Dark Souls Remaster

When I first purchased Dark Souls, it was because I wanted to play a medieval-flavored game.  I had played Word of Warcraft a bit TOO much, and I had a disappointing run with Elder Scrolls.

My frustration mounted due to the difficulty level.  The game came with no manual, which added to my distress.  It didn’t take long for the game to become impossible, and my rage built to the point where I threw my controller into a wall.

Why make a game that is impossible?

As I seethed, the rational part of me wondered if this game were designed as a rebellion against the button-mashing games like World of Warcraft.  I searched on the Internet, and I discovered a game community that offered help.

The walkthrough videos, like Ghey for Games  were a much-enjoyed crutch.  The game was challenging, and the difficulty made the seemingly-impossible victories so intense that I actually jumped out of my seat and roared.

Dark Souls
Dark Souls

When I heard about a remaster, I was excited.  I was going to buy it even if it were the exact same game simply because my PS3 is rarely used in favor of the PS4.

As it turns out, it is identical to the original in many respects.  Some of the game mechanics seem improved, but I did not conduct an actual test to determine that.  It could be an illusion.

The look of the game is noticeably enhanced in some areas, and that means a lot because the original was rather nice to behold.

I have been unable to tear myself away from the game.  I had played the original a million times, so the new character I made went down a path that I never tried before, and it was exhilarating.

One gripe is that there are only two ring slots instead of four.

The online improvements don’t really matter to me, but they are noticeable.

Ultimately, I am happy with my purchase, and yes, I bought it for the full price.

In the middle part of my playing past,  I sought videos of the masters, like this guy, but I started to enjoy the casual gameplay vids of this girl and this girl.

If you are new to this game series, I urge you to get the aforementioned walkthrough paused on your computer so that when you suffer a heart attack, you can then see what had escaped you.

It’s a new way to play.  Every part of the game is to be taken seriously until you become a master and know the tricks.  Until then, you will not dismiss any foes as you would in other games.

I have a warning.  The combat system will make you hate the mechanics of other games, like the Morrowind series.  I liken it to Budweiser.  Yes, when you were younger, that was beer.  But when you discovered higher quality, you still drank Bud if nothing else were offered, but you thought about how much better it would be to hold something different in your hand.  (insert my penis in that line to make that into the joke that surely you were thinking).

DEINONYCHUS – Ode To Act Of Murder, Dystopia, And Suicide (My Kingdom)

“Dead Horse” is the first track that you should hear because it shows the qualities of the vocals that make the albums must-have parts of any metal collection.

Surely the torture in the voice and the raw emotion will make a fan of you.   Let that song ride.  You will become transformed.

I first became addicted to the music when I heard the album “Baalam Wore Black” and have rejoiced in despair with every new album.  I had feared the band’s death, but something this intense cannot be killed.

Deinonychus satisfies the argument of substance versus skill.  What I mean is that there are doom-ish albums that flaunt musicianship, but a Deinonychus album is focused on emotion – raw and cruel.

Ride that anguished voice into the theatre of the mind.  Cut your ears and submerge your hearing in blood.  These are wounds, not songs.  Learn what it is to bleed words.

DEINONYCHUS - Ode To Act Of Murder, Dystopia, And Suicide (My Kingdom)
cc DEINONYCHUS – Ode To Act Of Murder, Dystopia, And Suicide (My Kingdom)

Hornwood Fell – My Body, My Time

You should start your journey with the second track “Her Name” which has vocals that remind me of a spirit being summoned to speak warnings, or of a mystic uttering in trance.  Without further delay, let me list a stream of it for you.

At times, I am reminded of experimental Voivod, which is quite pleasing.  This is my first venture into Hornwood Fell, but I am impressed enough to seek out their earlier albums.  I had to enlist a friend to obtain this one directly from the label because no merchant near me had any information for getting it into the stores, and the Internet options were bare.  I am sure that this has been corrected since those days. I had a promotional version and wanted to show my support with an actual purchase, as I do with every band that has made music that affected me.

SOLEFALD – Norrønasongen Kosmopolis (Indie Music)

I skimmed the E.P. but kept going back to the second track, which I will provide as a stream shortly.  The female vocals have an interesting flat quality. The rest of the album does NOT sound like this,.  I don’t know what it is about the song, but I just cannot get it out of my head.  Maybe I am just growing too odd for my own good.

Here it is:

Three songs sound very folk-ish, but one returns to an odd sort of industrial-sounding flavor.  I like the risks that the band takes,  Listening provides surprises.

SOLEFALD - Norrønasongen_Kosmopolis
SOLEFALD – Norrønasongen_Kosmopolis

THE_KONSORTIUM – Rogaland (Agonia)

The music is a tad black-metal flavored, but it’s a hybrid.  It sometimes reminds me of the “Mother North”type of Satyricon, but the music changes before that taste is fully realized.

The vocals are not really black metalish, but there is something about the band that can’t escape the genre entirely.

The considerate people ate Agonia Records have provided a nice stream for you to enjoy before you purchase.

THE_KONSORTIUM - Rogaland (Agonia)
THE_KONSORTIUM – Rogaland (Agonia)

Islaja – Tarrantulla (Svart)

This is is a very odd album.  Np two songs are alike, but each one will make you question whether it is creative or the product of someone who is mentally ill, which of course makes it a mandatory purchase.

The woman’s voice wanders many realms. The non-English songs should be language commercials because the enunciation is riveting.

I can spend more time describing the  album but I would like, instead, to simply state that you should buy it.  Support creative work, even if you may not resonate with it.

I include some videos, but bear in mind that each song is different, and deliciously bizarre.

Dead City Ruins – Never Say Die (AFM Records)

Sometimes it is appropriate to hear warm distortion in upbeat songs.  This album, however, sometimes goes too far into the land of the lowest common denominator.  Years ago, some of it would be considered poser-ish, but in the present era, some of the guitar fuzz is welcome.

The retro vibe in some parts doesn’t seem contrived, but it helps to de-poser-ize some of the riffs,  I’d say that the songs are best in small doses, like one song in a mixed batch of other bands, perhaps as a palate cleanser, restoring the ear to accept other styles.

The lyrics seem to be in the same radio-friendly vein.

Perhaps the best thing to do is to link a video.

Dead City Ruins - Never Say Die
Dead City Ruins – Never Say Die

Void of Silence – The Sky Over (Avantegarde Music)

This album features a new vocalist who stays mostly in the clean range, but style fits perfectly.  There is actually a bit more emotion in this particular delivery, almost like someone telling you of a loved one’s death.

Void of Silence has crafted a unique style of doom,  Lots of chugging and plodding riffs, making the sadness heavy, but there are atmospheric breaks within the songs, and something dark always lurks in the background.

This album is a welcome descent into melancholy.   If you have not heard the band before then this album is a good start, and after you get addicted to this sound, you can venture into the more frightening offerings, like “Toward the Dusk

Void of Silence - The Sky Over
Void of Silence – The Sky Over


Malevolent Creation Interview #3

This was my last interview with Phil Fasciana.  It was printed in Issue #33.  

Due to the present climate being massively gay and full of pussies, I need to explain some things about what you are about to read.  

When I first interviewed Phil, his record label publicist told me that there was some backlash to one of the songs on the album having the word “nigger” in the lyrics.    

The interview proved to be hilarious.  Phil seemed like a cool person with a great sense of humor.  But when I interviewed him the second time, he seemed almost shell-shocked by the very UN-metal attitude of some people who decided to be gay about the interview rather than having a laugh.  Anger is a choice.  Smart people don’t get offended.

Shortly after this interview was posted, the twat publicist at the record label called to demand that the interview be taken down.  Then came a message on my answering machine from Phil that the record label was going to drop the band.  I assured both that I had been using racial humor forever and that only screwballs or brainwashed people  get bent out of shape about a joke, or about an unpopular opinion.  Metal isn’t  a culture that aims at  impressing with fakery.  

Skipping ahead years later, Malevolent Creation was set to go on an American tour.  Some fake-metal website found one of the Grimoire interviews with Phil and completely took it out of context.  It is unclear if that caused venues to cancel show dates, but the band did eventually cancel the entire tour.  I would hate to think that this was due to some faggots on a non-metal website fear-mongering.  

Hopefully you, gentle reader, will read this interview in the right spirit and have a few hard laughs.

Phil Faciana
Phil Faciana

Your latest album, which is called “The Ten Commandments” is awesome.

The latest album is NOT called “The Ten Commandments.”


Your latest album, which is called “The Ten Commandments” is awesome.
The latest album is NOT called “The Ten Commandments.”

What’s it called?
It’s called “Doomstay X,” nigger.

Does it sound something like “The Ten Commandments?”
It kinda does. It’s got the same four guys that wrote the album, so there’s definitely a similarity to it, other than Dave on drums. There’s a little bit of a connection.

I’m kind of mad that you called me a nigger.
Well, you ARE a nigger.

I heard that you call white people niggers. I didn’t believe it until I experienced it.
I call everybody a nigger. The guys in the band don’t even call me Phil. They call me “nigger.” (laughs) Let’s just keep that to ourselves.

That word got you into trouble. Do you remember?
I know. I remember the magazine with the swastikas. (editor’s note – he referenced the first interview – my page numbers were inside inverted crosses, but for his interview, I put them inside swastikas as a joke.)

What did you think about that?
At first I thought it was funny, until I went on tour and people were trying to kill me. When beer bottles are whipping past my head and our bus tires are slashed, I’m like, “This is not cool.”

That’s nothing new. I’m talking about the other kind of trouble you got into.
Oh dude, the bottom line is that I agreed to do this interview. You know me, and I know you. You know I hate niggers. You know that’s the way the band is, But you know we got a lot of nigger fans. We can’t get away with being racists. You know what I mean? We’re just a death metal band. Even when we do make some racial slurs, we keep them pretty hidden. (laughs). But you know dude, I don’t want people thinking fucked up shit. Believe it or not, the people who give us shit about being racist are white! It’s embarrassing when black people come to our shows and say, “You guys are my favorite band, and I know that that’s bullshit’ (referring to the racist stamp by imbeciles). I don’t dislike black people. I’ve got a lot of black friends, but they’re not niggers. There’s niggers, and then there’s black people. You live, what, in New Jersey? You see the same thing. I’m sure you have friends that are black who are cool, and then there’s the part of town that’s all black that you would never tread.

Especially when saying “nigger.”
We stopped being stupid. We thought that we could get away with it for a little bit, but it didn’t work.

When people say that they are into Odinism, that’s really just a nice way to say “white power.” So I’m wondering which words in your lyrics actually mean “nigger” for those of us who want to be in the know.
Dude, we’re not from Scandinavia, so I don’t know.

How about Onanism?
If you listen to the lyrics of any of our last record, there’s really no racist slurs on any of them. We save that for Hateplow. We’re just trying to be a realistic death metal band. There’s a lot of things to sing about other than hating niggers.

Did you beat up Tiny Tim yet? The bass player?
I leave that to Jason. He likes to beat people up. While we were on the tour with Rotting Christ, he beat up their sound man. The guy was giving him shit about being American.

He called Jason an African American?
He said, “If you say one more thing about America, I am going to kill you.”

There is a vocalist in a death metal band. Well, I don’t consider it a death metal band, but you called the vocalist a nigger. Did you guys get into fight?

Chris Barnes.
(laughs) Me and him have been friends since we were fourteen years old. He calls me a nigger. I call him a nigger. It’s just us being stupid. I don’t consider Chris a nigger.

What about his dreadlocks?
When he calls me up and I see that it’s him on the phone, I say, “What’s up, darkness.”

Does he sing, “Darkness, my old friend?”
(laughs) Chris is from Buffalo, so he thinks the same way we do. Like I said, I agreed to do this interview. I don’t want you to start no trouble with us. You wouldn’t believe the problems we’ve had over the years with this racism shit. We just want to avoid all that crap, dude.

OK, let’s change the subject a little bit. How many niggers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
It would probably take a hundred of them to set up a ladder and get up to a light bulb and screw it in. (pause) You’re trying to get me in trouble.

No. I’m trying to show that we can laugh.
Well listen, I know enough dumb white people. But let’s be real. I’m not a lover of black people. You know that. I know that. Many people know that, but we don’t need everybody in the world to know that.

Just to clarify, is there now, or has there ever been, a nigger in the band?
Never (laughs) There’s been many attempts. The drummer from Diabolic.

And he knows about your…
Of course. Every time he hears that there’s a drumming issue with our band, he’s like, “Dude man, I can’t believe you never called me. I’m the man for the job.” In all reality, it wouldn’t matter if you’re the best drummer in the world. We’d never have a nigger in the band.

Did you use the N word?

Some people don’t think that you use that word in front of actual niggers.
I do it. They say it in front of me. It’s not a bad word anymore. It’s not even black people that get offended. I’m Italian. When people crack Italian jokes, I don’t get offended. I fuckin’ laugh about it.

Are you sure you’re Italian? Or are you Jewish and just saying that you’re Italian?
My mother’s from Sicily, and my father’s from Florence, Italy. I’m 100% Italian.

You don’t look or act like a Guido.
People hear that my mother’s from Sicily and they say, “You know, you may have a little nigger in you.” I don’t think I have any nigger in me. I am pretty white.

What has life been like, after the change of not using the word nigger” anymore in your lyrics?
Nothing. The lyrics are still the fuckin’ same. They’re brutal. Off the record – you don’t need to print this – Hateplow was the band that was supposed to be like that. We wanted to be racist against everything. We wanted to be racist against ourselves and everybody else. But too many people knew who was in the band. Malevolent is a death metal band. Being racist does us no good. I just want to be musician. I’m not out there to be a dickhead.

Do you think that it would be better if you didn’t tour with black bands?
No, because I’ve toured with a lot of bands that have black people in them. I have no problem with that.

Well, maybe that’s why you get your tires slashed. You should play with bands like Screwdriver.
I never even heard of that band,

I heard that they’re pretty similar. I’m not saying that they rip you off. Anyway, what does the name “Corpsegrinder” mean to you?
He’s my buddy, man! I love the guy. I’ve known George since he was in Monstrosity. He’s one of the very few people I know who’s a real metal fan. He’s a real metalhead. He listens to metal 24/7. He’s more metalhead than I am. If it weren’t for him, Cannibal Corpse would be shit. He’s a good guy.

Did you ever call him any sort of racial slur? Did you ever call him nigger, or Jew?
I’ve called George many names. (laughs).

You know that I play around with racial humor myself.
I do too, but I don’t like it printed in magazines. It gives people the wrong impression. Like, with a friend of mine – that’s funny. I can crack nigger jokes all day long. But if you’re in a band and say shit like that, it affects things.

But what I’m saying is that I go to horror conventions to sell my movies. I don’t hide. I’m out in public. Every once in a while, a black person will come up to me and ask me if I am Bill Zebub, and I sometimes wonder what will happen next, but it has always been a fan. Sometimes they joke and say, “Are you surprised?”
How o you think I feel? When I’m on stage and there’s a black guy in the front row, I don’t know if this guy is going to throw a knife at me or hop on stage and kill me. That’s why I agreed to do this interview with you – knowing that I wouldn’t be asked insane fuckin’ questions. (laughs) Dude, you’re just like me. I’m into the same humor. But the scary thing is that when you go on tour, you’re a target. I’ve had people threaten my life. All because of this racist shit. it’s really not worth it to me.

Do you belong to any racist organizations?
(laughs) No. I mean, dude, if you want to be realistic, considering that I’m half Sicilian, I am not completely Caucasian. If they wanted to dig back to my roots, I don’t know what KKK people consider to be the right thing. Jason is 100% Polish. Brett is 100% German. John is Jewish. Dave is Scottish. I don’t know what that means to anybody.

It means that you’ve been infiltrated. (pause) Do you still play golf?
Well, I have lately, but I’ve been sucking so bad that I’ve been practicing guitar more than I’ve been golfing.

How do you feel about black people playing golf? Should they play with black golf balls?
(laughs) Here we go. Let’s put it this way, the best golfer in the world is Tiger Woods. I don’t really see many black people golfing when I go golfing.

Would you see more if golf balls had value and they could steal them?
Anybody can golf. Look at me. I’m covered in tattoos and I’ve got long hair, and I’m a good golfer. It shocks people because when they see a guy like me, they think I’m gonna destroy the golf course. I’ll play anybody who would want to challenge me for money.

Getting back to Tiger, don’t you think that a better nickname for him would be “Gorilla” or “Monkey?”
Or Jigaboo. But the bottom line is that the guy reigns.

Are there any rap songs on the new album?
You’re kidding me, right?

Just curious. People in their later albums sometimes do strange things.
We wouldn’t even know how to do something like that.

What about your dance re-mixes?
That was done behind our backs. The guy who actually mixed the album was recording a lot of rap. That’s how the whole thing started. The studio was in the middle of niggertown. When we were recording the album “Eternal” we would look out the window and there were niggers sitting out there making drug deals. We couldn’t even go outside to have a cigarette without worrying about getting mugged. That whole thing took on an entirely new dimension because of where we recorded that album. But, he’s a producer that was not just doing only metal bands but rap bands and shit. One day, in his spare time, he just dissected some of our songs and turned them into some gay shit. And being as gay as they were, our record label Pavement, and Mark that owes us a million dollars that we’re gonna murder, and you can print that, he thought that this kind of shit would help him sell records. Without our consent he did this. Unfortunately, when you’re signed to a record label, you’re kind of fucked. Malevelont’s not even done a video.

Is that because you’re shy?
We have ten fuckin’ albums and not one video. We have three “best of” albums. There’s one on Roadrunner, one on Pavement, and one on Crash. For a band to not even have a hit single to have three fuckin’ “best of” albums is ridiculous. It’s embarrassing. Record labels can do whatever the fuck they want to with our songs. It kind of sucks.

Which is your prettiest album?
Prettiest? I don’t think we have a pretty album cover. Maybe the tamest is Stillborn. That’s one album we’re not really fond of. We play some of them songs the way they should be sounding when we tour. If Nuclear Blast would’ve given us more money, we would’ve re-recorded that whole album. We were gonna put that as a bonus CD on the new album, but unfortunately they don’t think we’re as good as Nile. The funny thing is that our new album was released on the same day as theirs., and our album went to #3 on Hard Radio and everything else, and it’s been outselling their record. That’s (Stillborn) one album where we liked the songs, but the drumming was bunk. Brett was in a bad state of mind at the time, and the whole band was a wreck, but the songs are good songs. We want to re-record that whole album and let people hear those songs the way they should sound. Eventually we’re gonna do it even if we have to pay for it out of our pockets. Our band was going through some turmoil and our record label was pressuring us to do a record immediately, and they sent us to a studio with a producer who has halitosis. It fuckin’ sucked.

What is the fate of The Ten Commandments? Is that a dead album? Do you have the rights back?
We would love to have the rights back. They keep re-releasing it in different formats all over the world, except America. I wish they would re-release the first three albums in America instead of putting out that “Best of” piece of shit. We tried to buy the rights back, but they wanted a ridiculous amount of money. It was just fuckin’ stupid.

Don’t you get your rights back after ten years? What kind of crazy contract did you sign?
The thing is, usually after ten years, the record label lets the band do whatever they want with it. We tried to do this with them and they won’t do it!

Do you play video games?
No. The only video game that I play is that golf video game that my brother has in his bar. That’s about it. I have no time for video games.

Would you tour Africa?
Of course. We’ve actually had offers to do South Africa. We didn’t do it because the money was kinda not really worth it. But for this new album there’s been such a big buzz about it that we’re gonna tour a lot of places we haven’t. We’re gonna tour pretty much every place we can be booked until one of us drops dead.

Do you think the album would sell better if there were more pictures of you shirtless?
(laughs) I doubt it. We’re not the Back Street Boys.

How about the Back Door Boys?
Call us the Crack Street Boys. We are definitely not five guys who go to the gym.

Have you heard that there are some cities that are trying to ban the word “nigger?”

I don’t know if it’s true, but I heard that New York has either passed that law or they are trying to get it passed.
I hear it more now than I have ever heard it in my life. To me, it’s just irony. I laugh about it. I mean, do you get offended if somebody calls you a cracker?

I found out what a cracker is. It’s someone who cracks corn. Jimmy was a cracker who cracked corn, and I don’t care. You don’t play that song with the word “nigger” in it live, right?
No, but I ain’t gonna tell you that we’re not bringing it back?

Do you ever play it live?
Well, lately it’s been in such high demand. (laughs) We’ve been debating it. Musically, the song is a ripper. It’s very fast. It’s very intense. It’s been twelve years now and we don’t five a fuck anymore. I wouldn’t say that, on the next tour that I wouldn’t be surprised if you hear it. A good song is a good song. A lot of our lyrics are a lot worse than that.

Would you play it in New York if they ban the word?
We’d play it anywhere. If they arrested us for playing that song, it would only help us sell records. If people can’t get over that stupid shit, they’re idiots. How many fuckin’ albums are out there that talk about white people? There’s one song that we have that has the word “nigger” in it. If, after twelve years. that bothers people, then don’t buy our records. Don’t come to our shows. It’s kind of sad.

I know how you can keep your bus tires from being slashed.
Yeah? Tell me.

You can put a sign on each tire that says “This tire was made by a tar baby.”
I would like to do that, Mr. Bill Zebub., but I don’t think it would go over very well.

I am just trying to help.
We’ve never had a black person say something to us. It’s only white people who call us Nazis. I’ll tell you what. Out of spite, we are going to put that song back on our set list.

What’s your favorite region in America to play?
America is trendy. It’s kind of gay. A million miles away from where we live, we can make more money, sell more records, and be appreciated. I’m not saying that America totally sucks, but it’s a shame that America is trendy. Whatever they see on TV or hear on the radio, that’s what they buy. But in Europe, and a lot of other countries, they’re not a bunch of sell-outs. They don’t listen to gay bands. They like metal. In America, they play gay music 24/7, and that’s what kids get into. It’s sad. Have you heard the new album?

Then you’re gay.