Throwback Thursday: TRANSCENDING BIZARRE?’s The Serpent’s Manifolds is One of Black Metal’s Overlooked Oddities

(doing the clap after every other word thing) STOP DRINKING A GALLON OF COFFEE AND THEN VOLUNTEERING FOR ASSIGNMENTS

Ahem. I filled in for Metal Injection’s usual #TBT columnist last week and used the opportunity to discuss a band that I chanced upon in high school and have been listening to semi-regularly ever since. Transcending Bizarre? is a great band and this is pretty much the only time I can think of to relevantly write about them. This is cliche and certainly applies to a lot of the metal stuff I write, but if you told me one decade ago that I’d be able to hype up this completely unknown music group for one of the web’s largest metal publications, I’d laugh you out the door.

I was also excited to be able to talk to Haris, who served as the band’s keyboardist, for the article. Loved the standout memory he shared with me. Haris, if you’re reading this, thanks for the quick turnaround and in-depth answers! You rock.

The Warped Tour article

I covered Warped Tour’s final Ventura date for the Ventura County Star. Here is the article.

I was The Star’s guy for interviewing Mark McGrath at the Ventura County Fair last year and I was excited to bring my love for music journalism, which I typically only get to work on outside of the 9-5 newsroom job, back to the newspaper.

Alright, that sounded ridiculously corporate. But this was a genuinely fun and exciting opportunity and I think my enthusiasm for this kind of coverage is apparent in the article.

The best music of 2018 so far + My one year anniversary freelancing for Metal Injection

I (and others) wrote about my top five records of 2018 so far for Metal Injection. It was genuinely challenging to narrow this list down to five entries, which says a lot about the superb quality of music released in the last six months. It’s been a phenomenal year for music and many of my most-anticipated albums haven’t even come out yet. Plus, I’ve missed a couple of albums that I have particularly high hopes for.

Anyway, here’s my part of the article.

I have to give an honorable mention to Of Feather and Bone’s excellent “Bestial Hymns of Perversion,” which just barely missed the cut. Check out one of the songs and support this great band.

Anyway (again), this feature roughly marks my one year anniversary writing for Metal Injection. Although I’ve been writing about heavy metal since high school, I never had a real outlet to publish my content, since school newspapers are generally (in fairness, rightfully so) hesitant to regularly publish such niche content.

I started this blog in late 2016 with the singular intent of building a portfolio of high-quality writing that would eventually cause editors to take notice. I’m not the best at networking for careers. I’d reckon it’s one of my largest professional weaknesses and while I’m trying to work on that, I hadn’t actively written about music—or any of my interests, really—for about a year and knew I needed new content to show off.

I spent about seven months writing a minimum of three articles per month for this blog with the hopes that it would result in…something. I don’t know how many hours I put in, but it was probably somewhere in the triple digits. It’s brutally demoralizing to put so much time into article after article for seemingly zero payoff, only to end up looking like “another idiot with a blog.”

Of course, none of that should imply that my struggle was unique or that I was owed anything. I’m sure there are countless people who have been on a similar path, and I’m lucky enough to at least have a “normal” 9-5 journalism job.

Regardless, when Metal Injection co-founder Robert Pasbani responded to one of my emails inquiring about freelance work last June, it was one of the most exciting professional moments of my life.

I think it’s reasonable to say that the last two years have generally been fairly bleak, especially for those of us that work in the journalism world. Having an outlet to write about (primarily metal) music, one of my true passions, has made it bearable. Here’s to…more of that in the future.

On Housing Secretary Ben Carson’s proposed rent increases on HUD properties

I spent most of last week analyzing the impact that Housing Secretary Ben Carson’s (since rescinded) proposal to raise rents in HUD-funded housing could have on Ventura County.

The article was embargoed for several days and by the time it went up Carson had stepped away from his plans. Holding the article until Sunday was not my decision. Regardless, HUD-funded housing will always be a major topic and I think there’s plenty if still-relevant information to unpack here.

Here’s the article.

Album review: TOMB MOLD Manor of Infinite Forms

I didn’t really get why people were so enamored with Tomb Mold’s 2016 debut. It was good, but this new one is definitely great stuff and I’m 100% on board now. The instrumentation is just phenomenal! I think Of Feather and Bone’s new record is still my favorite album the genre has offered in 2018 thus far but this is sitting very pretty at #2.

It is morally imperative that you read my review then buy the record.

Going forward, been mulling over doing a recap of stuff I wanted to cover but couldn’t in the last six months. Nothing big, probably just quick riffing on new music that mostly ranges from mediocre to decently OK. Also partaking in a joint Metal Injection feature that’ll also be out sometime this month. Should round out June.