theme, creativeness and writing quality. The winner of this contest will get their story published in the anthology Crescendo of Darkness from publishing.

If you’re not familiar with Crescendo Of Darkness it’s going to be publishing’s 6th anthology and will be edited by Jeremiah Donaldson. You can find more about it here. This could be the hardest challenge yet for the contestants, it’s certainly the longest. First, of all, you would have to come up with an idea on how music can be scary. Could the story be about a cursed instrument? A song with backward messages causing people to go crazy? Or could it be a spirit trapped in a song? The sound of music can cause powerful emotions in people but does it scare people? Can music be dangerous?

I think a lot of times when people think of horror they don’t necessarily think of music, but think for a minute what horror films would be like without music to set the mood. Movies like Halloween and Psycho would not have had the same effect without the orchestra music in the background. What would happen if you replace the music in Suspiria with country music? It definitely would not have the same effect. Music soundtracks are only one way that we see how music can be scary, there are also quite a few stories out there about cursed musical instruments. M.R. James wrote about a cursed harp and Caitlin Kiernan had a story about a cursed violin. Music is a form of communication and it can be used to strike terror in someone’s heart.

So addicts do you have a certain song that when you hear it causes you to feel a strong emotion? Can a certain instrument cause you to have chills? I’ve always felt that music can take you to another place and time but can it create fear? Tell us in the comments if you’ve ever been scared by a song or just how you think music can be something scary.  Also if you were in this contest or submitting to the anthology what would you write about?

#NGHW Top 7 Music Horror Story Excerpts

These are the top 7 story excerpts from the Music Horror challenge.

Story #1 Cherry Blossoms and Yokai by Adele Marie Park
This is the story about a young girl, her mother, and Uncle who are all mourning the death of her grandmother. While cleaning out her house, they find a chest that belonged to her great-grandmother. In the chest is a shamisen (Japanese guitar) that calls yokai (Yōkai are a class of supernatural monsters, spirits and demons in Japanese folklore.)

This passage is from near the end. The girl has unknowingly released yokai into their house by playing the shamisen. They have called in a Japanese priest and she has told her to start playing.

“As I played the first bars a warm feeling grew inside my tummy and even mum shrieking didn’t phase me.

I glanced at her. She was staring at something behind me. I turned my head around as far as I could while still playing. There was someone behind me. Fear woke the bird as I recognised the kimono Great grandmother Shiori wore. I felt a light touch on my shoulder.

“Play.” I heard her voice but inside my head.

I kept going as two mouth came in with her hands outstretched as if she had no control over her movements. She wailed as she was sucked into the shamisen.

The floor under me started to rumble. I felt the movement travel through my body.

Loud bangs came from upstairs followed by screams that made me play a wrong note.

“Strength,” great grandmother, Shiori said.

An almighty racket shook everything that wasn’t nailed down. It sounded as if a giant ran down the stairs.

Onibaba flew into the room. God she was ugly. Her knife dripped red onto the carpet as she glanced around her. Opening her mouth I could see rows of sharp teeth and remembered that she could kill us.”

Story #2: Scordatura by Jess Landry
Which is a certain way of tuning a stringed instrument. The daughter of a famous cellist practices for an upcoming concert under the heavy hand of her famous mother. Unable to play the cello because of an illness, the famous cellist forces her dream on her daughter who practices dutifully despite her mother’s abuse. When the daughter realizes she wields power over others with her musical gifts, revenge is finally hers.

Odette starts the morning with Bach’s Cello Suite No.1 in G major.

The cold cello strings fit snuggly into the self-made grooves of her fingers like a second home. Down-bow, up-bow, she lets her elbow guide the stroke, the music spill from her like a river of her blood pouring from an open wound. She wonders how that would feel, the blood gushing from her body, out of her shell and pooling at her feet. Would it seep through the herringbone floor? Would it collect in the unused space between her room and the room below, her mother’s study? Would it pool and pool and press down on the intricate fleur de lis-patterned ceiling until it broke through the plaster and onto her mother, covering her in a sea of red?

She’s playing faster now, an eighth above tempo. Her brain tells her to slow but her hands refuse to listen. The cat across the way lays on his open perch, the man sipping his drink and reading the paper one floor above him. Odette longs to be that cat, to be free and lazy, to watch the world without a purpose.

Three quick taps sound from the room below–a stick to the floorboards–a first warning to keep tempo.”

Story #3 Audio Addict by Daphne Strasert

In a world where music is as illegal as heroin and just as deadly addictive, Cadence and Lorelei share music hits in the privacy of Cadence’s family hunting lodge. After paying for hits for months, Lorelei share a secret with Cadence – she can sing. Cadence and Lorelei spend lovely nights together as they binge on Lorelei’s gift, but when she decides she wants to stop, Cadence can’t control her addiction.

“Cadence wasn’t a square, but she’d attended freshman health class just like everyone else. She’d had the dangers of experimenting with music burned into her brain along with the grainy photos of ear infections. Poetry was okay, as long as no one drove under the influence. Even her parents kept a little Tennyson in the locked cabinet by their bed that they thought Cadence didn’t know about. Rap was a greyer area. Audioheads in Colorado were always going on about helping soldiers with PTSD and legalization, but that was a long way from any sort of federal recognition. Cadence’s parents would flip if they knew she’d listened to a small hit to unwind after last semester’s finals.

Lorelei always brought the hits. Everyone knew someone who knew someone who sold rap, but music was harder to come by. She said her brother got them from a DJ in the Shallows and Cadence was glad for it. She didn’t want to go to the huddled ruin of buildings where the shadows never fully receded and the sounds of sirens were always a few blocks away. It was a place that existed across America, simultaneously unique yet exactly the same in every city. And it was never somewhere good girls wanted to be after dark. Of course, a good girl wouldn’t be plugged into a guitar hit—sharing headphones and everything—in the middle of the afternoon.”

Story #4 Requiem in Frost by Jonathan Fortin

A girl and her mom move into a haunted house once owned by a heavy metal musician. When strange things start happening, the girl investigates to find out of it is the ghost of the deceased head banger or if the murderer has come back to finish them off.

This is from when the girl first sees the ghost

“When I opened my eyes, it was still dark—probably after midnight, as before. But this time, when I took off my headphones, I didn’t hear screaming. I did, however, feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

            There was someone in the room with me.

            He was tall, but barely visible. I only saw him at all because moonlight reflected off of the shiny red liquid coating his body. He wore spiked pauldrons and gauntlets, and his hair was long and ragged. His face was a ghoulish mess of scars, facial hair, skeletal makeup, and open bleeding wounds.

            He was dripping all over the floor. Drippiest of all was the huge ax in his hand. I worried suddenly where all that blood had come from—if this was just how he looked, or if he’d just butchered someone. Mom…was Mom all right?

            Only then did it dawn on me that the ghost could harm me. Perhaps it should have been obvious, but I’d never felt threatened until that moment. I felt paralyzed in bed, fearing he would kill me, that he’d killed my mom.

            He walked closer to the bed, his huge ax dripping a red river across my bedroom floor. All too quickly he was right beside me, raising that ax high.”

Story #5 Audition by Naching T. Kassa

Jim auditions for a place with the band and will do anything to get the spot, but when they send him to a mysterious address to be tested, he has second thoughts. A lesson with a blues legend is the least of his worries as he finds himself trapped, with only one way out. Will the cost for freedom be too high?

“An hour later, having left the theater, Jim found himself blinded by California sunshine. The dirt road crunched under his tires and trees whooshed by as he sped along. These sounds, along with the hum of the Mustang’s engine, were the soundtrack to his thoughts.

Where had Langham sent him? And to who? He shouldn’t have ended with the blues rift. If he’d gone with a more traditional coda, he might’ve passed the audition. Now, he was out in the sticks on a wild goose chase.

An old fashioned wrought iron gate suddenly rose ahead of him. It stood dark and skeletal against the pink sky. Jim slowed. Brass numbers were fixed to the bars and they matched the address he’d been given. He parked, pulled his phone from his pocket, and dialed.

Langham answered on the second ring.

“There must be some mistake,” Jim said. “Nobody lives here.”

“There are people there,” Langham answered.

“Yeah, they’re six-feet under. It’s a cemetery.””

Story 6: The Agent by Harry Husbands

A mediocre rock band performs, waiting for the appearance of “the Agent” of unknown origin. When he appears, he offers the band a sort of “deal with the devil” proposal they can’t refuse.

The bed looked welcoming and I walked forward, ready to collapse, when I saw him and back pedalled, holding a hand to my mouth.

            “Don’t,” the agent said. His voice belied his appearance, a high-pitched shrill with rising Texan accent. I backed myself into the corner beside the door. I tried to scream but the air had left my lungs, instead I writhed around, gasping and reaching for the handle. “Don’t,” he repeated.

            He came into view, blocking out the light. His coat hung about his person like a carcass and the fur seemed to move in waves with an absent breeze. His black Stetson was old and rugged; from my seat, I could see two eyes like a shark’s beneath it, as devoid of colour and life as his attire. His skin was dirty white and leathery in appearance, stretched out over his enormous body. I stared up. Fear gripped me to the spot.

            The agent began floating toward me, coming within a foot of my cowering form. A bead of sweat dripped from the end of my nose as my whole body shook. He bent down to my face. A thick, suffocating aroma of coal smoke emanated from his person.’

Story #7 The Lament of the Piano Man by AE Kirk
A homeless man breaks into the local Haunted House to take refuge, but when he hears piano music coming from an upper room, he realizes he might not be alone.

“‘In here.’ The voice came from within a nearby room. With the floorboards threatening to fracture beneath his weight, Bert went across the landing and entered the first room on the left. He gasped in awe. It was as though he had gone back in time. The room was completely untouched from damp and decay, every the old olive coloured wallpaper was still intact. The furniture was free from dust, the carpets were in pristine condition, and a gigantic shiny grand piano sat in the middle of the room, like a crown jewel.

‘Such an amazing room,’ Bert whispered to himself. The unnamed pasty man, who was standing lovingly by the piano, nodded.

‘This is the music room.’ He gestured around him, and Bert stole a glance at the walls.

They were adorned in old framed certificates and achievements of musical accomplishments. From grades in piano to degrees in music, and clippings from news articles about playing at the opera. They all mentioned the same name, Matthew Day. Bert was truly astonished.

‘Everything downstairs is nothing compared to this. It’s all rotting and full of mould.’

The man frowned. ‘I plan to rectify that… when I have enough help from the locals.’

Bert snapped his fingers. ‘The local boys! I heard they come in… Do they help you?’

The man smiled, though it didn’t reach his eyes. ‘Oh, they help alright. But one at a time and they only come at night. You are here during the day, that’s most peculiar.’”


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on