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Feared’s “Synder.” Reviewed by Luis Balderrama.

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“Synder” seems to be more of an experimental album for Feared, as they step out of the box with clean piano sections, clean vocals, and much more clean-guitar melodies mixed in with their amazing death metal writing. It almost seems as if they had a check list of styles that they wanted to play on this album. Black Metal, Death Metal, Progressive, Rock, etc…

It never ceases to amaze me how creative Ola’s guitar riffs and melodies are. He’s just got such a tight hold on such a huge and heavy sound, but is still able to incorporate crisp blast beats, neck breaking breakdowns, clean and tight rhythmic riffs, clean guitar melodies mixed in with an almost Opeth – progressive quality it has.

“Of Iron and Ashes” has this abrupt change from heavy blast beat and death metal vocals to clean guitar, which gives such an eerie vibe. It really catches you off guard. At first, the change almost seemed like some sort of editing glitch, but the more I listened to it, the more it felt in place. It’s that clarity you get before delving back into the insanity of the piece. It’s a great change up.

“Dygder” is the first real introduction to this new type of sound with its creepy piano and melodramatic tonality. It’s a great break from the heavy and chunky sound Feared is known for, and it’s a great lead into “By Silent Screaming.” It sets you up for that driving rhythm of the guitars and bass drum working together. I cannot overemphasize how precise Feared is when it comes to full-band rhythm synchronization. You can tell they take a lot of pride in that ability and use it well.

“War Feeding War” is a solid piece that really shows off Kevin Talley’s drum abilities. Not that the other songs don’t, but this song brings such a wide variety. The solo in the middle is small, but again, it’s the contrast to the rest of the piece that somehow makes the rest of the song valid. Both Ola and Kevin really shine on this piece. I also enjoy the ending blend into the next song, “The Narcissist.” This song brings forth the band’s amazing ability to nail some solid black metal style music and mix it with some serious thrash metal. The dissonance from the chords puts you in that disjointed mindset. It’s a great blend of death metal chunk, clean piano, tremolo melodies, and black metal dissonance.

Overall, Synder is a great album. It showed how flexible Ola’s musical abilities are. Previous albums touched on different styles, but this was an obvious charge to take on different styles of music. I very much enjoy Feared’s ability to create heavy death metal riffs, but I hope they continue to do so. Although I like the new musical influences in Synder, I hope they do not lose that heavy-ness they’ve always brought to the table.

Good Riddance’s “Peace in our Time.” Reviewed by Taylor Farner.

Good-Riddance_Peace-in-our-Time

Well, it seems Good Riddance is ageless. They’re still playing gnarly jams. You would think a gap of 8 years in their catalog might have an effect on their ability to play like a bunch of angsty teenagers. Not the case, my friend.

I, for one, am new to Good Riddance. I didn’t start listening to them until the midst of their hiatus, so I didn’t get to feel the pain long-lost fans felt during the gap. I don’t even know, man.

But I was thinking about this the other day when I started planning this review: Good Riddance has one of the strongest sounds I know of. Their sound doesn’t wither away, and hasn’t changed into something else. They’re still busting out these great hardcore jams with the same voraciousness they had in the mid-90s. Musically they know their shit. Melodically, they’re catchy as hell. Let’s get to it:
Opening song: It’s hardcore. Duh.

“Disputatio,” (Latin for dispute) is in a lot of ways GR’s recurring anthem. They still hold the dream, and the vision of being able to speak your mind. It’s a statement for their hardcore straight-edge friends and neighbors to stand firm and uphold what you believe.
Another favorite of mine from the record is “Take it to Heart.” The first reminder that GR is a group with very strong and willful political views, the song reminds us of all the shitty things that we allow, as a nation, and cause, all the while putting up blankets to hide everything in slaughterhouses or mental institutions, or bury in the past. There isn’t really a doubt that we’ve been ignorant and willfully chosen to not look at the grimy parts of life, but GR throws the ignorance out the window and slaps us with another catchy hardcore song.

I’m assuming they purposefully made the intro to “Dry Season,” sound like “Green Corn,” which made me smile. This song is another political one. It gives an interesting perspective, but ultimately brings us back to the title of the record. It’s a call for peace, when no one seems to be interested in it.

“Washed Away,” is a thought-provoking melodic tune that makes us question our routines and why we do the things that we see as necessities that are ultimately what are destroying the world, and made us willfully ignorant. The greediness of humanity and our selfishness has tarnished their belief in any divine faith or organized system of beliefs.

“Glory Glory,” is here to tell us that changing our ways isn’t going to be easy. We are where we are, because being ignorant is easy. Conforming to an ideology is ultimately hindering us from a real freedom, and is really just a huge joke that we’re playing on ourselves, and preventing us from being true to ourselves.

Just go get the record. GR is back, giving us their catchy melodic hardcore straight-edge jams, asking for us to try and be better people, and reminding us that we’re the reason the world is the way it is. It’s up to us to fix it, and being ignorant to our problems doesn’t really make them go away.

I saw them right before the record released. They’re easily one of, if not the best band I’ve seen live. They know their shit, they sound amazing, and they are here for the greater good. I’ll try to dig up some tour dates.

Bad Cop/Bad Cop’s “Not Sorry.” Reviewed by Taylor Farner.

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This record is fantastic. I’m glad I gave it a shot. The record released in June, 2015, under Fat Wreck Chords. To give some perspective for this review, I’m a fan of female fronted/dominated bands. I like Riot Grrrl records, and metal-chick bands. I find what Bad Cop/Bad Cop has to say in Not Sorry very interesting, especially in a genre that is, for the most part, male-dominated.

To me, their sound is very close to Gwen Stefani, as far as lyrical image goes (and I mean that to be a good trait. No Doubt is mas tight). The three guitarists in the band all sing. They have two consistent lead singers, Stacey Dee and Jennie Cotterill. They trade off singing the songs, it seems, and act as the front women for the band. Upon seeing them for the first time (04.18.2015) and not knowing who they were or ever having heard of them before, they sounded a lot more rugged, and had a crisper sound in person than they did over their record. It reminded me of Bikini Kill or something like that. It’s the reason I got the record.

The opening track, “Nightmare,” is a nice touch on writing over-polluted love songs, spinning it around a bit, with lines like “I’ll never write a stupid poppy love song/ (Beat) For anyone but you.” Funny, and gives the band character. It tells me Yeah, we’re not here to write a bunch of soppy songs about our crush or whatever, but we’re still human, and like sharing how we feel.

The second track comes on, “Anti Love Song,” and I think, Ah shit, I had high hopes for this album, but there’s already a trend starting here… a hypocritical one at that… But when it’s over, I see that’s not the case. It gives me an impression, but not the one I initially thought I was going to be left with. It was just extra wrapping around the idea they originally started with their opening track. And it is something I think needed to be made. It tells me that it was the right time for them to make the record, for themselves. They have just found who they are as a group, and don’t need to build musical careers off of relationships, and they aren’t defined by their emotional triumphs and failures.

Another track that sticks out is “Sugarcane.” I thought of it as an homage to their female musical predecessors. It follows the narrative of a girl who enters abusive relationships and keeps going back to them. It tells women to stand up for themselves, and stop putting themselves through shitty relationships. While it’s not right, it’s your fault that you keep putting yourself through abuse by not trying to move on, go somewhere else, or find someone that is deserving. It is a bit brutal in that it doesn’t take into account the great deal of physical and emotional pain, but maybe that’s what people need sometimes is brutal honesty.

The whole album is good. You should check them out. I recently saw them live (and wrote about it). They play a lot harder: they’re capable of playing loud, fast, and they’re funny. Go see them, if you can. They’re playing with a lot of their fellow Fat Wreck Chords bands on their various tours.

The Black Dahlia Murder’s “Abysmal.” Reviewed by Nic de Sena

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The Black Dahlia Murder have, for many years now, impressed me with their ability to write Death Metal without falling into common writing ruts stylistically. Their seventh studio full length entitled Abysmal showcases those exact traits and then some. Abysmal offers exactly what you’d expect from the American Death Metal stalwarts: Blasting, guttural vocal delivery, tremolo picking and palm muted riffing that is par for the course and definitive for the genre. While many American DM acts are passed up due getting caught in aesthetic rut, The Black Dahlia Murder seems to avoid this by referencing classic DM and grind acts such as Carcass and Dissection. The connection being that Abysmal, by all rights, is an incredibly melodic record. An uncompromising, incredibly heavy record but leans heavily in a vast quantity of angular, non-traditional riffing.

Trevor Strnad, (Vocals) and Brian Eschbach (Rhythm guitar) have been the mainstay members of The Black Dahlia Murder, while the band has had a plethora of other members since the bands inception, this lineup has held strong for a few years now. Previous efforts by the band have always been worthy of a listen but with the addition of Ryan Knight (Lead guitar), the band certainly was able to begin writing much more technical and genre warping songs. Knight’s lead work seems to be the centerpiece of Abysmal, creating a great juxtaposition to the often unorthodox guitar work. A great emphasis have been placed on harmonization between Eschbach and Knight, a technique that has always been a staple in their writing but hasn’t been executed as precisely until now. Nearly every track on the record goes through a myriad of tempo changes which makes for a varied listen with any aggressive band, especially like DM which can easily move into realms of monotony. It certainly does not seem to be any mistake that the record opener, “Receipt,” exemplifies all of these qualities.

Abysmal’s drum work is certainly worthy of credit. Alan Cassidy’s drumming reflects a wonderful amount of restraint and tact. He delivers exactly what the riff calls out for, nothing more, and nothing less. Impressive, well timed fills that accent the song as a whole and build a cohesive experience. “Threat Level No. 3” is a fine example of this. Smooth transitions, flurried fills with plenty of attack.

Of course, one of the most prominent features of The Black Dahlia Murder has always been Strnad’s ranged vocal delivery. This record is no exception, his often grating vocals often make one wonder how it can be sustained for such long periods of time live, which he does flawlessly. Again, his delivery is heavily reminiscent of Death Metal/Grind legends Carcass, especially that found on Heartwork.

Although the band has made an obvious effort to move into a more melody-driven manner, there is no shortage of heavier moments. Laced in are blunt, masculine, palm muted riffs. “Re-Faced” one of the highlight mid-tempo tracks is built around a trademark Black Dahlia breakdown, something very reminiscent of Unhallowed-era Black Dahlia. Perhaps the breakout track of the record or rather the most surprising is “Asylum.” A track found at the tail end of the record which relies heavily on a crescendo effect, building up into a uncharacteristically strummed, rock beat driven chorus. At first this can be a bit off-putting, but in the grand scheme, this track has become one of my favorites, simply because it is so different, not only for the record, but the band. With that in mind, it still compliments the record as a whole.

Abysmal is a welcome addition to an already overflowing catalog of material. Since getting a hold of it, it hasn’t left my rotation and I suspect it won’t be replaced for some time.

Screeching Weasel’s “Baby Fat, Act 1.” Reviewed by Taylor Farner

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And now for something totally different, again. Screeching Weasel, or the new Screeching Weasel, rather, has come out with a story-driven record that branches out of their normal angsty genre of being who we are and saying what we think, bringing in a bunch of guests to the carnival, including their tour mates of the last couple of years. Blag Dahlia was there, along with Roger Lima from Less Than Jake, Chris Barrows from The Pink Lincolns, Todd Congelliere from F.Y.P. and Toys That Kill, and a handful of other musicians from bands I’m less familiar with.

I’m a fan of bands branching out and trying something new. I don’t buy the new records of a 30 year old band expecting it to sound the same as their first record. Sure, Weasel plays really fucking well live, but who wants to record the same music for 3 decades?

Because they blended a bunch of other people into the album, it goes beyond just a Weasel album, even if Ben Weasel wrote the majority of the music. That may have to do with Blag Dahlia’s very distinctive voice and style… or maybe something more.

The premise and story behind the album is Blag Dahlia, named “Baby Fat,” is the manager of a band called “Serpentello,” of which Ben Weasel, or “Tommy Swank,” is the singer for the band and owner of a “The Reptile House Club.” Throughout the album the different characters in the play follow a lot of typical band drama. The singer gets a superiority complex, the manager disagrees with the members decisions, unreliable crew members are making the whole situation boil.

The story starts to take a turn around the song “Things Aren’t So Bad After All.” It starts to turn more towards the social issues than the practical dilemmas that every band encounters, ever. It starts to involve an actual narrative in this “play” of sorts.

I’m not the biggest fan of the album, honestly. I really like that they did something different, I just don’t think this worked well for them. I think that the only way to really get into it is if you’re already a huge Screeching Weasel fan and will sit through it a couple of times to get through it, or have the booklet in your hands so you know what these characters are and what’s really going on. That is to say, I am a Screeching Weasel fan–not so much a Ben Weasel fan, but I like the music. What I like about them is that they’re catchy, they have thought provoking lyrics, and, while their stage antics and band history doesn’t stand up against their own music, they’re good at what they do. This, however, was not catchy, and unless you sit through it a few times, you’re not really going to feel like you’re living in the music–hence, why you have to already be a fan.

However, for my second contradiction, I will listen to Baby Fat, Act 2. Even if, on my first listen, it sounds the same and has some of the same problems, I’ll still give it a try, because this is the first time Ben’s done something like this, and as I said, I can appreciate what he’s doing in trying to create something new. He had a style that he probably perfected early on in Boogada Boogada Boogada, and My Brain Hurts, and has played off that style ever since.

Out of curiosity, I did check around online to see what other people thought, and my findings seem to match up with what I thought: fans will love it, and people who like SW, but don’t crawl out of Ben’s ass every time he beats someone up to defend him, they will probably have a hard time convincing themselves they need to put the extra effort in to get behind it. Based on his personality, I’m sure Ben didn’t write it for those people.

Letter from the Editor, Issue #2

It seems, ladies and gentlemen, that I’ve finally found it. I didn’t need a map, no one told me where to look, and I honestly didn’t even know I was looking for it, but I found myself in a rut. Maybe not so much a rut, but whatever it is that everyone ends up running into that’s a real eye-opener, something that tells you Hey, things don’t get to stay so easy. It’s the experience where you graduate on time, you got “lucky” and got a job right out of college, and all of a sudden you don’t have time for anything, that “lucky” job wasn’t paying you as much as you thought it would, and your not-impressive-but-decent body suddenly grows a beer belly.

That was my life a handful of weeks ago. I overworked myself to try and make the money I thought I’d be taking home, come home too exhausted to take care of myself, and just sat at the computer–not working on anything useful or productive like, oh I don’t know, finishing up Issue #2 of a certain zine, but binging on online games, or watching T.V. show after T.V. show. The ironic part was I also got addicted to hearing Gorilla Biscuits “Start Today,” each day on the way home. Maybe it helped get this show on the road? But anyways, there I was, sitting on my ass, smashing away at the keyboard, and I look over my side to see the full-length mirror on the wall, and the pale blob of a gut covering my crotch and said out loud, “What the fuck.” Not to mention no one likes living with someone who only focuses on getting to level 100 or doing your raids for the week. So fuck it, I quit. And by quit, I meant what that Gorilla guy meant. I’m gonna start today.

Obviously not today-today, cause you’re reading this, I hope. My descent into gluttony and laziness, and my subsequent recovery from it are the reason why you’re reading this in January, and not the previous July. I hit that rut, and I’m crawling out of it. I may not be where I was before I fell in, but I’m getting there. And I’ll keep the stories coming.

Before I knew for sure I’d be continuing the zine after my Capstone, I received a lot of support from friends, friends of friends, and family, and said something like “as long as people are there to help me out and bring content to the table, I’ll keep putting this all together,” because I truly enjoy it. Unlike getting your warlock to level 100, or getting the most KBs, this is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life. It means something to me and helps us be better people. Not just me, but for everyone who helps out, who creates material, and everyone who reads the zine. We’re contributing to the skills and confidence of artists with real passions, who want to share their work with the world, and improve themselves.

We’re doing this for other people to read, but also for ourselves. Knowing people are reading something with your name in the byline is one of the most exhilarating things. It’s like the moment after you’ve made the jump off a cliffside. You’ve done the hard part, and once you make the splash, you’re going to want to jump again.
Like kicking a bad habit, you feel unstoppable when you read your name in print. Like when you’ve fully immersed yourself in a good book, you feel like you’ve found your place and purpose.

All of that said, I’d like to express my gratitude to everyone who didn’t let me off the hook, who asked “So when’s the next zine coming out?” and reminded me that life is about pushing yourself and following your dreams, not being a out-of-shape asshole yelling at his computer. Instead I’m now the slightly-less out-of-shape asshole trying to figure out how to make white text look good over an all-black spread. I owe it all to everyone who helped out with the Indiegogo page in March and April, and the fans we’ve gathered along the way who showed that they were interested in what we’re doing, and the great friends I have work-shopping material with me and being my motivation to make Issue #2 happen.

To all of our wonderful readers and contributors, Negative Assets thanks you again for showing your support and interest, whether you pre-ordered or found it in the random little shops I managed to sneak this into. We are most appreciative. One of the many reasons we write and draw and try to create something out of nothing is for you. We want to know what you like and don’t like, and how we’re doing. If you’d like to provide feedback, feel free to write to us.

Shoot an email to taylor.farner@negativeassetszine.com. If you are interested in writing for the future zines, visit our website, www.negativeassetszine.com, and click on the Submissions tab. You can find all the information you need there, and don’t hesitate to run stuff by me if you’re not sure. This is my passion and a dream of mine. I’d be happy to take a look at anything you’d want to share.
I hope you like this issue. It’s a bit different from the first, but we write what we like and what’s important to us. It’s going to be a little different all the time.

Enjoy.

 

Taylor

Ensiferum’s “One Man Army.” Reviewed by Luis Balderrama

ensiferum_one-man-army

I am going to come clean. I am not the biggest fan of the albums after Iron. I am one of those people that really dug their teeth into their self-titled album Ensiferum (2001) and Iron (2004). The “post-Iron” albums, although not bad by any means, were lacking something; some factor from their first two albums. However, that is to be expected when the majority of the band members are changed from the original line up. The band is not going to be the same. [2005-2007 saw the change of 4 of the 5 members of the original band.]

That being said, One Man Army really challenged that opinion of mine. This addition to their album lineup went in a much different direction than previous albums from the “post-Iron” era. There are a lot of vocal ensemble components mixed in and a lot more composition and thought in the writing. Not that their songs aren’t composed, but it really sounds as if they took that extra couple minutes to perfect every part of the album.

The title song “One Man Army” fits the current Ensiferum formula. It’s well written, it’s high energy, and it will get you head banging pretty hard. There is plenty of thrash influence mixed in with melodic riffs, ensemble vocals, and their usual Viking Kalevala lyrics. Petri’s intro scream is nothing but epic, and the rest of the song follows that same intensity. But, oddly enough, what really caught my ear was farther down the song list. The real gem of this album is actually “Descendants, Defiance, Domination.” Let me explain.

“Descendants, Defiance, Domination” is not just a run of the mill song, it’s one of the best written and musical compositions I have heard from Ensiferum to date. It’s got all the right stuff: older Ensiferum style riffage mixed in with the multiple sections of obvious musical differentiation, bridge sections, and a recitative. The exposition hits you with a very western Clint Eastwood style melody. I could almost see the tumbleweed rolling by. The sections have a perfect mix of clean and dirty vocals that complement each other while blending with the rest of the bands supporting and melody chords. The vocal ensemble at 5:10 is such a great counterpoint to the rest of the song. The more I think about it, the more I understand how odd it is, but it flows flawlessly and bridges the gap between two musical sections and statements. This example among more really showed me that Ensiferum can, not only write, but compose a 10+ minute song and keep the listener intrigued the entire time. All in all, this piece is very impressive and it’s a great mix to One Man Army. I really hope Ensiferum lean more in this direction for future works. They really have a knack for it. This isn’t the only notable piece on the record though.

The beginning of “Cry for the Earth Bounds” was a nostalgic throwback to “Into Battle” from Iron. So I was VERY pleased to hear that first epic vocal chord once again. The song itself has lots of layered rhythms and melodies intertwined with the clean vocals of the band as well as Petri’s epic lyrics. This song seems to be another obvious draw away from just pure dirty vocals and more of a mix of clean vocals, acoustic sections, and epic chords from the vocal ensemble, which closes out the piece. The ending of this song could be the end to the album. It brings that sense of closure to it, like an intermission during an orchestral concert.

“2 of Spades” is the comedic break in the album, but, oddly enough, it fits right in with the rest of the album. It still has that folky upbeat sound, but it’s mixed with a Techno drum beat and some killer funk-guitar lines. It’s a great piece to head bang to with a giant smile on your face. It just makes you laugh. When the first lyric of a song is Petri screaming, “I go all the way” you know it’s going to be good.

My complaints on the album are few are far between. The obvious one is that this is not old Ensiferum. As much as I would love to hear Jari Maenpaa at the helm once again, it’s just not going to happen. Another complaint I have about this album is, oddly enough, what I was praising the album for. As much as I enjoy this new direction and musical influences, the album is highly produced. And that removes some of that gritty-ness heard from the older albums. It had a slightly raw feeling that just is not existent in these new albums and this album is a heavy offender missing that aspect.

Overall, One Man Army is a great addition to their album line up. Ensiferum have a solid grasp on their musical identity and the more I listen to this album, the more I am coming to like the band as a whole and the musical direction that they are going.  I hope to hear more of this in the near future.

“The Lights,” by Harmony Hertzog

I see lights. Do you see them? They’re out there in the field. Look to your right. Do you see the lights? I see them, driving home on the long, dark farm roads. They’re where no roads go, and the flat darkness makes them seem to move. Or do they move? Do you see them? They look much closer tonight. The lights. If I wasn’t so tired I would try to find the source of the lights. Perhaps tomorrow. Perhaps.

I see lights again. Can you see them? Thick, yellow lights entwine with the fog that layers the fields in a sickening yellow-gray. They still look close tonight. Can you see the lights? But there is no road to the lights. The curiosity is really getting to me. Can you see them? Jaundice-colored lights in the right field. They look even closer. But there is no road. Where are those lights coming from?

The lights are closer. Do you see them? I can gauge their distance between the road and the mountains. The lights are moving closer to the road. Do you see the lights? There has to be a road. The lights have to be coming from something. Are the lights coming from the fog? No, the lights are above the fog. But the fog is so dense where the lights are. And the lights are getting closer.

There are no lights during the day. The fields to the right are normal, flat spans from the road to the mountain. I can’t tell where the lights are at night. Can you tell? I think the fields look different in some spots. Are they sick? Is it from the lights? There is a dirt path. Do you see it? It leads into the fields. Will you go with me? I wonder if the lights will be even closer tonight.

I see the lights. The sickly, sticky fog is yellow with the lights. The path is dark. The lights do not illuminate the path. You can’t tell, because you didn’t come. The lights are not normal lights. They do not illuminate the path, or the fields, only the fog. The lights are ill. The fog is infected with the lights. The fields under the lights are sparse. I’m almost inside the lights. I’m scared. They’re pulsing. The lights are a contamination.

I’m in the lights. They are bright, but they don’t shed light on anything. There is an electrical taste in the air. The lights are like an illness. They are not coming from any visible source. The sick, yellow lights mingle with the gray fog and that somehow sustains them. The lights are ill. I’m not so scared now, but I think there is something wrong. The lights are a contamination.

The lights are still out there. Have you seen them? I don’t go down that road anymore. I have not seen them. But I can feel them. The lights are a contamination. I can feel their sickly, yellow glow inside of me. Can you see the lights? The lights are not ill, they are an infection. I can feel them inside of me. I’m scared. Do you see the lights? I don’t see them, but I feel them, spreading. The lights. The lights are a contamination.

“I Found Love in a Dental Place,” by Jamie Elmer

The location is the dental waiting room. The occasion is my companion’s root canal.

I did not plan accordingly for my stint in the dentist’s waiting room. I can hear the faint sound of the suction as I swallow my hunger. She has left me with her water bottle, but I can see its impending emptiness. I am hopeful that she will take no notice.

I have forgotten all forms of entertainment, from laptop to tablet, and am not even sufficiently prepared on my phone. A mere 35% battery life is left. This could only mean imminent death.

The magazine offerings here are a pittance. A disgrace. I could learn thirty-eight new sex tricks, or how to find my sparkle, but I think I’d rather jump into their fish tank and eat their goldfish.

The hunger has gotten so bad that the thought of grilled gold fish is not entirely as disgusting as I know it should be. This is worrisome.

My eyes roam for a sweet release and come upon a dream–my only form of foreseen sustenance is the peanut m&ms upon the front desk. I long for their chocolately, nutty flavors meeting my tongue in an explosion of yes. I must have them.

I face multiple dilemmas in acquiring said chocolatey lifesavers. The first includes the eyes of the prying waiting room occupants and dental assistants. Long has someone been present at the desk, but I fear for the moment when I make my attempt and they appear at the scene of my guilt.

There is also the contraption in which my delectable saviors are contained. Upon further inspection, I have noted that this is no simple turn of the dial candy machine, but a high-tech monstrosity placed here likely for the reason of thwarting the fulfillment of my desires. I could rescue these pleasures of my stomach from their oppressor and send them directly to the safe haven of my stomach, where they will return to their former selves, completing their mission on this Earth.

I have discovered a knob on the back that could be the button that will deliver me from this hunger. And the delusions. But I am at an impasse, still impeded by my former struggles.

Look at them there, with their bright, enthralling colors, wide bodies promising a smooth chocolate coating surrounded by a pleasant, crunchy inside. Pure lust.

What temptation the dentist has left me. Do the caretakers of teeth find it amusing to leave treats that can only harm their patients? Do they think they are witty, attempting to ruin my chompers so that I may return to them, punished for my hunger? What a cruel world. Their attempts do not terminate my longing.

If someone would return, I could go about the task respectfully by asking for a small trifle, the least of what they could give me for this torture. Instead, the desk remains empty and the drill continues on, drilling away both her teeth and my hopes.

I fear this is the end for me. The darkness is coming; I feel it with every shallow, starving breath. I will think of you, my dear peanut m&ms, with my last dying breath.

Sweet relief! Just as the darkness threatened to overcome me, the ruler of the desk returned and I resorted to my last attempt at life.

“How do you get these?” I asked, pleadingly.

“Oh, like this,” she said, effortlessly demonstrating the placement of her hand under the shoot, performing magic so that the sweet symphony of love fell upon her hand.

My eyes lit up, my hand outstretched – finally. We are united. A true love story has occurred in this place. Pure bliss.