Album Cover of the Whatever

Ghooooooul!  Crossover death/thrash from right here in the United States.  Y'know, the only nation that God blesses.  Look at that cover; can you blame Him?  I've always been aware of Ghoul in a peripheral sense, but I'm just now digging into their muzak.  It's fucking cool!


Blood Capsule #68


I would have written a full review of this buttercup bambino, but my brain is in the backseat.  Apologies to no one.  Something strange that I noticed...the version of the movie that I watched ran for 100 minutes.  Will this be the American DVD cut of Shin Godzilla?  If not, why the pocky was it missing 20 minutes?  I'm wondering what exactly I was unwittingly blind to, aside from the hardcore sex scenes.  Even if this was the "variant" that will wind up on Best Buy shelves (lol), kaiju loyalists don't have much to worry about.  In short, I liked it.  If you need more reassurance, I liked it!  Does the exclamation point help?  I was a bit nervous, but the Toho logo put me at ease.  Of course, I also enjoyed the 2014 American Godzilla, so maybe you should disregard my opinion.

This motherfucker (trust me; Shin Godzilla is a motherfucker) begins with a salvo of detonation.  Monster action is only interrupted by monster action.  Yeah, there are humans talking, but that's one of the film's drawbacks.  There is no main character to which we can grow attached.  We simply observe scientists and politicians fluttering from afar, although poignancy is interchanged for a cerebral connection.  The social commentary (stop holding your nose) is handled in a crafty, shrewd way.  I wasn't expecting that, nor was I expecting a certain Godzilla "thing" that I'm afraid to specify.  Therein lies the other reason why I didn't stick to my usual four paragraph avocation.  I have plenty of spoilers to type, but I can't type them!

Damn honor code.  Here is all you need to know.  I was pleased with Shin Godzilla's central processing unit.  The special effects are jaw-dropping, the destruction is legitimately terrifying and Big G's design is fantastic.  The subtitles are hard to read at times, but that's not the picture's fault.  End of capsule.


Black Saturday

I know the holiday has come and gone.  Hell, it's not even Friday, but I had to post this image.  Made me snicker.  By the way, I stole it (in the night!) from a pal named Jayson.  Just what is the best Black Sabbath album anyway?  Are we sure that it's from the Ozzy era?  I don't think I have a favorite, for there are too many good songs spread across too many good albums.  So my pick is Born Again.


Bookworm Infested #8


A little over two years ago, I read (and reviewed) The Hellbound Heart.  I loved it!  I was highly anticipating this direct sequel, and while it took a sempiternity, I finally seized a copy.  Man, die-hard fans dressed it down, didn't they?  I identify as an exponent of Clive Barker, but I'm removed from brainy standpats in literary circles. That's not an insult, by the way.  I wouldn't mind being brainy; I'm just saying that I'm approaching The Scarlet Gospels from an outsider's perspective.  All of the vitriol beamed in this novel's direction is based on sound reasoning, and I agree with most of it. Nevertheless, I couldn't wait to turn the page to find out how Pinhead was going to raise enough bread to keep the Yakuza off his back.

I'll start with the positives.  Barker's prose has been compared to poetry, and I didn't notice a major downtick in writing quality. Remember, I'm only referring to word choice, his descriptive patter. I enjoy his custom of sliding blunt obscenities into otherwise baroque passages of action.  The last time I saw a non-spoken usage of "bleeding cunts," I was leafing through the latest R.L. Stine tome. You haven't heard of his new horror series for kids, Sex Ed With Count Nightwing?  Hmm, not a shabby joke.  I could riff on that for awhile, but I'll spare you the comedic sodomy.  If you don't already know, Scarlet involves Harry D'Amour, an investigator of the paranormal who has appeared in previous Barker creations.

The story threads are immoderately convoluted.  Suffice to say, the reader spends the bulk of the narrative in Hell as The Hell Priest (he hates his discumbered nickname) sets a plan in motion to govern Lucifer's kingdom.  Oh, and Earth.  I savored the scenes in Pyratha, the great city of Hell.  For whatever reason, the architecture and the caste system fascinated me.  I was especially interested in the tower that housed the Cenobites.  We do learn a tad about this ageless race of demons, and I treated these nuggets of lore like they were fucking cliffhangers.  But - and this is where the hooks fly out of the walls - there are no profound edicts or revelations.  In other words, I don't really know that much more about the Order of the Gash than I did before, apart from where they dwell.

You will see allusions to inferior editing in multiple reviews and that, my sweet, is because Barker's original manuscript was cleaved in half.  Half!  I get the distinct impression that it wasn't an artistic decision.  Parts of the book feel skimped on and hurried.  I would get specific, but I wanted to obviate the necessity for spoilers.  One last fuss, if I may be so bold; the dialogue is contrived.  Honestly, the characters converse as if they're in a corny Cannon movie from the 80's.  What's with the synthetic sarcasm during moments of extreme dread?  I can buy it from D'Amour, but not his supporting players. Speaking of which, folks such as Caz and Dale are not developed in the slightest.  Huh, I had a lot of bitching to do.

Following a rockslide of arraignments, you may not believe me when I say that I really dug The Scarlet Gospels.  I was sucked into the suspense, I was sucked off by Barker's style and I sucked--I don't care for where this sentence is heading.  Use your own judgment. This is definitely a flawed novel, but I don't regret bartering for it. Yeah, that's right; it was a trade.  The other party gave up a pristine copy of a mega-hyped genre release.  I gave up...um, money.  It's not important.


Album Cover of the Whatever

Japanese metal from 1986.  Yeah!  Dead End assisted in spearheading the visual kei movement alongside X Japan and Color. If you're not familiar with visual kei, just imagine Poison playing dramatic power/speed metal.  Dead End fell on the "horror punk" side of the spectrum.  This was their debut, and it's actually kind of catchy.  But this feature focuses on artwork.  Check out that ghoulish mania!  Is that a gargoyle sitting down in the background?  I'm legitimately asking.  Man, I hope that decomposing confrere finds his other eyeball.


The Vindicator

If ever there was a rainy day rental, it's 1986's The Vindicator.  Y'know, just something to take home and watch while eating pizza.  Bacon and green pepper.  Thin crust.  Or hand-tossed.  I'll leave it up to you.  This is an entertaining flick, but you should know going in that it's a square ripoff of The Terminator.  Reading reviews online, I kept seeing Robocop cited as a footnote, and it's plain to see why.  The two films share a plot summary.  They are both about a man who is fucked by life and subsequently turned into a mandroid against his will.  NOTE TO SELF: Check out Full Moon's Mandroid. Carefully.

You can't call this a Robocop ripoff, though.  The Vindicator was released a full year earlier.  The storyline elements are there, but I see it as Terminator larceny because, for one, The Terminator existed.  Also, you have a badass cyborg on the beat, liquidating anyone who impedes his forward momentum.  The twist here is that Frankenstein (that's his nickname in the movie) escapes from the "lab" without the panel that allows his creator to control his every move.  His control panel!  I wonder if it allowed his creator to modify accessibility options and turn on/off StickyKeys.  Get it?  It's a PC joke.  Cool; I'll go tether my noose to the garage door.  The creator?  Oh, he's the true villain. His name is Alex Whyte, and he heads up the weapons division that gouges funding from Carl's project (Carl = soon-to-be Frankenstein), which leads to poor Carl being defrauded into his death.  Ouch.

I used Carl's name a bit much, but look, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.  Does The Vindicator work?  Mostly, yeah.  The pacing is prompt, the special effects are convincing (more on them in a hot second) and the cast seemed sober.  Yes, I adjusted my standards.  So those effects were devised by Stan Winston's team of technicians.  How much do you want to bet that he was hired on the strength of his work on The Terminator?  I mean, I doubt it was due to his moonlight drudgery on his first genre gig, Zoltan: Hound of Dracula.  In any manner, The Vindicator is easy to digest.  There are a couple of pieces of business that rubbed my thistle sage the wrong way.  Our Frankenstein, as it were, marches and bustles like a clumsy human.  Isn't he supposed to be a robotic non-man?

Plus, I would have liked to observe a healthier dose of gore.  The death sequences aren't nearly as violent as one would think.  You know me; I love it when innocent blood is shed.  The climactic fight between Creator and Creation, the moment we've been building up to for roughly 80 minutes, is honestly pitiful.  It's a botched slugfest. No fireworks, no flashes of epinephrine, no fancy words for adrenaline...no nuttin'.  Still, I recommend The Vindicator to fans of 80's action and science fiction.  It's serviceable, and as I said in the opening paragraph, thin crust.  Or hand-tossed.  This film can be used in a court of law as demonstrative evidence to support the revival of video stores.


Insomnia Theatre #5

Warning!  This episode contains graphic sexual content.  Isn't that how the MPAA decrees it in their speechcraft?  It's just basic nudity, but I felt a responsibility to post a disclaimer of some sort.  You never know.  Anyhow, the selection is Invasion of the Bee Girls (Tyler's pick, the scumbag).  I'll get back to writing movie reviews soon, babes.


Pantera and Darkthrone = Trend Hoppers?

Aww, it's Baby Fenriz!

Call this an editorial.  I was pontificating on the pot, as I'm wont to do. We know that Pantera catches hell for their 80's output and image. In my eyes, 1988's Power Metal is their true debut.  That's when the "classic" line-up was solidified.  The music was beginning to show traces of the aggression that they would embrace full-bore on the very next album.  The common argument is that they switched to a sound that was gaining momentum, either for money or to be seen as badasses.  I disagree.  But that's not what this editorial is about. My question is, why doesn't Darkthrone catch the same flack for abandoning their style after one LP?

I want to be clear.  I DO NOT feel that Darkthrone "sold out" or anything.  This is just rumination.  Darkthrone formed in 1986 as a straight-up death metal band.  They released four demos and of course, 1990's Soulside Journey (which kicks almighty ass, by the way).  Image?  There was no real image.  They were dudes in shirts and - quite possibly - pants.  The next album was a complete overhaul, both musically and stylistically.  Sure, it contained death metal elements (mainly the riffs), but let's be honest; it's pure Norwegian black metal to the bone.  Don't forget the addition of corpsepaint!  "But what would they stand to gain from an about-face?"  I don't know.  Maybe they saw what was happening around them and wanted in on it.  Maybe they wanted to be on the left hand of metal history.

Obviously, that's bullshit.  Simply put, Fenriz didn't dig where the Norwegian DM scene was heading.  It was an artistic decision, so why can't we give Pantera the benefit of the doubt?  Why couldn't the jump from traditional heavy metal (and goofy outfits) to groove-anchored thrash have been an artistic decision?  If you listen to defeatists, they were chasing trends.  My rejoinder has always been...what trends?  Was groove metal a big deal when Pantera was writing Cowboys From Hell in 1989 and 1990?  "They wanted to look macho and tough."  Um, 98% of metal bands try to look macho and tough.  With Pantera, it felt genuine.  Phil Anselmo was an exceedingly metal individual from the get-go.  He was the guy wearing Deicide shirts and Celtic Frost shirts.  Maybe not in their 80's promo shots, but...

I believe them when they say they were just trying to get gigs.  I'm glad that they got those gigs because they built a following that lead to them roping Anselmo into the fold.  He was the catalyst.  It might have taken a wee bit of time, but they eventually shook off the spandex.  To be honest, I enjoy Power Metal.  Apart from the vocals, it's not THAT dissimilar to Cowboys From Hell.  Brings me back to my original inquest.  Why doesn't Darkthrone catch flack for pole-vaulting from one subgenre to another?

My theory?  Soulside Journey is tr00er than Power Metal.  That's all it comes down to - metalhead elitism.  Hey, you can't chide Fenriz. He's an underground metal GOD!  Nevermind the fact that he's good friends with Anselmo and they have recorded together.  He listens to every stripe of metal under the sun, so he probably likes Power Metal.  I know he listened to Agent Steel as a teenager.  It's not farfetched.

Were Pantera and Darkthrone trend hoppers?  No.  I love them both, but Darkthrone does seem to get a free pass for ditching death metal and donning corpsepaint.  Maybe it's me.

Woah, Vinnie Paul ALMOST looks cool.



Several days ago, a fucking piano fell on me.  From a great height! I've been in a coma since, but I just woke up.  Like, right before I started writing this review.  Something seems different.  Who died?  I thought that "world funeral" was just the title of a Marduk record. The skies are suffused with a trembling, blanched gloom.  I don't know what happened while I was out, but these misgivings are bumming ME out.  That cannot stand, as I'm extremely, extremely selfish.  All I can do is fence off the news (it's always depressing) and focus on stuff that makes my heart go pitter-patter.  Take music, for instance.

Twelve Foot Ninja is an Australian hard rock band that fuses djent riffs with every other genre under the sun.  If I had to describe their sound, I would say...imagine a djentrified Faith No More.  Look, I'm not a fan of "the djent."  It's a stupid term, for one.  I don't even listen to Meshuggah, although I do enjoy most of 1995's Destroy Erase Improve.  Twelve Foot Ninja manages to write songs strong enough to withstand any toxic elements.  And I should note that the djent-y elements are minor.  You will never confuse "Oxygen" or "Invincible" with a Veil of Maya tune.  Again, the songwriting is too fucking good. The vocal melodies latch onto your scrotal pouch, the arrangements know when to ebb and I'm craving Golden Grahams.

2016's Outlier is their second full-length recording.  Unfortunately, there was a four-year gap between this set and their perfect debut, 2012's Silent Machine.  Yes, perfect (in my opinion blah, blah). That's the one thing working against Outlier.  As much as I wanted it to, it doesn't - and possibly couldn't - equiponderate its predecessor. Er, match up to its predecessor.  I should have typed that instead. Seriously, Silent Machine is imbued with grand slams. Outlier is solid, and that's underselling it.  It's been on repeat in my bedroom since it arrived via whore and carriage.  But I have my nitpicks.  Chief among them, this long player isn't long enough!  A little over 38 minutes?  After four years?  An election season has come and gone in the time that--OHHHH.  I know who died now.

Anyway, Outlier isn't filling.  I'm left wanting more, and not in the desired way.  This is less of a nitpick, but the second half of the album isn't as habit-forming as the first half.  It could simply be my shoddy ears, I suppose.  Songs such as "Post Mortem" and "Monsoon," while entirely listenable, don't kickstart my heart. Skydive naked from an aeroplane.  Or a lady with a body from outer space. My heart, my heart.  Kickstart my heart.  "Sick" and "Oxygen" are the real winners, and those are the ones you should sample. Expect smooth harmonies.  Hell, even the second half of Outlier contains parts I love.  The unpredictable midsection of "Monsoon." The emotive (not to be confused with emo) chorus of "Adios."  It's a beguiling collection of sounds, is what I'm saying.

Check out their music videos.  They're pretty damn funny.  It's located on Silent Machine, but you must hear "Mother Sky."  Listen to me.  Listen!  You must hear "Mother Sky."  Argh, I don't trust you. Click HERE.


Satan Cake

I've been sick for a few days.  I've also had personal issues to trudge through, so I haven't felt like writing lately.  But I will soon!  Right now, my brain is on autopilot and I'm looking at pictures of Satanic desserts.  Hail Satan.  And chocolate.


Insomnia Theatre #4

I'm getting sick.  Pity me.  My throat feels yecchy.  While I try to stave off influenza, watch the fourth episode of Insomnia Theatre - Creature of Destruction!  I'm realizing now that I hate my voice. God, how can people stand it?

By the way, you can click on "Insomnia Theatre" up top to view past episodes.