Tempting Fate’s Illusions: A Beastly Frolic

Tempting Fate’s new eight-song offering, Illusions, made my Beast frolic. Though there were two songs that caused the apple-headed, shark- toothed and besuited bad boy of my subconscious to pause in confusion, overall the album was a deathy Metalcore M&M with an Electronicore coating (or what the band has called Dub-Metal).

Tempting Fate demonstrates a solid compositional formula. They use tempo to great effect and their songs have that deep groove I so enjoy in my metal. Things I liked included modulation on the screamed vocals, clean vocal choruses, heavy double-bass and low-tuned guitar, moderately applied synth/sampling, and melodic cut times with harmonized guitar riffs. I enjoy giving my head a sonic pummeling on a regular and recurring basis and these guys delivered with a few surprises along the way.

My favorite song currently is “Mutilation Line,” while “Get Up” and “This Is A Warning” are running close behind. All three are heavy and the lyrics are eponymous to their respective compositions. They will take their places in my Extreme Metal playlist and “Filthy,” “Run,” and “State of Unrest” will follow.

“Questions,” the first song, was my Beast’s least favorite. The lyrics are polluted by the rallying cry of “Oh my god” which personifies the whining snarkiness of the poppier end of Metalcore. “Oh my god,” should never go into a song unless it’s “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” by Skrillex. ”Questions” is still solid, still heavy, but the chorus ruins the vibe for me.

“Get Weird” didn’t excite my Beast either. It was the least cohesive of the songs, though the guitar solo and catchy tempo changes in the middle might be redeeming factors for some. I recommend a few listens to make sure.

This is the first time I have heard Tempting Fate’s music. Illusions isn’t the groundbreaking album that the band may have hoped for, but they did generate a high-quality, professional production relying only on their collective talents. There are fresh elements that could evolve into something definitive as the 4-piece band matures.

With an official 2010 birth year and three self-produced albums under their belt, Tempting Fate may benefit from more time on the road (maybe come out to the East coast, hmmm?). Old-school my view may be, but nothing rounds out a band’s chops like touring the U.S.A. in a cramped, stinky van for months on end, loading into and loading out of B-list venues, and playing night after night to crowds who came to see the headliner only to steal the show.

I have not seen Tempting Fate live, and anyone who has should comment below on their energy and delivery. I believe that a band should be viewed as a whole in production and in live performance.  I’ve heard rumors that they are kick-ass and would definitely like to see for myself-in person.

If Metalcore is your cuppa, keep an eye on Tempting Fate. Having made six out of eight songs onto my Beast’s Extreme Metal playlist, I expect them to get that groundbreaking formula dead to rights next album.

\m/(^^)\m/

To buy the album:

Amazon or iTunes

 

To learn more about the band:

Website: http://temptingfatemusic.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WeAreTemptingFate
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TemptingFateBnd
ReverbNation: http://www.reverbnation.com/artist_897482/bio
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TemptingFateBand
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/TemptingFate

Copyright © 2014 iokirkwood.com. “Tempting Fate’s Illusions: A Beastly Frolic” by I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.

My Sweet Shadow, To You I Look No More

I had talked about metal music and recalling unpleasant memories in an earlier post. Wouldn’t you know it, I had the most vivid, controlled recall of my life a few days ago. I was alone, almost as if the part of my mind that controlled access to those memories had read the post, and I was fully aware.

As the memories unfolded, I expected my soul to cringe. I expected to die of mortification or to turn into a psychopathic killer that police would shoot in the middle of the street if I didn’t off myself first. I expected to disintegrate into dust or burst into flames.

Guess what?

I think it’s obvious none of those things happened. I started to laugh, actually. I laughed at the things that had crippled me for so long. I started to sing. In the middle of the night. I banged my head. I raised the horns. I danced with joy.

I sang the song of my people:

 

…Tamed with confidence of a brighter future
I found a flame in the burnt out ashes… burn out, burn out!
Fueled, these new shores burn, dark past lies cold
Shadow, my sweet shadow, to you I look no more…

–“My Sweet Shadow,” In Flames, from Soundtrack To Your Escape

 

I’m free.

Every time I think about it, I start to cry. Happy tears.

I’m fucking free and I am on fire!

 

Copyright © 2014 iokirkwood.com. “My Sweet Shadow, To You I Look No More” by I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.

Metal Grrrl: I Am A Subject Not An Object

I move in male-dominated circles. I’m a metal junkie and yes, I’m learning the ropes, but I’m not some vapid groupie who is only on the scene for the 5:1 male-female ratio that stacks the odds in my favor. I’m going to shows, buying albums, buying merchandise, and writing about metal. Of all the genres of music, it is the most diverse, fascinating, and intellectually challenging.

I am an attractive female, a rarity on the scene relatively speaking, but the way I look is an accident of birth. First and foremost, I am a mind and a heart and a set of unique predispositions that are infinitely complex and interesting. I have thoughts and feelings like any other person and I want to be treated as a person, a subject.

Too often, I find myself the object of other people’s projections, male and female, and it frustrates me. Few of the people who project their assumptions on me mean any harm. Those that do are dealt with quickly.

Metal is a divine gift...

Metal is a divine gift…

Here are the assumptions in the order of their irritation factor:

Assumption #1: I have to like the kind of metal you like because I don’t have the capacity to know what I like about metal.

Assumption #2: I pretend to like metal because the metal scene is the male-female ratio equivalent of Alaska.

Assumption #3: I can’t appreciate the raw energy of metal because I’m a helpless, passive female.

Those are my top three pet-peeves. I do understand that these assumptions are based on partial fact, but usually the model of choice is the girlfriends or wives of musicians in the genre. I’m not knocking these women either. Just because my ex-husband liked baseball and played in a league didn’t mean I had to do the same.

Assumptions are like spiders. I HATE spiders.

Assumptions are like spiders. I HATE spiders.

I will address each assumption, so if I’ve handed you my card at a metal show and you thought you knew what I’m about, you can read this post and get the skinny on what I’m REALLY about.

Assumption Buster #1: I studied music. I’m a vocalist. I was raised in a musical family and I’ve raised an extreme metal drummer. Thrash metal is one of my favorite subgenres, but I also like Djent, Groove, Melodic Death, Progressive, Power, and the list goes on. I think my least favorite genre is Black Metal though I do enjoy black metal elements in other subgenres.  WARNING: A band can’t tell me their music is Mathcore and then have none of the Mathcore elements in their compositions. I will call that and I will bust balls.

Assumption Buster #2: I don’t pretend anything. I won’t pretend to like a band that sucks. I won’t spend my money on a band that sucks. I won’t pretend to like you and I don’t care what band you’re in if you’re a douche-bag. I won’t deny that I prefer guys who prefer metal. I won’t deny that I like the odds. I don’t pretend.

Assumption Buster #3: I got knocked down at the last show I attended. I wasn’t even in the mosh pit. I was singled out and dragged from the sidelines against my will by a guy twice my size. Needless to say, when I got back up, my inner Beast was growling and I was about a hair’s breadth away from an old-fashioned Irish war spasm a la Cu Chulainn.  I busted chops as I waded back to the sidelines and my Beast approved. Don’t tell me I can’t appreciate raw energy because I’ve been familiar with metal and mosh pits longer than you’ve been out of diapers.

The lesson here is even though you’ve met me, assessed me, and dismissed me with one or all of the above assumptions doesn’t mean you know me. Any more than I would know you based on the metal head stereotypes that have cropped up over the years.

So check your assumptions at the door. I’m here to enjoy a metal show. Everything else is gravy as long as it’s based on the actuality of my being a subject: a thinking, feeling individual with an autonomous existence that transcends stereotypes and projections. I’ll return the favor. I promise.

Copyright © 2014 iokirkwood.com. “Metal Grrrl: I Am A Subject Not An Object” by I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.

Current Work(s) In Progress

blog-hop-button.jpgHaving a Sanguine writer’s personality, I’ve discovered that I must have multiple writing projects going on at the same time or I will despair of ever completing anything. Though I am a dramatic and accomplished story teller, I am easily bored with the nuts and bolts of writing and I can be derailed if I hit a snag in the writing process (why won’t this character die???).

Find out what your writer’s temperament is here.

A sanguine temperament can make completing stories—difficult. I’ve learned  a few things that promise to help me reach my goal of consistently producing finished works.

1. Diversify: this means it’s okay to have more than one project going on at a time. Each project has its own virtual planning book. If I get stuck on a project and lose my zest, I will mark where I left off, close that book, and open another one.

2. Compress. Instead of trying to write out a novel over the course of a year, I’ve taken to writing short stories. Eventually I can use them as the foundation for a novel.

3. Limit. I’ve been taking on projects that have deadlines and defined parameters. Sometimes, when the sky is the limit, I’ll get lost in the wide, blue yonder. Limits force me to honor my end of the bargain and harnesses my creative energy.

 

ignoring passion

I am currently working on the following:

1. Ruth Snyder’s blog hop which falls under number 3. I have enjoyed writing for this so much that I’m going to search for another blog hop.

2. A short story that plays on the Ballad of Tam Lin which falls under number 2.

3. A romance novel.

4. Another series through my publisher that has me working closely with several other authors to create an origin short story. I can’t wait to start this!

5. Just in case I get stuck, I’ll write a review of something: a book, album, or show to pull me out of a rut. These are like instant gratification bonuses for me.

6. Last but not least, I’m looking to get some of my poetry published. I need to polish it up and start submitting.

I know this looks ambitious to some and it certainly isn’t a work style that suits everyone. I wanted to share how I work to see if anyone else works this way and possibly offer a few pointers on getting the most out of my writer’s temperament.

Tell me about your writer’s personality in the comments. Stay calm and keep writing.

Copyright © 2014 iokirkwood.com. “Current Work(s) In Progress” by I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.

Rage With the Beast

I’ve been asking myself why metal music makes me shiver. Particular songs just make my skin prickle and bring such intense, all-over pleasure that it has caused me to question some fundamental understandings about myself.

I asked my son about this and he told me, “You’re getting in touch with your rage.” He should know. I think he inherited mine in utero.

angry

My son says his beast looks like a tall, roaring flame with a mouth full of teeth. Mine looks more like this. You can dress it up, but you can’t take it anywhere.

I agree that metal, especially extreme metal, can be comparable to shaving unhappy bears and setting them loose on an innocent population. But why do I love it so much? Before it had made me so uncomfortable that I ignored it.

All music is an expression of the human condition. Yes, even the vapid boy bands with their bubble gum pop riffs and saccharine lyrics express a human condition whether I agree with said condition or not. Based on this premise, I followed the threads backwards.

From an early age, I remember fear. I remember helplessness. I remember not having the power to say “no” though I screamed it in my mind. I remember pain. I remember rage. I remember crying so much that it seemed that all I tasted were tears.

I do not remember the actual events. My mind has suppressed them so successfully that only once in a blue moon will I have a complete recall. The recall is hellish.

dont pray for easy

See, I ran from my past like a tri-athlete There were years when I forgot what it was like to cry because I hated the taste and the sensation. I laughed at the most inappropriate times. Verbal arguments were fought with a desperation and viciousness that left my opponents stunned. I was ready to swing whenever I felt remotely threatened. Until I went to therapy. Until the first recall.

It’s never convenient to recall. The recall doesn’t happen while I’m sitting at home alone or with a trained therapist. The recall doesn’t care if I’m at work or if I’m at the grocery store. I am helpless in the face of it—frozen—as my awareness is transported to a  brutal moment of physical degradation in another place and time. Sometimes I am three years old. Sometimes I am in middle school. Always, I am young and I am helpless.

During a recall I receive a quantum packet of FML in about thirty seconds. No lube. No consideration for whether there are spectators or not. No “thank you” afterwards.

At first I thought it was because I was in therapy. But when I had reached a point where therapy had done what it could, including medication for an incapacitating anxiety disorder that rendered me agoraphobic for three months, I realized that I needed to take control of my past.

wired to suffer

I started by asking for tears. In 2009 I cried de Nile River. That was when my love for heavy metal truly blossomed. All the old standbys from my adolescence came into play: Sabbath, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Metallica and some newer, angrier hard rock/heavy metal acts like Godsmack, Alice in Chains, Black Label Society, Chevelle, Mastodon and QOTSA got their time. Anything that talked about the rage and the helplessness, the establishment and the insanity.

I realized that the music was a natural release valve for all the pent up rage that boiled inside of me. What I didn’t realize until five months ago was that the above mentioned music only scraped the surface.

I have October 8, 2013 marked as a turning point. I went to my first all extreme metal show. Screams and growls mostly. Blast beats a requirement.

At this show were a number of thrash metal bands, three of which stood out for me. The first was my son’s band Xstrophy and I go to almost every show now because they have opened up a whole new world for me. The second was Exemptus just because they have a sheer energy that engages me on a visceral level. The third was Battlecross.

If you’re friends with me on FaceBook, you know that this band is my all time favorite thrash metal band. It isn’t because the music is phenomenal. It isn’t that they are just all around great guys who know how to put on an amazing show. Though the aforementioned certainly contributed, what made them special is that their music helped me communicate with my Beast.

worst day

I wish I had started that young…

For the first time, I could get in touch with my rage and it didn’t scare the crap out of me. Together, my Beast and I could thrash and wrestle and scream and growl, and let me tell you, it feels freakin’ incredible. No one gets hurt, least of all me, and I come out grinning like a fiend.

The happy side effect is that instead of getting bludgeoned by total recall, my rage is feeding me the feelings in small doses. Instead of going catatonic, I get to step back and examine the pain, the helplessness, and the fear from a place of empowerment. I never expected something as extreme as, well, extreme metal to be so therapeutic. From In Flames to Meshuggah to After the Burial to All Shall Perish, I am discovering a whole new world inside of me where the things that go “grrr” in the night are my allies. \m/

Copyright © 2014 iokirkwood.com. “Rage With the Beast” by I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.

Genre of Choice: Paranormal Fantasy & Horror

blog-hop-buttonEven as a small child, I was fascinated by the forbidden. I was the geek in the corner of the room with her nose in a tome of The Tales of the Brothers Grimm. Even with the sanitized endings, I knew the stories told of gruesome things. The story of Bluebeard was my favorite.

Bluebeard is the shadow in us all. One of many illustratons at http://bit.ly/1cnhIXw.

My favorite authors are Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison, Karen Marie Moning, Jim Butcher, and Kevin Hearne. They all incorporate elements of the monstrous and the forbidden with the ethereal seductiveness of the Fairy Tale. They tell of death, destruction, and gruesome things happening in an alternate history from the one in which I live. So close and yet so far away.

A deep part of me yearns for the magic of the Fairy Tale while the part of me that has seen the ugliness of humanity knows that the gruesome is just beneath the surface. The genre explores themes of acceptance, good v. evil, the beauty v. the beast, and loyalty v. betrayal. The action never stops and the characters are gritty and powerful.

When I grow up, I hope to produce epic works in the genre I love to read. That doesn’t mean I will. Sometimes what I love to read does not come out in what I write. There is a part of me that balks when I ask the question, “How can I make my protagonist suffer even more?” Hopefully, I will outgrow this situational compassion and destroy worlds.

Copyright © 2014 iokirkwood.com. “Genre of Choice: Paranormal Fantasy & Horror” by I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.

Wandering Through A Never Ending Winter

You know that person, bundled in rags and thrift shop cast offs, standing on the busiest street corner begging for your change. How many times have you walked the other way to avoid them, or stared straight ahead while they spoke to you—as if they didn’t exist? How uncomfortable does this person make you feel? Have you ever asked yourself why?

All too often, we are confronted with the flip side of the comfort and wealth we take for granted. If you can sit and read this post while munching on a snack in the comfort of your own domicile, even if it is a PB&J made in your very own trailer, you are wealthier than a significant portion of the world population.

normal_blws_-_wsm_-_cover_-_600

100% of the net proceeds of BLOWSIGHT’s single “Winter Have Mercy (Thank You)” will be donated to a charity that helps the homeless. Click the graphic for more details.

But I can answer your question about why you feel uncomfortable. You feel helpless. You want to help. You wish homelessness didn’t exist. You wish you understood why there are homeless people and what inequities drove them into the streets, alone and starving.

You try to tell yourself that these people are con-artists, ex-convicts, and psychotics. You’re also told by a predominantly puritanical ethos that to help these people, you have to be an ascetic and live among them turning fish and bread meant for six into something that will feed multitudes. As comfort-loving creatures in a world that is confusing, painful, and oft-times soul-grinding, I don’t see many ascetics rising up from the masses.

So think of being cold, the kind of cold that you have felt in this never-ending winter, where the tips of your fingers and all of your toes are unceasingly numb despite layers of socks and any number of hearth fires. Think of how you shiver on a corner waiting for the light to change so you can get your lunch back to the office and you’re bundled in your Lands End down coat, suede gloves and matching wool hat and muffler.

Now magnify that tenfold, change wool and down to polyester and canvas, and add a stomach that is eating itself because a full meal—we’re not including the garbage scavenged from the dumpster behind a fast food joint—hasn’t sat in it for days. If the thought of this makes you feel helpless, think of how helpless that person feels. This is what immobilizes us, and we can change it all: one step, one dollar, and one song at a time.

BLOWSIGHT  is offering each of us an opportunity to do something about this endemic and cross-cultural inequity.  For $0.99 ($1.29 on iTunes) you can download Winter Show Mercy (Thank You). 100% of net proceeds resulting from downloads will be donated to charity in an effort to help the homeless.

A self-styled combination of PopMetalPunk, BLOWSIGHT’s single is a power ballad departure from their hard rock/heavy metal sound.  To download your copy of Winter Show Mercy (Thank You) for only $0.99 go to Amazon and for $1.29 go to iTunes.

There’s a back story to this song that you can view here. Huzzah! Here’s to warm fingers and toes and full bellies for everyone.

For more information on BLOWSIGHT, please visit these websites:
www.EclipseRecords.com/Blowsight
www.Blowsight.com
www.Facebook.com/Blowsight
www.Twitter.com/BlowsightBand

Copyright © 2014 iokirkwood.com. “Wandering Through A Never Ending Winter” by I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.