Tag Archives: ohio

Melodic death metal band Astralborne keeps its debut, Eternity’s End, fresh with a handful of stylistic changeups

Photo Courtesy of Prosthetic Records

Last year, Toledo trio Astralborne self-released its hour-long debut album, Eternity’s End. But now, the hearty LP — forged by two members of the Viking metal band Hammer Horde and Paul Fuzinski from Blood of the Prophets — has been re-released by Prosthetic Records, widening the reach of the Ohio band’s melodic death metal sound.

Overlooking the expected electric guitar riffs and guttural vocals one would expect from a death metal record, what’s most pleasantly surprising about Eternity’s End is its use of acoustic instruments. Both the opening and closing songs, which act as album bookends, feature an acoustic guitar as the lead accompanied by swelling background chords. A cello also makes welcome appearances on the epic 12-minute title track and the song “Architect of Suffering,” the latter adding a small dose of piano, as well. The brief respites these instruments offer from the surplus of blast beats and shredding makes Eternity’s End more dynamic than the average melodeath release.

As for electric contributions, Derik Smith’s layered guitar playing and Fuzinski’s growled vocals stand out as the driving forces of Eternity’s End. Although drummer Jayson Cessna’s double bass rhythms provide a strong foundation and even shine on songs such as the title track, the melodic elements on this record take center stage. Smith’s breakneck clawing on the single “Transcendence of Flesh” and subtle riff around the three minute mark of “The Obliterators” create memorable moments that expand upon the genre’s standard mold.

Thematically, however, the album doesn’t stray from the usual subject of metal music, namely mortality and the nature of the world. Fuzinski’s lyrics ponder celestial rebirth in places such as the chorus “Transcendence of Flesh,” where, bolstered by Smith’s guitar, he sings “Voice of a soul/Reborn in by fire/Decode and decipher the language of stars.” Later, on the paradoxically-named title track, he remains “watching and waiting for the end of eternity” when he can finally “break free from these chains” and achieve the post-human form he seems to seek throughout the album as an ultimate goal.

Unfortunately, while Fuzinski’s vocals are impactful and discernible, his bass playing is buried so far down in the mix that it seldom comes to the surface with exceptions on songs such as the groove metal changeup “Centuries (In Agony)” and the instrumental showcase of “Inglorious 20XX.” Additional low end would have given even more oomph to these 11 tracks, but it’s absence doesn’t cause any major problems.

Astralborne, by carefully mapping out every riff, drumbeat and lyric, manages to craft a debut that shows musical and conceptual ambitions, separating Eternity’s End from death metal albums that simply rest on being brutal and dense. If the Ohio trio continue to put the same amount of care and effort into its future releases, they will certainly attract listeners who seek out heavy metal that’s elevated beyond its traditional form.


Ohio Supreme Court amends adult guardianship rules

I worked on this story for a while but I eventually finished it.


The Ohio Supreme Court moved last month to try to ensure a better quality of life for adults suffering from mental illness or who are unable to make sound decisions for themselves — a measure that has been hailed by at least one local disabilities expert.

The court amended state policy regarding adult guardianship cases on March 10, which made guidelines for family members acting as guardians, set in place training requirements for guardians and called for closer supervision of all guardians, according to an Ohio Supreme Court news release.

The amendment defines a ward as “any adult person found … to be incompetent and for whom a guardianship is established.”

Dennis Lehman, director of Service and Support Administration for the Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities, said the new amendments could help guardians understand their roles and expectations.

“… In one particular case a guardian was a pastor and he superimposed his beliefs on his wards,” he said. “He would not allow them any Halloween decorations, or to have R-rated videos in the house, or anything like that. He did not consider what the individual wanted in that case.”

Lehman said training session might help guardians understand the wishes of their wards.

“Guardians are responsible for the decisions they make, but they should consider what their wards want,” he said.

During a nearly one-year period of discussion, the Ohio Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Children and Families successfully recommended three rule changes, which will take effect June 1.

According to the news release, the current changes include applying guardianship regulations to family members, requiring courts to monitor a roster of guardians with 10 or more wards and requiring guardians to meet with wards quarterly.

Michael Smalz, a member of the Advisory Committee on Children and Families, called the amendments “a significant step forward.” He added, though, that there is still need for improvement.

“Statutory changes are also needed,” Smalz said in an email. “A pending bill … contains some helpful provisions, including the creation of a ward’s bill of rights and a requirement that every ward be given a copy of the bill of rights.”

Maureen O’Connor, Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, said these new amendments meet the standards set by the National Guardianship Association.

“The ultimate goal is to provide our probate courts with effective means to ensure the safety and well being of people who need our protection,” O’Connor said in the news release.

One of the amendments also requires adult guardian to attend a minimum of six hours of training courses as well as a three-hour course every year.

According to the report, the course review establishing the guardianship, the ongoing duties and responsibilities of a guardian, record keeping and reporting duties of a guardian and any other topic that concerns improving the quality of the life of a ward.

“While I would like to have seen training and visitation requirements that were as rigorous as the national standards envision, these new mandates are a very positive step,” Julia R. Nack, a past president of the National Guardianship Association, said.

Nack is also a certified master guardian who helped to draft the current rules.

The training courses — provided by the Supreme Court of Ohio or any other approved entity — will be free of charge for a limited time, and will be made available online by the end of 2015. The yearly three-hour courses will begin in the first quarter of 2016.

“It is important now for Ohio lawmakers to take up the issue of guardianship and provide the courts with the statutory and financial support they need to make these changes effective,” Nack said.