Dead Review Collection #6 - GALLERY!

Dedicated fans recognize the above piece of artwork as the censored cover of Gallery of Suicide, Cannibal Corpse's sixth long player.  Why didn't I use the uncensored version?  Eh, I like this one better.  It's kool and kreepy.  With a "k," so you know it's legit!  As I make my way through this gangling, hematic discography, I'm beginning to view Vile as an outlier.  It's almost as if it doesn't belong to the band's classic, banned-in-Germany era or the modern, Corpsegrinder-shopping-at-Target era.  Because it doesn't.  It was a stage of metastasis.  It was an airport!  Y'know, a point of transition where you are sent hurdling to your destination, your next...um, death metal record.

Gallery is a mixed bag and my feelings reflect that heterogeneity.  Certain tracks accelerate my blood pressure; others devitalize my already inert pulse.  I'm headbanging one minute, then sitting surfeited and spiritless the next.  I'm also cussing because I hurt my neck (always stretch before attending a metal show, even if it's held in your bedroom).  None of the songs are awful.  However, there are various moments that fall short for me, whether it's an arrangement that doesn't seem to be explored to its fullest (see "Sentenced to Burn," which I'll dissect later) or a vocal choice that strikes me as odd (the high-pitched shrieks that begin "Blood Drenched Execution").

All in all, the boys have dialed back the technicality.  Just a smidgen!  The rhythms are jagged and asperous when the riffs call for it, but there are numerous instances of Paul bashing the fuck out of his snare without a care in the world.  It's beautiful.  "Sentenced to Burn" is a ducky example of this caveman approach.  It was chosen for the lead single, and at first, I wasn't digging it.  It was too simple.  I saw it as a trial run for "Decency Defied," a Jack Owen slugger that wouldn't rear its monstrous head until 2004.  Whatever.  In the present day, I would grade it as above average.  I still think it could have been fleshed out, if you'll pardon the mortifying pun.

Earlier, I implied that Gallery ushered in a new chapter for Styx.  While I wouldn't claim that Journey (wait, I mean Styx...wait!) switched on cruise control, it's clear that they found a comfortable sound that suited their talents.  George, in particular, locked onto a tone that he has been using ever since.  I suppose that an annex of fans turns their collective snout up at these strides, but it's not a lack of progress.  Do you know how fucking hard it is for an extreme metal vocalist to keep his/her chords limber and healthy well into a fourth decade on Earth?  It's really, really fucking hard.  Here, The Neck's growls are dependably brutal and his range is insane.  I'll go a little more in-depth on his screams on a future edition of the Dead Review Collection.

My favorite cuts are "I Will Kill You," "Disposal of the Body," the title track, "Unite the Dead," "Chambers of Blood," and "Every Bone Broken."  The riffs are unholy.  If they were people, they would be wanted on charges of assault with a deadly weapon.  Or arson of public buildings.  Maybe larceny?  You get my point.  The mediocre conjurations are at least heavy.  That's a given, I guess.  I can't even pinpoint why the lesser tunes are lesser.  The punches don't connect, so yes, I caution you to...ask a sharpened writer.  I have dulled.  I am discerning enough to tell you that Gallery of Suicide is somewhere in the middle of the stack.

Three ellipses?  My days are numbered.



Slice THIS!

That's fuckin' Sting.  This past Wednesday night, I was approximately 40 feet away from the man, the same bloke I watched every Saturday morning as a tyke.  It was hard to process in the moment.  I hadeen to one AEW event before, but this time around, I was ringside (a few rows back, granted).  There are a few other pictures, but it wouldn't look orderly if I slapped all of them beneath this text.  My plan is to upload them to Facebook.  Afterwards, I'll edit a LINK (click that sumbitch) into this jeremiad.

Traffic was ludicrous.  I was convinced that we would arrive late, but through some sort of sortilege, we were able to catch most of Dark: Elevation.  Since the return to touring, I was wondering how the hell tapings of both Dark and its high-rise sibling fit into, y'know, the allotted window of time.  Pretty easily, as it turns out.  The Big Sh--er, Paul Wight came out to provide color commentary for Elevation, Dynamite exploded, and finally, the crowd was sent home happy with oodles of Dark matches.  It should be noted that we left just as Dynamite went off the air.

I keep saying "we."  Remember, I'm a nerd (in a wheelchair, no less).  Thus, I was accompanied by my mommy!  In all seriousness, I couldn't have enjoyed this little trip without her.  Pardon me if I repeat myself (she joined me when I caught a Ring of Honor show in 2017), but she's a champ.  Wrestling isn't her bag, although she does like certain guys/gals.  I can say with conviction that she did NOT care for the garbage violence.  L.  O.  L.

Blood doesn't bother me, but I've never been impressed by madcap backyard daredevils.  Nick Gage is...um.  Look, I understand that he can wrestle without muskets and harpoons (now that would be a fucking match), but personally, I'm not a fan.  I'm honestly surprised by the sheer number of fans this guy drew to the Bojangles Coliseum.  I don't get the "psychology."  Fuck Domino's, though.  Their pizza sucks anyway.

I don't have much else to type on the matter other than holy shit, Adam Page is over.  Tony Khan needs to strike while the iron is hot.  Because dude, it's hotter than Anna Jay and Penelope Ford spending seven minutes in heaven.


Album Cover of the Whatever

This one was released last week.  Craven Idol (badass name) sports a sound that sits squarely between thrash and black metal.  There are traces of war metal, but it's not that kind of record.  Check it out.  Most metal goons are salivating over Forked Tongues.  It didn't click with me, but I'm a choosy, captious old man of 407 years.  Or thereabouts.  That's a sick cover, though!


Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust

"I have seen one anime film in my life as a nerd.  It was Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke, recommended by a friend.  I thought it was alright, but it didn't set alight a fervent enthrallment with the medium.  I didn't feel a pull to check out other anime titles, or even other Miyazaki vectors.  Ventures?  No, I'm positive that "vector" is the appropriate word.  Don't look it up.  Well, I have now seen two anime films.  I've been familiar with Vampire Hunter D for nearly two decades and I have come close to buying it on occasion.  Why didn't I?  Eh, I'm just not an anime type.  It's hard to explain.  I'm averse to the animation style, for starters.  Simply put, I couldn't see myself relating to the characters and losing myself in a plot thread.

If I were to cozy up to a ration of Japanimation, I knew that this 1985 leech scoop would most likely be my huckleberry.  We follow a vampire hunter (no shit) as he endeavors to run his sword through Count Magnus Lee.  Lee serves as our Dracula, and no, the name is not a coincidence.  Apparently, much of D's gothic trappings are meant to mirror those of Hammer outings.  Hideyuki Kikuchi, the author of the source material, was a big fan of Christopher Lee."

Why the quotation marks?  Because I am presenting the above block of text as a curiosity, a peek into another dimension.  Also, I'm a fucking idiot.  Allow me to explain.  Last night, I watched Vampire Hunter D online.  Or so I thought.  Today, I began my review and I got precisely that far (*points at the second paragraph*) when I realized that I didn't watch Vampire Hunter D.  Between the words that I was reading and writing, something was erroneous.  Glitched up, if you will.  I watched 2000's Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, the sequel.  How the shit did that happen?  I'm pretty sure that I know, but it's a long and ultimately superfluous story.

Of course, it still holds true that I'm not an anime guy.  The synopsis reads differently, though.  Heh, I was wondering why Count Magnus Lee didn't ring a bell.  Have I mentioned that I'm a fucking idiot yet?  Here, D (the character, not the movie) is paid a handsome amount of gravy tender to retrieve the prized daughter of a rich invalid.  The old financier paid a group of outlaw bounty hunters for the same reason, so I guess it's a race?  In any event, there are obstacles aplenty and it's made all the more complicated when the bird taken hostage decides that she genuinely loves her fanged captor.

Camera angles, shading, framing...the cosmetics are spot-on.  I can't say that I love the overall style (I'm still too American), but Bloodlust is a slick picture.  The script never goes off the rails.  That said, gloomy atmospherics take over when the scaffolding isn't structurally sound.  A main villain is introduced in the third act.  And I do mean "introduced," as her name isn't uttered in the first hour.  That's a no-no.  The only other failing is Left Hand.  If you've seen Bloodlust, you probably know why I detest Left Hand. Fuck Left Hand.

Seriously, fuck Left Hand.  Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust is a cool action/horror anime, and I can see why it (and its predecessor) is often proposed as an approachable film to show someone from another fandom.  Have I been converted?  No.  Robert Z'Dar says, "Tentacle rape or get the fuck out!"



What if Death looked like Elmer Fudd?

I got a wicked Space Jam toy at McDonald's today.  Yeah, I called it wicked.  It's a little basketball hoop with Elmer Fudd's face as the backboard.  IT'S AWESOME.  If you make a basket, his hat pops off!  I've been ejaculating for hours, I tell you.  Actually, the reason for this update is to explain the dearth of content this week.  Family's in town and I was busy all day for completely different reasons (mind your own business).  Does that excuse any indolence on my part?  No.  Wait.  Yes, it does.  Fuck you.

I do have the next two "pieces" lined up.  Wait a few days, kitten.  And listen to Sarcofago.


A Cripple Faps at Night

I don't have "write a review" time today.  I do have "write a little something" time lobbed atop a scintilla of "fap violently" time.  I kid, I kid, I tell the truth, whatever.  One of the episodes of Joe Bob's Last Drive-In (renew that Shudder subscription) gives prominence to 2014's A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.  This Iranian block of vampire noir received a squillion accolades upon its release.  I'm just now catching up with it and...yeah, it definitely exists.  I did love the black-and-white cinematography, the focused cast, and the unique mood.  Really, the key word is "unique."  A Girl doesn't feel like any other film I've seen in recent years.

All of those lovely provisions cannot atone for a pace slower than an octogenarian wearing ankle weights.  Couple that with a fairly skeletal plot and cut to me zonking a snooze.  The 101-minute runtime doesn't help.  I can see why A Girl made waves, but she didn't move me much.


Dead Review Collection #5 - VILE!

I don't know if anyone is reading these things.  Is this all for naught?  Am I alone in the universe?  If so, Cannibal Corpse wouldn't exist.  That would suck.  Besides, I feel like I've talked to people, and if that's the case, my adoration for George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher is floating through the ether, a quark scouring the firmament.  Space debris!  I'm already beginning to wander, but all you need to know is that I'm a huge fan of the silo-necked vocalist.  After Chris Barnes was expatriated from the line-up, Fisher stepped in and screamed down at those who dared to challenge his ascendancy.

Of course, Vile opens with The Neck's mighty roar.  Imagine a demonic baby being pulled from his mother's loving snatch and greeting the world with a stertorous, bedrock-flaying wail that scalds all friars within a 5-mile radius...that's roughly how he sounds.  Reportedly, it took a few takes for George to nail the scream, on account of nerves.  He never fucking looked back.  This isn't a solo release, though.  The rest of the band is hungry, and you can tell from the zig-zag pulse of the rhythm section.  And you bet, the riffs!  These riffs are pissed off.  The main run of notes that opens (and infects) "Orgasm Through Torture" is a personal favorite.

It's almost poetic that the closing chug of "Monolith" is a close runner-up, as it's the last piece of muzak we hear on Vile.  Goodness, there is still much to cover.  For example, the cover!  It's a classic(k) lamina, a slate so repulsive, it made my putz bristle with distress.  My poor, poor putz.  Stepping back a bit to survey the character of the album's chemical composition, there aren't too many traces of The Bleeding.  The dalliance with technicality remains, but by and large, songs are leaner.  Quicker!  We don't hear a rudiment of groove until "Disfigured," the fourth track (I'm not counting transient breakdowns).  Since I brought it up, I don't care for "Disfigured."  Or "Puncture Wound Massacre."

These lesser bangers don't fail for specific reasons; they're just not as memorable, says the author of this review.  It's subjective.  At least they don't bore me, which is a peccancy we'll encounter later in the "collection."  A couple of random findings, if I may...the vocal patterns are killer.  If I were presenting evidence in a court of law, I would cite the chorus of "Mummified in Barbed Wire" as Exhibit A.  Appetizing melody shows its head on "Eaten From Inside" and "Orgasm Through Torture."  I dig "Relentless Beating," an instrumental that goes as hard as the non-instrumentals.  Finally, I refuse to watch the remake of Black Christmas on principle alone.

I can't bring myself to assign a perfect score to Vile.  I heart it (aww), but other CC records are better yet.  Hey, I totally get why some fans rank this maggot-saturated steamroller as George's finest hour as a Corpse.  It's a fun listen, no doubt.  I'm currently listening to Created to Kill (the Vile demo featuring Barnes at the microphone), and while it's far from being an embarrassment, you are woefully mistaken if you believe that the member switch was misguided.  The guy who wrote "Bloody Underwear" and "Amerika the Brutal" does not deserve to front Cannibal motherfucking Corpse.  All hail The Neck.



Album Cover of the Whatever

Working on the next review, so until it's ready (damn life getting in the way), here's a wacky thrash cover from 1994.  The band is Hellraiser.  They labor out of Russia, and apparently, they're still active.  I have to say, when it comes to metal collectives named after horror films, I prefer Poltergeist.


Rassle Inn #19

I'm in the mood to write about wrestling, so that is precisely what I'll do.  I don't want my metal-inclined readers to worry (I think I'm safe); my next thesis will be particularly vile.  Back to the main topic!  There isn't a specific event or athlete upon which I was called to confabulate.  Things are simply...interesting.  WWE's Raw has pulled in record-low ratings for two consecutive weeks.  Does Vince McMahon care?  That's a genuine question.  If I'm basing it solely on the content of Raw, I would say no.  Emphatically.  And I would use my outside voice.

At three hours running, WWE's flagship battlewagon (?) is an endurance test.  It's fucking terrible.  I'd almost consider tagging it as "torture porn."  You might be asking yourself why I still watch the show if it's as inept as I claim.  I don't!  I'll read the results out of curiosity, but hand to Satan, every time I tune into the USA Network on Monday nights, it's a rigorous, harrowing venture.  It's beyond stale.  Each card is stacked with matches we've already seen.  The same does not apply to AEW's Dynamite.

Even if you loathe the promotion, you can't argue the fact that Tony Khan manages to present fresh bouts week in, week out.  I say "manages," but when you have a sundry jumble of a roster, it's not that hard.  That's why the sterile flavor of Raw blows my mind.  Knock it off with the brand separation bullshit.  It kinda-sorta made sense when WWF absorbed WCW/ECW talents two decades ago, but in 2021, it's superfluous.  Do you realize that there are less than five female superstars on Smackdown?  Some division.  Don't get me started on WWE's tag team situation.  Don't, I said!

We're seeing more and more wrestlers defect to AEW.  The skeptical among us are reminded of TNA's most vital period (which wasn't terribly vital), but this feels different.  Vince's cast-offs have a wider lagoon of options to choose from and the "direct competition" offers a more stable base of gainful (not to mention lucrative) employment than TNA ever did.  Malakai Black?  Fuck yeah, my dude!  I don't understand why his wife went back to WWE, but hey, that's her business.  Personally, I just signed an extension with Smoky Mountain Wrestling.  I'm in it for the long haul!


Geek Out #150

Jake "The Snake" Roberts and The Ultimate Warrior on a German TV show in 1993???  Apparently, they were both working a tour for World Wrestling's Superstars (post-WWF, obviously).  Get this!  The sword that Warrior is brandishing isn't just for show; he played The Swordsman in an action flick called Firepower.  It looks fucking insane.  Yes, I need to own it.


Blood Capsule #111


I don't usually follow movie reviews with more movie reviews, but I caught an unearthly peregrination (sorry, I just got back from a spelling bee) into vampire lore that bonked my fancy.  We're in Hammer territory.  As a rule, things don't veer off into squalor here, so I know that I'm in capable hands.  Surprisingly, I had not seen this Peter Cushing vehicle, a fanged film about identical twin sisters who go to stay with their zealous uncle.  That would be Cushing, and he has taken it upon himself to cleanse his principality of witches.  It's a Salem situation, but this isn't the typical horror spiel where dozens of pretty peasants are burned at the stake.

Okay, that does happen, but Twins of Evil's nerve center is drained by vampires.  They even have a suitable Count.  And no Lee in sight!  This v-movie (admit it; that was brilliant) works because it's powered and propelled by its plot.  An absorbing story supports the fun embroidery that we love.  Boobs, impressive gore, and a killer atmosphere all make an appearance, but without substance, you're left with frills.  I mean, you would still get boobs.  Courtesy of the Collinson sisters.  Their Playboy pictures may or may not be a Google search away, not that...you've already left, haven't you?



Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life...

When a friend recommends a film for review, I shut them out of my life.  Who has time for that kind of meddlesome behavior?  I don't.  Of that, I can assure you.  If that seems harsh, you should know that I've acquiesced in recent years.  Troy Harrison recommended that I rent Anaconda in seventh grade.  They never did find his body.  Again, I find myself tempering my stance.  I've heard the scuttlebutt; I've seen the glowing, near-berserk praise in chat rooms (hehehe).  People are digging this documentary.  I'll fess up and concede that I haven't put many of Adamson's pictures in my holster.  Why doesn't the world call movies "pictures" anymore?  It's cool!  Isn't it?

Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson looks at the auteur's bold career and features interviews with dozens of relevant faces.  For the most part, this is a frolic for cheese connoisseurs.  I had fun learning about the man and his filmmaking philosophy (I can't believe that Roger Corman didn't come up in conversation, so to speak).  And then WHAM!  The viewer hits a wall.  The wall isn't bad from a critic's perspective.  How do I word this?  Aliens.  While doing research for a documentary on UFOs, Adamson dropped the project after his probing groundwork (hey, no smirking) came a little too close to the government.

Roughly a year later, he was dead.  Was he snuffed out by a man in black?  No.  The UFO bit is wedged in a strange spot, but there was little that director David Gregory could feasibly do about it.  He literally documented Adamson's life.  The sequence of events was out of his hands.  So how did the manic mastermind responsible for The Naughty Stewardesses perish?  By the way, I don't feel like these are spoilers per se.  If you disagree, all I can do is offer my condolences to you and your family.  In lieu of flowers, please accept tasteful photographs of my dick.

The third act is jarring.  I'm not sure if the shift in mood is handled with care.  On one hand, a film should carry a flowing lilt, a consistency in tone.  Contrarily, what is more jarring than death?  From an artistic angle, it makes sense for the final chunk of Blood & Flesh to be more grim than every other chunk combined.  Perhaps the scaffolding is perfect.  The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson echoes the life and death of Al Adamson.  Isn't that the whole point of a documentary?

NOTE TO SELF: Check out Nurse Sherri, Blood of Ghastly Horror, Doctor Dracula, Satan's Sadists, Cinderella 2000, and CB4.  Adamson had nothing to do with that last one.  I just want to see it.



Before the Blonds went to Hollywood...

Those are The Varsity Blonds (including Julia, their cheerleader).  The dude on the right is Brian Pillman Jr., and if you are a wrestling fan, you know that his father was a badass who challenged the status quo.  I'm a Pillman mark, but that's beside the point.  Junior is finally finding his footing.  The Blonds are one of my favorite "acts" in AEW, and I hope they bedeck the card...when I attend a live taping of Dynamite in late June!  Booyah!  This will be my second AEW experience, and I had a blast the first time around.

Speaking of the first time around, Mom and I lucked into meeting the Rhodes family.  My God, Brandi is beautiful.  My God.  Anyway, we'll see what happens, but I'm not going to set my expectations too high.  Also, YAY!


Edge of the Axe

Director Jose Ramon Larraz considers 1988's Edge of the Axe to be his worst film.  To me, that's just weird.  I respect his opinion.  It's obviously an informed opinion, and I would surmise that he has sapient, discerning insight into his own works.  But this flick isn't too shabby!  Perhaps when he made that judgment, he was skimming the surface.  On its face, Edge is a suit-and-tie slasher.  Nothing more, nothing less.  It's not as challenging as, say, 1980's Stigma or 1974's Symptoms, but there exists a cadre of disreputable rubes who enjoy slummy, unkempt b-pictures.  Y'know, shitheads.  A congregation of which I am a member.

Ol' Jose wasn't thinking of the underbelly of the film buff community.  Actually, it's more likely that Edge was concocted with us in mind.  This is basically a lost Friday the 13th sequel, minus camp counselors and a hockey mask.  Oh, and nudity.  A baffling omission, that.  If I may, I'd like to go back and talk about masks.  Our killer's cloak is cool (so is Coca-Cola and concubine kiosks), and while I understand the comparisons to Michael Myers, I think the general outlay passes muster.  It has its own vibe.  The huge fucking axe helps.  One would assume that such an implement would set in motion an array of messy death sequences.  Nah.

Don't get me wrong, my pet; blood is spilled, but the gore is limited to streaks of plasma.  There is a severed finger.  It's really exciting.  So, so exciting.  I wish it was easier to convey sarcasm in print.  I haven't sold Edge as a festive sit, but I did enjoy those 91 minutes.  Can you believe that the characters and their synergy are more involving than the horror happenings brought to light?  Not by much, but it's true.  Barton Faulks and Page Mosely (no relation to Bill, as far as I can tell) play the male leads as decent fellows, so it's easy to root for them.  Christina Marie Lane is warm and cute as Lillian.  Here again, you're in the protagonist's corner.

Somewhere between the halfway point and the big reveal, I was reminded that I was scoping a whodunit.  Was I successful in guessing the identity of the larvate evildoer?  No.  Was I satisfied with the ending?  No.  Did it make sense?  No.  Do I recommend Edge of the Axe in spite of these - and other - snags?  Yes!  This is popcorn entertainment.  I streamed it late at night, and yet, I didn't fall asleep.  If you're Dom, that's worthy of note.  Robert Z'Dar says, "I'm edging."



Album Cover of the Whatever

Need I say more?  The cover of this German thrash record is more metal than...erm, a bolt cutter.  An eyelash curler?  A spoon?  A whistle?  All of Norway?  You get the idea.  By the way, the band is Eliminator and the album is Krieg Thrash.  Because of course that's the title!



Ever flitter around on eBay?  Y'know, just to see what you can find?  If you're bored, it's a posh, dandy way to kill time.  Earlier, I was clicking (much like a cicada) through ragged WWF merchandise in search of Undertaker bagatelles that have been carelessly tossed aside by the unsuitable.  That's what I call normal people.  Ick.  Anyway, I stumbled upon a gimmick catalog from 1994.  That's one of my best years!

Now would be a great opportunity to mention that I "collect" Doink manavelins in addition to other wrestling knick-knacks.  I used quotation marks because I don't buy stuff left and right with the mania of a true collector.  If I spot something cool (and I can afford it), I buy it.  Simple as.  So this fucking catalog contains...get ready...Doink teddy bears.  DOINK BEARS.  With Dink included, you cocksuckers!  Woah, I don't know where that came from.  Sorry.  I'm hyped up on Pepsi and Doink energy.  Yes, I realize that I'm essentially proselytizing the shitty babyface Doink and his causeless sidekick, but it's still Doink, man.  Doink bends my will.  All is Doink.  Doink is all.

I can't find any Doink bears online, though I haven't spent many days minutes looking.  Undertaker bears are easier to locate, and I do want one, but dude, Doink bears.  Until today, I didn't know they existed.  If you have a spare or you know where I can grab one, please let me know.  I will gladly pay in American currency for that sweet, sweet baby.


Dead Review Collection #4 - BLEEDING!

My personal ranking of Cannibal Corpse compendiums has waffled over the years.  If you're a CC freak, I'm sure your opinions have fluctuated with the elapsing course of time.  The whitecaps, the breakers...this is already too goddamn philosophical.  Point being!  I used to regard Tomb of the Mutilated as the stateliest, most measured offering of the Barnes era.  Nowadays, my death metal compass leads me to 1994's The Bleeding.  It's not my favorite CC record overall, but we can burn that bridge when we cross it.  After we cross it?  Eh, viaducts and cantilevers are above my pay grade.

Against my better judgment, I'm going to start by focusing on the album's principal flaw.  Chris sounds fine.  You could tell that he was losing something, but he still had something to lose.  My beef relates directly to the lyrics.  Yes, they're as abominable as they ever were ("Fucked With a Knife" and "She Was Asking For It" are not U2 songtitles), but compared to earlier material, they are dumbed down to a disquieting degree.  The dude was running out of ideas.  What is "Pulverized" about?  It's about killing someone.  And "The Pick-Axe Murders"?  Killing someone, but with an axe!  The actual phraseology is dry and hampered.  Maybe this wouldn't bother me so much if I wasn't a writer.

Can we get to the music now?  Stop bossing me around, me.  The band unlatched their aural hoofprints on The Bleeding, experimenting with melody and technicality.  I use the term loosely, but the tracks here are accessible, at least from an arrangement standpoint.  It's easier to finger the chorus (ew, sorry).  You can distinguish a beginning, a middle, and an end.  To be frank, that's how I like my extreme metal, although it may not be the preferred "kvlt" way to compose music.  Riffs?  Sweet lobotomy Mary, the riffs on this thing are heavier than Heather Feather.  After "Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead" raises the (presumptively flesh-woven) curtain, "Spooned With a Knife" rattles your cervix with a rifftastic riff.  It riffs you.

"Pulverized" plays on every strength of The Bleeding.  The tempos vary, the vocal patterns are memorable, and those fucking riffs are lethal.  Speaking of tempo, the catchy "Return to Flesh" and the sinister, atmospheric "Force Fed Broken Glass" slow the violence down a notch.  Like I said, the cannibalistic corpses were ready to prod their routine, to tread alfresco of their comfort zone.  No, not Fresca.  Yes, they still make Fresca.  Yes, I have been known to crack open a bottle at random intervals.  It's not bad!  Fruity.  Refreshing.  But that is neither here nor there.  I get distracted so easily these days.  Sorry?

In summation, citrus soft drinks-OH, GODDAMN IT!  I have yet to utter the adjective that I believe best describes The Bleeding.  That would be "fun."  I don't know why exactly, but I have a blast cranking this album in a cross section of assorted environments.  Admittedly, it's attached to fond memories of a trip to Disney World, of all places (if I'm not mistaken, I picked it up at a record store near our hotel).  Bereaved of nostalgia, I know for a fact that I'd still love The Bleeding.  I am deducting a half-Abbath for the frontman's waning commitment to the group collective.  Today, it's obvious.  I wonder if it stuck out like a sore thumb in 1994.  Hey, the vocals are decent.  I'm certainly not complaining about his replacement.



Um, foreshadowing?

Just dropping in to say I haven't forgotten about...y'know, writin' stuff.  I have something cooking right now, which I'll share with you tomorrow night-ish.


Geek Out #149

If I could, I'd crawl to California to visit this place.  I would want to live there.  Okay, I do live there.  Watching the quick tour, I realized that I owned many of the same comics and videotapes.  Because I'm cool!  Yeah, that's why.


Blood Capsule #110


On some level, I created Blood Capsules to condense and depurate the films that defy description.  To reduce these aberrations to a savory vapor.  To win a staring contest with nonsensical bullshit.  Beyond the Door III blinked before I did, but it's still a mess of a nexus to untangle.  Like it even needs to be addressed; no, this flick has nothing in common with 1974's Beyond the Door or its alleged "sequel" (a.k.a. Mario Bava's Shock).  The title was a distributor's decision.  I don't know whose decision it was to make this a cloudy, ill-defined junker, but that fool...I have a problem with that fool.  He zimmed with the wrong darfklacker.

It's not all doom and gloom, though.  Maybe you can tell from the above photograph, but BTD3 is seriously stylish.  Director Jeff Kwitny took a saddlebag of locust intestines and turned it into something approaching scenic.  God knows he couldn't depend on the cast or the dialogue to retain the viewer's ever-shrinking attention span.  I was actually paying heed and I couldn't cipher the damn plot.  It's something about a Satanic cult, a virgin, train gore...there is quite a bit of train gore.  The effects are sick, dude.  Everything else isn't nearly as sick, dude.  Beyond the Door III was shot, at least partially, in Serbia, so I can say that having seen a Serbian film, it's a forgettable rental.  Nyuk, nyuk.


Rassle Inn #18

Over the weekend, NXT was in my house!  This trend of recycling archaic PPV themes is...well, it's awesome, but it's also the pinch of sugar to help the medicine go down.  Those mid-90's events were adorable.  Maybe it's nostalgia talking, but I care more about those main events than I do a goddamn five-way match where the winner is obvious.  Yes, I'd rather watch Diesel versus The British Bulldog (eh, maybe not)  I need to check my heat.  All told, I had fun with the 34th (!) Takeover flight of fancy.  Most of the card is fine on the yellow brand until you get to the supposed centerpiece(s).

I'm bored!  Karrion Kross is a cool champion, but he needs fresh challengers.  While I'm giving myself the book, he should to be an overt babyface.  Where are the true heroes in NXT?  Take last night's main event as an example.  Assuming a wrestler's loyalty to ethics and moral rectitude exists on a sliding scale, the "superstar" closest to the babyface end of the spectrum is Kyle O'Reilly.  Fantastic in the ring, awkward on the microphone.  Seriously, his current persona is curdled cack (ew).  Finn Balor is hovering over the midriff of our little scale.  There is no reason for him to be a tweener.  Likewise, there is no reason for Adam Cole to be a heel.

Of course, the rest are heels.  Where do the badass good guys reside?  Look, I'm sure that the spots were neat, but I didn't stick around to catch the five-way fray.  I didn't have to observe it.  Why is it so difficult for promoters to recognize their own talents as either heels or faces?  At Double or Nothing, it seemed that AEW's women's division was on the periphery of coming greatness with new champion Britt Baker leading the way.  The fans were behind her.  Were.  The very next week, she was right back to being a heel during her fucking cheeseburger celebration.  What the fuck was that shit?

So Britt is faced with a virtuous contender, right?  Nope!  Heels gonna heel, baby!  As of right now, the woman slotted to vie for the lady strap (let's keep our minds out of the gutter) is Nyla Rose, a heel managed by Vickie Guerrero, the most despised manager in all of AEW.  Hey, I don't play favorites.  I do prefer the TNT program to the USA/Fox program, but I call 'em like I see 'em.  Tony Khan better sort this division out pronto.  Where is Jack Tunney when you need him?


Album Cover of the Whatever

Preeeeettttty.  That's the cover of The Sorrows of Centuries Past, a cool record by Ancestral Shadows.  Recommended to fans of early Emperor.  Also, preeeeettttty.


The Soda Jerk Rides Again: ALE-8

What happens when you find a couple of random, obscure soda pops in the wild?  You purchase them and you reanimate your ancient, calcified beverage column to write about them.  Ale-8 is not the eighth malt I've imbibed on this good day.  No, it's a citrus/ginger soda that was developed in the 1920's.  The peculiar name?  Well, creator (and bottler by trade) G.L. Wainscott held a contest to find the perfect eponym.  The moniker chosen was "A Late One," as in the latest in tasty drink technology.  Naturally, "Ale-8" became manifest, at least colloquially.  The full name is written as "Ale-8-One," but we don't use that language in this house.  Do you understand me?  So help me God, if I catch you...

...what happened?  I hit my head on a block of pixels.  Anyway, I think I was preparing to say that I was reticent to put my lips to a sleek decanter of bubbly water.  You may not recall, but the majority of my Soda Jerk reviews have been either tepid or negative.  My batting average isn't so hot, brother.  Sister?  Sorry, I'm a sexist.  And a racist.  JOKES!  THESE ARE JOKES!  Okay, I'm moving on.  I was pleasantly surprised by Ale-8.  It's not the most delicious swig in the known universe, but it does give you a cooling sensation.  It acts as a restorative roborant (tragic alliteration is tragic).

Specific notes of lime and ginger don't present themselves immediately.  At first, you're met with a general sweetness.  The aftertaste is where this tonic transforms into something distinct.  Normally, I'm not terribly partial to ginger ale, but I must admit, Ale-8 is a bit of alright.  I dig!  I may start drinking more ginger stuff, even the pale variant (Canada Dry, yo).  It's quite the mellow soda, which I appreciate.  Compared to a root beer, for instance, the carbonation is light.  It pairs well with pasta.  Granted, almost any liquid pairs well with pasta, but I just so happened to be enjoying a spaghetti dish when I sipped my Ale-8 and I don't have a bowl of complaints.

The packaging is fine.  Honestly, there isn't much to say.  Green and yellow makes sense, given the product.  Please forgive the wretched lighting in my photograph.  Light bulbs are irritating.


Sheiky Baby

This isn't a formal review, but last night, I caught 2014's The Sheik.  I'm fashionably late on this one.  At any rate, it's a bio(graphical)-doc(umentary) on Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri.  You may know him better as The Iron (fucking) Sheik.  For over a decade now, he has cultivated a brash, diverting persona on social media, but as the film illustrates, there is a real human being underneath the gimmick.  He's a very proud and very complex guy.  Every "old school" wrestler can account for Sheik's demons, as they all partied with him back in the day.  Shit, he did more blow than the entire guest list of Live-Aid.

Hmm, I'm not sure how I feel about a Live-Aid reference, but I'll leave it.  I would have liked to see more coverage of Sheik's post-WWF wrestling career.  His brief stop in WCW is omitted, and now that I'm ruminating my way through it, the doc glosses over his tag title run with Nikolai Volkoff.  The championships aren't even mentioned.  It seems to me that - barring the WWF title win over Bob Backlund - his only other reign (in American pro-wrestling, that is) would be significant enough to warrant an allusion.

Maybe that's just me being a nerd.  I dug the interviews.  The absence of a certain promoter was rather conspicuous, though.  Did they ask and he rebuffed?  Were they too intimidated to ask at all?  I doubt it.  I mean, The Rock is sprinkled liberally from end to end.  The Great One was great, by the way.  I don't know if I would describe The Sheik as great, but it's greatly proficient.  Well, I almost wrote a formal review, didn't I?  Fuck.  I'll probably take a few days off, but when I return, I will be carbonated.  Don't worry; it's not a hiatus.  Think of it as an extended guitar solo.