The silent roar of darkness; talking Evocation with Skin Drone


Within the metal underground, it is fair to say that anticipation for the debut album from US band Skin Drone has been increasingly eager in many quarters. The web based project is the creative union of vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Erik Martin of Critical Dismemberment and multi-instrumentalist/producer Otto Kinzel from Chemical Distance and the founder of Bluntface Records. Next month sees the release of debut album Evocation; a proposition offering emotionally and lyrically dark tales as raw and caustic as they are seductive and elegantly evocative. The album pulls the listener into ravenous experimental landscapes of imposing shadows and emotional turmoil shaped by a fusion of extreme, industrial, and avant-garde metal with provocative ambiences, to simplify it all. It is powerful and invigorating, and the source of a hunger to dig deeper into its heart. So with big thanks to Erik and Otto, that is what we have done as we explore the world of Skin Drone…

Hi Guys and thank you for sharing your time with us.

Can you first tell us how you both met?

Erik: We met through Operation: Underground [a compilation album on Blutface Records]. Critical Dismemberment was on that release and Otto mixed/mastered the song for us. From there, we became good friends throughout the months and when Otto approached me about Skin Drone, there was no way to say no.

Otto: After Operation: Underground, which my label Bluntface Records released, I started working with Critical Dismemberment much more and they eventually joined the label. So by that point I had already been talking with both Erik and Chase Fincher (who did all the mixing & mastering on Evocation) for some time. I was always impressed by both of them and we all became really good friends. Erik and I have a lot in common so I think we naturally connected on a musical and personal level. When I asked Erik if he’d be able to help me out with vocals on some songs he jumped at the chance. That first song was what ended up becoming Witching Hour, and Erik hit a home run with it! I was so blown away by what he wrote and performed that I knew we had to pursue this more. Long story short, here we are. And it’s funny because even though Chase isn’t a “member” per say of Skin Drone, he played a huge role in the final product because he’s the one that brought the tracks to life when he mixed the album.

As you have already touched on, you are both heavily involved in other projects, solo and with others, and Otto you with running Bluntface Records too; so when did the seeds to the actual project of Skin Drone first arise?



Otto: I had been trying to get a variation of Skin Drone off the ground for probably a year or so prior to hooking up with Erik. And I had basically no luck whatsoever. So when I started working with Critical Dismemberment, and subsequently got to know Erik and Chase better I knew that there was special talent there. As I mentioned, Witching Hour was the first song we collaborated on together. I had a rough demo with just guitar and drums recorded when I sent it to Erik to try his hand at it. I never had a serious vocalist attached to this project and the whole thing was basically dormant in my efforts to get it off the ground. Erik came back with a very impressive performance and lyrics, and I was blown away. I specifically remember thinking “damn, if we can make this work, even with 1,000 miles between us, we might be onto something really special”. And the momentum kept building with each song afterwards as both of us got more comfortable working & writing with each other. The chemistry was very natural; I don’t remember ever really having to “force” anything in the creative process.

What was the initial spark and indeed the moment where you knew it was going to work?

Erik: For me it was hearing the final mix of Witching Hour when we first started. It just felt right and when we really started to venture out into the experimental with Shepherd Of The Damned, we ran with it and embraced the sound we were crafting, that for me cemented that we were a force to be reckoned with.

Otto: Shepherd of the Damned was the first song we did where there were multiple changes in the timing, and in the overall feeling of the song. The levels of dynamics in that were tricky to start but once we had the final version, I think we both knew we had stepped our game up a notch.

Did you set out with a particular intent and direction for Skin Drone or let things organically arise?

Otto: Everything that happened was organic. Sure, we tried to push in a particular direction. At first I think we just wanted to pursue the technical death metal type of sound. But funny enough, the more we “tried” to push for one specific style, the more things spun out of control and took on a life of their own. It was fairly early on that we realized that we needed to just “run with it” so to speak, and however the songs came out is how they came out. It’s hard to explain because so much of it was done by “feel”; but everything was organic.

As you mentioned you live hundreds of miles apart and more. So I am assuming a physical coming together for the project is near to impossible, so how does the writing and creating process work between you online?

Erik: Usually it starts off with a demo that we toss back and forth a few times until we have something that we feel out did what we accomplished with the last song. Some take longer than others but for the most part it is no different than writing in the same room; the only difference being that when we are communicating our ideas to each other, we have to be very clear as to what we are trying to achieve sonically. There is always the potential if we are having an off day that it could derail the entire song, but we always catch ourselves before that happens.

Is this a time consuming process in the creation of songs and do you work on them one at a time or work away on numerous tracks at the same time?

Otto: I’d say no more or less of a time consuming process that what a “regular” band goes through. Some songs naturally take longer than others to complete but as a whole we work at a very efficient pace. That’s because both Erik and I each do a lot of work on our own time to develop our parts and work thing out, before presenting them to the other person. And yes we’ll typically have a few songs continuously in the works. For me it helps because if I’m stuck on a certain song or just not having any luck then I can go work on something else, and still make progress without holding the whole project up.



You have just released your striking and enjoyably often disturbing debut album, Evocation. How long has it been in the making?

Erik: If memory serves me correctly, we wrote the first song in autumn of 2014 and finished the last one in the beginning of summer in 2015. It was then gone back over and mixed/mastered in the winter of 2015. We have the luxury of being able to take our time and not have to a label or pay for studio time, I feel like that lack of pressure really shows in the music.

Is it a project which has had to grow around other commitments or were you able to create it in a period of no other musical distractions?

Erik: For me, I had just finished my parts on the Critical D debut, so for 99% of this, I was musically not distracted.

Otto: I had no distractions musically. I always try to make sure I can give 100% focus and energy to the material when I’m in writing /recording mode.

Can you give some idea to its themes?

Erik: The themes are mostly centred in occultism, rituals, witchcraft, paganism and even some calling out thieves in organized religion. There are also certain personal elements hidden in plain sight, but we leave those to the listener to decide what is fiction and what is real life. It adds a level of mysticism that we build upon musically.

I was going to ask about that; as much as it trespasses the senses and psyche, there are just as evocative moments of melancholic beauty and intimate psychosis to songs. So to push for more insight, how much of their inspiration and exploration comes from the emotionally personal side and experiences of you two, lyrically and musically?

Erik: Lyrically during the writing process I was in a very dark place. Dealing with vices and very confused on what life even meant; that included the people in it. You could liken it to just doing what I had to do in order to keep breathing. All that translated to some of the darkest and angriest lyrics I had ever written. The best example of this is Salvation. That song is about a spirit that drives his killer insane and ultimately kills him and makes it all look like a ritualistic suicide. If you really pay attention to the lyrics, you start to see a very personal story of being consumed by something and the only way out is death it seems.  There are examples of this spread out through the entire album; it is all just up to everyone’s individual interpretation of the lyrics.

For us Evocation is the darkest most invasive nightmare, yet equally at times, a shadowed but understanding emotional affair between listener and song. How much was this deliberately sculpted and again how much an organic evolution?

Otto: From my perspective, watching how Erik was so methodical; in his approach to writing the lyrics and developing the themes, I would say it was deliberate. He did a wonderful job orchestrating how it all went together, like an architect. For the music and the basic song structures, all of that was organic and natural. But when it came time to add the lyrics and really focus in on shifting the songs into their “final” state, Erik was the guy commanding the ship. I know how personal and painful a lot of these lyrics are to him and I’m so impressed with his commitment to the art.

There is also a real cinematically ambient feel to some parts. This is a style in your composing which you might explore more, or already may have?

Erik: The cinematic effects (I hope) remain a staple of our sound. Already in writing some rough ideas for record two, those ambient parts will go along with the heavy parts and we will throw in some curveballs when it comes to the time changes and the melancholic parts of the music. I think we are hungrier to really explore the depths of what we can do sonically and evolve as a band.

Skin Drone - Evocation _RingMasterReviewAs we mentioned earlier, you both have other projects which between them I can say have given some of our favourite releases in recent times. When you get an idea for one, is there now an element of stepping back and looking to see if it might fit better with say Skin Drone or vice versa?

Erik: 100% of what I write in my solo project is open for us to try and make a Skin Drone song. You just never know when you put something together that you think will not work actually turns into something that makes the record. Sometimes stepping back from the craziness for a day or two can yield some badass results.

Otto: I had some random riffs and drum patterns kicking around here and there, that for one reason or another just never got used. It was fun to go back and rediscover some of that stuff. I record tons of music, almost every day. So I have a huge catalogue of material that runs the gamut from metal and industrial to dark ambient and more instrumental/score type of compositions. Most of this I just do to capture an idea so almost everything is unfinished and in a “demo” type of state. But I like being able to capture an idea and then have it saved, so someday later on if I find a place for it I can go back and see if it works.

There is no escaping the raw and bold kaleidoscope of styles within Evocation either. What are the artists or flavours which have most inspired your own inventions would you say?

Erik: For me it was a lot of Deconstruction era Devin Townsend Project. Another I was reminded just recently was the Declaration album from Bleeding Through; most notably the song Sister Charlatan. The heaviness along with orchestral parts was really my first taste of the two blended together and since then has always been something I’ve wanted to incorporate into music. Lastly, Landon Tewers who uses a lot of ambience and really dark imagery with his lyrics was a huge influence. He was my introduction onto whispering vocals and I absolutely loved it.

Otto: Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Mike Patton and almost all of his various bands, Ministry, KMFDM, Obscura, Gorguts, Nirvana, Kyuss…those are a just a few. If you give me long enough I can come up with a ton of stuff haha.

What comes next for Skin Drone and yourselves individually?

Erik: For Skin Drone, it’s riding the album cycle until there is no more gas in the tank and then some. After that we probably take a short break and get back into writing the next record with our foot mashed on the gas. With Critical D on hiatus, Skin Drone is my one and only focus.

Otto: Like Erik said, we’re going to promote the hell out of Evocation until there is literally nothing left to promote. We’re prepared to work as hard as we’ve ever had to work in our lives to get the music out there and make sure people hear it.

After that? I think we’ll take a short rest so we can recharge our creative batteries and then jump right back into writing the next album. We already have some rough ideas kicking around for themes.

Once again many thanks for chatting with us. Anything you would like to add?

Otto: Evocation drops June 14. Please pre-order your copy at!

Check out our review of Evocation @

Pete Ringmaster

The RingMaster Review 19/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Skin Drone – Evocation

Skin Drone - Evocation _RingMasterReview

Evocation is the eagerly awaited debut album from US duo Skin Drone, a web based project consisting of vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Erik Martin (Critical Dismemberment) and multi-instrumentalist/producer Otto Kinzel (Chemical Distance/Bluntface Records). Both have released and been part of many striking and praise luring proposals but it is as Skin Drone that the pair arguably creates their most un-conventionally inventive and imposingly experimental adventures as evidenced by Evocation.

The album is a collection of emotionally and lyrically dark tales fuelled by insanity and torment encased in a hard to pin down tapestry reaping the raw and caustic might as well as beauty of certainly extreme, industrial, and avant-garde metal. Each track is a tempestuous journey through ravenous shadows, hellacious landscapes, and emotive turmoil but songs which equally at times share melancholic beauty and intimate psychosis. All grab keen attention on the first listen, each enslaving ears and thoughts, but it is through the journey of numerous plays that their layers, depths, and full compelling characters compellingly truly come alive.

With one half of the band in Hot Springs, Arkansas and the other in Boston, Massachusetts, it is hard not to  be quickly impressed by the skilful and coherent weave of almost kaleidoscopic textures and ideas, an organic unity which has blossomed through assumingly a torrent of ideas and files being passed back and forth between the duo. Admittedly though, as opener Scarlet Road consumes the senses, Evocation has thoughts swiftly engaged in other creative dramas and intrigue too. The first track envelops ears with a rousing roar of vocal squalls amidst technical and death metal animosity. It has a swagger and toxic virulence which needs little time to infest appetite and imagination, with the latter also persistently gripped by the glimmer of unpredictable incitement which rises from the track’s mellow and provocative slips into emotional dissonance. The track is pure fascination, a challenge and poetic tempting leaving a lingering imprint on the psyche whether washing solemnly over the senses or nagging them with torrential antagonistic discord.

Erik & Otto album_RingMasterReviewIts emotional turbulence is matched by that of the following God Complex, another ravenous proposal of extreme and venomously grooved metal entangled with sinister disharmony and emotional dissension. The raw vocals squalls create a great rapacious texture in the tempest and the haunting ambience sharing the song’s air, adding great discord and heart bred turmoil again in an offering inflamed with raging ire or sharing sombre caresses. The track continues to envelop and involve across its ever evolving body, sharing its discordancy with its outstanding successor, Death Sentence. It is a carnivorous piece of music and invention, but equally a thrilling adventurous dive through a wealth of avant-garde/progressive experimentation amidst a toxically grooved and rabidly irritable incitement; it all colluding for one breath-taking and emotionally pestilential offering.

Shepherd of the Damned is an inharmonious crawl over the senses next, organ and vocal menace a caliginous calling aided by pained clean vocals before a ravaging expulsion of intensity and sounds spills their animosity. The track continues to weave in and out of vicious and elegant melancholy without escaping the emotional hell at its heart before making way for the nature-esque soundscape and again haunting charm of Ghost Reflection. As always though, even in its warmest melodic seducing, shadows lurk, biding their time as strings and keys skilfully serenade and seed the imagination. They are never allowed a real grip here though, instead a tribalistic rhythmic shuffle emerging to surprise and draw the listener closer as similarly bred vocals dance on their beats.

That darkness does get its moment though in the infectious rock ‘n’ roll of City Lights; a track which seems to stalk the senses even as it launches tenacious roars and bruising tides of rhythmic temptation. Even in that predacious intent, guitars create veins of sonic enticement subsequently leading to seductive noir lit physical and emotional scenery. The track is another pinnacle of Evocation, a fiercely memorable and greed sparking moment backed up just as dynamically and imaginatively by Witching Hour. Evil lines every beat and savage riff, Martin’s scarring vocal trespasses too but again the band creates infectious grooves and a raw catchiness which simply pulls you into the fire of the track. An addictive throaty bassline only adds to the irresistible bait of the track’s quarrel and creative rancor too, a lure equalled by the song’s industrial fizz and melodic oasis further in.

Classical keys coax ears and thoughts into the dark conflict within Darkness Within next; the track a heavy resonating smoulder of emotional and sonic disunity growing from a calm reflective charm into intrusive discordance. As with all tracks within Evocation, every moment is in flux and evolving into a new shade of turbulence and anguish brewed intimacy with matching character of sound to enthral and thrill.

Closing up with Salvation, a similar but individual tapestry woven from varying shades of darkness aligned to emotional greys, Skin Drone leave ears and emotions numb and enjoyment rampant. As suggested, Evocation should be embraced over numerous listens, every one bringing something new to explore while casting fresh twists on ideas already nurtured by previous ventures into its impressive depths. This often viscerally impacting album will not be for everyone but for those with bold imagination and a taste for a band pushing its and metal’s boundaries, Evocation and Skin Drone are worth a heavy slice of attention.

Evocation is released June 14th via Bluntface Records with pre-ordering available @

Pete RingMaster 10/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Otto Kinzel Interview

Back in 2010 through the Reputation Radio Show we were introduced to the striking and intriguing band Chemical Distance, their song Red Queen’s Race becoming a firm favourite. Otto Kinzel, creator of the band, emerged through the few communications we engaged in as a gentleman and enthused musician we had to take notice of. The following year though we simply lost touch with what he and the band was up to but  recently he came back into our view with his remix for the latest Virus Cycle album. This was just the reminder we needed to catch up and find out more about his solo work as well as past and upcoming projects plus learn more about his own record label. So with pleasure we bombarded Otto with questions and this is what we found out.

Hi Otto, many thanks for taking time to talk with us.

No problem Pete, thank you for giving me the opportunity!

Firstly tell us a little about yourself and back ground outside of music.

I was born in Nyack, NY but lived all over the Eastern US as a kid. My parents divorced when I was really young so my sister and I would get shuttled back and forth from wherever my dad and Mom were living, respectively, so New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware…but I ultimately grew up in Vermont, so I consider myself a Vermonter.

Was your childhood lived with music always around?

Not at first. Neither of my parents was very musically inclined. But once we (my dad, sister and I) moved to Vermont, we were then living close to my uncle Bob (my dad’s brother). He plays guitar, has been in bands, toured, recorded, the whole 9 yards. I had been interested in playing guitar since I was very young, so when I turned 12 my dad bought me a Gibson Les Paul knock-off and a tiny 15 watt Peavey amp. My uncle gave me some lessons to get me started. I think the very first song I learned was Bob Dylan’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door. My uncle Bob is really the one who got me started and helped me on my way.

When did you realise your were destined to and simply had to make music?

As soon as I heard distortion coming through that tin amp for the first time. That’s when I knew I was onto something magical.

Who were your biggest influences/favourite bands and artists growing up?

As a kid my only outlet for music was my older sister’s cassette tapes. All my music was “hand me down” stuff so I had Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and some of the other big artists of the time. I think I also had the We Are The World soundtrack, hahaha, but once I got a little older I discovered Metal. It blew me away. Again once we moved to Vermont a lot of things opened up to me. Not only did my uncle get me started playing guitar, but I also got exposed to a wide new world of heavy music. My cousin Ethan, whose 4 years older than me, listened to Metallica, Iron Maiden, Megadeth…all sorts of Thrash Metal at the time. His bedroom was covered in posters from these bands. I remember vividly staring at pictures of Iron Maiden’s “Eddie” and being mesmerized by the artwork and detail. So it wasn’t long after that I went out and started buying albums from these bands. I was always looking for the next heavy ass band, so after starting with Metallica and Maiden, I got into some Death Metal, Industrial-metal (including KMFDM and Ministry, who are still two of my all-time favourite bands) and the like.

You have been a member of and played in numerous bands over the past decade. Thinking of pre-Chemical Distance was this just as a musician or were you already in the production side of music then too?

I got started in the production side of music my senior year of high school, 1997 I think. It was more out of desperation than anything. At that time high quality studios in Vermont were slim, and the ones that did exist were insanely expensive. I bought a Tascam 8-track recorder, a book on home recording techniques, and that was that. A LOT of trial and error, and a LOT of very bad recordings, ha-ha. But I learned and learned, and down the road was able to get some formal training, which helped a lot.

Were the bands in that period of your life ones you started or existing ones you joined?

Almost all of them were ones I started. I tried joining a couple here and there but it never felt right. I always felt like a guy who was just a third wheel. I want to be responsible for building something on the ground level.

We first came across you with your band Chemical Distance and the excellent The Pain & The Progress album. I am right in believing originally the project and album was intended as a solo thing for you?

Yes that is correct. I wanted to do a studio project and just have a ton of different musicians collaborate on each song. Kind of toss everyone’s influences into a blender and see how it comes out. Michael Hauply-Pierce ended up doing vocals on most of the album; although Greg Boedecker did vocals on a couple of songs and Keith Chisholm did vocals on No “Real” Friends.  Bob Dwyer played guitar and added synth to a couple of songs as well and Marc Brennan added live drums and some extra guitar to a few songs.

What was the trigger for evolving things into a fully contributing band?

I ended up doing a series of shows to promote the album, when it was still in pre-release. It felt very strange having Michael (Hauptly-Pierce- vocals) and Matt (Connarton- bass) on stage with me, playing their asses’ off, all for my “solo” project. We were all on stage sweating and working hard together. Everything was really clicking as far as the chemistry between the three of us. It just evolved and no longer felt “right” calling it Otto Kinzel. The project had morphed into a proper band.

Is the band still an active thing amongst the wealth of other projects you are involved with?

We released a 7 song EP in 2011 called This Program Is Not Responding. We didn’t do nearly the amount of touring and promotion that we did for The Pain & The Progress, so it got a bit lost unfortunately. But it’s available on the Bluntface website at

And we just released a brand new Chemical Distance song called Caritas on a String, which is available as a free download on the GET TURNED ON: Music from the Underground compilation album.

In the different bands you have played guitar, sung, synths as well as created the programming, produced and more. Which aspect gives you the most satisfaction and do you think need this variety to your work to keep fresh and imaginative?

I think playing guitar and writing really heavy riffs gives me the most satisfaction as a musician. But really they all complement each other. Sometimes I’ll have some writer’s block when it comes to guitar, so I can work on programming beats. And then while listening to what I programmed Voila! A riff pops into my head, same with synths. Everything fuels the creative process and helps to keep my writing and performance moving forward.

When you write songs is there a certain intent you try to bring forth with your music or does it evolve all on its own?

It’s really all over the place, there is no formula or procedure I go thru. Sometimes I start with a riff; other times I program drums first and then put guitars to it and mess with the structure; and other times it starts with a vocal harmony.

What about on the production side, is there a certain thought or feel you try to create certainly with your own music?

I really enjoy layering the music with very deep levels of sound. I want to have a full spectrum of frequencies and lots of panning within the stereo space. I really like “headphone” albums that mess with your senses.

Tell us about your solo album of last year We Are All Doomed: The Zodiac Killer.

I wanted to a “real” solo album, where I did all the production, wrote all the songs and played all the instruments (for the most part). I had some down time and always had this idea in my head but never had the time or focus t really flesh it out.

The inspiration is obvious to everyone right away from the title but what actually made you want to turn the infamous time into a theme for an album?

I’ve always been fascinated with the Zodiac killer. The fact he’s never been caught (and the case is still unsolved) makes it even more fascinating. I was obsessed with it for a while in the early 2000’s. I did a lot of investigating on my own and a ton of research. I wanted to album to be 100% historically accurate and really represent the timeline of events and how the murders were committed.

Your music is something which challenges as much as it rewards, this is an important aspect to your creativity?

Absolutely! I think that’s something that any musician who is worth anything strives for.

You have recently linked up with Johnny Virum and Virus Cycle which came from doing a remix of one of their tracks on the album Return To Zombieland?

Yes. The remix went really well and we “jived” right away, as far as chemistry in the studio goes.

You are working with them on their new album, is this just as producer or are you part of the band too now?

I’m producing the new Virus Cycle album, Zombiechrist, and playing bass in the studio for Johnny (Virum, Virus Cycle’s frontman and driving force).

There is also a collaborative project KINZEL v VIRUM coming soon?

Yes, this is much more of a true collaboration. Musically it’s going to be more of an Industrial-Metal album, like Ministry or Psyclon Nine. Basically I’m playing guitar and doing the drum programming, and Johnny is doing the vocals and providing audio clips.  I expect this album to be released in late 2012, around winter time.

What is it about Virus Cycle and their form of industrial metal which excites you? This is a new sound for you to explore?

It’s a couple of things. First off, I love the whole zombie aspect and the various themes of apocalypse that are integrated into the lyrics. I like music that has a concept, a message. We are kindred spirits in that regard. Second I love Johnny’s work ethic. He bust his ass at what he does, he works very, very hard, which is something I have great respect for. And third, he’s a really cool guy.

You also alongside all your projects and work created and run Bluntface Records. Tell us why when constantly busy you still spread into that time consuming area of music.

The label has been around for several years now, almost 10! I started it for many of the same reasons I started doing my own production work: out of necessity. I had worked with some other label’s in the past and always felt like they never cared about what I was doing nearly as much as I did. So I said “fuck it” and decided to take my fate in my own hands. I needed a platform to release my own stuff, so it made sense.

The label has released diverse artists and sounds, what is it you look for in music which makes you consider releasing and working with it and what do you offer them which many other labels fail in?

I can’t speak about other labels because I really don’t pay attention to them to be honest. I am way too busy with my own life and music to be bothered. But for me, I love music that is “left-of-centre”, something that wouldn’t normally get played on radio; something that is really different. I want to hear artists who are not afraid to take chances and stick their necks out. Even if that particular concept doesn’t work, as long as they’re willing to try and push the envelope towards something unique, then that’s something I want to hear. There’s too much of the regular, everyday bullshit that we’ve heard a thousand times, especially in hard rock.  If you have satellite radio just turn on the Octane channel and you can hear a hundred bands all following the same song writing formula with the same style of guitar tone, the same style of drum production, and all the signers have the same “I can sing clean but also dirty” screams. It’s like there’s a factory just churning out these bands on an assembly line.

I also think that by staying small and focusing only on a hand full of artists, we can give them a lot more attention with their promotional campaigns. And it allows us to be very selective in whom we work with. We are under no financial obligation to sign whatever fad is popular.

What are the latest and upcoming releases on the label to watch out for?

Virus Cycle’s Zombiechrist, which will be out in the late fall; KINZEL v VIRUM which will be out in the winter, and currently Bradox64, which is an Electronic/Glitch/Break core/Bizarre album from NH Electronic musician Braden McFarland. That album is out now, buy it at

Other than the Virus Cycle album what is next for Otto Kinzel?

Just plugging away in the studio ha-ha. I have a couple of things up my sleeve for later this year J

Is there any room for more solo work in the near future?

That’s one of the “things” I was referring to. I’m doing research on a specific subject right now, and have already started working on some pre-production.

Again thanks for chatting with us.

Would you like to leave with any last words or thoughts?

Thank you for having me, I really appreciate you giving me a chance to talk to your publication. As for last words? How about “You got cookie for me?”

The Ringmaster Review 07/07/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Virus Cycle: Return to Zombieland

Return to Zombieland from Boston electro/industrial metallers Virus Cycle revisits their acclaimed debut album Alice In Zombieland with a collection of striking and impressive remixes of tracks from some of the vibrant talent around the world, each re-inventing the dark creations with their own distinct vision. It is a startling tomb of re-invention, a parallel destructive world with an equally consuming menace to its source.

The music of Virus Cycle, consisting of Johnny Virum  (Vocals, Guitar, Drums, Synth, Programming), Damaris (Vocals), and Veronika (Artwork, Social Media), is a disturbed and addictive combination of horror borne lyrics, resonating beats, and guitar grinds which scythe through and ignite the senses from within an intrusive and haunting electronic consumption. It is a Resident Evil/Doom like soundscape spawn from the carcass of Night Of The Living Dead and 28 Days Later or as the band bio states ‘a post-apocalyptic future of death and decay, ruled by the flesh-eating undead’., the film the band name was inspired by. It is this heart which provides the core ignition for Return to Zombieland.  Released February of last year Alice in Zombieland was an inspiring ‘Post-Apocalyptic Industrial Zombie Tech’ corruption of the senses Return to Zombieland is its mutant bastard sibling and equally as hungry and rewarding.

Return to Zombieland opens with two new and original songs from the band in Bring You Down (Forever) and City Of The Dead. The first seeps through the ear with an atmospheric whisper behind a film sample before disturbed predatory riffs surge in and out. Intensity increases as the monster stirs, the excellent near lifeless vocals permeating every note and syllable with a decayed breath brought on a pulsating wave of agitated beats, hypnotic bass, and scathing riffs. The track is outstanding and infectious, the instigator of much impatient anticipation for the new album the band are working on. City Of The Dead too leaves nothing but an over enthused eagerness for the future work. The track is a crawling venomous violation, its heart tar black and intent malevolent. With warning calls throughout the festering aural decay enveloping the senses ensures there is no escape from its immoral smothering, the song immense and provocative

From here on in re-mixes light up the ears in varying degrees though it has to be said there is a high consistency which leaves many other similar styled releases to shame. First entrant is The Last Man On Earth (Blutaenasche Mix). The original track by Virus Cycle is an invasive sprawl of decayed energy, a slow moving fully intrusive assault whereas the remix sparks fires of melodic energy sparking far more hope and life than its source. Preference looks to the original but the reworking is more than satisfying and brings a different face to the track which is what one asks.

The album contains three remixes of Alice In Zombieland and as many versions of White Zombie. For the first song the Droid Sector Decay Mix is the stand out one though the trio all bring distinct essences of the original to the fore. This version offers the thought of a dawning realisation of the darkness behind the subterfuge of light. None of the three captures the fearful and menacing tone of the original but this is the closest as it twists its own unique shadow. The thumping original transgression of life White Zombie is a track as infectious as it is pure evil and something the remixes capture in varying degrees. The mix by Traumatize creates a more atmospheric overlook of the brewing dark within the track creating safe warmth to barrier in the rot whilst the version by UK band Ghost In The Static gets inside the distorted energy with writhing mesmeric electro fuelled eagerness. The best is from Otto Kinzel, an artist we know from Chemical Distance amongst other projects, and who has since become a studio member of Virus Cycle. His track chews up the senses with a blistered melodic sonic fingering and a rampant primitive energy. He rivals the original the closest and again inspires a keenness to hear his future work with the band.

Other tracks include remixes of Never Again, Cemetery Hill, and Rest In Peace, the three pleasing to a descending level respectively but all intriguing enjoyable efforts. The pair of tracks from Lykquydyzer easily emerged as our favourites, the brilliant versions of The Underworld and Horror Hotel an aural contagion and the strongest infection, especially the first of the pair which dare one say actually outshines the original. With an insistent and insatiable storm to their energy both tracks leave one breathless and eager for more.

To truly get the most from Return to Zombieland you need to listen to Alice in Zombieland too which is not an effort too far and will easily be one of the more rewarding things you do as you investigate the impressive creative worlds of both albums. The pair of releases are available free from the official Virus Cycle website  so no excuses not going and being corrupted.

RingMaster 16/06/2012 Registered & Protected

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