Geek Out #148

Rare footage of Alfred (of Batman fame, of course) being a badass and besting The Joker at his own game.  This stuff is too priceless.


Rassle Inn #17

In a past entry, I questioned the logic of "invading" Impact Wrestling.  Cross-promotion activity is exciting, but it seems like AEW is reaching down to lift a nephew/niece so that the scamp can sit on an adult's shoulders.  Winning their top title should be a momentous occasion.  But it's Impact.  Holding AAA's Mega Championship is more impressive.  What does it mean to most viewers?  Sure, it's Mexico's number one wrestling company, but where does it rank in the States?  Hint: it doesn't.  I'd wager that MLW attracts a higher number of eyeballs online than any promotion south of the border.

Hold up!  I'm not trying to slam AAA (or CMLL, for that matter).  I did say that I was impressed by Omega's grab for gold.  He traveled to a different country during a pandemic for the business he loves.  To me - Dominic Jay Coccaro - The Cleaner is sitting at the apex of professional wrestling.  As Queen Elizabeth II would say, he is King Shit of Fuck Mountain.  However, most of America hasn't noticed.  Even capturing the IWGP Heavyweight Championship wouldn't shift tectonic plates, though it might cause a few extra heads to turn.  The combat sports world would only stir if Omega won a significant prize under the banner of...you guessed it.

When that does happen, you could probably guess the temperature it will be in Hell.  Again, I arrive at frustration.  AEW always does this shit to me.  How do I feel about Omega holding three championships from three separate companies?  I like it.  And I don't like it.  See, I was cursed with one of those active brains and I can see both sides of almost any issue.  The WWE looks at AEW's main event scene and laughs, especially now that Impact is involved.  Unfortunately for them and their universe, AEW's product is twice as entertaining (and that's lowballing it).

Apropos of nothing, you should check out MLW's Fusion.  Apparently, they are returning to live crowds and a new network in July.  They might just creep up the ladder without a Khan or a McMahon catching wind of it.


Dead Review Collection #1 - EATEN!

I'm reviewing every full-length Cannibal Corpse album.  Yes, I'm crazy!  Each piece will be posted according to a rigid set of guidelines.  A review is published when...when I'm done writing it.  So check back on those days?

This blood-splattered platter stands apart from the rest of Cannibal Corpse's discography.  As die-hard (all puns are intended) fans know, Eaten Back to Life is suffused with streaks of thrash.  It wasn't a matter of geography; the guys were based in New York.  If they were going to absorb local leanings by osmosis, their music would have had a hardcore bent to it.  The members simply listened to a lot of Slayer and Kreator.  I don't know that they deplored the more melodic, accessible stuff (I'm thinking of two M's), but CC had a specific goal.  At this point, death metal may have existed in some form, but it wasn't a concrete thing.  Thanks to these badass motherfuckers, it was about to be a thing.

Throughout this series, I will use "CC" as shorthand for Cannibal Corpse.  Trust me when I tell you that I'm never referring to C.C. DeVille.  I wanted to squash that confusion from the get-go.  I'm also going to use an unnecessary amount of profanity.  Anywho, this fucking fucker was not my introduction to the gore gods, despite it being the debut.  I started with a record from the George era.  I had an inkling of what to expect from vintage CC, but honestly, I popped it into my CD player with mild trepidation.  You see, I knew that Eaten was basically a thrash album on performance-enhancing drugs.  I'm not the biggest thrash nut in the world.

Calm down.  I like the usual suspects from the 80's, but my favorite thrash was recorded in the late 80's/early 90's.  Y'know, when the subgenre was dying?  Holy Terror, Realm, Demolition Hammer, Mordred, Exhorder...that shit kicks my ass.  Okay, so maybe I do like thrash!  It's a moot point.  Eaten contains 20% thrash and 80% death metal.  The elements are there, but "Put Them to Death" will never be mistaken for sunlit Bay Area rage.  I will say, the beginning of "Scattered Remains, Splattered Brains" is pure Slayer.  I almost wonder if it was intentional as a nod to a revered band.

Eaten is fun.  That's the main vibe I get from these tunes.  They certainly don't make me feel icky or odious (that comes later).  No, I imagine myself skateboarding home from school and listening to CC while chugging a can of Crystal Pepsi.  I could never skateboard, but just go with it.  Segue!  Man, these riffs.  Look up "heavy" in a thesaurus and pick any of the suggested synonyms.  Sweet bastard, the opening of "Born in a Casket" sends my mind into a wrestling ring where I pummel a poor sap.  In fact, that would be my entrance theme.  Go listen to it.  How badass is that???

It's a rhetorical question.  You don't have to respond via snail mail.  Put away your stationery, cute though it may be.  Elsewhere, "Mangled" clubs itself over your head with Paul's relentless drumming and the gang shouts of "Maaaangllleeed!"  As for other choice cuts, I'm partial to "A Skull Full of Maggots" and "Buried in the Backyard," the two tracks that close this horror film on tape.  The former is a call-and-response live staple, while the latter identifies as awesome.  What do I write about the lyrics?  In my heart, I'll always be an irresponsible teenager, so I think they're cool.

Compared to 1994's The Bleeding and every Six Feet Under record, Chris Barnes seems to be trying to devise sensible lyrics.  His vocals haven't matured yet.  It's a decent bark.  And again, compared to downstream SFU releases, he sounds fine.  I'm not here to gauge how Eaten Back to Life stacks up against Altars of Madness or Scream Bloody Gore.  I'll leave that to "professional" journalists.  I do quite enjoy it and recommend it to fans of Crystal Pepsi.



Album Cover of the Whatever

Bats!  A castle!  One of Earth's moons!  That's a sweet cover.  And I dig the chalky look, as it gives the image texture instead of being simple black-and-white.  The music?  Norwegian black metal.  It's mostly mid-paced, which I appreciate.  Blastbeats get old (old death) after awhile, y'know?


The House on Sorority Row

If 1982's The House on Sorority Row was released in 2002 (or even today), it would have been met with groans and pupils swimming to the backs of heads.  No, it wouldn't have caused orgasms.  This kind of thing is old hat.  It was certainly platitudinous in the early aughts.  But just as distance makes the heart grow fonder, time has a way of sweetening incidents and circumstances we leave behind.  Sorority Row wasn't released today, so I can attach a hospitable warmth to it that I can't attach to, say, the prostitute I murdered last night.  Don't bother sending condolences.  She had no friends or family.  Now that I think about it, she's probably in Hell.

See, the whore...oops!  I forgot which trash I was reviewing.  That's unfair; this film doesn't feel nearly as trashy as I expected.  The plot is standard fare.  A group of sorority sisters are planning a graduation bash (or whatever), but the den mother insists on pissing in the direction of their parade.  They decide to pull a prank on the battle-axe biddy.  In short, they accidentally neutralize her.  They neutralize the shit out of her.  Should they call the cops?  Where will they hide the body?  Does Vicki have a license for that gun?  Answer me!  DOES VICKI HAVE A LICENSE FOR THAT GUN?

The rest is a slasher.  I have to hand it to the effects crew.  The death sequences are brutal, even if they aren't thoroughly convincing.  Eileen Davidson (fuckin' Vicki) drops her top.  Good for her!  I find it funny that she has spent 36 years playing one character on a soap opera.  Goes to show that if you bare your delicious flesh in a "body count" flick, you are practically guaranteed stable employment for decades to come.  Director Mark Rosman succeeds in capturing splashy colors and framing smart sets at just the right angle.  If Sorority Row was a Christmas present, it would be meticulously wrapped with care.  No visible bands of Scotch tape here!

On a sidenote, the sound of a tape dispenser causes my brain to bleed.  Gah!  Sorry for the tangent.  Most of the characters are realistic, the pace is nimble, and while the "twist" is easy to decipher, the ending is somewhat tense.  Somewhat.  I enjoyed The House on Sorority Row.  That's what I'm telling you.  Look, I wasn't ejected into outer space by the force of dumbstruck bewilderment, but this is a sly shindig.  I'm not typically a slasher nut.  Nine times out of ten, a spookshow of this mold (especially from the early 80's...I'm more into the mid-to-late 80's) won't jolt my jodhpurs, so if it entertained me, it would probably entertain you.



Geek Out #147

I've been getting into the habit of foreshadowing reviews with misleading clues.  Or are they misleading?  Foreshadowing!


A Blog Full of Maggots

I don't review as much music as I used to, but I've been meaning to rectify said breach.  I'm about to undertake a massive...um, undertaking.  The metallic among you know that Cannibal Corpse have just released their fifteenth album.  It is Violence Unimagined.  It is holy.  Eventually, I'm going to cover it, but not before covering the fourteen records that preceded it.  That's right, nation; I'm planning a Puppet Master Series Review redux where I swap out loopy (read: mostly shitty) b-horror in exchange for cool death metal.

This will be a tiring endeavor, but it won't be nearly as painful as subjecting myself to Puppet Master: The Legacy.  Still, I want to smooth over any potential sand traps that I encounter on the back nine, if you'll excuse the golf metaphors.  I won't have much to type on certain Corpse platters, so for the rare instances when I'm short on words, I'll utilize my patented Blood Capsule format (patent pending).  I'll need a catchy title for those bits.  After all, I'll probably do other "musical Blood Capsules" in the future.

Ideas?  Yes, I'm asking you.  The adventure starts in approximately one week.  You can hardly contain myself!


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.