A Stick and a Stone Premiere “Husband of Wind”; Versatile out Jan. 15

Posted in audiObelisk on December 15th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

A Stick and a Stone

Guided by multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Elliott Miskovicz, Portland, Oregon’s A Stick and a Stone will release Versatile on Jan. 15 through Anima Recordings with vinyl reportedly to follow the tape/DL edition via Blast First Petite. Also stylized all-lowercase — versatile — it is the fourth full-length from Miskovicz and various assembled company, and if you’d like a quick lesson in urgency of expression, I’ll direct you to the quote below wherein Miskovicz describes the process of playing album opener “Husband of Wind” (also premiering below) live. Consider hitting a bass drum with one hand and playing organ with the other while singing in harmony with someone also playing viola. Rhythm, melody and purpose collide in this way all throughout Versatile, across 11 songs and 47 minutes exploring themes of love, nature, queer experience, and identity in songs striking in their human presence and ethereal atmospheres alike.

From the tense unfolding of “Husband of Wind,” “Horsetail” finds lighter resonance in its second half melody while cello adds Americana severity to “Monster Men” and “Hunter” makes a background drone from what sounds like the howling of wolves. The narrative of Miskovicz as trans living off-grid in rural (presumably) Oregon is powerful in terms of both escape and confrontation, but there is an engagement with totality the comes through in the breadth of arrangements on Versatile even as the record stays unified and in no small part defined by Miskovicz‘s vocals. The relative minimalism in the first half of “Meridians,” for example, uses open space as effectively as “Husband of Wind” casts its wash of melody, and that makes the wrenching second half of the latera stick and a stone versatile track all the more agonized and jarring, which it’s every bit intended to be.

Marimba percussion adds a counterpoint to more cello in the centerpiece “Timelapse” as Miskovicz asks, “What makes you so different from the red blooded ones?” in gaunt, throaty fashion, but “Timelapse” finishes on a gentler note with solo vocal. That brings about the 6:18 “Languages Unspoken,” the longest cut on Versatile, with distorted pedal harp and wood flute amid harmonized voices, backing drone, what seems to be a manipulated sample of a siren or something, and an almost scratchy melody line later that might be kalimba and might not — ultimately I suppose what matters more is it’s gorgeous.

While we’re talking about what matters, Miskovicz, who is by no means alone throughout Versatile despite the sometimes solitary feel in the songs themselves, does not simply use these varied arrangements for niche-hunting. Four albums into A Stick and a Stone‘s tenure, this is not I’m-going-to-put-a-wood-flute-on-my-record-and-then-I’ll-sound-like-me novelty, and it’s not spaghetti-at-wall experimentalism either. The abiding notion here is purpose, and while each piece throughout Versatile might seem to bring another element or side of the delivery, there’s a reason these things are there, and they serve the songs throughout, even unto the 82-second guitar-and-voice interlude “Oslo in Snow” and the taped nighttime-crickets and a pitch-shifted alouatta sounding like dog barks that back the subsequent “Heart of a Whale,” viola, violin and layers of harmonized vocals emerging like ghosts en route to the penultimate “Sullivan,” a somewhat back to ground emotive, stately piece on which one can hear what might’ve made Miskovicz approach Amber Asylum‘s Kris Force for mastering.

That leaves “Homewrecker” to close out with lever harp and a surge of threat that is mirrored by strings and shouts in the midsection of its brief run, the melody building behind and taking over to slowly fade out as the last notes are struck. Beautiful, sad, immersive, challenging — Versatile, sure enough, is all of these things, and it still finds its core in Miskovicz‘s performance throughout as the compositional center around which the songs are collaboratively built.

It’s the nature of a release working in this way that no single song will really be able to sum it up, but in terms of ambience and melodic reach the opener seems a fitting enough place to start. Accordingly, you’ll find the premiere of “Husband of Wind” below — note the contradiction in opening with “Husband of Wind” and ending with “Homewrecker” — followed by the aforementioned quote from Miskovicz and more background from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Elliott Miskovicz on “Husband of Wind”:

“As a song about the element of air, I really wanted to record ‘Husband of Wind’ on the pump organ, an instrument that really breathes with its whole body. After searching for almost a year, I finally found a church that would let me record on theirs with no one around. I wrote this song during a time when I was dealing with relentless panic attacks, and when becoming more conscious of breathing was a constant process. This song is one of the most challenging to play on tour, because I play organ with one hand and bass drum with the other while singing harmonies with Billy Ray. Meanwhile, Billy Ray sings the vocal harmony while simultaneously playing their viola part which harmonizes with Myles and Stelleaux’s string parts. In this recorded version, I appreciate how much fuller David’s drumming sounds, along with the deep undertones of the pump organ.”

Formed in 2007 by transgender vocalist/composer Elliott Miskovicz, A Stick And A Stone crafts dark, minimalist, choral-ridden song-spells laced with ambient field recordings and poetic imagery. After a decade of Miskovicz touring the underground circuit as a solo artist while recording with a steady flow of guest musicians, A Stick And A Stone expanded in 2015 to include core collaborators Billy Ray Boyer (Aradia), Stella Peach (Sweeping Exits), Myles Donovan (Disemballerina), and Sei Harris (Mind Parade). Performing as an openly trans and disabled artist, Miskovicz’s work sheds light on the unseen and unheard, calling out to mysterious forces with vital inquiries into surviving and restoring our often fractured world.

Versatile, the upcoming fourth album by A Stick And A Stone, explores the versatility of queer love with songs for friends and freedom fighters, woodlands and waterways, trans ancestors and survivors. Diverging from the heavy doom-shaded opus of their previous release, Versatile is a vivid experimental album home-recorded in remote forested hideouts. While the thread of A Stick And A Stone’s lush, ethereal vocals and minor-key fervency endures, off-kilter compositions of harp, layered strings, pump organ, found sounds, and crystal glass breathe new organic life into the band’s distinctive sound.

Written after Miskovicz’s relocation to living off-grid in the woods after a lifetime in the dense Philadelphia area, these 11 songs follow the journey of the sacrifices we make in the name of solace. When multiple health conditions began exacerbating in urban environments, it became imminently necessary for him to relocate to quieter landscapes. Although rural life was not always easy as a transgender gay male, his songwriting there evolved from a tool for coping with chaos into an expression of reverence for the ecosystems surrounding him.

Mastered by Kris Force of Amber Asylum, with evocative cover art by renowned queer metal artist Stephen Wilson, Versatile comes January 15th on cassette and digitally via Anima Recordings. Blast First Petite (UK) will issue the vinyls when the peak of the plague passes, and everything becomes viable again.

Album Credits:
Elliott Miskovicz – Vocals, Composition, Pump Organ, Piano, Marimba, Kalimba, Classical Guitar, Wood Flute, Percussive Branches, Bass Drum, Found Sound Excavation, Home Recording, Production.

Billy Ray Boyer – Viola
Stelleaux Peach – Violin, Cello
Myles Donovan – Viola, Lever Harp, Crystal Glass
Sei Harris – Cello
Darian Scatton – Pedal Harp, Harp Recording
David Fylstra – Mixing, Tape Manipulation, Percussion, Percussion Recording
Kris Force – Mastering
Stephen Wilson: Cover Art

Photo by Yaara Valey, Tender Heart Productions.

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Ramprasad Premiere “Westing, Pt. II”; Tsuris out Oct. 11

Posted in audiObelisk on September 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan


Having in the interim built a full four-piece lineup, Portland, Oregon’s Ramprasad will release the follow-up to their 2018 debut EP, Ruinenlust (review here), on Oct. 11 through Anima Recordings. The album is titled Tsuris and comprises 11 tracks/46 minutes of densely atmospheric instrumental post-metal, marked by its overarching sense of moodiness and a rumble that extends through the bass and guitar as both seem to follow the same chugging path forward. At the same time, drone-based interlude pieces “Bereaved,” “Black Pond” and “Repellent Whisper” provide a respite from the surrounding crush, and shorter-but-still-plenty-heavy cuts like “Cloud Hauler,” “Controlling Tides” and “Westing, Pt. I” add character while bolstering both the sense of immersion and the variety of the offering as a whole. Yes, Ramprasad are heavy, but they’re not just one kind of heavy, as even the meat of opener “Splintered Helve” or “Baric” or the nine-minute “Dimming a Lit Path” or the closing duo of “Westing, Pt. II” and “Dust Burner” demonstrate plainly while offering some of Tsuris‘ most vicious moments.

The full breadth might — perhaps unsurprisingly — be most on display in “Dimming a Lit Path,” in addition to being the longest inclusion on Tsuris takes a more directly ambient-sludge approach to setting its brooding vibe, though one might say the same of “Baric” earlier on. Both seem to draw from the mid-aughts-Earth-via-Neurosis pantheon of execution, and while I wouldn’t call them as patient as the former or as tense as the latter, the atmosphere conjured by David Fylstra and Aaron D.C. Edge — who recorded these tracks before Peter Layman and Pierre Carbuccia joined the band — is nonetheless reminiscent in its landscape-evocative manifestations, though I suppose the landscape is less prairie sprawl or post-apocalyptic wasteland than it is a ghost forest. Either way, it comes through vividly in the sparse guitar of “Repellent Whisper” and the build that follows at the outset of “Dimming a Lit Path,” which feel like a journey apart from the angularity at the start of Tsuris with the stops and mutes of “Splintered Helve” amid a still-rolling overarching nod.

They make it go, and they make it go where they want to, but Ramprasad don’t ever seem to set Tsuris wandering for its own sake. There’s atmospheric intention even to the quietest reaches throughout, as Edge and Fylstra lead out of the strumming finish of “Baric” and through “Black Pond” en route to the pummel’s resuming in “Controlling Tides.” There are moments where it’s easy enough to hear where vocals might fit, as in the apex of “Dimming a Lit Path,” but there’s no question that Ramprasad take advantage of the liberation from verses and choruses in this material, setting parts and entire tracks against each other in either complement or contrast, or, as in the best of cases, both. As they lumber their way through “Westing, Pt. II” with due intensity of purpose and ensuing mathy chug, they set up “Dust Burner” to push that thread even further before letting out a more spacious but still weighted resolution for the album as a whole; a relatively understated finish that suits Tsuris well for going against post-metallic convention, as Ramprasad clearly aren’t subject to those limits either.

I’m happy today to be able to host premiere of “Westing, Pt. II” ahead of Tsuris‘ Oct. 11 arrival. You’ll find it on the player below, followed by more from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Ramprasad – Tsuris cassette and digital full-length album

Ramprasad is the collaboration of Portland, OR musicians Aaron D.C. Edge (Lumbar, Process Black, Bible Black Tyrant), David Fylstra (Folian, KVØID), Peter Layman and Pierre Carbuccia (both of Flood Peak, Sól).

Ramprasad was formed in April of 2016 by Aaron and David, who performed all music on this recording. October of 2018 saw the addition of Layman on 2nd guitar and Carbuccia on bass. The band has performed with notable acts such as Cult Leader, Heiress, Noisem, and Call of the Void.

Ramprasad Tsuris tapeRamprasad’s debut full-length “Tsuris” takes us on a daringly adventurous and expansive sonic journey. The instrumental music within these eleven tracks manages to merge elements of metal, sludge, electronic, hardcore, post-rock, and noise, creating a crushingly heavy, cinematic-like sonic experience.

Drums were recorded by Zak Kimball at Nomah Studios in Portland. All other music recorded and finally mixed by David at Candlewolfe Sound in Portland. It was mastered by Zach Weeks at Godcity Studio in Salem, MA. Artwork by Dylan Garrett Smith.

“Tsuris” is a proper follow up to their 2018 EP, “Ruinenlust”. There will be a limited amount of cassettes via Anima Recordings, which are now available for pre-order, as well as a full digital release on October 11th.

Track Listing (total run time 46:42):
01. Splintered Helve
02. Bereaved
03. Cloud Hauler
04. Baric
05. Black Pond
06. Controlling Tides
07. Repellent Whisper
08. Dimming A Lit Path
09. Westing, Pt. I
10. Westing, Pt. II
11. Dust Burner

Catalouge: ANIMA-018
Release Date: Oct. 11th, 2019

Aaron D.C. Edge – guitar
David Fylstra – drums, synth, noise
(bass performed by Aaron and David)

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Lumbar Post “Day Six” Video; The First and Last Days of Unwelcome Reissue out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan


It’s not been over half a decade since Lumbar‘s lone full-length, The First and Last Days of Unwelcome (review here), was issued by Southern Lord in 2013. Argonauta Records has a CD/LP reissue out with new artwork as of this past Friday, and time has done little to dull its visceral impact, the seven-song/25-minute full-length chronicling the claustrophobic-in-body madness born by multi-instrumentalist Aaron Edge (of far too many projects to list, among them Bible Black Tyrant) being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis earlier this decade.

Edge got together with Mike Scheidt of YOB and Tad Doyle of frickin’ TAD and Brothers of the Sonic Cloth to arrange and record The First and Last Days of Unwelcome, and with its tracks put together in a list as “Day One” through “Day Seven,” the chaos and raw emotional scathe continue to resonate from its Meatsmoke tones, lumbering rhythms and tortured vocals, the latter provided by all three involved parties.

The above photo, from 2013, is so far as I know the only promo pic of the trio. They were in Doyle‘s Witch Ape Studio together to make the album and then done — it was always more “project” than “band,” and it became clear soon enough it was a one-off. But I note it because in the tape version of the reissue, which is offered through Anima Recordings, that same photo appears on the inside liner of the j-card. You can see it here:

lumbar tape

Clearly the same shot. Fine. Again, I’m pretty sure there’s just the one, and it’s beside the point anyway. The point is that Edge put this art together himself. He worked as a graphic designer for a long time, for Southern Lord and others, and look how the photo is arranged. Scheidt has a panel, Doyle has a panel, and Edge has the fold. The creases run right through his face. Think about a person fractured. Think about someone’s body betraying them. This is exactly what The First and Last Days of Unwelcome was always intended to convey.

In so many ways, Edge is at the center of this record — he wrote the songs and the lyrics about his experience, recorded the guitar and programmed the drums, and added his own vocals to those of Scheidt and Doyle — and sure enough, in this new version of the album, we see him broken in precisely the fashion brought out through the material itself. I won’t take away from the CD or LP editions — in fact I haven’t seen them to take away from them — but just as a visual metaphor, the tape alone wholly justifies the reissue.

“Day Six” argues for itself as the most melodically resonant inclusion on the album, and Chariot of Black Moth has made a new video for it featuring suitably raging seas and harsh storms that speak to the emotion at its core. If you’re sensitive to flashing lights, be careful — I’m not trying to give anyone a headache — but otherwise, you’ll find the video below, followed by more info on the new pressings for The First and Last Days of Unwelcome, which remains an absolute standout piece on any level you might want to consider it.

Please enjoy:

Lumbar, “Day Six” official video

First & Last Days of Unwelcome’ was originally released in 2013 by Southern Lord Recordings, now available via Argonauta Records and Anima Recordings with a new design by band member, Aaron Edge. Release date is January 11th 2019.

Orders are now available here:
LP: http://smarturl.it/LumbarLP
CD: http://smarturl.it/LumbarCD
Cassette: https://thelumbarendeavor.bandcamp.com

Originally released 11/12/2013 on Southern Lord Records (LORD186):
• 1st pressing: 1500 on black vinyl.
• 2nd pressing: 777 on orange/white swirl vinyl.

Re-released on Argonauta Records (ARGXXX):
• 1st pressing: 300 hand-numbered ox blood vinyl.
• 1st run: 300 CDs.

Re-released on Anima Recordings (ANIMA-017).
• 1st run: 50 high-quality orange cassettes.

Mike Scheidt (Yob, Middian, VHÖL)
Tad Doyle (TAD, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth)
Aaron Edge (Ramprasad, Bible Black Tyrant, iamthethorn)

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Ramprasad Stream Debut EP Ruinenlust in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on August 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan


Portland, Oregon, instrumentalist duo Ramprasad are gearing up for the Sept. 1 release of their debut EP, Ruinenlust, through Anima Recordings. The three-song offering from the two-piece band finds them dug into post-sludge riffing with a willful focus on atmosphere. It’s only about 20 minutes long, and nearly half of that goes right to the 9:45 opening title-track, but is both deceptively patient and purposefully crushing in its tonality. With journeyman guitarist Aaron D.C. Edge — of Lumbar, IamthethornBible Black TyrantMinor Fret and a nearly endless string of others — and the also-pedigreed drummer/noisemaker David Fylstra, it’s not really a surprise they would come into the project with an idea of the sound they want to conjure, though I’d also be willing to believe the two started to work together and Ramprasad was simply what came out.

The songs have a formative, naturalist flow from one into the next, “Ruinenlust” into “Essence of Illusion” (8:26) into the grammatically problematic noise/drone assault “The Woods, She Calls” (1:53) — unless the woods aren’t actually doing the calling there; one could imagine any number of scenarios — and that too feels like more than happenstance. Whether it was written all as one piece and split up in the recording, I don’t know — there’s a stop after “Essence of Illusion” before the sharp, high-pitched frequency that starts the closer takes hold, but even that transition seems surprisingly organic considering the inhuman nature of what follows — but it all comes together to create an overarching impression of oppressive tones and head-down rhythmic pummel.

ramprasad ruinenlustIt’s fucking heavy, is what I’m saying, and it could hardly be more fitting that Edge and Fylstra got together following a recording session for another one of the former’s bands, since that’s kind of how it goes with him. Aaron Edge, despite an MS diagnosis five years ago, has a long string of projects either conceived as one-offs or that simply turn out that way in the end. My mantra with his work is pretty much “appreciate it, but don’t get attached.” Late last year, he unveiled Bible Black Tyrant‘s debut album, Regret Beyond Death (discussed here), which first brought him together with Fylstra, whose sonic history isn’t quite as long but goes back through outfits like Canadensis and Wasting Seasons over the last several years.

Ramprasad might be seen as an extension of some of Bible Black Tyrant‘s grim tonality and bludgeoning mindset, but the shift to Fylstra playing drums instead of guitar and vocals — he and Edge share bass duties — and the elements of noise throughout are distinguishing factors. Coupled with the viciousness of chug and the angular, sharp corners of “Essence of Illusion,” Ruinenlust takes on a controlled-feeling torrential feel, a conscious and thoughtful work but still a collaboration that sounds like it’s just getting started, even if coherently. Will Edge and Fylstra continue to work together, either in Ramprasad or Bible Black Tyrant? Far be it from me to speculate, but the fruit of their work together in these tracks is rich and deep in its mix, and in their full-on brutality and more ambient stretches — thinking of “Essence of Illusion” around the five-minute mark, before the concrete riffing returns — they come across as a vital unit beginning a longer exploration.

After all, the German-language title Ruinenlust does indeed translate to “lust for ruin.” A kind of death wish, maybe? In any case, that feeling of foreboding certainly carries into “Ruinenlust” itself and the sweeping, abrasive consumption of “The Woods, She Calls.” You can stream all three cuts ahead of the Sept. 15 release now on the player below. More background on the recording follows, as well as some word from Edge on plans for the band, courtesy of the PR wire.


Ramprasad is the collaboration of Portland, OR musicians Aaron D.C. Edge (Lumbar, Bible Black Tyrant, Iamthethorn, etc.) and David S. Fylstra (KVØID, Folian, Canadensis, etc.). The duo met when Aaron came to David’s home studio to record vocals for his Minor Fret project. Just within the weeks to follow, the two were in a small practice space writing music together. Ramprasad was formed in April of 2016.

Ramprasad’s debut effort “Ruinenlust” takes us on a short, yet daringly adventurous and impactful sonic journey. The instrumental music within these three tracks manages to merge elements of metal, sludge, hardcore, doom, and electronic noise. Drums were recorded by Zak Kimball at Nomah Studios in Portland. All other music recorded and finally mixed by David at Candlewolfe Sound in Portland. It was mastered by Zach Weeks at Godcity Studio in Salem, MA.

“Ruinenlust” will be released digitally and on cassette via David’s label Anima Recordings.

Aaron Edge on Ramprasad’s future:

Until two years ago, and since late 2012, my MS had kept me from playing live music with a drummer. It just wasn’t possible. I was confined to writing and recording records in my home studio, passing tunes ’round with other folks from around the country — projects that I could spend months on, slowly and without wasting money and band member patience — projects that were important for my creative drive and sanity. But, with the help of proper meds, I now have a grip on my chronic hand pain (I suppose there’s a pun there). I’m able to stand and play guitar with a live drummer and it’s huge.

Now, the suffering is worth it in a way, there is not only a release of my sonic historic significance… there is also a live release of energy, volume and emotion. David and I aren’t going anywhere, and though I’ll always work on other musical projects (both Yama-Uba and Canyon of the Crescent Moon to be released this year), Ramprasad is a visual, full-time beast. We have a full-length wrapped up as well, just needs to be mastered, and we are hoping that Ruinenlust is a teaser of what we can’t wait to share. I love Dave like a brother, he’s been very patient with my progress and one of the best musicians I’ve worked with since first strumming in the mid-’80s. He shines here, and though my story is heavy, it’s only made possible by his donation of blood, sweat, tears and bombastic behavior.

Aaron D.C. Edge – guitar
David Fylstra – drums, noise
(bass on “Ruinenlust” performed by Aaron and David)

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Six Dumb Questions & Track Premiere: Bible Black Tyrant

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on December 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

bible black tyrant

On Feb. 16, Bible Black Tyrant will release their debut album, Regret Beyond Death, via Argonauta Records, Cheddar Brothers Records and Anima Recordings. The seven-song/43-minute onslaught of sludge extremity is the latest in a line of studio projects conceived and directed by multi-instrumentalist Aaron D.C. Edge, whose pedigree includes the 2013 outing from Lumbar that found him working with Mike Scheidt of YOB and Tad Doyle of Tad and Brothers of the Sonic Cloth — the latter of which also once counted Edge as a member — along with groups like Iamthethorn, Himsa, Dakessian, Hauler, Grievous, Roareth (whose album came out through this site’s one-time in-house label), and countless others. Dude has a long history of hopping from one project to the next.

Indeed, even as he discusses the origins of Bible Black Tyrant here, Edge notes that his next outfit, Ramprasad, is already in motion. That band will reportedly include Bible Black Tyrant collaborator David S. Fylstra, who performs guitar and contributes scathing vocals to go with Edge‘s own throughout Regret Beyond Death, while Tyler Smith roundsbible-black-tyrant-regret-beyond-death out the trio on drums. A process of home/self-recording — plus drum sounds captured by Andy Patterson — has resulted in massive tumults of undulating sludge; riffs like those of “New Verse Inferno” or the lurching “The Standard” constructed for largesse and atmospheric impact alike, while the title-track’s blistering noise and the alternately frenetic and crushing finale “A Terror to the Adversary” make their statement in ambience and abrasion.

Noise, noise, noise. Pummel, pummel, pummel. There’s no denying the vicious nature of the offering itself — Regret Beyond Death is brutal in style and theme and not intended to be otherwise — but as Edge notes in the interview below it was originally executed as a potential sequel to Lumbar‘s 2013 outing, The First and Last Days of Unwelcome (review here), one can hear in cuts like “The Irony” some similar flourish of melody peaking through in the guitar, through even that seems to have been twisted in service to the skin-peeling assault of the finished product of Bible Black Tyrant‘s debut.

Debut and maybe swansong? I ask Edge directly in the discussion that follows whether Bible Black Tyrant is a one-and-done showcase or a continuing band, and you’ll find his answer amid the back and forth about how the group came together, how the album was recorded, his day-to-day health status after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2013, and more. In addition to the chat, I’m thrilled to be able to host the premiere of “New Verse Inferno,” which you’ll find on the YouTube player about two lines down. Yup, it’s right there. Go ahead and dig in.

Please enjoy the song and the following Six Dumb Questions:

Bible Black Tyrant, “New Verse Inferno” track premiere

Six Dumb Questions with Bible Black Tyrant

Tell me how Bible Black Tyrant came together. How were David and Tyler brought on board and how did the project begin to take shape?

Well, honestly, at first I wasn’t sure how transparent to be on this recording. I don’t wanna be known as “that guy who only makes studio records, without playing any live shows”… but, since my MS diagnosis (as you well know from being part of my story since it all began back in 2013 with Lumbar), playing live with musicians was not possible. But, and I’ll get to that later in this interview, there has been quite a bit of progress in my dealings with multiple sclerosis.

[Bible Black Tyrant and Lumbar were] made the same way, but this time ‘round, I had the incredible drumming of Tyler (not my own recycled kit) and the multi-talented David onboard. Andy Patterson sent me Tyler’s drum stems and I’d bring those awesome files into a new GarageBand session in my home studio. There were no riffs yet, no songs written at all. I immediately rearranged his drum tracks into new parts, without knowing any riffs, without any plans, other than a general idea of verses, choruses and bridges, but just his percussion, mind you. It’s a totally backwards way to create songs.

Musicians reading this: imagine if one of your favorite drummers gave you full songs of completely prerecorded drums for a full record and you had to cut/paste, add missing pieces of a puzzle as you went along. Bit by bit. It takes a long, long fucking time. And you have to be incredibly patient. But, back in 2015 (when this was started), I had lots of time. I was unable to play guitar for longer than about five minutes. My MS-related hand pain still ruled my life.

Each riff was written on the spot, in the order of how the drumming came together. Obviously, some parts were then repeated again later as the track took shape, for verse/chorus vibes. There were no preconceived riffs. It’s tricky, it’s spontaneous, scary and it’s also very exciting. Not once, on the entire record, did I go back and change a part after laying it down… it is what it is, and forever shall be.

Also, it should be noted that there are no mics used in this recording process (here or on the Lumbar record). No speaker cabs. I play a guitar directly into a Verellen “Skyhammer” tube preamp, and from that directly into my iMac/GarageBand. The pre-amp has 3 12AX7 tubes that give all the tone. And, somehow, the feedback sounds real. It blows my mind. 

I finished writing and forging all the tracks years ago. They sat. I wasn’t sure what to do with them. Fast-forward to the summer of 2017: I had been working with David on numerous projects and also loved his solo material. I asked him to sit down with the project (which then had guitar, bass and my vocals completed), and record his own sensible leads, extra soundscape ideas, thicken up parts and do some backup vocals. He really, really made the whole thing quite special. I love Dave like a brother and trust him to help bring almost everything into a new realm of awesome. 

Was there something in particular you knew you wanted to go for sound-wise and something you knew they could bring to that process?

Originally, I just wanted to have another creative project to work on while in my pain and deep depression. I wasn’t sure what would happen with it. I first asked Mike [Scheidt] and Tad [Doyle] to provide vocals and create another Lumbar record, but since it wasn’t my drumming, it became a totally separate beast. Also, it should go on record that Greg Anderson helped convince me to have it be separate. Greg is always there for a quick back-and-forth texting of ideas. He thought that it was a different entity as well. I trust him, Mike and Tad to be there for me, always. They are my “Wise Men”.

You’ve been involved in so many projects over the years, and so many are one-time-only outings. What have you learned from working with such a wide variety of players? If you found a band that wanted to stick around for multiple releases at this point, would you do it? Is Bible Black Tyrant a one-and-done?

I’ve learned to be humble, or at least I hope. The people that I work with remind me that their collective talents are what make anything that I create/release truly shine. I am honored that these players have dedicated their time, talent and energy to my cause. The heavy rock and metal community really is quite special.

Dave (of The Tyrant) and I have been forging 10 songs for the last year and a half… Because of the proper meds, I’ve been able to actually play guitar live with a drummer. It’s my second chance. Dave is my catalyst for new live offerings. Our band is called Ramprasad, we have an EP coming out very soon, he on drums and myself with guitar and vocal duties. And, we will start playing shows early 2018. This is the first time that I’ve had my pain managed enough to play live since early 2013. I am very enthusiastic and blessed (for lack of a better word) to know David, in so many ways.

It really is amazing to play for a few hours at a time, all the while in pain, but manageable pain. I don’t have the dexterity I used to and my nerve endings can’t tell the difference between strings well anymore. So, I play a lot simpler riffs but Dave truly shines… he’s such a great drummer! I’d say we sound like… fuck, I don’t really know. Haha. Perhaps you can tell me when I send you our record in a few weeks.

What’s the mission of Bible Black Tyrant, as opposed to other projects you’ve done?

Bible Black Tyrant is 100 percent steadfastness to one’s own belief and strength. The lyrics are about surviving toughest of storms, about keeping perspective in the hardest times. And, one doesn’t need to smile for others. What we need is to save that energy for our own perseverance and strength. We shouldn’t waste time on those that keep us from our goals. I should also say that there is a very, very strong underlining opposition to Christianity flowing through the lyrics on this recording, Anton LaVey speaks almost directly through this collection of tracks. Christianity keeps its flock of sheep in chains, and that will never not make me boil inside. Though I call myself a Pantheist, the founding beliefs of The Church of Satan make a lot of sense to me. I had to text Tyler and Dave and make sure they were okay with my lyrics being dark and strong against organized Christianity. They responded quite favorably to my view and stance. We are all holding hands around a burning bible, haha.

It’s been almost five years since you first made your MS diagnosis publicly known. What’s your health status now?

Manageable. I take 17 pills each and every day. That’s annoying and I’m chained to alarms that have me gulping them constantly. BUT, I shouldn’t complain, there are folks with MS that can’t even stand, let alone function, hold a part-time job and play music. Honestly, I consider each day as my last “healthy” one. Every single morning I wake to the assumption that I won’t be able to stand, and though my legs are week, they are still holding me up. Dave and I have discussed that it’s totally possible that I’ll play live in a wheelchair some day… sounds dark, I guess, but I am a realist. If I have to do that, I suppose I will.

Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

I want to thank you, as always, for being my go-to for heavy music knowledge as well as THE first person to send my new recordings and projects to. Thank you JJ. As far as closing words: Do your best. Forget the rest.

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Bible Black Tyrant to Release Regret Beyond Death in Feb. 2018

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

There’s no audio public yet, so you’re going to have to take my word for now that Bible Black Tyrant‘s upcoming debut album, Regret Beyond Death, is absolutely crushing. Claustrophobic in its tonality and atmosphere the whole way through. February is a long ways off, but with Aaron D.C. Edge (Lumbar, Roareth, Iamthethorn) at the helm, one would have to expect no less.

Edge has joined forces in Bible Black Tyrant with vocalist/guitarist/noisemaker David S. Fylstra and drummer Tyler Smith and you can see the formidable pedigree they share between them below, but consider the news that they’ll offer Regret Beyond Death through Argonauta Records (CD), Cheddar Brothers Records (LP) and Anima Recordings (tape) an early heads up, because it’s one you aren’t going to want to miss if you’ve ever enjoyed the process of feeling like your head’s about to cave in. And haven’t we all?

Here’s word from the PR wire:

bible black tyrant

Bible Black Tyrant – Regret Beyond Death

We’re excited to welcome in our roster US supergroup BIBLE BLACK TYRANT, an oppressive sonic endeavor that features Tyler Smith, Aaron D.C. Edge and David S. Fylstra (members of Eagle Twin, Lumbar, KVØID, Form of Rocket, Minor Fret, Wasting Seasons, Iamthethorn, etc.).

Their impressive album “Regret Beyond Death” will be released during February 2018 on CD/DD (Argonauta Records) – vinyl (Cheddar Brothers Records), cassette (Anima Recordings).

“Beginning with a crushing density, Bible Black Tyrant’s ‘Regret Beyond Death’ offering immediately transports the listener into the dark forests of the Pacific Northwest at dusk; conjuring images of the sun setting against indecipherable, deciduous silhouettes. The air thickens as we continue a climb along a gently worn route to an unknown, undisclosed location. As the journey – and the record – lengthens, we are granted a strong scent of smoke and hemlock, of moss. Fear swirls ’round us now, fusing with the clamorous chants of a distant, uprising swarm, a loaded weight of atmospheric composition. Onward, and as the album nears its climactic conclusion, Bible Black Tyrant’s simultaneously oppressive and liberating mass projects a clear message written in the smoldering ashes: ‘Walk this path with us’”.

Drums documented by Andy Patterson at The Boar’s Nest. Guitar and bass documented by Aaron Edge at Myelin Studio. Vocals, additional guitar and soundscapes documented by David Fylstra at Candlewolfe Sound. Drum mix by Andy Patterson. Final mix by David Fylstra and Aaron Edge at Candlewolfe Sound. Mastered by Zach Weeks.

Bible Black Tyrant is:
Aaron D.C. Edge: Guitar / Bass / Vocals
Tyler Smith: Percussion
David S. Fylstra: Additional Guitar / Vocals / Soundscapes


Lumbar, The First and Last Days of Unwelcome (2013)

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