I've been listening to a lot of Queensryche today. In fact, I was listening to Queensryche's latest release (foreshadowing alert) when I started writing this review. So like, now. I'm listening to it now. You could say that I'm sliding into my assessment of Obscura's Akroasis sideways, and you would be right. See, I bought both albums on the same day. They shall be immutably adulterated in my mind together until I am without mind. But it's okay. I'm a professional, and I can focus on Akroasis in spite of spinning the liquid shit out of Condition Human (the Queensryche long player). Yeah, I should have reviewed that one first. I haven't really been in the mood for technical death metal in a couple of days. Luckily, Akroasis is epic enough to transcend something as fitful and fickle (fickful?) as my given mood.
I've seen others say this, but it bears repeating. It's improbable how good this album is, you dopes (sorry). It's kind of stunning that it sounds like Obscura at all. You have to factor in the copious line-up changes that have occurred since 2011's Omnivium. Apparently, the former bassist despises frontman Steffen Kummerer, and so does former drummer Hannes Grossmann. Former guitarist Christian Munzner exited the band for health reasons. I don't know when the hell the music on Akroasis was written, but it does ferry the earmarks of natural evolution from where Obscura was five years ago. Is this all Steffan's doing? Eh, I find that hard to believe. I also don't care. Almost in defiance of downtime and tessellated personnel, Akroasis is a perfect fusion of every Obscura record up to this point.
Sebastian Lanser is a Lovecraftian beast on the kit. That's a kewl way of saying "drums." Jazzy fills, furious blasts, well-placed double bass...the guy is capable of playing whatever the song at hand needs. Ditto for the axeslingers (bonus kewl points). I'm madly in love with the leads on "Sermon of the Seven Suns." They're goddamn articulate. All of the guitar solos on Akroasis are driven by melodies that seem to know where to go to pull the most emotion out of the listener. Riff-wise, you will not be left stranded. These jams are just as heavy as they are tuneful. Forensic evidence? Check out "The Monist" and "Ode to the Sun." They are aural collisions that will corroborate your devotion to metal in all caps. That's a weird sentence, but you know what I mean.
Naysayers persecute technical death metal for its lack of real songwriting. It's true; most bands of this ilk just pound away at their instruments with no regard for the almighty hook. Obscura is a rare exception to the rule. Each track has its own identity, especially the 15-minute "Weltseele." It's a little on the saggy side (my attention tends to wander halfway through), but it's a stellar composition all the same. Fuck, I didn't mention miracle bassist Linus Klausenitzer. Man, he fills out the sound. Where does Kummerer keep finding these fretless freaks? Abbath says, "What Dom is trying to say is that the musicianship is the opposite of bad. He's going to give Akroasis a perfect rating, and he wants you to enjoy your evening."
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 9:03 PM
What the fuck am I doing? Well, it has been too long since I posted a music review, so that will be next. I actually have a couple in the furnace. Maybe in between those ventures, I'll do another proper movie review. I'm winging it. I would love for this site to be more professional, but...it isn't. I would love to post more updates, but...I can't? God, that's so self-defeatist. And glum. I'm really just trying to depress you.
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Posted by Dom Coccaro at 3:15 AM
ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK (1972)
An Italian/Spanish co-production, Colors is dressed up like a giallo, so I should have expected sterile cast profiles. With the partial exception of lead sex peach Edwige Fenech, it doesn't seem as though any of the actors want to be there. Their faces never move. The visuals are surreal, but dapper dream sequences are meaningless if you don't connect with the protagonist(s). I would suggest passing on this urbane stickler. Then again, I'm not big on Martino. Maybe you are. Maybe I don't know how to end this canvass of scrutiny. Maybe I should stop typing.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 5:30 AM
Larry Drake has passed. I don't have much to offer other than to say...fuck, that sucks. He has been one of my favorite cult actors for well over a decade. When you look at the versatility and the divergent nature of his characters, you realize that he was in Tim Curry's league. That's rarefied air, folks. The dude played a "simple" man-child, a psychotic Santa Claus, a facetious surgeon (pictured above) and Robert Durant. He had several other memorable roles, but obviously, his work in the fields of horror and fantasy stuck to my ribs. I will go to my grave beating the drum for Dr. Giggles. And did you know that he starred in an episode of the reworked The Outer Limits? It's entitled "The Message," and somehow, it has escaped my prying eyes. I'll be rectifying that as soon as I finish this write-up.
Rest in peace, Mr. Drake.
Now the good news! I just watched Pee-Wee's Big Holiday, a Netflix Original that premiered roughly 24 hours ago. This was going to be a hard film to nail, considering nostalgic expectations and the singular tone of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. I am here to tell you that writers Paul Reubens and Paul Rust (not to mention director John Lee, harvester of warped Adult Swim content) nailed it. This flick is FUN. I would actually describe it as "feelgood," and that's not a term I use every day. Honestly, I wasn't expecting many laughs, but a couple of scenes violated my funny bone. The balloon!
The cast is splendid, the characters are splendid (I heart Pepper) and the 50's throwbacks are splendid. I don't see throngs of 80's kids being disappointed. Or 90's kids. I would say more, but you just need to watch it for yourself. If that means signing up for Netflix, do it! No, I don't work for Netflix. "Happy Birthday, Joe!"
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 11:56 PM
I haven't read any reviews of 10 Cloverfield Lane yet, but I did see it Saturday. Here is my prediction of the general consensus. Just an educated guess. Most fans will totally dig it. They will ennoble and give a posy to every cast member, especially John Goodman. Aside from a second or two, I didn't think of Dan Connor once; that's for goddamn sure. They will remark that the suspense is lean. They will even say that the CGI is above board. Ah, the special effects. They denote sci-fi ingredients, don't they? Fret not. I am not going to spoil anything. Thankfully, this film is easy to discuss without divulging details.
I predict that a healthy number of theater patrons will grow impatient waiting for...y'know, monster stuff. It's there. And I liked it, but it only accounts for 20 of 103 minutes. Eh, that didn't vex me too much, but the climax did feel afterthought-y. Was this a pre-existing script remodeled into a Cloverfield companion piece? What is the link between the two movies? Will this come to be an anthology series? All insistent questions, but by and large, I enjoyed the hell out of 10 Cloverfield Lane. Hats off to first-time feature director Dan Trachtenberg who knows his way around a camera. There is no conceivable way I can smoothly transition into wrestling.
WWE Roadblock was surprisingly harmonious. Is it just me or did it have the vibe of an NXT: Takeover bash? I'm not just saying that because of the NXT tag title match, which rocked. I know it's Canada, but that's the crowd reaction you want. Charlotte and Natalya tore the house down. In spite of the finish (I really, really wanted Dean to pick up the victory), the main event was spectacular. Match of the Year contender, easily. Man, I hope they have something uber-cool planned for the Trips/Roman scuffle at Wrestlemania. I think they do. I think it will involve a club of some sort.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 4:42 AM
This is a movie. And I watched it. I'm conflicted as to how proud I should be to own a copy of 1991's Beasties. I wish I owned it on VHS, but it was only distributed onto 200 tapes. That was 25 years ago, so if you are lucky enough to own a copy, fuck you. Fuck you and fuck your sister, the diseased whore. Er, I mean, bravo! Hmm, I guess I am proud to own Beasties after all. It's a b-movie in the truest sense. I probably could have subsidized the project with what I collect in Social Security, and yes, I scrounge off of taxpayers. I'm too lazy to work, baby. Does the svelte, acicular budget impair this smokeshow's entertainment value? That is the question. I felt entertained. Curiously, I was more magnetized to the gumpish characters than I was to the sci-fi/horror elements.
About those sci-fi/horror elements...the story puts a traditional foot forward as we open on couples making out in cars. Do these geographic "hot spots" exist in modern times? I swear, I've never heard a real-life reference to Make Out Point or some shit. Anyway, teenagers are bombarded by Ghoulie-sized imps. I'll pause the synopsis to comment on our title assailants. They look fucking cool, but their movement is so stiff, you might as well have the puppeteer in front of the camera. Waving. Alas, resources did not present themselves. I'm still scoring brownie Z'Dars for the creature designs and the fact that there are 4-5 different beasties. Unpause! We cut to a fresh batch of awkward adolescents on a double date.
Pause! Okay, this review is going to be longer than I had anticipated. Because I bought the DVD, I watched the uncut version. Writer/director Steven Contreras appended 20 minutes to the beginning of the film. The ocelot's share (that's right; I went with an alternative cat) of the supplementary footage is mere character development. In my cheap opinion, this bonus hang time benefits Beasties, although I can understand getting fidgety during the talky-talk. Prototypical college nerd Nelson is a gas. He knows everything, yet doesn't seem to realize that falling in love with a 15-year-old (in a matter of hours, no less) is highly inappropriate. Goth pest Hammerhead is the least intimidating bully this side of Nelson. From The Simpsons, that is.
There is a whole goth gang, and they're just adorable. Somehow, they become allied with the central baddie, a diabolical space wizard named Osires (pronounced "Osiris"). No, really. Osires knows of Nelson by virtue of them being arch enemies since the dawn of time...? Of course, none of the plot specifics are annotated for the viewer. I'm deliberately leaving out the uranology and the speedball of a twist ending. Beasties carries a flaky, surreal aura that reminded me of Winterbeast. I think I halfway dug it. Y'know, even for a z-grade acid trip shot on 8mm, it's not well-forged. The fight choreography is piss, and God, the kinda-sorta digital effects. God.
Why did I dig it again? Oh, right. The dialogue is hysterical, the namesake goblins (not hob) are neat, the baseless nudity is baseless and it follows a spunky 50's formula. Imagine The Blob wainscoted with an 80's crust. I forgot to mention that Beasties was produced in 1989, despite smacking video shelves two years later. It's an alright sit, man. TRIVIA: Pianos.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 3:55 PM
Gratuitous picture of Emma is gratuitous. I'll allow it. I didn't get around to writing about NXT or Lucha Underground this past week, but Roadblock falls on Saturday night. I'll talk about that on either Sunday or Monday. Can I just say that I love the fact that an NXT tag title defense was added to the card? Because aside from HHH/Ambrose, Roadblock is looking pretty sorry. Reigns versus Sheamus? That's almost cruel. I'm hoping that WWE will swerve us and give Ambrose an upset victory. You want "buzz" heading into Wrestlemania. The Lunatic Fringe as champion will create "buzz," with or without quotation marks.
On a sidenote, we're starting to see more female wrestling on LU. A simple suggestion, if I may...next season, drop the Gift of the Gods title and replace it with a women's title. Bring in a few extra chicas. Make the division prestigious. Just spitballing here. Anyway, I'll be posting a movie review in the coming days/decades. You can hardly contain yourself!
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 4:33 PM
I kept going back and forth on this one. Not on the sequencing of the matches; no, that's all sorted. I wasn't sure whether to post the list here or on the Random Reviews Facebook "fan club." I'm trying to make the fan club (yes, I call it that to amuse myself) a hub of sorts for like-minded individuals. Fuck it. I can do other stuff there. Later. Did you know that Daddy procrastinates? HAHAHA.
You may not be aware (I don't fucking know you), but The Undertaker is my favorite professional wrestler of all time. Bar none. Due to the indwelling limitations of the character, 'Taker didn't start having upper-crust matches until the mid-90's. Make no mistake, Mark Calaway was a great worker all the while. But remember, he was playing a zombie mortician who couldn't feel pain (oh, and he could summon lightning at will). It wouldn't have made sense in the years following his debut to add flourishes such as MMA submissions and amateur-style throws to his repertoire. I can't see McMahon at the commentary booth in 1993 shouting, "What a triangle choke by The Phenom! We understand he learned that move in the nebulous expanse between life and death!"
Of course, I still love those early matches. That shit's dope. I'm holding out hope, however futile, that The Lord of Darkness will bring back the gray tie and gloves for his last bout (don't forget the body bag). Having said that, my top five 'Taker fights are all from 1996 and beyond.
These two power forwards had the advantage of feeling out their Mania encounter at dozens (okay, two dozen...at the most) of house shows leading up to the event. That could never happen today, but it helped streamline the pace of the match. Everything is smooth and deliberate. Believe it or not, there are moments of suspense here and there. The pre-Mania storyline build was great, as it featured the first instance of The Undertaker tearing through the ring mat from below in glorious Nathan Grantham fashion. You should get that reference, Bedelia.
In my opinion, 1997 was 'Taker's best year on record. Physically, he was in peak shape. He also grabbed the world title at Mania and proceeded to put on show-stealers at pretty much every PPV that mattered (not to mention a handful of Raw episodes). Bret Hart is a sentimental fav(orite). I could watch his matches all day long. So it goes without saying that thirty minutes of action between the two WWF stalwarts ossifies my Italian chicory. Shawn Michaels is the special guest referee. That will be a recurring theme, you'll notice. Here again, the pacing is finely tuned. I love the little touches like 'Taker calmly exiting the ring to clamp down on interference. That's what a badass would do.
This is the controversial pick. The majority of die-hards would have one of the HBK Mania matches sitting pretty at #1. And they would probably go with Mania 25, as opposed to Mania 26. If I'm being honest, this is my meek, slithery way of calling it a draw. For me, 26 edges out 25 because of pacing. There's that word again! They're both outstanding, but...actually, I watched 26 last. That's why I'm casting my ballot for 26. Who am I kidding? If you're a bit of a wrestling outsider, watch 25 and 26. God, this has been a bitch to write with any sense of flow or lilting meter. Don't you come to this website for lilting meter?
With Shawn Michaels as special guest referee! These three men have been inexorably tied to one another since the New Generation Era, so this Hell in a Cell engagement was billed as "The End of an Era." It was fairly goddamn epic. I rank it high for its storytelling, which is always the most important aspect of a match. Towards the end, it becomes emotional. That spot where HBK superkicks The Deadman into a pedigree, nearly assisting in the end of the streak. Knowing he came close to fucking over someone he respects more than anyone else on the roster. Conflicted by his duty as a supposedly unbiased ref and his allegiance to his best friend. It's still real to me, damn it!
Bad(d) with two deez! D's. Ds. Dees? No, that's not it. Anyway, I've gushed over this rumpus elsewhere (it might have been in the fan club, as a matter of fact), but I'll try to string a couple of sentences together that convey my adoration for the first - and best - Hell in a Cell melee. Flawless storytelling. I'm going to type that again, this time in all caps. FLAWLESS STORYTELLING. More than one angle is paid off, and yes, the climax sees the debut of Kane. As a teenager, I preferred Kane to his older half-brother. Yep, this match is slopped with "mark out" moments. I fucking love it. They use the entire structure to its fullest potential, stopping just short of rigging it with explosives. And that piledriver on the steel steps! Goodness me.
You're not getting a prologue.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 12:24 PM