municipal waste - crom agalloch - floor - nailsV


municipal waste - crom agalloch - floor - nailsV
Vol. 2
municipal waste - crom
agalloch - floor - nailsV.
bonded by blood
A p r il
April 9
Scion Metal Matinee with Mind Eraser
and Noisear in Chicago, Illinois
April 10
Scion Metal Matinee with Mind Eraser
and Noisear in Los Angeles, California
April 26
Scion A/V: Enslaved EP
M ay
May 14
Scion Metal Matinee
in Los Angeles, California
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Writer: Adam Shore
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Cover Photography: Colin Young-Wolff
There are two sources that never steer me wrong: Aquarius Records’
weekly email, which is simply the best, most ecstatic piece of
music writing that exists today; and Decibel magazine, who have the
perspective I value most when it comes to death metal, black metal,
thrash, grind and doom. I RSS about 20 metal blogs and read them in
real time, especially parsing posts on sites like Invisible Oranges and
The Obelisk. And I rely on a trusted network of friends in bands and
at labels, people who promote and book shows, and people who just
live and breathe metal. A lot of the passion I feel for the bands I love
is contagious—they were championed by someone else who was lucky
enough to hear it before I could.
—Adam Shore, booker for Scion Rock Fest and
the Scion Metal Matinee series
If you have a question, email us through the Contact page on
Bonded by Blood
Story by: J. Bennett
Taking its name from the influential 1985 album
by Bay Area thrashers Exodus, Bonded by Blood
rolled out of Pomona, California, with a foursong demo titled Four Pints Of Blood. That they
recorded this demo with studio time they won in
a local battle of the bands contest—beating out
249 competitors—has “Cinderella story” written
all over it. And so it was…
In 2007, the band self-released an EP titled Extinguish The Weak, which featured a cover of the
theme song from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
and landed them a contract with lauded U.K. extremity label Earache Records. They then helped
introduce classic 1980s thrash to a new generation of headbangers with their 2008 Earache debut, Feed The Beast. Though they’ve experienced
some lineup changes over the years, the group
currently features guitarists Juan Juarez and Alex
Lee, bassist Jerry Garcia, drummer Carlos Regalado and newly added vocalist Mauro Gonzales.
Bonded by Blood’s second and latest full-length,
Exiled to Earth, takes an entirely different turn, seeing them entering unfamiliar territory for most
thrash bands. Exiled to Earth is a concept album
about an alien invasion of our planet, circa 2610.
“It’s an album with a very metaphorical message,”
says Garcia. “It’s about how an alien race called
the Crong takes over Earth through the systematic collapse of world governments into a new world
order. They seek something hidden deep within the
human genome that will secure their existence.”
Inspired by the conspiracy theories of Alex
Jones, David Icke and Megadeth’s 2009 album
Endgame (which was named after an Alex Jones
documentary), Exiled to Earth merges shadow government menace with comic book battle action,
as evidenced by the band’s shoot ’em up video for
the song “Prototype: Death Machine.” “I wanted
the concept to be more relevant to this era, but
it ended up being set in 2610,” Garcia says. “Regardless of what time the album is set in, I believe it sends
a very clear message out to those who seek it.”
Bonded By Blood played the 2011 edition of the
Scion Rock Fest. For photos and videos, go to
Interview: J. Bennett
Photography: Donofthedead
Formed in Los Angeles in the early 1990s, Crom became cult favorites when their 2001 full-length
debut, The Cocaine Wars: 1974-1989, throttled listeners with a gonzo onslaught of uncleared
samples, deranged verbal outbursts and blasts of sludgy powerviolence. They followed it up six
years later with Hot Sumerian Nights, a sharper, more precise amalgamation of the band’s
monster riffage and heavily sampled Bronze Age fixations. Known for unhinged live shows, Crom
currently has a new album and a documentary in the works. Guitarist Phil Vera, also of L.A.
powerviolence legends Despise You, gave us the rundown.
How would you say the band changed between The Cocaine
Wars and Hot Sumerian Nights? The musicianship has definitely gotten better. I don’t know
if that’s good for everybody, but for me, I just can’t keep playing a bunch of noise. I want to progress.
I want to become DragonForce. I mean, who doesn’t? But basically, we feel the first record is like Evil
Dead and the second record is Evil Dead 2, where they improved the formula. So we’ll probably blow it
with our third record, kinda the way Sam Raimi did with Army of Darkness.
What’s the status of the Crom documentary? Dude, I have no clue. I recently saw the guy
who’s doing it, and he was interviewing a bunch more people. I was under the impression that he was
pretty close to being finished, but then he was asking for more footage, so I don’t know. It’s too bad,
because that teaser that came out a while back was cool. But I guess he’s like us when we make records,
it just takes forever. Except that we don’t put out a two-minute clip for something that’s coming out in
five years.
A new Crom album is in progress. Will it ever come out? That’s a good question. I’d say
we’ve written about half of a record. My goal is to actually have it done this summer, which means I
gotta get my pops going on the artwork.
Crom shows are known for being unpredictable. What do you hope people get
out of seeing you live? You know how when jazz bands play, they leave that kind of free space
where every performance can be different? Crom is kinda our version of jazz. You never know what’s
gonna happen. I think we might start doing some flips, maybe get some chainsaws. I think people
would be into that.
Good segue. Your dad is the mastermind behind the Crom album covers. How did
that start? My dad has been a commercial artist for about 40 years now. He started with a company
that did all these cheesy 1970s movies like Food of the Gods, Meteor and The Hearse. He drew sketches and
storyboards, whatever they needed. He’s actually working on the new Transformers movie now. When
we needed artwork for the first Crom album, I asked him and he was totally into it. We told him we
wanted a girl riding a polar bear, done [Frank] Frazetta style, and he was totally into it. And then
he did the foldout with that Viking—we call him Sven. He totally gets where we’re coming from.
Crom played the 2011 edition of the Scion Rock Fest. For photos and videos, go to
Story: J. Bennett
Photography: Magdalena Wosinska
When discussing the goal of Bastard Noise, bassist and co-vocalist Eric Wood says, “We just wanna go
for force, precision and calculated progression.” Wood co-founded the Los Angeles noise band 20 years
ago as an offshoot of powerviolence progenitors Man Is the Bastard. “Bastard Noise really came from
my love of bass,” he offers. “It goes back to when I was a kid and first discovered bands like Budgie and
Yes and Gentle Giant—and, of course, the original [Black] Sabbath catalog. I liked anything that threw
me overboard in a blissful manner. But at some point you wanna stop being a spectator and just do it.”
As a result, Bastard Noise was born on a cold slab of heavily manipulated electronics and bone-rattling
low-end. Known affectionately as “the Skull”—a reference to their infamous death’s head logo—Bastard
Noise is lauded as much for their prowess in the noise genre as for its insanely prolific output. “We’ve
put out over a hundred releases,” Wood estimates. “Some of them were extremely limited runs, but we’re
committed to getting our stuff out there by any means necessary.”
The band’s current lineup includes Wood alongside drummer Joel Connell and new vocalist Aimee Artz,
also of Southern California grind outfit Progeria. “She’s our secret weapon,” says Wood. “She’s an incredible front person. When people see her play live with us, I think they’re gonna be impressed.”
With several new releases already in the pipeline, the Skull will not be letting up anytime soon. “I’m proart and anti-sports, so I pretty much live for this stuff,” Wood says. “I found my healthy addiction, you
know? I mean, what else am I gonna do? Sit around and watch the ballgame?”
Bastard Noise played the 2011 edition of the Scion Rock Fest. For photos and videos, go to
Los Angeles is a rough city to create a scene in. It’s
unbelievably spread out geographically, and people
tend to stick to their own neighborhoods and put
up a fight when you want them to leave, even just
for the night. This makes the promoter’s job even
harder, but Daniel Dismal, of the Church of the 8th
Day, has managed to make the metal scene in Los
Angeles thrive despite some pretty tough logistical
and economic circumstances.
Independent Record Stores
If you want to support local stuff, Headline Records or Vacation Vinyl are the places to go.
Headline used to do in-stores with a lot of legendary bands, but they had to stop because,
you know, the police weren’t really into having 300 people in a record store. Vacation Vinyl
has in-stores pretty much every week. The guys who order at Vacation Vinyl are all vinyl
nerds, so they bring in a lot of killer stuff, and the same with Headline, but the owner, Jean
Luc, is more of a punk rock guy who loves metal.
The Boulevard
The Boulevard is a small bar in Boyle Heights. It’s really the only venue that’s all ages and
won’t charge you a million dollars, and they have great shows all the time. Brutal Truth
played there, and that’s a band that used to play the main stage at the Knitting Factory,
which is a 600-person venue, so seeing them in a 200-person room was really intimate. It’s
a really cool spot, laid back and relaxed.
The Black Castle
They have a lot of black metal shows. Some people consider Black Castle the most important
metal venue in LA. If you’re really into black metal, the Black Castle is like your church. It’s
pretty far out there, so when they have shows, a lot of people in LA are like, “Man, I don’t
want to drive all the way out there.” But then there are people who live out there who are
just happy to have their own place.
Cobalt Café
Me and my partner threw a show at the Cobalt Café and there were about 350 people there,
and that’s a lot for a little café in the middle of the West Valley. And it was all people from
that area, and they all came to a metal show. There’s always been a strong scene out in the
Valley, and in Whittier and Montebello. I think most of the people that are into metal don’t
live in LA proper.
Story: J. Bennett
Photography: Greg Bojorquez
Asked about the ideas behind Unsilent Death, Nails’ 2010 full-length debut, vocalistguitarist Todd Jones says, “Life. Freedom. Independence. Unsilent Death is about doing
what feels right despite any opposition.” It’s an album that took the underground by storm
upon its release in 2010. A fierce barrage of d-beat punk pounded through the classic
crunch of the Sunlight Studios buzzsaw guitar sound pioneered by Swedish death metal
vets Entombed, it’s about as aggressive as hardcore gets. “Prior to starting the band, I
wanted to do something that had a filthy guitar tone, and I always thought the Sunlight
Studios guitar sound was really disgusting, so I picked that and started writing the
tunes,” Jones says. “The tone is crushing and hard.”
The Southern California trio’s stun-gun aesthetics aren’t confined to distortion pedals.
Jones and his bandmates—bassist John Gianelli and drummer Taylor Young—also recognize the importance of kicking the audience in the teeth and leaving them wanting more.
In true punk fashion, the ten songs on Unsilent Death have a combined running time of
just under 14 minutes. “We don’t write songs with an intended time length,” Jones insists.
“We just do what feels and sounds right to us. There were some concerns amongst our group
when we decided to travel and spend a lot of money to record not even 14 minutes worth of
music, but the group of songs we had for Unsilent Death felt like a complete album, regardless of how short it was.”
It’s all part of a musical philosophy that’s as straightforward as it is effective. “We basically just have a desire to please ourselves,” Jones explains. “We do what we feel good
about and try to avoid anything that makes us feel uncomfortable.”
Nails played the 2011 edition of the Scion Rock Fest. For photos and videos, go to
Interview: J. Bennett
Since releasing Marrow of the Spirit, one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2010, Agalloch has
become the torchbearer for a highly atmospheric style of heavy music. It’s a complex sound that incorporates
elements of black metal, folk metal and dark rock. Led by vocalist and guitarist John Haughm, and featuring
guitarist/pianist Don Anderson, bassist Jason Watson and drummer Aesop Dekker, the band finds influence
from some decidedly non-metal sources.“The title Marrow of the Spirit is drawn right out of Thoreau’s
Walden,” says Anderson, who is a doctorate student at the University of Washington and teaches writing and
American literature in the school’s English department.“I actually just taught the book to my students last
week.” Turn the page for an excerpt from an interview with Anderson:
Obviously, Agalloch is not a pure black metal band, but you incorporate elements of that sound.
Has your definition of black metal expanded because of what Agalloch does?
Yeah.There has to be a term for what we do, I suppose, and I’m comfortable with “post-black metal.”The prefix
“post” gets kicked around a lot and criticized a lot, but I actually think it’s a very apt term. Arcturus’ second
record, for me, was the first post-black metal record. It took the common language of the early 1990s Norwegian
scene, expanded upon it and opened it up to new possibilities. I feel like that’s what Agalloch is doing in the sense
that we’re taking the basic language of Burzum, Mayhem, Satyricon and Ulver and trying to expand and contribute to it.We’re trying to elevate it to other possibilities.
Marrow of the Spirit was named Album of the Year by Decibel magazine and was even featured on
National Public Radio. What effect have you seen from that attention?
More than anything, the NPR accolades have acted as a legitimizing force. It’s weird to see our record up there
with Kanye West or Arcade Fire.When that happened, I think the people who began taking an interest in us were
people in the music business going,“What’s this strange band that NPR is giving so much attention to?” So we’ve
seen more industry interest—from promoters, people wanting to book shows, that kind of thing. It’s very flattering
for me personally because I listen to NPR regularly, but I’m still hoping for a Terry Gross interview.
The members of Agalloch don’t live in the same city. Other than the fact that you can’t rehearse
very often, what kind of effect has that had on the band?
Well, there’s a lot of anxiety. It’s gonna change a bit because I’m gonna move back to Portland in the summer, but
of course Aesop will always be in San Francisco. It’s been a challenge more than anything, but I do think it’s kept
us from getting burnt out, whether on each other as individuals or on the music.
Does Agalloch mean something different to you today than when the band started 14 years ago?
It’s definitely become a fundamental part of my identity, to the point where if the band were to break up I would
have an existential crisis. I really wouldn’t know what to do with myself. But because we work slowly as a band,
I like to think we can keep going longer. Our heroes in terms of how to be a band would be Neurosis, who are also
spread out geographically.They’ve been going forever and they’ve always put out, in my opinion, high-quality
work. For us, having been together since 1997, I’m starting to think of Agalloch as something that’s not only half
my identity, but also as something that will continue to evolve.
Agalloch played the 2011 edition of the Scion Rock Fest.
For photos and videos, go to
Interview: J. Bennett
Photography: Colin Young-Wolff
Over the course of the past ten years, Municipal
Waste has delivered its manic brand of crossover
thrash to audiences around the globe, leaving wind
milling, crowd-surfing fans with what the band refers to as “bangovers.” Comprising vocalist Tony
“Guardrail” Foresta, guitarist Ryan Waste, bassist “Land” Phil Hall and drummer Dave Witte, the
Richmond, Virginia-based thrashers are one of the
most relentlessly entertaining live bands in the underground today. Their most recent album, Massive
Aggressive, trades in the good-times vibe of 2007’s
The Art of Partying for the sci-fi comedy of songs
like “Wolves Of Chernobyl” and the gruesome pathology of “Acid Sentence.” Tony Foresta explains all.
It seems like a lot of people are into Municipal
Waste for the fun aspect, but it also seems like
it’s that same aspect that turns off the “serious”
metal dudes. What’s your take on that?
Yeah, I’ve noticed that. People are weird, you know?
A lot of times it’s younger kids getting into metal
for the first time, and the fun vibe is what attracts
them to us. As they get into more serious stuff, all of
a sudden we’re too fun for them. But we’ve always
kinda poked fun at people who take themselves too
seriously, and I think a lot of that goes on in metal.
It doesn’t bother me, though. I think people appreciate us because we’re honest with our music and
we’re having a good time.
At the same time, it seems like there was maybe
less of the party vibe on Massive Aggressive than
on previous albums.
Yeah, because when we did The Art of Partying, we
were already kinda sick of talking about partying.
But we were also already halfway through the record. By the time it came out, we were tired of that
stuff. Now I don’t mind talking about it, because it’s
not as in my face as it was two years ago. When The
Art of Partying came out, that’s all people expected
from us: party, party, party! It seemed mindless. So
with Massive Aggressive we wanted to show that
there’s more to us than that.
Do you see Municipal Waste continuing in that
direction with the next record?
I don’t know, man. The stuff I’ve been writing
lately is funny, without me even meaning for it to
be. We’ve got about four or five songs right now,
but we actually wrote three before that and just
trashed them because they weren’t working. I think
some of it will be funny, some will be serious, some
will be personal or commenting on social issues.
I’ve always wanted to do a concept record—me
and Ryan have always joked about it—but I think if
we were to do something like that right now, people
would just think we were stupid. People as in, like,
other members of the band. But I think people outside the band sometimes don’t realize that we’re
not as dumb as we look. I mean, just because we’re
funny doesn’t mean we’re idiots.
All the Municipal Waste albums are a half hour or
less. Do you keep it short on purpose?
Our songs are so fast and jump around so much
that there’s just as many lyrics and riffs as there
would be on another band’s album that’s twice as
long. And you know, I am not a huge fan of really
long thrash songs. When bands start beating on
the four-minute door, I’m like, “Uh, let’s wrap this
up.” We just try to pack as much in as we can and
not overstay our welcome.
Municipal Waste played the 2011 edition of the
Scion Rock Fest. For photos and videos, go to Watch their video for
“Wolves Of Chernobyl” at
Story: J. Bennett
When Floor split up in 2004, there wasn’t even a thought of looking back. Sure,
the Miami power trio had made a name for themselves over the course of the
previous decade by carving huge pop hooks out of thundering doom dirges, all
led by the loose and legendary “bomb-string” guitar acrobatics of bandleader
Steve Brooks, but that was over with. Brooks had moved on and formed the
hugely successful Torche, a band that continues to dominate faces worldwide
with its insanely catchy brand of “sludge pop.”
Watch videos from the Scion A/V Video series
But then revivalism reared its timely
head. In late 2009,
Floor’s old label, Robotic Empire, decided to put out a Floor
box set—a massive musical compendium boasting ten LPs, eight CDs and a 7-inch.
Titled Below & Beyond, the set was limited to just 305 copies, but it was enough
to get Floor back onstage for a series of reunion shows in the spring of 2010. “It’s
all due to the Floor box set,” says Brooks. “Everyone was together again, hanging
out, and the idea of doing a few shows came up. We did it for those who never got a
chance to see us back in the day.”
The first handful of Floor reunion gigs featured Brooks and bassist Anthony Vialon performing three separate mini-sets, each with a different drummer from
the three Floor incarnations. All of the shows since then have been performed
by the lineup behind the band’s brilliant 2001 self-titled LP: Brooks, Vialon and
drummer Henry Wilson. “We’ve grown up a lot,” Brooks says. “We’re more
confident, more professional and sound 100 times better than we did in the
In the years since Floor’s original end, the band’s musical stock has appreciated considerably, due in no small part to the prominence of Torche. “It’s wild
to hear the crowd singing along with the Floor songs,” says Brooks. “That
never used to happen before.”
As for the box set that got Floor back in action, with a $250 list price, there
are still some available. For that kind of money, you might think you’d be getting everything the band ever recorded. Not so, says Brooks. “We actually had
more material that didn’t make it to the box set,” he admits. “But six hours is
all we needed.”
Floor played the 2011 edition of the Scion Rock Fest. For photos and videos, go to
Story: J. Bennett
Photography (left): Colin Young-Wolff
While Ottawa, Ontario’s F**k the Facts is first and foremost a grind band, it’s also a catch-all repository for whatever style of music founder and guitarist Topon Das feels like playing. And anyone who’s
heard FTF knows that Das’ musical preferences tend to change on a dime—from jazz to noise to death
metal—and often in the middle of a song. “When I started the project, the main idea was to create a
vehicle for all my musical ideas,” he explains. “I was very much into grindcore, noise, metal and more
experimental kinds of music, but I didn’t want to have five or six different projects for everything I
wanted to do. I created FTF as a project without any limitations, and I would like to think that that’s
still how things are. The only difference now is it isn’t just me, but all the ideas and influences of five
different people working together.”
FTF’s current lineup includes vocalist Mel Mongeon, drummer Mathieu “Vil” Vilandré, bassist Marc
Bourgon and guitarist Johnny “Beige” Ibay, but Das has always been insanely prolific no matter who he’s
playing with. Over the course of the past 11 years, FTF has released eight full-length studio albums,
two live albums, five EPs and a DVD, not to mention countless splits singles with other bands. All this
frenzied output has come via labels of varying sizes, but many have been DIY releases, which FTF
seems to unveil whenever they feel like it. “We’re not the kind of band that likes to wait around, so if
it means releasing our own records, we have no problem doing it,” Das says. “It’s great that we’re able
to work with [current label] Relapse so we can benefit from all the visibility of being on that label, as
well as having all the control we want to release independently. But I’m sure all the work we put into
our independent releases helps get people to check out our Relapse catalog as well. So everyone wins.”
Watch video of F**k the Facts performance at Scion’s Metal Matinee series at
Blog Roll
The online companion to the only monthly extreme music
magazine, Decibel features exclusive interviews, news and articles
that you won’t find in the printed edition. Topics covered include
major bands playing tiny shows and essays on tour bus drivers.
If you can’t take a joke, ignore the site’s genre-baiting title. Metal
Sucks brings original compilations, reviews, downloads, news
and basically everything else you might be looking for. It’s also
home to one of the web’s most active metal forums.
Metal Underground is an online news zine focusing on
underground extreme music. Along with news, photos and
interviews, Metal Underground has a near comprehensive
list of upcoming metal releases.
P I C K S :
Adam Shore, host of Radio Doooom! on Scion Radio 17 and booker of the Scion Rock Fest and the
Scion Metal Matinee series spotlights what’s currently interesting him in the world of metal.
Thou continues to be one of my favorite bands. No matter what state I’m in, I always seem to
find myself uncontrollably drawn to their music. A blackened doom band from Baton Rouge with a
monstrous sound, Thou is able to endlessly wring new dimensions out of sludgy, filthy riffs that weave
in and out of Bryan Funck’s desperate, wailing howl of a voice. Their songs go on forever but are
never long enough. They’ve done a series of heart-stopping splits with bands like Salome, Moloch
and Haarp, and their most recent full length, the masterful Summit, is out now on Southern Lord and
Gilead Media. I love how they are the true gatekeepers of the underground in the Baton Rouge/New
Orleans DIY scene, becoming a trusted friend and guide to any great metal band who finds their way
down there. And I especially love the forward-looking, open policy in their music: most of their songs
are available for free download on their website, which provides a easy on-ramp to get you to buy
their beautiful LP packages and experience their devastating live shows. Start downloading now.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor:
The greatest albums are no match for the live experience. And the greatest live show I’ve seen in
years was Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Saturday night set at the All Tomorrow’s Parties they
curated in Minehead, United Kingdom. Always epic in concert when they were active from 1994 to
2003, few could have predicted they would return with such incredible triumph and authority. Bass,
drums, keyboards, guitars, violins, tapes, loops and films of people, power and protest fused together
so perfectly, forcefully as one, with sonics so perfect and precise it didn’t sound like it could possibly
be made by live musicians. Every second of the show was thrilling—these accomplished musicians
playing physically grueling, incredibly stirring music, creating looping crescendos of strength and
emotion. Simply put, it was the purest and most timeless music I’ve experienced in years. We can only
hope they channel this renewed authority into a new studio recording. But it can surely never top
experiencing it live. Do not miss them if they come through your town.
Kurt Ballou:
Not enough can be said about Kurt Ballou’s guitar work in Converge, a band he helped found in
1994, but it is his production work that I can spot a million miles away. He has a decidedly HI-FI
take on everything that makes metal exciting, something you can hear all the way back to his earliest
productions, like Cave In’s phenomenal Until Your Heart Stops. In the last few years he’s been on a
roll that is simply unparalleled by another producer in metal or any other genre. His history-making
year was 2008, starting with Disfear’s demands-all-attention, only-thing-that-matters-when-it’s-on
piece-of-pure-awesomeness called Live The Fear, then rolling though Torche’s Meanderthal and Trap
Them’s Seizures in Barren Praise. He spent much of 2009 recording and touring on Converge’s most
accomplished work to date, Axe To Fall, while still finding time to produce DC grinders Magrudergrind’s
crushing debut LP. Then he created many of 2010’s most unrelentingly powerful pieces of music:
Black Breath’s Heavy Breathing, Trap Them’s Filth Rations, Nails’ Unsilent Death and The Secret’s
Solve et Coagula. But best of all is the power-charge of his guitar sound and the blast of clarity in
his mix that propels Kvelertak’s debut, also from 2010, with the same unadulterated adrenaline he
brought to the now-iconic Disfear album. It’s work like this that defines his mastery and will be his
greatest legacy.
Albums Radio Doooom Will Not Stop Playing: Krallice, Diotima (Profound Lore); Dark
Castle, Surrender To All Life Beyond Form (Profound Lore); Dispirit, Rehearsal At Oboroten (selfreleased demos); Electric Wizard, Black Masses (Rise Above); Liturgy, Aesthethica (Thrill Jockey); Pale
Chalice, Afflicting the Dichotomy of Trepid Creation (Flesner).
Listen to Radio Doooom! at
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mammoth grinder AT
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