Rassle Inn #16

I've developed a habit of compiling my favorite albums of the year when the time is appropriate.  Eh, it's something that metalheads do (not that it's exclusive to metal).  I hate ranking anything, but I understand the compulsion to point to one album and crown it as the absolute best in its field.  I would compile a similar list for films every year, but I'm out of the loop.  Sad to say, I don't catch nearly enough current flicks to accurately judge the creamiest of the crop.  It would be as pointless as redlining a recalled batch of Chrism, the admixture of oil and balsam that is consecrated and used for baptismal anointment.  You know???

Then you have your matches of the year.  No, I don't want to start ranking wrestling, but something occurred to me while watching the main event of Wrestlemania 37 (night two, that is).  We're only in April.  That's the fourth month out of...18?  19?  But my point!  My point is that I don't see any match for the duration of 2021 topping the masterclass put on by Edge, Daniel Bryan, and Roman Reigns.  When it was over, I literally uttered, "Holy shit."  Look, I can appreciate the dereliction of duty that has been WWE television.  It has been an abomination.  If I could, I'd fucking fire Vince McMahon.

However, it's important to commend the highlights when they do happen.  This sucker had a "big match" feel.  The crowd was hanging on every single thing that these three tough customers did, even when they did nothing.  I glimpsed a couple of spots that I've never seen before.  Of course, this wasn't a spotfest.  Everything made sense, and going in, I had no clue which superstar was going to walk out with the Universal title.  And the storylines...too epic!  All of the participants were stripped away from their vocation, their fucking passion in life, only to persevere against harrowing odds to battle for the ultimate prize.  I mean, damn!

2021 has seen its share of killer matches.  If this were a formal list, I would say honorable mentions include AEW's Jungle Boy vs. Dax Harwood, ROH's Bandito vs. Rey Horus vs. Flamita, NJPW's Will Ospreay vs. Shingo Takagi, NJPW's Will Ospreay vs. Kota Ibushi, NXT's Walter vs. Tommaso Ciampa, WWE's Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan (with Edge as special enforcer), and Christ, this is the fourth month out of, what, 26?  We have a lot of wrestling to ogle yet!


A Band: Ljosazabojstwa

Don't ask me to pronounce this band.  In fact, if I'm not in front of a computer, don't even ask me to spell their name.  It's a bugbear that comes with being a "tr00" metalhead.  We see cool bands mentioned online, and half of the time, we can't pronounce their names.  I'm not just talking about foreign acts.  No, Americans like to be cute with their creativity, too.  Everyone wants a logo that can't be read for a band that can't be name-dropped without accidentally biting one's jaw (that shit hurts, man).  "Have you heard of Rhthrrlrhry?  They sound like a cross between Uuzquiizzsep and Aeae5ea?"

I'll move on.  I've never seen or heard anyone else mention Ljosazabojstwa.  On one hand, I'm not surprised.  They seem content with the level of success they have already attained.  None of their songs are in English, so they aren't pushing too hard to be discovered.  On the other hand, I'm a tad mystified.  I mean, this stuff rules!  Where are they located, you ask?  Minsk, Belarus.  Don't look now, but there is a pretty sweet scene brewing in Belarus.

Ljo...ugh, LSZB (the group itself uses this abbreviation as shorthand) play a grimy mosaic of grinding death metal and blithely profane black metal.  Nothing here is too technical for its own sake.  Every tune punches me in the throat, and let me tell you, my uvula has never felt this happy being swollen.  LSZB's badassery doesn't end with the music.  All of their artwork is handled by the same guy (I presume he's a band member, but they don't want us to know), and dude, it's fucking sick.  The below image adorns Gloryja Smierci, their lone long player.  His creepy, rudimentary, horror-friendly style can be found on all of LSZB's releases.

I thought I had something else to say that would warrant a paragraph break, but nope!  I'm tapped.  Check out Ljosazabojstwa.


Album Cover of the Whatever

I was going to write something else, but as you may or may not know, Wrestlemania starts tonight (it's a two-night event).  Will I regret watching it?  Possibly, but I'm only human!  Anyway, Chainsword.  They clearly play death metal.  Recommended for fans of Bolt Thrower, Bolt Thrower, and Bolt Thrower.


Blood Capsule #107


I've seen a couple of the Shaw Brothers films, but man alive, I need to see others.  Stat!  They specialized in wacky martial arts/sci-fi/horror/exploitation binges.  Notice that I didn't use commas.  That's because most of their junkets combined all of those "special interest" genres.  The Oily Maniac is light on kung-fu, but more abstruse pursuits are well-represented.  Synopsis incoming...when a man's uncle is butchered by thugs, he invokes black magic to enact slick revenge.  Get it?  Oil slick?  I'm too goddamn clever for this fertile, cerulean marble.

If you haven't figured it out by now, our protagonist mutates into a literal oil demon (newspapers actually refer to the brute as The Oily Maniac).  It's a transformation thing, but he can transform if he slathers oil all over his frame.  The creature suit is marvelous.  I mean, it's just adorable.  Thankfully, the titular anti-hero is featured prominently throughout The Oily Maniac.  If the meat of the film was digestible, that would be a pitfall.  But the sad truth is that the monster happenings are the only bright spots in a rayless - damn, I've already used slick.  Texas Tea kettle?  Anyhow, unless you're enthused by crude* characters and unpleasant nudity (okay, 20% of the nudity is pleasant), I'd advise passing on this one.

*-Pun intended, and you knew it as soon as you saw it.


Geek Out #146

When I visit YouTube (y'know, dot com), the website recommends videos that its algorithms have decided I'll enjoy.  I think that's how it works.  In any case, YouTube knows me extremely well.  Today's Geek Out is an example of what I see when I go tubing.  Metal and candy?  Yes, please!


Godzilla vs. Kong

The pandemic has claimed thousands upon thousands of casualties, the most adverse and woeful being - you guessed it - the cinema!  I have heard that the death toll included humans, but that seems a little farfetched, no?  Back to the matter at hand.  We haven't felt safe enough as a nation to visit multiplexes in chorus since March of 2020.  That was a fucking year ago.  Apparently, moviegoers are getting antsy and downright indignant, as Godzilla vs. Kong has rustled up robust numbers at the box office.  I'm impressed.  One would think that the cushy HBO Max deal would appeal to kibitzers who prefer to watch their blockbusters on the sofa.

It makes sense.  If anything was going to snap Hollywood out of its wampum-divested coma, it was going to be this electric, exhilarating sugar rush of a film.  The plot is both basic and convoluted.  Set fifty years after the events of 2017's Kong: Skull Island, Titans are now an accepted splinter of society.  Kong is allotted his own enclosure, a virtual reality environment made to mimic Skull Island.  When The Big G awakens and unexpectedly abrades turf he once protected (a heel turn???), The Eighth Wonder of the World is solicited for his beast-thrashing powers.

Sounds simple enough, right?  Well, we also follow Madison (Millie Bobby Brown's character from Godzilla: King of the Monsters) as she and a pal go on an ill-advised journey to divulge conspiracies at the heart of Apex Cybernetics.  She's a teenager, but she has no problem toppling this evil empire and discovering vehicles below the earth's surface that, like, race across continents faster than you can say "cackleberry."  A hen's egg.  A cackleberry is a hen's egg.  Blammo!  I provide entertainment and education.  My point is that a few of the subplots are hard to swallow, even in a cosmogonal spiel pitting giant monsters against each other.

Obviously, circumstantial failings don't ruin an otherwise boisterous wingding.  I described Godzilla vs. Kong as a sugar rush earlier, and that's more appropriate than I realized.  This flick is a cartoon.  It's dialed into what 11-year-old Dom would have wanted to see.  That's not a negative, folks!  If not for an airplane hangar's worth of creature guts, it probably would have been rated PG.  Tonally, it's brighter than the prodromal entries in the Monsterverse, but the script achieves accessibility without talking down to the viewer.  I can't say that about Toho's 1962 King Kong vs. Godzilla.  Many have labeled the modern version as ridiculous, but if you haven't seen the original crossover, you don't know ridiculous.

Of course, I still love the Toho mold.  I love Godzilla vs. King Kong as well.  Because of course I do!  My only nitpicks involve lapses in logic and tragic attempts at comedy.  I don't believe I laughed at a single instance of labored, contrived levity.  Thankfully, the true stars of the show didn't spend crucial time cracking wise.  It was all killer, no filler.  I didn't want to include spoilers (and I doubt it counts as a spoiler...I'm playing it safe), but I dig the villain's appearance.  Reminds me of something out of an episode of Ultraman.  Right on.



Bam Bam Jay Coccaro

Ugh.  This is tough to write, but I wanted to memorialize my boy in some way.  Earlier today, we had to put down Bam Bam, my dog of roughly fifteen years (that's him to the right).  I'm not even sure what to type.  I'm still in the dumps, honestly.  But I know that's okay.  This is life.  These events occur.  Actually, I handled it better than I thought I would.  Many pet owners don't realize that they can euthanize their fur kids at home (with the help of a professional, that is).  That's the option I chose, and I'm glad that I did.

He was cozy in bed with me.  My room was his room, so he was super comfortable.  There was no sense in traumatizing him with a vet visit.  Without the euthanization, he would have passed on his own in a few weeks (cancer), but I didn't want him to continue to waste away.  He had already lost so much weight.  On the bright side, he was still happy and he wasn't feeling any debilitating pain (ironically, because of the cancer).  This was the perfect way to "send off" the BEST DOG EVER.

I mean, as pet owners, we all believe our pet is the best ever in the history of pets.  And none of us are wrong.  I wish that everyone reading could have met Bam Bam.  So sweet, so friendly, surprisingly gentle for a Shepherd mix (he hardly ever barked)...I'm fortunate to have rescued him.  I vividly recall the day I met him.  We had been wanting to adopt a Shepherd, so we notified a local shelter to let us know if they chanced upon one.  One day, they called to tell us that a little boy brought in a puppy that we might be interested in.  By the way, I'm sorry if this isn't written well.  I'm not on my game.

Anyway, it was love at first sight.  I knew he was our dog.  He immediately licked my nose.  We've been asked about his name quite a few times over the years.  To tell you the truth, he came equipped with his name.  The little boy named him Bam Bam and I could tell that it was a fitting name.  What a wild puppy!  He never truly outgrew his puppy phase, not 100%.  Even in his last year, I could still see that playful glimmer in his eyes.  I can't tell you how glad I am that I was able to be his hooman.  My mom feels the same way, and I know my dad loved him just as much.

Towards the end of the week, we'll receive his ashes.  We could sprinkle them in the backyard, but he wasn't an inside dog.  If you were to ask him, he would have told you that he was a person.  He wasn't much for the outdoors.  He didn't play fetch, and no matter how many times we tried, he didn't care about chewtoys.  Not a single toy stuck!  That was just Bam Bam.  I'll be keeping him in my - wait, scratch that - our room in the corner where his bed resided.

Not sure how to end this thing.  I'll simply add one of my favorite picture of Bammy.  Yeah, the Wolfie doll didn't last very long.  I think Bam was appeasing us.


Rassle Inn #15

Originally, this wasn't going to be an edition of Rassle Inn.  After all, I just wrote one.  But since this post will have everything to do with wrestling, why not?  I know that there are 1,500 of you who rate Rassle Inn as your favorite column, give or take 1,499.  It's your lucky day!  There are a few things that spurred me to rhapsodize on the industry.  The headmost thing?  Last night, I acted as the announcer for what Jim Cornette would call an "outlaw" wrestling show.  It was my virgin gig at a wrestling event, and yes, this has been a dream of mine for a seriously long time.

Around 2010, I started watching WWE (and eventually, TNA...God help me) out of morbid curiosity.  That was the first time I had thrown myself into the product since my early teens.  Strangely, when I began to realize that professional wrestling was a work, I felt betrayed.  I dropped it like a bad habit (i.e. smoking) or even a good habit (i.e. heroin).  I say "strangely" because most fans don't share my reaction.  I've found that being smartened to the business isn't a big deal for the lion's share of kids/teenagers.  Maybe I'm a dainty, finespun milksop.  Shut the fuck up.

Anyway, it didn't take long to catch the bug.  I wanted to be a wrestler.  Of course, I can never be a wrestler.  That sucks.  I compromised with myself and decided that I would be content near the ring if I couldn't be inside of it.  Announcer, commentator, manager...ideally, I'd be a heel manager in the same vein as a Cornette or a Heenan.  You have to start somewhere, though.  I landed the one-time announcing spot through a friend, but if wiggle room exists, I hope to turn it into a more meaningful position.  By the way, the promotion is XCW.  The link takes you to their Facebook page.  It's a tiny company, but it's also an open door.

Speaking of Bandito (???), Ring of Honor recently held its 19th anniversary show on PPV.  I wish I could watch ROH's flagship series on a regular basis, but that would cost money.  I'm already paying to watch New Japan and WWE (well, we'll see).  Oh, right.  Bandido!  If you get the chance, check out the triple threat involving former trio partners Bandido, Flamita, and Rey Horus.  Lucha is an acquired taste, but holy shit.  Those three banditos never downshifted, and I mean that in a positive way.  If it were three American greenhorns, the psychology would have felt aimless and disjointed.  Here, the breakneck pace worked.

I mentioned that I'm paying for New Japan, and brother, I'm glad.  Otherwise, I would have missed the New Japan Cup final between Will Ospreay and Shingo Takagi.  Early contender for Match of the Year.  Both gentlemen are in their prime, and if you ask me, Ospreay - The Aerial Assassin himself - is currently the best wrestler in the world.  And that is all, friends.  To recap, I'm fixing to be a top manager, ROH is flippin' awesome, and NJPW is fuckin' awesome.