To The Lost

I didn’t know you.

Except I did.

I, just like the rest of the world, knew you. I knew your music. Your poetry. Your art. Your expression.

I knew your joy. Your pain. Your love. Your anger. Your sorrow. Your hate. Your despair.

I knew your success and I knew your failures. I knew your struggles and I knew your fight to endure, to rise after each collapse, to continue on when others might have fallen.

I knew your vices and your follies.

I knew your demons.

And I knew your Muse.

I knew you without ever knowing you, because of what you gave me, because of what you shared with me, and the rest of the world.

I never met you, but I knew you, and you knew me. Because you were me. And everyone else that you ever spoke to… spoke for.

You were my voice while I was finding my own. You were a voice for those who didn’t have one. And the world heard you.

And knew you… and because of you, knew me.

You were Scott. You were Dime. You were Jimi. You were Kurt. You were Layne. You were Janice. You were John. You were Jani. You were Randy. You were Freddy. You were Bob. You were Shannon. You were Dave. You were Jim. You were Cliff. You were Jeff.

And so many more.

You’re gone now, but still you remain. There is legacy. There is hope. And there are those not yet born who will also know you.

You’ve left us behind. But you’ve left everything you were with us.

And in that–in us–you will live.

Of Prometheus


The deepest hours of night pale in comparison to the abyssal depths of the artistic mind–a place where things unsafe and unmeant to be lurk waiting to be given life, shades of the horrors of Man that fortunately find little more than glimpses of life as a sparks extinguished as rapidly as they ignite. And we, the keepers of the arts, are the wardens of a great many mysteries. But for the tortured artistic mind, that soul in anguish and torn apart by the vices and vicissitudes of life and love, the monsters are real, and we become their servants. We are not misunderstood, we are not mad; we are simply not bound by the strictures of a world that does not want us or our creations, and cannot fathom the depths of our being nor decipher the ink that stains our souls. We are victims of our own making to the monsters we have freed, those abominations that those who are considered “normal” fear out of ignorance and misunderstanding. But they, our children, are our masters, and we, the makers of the unmade, their willing and condemned servants. We are the damned, confined to the world we create, limited only in our expression, consumed by the fires that we kindle. Yet it is truly only there, in the depths of the loneliness and despair thrust upon us by the rest of you that we, the forsaken wretches of love, find ourselves in what we create. And while we never ask for understanding, we dare you to peer into those depths and converse with we who burn the world. And in weighing your own limitation and finite existence, you will know us to be gods.

Album Review: Fivefold – Hold On

My review of Fivefold’s EP, ‘Hold On,’ for The Forge.


Hold On

Fivefold - Hold On

Fivefold – Hold On




Review by Rob Salem


Veterans of the St. Louis underground, rock band Fivefold delivers a quality set on their 6-song EP, Hold On. The album reflects the maturity that you’d expect from band that’s been together for 7 years, slowly working its way into being one of the biggest local draws in its hometown. The songs are well written, and while the track ‘Step Back’ offers itself up as the most-likely radio single, every track on this EP is an attention getter. From the introspective ballads ‘Til Death’ and ‘Hold On’ to the energy-driven ‘Falling Into Circles’ and ‘Liars’ to the blunt and angry ‘Worst Mistake,’ Fivefold’s sound is consistent with much of what’s going on in modern rock, yet there is a gritty edge to it that suggests that if these guys wanted to get really heavy they could, and would be perfectly comfortable doing so. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fivefold ends up in the mainstream in the near future,and I’m already looking forward to hearing what they come up with next. If you’re into edgy rock that very carefully walks the line between the mainstream and underground sounds with intelligent, well-crafted lyrics and music, then Hold On by Fivefold is definitely an album you’ll want to check out.


In addition to my poetic and fiction writing, as an on-air radio show host I sometimes review albums from underground rock and metal bands. Here’s a review I just did. Be sure to check out my show, The Forge on Radio Free Kokomo.


The Voice Of Reason


Release Date: 14 June 2014


Review by Rob Salem


Catalytic - The Voice Of Reason

Catalytic – The Voice Of Reason

One of the perks of working in radio is getting advance copies of upcoming releases. I was recently privileged to get a copy of Catalytic’s soon-to-be-released debut album, The Voice Of Reason, and I’ll be honest—I’m glad I did. I’ve not made any secret out of the fact that despite having not seen Catalytic live (yet—I intend to remedy this ASAP) I’m a fan. This comes in part from the fact that I’ve been playing a couple of their demo tracks on The Forge for a while now, but also from the fact that these guys are active in the Indianapolis metal scene, and big advocates of not only themselves, but of other great bands in the scene. With that said, I took the time to listen to The Voice Of Reason a few times through, and to make sure that I was listening not as a fan, but as a critic. Here are my thoughts:


The Voice Of Reason is a solid album from start to finish. The production quality is great, making it easy to listen to, but also to hear everything that’s going on. These guys aren’t super-technical, and they’re not necessarily doing anything innovative with their sound, but that’s okay; they know their music, they know their sound, and they know what they’re good at. One of the things that they demonstrate is diversity in their sound while maintaining consistency. The songs range from thrashing shredders to down-tempo ballad-feeling tunes that succeed at evoking the introspective ear (‘Believe’). Dustin Strole gives his vocals a workout as he moves back and forth from melodic cleans to gut-wrenching roars, but he does it well; he obviously knows his range and sensibly works within it, while never sacrificing any of his power. The guitar work of James Donner and Dustin Chavez is tight, but I think only hints at what these guys are really capable of. Tracks like ‘Red Stained Plains’ evoke the riffing of Amon Amarth at times, while other tracks definitely pull from the New England metalcore sound; these guys obviously have talent, and I’d like to see them stretch their wings a little more by writing some riffs that push the boundaries of their comfort zones and really challenge themselves and each other. Jesse Curtis on bass and Jason Dinwiddie on drums lay down thunder as a tight-as-hell rhythm section that drives the rest of the band while maintaining an unshakeable foundation that gives the guitars and vocals the elevation they need to soar.


All in all, The Voice Of Reason is an impressive first offering. The original demos that Catalytic released in 2013 were good in and of themselves, but hearing those tracks get that studio polish and go through some of the evolution that is expected of produced studio work demonstrates that these guys take their craft seriously and are always looking to improve upon and perfect things that are already considered good. The Voice Of Reason is going to stay in my personal rotation for a while to come, and I can guarantee you’ll be hearing it regularly on The Forge; I only hope that there’s a label somewhere smart enough to pick it up for distribution. Catalytic is poised to help put the Indianapolis metal scene back on the map, and I’m proud to say that you heard it heard it first on The Forge.