Monday, October 31, 2011


I'm not a "holiday" guy. Christmas and Thanksgiving are a fucking pain in the ass, as are most other faith-based "holiday celebrations" that the Hallmark Company has imposed upon us in the last century or so. I don't think my views are unique (or even rare), a lot of people get super bummed an/or pissed on holidays, as evidenced by spiking suicide rates around those times. I don't want to get up on a soapbox or anything here, but every day can be a "holiday" if you pull your head out of your ass and learn to enjoy life, rather than letting society dictate which "special days" should be enjoyed with family and friends, or which days the Christian faith designate as important enough to take off work. Fuck Christmas. Fuck Easter. Fuck Thanksgiving. Fuck fucking Columbus Day. I've said it before, and I'll most likely say it again.

That being said, I am a legitimate fan of HALLOWEEN, due to both its pagan origins and also the high weirdness it often inspires. I mean, any holiday the Fundamentalists decry as "Satanic" can't be that bad, right? LOOK AT THE ALTERNATIVES. But I'm preaching to the choir.

I don't actually have much to say today, but I did bring an awesome gift for all you basement-dwelling Halloween poo-poo-ers. I'm not even going to give you any hint as to what it is. Just go download THESE first so you'll have the proper soundtrack for a macabre Hallow's Eve wasted in front of a computer screen.

Beware, boys and ghouls. This rabbit hole goes DEEP:


Beheaded-Ominous Bloodline (2005)

I remember when St. Anger came out back in '03 everyone complained about the snare sound. They said it sounded like a tin can or whatever. 12 year old me said that it sounded pretty cool. At 12 I was listening pretty much exclusively to Metallica; fast forward a couple of years and I was listening to death, grind and some doom here and there, and I discovered the magickal world known as brutal death metal. In this world the snares sound like St. Anger and the kick drums sound like Vulgar Display of Power. I knew I had found the genre for me. In recent years producers have learned how to record brutal death metal, which is a good thing, but the crappy drum sound still gets me all nostalgic.

No record exemplifies what I love about brutal death metal more than Beheaded from Malta's Ominous Bloodline. Clackety kick drums? Check. Tin can snare? Check. Spikey logo? Check. Space battle between a giant ass lightening monster and smaller monsters over what appears to be Trantor? Muthafucking check!
 How could this not be good?

Enough of the superficial aspects: lets get down to the sweet, sweet music. If I ever had to pick the archetype of brutal death, this would probably what I would choose. The blasts are fast, slamz are brutal and the vocalist sounds like Frank Mullen.
The guitars have an awesome dry buzzsaw sound, similar to a clearer, more midrangey Dismember, and the bass is audible. But the real hero on this album is the drummer, Chris Brincat. His drumlines propel and invigorate the riffage; a couple of times a riff is repeated too many times but he switches up his beat and keeps it from getting stale. Compositionally, Bloodline is more complex than its predecessors with many more riffs per song than the previous albums. The songs grab hold of you and accelerate until massive slams drop like a cluster bomb. There's a few weird riffs in there to keep you on your toes and some pretty killer soloz too. In the middle of they album they give us an interlude in the form of Engrish champion "Depths of Sore," a Bolt Throwerish samplefest.

This album if one of the finest in all of brutal death, a masterpiece up there with Effigy of the Forgotten and Path of the Weakening in my book. This CD stayed in my car for several years and only got taken out because I had a broken window and it snowed on my "drivin muzak". If you like brutal fucking death metal then give this a spin.

"Cuz you're Unforgiven threee-eee"

Grotesque - In The Embrace Of Evil (1996)

In the spirit of All Hallow’s Eve, I present you with this fine slab of chaotic evil. Sweden’s Grotesque should not need any sort of introduction but alas, even in this day and age there are a handful of scenesters and poseurs out there in the Metal community that are not as well versed in the Tome of Metal as they should be. This excludes a handful of metal-bros and metal-sisters I know (you know who you are!) as well as the rest of the IllCon collective here of course. Simply put, Grotesque was the band that spawned At The Gates. That’s really all you need to know. OK, fine. I’ll elaborate a bit, I suppose...

Grotesque w
as formed in 1988 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Members included Offensor, Insulter, Goatspell, Necrolord, et al. If you don’t know their real names and or the bands that they would eventually help form or collaborate with, well you suck donkey balls off a giraffe’s anus, seriously. Bad imagery, sorry! Eh, not really...

In either case,
Necrolord, aka Kristian Wahlin, is the infamous artist whose artwork graced the covers of many bands including Bathory, Emperor, Necrophobic, and Dissection to name a few. Goatspell, aka Tomas Lindberg, went on to appear in At The Gates, Infestation, and The Crown. Insulter was a member of Liers In Wait and Diabolique. Offensor was in Runemagick at one point. So with that said, it is evident that Grotesque was hugely influential in the Gothenburg/Stockholm scenes. More importantly is that their series of demos and EPs would still prove to hold significant relevance even to today’s extreme metal scene. In The Embrace Of Evil is a compilation of this earlier material and was re-released together with At The Gates’ Gardens of Grief EP in 1999 on Black Sun Records.

The release opens up with an ominous, eerie, doomy, church-bell laden, goat-raping, beast of an intro. The next track however begins with some of the best riffage I have heard. The vocals on this first track simply kill and the song itself sets the precedent for the rest of the album to follow. The vocals are simply some of the most disturbing I have heard performed, especially on the latter half. I personally think this was one of Tomas Lindberg’s best performances. Despite the fact that Grotesque is labeled as ‘death/black metal,’ the music is clearly rooted in thrash. There are hints of death metal especially in the Incantation EP material but the music could easily be considered black metal due to its overtly satanic and evil pervasiveness lyrically. There are a couple of acoustical passages that are cool, but also included are some really disturbingly awesome intros such as the Tibetan monk-like chanting on Church Of The Pentagram which is even cooler. There's even keyboards in a song or two! I think...
Seriously folks, there's a little bit of everything for everyone on this album. OK, maybe not everyone but you get my point, hopefully.

Black, death, or thrash, however you want to call it, from the beginning of the opening track titled Thirteen Bells Of Doom to the final track
titled Ripped From The Cross, this is one chaotic, spastic, dark and thoroughly enjoyable release! There is not one song on here that isn’t fucking great! To quote Metal-Archives member Scissors, “It doesn't get much better than this. This is one of the greatest bands ever.”

Get Ripped From The Cross Here
Submit To Death Here


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bands Affected By Suicide

Dissection, Gorguts, Dark Disciple, Emptor, Mayhem: what is the tie that binds? Well, if you read the title, they were all affected by suicide. Some bands were unable to recover. Others carried on to varying degrees of success.

Before we get down to brass tacks: DON'T KILL YOURSELF! If you're bummed, talk to someone about it. You can even tell old DoomUnicorn here. Suicide is a complete drag and it means you can't listen to metal jamz anymore.

As I gathered my research (such as it is) I was surprised by the lack of the sort of tearful memorial melodrama you get with dead musicians (think Dio, Schuldiner, Burton). Sure, you've got some fan videos on youtube, but for the most part, these guys are treated as carnival oddities and kept at an emotional arm's length. Despite metal's cozy relationship with death, it made me wonder if suicide is too real, even for metalheads. And with metal's cartoonization of death subjects, it's impossible to identify actual mental health issues in its artists. We're talking about finding sick needles in sicker haystacks. I wonder how many more great artists we're going to lose to suicide because we're so desensitized. Although I guess I don't know what I would do if I could identify mental health problems through :45 powerviolence songs.

BUMMED YET? Good. FUCK YOU. Let's go.

RIP Per Yngve Ohlin a.k.a. Dead, Vocals (22 years old)

Let's start off with the obvious: Mayhem's original vocalist who famously blew his head off, Varg told him to do it and sent him the slugs, Euronymous snapped the pics, and Mayhem immortalized it Dawn of the Black Hearts.

Pretty grim

I admit it; I was somewhat late to the BM party. I was still bumping Master of Puppets when Deathcrush hit so I didn't even discover Mayhem until like the mid 90s. But it was jacking my friend's brother's Out from the Dark tape from his Mercury Cougar that got me hooked and opened so many doors to extreme music. I don't even know what that guy, more of a Voivod fella, was doing with a copy. Looking back on it, +10 kvlt points for him. More truth: I don't even like most other Mayhem. I've tried repeatedly to get into De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas since everyone tells me it's great but for me it's Out from the Dark or bust. I think it's Attila Csihar; I hate almost everything he's ever touched. Fuck that asshole.

What is this even supposed to be?

Dead's vocals lack range on this tape, which is a recording of his last rehearsal with the band, in that they are just kind of stuck on the psychotic, slightly strangled setting and have an in-your-faceness a lot of BM--especially that of the "atmospheric" persuasion--avoids. It's probably got something to do with the low production quality but I like to think it was intentional. To give you a sense of what we're dealing with, I present the lyrics to Chainsaw Gutsfuck, unequivocally the finest song title in all of metal:

Bleed down to the fucking core
You're going down for fucking more
Screw your slimy guts
Driving me fucking nuts!

Chainsaw in my bleeding hands
As I start to cut you in two
Your guts are steaming out
And I just love the sight!

Maggots crawling in her cunt
I just love to lick that shit
Bury you in a slimy grave
You will rot forever there!

Now you know.

I could say more but there really is no way to articulate how good this album is. Hit the link and get immediately transported to a simpler time, when BM was all Lucifer, spike cuffs, and pissed off 20 year old introverts with unpronouncable names. Not a trace of anarcho-environmentalism in sight.

RIP Erik Brødreskift, Drums (30 years old)

Emptor eked out one demo in its short lifetime. It happens to be an absolute motherfucker of a demo though, with 20 minutes of deranged thrash that crams King Diamond, early Kreator, Destruction, and Sabbath into a surprisingly effective whole. This was '88, so thrash was definitely taking off and Emptor wasn't doing anything unprecedented, but there's something primitive and hungry about them, and the fact that it sounds like it was recorded in an industrial shed, that grabs me. On the surface, there is very little here you you can't find on records with better songs and higher fidelity but it has gobs of soul (try finding that on your Futur Skullz disc) to go along with its paint-by-numbers riffs.

I feel kinda shitty about commemorating Erik Brødreskift with this album because you can barely make out the drums on it. For a guy who is 100% certified official (Gorgoroth and Immortal on the C.V.; Hole in the Sky dedication; etc.), this demo is almost a throwaway. But I love it anyway so it fucking goes in. If you only DL one thing from this post, make it this.

RIP Mat Sargent, vocals (30 years old)

Before their vocalist, Mat Sargent, killed himself in '08, Dark Disciple managed a handful of releases of safe, competent, knuckle-dragging, Jesus-baiting slam. See Devourment, Disgorge, Suffocation, etc. They sound like dudes who would totally be down for beating my ass after school. They do NOT fit the metal suicide stereotype of introspective genius with a penchant for early Cure. On a whole, you get a pretty good idea of the milquetoast death metal that lies within by taking in the cover.

However, there are moments in between the slam clichés (the intro is 30 seconds of someone saying 'Jesus Loves You'...only BACKWARDS!!!) that hint at some real potential; Sargent's schizo BM/DM vocals are especially compelling. Who knows, maybe this is an overlooked classic and Cobras can explain it better for you.

RIP Jon Nödtveidt, guitar and vocals (31 years old)

OK back into the heavy hitters. Helping to usher in melodic black/death (for better or worse), Nödtveidt was responsible for not one but two of death metal's landmark releases (Storm and Somberlain) before he turned 21. While you were busy drinking your Dad's Genny Cream Ale down by the underpass and setting tire fires, this guy was dropping classics. Listening to Dissection's first demo, The Grief Prophecy, Nödtveidt's talents are on full display as he manages to put literally all posers on blast in three short tracks. For all of The Somberlain's cold, melodic, majestic riffery, The Grief Prophecy excels in filthy, down-tuned, raw power that sounds like too-talented kids huffing glue and changing metal. Even when it veers into predictability (see: Consumed), the guitar harmonies and overall atmosphere are flawless. Truth told, I'm not the biggest Dissection fan, but I could listen to this all day. Artwork by Dead!

RIP Steve MacDonald, Drums (31 years old)

Gorguts! Srs, what can be said about Gorguts that hasn't already been said by people more articulate than myself. I feel a little bad about posting ...And Then Comes Lividity only cos he didn't drum on it. He was best known for their last album, 2001's serviceable From Wisdom to Hate, and it was his suicide that prompted their dissolution. However, this is essential listening so there is no viable option but to post it.

Before Gorguts went tech, they played some wretchedly durty, straight ahead OSDM that would stand up against almost anything by Incantation. ...And Then Comes Lividity is a side of Gorguts you don't often see and it provides back story for their bigger releases. You get none of the technical insanity of Obscura, for example, but the riffs are unfuckwithable, vocal delivery is spot-on, and it has that je ne sais quoi of early DM. The production is shit, to put it gently, but the mix is balanced and, even though the bass sounds like a trapped sofa fart, you can locate each instrument cleanly and get a sense of the musical wizardry that Gorguts would later shit out all over the place.

So that's it. Everyone was 30 or 31 years old except Per Ohlin?
What the fuck is up with THAT?

Friday, October 28, 2011


Whoa, whoa, whoa... Easy on the album title there, fellas.

I had often heard the name DRIPPING bandied about in reference to other riff-salad technical-slam-death oddities like Wormed or Origin, but never really got around to checking them out until our new word-buddy Judge Shredd dropped the name in a "weird DM" exchange just recently. Long story short, I can't believe I fucking slept on this band for so long--they are sort of like an amalgamation of everything I enjoy about extreme metal, with plenty of psychedelic weirdness and inexplicable experimentation thrown in just to frost the cake.

For the uninitiated, I will draw a few comparisons to help me explain: 1) There is a definite similarity to the aforementioned Wormed, in that both bands dwell in the off-kilter subgenre of "technical space slam". But Dripping are much more organic, and their far-less-than-perfect production cranks them up a couple notches for me personally. 2) The production of this album is indeed a huge selling point. This is no ultra-triggered, studio-perfect tech-death album--its crushing girth calls to mind sloppy classics like Embalmer or a slightly more tidy Abnegation. I wish more modern death metal bands would take a cue from Dripping and record albums that sound like actual bands playing actual songs with each other. 3) Dripping have a charming tendency to veer completely off track in the middle of a song, careening into weird robot noises, or horn sections, or ambient swooshing, or little spoken parts... In this regard I would liken them to more schizophrenic acts like Faxed Head or even super-early Candiria--although neither of those bands could shred with anywhere near the proficiency that these guys do. 4) I also get a pretty major Creation Is Crucifixion vibe from this band, as well as Blasphemy Made Flesh-era Cryptopsy. I think it's something about the guitar tone (former) and frenzied, lightspeed blastbeats (latter).

If all of these comparisons seem completely unconnected to you, well, then, you have a valid point. But Dripping pull it off with aplomb, creating one of the most re-listenable sonic journeys ICHQ has heard in quite some time. Add the fact that they hail from New Jersey and used to go by the near-perfect slam moniker "Cadaverment"--well, Dripping are nigh unto the "perfect storm". As is always the case with forgotten nuggets of this high caliber, Disintegration Of Thought Patterns During A Synthetic Mind Traveling Bliss was the only proper full-length from this insane fucking band--which means you should probably set down the meatball sub, Fatso, and hustle your mouse over to that "Download HERE" link without further ado.

Download HERE


England Prevails: Solstice "mega" post

I know what you’re thinking, not this Solstice:

Not this Solstice either:

This is about the epic doom metal Solstice from the UK. 

They (in my opinion) are the pinnacle of epic metal, be that doom or otherwise. No one has managed to pull of unironic yet not ridiculous epic metal nearly as good as they have. They are the Conan the Barbarian of metal. They are so epic they make Candlemass Conan the Destroyer. ManOwaR, in this paradigm, are Red Sonja. Sorry bros, but yall just aint got shit on Solstice.

Solstice is the brainchild of ex Sore Throat vocalist Rich Walker, cousin of Patrick Walker (formerly of the excellent Warning and currently the almost exact same sounding 40 Watt Sun). Rich also played in Pagan Altar and Isen Torr, did live vocals for Napalm Death. He also runs The Miskatonic Foundation. Starting off in the punk scene, Rich eventually moved on to doom, paralleling the career arc of Lee Dorian, but with less dancing. The band has at various time included current or former members of: Dragonforce, My Dying Bride, Cradle of Filth, While Heaven Wept, Twisted Tower Dire Mourn and others.
Solstice put out 5 demos between forming in 1990 and 1994. They are mostly slow to mid paced trad doom in the vein of Candlemass, with hints of the epicness that would follow. Some good harmonies, but overall the songwriting is lacking, although many of the songs would reappear on later albums.

Lamentations (1994)

Solstice's debut full length on Candlelight, released in 1994 shows them progressing from their demo days, but still rooted in Candlemass/Bathory territory. Almost every song was previously recorded on one of the demos. They do get up and gallop a few times and "Wintermoon Rapture" has some cool stuff going on. They show a knack for harmonized leads and the songwriting is much improved. Overall this is a very good album but doesn't separate them from the pack.
There is also a song called "Only the Strong." I don't know if they are Thor fans or aficionados of Capoeria. I'm 99.99% sure that they're Thor fans though. Fun Fact: Only the Strong stars Mark Dacascos, better known as The Chairman on Iron Chef America.

Each dawn I die, at dusk we pray

Halycon EP (1996)

This album seems like an odds-n-ends deal: 3 new songs (two of them being a throwaway keyboard piece and a spoken word intro), a song from the demo days and a cover of ManOwaR’s “Gloves of Metal.” Despite being a scrap pile of sorts it’s also a transitional piece: the only new metal song, “To Ride with Tyr” is an upbeat ManOwaR type crusher with a slower doomy part in the middle similar to the early days. The ManOwaR influence is key here. This EP was remastered in 2000 with 3 bonus tracks, 2 songs from Lamentations and a bizarre bonus track.

We die as brothers, and ride with Tyr

New Dark Age (1998)

This is by far Solstice’s finest moment. This is what makes them A Number One in my book. This is the ultimate in epic doom. It starts off strong with galloping monk impalers "The Sleeping Tyrant" and "Cimmerian Codex" and ends with the dungeon funeral dirge of  "New Dark Age II."
Massive riffs pass like torches through church windows. Epic leads soar like arrows into the hearts of their enemies. This album has more of a ManOwaR influence than the earlier works, but fortunately doesn't sound like the "Kings of Metal". Vocals are good, whereas earlier albums and demos had vocalists that sometimes couldn't hold their notes long enough, Morris Ingram is pro at epic doom vocals. Everyone else on the album gets kudos to, especially the guitarists Rich Walker and Hamish Glencross for their excellent leads, harmonies and soloz.
To be honest, this album is not flawless. It is long- the 1 hour 6 minutes runtime (even longer with bonus tracks) stretches my 35 minute brutal death metal attention span to the limit. It also has quite a bit of fat: 6 of the 11 tracks are acoustic/noise/spoken word/not metal which, though they help to  break up the album and serve as a break, putting three of them in a row right in the middle of the album is just poor album pacing and unnescesary. Other than those missteps this album is a masterpiece. If you only download one album from this post, let this be it. If epic doom is your thing, you'll enjoy:

Ice locked the nexus, an empire awaits

Other than two splits and some demos and compilations, that is Solstice's discog. Fortunately the band is active and is writing new material.

BONUS: Isen Torr-Mighty and Superior (2003)

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Yall like Deeds of Flesh but wish they were FUCKING FASTER? I know I do. So you can only imagine my delight to find a band that sounds an awful lot like Deeds but even FUCKING FASTER. You probably know this band but if one person is introduced to them by this post it will be worth it. I am speaking of Pereira, Columbia's finest: Internal Suffering.
Not a whole lot to say about them except they sound like Deeds of Flesh played at 1.5x SPEED with bits of weirder atonal stuff. Brutal death at SPEEDS that PUSH THE LIMIT of mammalian nerve conduction VELOCITY. No demyelination here folks.

And man do these guys have some bomb ass lyrics. They read like a Thelemic self help book:

"Transformed into a higher spiritual Being
Capable of mastering the unbalanced forces of the lower worlds
Chosen to attain personal spiritual guidance...
By the only reliable source in the universe... Myself!"
From: "Transfiguration of the Devotee (Reborn Within the Womb of Babylon)"

From: "Arrival of a New Aeon (New Equinox of the Gods)"

 From "Ascension to Immortality (Apotheosis of Freedom)"

 (by the way the all caps are theirs, not mine)
I fucking scream this shit into the mirror to get pumped up for job interviews. These guys are the Phil Lynott of brutal death, though it can get a little too "Sedona-ish" for me but man with music like this I forgive them.

Awakening of the Rebel (2006)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Full disclosure: I've been nerding out pretty hard on a siiiick "primitive death metal" mix Uncle Aesop made for me recently, a compilation that inspired yesterday's Disgrace post as well as today's "piece" on GOREMENT. In fact, I was all pumped up to write about DISSECT's Swallow Swouming Mass as well (another obscure 90's DM act present on Aesop's mix), but homeboy beat me to it. Let it just be said that I give Swouming Mass my full endorsement, and that, no, "swouming" is not, in fact, a word.
But enough about the backstage dealing's of the Bay Area metal blogger cogniscenti, right? Let's talk Gorement--specifically, their sole full-length The Ending Quest. I definitely go through phases with my metal: one week it's nothing but retarded modern slam, the next nothing but early technical Swedeath, the next it's all Scandinavian black metal from the early 00's... Presently, I'm all about some simple-as-fuck, gut-churning primitive death, the less bells and whistles the better. Gorement fit just such a bill, hailing from the proper time ('89-'95) as well as the proper place (Sweden), and arriving wholly unadorned with either the bells or the whistles previously mentioned. The band offers little else besides crushing, vaguely doom-y DM with all the (ridiculously brutal) elements firmly in place--no intro, no outro, just 40 minutes of solid fucking BLUDGEON. Apparently, Gorement, much like Disgrace, similarly lost their way in the mid-90's, adding a new lady singer and drummer, changing their name to "Piper's Dawn", and cranking up the "doom" and (yikes) "goth" factors. But luckily, this ill-conceived plan went quickly awry, and the Gorement/Piper's Dawn crew called it quits sometime around 1997. Which I guess is about as close as you'll get to a "happy ending" with a story like theirs.
Further proof that goth ruins everything. Young'uns, take note.

Download HERE

Now look at this amazing fucking band photo:



As I'm sure many (if not most) of you are aware, the subject of cryptozoology is a particular favorite here at ICHQ, and when we aren't writing about metal, our minds tend to wander in that direction, or maybe just somewhere in between...
The search for undiscovered species is an endeavor clouded by hoax, misinformation, disinformation, and pseudoscience--perhaps this is why the Illogical mind is drawn to it so strongly. We are indeed a blog dedicated to belief in that which is downright foolish, hence the relatively young mythology of the "ningen" is fertile ground for us.

"Ningen" (a Japanese word literally meaning "human") refers to a particular type of of aquatic cryptid, usually reported as enormous (20-30 meters in length), white in color, whale-like, and in possession, strangely enough, of a human face, arms, and hands. The first popular ningen story came from a supposed Japanese government "whale researcher" on the pages of 2Channel, and while I can't find any proper English translation of said posting, the fallout appeared in several places, including the magazine Mu, Pink Tentacle, and our old favorite, Mysterious Universe.

Part of the charm of the ningen mythology is its relative newness, as the first report of the massive, blubbery beast surfaced in 2006-'07. The thought of such a girthy were-whale evading science so thoroughly for so long is indeed an enticing one, and although the ningen stays relatively low on the cryptid-visibility scale (as opposed to Bigfoot, the Montauk Monster, or even the Mongolian Death Worm), its supporters are inversely fervent, ensuring that its legend will survive...

Pretty sure this picture ain't Shopped.

Weird, human-faced sea creatures are definitely nothing new to the field of cryptozoology--Hell, bizarre anthropomorphism abounds in the ocean depths (even in the realms of provable science). Anyone else read that story on the one-eyed, albino shark last week? That shit was fucked up.
But the mythology of the ningen carries a strange humanism with it, beyond the outward appearance of the great beast. Or fish. Whatever. Something about the thought of a huge cetacean with a person's face gliding through the most remote depths of the Antarctic is haunting beyond message-board meme-ism, and I personally welcome the coming reign of our Ningen Overlords with open arms.

Left: There was a small uproar a couple years back when some folks claimed they saw what looked like a ningen in a Google Maps image off the coast of Namibia. To me, it kind of looks like some waves. But yeah, it's probably a ningen.

I'm not sure what percent of our readership can read/translate Japanese, but what little research I've done on the subject has turned up very little in English and a whole Hell of a lot in that particular language. I'm definitely interested in learning more about the subject, and I implore any readers who can supply further stories and/or information to do so. If not, hey, I guess I can just learn Japanese.

Thanks in advance.