TRACK PREMIERE & INTERVIEW: ‘Bandages Over Boards’ by The Projectionist

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How often are you fully invested in art whilst experiencing it? I don’t mean merely liking something – I mean having every iota of your attention immovably locked on to whatever it is you’re seeing or listening to, gripped by it. It’s something that’s unfortunately not common enough, as most art seems satisfied to be mere background noise or passive entertainment… which is where Canada’s The Projectionist then comes in, the very antithesis of those simplistic ambitions.

Led by the inimitable Lörd Matzigkeitus (The Black Sorcery, Thy Sepuchral Moon, many more), he and his extended horde of fellow cacodemons Parageist, Destroyer, Malphas and Orpheus aren’t content with the mundane, and instead have crafted a viciously engaging and conceptually dazzling black metal opera that veritably demands your attention. Entitled Visits From The NightHag and split over two parts – the first dropped on All Hallows Eve last year whilst Part 2 is currently bearing down on us at pace ahead of its June 28th unveiling through Appalachian Noise Records – it tells the tale of George, the Projectionist of Todendorf, and his tumultuous encounters with the titular NightHag. It’s a challenging, intensely personal and utterly entrancing piece of art, and we here at BMD are proud to present you an exclusive listen to the second last act of the forthcoming Part 2 – the ripping ‘Bandages Over Boards’.

A dynamic journey of a track, it has some undeniably killer riffs holding it together as it careens along wildly, through varying emotions that manifest at the end of this sprawling tale – but I don’t want to say too much about it, as in another incredible stroke of good fortune we have the Lörd himself here to unravel some of the mysteries behind this macabre and affecting work and he’s one of the most eloquent and forthcoming guests to ever grace these stained pages. So settle in, listen above, read on below… and give yourself over to the compelling tale of The Projectionist.

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Greetings, Lörd Matzigkeitus! Sincerest thanks for speaking with us today, I hope you are well.

LM: Good evening. My pleasure…

Part Two of your Visits from the NightHag series is being unleashed very soon, less than a year after the captivating Part One. So, let’s get it straight from the creator: what’s happening in the NightHag universe? Where do we pick up with our protagonist George this time?

LM: After suffering a wildly invasive surgery to save his life from unexplainable necrosis of the legs, George comes back to consciousness half a man, and begins to spin a phantasmagorical tale to the attending Doctor Bendix. The baffled physician tries to piece together the events leading up to George’s current state. What he hears, will shatter his psyche and move the poor Doctor on a most foul trajectory… (but that is another story altogether)

For those unfamiliar with your inspirations and personal connection to the story being told – could you tell us a little about the genesis of the NightHag series, and why it exists?

LM: The NightHag story began as a simple conversation about sleep paralysis that Demoniarch and I had at his home over drinks. He mentioned at the time that every civilization on the planet had a version of it… a witch that came at night, sat upon your torso and held you down with impossible fright. Europeans called it the hag, the old hag or the Night Hag.

It stuck in my craw. I couldn’t shake the idea of it for weeks. My grandfather, George Howard, was in life a projectionist in Todendorf, Germany (yes, the band is named for him) and died in my arms due to complications from having his legs removed. It was the single most devastating moment in my life.

I began to come up with an odd idea of marrying the two notions; what if the NightHag came to him and was the reason his legs had to be amputated? (They were gangrenous due to diabetes in truth)

Fleshing this out caused me great pain, I openly wept during the writing of certain passages…but all great art is meant to be felt in full.

Why does it exist? I’ve pondered on that recently… have you ever loved a dead person so much that you’d create an entire world for them to live in, just to spend time with them?

That’s why.

You’ve been doing something quite intriguing in the lead up to the album’s release, in the form of weekly video shorts wherein you reveal a snippet of a particular track and yourself reveal more of the tale in devilish oration. What was the thought behind these short episodic teasers?

LM: I want to perpetrate the notion that the band are acting as projectionists; that we are unfolding a film for a darkened, captive audience. I mean for this band to supersede what Black Metal is, and take it where it hasn’t or shouldn’t go.

The films are like the movie-serials from long ago in cinematic history. They are there to stir curiosity and drive home the point that these albums, though uncompromisingly Black Metal, are in fact, operas and you are being told a story… something that seemed lost on many when Visits from the NightHag: Part 1 came out.

Following on from that, partially because watching those video shorts made me imagine a Visits from the NightHag television series – I feel NightHag would work quite well told via different media, as it’s an incredibly visual story. Either a series, book or a graphic novel perhaps would be incredible. Are you toying with the idea of anything like this for the future?

LM: I absolutely am. After having completed the 7th operetta and concluding the full saga roughly two months ago, I recently began writing VFTNH as a novel. This would likely evolve into a series of novels given the fact that VFTNH is only the first story in the complete arc. (The operetta for NightHag has already been published in my second book: Chapel of Astaroth)

If I were to have such lofty goals, I’d say that elucidating the story in prose will help me shop it around as a film/series script, and just as Stallone insisted on portraying Rocky, I’d insist on the features being soundtracked by The Projectionist…

Given that it’s such a personal creation that’s clearly close to your heart, I’m curious as to the compositional process involved – how much creative control do you take over the music? Do you write the lyrics and then trust the others to write a suitable ‘score’ to the tale, as such?

LM: As with all music I’m a part of, always the writing comes first. I am perpetually writing, averaging 130-150 pieces per year. In the case of NightHag, it was actually written two years before any music was conceived.

Parageist and I have a very symbiotic musical relationship. Every album we make together, we have a pre-emptive conversation where I outline what I’m hoping to hear, what the rough tone should be and length of songs/level of ambience. Then he plays whatever he wishes from that. I don’t lord over him telling him which notes to play.

Some of my other projects are a bit more “democratic”, but with The Projectionist, and these operas, I have a clear vision of what the overall album should sound like. Mainly that the music needs to follow the level of urgency in the plot line.

On NightHag and it’s follow-up The Stench of Amalthia, Parageist submitted the amount of songs I requested based on the number of Acts I’d written and I arranged them in the order that flowed best with the plot. For the third album in the arc, I want to try a new take on writing and have Ghast and Parageist write the guitars to the operetta itself, drawing inspiration from the events therein.

Whilst your vocal attack is one of the most varied in extreme metal, not every voice on the album is yours: Caesar Tiberius and Aven Haunts also reprise their roles as Dr. Bendix and The NightHag / Nurse respectively. What has it been like working with them? I believe there will be quite a few installments of the NightHag series, are they both in it for the long haul?

LM: Technically, the entirety of VFTNH was recorded as one body of work, however, when complete, it clocked in at 84 minutes in length. So the decision was made to split the album up in two parts. The sixth opera is actually 16 Acts and may end up getting the same treatment, but we shall see…

Regardless, yes, I can perform virtually any style of extreme metal vocal one can conjure, but I felt an entire album of me talking to myself would come off as very confusing. One thing I cannot do is sound like a female. So I enlisted longtime friends Aven Haunts and Caesar Tiberius to add additional texture and dynamic to the delivery. Aven has a very eloquent and Victorian quality to her voice that I really thought captured the essence of the NightHag and she can manipulate her voice to sound innocent and sweet (which is NOT her nature at all hahaha). And that glorious witchy cackle of hers? Some of my favorite sections of the opus. I did perform a Nattramn-like shriek as a backing vocal to her NightHag. That will be a constant as the character evolves over time.

Caesar has a coarse, articulate voice that I think brings a good depth to the Dr. Bendix character. He has a way of delivering a flippancy that I hadn’t anticipated when writing the Doctor’s dialog. It especially shines through on The Stench of Amalthia, which you’ll have to wait until next year for, although it is near complete as of this interview.

Both are loyal, lifelong comrades of mine dating back to my first band Spawned by Rot and going forward, every appearance of the NightHag and Doctor Bendix were penned with them in mind.

You’re clearly influenced to a large extent by film, but one in particular receives a solid mention in this visitation – the 1922 expressionist horror masterpiece, F.W Murnau‘s Nosferatu. I don’t want to give too many details away, but I was quite thrilled to hear Murnau invoked in ‘The Globe Theater’, as it’s one of my personal favourite films of all time. Why did you select Nosferatu in particular to be included in the tale in this way?

LM: Silent horror has always been my main love of film. I’m very partial to the absolute creep that Murnau conjures in his expressionistic pictures. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari deserves an honorable mention.

Nosferatu is a film humanity is lucky to have access to as all copies were ordered destroyed by Bram Stoker’s estate and it remains one of the most chilling features in cinematic history.

Long ago (in the SBR days) I had very long hair and after George Howard died, I was out of my head with grief. I was in the middle of watching Nosferatu when the thought popped up in my mind “I can get away with looking that evil…”

So I shaved my head in the hopes that seeing a new person in the mirror would shake me from the soul-shattering misery that my life had become. My ex-wife sobbed as I cut my hair off and I never let it grow back.

While Nosferatu is easily in my top five best films of all, I’d list Benjamin Christensen’s 1922 movie Häxan as my favorite.

I will say, it was important that film were integral to the plot, and I wanted to choose excellence to represent that.

Whilst the NightHag series thus far has been undeniably great, it is incredibly theatrical and far more conceptually intense than much of your other work. I dig it, but it’s unfortunately not too hard to imagine that for many standard black metal fans (especially those who may have discovered The Projectionist by way of your other more straightforward musical outlets), what you have created here may all seem “too much”. However, I believe that it is this type of uncompromising art, fearless in approach whilst being brazenly and unapologetically passionate, that will be remembered in time. I might be going out on a limb here but look at artists like Silencer, Rainer Landfermann‘s work with Bethlehem… against the grain and potentially divisive in their performances? Yes. Spoken about and revered in black metal for decades once people catch on? Unquestionably. So after that long-winded lead in, my question is: do you ever get the feeling that you’re a “misunderstood genius”, in a way; creating art that’s years ahead of the curve and that later down the track everyone will discover this stuff and be captivated by it? Dare you hope that your own name would one day be spoken about with the greats?

LM: It is appreciated to be thought of in such a way.

There are easier ways to achieve acclaim, I could squawk devilish epithets and sing monotone but my motives for performing music have always been of an intellectual nature. I’ve no grand desire to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Maybe I’ve been able to skate by before this by having isolated songs/lyrics that function without effort or reading before this, and there’s a huge body of every musical community that are happy doing just that… but I want more.

Some of the deepest pleasure I’ve gotten from VFTNH have been reviews where it was said that due to the storyline, they were forced to follow the lyrics and truly invest of themselves to appreciate the album.

This whole question reminds me of the passage in Oliver Stone’s Doors movie where, upon being shown Jim Morrison’s film in university someone in the crowd yells “YOU NEED YOUR ART SPOONFED TO YOU!”

The Doors had to trim 3.5 minutes of glorious solos from ‘Light my Fire’ to placate the masses and get a number 1 song. I prefer ‘The End’ myself.

We as bands tirelessly promote our wares, but a fan will only get out of an album what they put into it. Or life for that matter…

Anything worth having is worth the effort to pluck that particular fruit. We have created something bold and unusual. The execution of which finds me proud.

Did we make this album for anyone but ourselves? No. (Aside from George)

It would be deeply satisfying to be viewed as something of a pioneer who expanded on the perimeters of Black Metal, but it isn’t my goal. I’m a Projectionist, I have films in my mind to show you and postulating my legacy is quite frankly, something I don’t allow myself time for. I’m too busy making art at a breakneck pace before I’m too old and decrepit to do it anymore. I’m an atheist. This is all I’m ever going to get.

And finally, today we have the great pleasure of premiering a track from the album – the fantastic penultimate composition ‘Bandages Over Boards’. Could you tell us a little about this particular track?

LM: hard to speak too much on this without spoiling the plot…

There has been a huge catastrophic battle between the NightHag and one of the protagonists. The Globe Theater is in shambles, and the survivors believe they’ve achieved victory.

As they repair the decimated cinema, they learn this is not so. Hence “Bandages over Boards”

This act moves along with punch and vigor, taking place right after the violent climax.

Sincerest thanks again for your time, Lörd Matzigkeitus. It’s been a pleasure. Any final words or wisdom for us all?

LM: Death is greedily, hungrily stalking you with cunning as we speak…

Don’t waste a flicker of breath unless it’s what you’d use your last day for.

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Visits From The Nighthag Volume 2 releases 28th June via Appalachian Noise Records.

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Pre-order Visits From The Nighthag on CD, digital or autographed box set from Appalachian Noise Records here.

Support The Projectionist:

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

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Bandcamp Misanthropy – Volume 16

The bottomless wellspring of Bandcamp is overflowing with great shit just waiting to be discovered. This series aims to shine light on the freshest emanations and foulest incantations from its darkest corners, a few artists at a time. Here’s the sixteenth installment for your vulgar delectation. Enjoy.

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Artist: Karcist

Year: 2018

Kicking open the gates, we begin with some weaponized modern black death from the USA. Savage trio Karcist dropped their debut EP ‘Inner Sanctum Immolation’ in a burst of flame and sulphur at the end of January, and it’s pretty damn solid.

Whether they’re in death mode (‘The Leech’), black mode (‘Absent Muses’) or a menacing blend of both (the demoniacal final track ‘Incursion of Christ’), they do a great job of it and they’ll only get better from here. I personally hope subsequent releases see them either adding a touch more guttural filth to their sound, or honing it even further to where it could slice through bone with lazer precision. As it is however, it’s an impressive debut and you’d be remiss to not throw them some infernal hails on their Bandcamp for a name-your-price download. Neat cover art/logo too.

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Artist: Olxane

Year: 2018

Yet another excellent project from Netherlands-based maestro T, the shadowed mastermind behind Kaffaljidhma, Himelvaruwe and a multitude of others. The debut Olxane release ‘Primitive Casket’ sees him in fine form, although whilst he still taps the rich vein of transcendent raw black that he does so well this may have an even stranger subversive feel than anything I’ve heard from him yet. The melodies are almost uplifiting; while everything still retains a bleakness, both tracks on offer have a certain odd warmth to them and call to my mind images of sunlight glinting off dust motes as it streams hazily through an old, paint-peeled window in an otherwise darkened room. Weird to describe a raw black metal album like that, I know; but just have a listen and you’ll see what I mean.

The dissonance between the hum of the layered guitars is fascinating and I love the beautiful little outros to both tracks. Few artists are able to intrigue me like this; a truly unique vibe. Up for name-your-price download with a cassette release coming later this year. I’ll be buying it.

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Artist: Heir

Year: 2017

“Man does not deserve this earth he inherited

We accept it and spread this word”

The Frenchmen in Heir know we are fucked. They also inject ‘Au Peuple De L’abîme’ (“To The People Of The Abyss”), their debut album of intense post-black sludge, with a tasty progressive approach resulting in an engaging and kinetic debut album that’s heavy and unpredictable, suitably nihilistic and altogether thoroughly enjoyable music for us to listen to as the ship we have built for humanity is sinking inexorably down into the irretrievable depths, with us chained to it. Hey, how thoughtful of them.

Thrilling, sinister, creepy and furious; they can transition seamlessly between moods at the drop of a hat. The whole thing just gets better the further you travel on its winding roads, to the point where final track ‘Cendres’ is frankly spectacular. If these were the men that stayed and played as the Titanic sank, I’d stand there and listen. Do yourself a favour and hit up a name-your-price download available from the link below. Top notch.

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Artist: Zeit

Year: 2017

Heading off on a different tangent: some blackened drone sludge from Zeit (‘Time’). I can’t find much info on this, but it is the second part of a two part EP series titled ‘I’ and ‘II’ and has a slightly clearer production than you may be expecting, giving it an almost relaxing feel like laying listening to rain fall at night. Which, incidentally, is how I’ve been listening to it; the hypnotic properties of the recurring riff-mantras have lulled me off to sleep more than a few times now.

With no drums and no pesky vocals there are no distractions from the drone, so cop this at name-your-price download and drift away on swathes of distortion.

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Artist: Bloodbark

Year: 2018

“…We still remain anonymous for now. We want the music to speak for itself – we wish the art and the nature to represent Bloodbark. The nature portrayed is our home and we want it to be yours as well.”

It may not surprise you after reading the above quote that there is precious little information available about this project. Luckily ‘Bonebranches’, the debut album from Bloodbark, speaks far more eloquently than mere words would convey. This is a beautiful, cold and awe inspiring creation; you don’t so much listen to it as experience its harmonious winds caressing your ear drums, whispering to you everything you could ever need to know.

“Majestic” is a term that gets flogged to death in atmospheric/epic black metal reviews by any idiot who pretends he can write about music (ahem), but the music these mysterious folk create is the very definition of the word. See the picture on the front cover? Each of the three lengthy compositions here are the perfect musical counterpart to it. The grand sweeping songs, mostly mid-paced and tinted with sorrow and wonder, are just so damned majestic and will make you yearn for places you’ve never been.

The performances are wonderful, but even they play second fiddle to the overwhelming atmosphere conveyed by this release. Seriously, if this music portrays their home, I want to move there. Available at name-your-price download and in even better news has been picked up for an extremely well-deserved vinyl release by Northern Silence Productions.

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Artist: Drugoth

Year: 2018

Tolkien themed blackened crust from Australia? Alright. Solo berzerker Drugoth has spurted out his second EP ‘Legions of the Great Eye’ like ichor from a dying orc. With most tracks around a minute or less in length plus some great knuckle-dragging ignorant riffs that will make you want to throw down and club someone’s skull in with a spiked mace, your average Summoning fan may not find much to like here, but in my opinion this is fun as all fuck.

Solid vocals, great tone for what it is; there’s nothing I can say is wrong here. If you dig it and want more bone crunching black punishment you’re in luck too, his debut EP is also killer and both are up for name-your-price download. Hail the Drugoth. More please.

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Artist: The Projectionist / Féretro

Year: 2018

A split borne of pure savagery. Canada’s The Projectionist open proceedings and lull you into a false sense of security with a dungeon-synth-esque intro, before the most hellish and pulverising sound they’ve ever conjured explodes from your speakers. Lord Matzigkeitus is in fucking stellar form with some almost unbelievable sounds vomiting forth from his inhuman vocal chords while every one of their tracks is diabolical fire; almost primitive brutality melded with spiteful speed and hate-filled cold melodic riffs. Good shit, but it isn’t over yet: Brazil’s Féretro are here to continue bludgeoning you to death in the name of Satan, stripping further back to riff-heavy levels of blasphemy. With a great no-nonsense sound they hammer the final nails in this impure coffin with ease; your death is complete.

One of the best splits I’ve heard so far this year; grab a name-your-price download below or hit up Appalachian Noise Records to grab the limited tape. If there’s any left.

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Artist: Nightgrave

Year: 2018

Up next, an excellent blend of ambient atmospheric post-black from India. Formed in 2016 Nightgrave is the work of one man, the mysterious R; which is somewhat unbelievable given the variety and depth of textures on display here and proves to be even more impressive when you realise he drops an album every couple of months.

And all of those albums are great. I’d not yet heard any of his previous work before pressing play on latest offering ‘Nascent’, a grave oversight on my behalf that has since been rectified; but for the purpose of this article we’ll stick to this release.

The lush tones and yearning tremolo of charming opener ‘Forbidden Truth’ lull you into a placid state before he brings the hammer down harder for the second half of the track; a few intriguing and unusual melodies are at play here too, something which carries on for the rest of the album. Second movement ‘Darklight’ continues and as you listen to its raw, driving blackness it’s now that you realise this is going to be one dynamic journey; especially when the song turns seamlessly on a dime into transcendent Isis-like post-sludge. Superb, and completely unexpected.

I also need to make mention of the vocals, as I found them quite versatile. Whatever style/mood he is creating R has a delivery to suit, from depressive rasps and howls to distant, echoing spoken word, they do more than get the job done. The crushing savagery of ‘In Extremis’ is another particular highlight and how it then manages to perfectly flow into the introspective ‘Cold Hands’ is gorgeous, while the switch-up towards the end of ‘Purification by Fire’, where he trips from whimsy and melancholy post rock into the most furious black metal on the album and back again is impeccably executed, and a spectacular note to finish on.

How does one man constantly churn out songs this compelling, you ask? I’ve no idea, and it’s not even his only project: have a listen to the similar-yet-different Raat EP ‘Selfless’ here, and trek back through his name-your-price Nightgrave discography via the link below.

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Artist: S U T U R E

Year: 2018

People are pollution

Death is the solution.

This savage little French black crust/powerviolence EP was originally set off on its destructive mission digitally 12 months ago, and is finally dropping physically any day now through Black Pandemie Prod’. Featuring members of recent BMD favourites Karne and Névrose yet more vicious than either, S U T U R E‘s debut only exists for two reasons: to fuck you up, and to see the total eradication of the human race.

The track titles are a dead giveaway of their intent: ‘Miserable Insect’, ‘Human Slaughterhouse’ and ‘Wrong Life’. No, there will be no mercy here; each one is a pure hate-filled blow to the face, bloody teeth scattering on the floor. The grinding ‘Human Slaughterhouse’ is a personal favourite, and after all the carnage the trio have one final surprise in store in the form of a fucking killer Urgehal cover. Their more powerviolence infused version of ‘Goatcraft Torment’ is an inspired and worthy interpretation.

At name-your-price download you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose picking up this slice of vitriol and giving it a shot. If you survive, keep an eye on Black Pandemie Prod’ for more info on CD’s and merch.

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Artists: UtenHåp / 000 / Apothecary

Year: 2018

And to bring proceedings to a suitably morose close we have a triple one-man-project split by UtenHåp of Norway, OOO of NZ, and Apothecary of USA. Entitled ‘Through the Fog of Endless Desolation’, desolation proves to be just one of the feelings that will wash over you once you submit to the waves of this split, drowning in its hopeless waters.

UtenHåp opens rather aptly with first track ‘Desolation’, and it truly is the very embodiment of the word. Depressive, solitary but also transcendent and with hints of an at-times uplifting breath hidden deep in its black lungs, it’s an excellent start, but it’s what comes next that is the real surprise: ‘Affliction’. A stunning piano composition, it somehow seems so right amidst the carnage… Until the song erupts into a surge of raw euphoric black metal, soaring into the heavens on burning wings and obliterating your soul. Simply breathtaking, perfectly beautiful. Third track ‘Torment’ follows suit, and UtenHåp has effortlessly seared its name into your memory as a project to watch extremely closely.

Then 000 arrives to push things in an altogether stranger direction. The atmosphere conveyed here is hard to describe; imagine a hundred haunted toys and other random objects clicking and whirring autonomously, creating a ponderous, mechanical and solemn ode to the miseries of the world, moving inexorably closer and suffocating your sanity as the bleak cacophony becomes all you can hear, all you can feel; all you are. Intriguing stuff with creative guitar work, I’ve never heard anything quite like it. Listener beware: you may find yourself consumed by this beyond all hope of return.

Closing out by delicately unraveling the fabric of time through madness and despair is US artist Apothecary. Already featured on BMD once before with his excellent EP ‘Heims Ventis’, his two lengthy pieces presented here are more of the same, just refined and expanded to even more mind-altering states. Truly tortured vocals reverberate through twisted, dismal and ethereal soundscapes that expand and constrict like the breath of a great beast; pouring everything he has into each composition, I thoroughly enjoy what this man does. Mesmerising.

Three unique and gifted artists from the deepest subterranean catacombs and furthest most inhospitable reaches, combining talents that perfectly complement each other’s particular darkness to create an esoteric triptych of immeasurable worth and power. If you want music that will affect you profoundly, look no further. Available at name-your-price download, so do yourself a service and grab one now. Total support.

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Submissions for possible inclusion in future Volumes are welcome.

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