Abrasive Audio – Black Band Shirts, Spikes, Chains, Corpsepaint and… Summer (!?)

As the sun continues to rain down its blistering punishment, fragile flesh bubbles, blisters and peels, and the onslaught of new releases continue unabated.

There’s no keeping up… seriously. What say we just give a handful of releases a spin and see what grabs the attention.

Bring on the Metal (and the sunscreen).

(this entry has been recently discovered, demanded attention with the addition of pictures and relevant links and is obviously a ‘late’ entry to the Abrasive Audio stable – B)

Notturno (Italy) – Obsessions

Release – April 22


Artwork – I can see you’re not going to answer my queries on life, the universe and everything. Perhaps I can interest you in participation in a Shakespearean reenactment?

Genre – Depressive/Atmospheric/Gothic/Black Metal

Thoughts –

Of the three tracks on offer here, the first makes an astounding impact. Melancholy and emotion drip from each unhurried note. The vocalist lends a raw, haunting element utilizing a breathy approach which speaks of palpable trauma. The second brings considerably more oomph to this offering, bordering on hypnotic. The last track brings the album to a close and delivers a chilling hybrid of both Black and Doom, again with powerful, emotional vocals and trance-like rhythms. All in all, a stellar debut leaving the listener with little to complain about.

Score – 89

The Eating Cave (USA) – Ingurgitate


Release – June 22

Artwork – This Rancor (apparently, I’m a Star Wars nerd for knowing this?) appears hungry… for some crazy riffs.

Unleash the face-melting shredding assault!

Genre – Brutal/Tech Death/Deathcore

Thoughts –

There are many ways to describe Tech Death, although it’s rather tricky to avoid using the same words over and over again. In this case you could toss a dozen adjectives into the mix and still not quite encompass that which is on offer. A single word that must be utilized however is “tight”; “Ingurgitate” display a stunning choreography, and composition, an energetic breath-taking unpredictability (and pace) sure to leave most listeners gleefully sweating. And all carefully controlled, a chaos which is intricate, multi- textured and wickedly amorphous. Strange is that the album displays a number of elements which I’m not wholly a fan of, though I’m fast becoming an enjoyer of, in this instance. Yes, it might have taken a couple of listens to appreciate, for there’s a great deal to unpack here, however when one gets to this point one will be happy to learn that it only continues to give more.

Score – 92

Exordium Mors (New Zealand) – As Legends Fade and Gods Die

Release – October 22


Artwork – Much like everyone else members of Royalty often fall to the laws of perishment. In this case however it appears the successor to the throne has scampered away. Perhaps the menacing sky is to blame?

Genre – Tech/Black/Death

Thoughts –

It doesn’t take but a minute to realize that Exordium Mors are slightly different. Theirs is a style which seems all too familiar yet not at all ‘singular’. Undeniably technical in its prowess, compositions ferociously nod at a slew of influence, albeit mashed together with a frenzied delivery. Listeners might ponder upon similar artists as the audio herein pummels its way through the senses; the diabolical galloping, tight nature of Absu comes to mind, as well an unpredictably chaotic, shrouded in darkness, all-out approach which Primeval Mass so proudly deliver.

As furious as it is, the album isn’t however without melody. A cavalcade of limb- twitching solos and leads (again the insertion of a certain level of technicality) adds another layer (of enjoyment) to elevate this from merely sheer brutality and the predictable maniacal realms which so many in the same crowded arena offer.

Eight long years have passed since the bands last (full length) effort. Oftentimes, given such a period of inactivity, one might wonder if the passion/ the desire still exists. Without reservation I’ll state this element has only flourished in this instance, the execution here is flawless, the compositions are drenched in swirling menace yet reside in strangely criminally infectious arenas, and the finished product is arguably poised to decimate all those who dare choose to experience the fruition of nearly a decade’s pain staking toil and dedication.

Expect to see this plastered across many a Year End List.

Score – 98

Abyssic (Norway) – Brought Forth in Iniquity

Release – October 22


Artwork – “I like your wings Guv’na. Can you fly?”

– Like the wind. That’s why I’m on a ship… With you.

“Ah. Taking a break then, are ya?”

Genre – Symphonic Blackened Death/Doom

Thoughts –

Obvious comparisons must be drawn to Cradle of Filth’s “Damnation and a Day” (as an example I’m quite familiar with) in as far as this is also heavily orchestrated, offers fantastic depth and gooseflesh-inducing emotion courtesy of the full array of professionally manipulated strings, brass instruments and an angelic choir. The melding of the electronic (guitars) and acoustic (orchestration) is a sublime touch to already top-notch compositions whisking the listener away to highly detailed arenas, far surpassing that merely sketched by a multitude of others. The addition of Memnoch’s vocals, an unhurried growling if you will, adds menace, definite archaic qualities doused in mystery, and another layer of enjoyment to an otherwise enthralling slab of exquisitely produced audio.

Score – 93

Cadaveria (Italy) – Emptiness

Release – May 22


Artwork – “Ebony, ivory… (album art) … in perfect harmony”

Genre – “Horror” Metal

Thoughts –

Comprised of members from Necrodeath, Opera IX, and helmed by one of ‘extreme metals’ earliest ladies (from which this act gets its moniker), Cadaveria showcases a number of stylistic elements; most notably a shifting dark aura molded by Gothic soundscapes complemented by Black, Death and Speed accents. The album bears a narrative theme, more than most, and transports the listener through various realms exquisitely depicting grief, desolation and a vast array of other emotions as it does so. Cadaveria’s voice is front and center in all of its many guises. In short, an accompaniment propelling each track with a wickedness, a sorrow, a melancholy with definite physical form. Leads and solos add to the fun. In fact, some have likened this bands style to that which Cradle of Filth peddle. I agree (in part) in regards to what this album provides. What differentiates the two is again however is the diversity on display here (that and ‘C’, whose given name is Raffaella Rivarolo, doesn’t howl, growl, bark and vomit ‘staccato vocalfire’ like Dani) rather than a melodic BM, Blackened metal approach this chooses to utilize the stylistic non-conforming approach, whereupon individual tracks weave a spell within which a myriad of styles are expertly cojoined, with each doing their part to bolster the overall effectiveness. Seriously this spans a Lacuna Coil style, in times even a Folk edge, all the way through tracks with more a sinister, menacing aura.

Fans of the Awakenings compilation (featuring all manner of female fronted extreme metal acts from around the world and including Cadaveria within Opera IX and the amazing “My Devotion” track) on Dwell Records from 97′ are going to enjoy the heck outta this.

Score – 90

To the Dogs (USA) – Light the Fires

Release – June 22


Artwork – Is there a sequel to Firestarter I’m not aware of? Within which a canine has the ability to frighten the Postman whilst cooking bacon with power of the mind?

Genre – Black/Death Thrash/Crust

Thoughts –

Unceremoniously borrowing from a slew of genre To the Dogs viciously smash together elements of Black, Death and aggressive Thrash then inject the whole with Crust sensibilities. If there were ever an award given to album covers which exemplify the music within, this example would be in the running. This is no nonsense, furious, take no prisoners raw emotion brought to fruition by scathing riffs, punk attitude and a pace to send many happily stumbling to the nearest ER. Another killer release from an act who appear to only get more impressive as their discography builds.

Score – 92

Temple of Void (USA) – Summoning the Slayer

Release – June 22


Artwork – Honestly, it’s a tight race between this act and Inferi for outstanding art of the year (and this isn’t the first time such a situation has existed). Seriously, the imagery here just propels the state of mind towards Lovecraftian realms in wicked quick time.

Genre – Death/Doom

Thoughts –

Not an act which is afraid of stepping away from the expected, Temple of Void have again created an album which exemplifies their willingness to adapt to an ever-morphing audio landscape. But that isn’t to say that the usual genre troupes aren’t in attendance. Instances bring to mind classic Paradise Lost, Katatonia, October Tide and infrequently snippets of a sound associated with 80’s Brit New Age (Goth) Rock.

Nestled within woven passages exuding melancholy, atmosphere and alien realms drenched in chilling enchantment (albeit of the darkly fantastical variety) the whole offers dissonant synth and dirge foundations, molasses sludge rhythms, reflective sojourns, and a damn sight to get excited about for both new and long-time fans.

Sure, this isn’t the usual Death, the typical Doom, but it is expertly crafted and checks all boxes one could hope whilst also offering a hint at perhaps where the ever-evolving ToV might be headed next?

Score – 91

Tempest (Germany) – Point of no Return

Release – May 22


Artwork – “So, we’ve now got the nuclear codes and… Holy fuck you touched the red button. Don’t ever touch the red button.”

– But I wanted toast!

” Well, now you have plenty, of the mostly charcoal variety!”

Genre – Old School/Aggressive Thrash

Thoughts –

As catchy as a fisherman’s lucky rod and as nostalgic as Saturday Morning cartoons, this hits the spot only then to wrestle it into submission. Think Annihilator rhythms with hooks to make Cenobite legions green with envy, a skin bashing battery to incite limb movement without thought, and a commanding vocal accompaniment to make one sit up and take note. All the ingredients are here, especially for the Thrash loving maniacs who prefer what’s proven to work and zero inventive tomfoolery, so why aren’t Tempest better known?

I’m hoping my words might change that (if only a little, then I’ve succeeded).

Score – 89

Begrime Exemious (Canada) – Rotting in the Aftermath

Release – July 22


Artwork – It doesn’t seem like we’ll ever get this castle renovated.

– Nope.

Hard to do anything when you’ve ceased to be.

– Ain’t that the truth.

Genre – Black/Death/Groove

Thoughts –

Rather than opt for the brutal approach, B.E have somehow (and rather expertly) melded groove, catchiness, Old School Death values and cavernous cloying filth into an audio concoction which is extremely easy to access and appreciate. A both biting and venomous twin-pronged vocal assault accompanies rhythms of the most criminally limb twitching order making for nary a dull moment, but plentiful instances whereupon one can reflect upon previous releases showcasing this same style though certainly not executed to the level heard here.

To be blunt, this isn’t a typical gore soaked, chuggery-laden death release, nor a sinister blanketed atmosphere drenched gooseflesh raising affair but rather a somewhat intricate affair which will have one moving with mouth agape. This is the variety of album which breathes life into a genre while strangely utilizing the same tools most acts already employ with little to zero difference in the existing status quo, the same old, same old.

This is my first interaction with the B.E catalog and most certainly not my last.

Score – 96

Carrion Vael (USA) – Abhorrent Obsessions

Release – August 22


Artwork – It’s Tuesday. Time to wear my real face.

Genre – Deathcore/Tech Death

Thoughts –

The trepidation with which I approached this release was huge. I had my fingers crossed that the CV formula was intact; their last two albums are certified barn burners, always there to lift my spirits lest my ears slip into subpar audio waters and demand a cleansing.

And… the formula has changed, (wait for it) albeit slightly, to incorporate grandiose atmosphere and even a few instances of audio drenched in a cosmic laden progressive nature. The deftly wicked, insanely gymnastic, ‘spider on a fretboard flourishes’ are intact as too the quite amazing dual vocals from a single throat approach. The composition still bears the one must stretch before hitting play motif and there’s not a single second of filler to be found. I must admit though I became a tad curious (slightly worried, I’m not going to lie) when the album commenced with a Behemothian aura, but it all worked out and this too is an absolute fn’ blast.

Fans of the godlike abilities of Trevor (RIP) and TBDM will devour this and gleefully beg for more.

Score – 95

Reeking Aura (USA) – Blood and Bonemeal

Release – July 22


Artwork – A hellish watercolor environment in which pedestrians are seen dilly-dallying plastered against rock faces and within ramshackle constructs perched precariously above crevasses of unfathomable depth. Certain art demands a story behind it, or composed because of what it offers. This is one such piece.

Genre – OSDM/DeathDoom

Thoughts –

With the cover art hinting at many an element, the potential audience really isn’t afforded a definite sense as to what this might offer. Utilizing blunt riffs and a rumbling, ground-shaking, approach this hits like a fleet of dump trucks falling from the stratosphere; vehicles operated by creatures of undeterminable origin, minds overladen with menace and diabolical intent.

Vintage values rule supreme, though the album refuses to follow any predetermined paths carved many moons before, by countless nefarious architects, it plods along, occasionally at an obliterating gallop, nodding to OSDM arenas, dragging one through cavernous mires, teasing at brutal territories, and pounding one with palpable atmosphere, leaving a myriad of fans (of both the old way and the new) smirking in its wake.

Score – 88

Satan (UK) – Earth Infernal

Release – April 22


Artwork – I cast judgement on you albatross. How dare you spawn the imagination behind an Iron Maiden song?

Genre – NWOBHM/Heavy Metal

Thoughts –

I have no idea how these guys do it. They’ve been around, peddling the riffs for as long as the term NWOBHM has been around (late 70’s/early 80’s) and they never disappoint. This style seethes with the essence of that which has spawned countless imitators and the rhythms and vocal accompaniment haven’t lost year edge, in the slightest. In fact, this shies away from that which many immediately think upon with the term Heavy Metal in mind; the album boasts intricate melodies, a satisfying ‘freshness’ that frolics hand in hand with a comforting nostalgia and an exemplary array of rhythms to prompt one to yell aloud “who said the genre is dead?”

Naturally some might argue that this errs more on the side of Proto Metal, while others might develop a glazed over look while uttering the infamous “what’s that?”

It’s easier to simply enjoy rather than scramble for the correct and up to date definition. Seriously does it even fn’ matter?

Score – 95

Sensory Amusia (Australia) – Breed Death

Release – May 22


Artwork – “Alright. Now we wait for Smokey. And when he arrives, we feast upon the flesh of a forest God”.

Genre – Deathcore/Brutal/Tech Death

Thoughts –

Bludgeoning and stabbing riffs are woven within exciting, boisterous, compositions with nods to a wide range of Death sub-genres though no real subscription to one in particular. Vocals are not surprisingly harsh, though thankfully barely this side of bree-bree-bree silliness arenas. Blast beats are plentiful enough to please, whilst melodious instances are fleeting, few and far between. Usually I’d give this a miss, a wide birth, but curiously this is growing on me with each and every listen, teasing me with hidden intricacies which only serve to poke at my curiosity.

Score – 82

Moribund Dawn (USA) – Dark Mysteries of Time and Eternity

Release – June 22


Artwork – “And it’s done!”

– That looks great, but it’s not quite the hue of purple I was looking for.

“But the tins, the color on the lid. The sheer number of cans.”

– Nope, sorry. I asked for pre-dawn… diabolical.

“Well… poop! I guess it’s back to the paint store.  Ready the bastion of trucks lads. The Boss isn’t happy.”

Genre -Melodic/Epic/Atmospheric Black Metal

Thoughts –

Boasting a synth laden intro then a spoken word passage, heavily influenced, no doubt, by vintage My Dying Bride, might confuse a few, but the album soon hits its stride. Elements of Immortal, Dissection (Storm and Somberlain in particular), Emperor, and Watain are worn unashamedly on the album’s ‘sleeve’. In fact, this release could comfortably reside with any number of BM stand outs plucked from the mid 90’s. Moribund Dawn however, are far from ‘copycat stylists’, their composition whispers knowledge of and homage to the scene, as opposed to “…hey, let’s lift this riff (and this riff, and this one)”. They are also far removed from the assumed BM, be it melodic or otherwise, location (especially based on the quality discovered here) instead they reside in Phoenix, Arizona, a desert hotbed not usually associated with the frigid nature and cold penetrating Northern winds often described within the genre’s lyrical context.

As well intricate (Gothic) Baroque interludes, there also exists passages to excite those whose interests lay more in tradition HM arenas, rhythms carefully woven into the whole to make this vastly more interesting than acts who peddle the raw and/or the “speed for the sake of speed” approach.

Overall, this is a damn sight more accessible than most, though strangely still retains most of the the wicked biting qualities a purist of the scene could hope for. Admittedly as a somewhat casual fan of the scene I’m enjoying this a damn sight more than I thought I would.

Score – 94

Because older releases warrant attention too…

Plucked Screamin’ from Metal Past

Wastewalker (USA) – Lowborn


Release – May 20

Artwork – The bloodsucking hordes had finally had enough. The lack of Plasma tainted by Covid vaccinations was at a disturbing high. Leaflets and brochures hadn’t worked, it was time to tske to the streets and protest.

Genre – Technical/Melodic DM/Deathcore

Thoughts –

With lyrical context based on a popular video game series some might be somewhat leery about approaching, pondering upon not quite successful prior efforts composed by a myriad of (in this instance unnamed) acts. This however has chops and wickedly displays talent in all the arenas which matter most. The album offers exciting rhythms aplenty and a dual- pronged vocal assault, an energetic element which serves to complement compositions that hint at a smorgasbord of influence; including but not limited to gymnastic lead-laden melodic death, deathcore in a TBDM and Carrion Vael vein, and accessible (not the variety which drags the listener into fretboard wankery realms) Tech-Death.

Forget your preconceptions about “concept” albums and give this a listen!

Score – 88

Skeleton Pit (Germany) Lust to Lynch


Release – October 20

Artwork – Johnny knew it was a bad idea to allow axes into pit.

Lesson learned!

Genre – Thrash/Crossover

Thoughts –

Heavily influenced by what appears to be the Bay Area Thrash scene (circa the mid 80’s) as well a style peddled by Overkill. Skeleton Pit dish out hooks by the boatload and swirling moshtastic rhythms to excite any fan whose pit list includes Road Mutant, Fabulous Disaster and a slew of F & J hits (whose names presently escape me). The vocal accompaniment puts me in mind of Kreator, Overkill and Nuclear Assault depending on the track’s mood and there’s also a touch of crossover, ala gang vocals to widen the appeal radius.

Admittedly, this isn’t reinventing the wheel, however it does add weight to the argument that Thrash is still alive and thriving for all those who might have doubts.

Score – 87


Cute Little Buggers (UK) – 2017

Writers – Garry Charles, Andy Davie, Kristopher Dayne

Director – Tony Jopia

Runtime – 108 minutes

And it’s that time again. Cult is away and I’ve a battery-operated device (probably not the one you have in mind, you dirty bastid), a large screen and an unobstructed run of the treat’s cabinet. Feel free to drop whatever mundane task you’re currently embroiled within and join me as I shift into an unnaturally comfortable position and prepare to set the eyes upon today’s depraved cinematic choice;

Cute Little Buggers.

And here’s a Trailer courtesy of Octane TV

Rather than depict an invasion from hungry aliens, or creatures’ intent on harvesting humans as part of “the newest taste sensation to sweep the galaxy” (there I added that which Cult was sure to) the creators of this film chose instead to showcase a pair of scientist’s intent on locating the perfect lifeform (it just so happens to be on earth in this case) to keep their race from extinction. In my mentioning of the creature in question being a rabbit I’m not dropping any spoilers; they’re plastered all over the box art. But before even the Cute Little Bugger makes an appearance in all its CGI rendered Disney brilliance, we meet the dysfunctional duo whose task it is to repopulate.

We act like we’re married, is that an alien concept?

Theirs is an odd relationship; friends perhaps (more likely) co-workers. Brian and Ernest appear to be shock troopers (whatever that is?) decked out as they are in helmets and uniform. Their dialogue suggests something more relaxed, dark humor cavorts with gutter sensibilities to give the film an immediately “light” tone.

But let’s get back to the bunny (“Run away, run away”). Peaceful little Deddington (apparently near Bath, not far from where Cult was raised) is nestled in between a myriad of rolling hills and farmland and miles from any immediately recognizable cities. Home to several unsavory types including a geriatric “get offa my grass” type with a thing for urine, a member of a local crime syndicate and a piss poor example of a local constabulary (small scale British law enforcement outfit for those who might be confused) it’s a fantastic example of a sleepy village with plenty going on (much like as witnessed within the utterly amazing Hot Fuzz) beneath the “that’s a place I’d love to visit” veneer.

Some of the ‘Villagefolk’

But it gets more exciting still. As well killer bunnies (aka penetration units) there’s also an individual who’s recently returned to his childhood haunting grounds. *Insert drama, rekindled romance, and rolling in the hay nekkidness here.

Argghhh – I have a gun!

As the film rolls out it explores the plethora of characters on offer; the jilted lover, the father figure hated for that one moment of indiscretion, a crime scene unit who have successfully managed to embrace gallows humor as a way of life and a constable who doesn’t even slightly attempt to hide her S&M penchants.

Did I mention this has all the makings of a successful B movie? It unashamedly offers its audience breasts aplenty, blood, gore and brawn. However, it doesn’t end there. The humor is an added bonus, especially for those (like myself) who wallow in occasional silliness.


Caroline Munro (vixen extraordinaire likely previously seen in numerous 70’s horror affairs including the likes of James Bond, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Vampires and the sort) stars as a fortune teller who really doesn’t wish to divulge Barry’s (her customers) future.

And wouldn’t you know it, Barry does not heed her advice. He heads to the woods in search of… Well, I’m not gonna ruin it. Suffice it to say he finds his “treasure” but it ends up costing him an arm (and quite possibly a leg, though the viewer doesn’t get to see that bit).

“So, tell me again what did this?”


And the silliness commences.

This poster about says it all!

The film continues and picks up sufficient speed to leave an impression. Bunnies run amok to leave their assorted little paw prints upon rivers of crimson (how’s that for a Death Metal track title?)

Surprises continue to appear in many forms, the locals gather to find strength in numbers and display their multi-faceted hidden attributes (usually in the form of an unburdening of stashed, illegal, historical and unusual weaponry). Influence rears its head in many forms and tips a myriad of fabric lined head coverings to numerous cult features (in numerous ways be it within the soundtrack, dialogue or gore set pieces) including (but not limited to) Bad Taste, Brain Dead (Cult is going to lose his shit), Black Sheep, Undead, Critters, Ghoulies, Gremlins and the more obvious choices; Jake West’s Evil Aliens and the slightly aged Night of the Lepus although this certainly puts an undoubtedly dizzying spin on the vintage classic only to drown it in grue, satire and then smother it in bountiful, bouncing, beautiful, boobies (arguably the most important ingredient in any low budget gem which doesn’t rely solely on gore and comedy).

And here’s some Japanese DVD cover art for those who demand such

Obviously, there are elements here to turn off those who demand viewing material of the classiest order, and most probably a little more CGI than most are likely to be able to handle. But have no fear. For those of us who deliriously wallow in the low budget arena boasting shit-eating grins this delivers all one could possibly ask for, with the added bonus of accents, small villages filled to the rafters with babes, and oodles of culturally specific humor (“Scousers”, “Northerners” and Posh bastards find inclusion among other, slightly lesser-known outside of Britain, examples) and other factors i won’t divulge lest I ruin an otherwise enjoyable viewing experience.


The films ‘saving all element’, and the cherry on the proverbial cake, arrives in the unlikeliest of forms (which I don’t believe have been utilized before now). As one of the Scientist Alien guys states …” we must stop him…He’s built a weapon of mass Pisstruction!” That’s enough of the spoilers, my horrific grammar and that which continues to pour from my sore malformed digits; inane attempts to preach upon that which has caused me more of a face ache than has been suffered in many a moon.

Forget the words of the legendary British comedic troupe (whose talents arrived many years too early, if truth be told) within much the same situation, when faced with a similar “Cute Lite Bugger”.  Give this a watch and prepare to reevaluate the running order of your favorite low budget (have that said that enough, yet?) celluloid affairs.

I simply cannot scribble the praise which this feature deserves, though I have tried!

Onwards to discovering more of Tony Jopia’s work and, naturally, the output of those whose eye-popping attributes shine throughout this stunning example of decidedly non-Hollywood cinema.


Cute Little Buggers is available in the US on Tubi TV, Prime Video and on DVD (via Uncorkd Entertainment and High Octane Films) and has recently found redistribution (with an assortment of delicious extras) upon Blu Ray (as seen here) within the UK via Warped Releasing.

Scorching the Retinas –
Black Friday

For those among us who work retail there’s no denying that theres s certain divide, the Holidays (The big C and Thanksgiving specifically, here in the States) it’s a love or hate affair. Personally, I hate them! My immediate family knows me as Grinch (I even gave an outfit to match) and most everyone avoids me, one look at my ‘resting asshole face’ is more than enough to deter pointless mind-numbing conversation (“what about that snow huh, and the wind?”)
So, just what is it that divides us so? Is it the busy-ness of the season? Sure there’s a great many of us who would ideally like to get paid for doing next to nothing, meanwhile there are others who enjoy the hustle and bustle, the hurry, the constant move and the fact that you’re not spending the entirety of the shift staring at the clock wishing it moved faster. For me, it’s the fakeness, the ‘I must act nice because it’s the season, but you’d better not push your cart in front of mine lest I follow you out to the parking lot and cut you’. The stress, the must do list; ‘I must get the newest iPhone or XBox or someone is going to surely perish in the most unimaginative way’.
Tis’ the season.
And it’s barely this side of National Turkey consuming day, lord help us when the big unwrapping day finally arrives. In the meantime like most if us I’d like to be able to relax, in between frantic pleasing the consumer shifts. Perhaps watch a festively themed film?
Admittedly, Christmas is pretty much covered; what with Silent Night, Deadly Night (its numerous sequels, a remake) and numerous other either Santa or Krampus themed slash-a- thons. Even New Years has its fair share of related features.
What say we turn out attention toward Thanksgiving? The obvious deranged celluloid treat comes to mind, whereupon a Turkey gets his revenge. Thankskilling and its sequal; part 3, part 2 being the film which part 3 is largely based on, though not in the context which many might think. (Spoiler alert) and another by way of Troma with much the same OTT comedic factor front and center. Seriously, if you haven’t seen Poultrygeist, change that fact quick. It’s ducking hilarious and so drenched in fluids you’ll desire a shower following a view.

With the lack of poultry based holiday movies on offer it’s no surprise that my attention was drawn to a fresh film (ha, the puns, the puns) based on the same tradition, though thankfully minus the bird element. Now, there’s little reason to be disappointed however for this film features none other than Devon Sawa (who admittedly hasn’t graced any of the screens inside my house since I last witnessed 2000’s Final Destination, the original one, and the brilliant once a year classic “Idle Hands”), Micheal Jai White (who needs little introduction, especially for those whose viewing penchants include action and martial arts) and a national genre treasure whereupon only a single word is needed to recall demons, a cabin in the woods, a wicked sense of humor, a “boomstick”, and a devastating chainsaw arm.
So, how does a film with two horror icons fare, will it too become a future staple of the horror fans favorite holiday, but more importantly are any feather covered farm animals hurt during its production?
I intend to find out.
Without further waffling here are the important deets, followed by more inane ramblings.

For those who are still unsure as to what feature these words are in relation to

Black Friday (2021)
Writer – Andy Greskoviak
Director – Casey Tebo
Runtime – 84 minutes

For those of you who don’t mind an introduction intriguingly reminiscent of The Blob, The Stuff or the lesser known Italian gutburster (Alien) Contamination read on.
Black Friday (which could well have been called “Green Friday” for obvious some might be offended reasons) starts out excellently by introducing a relateable cast,  the many rigors associated with customers intent on getting what they want regardless of the cost, the frustrations of handling middle management (it’s all for the money and not the welfare of the expendable crew) attitudes without the use of blunt instruments swung at high velocity, and dealing with that certain co worker who takes the job way too seriously.
Based in a store on the precipice of Post T-Day shopping it recalls a slew of similar location features, namely Dawn of the Dead (for other reasons also which will make more sense upon viewing), Chopping Mall (except the antagonists here aren’t robots) and Intruder. A movie which incidentally helmed and starring the Raimi brothers, and an underrated celluloid gem that Bruce also featured in, albeit briefly. The being set in a retail store scenario also brings to mind an infamous quote plucked from the earliest of The Evil Dead films; “Shop Smart, shop S Mart”.

Did you know that Ash worked retail?
But enough of silly fandom trivia.

Trailer courtesy of IGN
The assorted cast

Black Friday does many things, it effectively nails the relationship between consumer and provider (not so much the cram everything you can on the sales floor dynamic that I’m so accustomed to but that’s a tiny qualm) while delivering humor in frequent and large enough doses to sate those who prefer their horror/comedies this side of slapstick and undeniably silly. A fantastic element which is much needed in times such as these in lieu of liquor and anxiety calming narcotics.
The film moves at an exciting pace having displayed the antagonists (Zombie/Alien hybrids), carnage aplenty, a bevvy of quirky character foibles, a few unfortunate character losses and general ‘we are indeed fucked’ despair, without even reaching the half way point.


A handful of characters standout early, be it through their actions, lack of, or intriguing mannerisms. Ivana Baquero (Pans Labyrinth and The Shannara Chronicles) plays Marnie, a level headed cashier who refuses to buckle under pressure. Devon Sawa, Ken, a slacker of sorts who doesn’t take things too seriously though soon finds that he might have to. Michael Jai White portrays a quiet level headed badass type, and Ellen Colton portraits Ruth, a mature clerk with sports a hilarious ‘lack of filter’. Not to mention Bruce whose role is that of a managerial type whose entire existence revolves around the store. He speaks the unspoken truth, which no one really needs to hear as its blatantly obvious in the situation at hand, strangely he also infrequently spouts nuggets of sense (“…customers aren’t always right, they just want to think they are”). And then there’s Ryan Lee (Chris) who is really unsure what to do, though soon comes to terms with that which he must in order to survive.

May I introduce Dour Dennis

As well as throwing its hat into the ring as a contender in the best horror comedy of 21′ (though I believe it was released in 22′?), Black Friday also sports a few moments of ‘humaness’, instances in which the usual cardboard veneer is shed to uncover characters with actual feelings and…get this… backgrounds. It has its fair share of one-liners “Shut the F-up Juicy” being one of my favorites, while showcases the delightfully talent, genre know how and stellar abilities of Bruce (who doesn’t love Mr. Campbell?) It also manages somehow to keep the gore quotient at a consumable for ‘most in the family’ level, this isn’t a brutal pick ax to the head or guts munched aplenty Return of the Living Dead type affair or even a gross out flick akin to that witnessed within Deathgasm or Braindead (aka Dead Alive) though offers enough to keep the casual and hardened genre fan happy. Shit, it has enough nods to a variety of genre cult affairs it will virtually leave the head spinning.

A young and eager SFX guru lost in his prop department

As exciting and entertaining as it is the film has its far share of flaws, many of which (cheesy CGI, creature make up and somewhat predictable nature) are excusable based on what it is. For Black Friday is undeniably a Creature Feature/B movie (with a sizable budget it must be mentioned). It can’t be taken seriously and ends as if the writer has a direct sequel in mind, or suddenly got bored and decided to hoof it to pen a money-making Hallmark Rom Com instead. But for the most part it’s a fun waste of close to ninety minutes. Sure, Devon looks twenty years older, (and fit) and that’s because he is (and the majority of roles since the aforementioned have demanded his playing a responsible adult). Time stands still for no one, which is a great pity as another huge pre-Xmas shopping event is in the cards. It’s inevitable. So slap on that fake smile, knock back a few happy pills and do your best. This one is nearly over. In the meantime thank the Dark Lord for distractions such as this, although if truth be told I personally would’ve liked more blood, dismemberments and inventive kills.

Fun fact; Seth Green (who co-starred alongside Devon in Idle Hands so many years ago) also features here. His voice is that of ‘Dour Dennis’, a (corporate tie wearing) bear “pulled” recently from the sales floor on account of issues with its internal battery, although it appears that its everyday working stiff monologue might in fact be to blame. Look for Funko to capitalize on this character and perhaps an accompanying giant Kaiju plastered with a Screaming ‘Mad’ George Society-esque/ Attack of the Titan visage (shit! Did I just ruin the whole thing?)



Scorching the Retinas – A Bachelor Party, an Alien Invasion and Scoring a Business Deal.

Aka – A Few Thoughts on Blasted

Blasted (aka Blasted – Gutta vs. Aliens)



Writer – Emanuel Nordrum

Director – Martin Sofiedal

Runtime – 116 minutes

 In the Hessdalen valley things are going missing. Not small, insignificant items, such as hairbrushes, lighters or single socks. But larger, more important, objects such as coffee makers, toasters and even in one instance, a VW transporters engine. This wouldn’t seem all that weird (after all who hasn’t mislaid the engine of a 1980’s camper van on occasion?) if it not for the glowing lights associated with the area and the sudden appearance of a Social Media celebrity hoping to cash in on an on-location interview (with an expert on the subject). But it appears that the number of occurrences is growing, the vlogging millennial has disappeared and strangely the sightings of odd lights have been replaced with brief encounters with small gatherings of seemingly socially awkward gibberish speaking individuals whose eyes seem to glow with a definite phosphorus nature (without a Dave Matthew’s Band concert being anywhere in the vicinity. Weird).

So, what better way than to up the ante and excitement of a bachelor party than by visiting the same location of said incidences?

It certainly beats frequenting a local strip club on cheap beer night. Right-?

Well…this beats staring at titties

Audun (one of Sebastien’s closest friends) thinks so. And he’s going all-out to give his hard working companion a weekend he won’t soon forget, his final weekend as a single person. But it gets better. Along for the excursion comes one of Sebastien’s old buddies, literally a blast from the past, and Casper. While Mikkel (an old friend with stories to share) is out to embarrass and take control of the activities, and the weekend, Casper is on hand for the experience, the enjoyment, a spot of “ball tickling”, and “hot sex” (his words, not mine). Sebastien is torn. While trying to placate an old friend, he’s also trying to impress, for Casper is a businessman (of the arrogant, obnoxious variety) and Sebastien is trying to cement a deal which will either make or break his future.

Enough of the spoilers already.

Blasted has a great deal going for it. What makes this feature stand out from the pack is its quirky, delightful, rather off-beat humor. Lines such as; “…you know what I like to say to myself when I’m sad…”



The Official Netflix Trailer

It takes little time to realize, and there’s absolutely no denying, that this is from the same region which also spawned Killer Bunny Thing and each of the Dead Snow films. The character interactions are memorable, the diverse mix of the bachelor collective offers awkwardness, uncomfortability, miscues, and incites smirks aplenty. Zen mentality meets arrogance meets manchild sensibilities meets… you get the point. A diverse collective to say the least.

C’mon let’s party, puny humans

Much like any other example of outstanding celluloid there’s plenty going on. Among the early brilliance; paintball mishaps, guided observatory tours, ‘Lazer Tag’ Japanese futuristic gadgetry, late night campsite rendezvous, and pilfered tumble dryers not to mention Casper’s insistence that Sebastien don a bear costume for the entirety of the weekend’s celebrations.

And it only gets better. Friends somehow find a way to rekindle their relationship (spoiler alert), even though growing up (sometimes referred to as ‘adulting’) so often finds a way to toss a spanner in the works, and the reason why so many household appliances have disappeared soon becomes apparent. But will the utterance of “Be-boop” reinvigorate happiness and save the day, is ‘Lazer Tag’ a lost art soon to find its resurgence, have the film’s FX crew happened upon an abandoned Nickelodeon warehouse full of discarded goop (is the term “Slime” trademarked?), and why is it that so many people still listen to The Dave Matthews Band?

Only a few of these questions will in fact be answered (some find that struggling with even the most mundane of mysteries drove one onward to enlightenment) whereas others will baffle legions of scholars for aeons to come.

The best of Lazer Tag buddies

I’m pleased to announce that “Blasted” excels on a number of different levels. The writing, interaction, and roles are priceless. Mikkel (Fredrik Skogsrud) and Sebastien (Axel Bøyum) generate animated likeable roles and a fantastic pairing. The film also features the inclusion of the small vicinities Police presence, who get relentlessly teased based on the fact that the area is renowned for its “sightings”. Other individuals drive the hilarity, with each bearing a well-crafted uniqueness to keep the film far from cardboard forgetfulness and boredom arenas.

The dialogue throughout is ultra-quotable, the comedy well paced, quick, ranging from dark humor, situational, to that of the slapstick variety and flows altogether superbly. The soundtrack/score is also worthy of note and is both theatrically cinematic and upbeat, with retro tracks often finding a Norwegian slant.

And for those who couldn’t stand the suspense, here is the bear costume

The films landscape, its Cinematography, is a fantastic touch and exquisitely showcases the surrounding beauty, desolation and secluded location far from the frenetic nature of the city. An added element showcases vintage technology clashing with state of the art to incite discussion among viewers. More importantly however is that the films vibe rarely wavers from B movie levels, it doesn’t try to be what it isn’t and proudly wears its often camp/silliness on its sleeve like a badge of honor, although that’s not to say it emulates Velosopastor or features of a similar OTT ilk.

A variety of influence is apparent ranging from recent affairs such as Skyline, classics such as Critters and a slew of standout Creature Features. A wide swath of lesser influences is fun to ponder upon (all naturally dependent upon the viewers movie viewing experience) as the film rolls nearer its (sticky) climax. But again, it’s truly the excellently crafted hilarity, as well excellent directing, the easy-to-follow story and the exceptional acting which makes this film so easily enjoyable.

Add this to a billing including Undead, Black Sheep, Bad Taste, Night of the Creeps, Killer Bunny Thing and Dead Snow for an evening of smirk inducing, utterly unforgettably, slightly off-kilter, though highly enjoyable cinema.

In short, this is another winner from a filmmaking arena which demands further exploration.



Obliterating the Bookmarks (Fall 22)

Well, Cult has gone and done it again!

He’s virtually buried himself in promos with less chance than a popsicle in Hell of making any headway. It doesn’t help that the last couple of months have seen him move across country, vacation in his ‘motherland’ and procure another job (possibly the worst three letter word which exists, on all accounts?) Add to that the fact that laptop took an almighty shit and you might say that Cult has given up? (Which remains to be seen).

So, why should I care?

Fuk it!

To be blunt, I don’t. However, I cannot let all these delicious promos go to waste. What say we discover them together without getting mired down in waffling prose and grammatical dilly-dallying? I’ll try my damdest, though some releases just get the digits twitchin’ in excitement (I’m sure you can empathize). Others might not get so much although this doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t as good, as you’ll probably find out. As is usual please excuse my spelling, the grammar and my tastes (which nearly came out as ‘testes’. Ha, Ha, Ha!) as they likely to differ dramatically from your own. However, exploration has really steered anyone wrong (actually millions, though their plight is not in line for the purpose of my reasoning).

Dive in, discover an act who could well be your new favorite, or another who could well be one you never knew existed until now.

Lurking (Belgium/Russia) – Self-Induced Hysteria (2 track Demo)


Release – April 22

Like a killer’s blade through the eyeball, this gets the attention, and fast. With only two tracks up for deliberation, and cited influences on point (Gorefest, Vader, and Skeletal Remains) this is guaranteed to leave one sweaty and salivating for more. Shit, if Hideous Divinity (Italy) is giving it props, it must be worth the attention.

And. It. Is. Indeed!

Score – 94

Hilning (Sweden) – Råtijinn


Release – February 22

Black Metal is a take it or leave it genre for me, and honestly it all depends on the level of production. As much as I’d like to be able to get into audio which seems like it was recorded into a boom box inside of a dumpster (on fire) located in the most remote part of a Scandinavian Forest in a rainstorm, I really cannot. I never claimed to be Kvlt cannot. What we have here however teeters on the fence. The production has a primal bite, a ferociousness (should I mention “Hamnbyte” climaxes with what appears to be a bear capturing his prey and feasting?) associated with 2nd wave BM and a great many DIY releases though it also offers a crispness; the riffs are cutting, fuck that’s dangerous, sharp. A symphonic backdrop adds a grandiose nature which fans of Emperor will devour without complaint and there’s also the slightest chefs kiss of folk, even instances of mantra-esque chanting to take this to another enthralling height of damn-!

In essence. This delivers most everyone which I could hope (except a battered sausage, chips, and mushy peas) and all executed by a single fn’ genius who’s responsible for everything. I’m literally blown away. This is stuck in my ears and I have zero complaints!

Score – 94

Black Void (Norway) – Anitithesis


Release – May 22

And what the bloody hell do we have here?

The cover really gives nothing away; this could be any manner of things. But it isn’t. What it in fact contains and displays is a mixture of styles. Primarily D-beat and Crust, it also borrows from a wide range of extreme audio arenas to surprise. It has groove, a fair bit of ‘clean’ singing, plentiful grooves and rhythms which hint at a wide range of influence though execute the melding of such into a masterful concoction. In fact, if this album were food, it would be a buffet, and I would gorge till my insides explode to cover a wide radius.

Score – 97

Bodyrot (Canada) – Fleshworks


Release – February 22

If Disrupt are your ‘cup of tea’ but you’d always thought they might sound infinitely more ‘boner-inducing’ (sorry ladies) drenched in filth, grime and effluent, then this is what you’re likely hankering for. And it is indeed the case here! There’s only about eight minutes of audio but it’s more than enough to raise the heckles, have one drag the moonshine from the basement and start a pyre in the backyard to dance around like a complete nelly. Just me? I could literally listen to this up until the point I resembled the poor fella on the cover.

Score – 95

Bloated Pig (Canada) – 6


Release – September 22

I’m guessing the album art (a moody looking horned fellow awash in a varied sea of crimson) is going to yank the eyes of most into its direction. It did mine! Obviously, the band’s moniker teased my curiosity, and why wouldn’t it? I’m hungry for a tasty sandwich.

In regards to the tunes on offer… catchy is a word that works extremely well.

The music is that of a dark tone, it has pace, bounce (whatever that means?) and is complemented by evil sounding vocals (who doesn’t appreciate that accompaniment?) of the unhurried kind. Stylistically the mix melds Crust, Rock and Sludge in equal parts, as well injections of Thrash riffage to spike the adrenaline. There’s influence here from across the extreme audio spectrum and in plentiful supply, perhaps this is what makes this so familiar and easily consumable? This is an obviously arguable point, but what isn’t is that this is so damn enjoyable. And it came from out of nowhere!

Recommended for fans of Acid Bath, Black Label Society, Byzanthian Neckbeard, Mastodon, Conan and other acts who drench their audio output in sludge qualities which are tar thick and criminally infectious.

Score – 93

Inner Decay (USA) Enter the Void


Release – May 22

Borrowing heavily from Bolt Thrower, Hypocrisy and a slew of American “chuggery” peddlers this offers mid-tempo and ‘bounce’ aplenty without wallowing within arenas most would consider “Brootal”. Splashes of doom, a variety of pace, fantastic production, and the occasional cosmic vibe lift this from same old, same old, waters making this more accessible than most and obviously open to a wider audience. I’ll admit without regret that I’m diggin this.

Score – 83

Anachronistic (S.Korea/Poland) – 700 and 19 Ways of Decay


Release – March 22

With a cover boasting a motif which is part “Resident Evil” and part Argento’s “Demons” one could say I became rather excited to give this a listen. Unfortunately, the album doesn’t live up to the stunning cover arts unspoken promises. The production is muddy, the percussion largely uninventive (think The Exploited with playful Crust elements with a splash of Grindcore), the brutish vocals wear out their welcome quickly and quite honestly the tracks could have been dramatically condensed for better effect. Otherwise, this is rather listenable, a single track at a time, a filler if you will, to whet the appetite for the main course (whatever slice of audio that might in fact be).

Score – 58

Distrüster (Poland) – Sic Semper Tyrannis


Release – September 22

It’s hard to know what to expect given the albums cover art. Is this going to be Epic Power metal, a Heavy fantastical based audio journey or a Speed metal affair with influences plucked from plentiful 80’s acts whose style often remained barely a stone’s throw from Thrash arenas.

Thankfully, it’s neither. This is somewhat raw Crust and because of this I’ve a shit-eating grin plastered across my chops. You see I’m a fan of acts like Wolfbrigade and Disrupt, and a style which is aggressive, rather swift and poised to incite a riot given a moment’s notice. The vocals here are varied, but only slightly differing from that which one might expect. The angst Punk edge is there, as well an occasional ‘shriek’ which breaks things up and keeps the uninitiated from nodding off. Rhythms more than hint at d-beat sensibilities and the slightest tendency to want to meander down OSDM paths ala vintage Terrorizer.

In short, I’m pleased to report this brings to the table all that a fan of the genre could hope while adding a little something to the traditional/expected parameters of said audio parameters. It demands to be played at a volume which tests the limits of audio equipment and warrants attention from those whose curiosity often transports them from familiar territories into those which serve to broaden their musical enjoyment.

If your tastes are anything like mine this will make the limbs twitch and the vertebrae violently contort. Hide your valuables and clear the room of breakables, before it’s too late.

Score – 94

Belushi Speed Ball (USA) – What, Us Worry?


Release – May 22

From the art one might wonder what they might be getting into. And they’d be correct in their raised eyebrow observation, for this isn’t a normal album. In the slightest.

Think for a moment upon the stylistic antics of MOD, SOD, the humor, the social commentary, the catchy riffs, and the humor (whoops I already said that!). Then add a sprinkle of Macabre (yes, the Serial Killer obsessed death peddlers), a dash of that which the Canadian audio terrorists within VHS bring to the table, and a heaping helping of Crotch Duster (minus the chaotic genre mashing gymnastic antics).

Belushi Speed Ball are having fun, it shows and they refuse to adhere to the strict rules most others abide by. If comedic Thrash/Speed/Punk (as a bonus, there’s an added ‘Grind’ release tagged on the album’s finale) laden with skits (although the band also offers a skit-free version) isn’t your thing you’ll want to steer clear of this. However, if you don’t have a stick in your butt, like to laugh, believe life really is a bowl of cherries deserved of whipped cream and a large dose of “fucking chill dude” and are willing to smirk like one possessed by a lunatic clown on mushrooms, this is where you’ll want to park the ears for a spell. And I said I wouldn’t waffle. Shit-! Some albums, like this one (right here), are deserved of such.

Score – 88

Aquilla (Poland) – Mankind’s Odyssey


Release – February 22

Yes, it was the Barbarian on the cover who pulled me in! Now, the music itself is of the variety which usually has me searching for the nearest trash can to vomit into. But oddly, not in this case. Weird. For this has falsetto vocals and all the Power Metal trappings one could possibly ask for, but (for some reason) it still isn’t enough to send me scampering for the hills. The cavalcade of riffs and rhythms are criminally infectious, though I’m not gonna lie there are Glam instances which tease and tickle the gag reflex and a few passages which bring to mind 80’s synth laden celluloid adventures. Eh, it’s a mixed bag, truth be known, though still deserved of discovery for those with a varied scope of enjoyment derived from all that the mellower end of the metal spectrum offers.

Score – 71

Evile (UK) – Hell Unleashed


Release – April 21

Holy fugsticks Batman!

This has me flailing my limbs as if I’m stuck in perpetual seizure. Who knew Thrash this unholy in greatness and relative freshness still oozed from the historical landscapes of the UK?

Everything about this screams buy me, and play me till you drop from exhaustion.

Score – 95

Lord Belial (Sweden) – Rapture


Release – May 22

Combine atmosphere, shredding rhythms, varied pacing, and vicious vocals and you’ll likely know what’s on offer but add fantastic production and you might start to second guess your initial assumption.

Well, I’m here to tell you can have everything mentioned, as is the case with this album. It isn’t the first by the band, or even the second, this is the band ninth full-length in a career spanning close to thirty years. The question remains then, why does this sound as good as it does (surely the caliber should have dipped some by now?) The quality here is ungodly, the percussion wicked, dripping in ominous qualities aplenty and the vocals top- notch. Seriously, these seasoned fellas bring it and this release has me wondering why it is that this is the first I’m hearing of the band.

Lay your senses upon this at the next given opportunity.

Score – 91

Vidres a la Sang (Spain) – Fragments de l’esdenevir


Release – July 22

Well, this was quite the surprise. Boasting vocals of the vintage Moonspell variety and a style which is draped in menace, melancholy and malevolence yet strangely far removed from typical Black, Death or even Blackened Death depths (say that three times fast) this delivers the chills one can only obtain from discovering an artist’s mastery for the first time. Now lyrics are in Spanish so I’m not sure if it’s a grocery list being recited, frustrations from raising fuel prices or anything else equally as mundane. However, this matters not one iota, as this has that certain presence that leaves a lasting impression.

Score – 91

The Atrophic (USA) – Coagulating Mirth


Release – July 22

There are four tracks on offer here and the band promises catchiness and melody within a genre which they believe has been lacking of late and in demand of such (to paraphrase). So, does this deliver?

Joined by a renowned drummer, whose talent blatantly shines, the band serve up riffs and vicious rhythms aplenty and, yes, melodies within a multitude of whirlwind compositions. Even though in instances this borders on Deathcore, it still displays that which fans demand; timing changes aplenty, technical intricacies and a vocal approach which doesn’t toss a spanner in the works (or in this case the “album’s” enjoyment). And it isn’t wildly experimental, slightly more accessible than most, and as brutal, but thankfully this doesn’t choose to drag its listeners into talent show look what I can do realms. And for that I thank it.

In short, the four tracks here are like an appetizer, a taste if you will for that which is to follow, and I’m left chomping at the proverbial bit.

Score – 87

A Fitting Revenge (USA) – Omnipresence


Release – July 22

This might not be quite as heavy as my usual ear fodder, but it’s melodious, catchy and stoopid infectious with only a few twiddly ‘Unicorn sprinkle bits’ (clean singing and cosmic Prog interludes) to hamper the overall enjoyment. Fans of Killswitch Engage and Lamb of God might enjoy parking the fleshy audio catchers here for a few.

Score – 78

Werewolves (Australia) – From the Cave to the Grave


Release – June 22

Three albums in as many years and zero indication of slowing down. This is yet another example of the in-your-face composition geniuses behind The Berserker and Antichrist Imperium. A face-melting melding of Grindcore, Blackened Death and Dirge with just enough nods to classics of yore to leave one’s head spinning.

Yet again Werewolves have created a release displaying enough firepower, beats, riffs, and attitude to level a continent. And here I was thinking they couldn’t get any better. Boy, was I mistaken!

Score – 96

Fear Disease (Belgium) – Floodgates


Release – September 22

There’s ‘melo-death’ and then there’s ‘melo-death’. Let’s face it, everyone and their sister plays this stuff. Thankfully Fear Disease know how to lay down compositions which make an impact. For a debut, this is godly, top tier, (melodic) audio. Shit, even without its debut status it’s still damn impressive. There’s crunch, fantastic bludgeoning production, memorable riffs, flowing rhythm to give those neck muscles a work out, brutish (OSDM British styled) vocals and not a single note which seems (to my ears anyway) out of place. But best of all no sprinkle Unicorn, rainbow-laden introductions, or breakdowns.

Seriously, these guys know how to elevate the playing field, and they have, for this is a release which looks down upon the genre and sneers in disdain. Jump on this and expect to have it in the playlists for some time to come.

Score – 97

Exocrine (France) – The Hybrid Suns


Release – June 22

Tech-Death that’s faster than the decline of NASCAR following the Trump presidency, guitar wizardry which doesn’t decline into cosmic too-cool-for-the-room wankery. And hooks to reel in not even slightly interested or hungry Megalodons (now that’s impressive!).

Count me in! And this obliterates all those requirements and more. This is so impressive in fact that I’m not even gonna quip about it originating from the land of Croissants, Cafes, The Louvre and drinking straight from a bottle which outdates the Vatican. Whoops!

But seriously, if the genre (or extreme metal in general) is one of your go-tos, direct the attention towards this and stat!

Score – 97

WarClown (USA) – Agents of Chaos


Release – July 22

What the F is a WarClown?

It matters not – the band have my attention! Channeling the inner spirit of Phil Anselmo (or, is it Kyle Thomas?) on a vocal level and the style Pantera are renowned for, WarClown are peddling that which is somewhat on the border of Hardcore, Crossover and Groove. This is undeniably influenced by the obvious though strangely still exudes its own allure in spades. I’m left wondering what Rex and the gang might think. Regardless, this demands to be played at a volume which the neighbors are sure to appreciate and certainly lives up to the foretaste of several spins.

Give these guys a listen, if the abovementioned acts (Exhorder and the other) reside on your playlists.

Score – 87

In Pain (Sweden) – The Thing from the Grave


Release – October 22

The disoriented looking rotting fellow stumbling around on the cover and the not quite so subtle track list about says it all. There’s little mystery here, this is yet another OSDM project from out of Sweden. Surprise, surprise (where’s Cilla?) though, this doesn’t include Rogga, it is mastered at Sunlight.

Honestly the lyrics aren’t going to win any literary prizes, the rhythms are the typical part Six Feet Under, part Entombed, part Bolt Thrower and it works to sate for the most part. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel but it hits the spot for those hankering for more of the same Horror ‘themed Metal chuggery, albeit with a seasoned edge.

Score – 77

Primal Fear – s/t debut

(A reissue. So, it’s not technically “new”)


Release – July 22

Listening to these guys for the first time I’m left wondering if the great Rob Halford turns towards this band when hankering to listen to Judas Priest with splashes of Helloween and less of himself. In short, the vocal styling is eerily similar, even in instances the composition, although I will mention that this includes decidedly more Hard Rock and Shred, occasionally akin to rhythms found in earlier Ozzy material. But, WTF do I know? Seriously. I’m liking this more than I thought I would. Admittedly, even the filler track(s) have their moments.

Score – 83

GWAR (Antarctica?) – The New Dark Ages


Release – June 22

Just me, or is this stoopid catchy? In a hard rock meets punk meets heavy metal kind of a vein. Have GWAR (all Caps and a moniker which many still don’t know the meaning of) decided to concentrate more on the music? The lyrical content remains chock full of bizarre silliness and there’s laughs to be had in every verse, but the percussion… I’m digging this on multiple levels. Perhaps more than I should? Fug it, it’s time to see these purveyors of deviant carnality live.

Score – 86

Faceless Burial (Australia) – At the Foothills of Deliration


Release – October 22

There’s a reason why this release is garnering such attention. This is undeniably Death Metal of the highest order, though of the variety which is far removed from that which the casual listener might get excited about. Basted in technicality and passages drenched in genius composition the style here nods at a variety of elements, namely the diabolical, technical arenas and the arcane. Naturally chuggery makes appearances though the visits are never tedious or bordering on the uncomfortable. Chunky riffs bludgeon the listener as well passages of whirlwind, fleeting, nostalgia. All, in all this is a release which is likely to grow on the listener following several listens, there’s plenty to unpack here. Although a first listener is more than enough to have one setting aside the must get to pile of audio in order that more attention be rightfully paid to this.

Score – 93

Zarraza (Kazakhstan) – Kreated in Blood


(3- track “covers” EP)

Release – July 22

Familiar? Sure. That is where this gets the attention. The cover art is obviously homage. And, if you don’t know to what (or whom) you should, at this point, likely exit, perhaps do a little research and return (if you so wish?)

Tackling a trio of covers isn’t easy, and most would likely avoid these (or the concept of an EP bearing only other people’s tracks) like the plague. Zarraza however have chosen to jump in. Not only jump in, but with gusto. Even so far as to implement an instrument which is rather foreign to the arena. Yes, much like bagpipes, in the case of Korn. But, does it work? Well, not always. Though one does need to add points for willingness and creativity. Surprisingly, the instruments add a chilling effect, a little extra dimension (if you will) to separate these interpretations from that of countless others on offer boasting little to zero reason to revisit. In regards to the covers themselves, Zarraza bring the goods, the talent (in both the percussion and vocal departments), the execution, and an acceptable amount of experimentation (thankfully this side of bonkers, batshit, this is way too crazy for me to want to stay at this party) to elicit further exploration over and above that of an initial spin. Sure, the timing on “Raining Blood” might be slightly off, but it’s more than acceptable (in my opinion, although I’m sure others night not be forgiving of such a “trespass”) given the overall quality on display. Lay the ears on this with an open mind, drop your prejudices at the door and enjoy.

Score – 84

Disgusting Perversion (Germany) – Remember Me


Release – October 22

Firmly grasping a tried and trusted formula DP (this saves on digit wear and tear and the abbreviation sounds infinitely more ‘naughty’) peddle a style which distinctly displays their influences; think Unleashed meets Master meets Grave, with a side of Death Doom ala Obituary. Naturally, there’s more on offer; sprinkles of Death (on the verge of adding Prog to their mix) plenty of melody, nods to the almighty Celtic Frost, and (in the same tone) groove enough (that’s not overpowering) to get excited about. However, to state that DP reinvent the wheel is a gross over stepping of the truth. Get past an album title which sounds more like a Mariah Carey track (does anyone else here watch here performances in mute, in hopes a wardrobe malfunction will rear its ugly head?) and you’re sure to have a ton of fun with what this act and album offers. I’ll even be so bold as to state that this offering, if given half the chance, will propel the band to a level of recognition the quality here deserves. Kman on Twitter (the only place you really need to visit to get your rundown on what’s happening in the metal world on a week to week release basis) certainly thought so and gave this his ‘Fire in the Hole’ best of the week Recc.

Score – 91

Eaten by Sharks (Canada) – Eradication


Release – August 22

A nautical themed act who chooses not to employ Jaws as part of their logo. Hmmm… Expecting plunging drops, Spielberg inspired soundbites, and stabbing riffs, I was surprised to discover this is more Tech, Deathcore and melody based. Though that’s not to say that the aforementioned elements aren’t here. A wicked mixture of Drowning Pool (vocal wise), Dying Fetus, Archspire, a swath of youthful energy, and dark humor, this grabs the attention and quick gleefully pulling the listener into the depths (ha, I’ll admit I’m not too inventive with my thoughts on this one). But seriously, this utilizes movement aplenty, an excitable trident (see what I did there?) pronged vocal assault and enough pace transformations to leave any Tour de France participant wanting to willingly sacrifice themselves to the monsters of the Deep. This is fun, park the ears upon it when given the chance to do so.

Score – 86

Riot City (Canada) – Electric Elite


Release – October 22

Admittedly, there’s quite the buzz about this release. And. Wait for it… it’s actually rather fn’ impressive! The vocalist has pipes the devil would be proud of and the percussion has enough galloping and wicked solos to leave any fan of the bygone golden era of HM salivating. So, is it safe to say this is a good album, well duh. It’s bloody tits mate. Are Riot City the new face of the recent resurgence of HM? Quite possibly.

One thing is for certain, if acts like Maiden, Judas Priest, Dokken and Queensreich are still played in your house (literally plentiful years removed from their finest hour) then Riot City are the next logical leap forward. And apparently, they’re only getting better, I guess I’ve got a spot of research to pounce upon. Until then I’m wearing this tale (gotta go retro) out.

Score – 95

Thirteen Goats (Canada) – Servants of the Outer Dark


Release – July 22

Thirteen Goats, but only one featured on the cover. Seriously WTF? This thought however soon subsides as the first track rips its way through the senses. An avalanche of vocal styles, riffs plucked from a multitude of Extreme arenas and damnable infectious composition. It’s like Thrash meets Power meets Blackened Death and this is only the first track.

The craziness continues (nine tracks of in yer face, “what are genres again” antics to be exact); there’s humor, references to Jugollos, a style akin to (Thrash) Crossover, maniacal laughter, a spot of Hardcore, and neck breaking riffs aplenty. Did I mention the riffs? For there’s plenty of them and these guys deliver. Seriously, this might not be what you’re expecting but it’s a ton of fun. And I’m sure if the live shows match what the quality here hints at, they’re be quite the event to witness. Though I doubt many would volunteer for the live ‘Scanners reenactment’.

Score – 88

Consumption (Sweden) -Necrotic Lust


Release – August 22

With the promo material surrounding this sporting “Carcass” as every other word, and the band even going so far as to employ Jeff Walker (for a guest spot) my intrigue was smothered to literal suffocation.

So then, what about the album?

Well, it employs familiar hooks and rhythms associated with said band, though thankfully not to overkill realms, the album makes great use of Vincent Price soundbites (likely plucked from the same movie which vintage era Theatre of Tragedy wrote a college thesis upon), and the style wallows in the same nefarious antics, rotting cadaver landscape which Necroticism (Descanting the Insalubrious) literally carved. There’s lots to enjoy here; groove aplenty, melody frolics with bludgeoning metal slapping (whatever that means) riffs, and rhythms evoke vistas in darkened environments one cannot possibly unseen. In short, this is a fantastic album which undeniably brings to mind past audio shenanigans from the Grinding, medically encyclopedic lyrically obsessed, Brits though boasts enough maniacal composition ingenuity to excite sufficient praise, based on its own merit.

Score – 89

Traitor (Germany) – Exiled to the Surface


Release – July 22

Much like Traitors last the cover art is what yanks potential listeners in, the music is what makes them stay. Barely this side of the Thrash/Death divide, the audio here is aggressive, swift and no nonsense mosh pit fodder. The vocals make one think of Mille from Kreator, while the rhythms invoke Destruction, Sodom, Tankard, Kreator and Whiplash. All in all, it doesn’t get much better than this. Naturally, the band decided to throw a wrench in the works and test the listeners patience by including a cover of a Wham! track. Strangely, it’s somewhat bearable, intriguing as it’s definitely Thrash in tone, if more than a little cheesy (like changing the word ‘dance’ to ‘mosh makes it infinitely more consumable?) But it isn’t that what skip buttons were designed for?

Regardless of the silliness, Traitor have released another winner!

Score – 89

Go back in time with me

Vintage Shit!

Kreator (Germany) – Endless Pain


Release – 85′

Let’s face it, early NOISE recordings are the shit. Add to that the artwork of this and Pleasure to Kill and the temptation is difficult to ignore. With the temptation out of the way and the PLAY button fully smashed one’s only left with the quandary; is this Speed, Thrash or Black Metal. As it could seriously be either. Fret not however, for this silliness soon subsides as hair starts to flail (although you’d be damned to lucky to have any if you can remember when this was actually released), the neck becomes the most important part of the body and the immediate surrounding transform into mere putty, obstacles to collide into as the spirit of mosh takes complete and utter possession of the psyche.

Defacement (The Netherlands) – Deviant


Release – January 19

Now this is all-encompassing. It’s suffocating and unrelenting, a brutal beat- down (if truth be told), though strangely hypnotic. Wave upon wave of bludgeonment (ha! This isn’t even a word!), a cavalcade of audio punishment to leave one bruised, battered though smirking like an absolute loon. Fans of the Cavernous, the Old School, and the slightest different, though oddly infectious, take note fir this is a location you’ll want to park the senses upon and for, likely, an extended period of time.

Score – 96

Unto Others (USA) – Strength


Release – September 21

Even a “forced” changed moniker won’t keep these fellas down. This serves up Hard Rock with sufficient spot-on nostalgia, exuberance and energy to leave one rummaging through their dusty vinyl stash in hopes to recapture their youth. A fantastic cleanser for those days when you can’t decide what to have bouncing between the ears.

Score – 82

Outer Heaven (USA) – Realms of Eternal Decay


Release – October 18

You guessed it! The albums art gives it all away. Cosmic zombies tearing the flesh from unfortunate otherworldly hikers, primates armed with thigh bones bearing nothing but ill-intent within their murderous glassy eyed stares. All amidst a landscape rife with festering fungi, technicolor remains of those who’ve succumbed to death’s clawing embrace, and quite possibly the sharpest, sneakily dormant, Lego pieces any bare foot could ever hope to avoid stepping upon.

But in all seriousness, this is draped in grime, coated in groove, happily bludgeons away like a malcontent blind barbarian and checks all the boxes one whose penchants stretch to disgusting death/doom could wish.

Score – 89

Bathory (Sweden) – Under the Sign of the Black Mark

Release – 87′

A great deal can happen in 35 years; birth, death, marriage, illness. But it’s always great to know that there’s medicine of the kind which doesn’t come in a bottle or tablet form which one can partake, a healing elixir in audio form. Music of the kind which clears the mind, transporting one back (in a primitive vehicle) to a simpler, less complicated, landscape, an exciting arena sprouting with fresh ideas, unexplored paths and structures blossoming in a myriad of direction from roots which many believed would never get given the chance to mature. A foundation within which Bathory have their name etched and whose influence continues to inspire. This was not the first, their last, or arguably even their finest hour, but for me remains that one offering which evokes the most emotion.

How about a new section?

A single spin, a blunt score, and no silly words to get in the way.

No Words Necessary

Sword – Metalized



(Heavy Metal)


Candy – Heaven is Here

June 22




Trench Foot – Moral Obscenity

June 22

United Kingdom

(OSDM/Grindcore/Dirge/Death Metal)


Tailgunner – Crashdive (EP)

June 22

United Kingdom

(Heavy Metal/NWOBHM)


(An Adracom Recc)

Invoker – Invoking the Evil

June 22




(Another Adracom Recc)

Severe Torture- Fisting the Sockets

June 22

The Netherlands

(Brutal/OSDM/Tech/Death Metal)


Hashishian – Hashishian

June 22


(Psych/Stoner Rock/Drone/Doom)


Dance With the Dead – Driven to Madness

January 22


(Synth/Trance/Cinematic/Symphonic/Instrumental/Hard Rock/Metal)


Circle of Silence – Walk Through Hell

May 22


(Power/Heavy/Thrash Metal)


Gnome – King

May 22


(Stoner Rock/Doom/Groove)


Iron Tomb – Vile Retribution

June 22

United Kingdom

(OSDM/Death Metal)


Rave in Fire – Sons of a Lie

April 22


(Heavy/Power Metal/Hard Rock)


Corpse Worship – Necroresonance

June 22


(Brutal/Death Metal/D-beat)


Mass Worship – Portal Tombs

February 22




And this is where the large lady would be vibrating her tonsils, if only I could afford such.

– B

Attack of the Compilation – HEAVY (Artoffact Records)

Before I begin, another sojourn into the wonderful universe of collected extreme audio, let’s address the glaringly obvious (pink) elephant in the room.

Hi, I’m a Pink elephant, Just try to ignore the fact that I’m here please

The fact that it’s been a while.

To put rumors at rest, I am still alive, and this is (for the record) the same Cult who scribbles furiously upon that which tickles his fancy within the worlds of both the obscure and the maniacal, displayed in both audio and visual formats.

And yes… I still have a tendency, an urge to scribble upon that which I have experienced. At times I truly cannot help myself! Although at this juncture it’s difficult to ascertain as to whether it’s merely for my sanity, for my own amusement or that there’s actually anyone reading this nonsense.

But, enough about me and my most recent absence. What say we discuss music and a recently released collection of tracks from a label which deserves attention.

As per the Press release –

…”Canadian industrial, postpunk, heavy metal, and electronic record label Artoffact Records has released a new compilation called Heavy. The collection of 20 tracks serves to highlight the heavier side of the label…”


Without further ado, the track list;

• KEN mode – A Love Letter

• KEN mode – But They Respect My Tactics

• Kælan Mikla – Hvítir Sandar (feat. Alcest)

• Ritual Dictates – Aqua Tofana (feat. Unleash the Archers)

• Ritual Dictates – Poisonous Proclamation (feat. Danko Jones)

• Cloud Rat – Losing Weight

• Cloud Rat – Cusp

• OvO – You Living Lie

• OvO – La Morte Muore, Pt.

• tunic – Rituals

• tunic – Fade Out

• GGGOLDDD – Notes on How to Trust

• GGGOLDDD – He Is Not

• Dead Quiet – Of Sound and Fury

• Dead Quiet – Grand Rites

• KAUAN – Raivo

• KAUAN – Akva (Live)

• Dawn of Ashes – Blood of the Titans

• Dawn of Ashes – The Despondent Hole

• Seer – Seven Stars, Seven Stones

I can honestly say that I have knowledge of only a couple of acts mentioned here (the second coming by way of recent experience).

Here’s to diving in, partially blind, and discovering fresh talent and tunage.

What follows are my thoughts on each of the tracks offered, obviously swayed by personal tastes which might or might not be somewhat similar to your own (?)

KEN mode are the first to assault the ears, and they do just that. An eclectic mix of harsh noise antics, hardcore angst, poetic fury, and Jazz experimentation. Theirs is a style which isn’t easily pigeonholed (at least not by me). Strangely I’m finding myself falling for its allure, perhaps I’m in just the perfect mood in order to do so (who knows?) Suffice it to mention both tracks these guys peddle are recommended more for an audience whose tastes are varied and not rooted in traditional, steadfast, genre parameters.

Kælan Mikla (next up) serve to change the mood dramatically. A swirling mix of keys and tranquil guitar melodies, as well a vocal accompaniment gives the track a relaxing Post edge coupled with an effectively haunting aura. The whole has an effect eerily close to radio friendly audio and an allure which is dangerously addictive. Only the one track showcased from the band here though surely enough to have curious digits and appetites searching for more.

Ritual Dictates break the ice with a style which is slightly different than one might expect given its many “moving parts” (or the members who make up its ranks). It isn’t Thrash, it isn’t Death, be it Melodic, Brutal or Technical, and the audio is miles from anything Black. It is however draped in melody, emotion, melancholy and a Doom essence which Old Man Wizard (“Blame it on the Wizard” is an album I suggest exploring) exhibit with stunning panache. This is epic, grandiose, though not wholly this or that. But don’t let that put you off. And that’s just the first of two tracks on offer. The second rides on a much different vehicle with an engine which sneers at the first with contempt and a rhythm that demands the listener sit up, move and take note. Two very different styles sharing a common brilliance, inventiveness and talent which burns with the fury of a thousand hungry flames.

If Grindcore and breakneck riffs are your thing then Cloud Rat deliver the goods. Two tracks with an intensity telling of influence somewhere between Macabre and Brutal Truth with a little something else tossed in for good measure. The kind of noise which will make your Grandparents think twice about your position in their Will. This is the type of fun, wholesome family entertainment I wholeheartedly recommend, if breaking shit is your vibe.

Abruptly switching gears OvO display a nightmarish concoction of both the Industrial and Electronic. Personally, not my ‘cup of tea’, though a style which fans of Godflesh, possibly Nuerosis, are likely to lap up eagerly as it manages to poke doggedly at my curiosity.

Leaping from the expected (if there is such a thing within a varied collection of tracks such as this) tunic aren’t what I expect but rather a Prog, Experimental, Technical act in a similar vein to Freighter (Google them, folks!) wrestling with a style with is a hodgepodge of many things but especially the chaotic, fascinating, energetic, exhausting and frenetic. In short, an act which is wholly unpredictable though not overtly out of left field. I’m digging the crap outta these two tracks and want more!

What to expect when a moniker such as GGGOLDDD start to play, to show off their “wares”? Well, drop the pre-conceived notions. The style here borders on unique though is blanketed in ‘I did not know I needed this in my life’. Truly as if retro 80s, meets Katatonia, with a slice of Pop Punk and a sprinkle of She Wants Revenge (again, Google it, Folks!) Yea. I wasn’t sure what to think and I’m not even sure how to describe this to give it the props it rightfully deserves, I’m impressed. This is impressive audio which deserves discovery!

Injecting Stoner Rock, a sprinkle of Psychedelia, and retro Doom sensibilities into the mix Dead Quiet serve to steer this audio collection away from predictable depths (it’s happened again, who would’ve thought it?) With the pair of tracks the band display a veritable smorgasbord of influence and mold their talents into a style bouncing with Hard rocking rhythms, riffs that stick and plentiful emotion all served up with palpable retro qualities to have the listener frantically searching for Discogs, used record shops and specific artists in a collection likely collecting dust, insect colonies and sudden blinding interest. In short, these guys somehow mix styles which are familiar, yet retro, and an aura which updates a formula into something undeniably hypnotic.

KAUAN add two tracks to this collection and an undisputable epic allure via Post stylings mixed with definite Folk leanings sure to whisk the listener away. Instrumentation ideal for sojourns through mist laden back roads, DnD campaigns within which fantastical lands demand to be explored and spectacular vistas conquered via impromptu dragon rides (if only such a thing were possible). Lyrics are in Scandinavian (or a dialect close) which only serves to add another layer of mystery and intrigue.

Nearing the finale of this whopping twenty track compilation are where Dawn of Ashes reside. Theirs is a harsh amalgamation of Electronic manipulations and Blackened Death sensibilities. Tainted with an Industrial edge the overall appeal is one to attract those with penchants including dystopian soundtracks, hyper-kinetic visual feasts and I can only imagine video games featuring futuristic Gothic undertones (Resident Evil and Silent Hill come to mind on account of my feeble knowledge of the arena).

Closing out the HEAVY compilation are an act called Seer. It takes but a minute for a pair of acts to come to mind with “Seven Stars, Seven Stones” bouncing between the ears; The Cult and (early) Danzig. An odd mix to be sure, however the melodies are there, the prominent vocal elements (crooning?) and rhythms which are both somewhat haunting and striking, and yet hard to pinpoint if one were to direct a listener to a specific genre as reference.

In short, a fantastic ‘cork’ stoppering a collection which showcases a stunning myriad of talent and styles which has certainly piqued my interest, admittedly against my somewhat jaded initial judgements. There I was thinking my specific tastes didn’t and couldn’t waver far from traditional genre boundaries. This collection cracked the doors to new realms, shed new light on that which I believed I understood, and thankfully helped widen my audio horizons.

Sure, I have my favorites, there’s a few here which prompted the digits into frantic exploratory actions and plentiful instances and phrases which will stick for days to come. I guess what I’m really trying to convey is that even though your tastes are likely more refined than my own I’ll guarantee there’s something nestled here for most everyone to get excited about, be it one end of the “heavy” spectrum, or the other, Artoffact Records have compiled a diverse assembly of tracks which I can, and will, without reservation, recommend.

Artoffact Records founder Jacek Kozlowski elaborates: “Heavy music is part of the dna of Artoffact Records. We’ve been releasing music on the heavy side for years, and finally built up a heavy roster that we are thrilled with. Time to put it out in the world and leave our mark!”

Pick this up at a ‘Name Your Price’ on Bandcamp and help support a label with an ear for that which will likely shape the future of “Heavy”.

Now to finding more time to be able to pounce upon the labels exciting roster (found on the official Artoffact Bandcamp page).

As per usual feel free to comment, suggest, recommend or share this. I appreciate the correspondence if only to know that others are in fact reading this.


Dollar Store Movie Marathon Easter Edition

Another foray into Film Review territories

As the year bounces by with a flick of its bushy tail I’m left pondering upon which film to inject into the senses next. The collection grows, and my bank account dwindles though I’m still strangely smiling like an absolute loon.

What say I play whichever treat is closest at hand?

Buy Bust (Philippines)

Release – 2018

Writer/Director – Erik Matti

Genre – Crime/Action/Martial Arts

Runtime – 128 minutes

Nope. This not a film revolving around an individual purchasing a set of fake tits. Although from the title it certainly sounds like it could be.

An elite team has been called in to help put an end to the drug trade near Manilla. All seems to go well until the team realize they’ve been set up. It wouldn’t be too bad, but they’re deep in an operation with no backup and a Judas within their midst.

Trailer courtesy of YouiTube Movies and Shows

This one will suffice without a long-winded review. A short sentence is all that’s really needed to sell this… this is batshit bonkers crazy! In moments this feels like an arcade game on account of all the action on display. Seriously it’s as if a whole slum, ghetto is after the film’s “heroes”. Stabbings, head kicks, broken bottle assaults and damage delivered via an assortment of household cooking utensils, the action here about includes it all. Fights in sewerage water, fisticuffs in cardboard shanties and combatants pouncing from the treetops. The action here isn’t altogether perfectly choreographed, but it doesn’t need to be, as again this is a movie which won’t be forgotten in a hurry. Add to the features attributes dazzling single shot camera action, crazed mob mentality, a varied soundtrack with music ranging from Punk to Rock a Billy to regional jams, Police corruption, a political stance (and most probable reasoning) on the ongoing ‘War on Drugs’ and Brandon Vera’s uncanny ability to stay alive and you have a feature which is likely to be talked about and shared for months following a view. Sure, this isn’t Hollywood, it isn’t Chinese or Korean, but it is highly entertaining. And isn’t that all that really matters? This is two hours of mindless escapism and for that I applaud it.

9 angry “we’re not gonna take it anymore” mobs out of 10

Plucked at Random from the Collection

Under the Bed (USA)

Release – 2012

Writer – Eric Stoltze

Director – Steven C Miller

Runtime – 87 minutes

Before I begin, I feel I must share a recent discovery. Apparently, Mr. Stoltze (mentioned above) is also responsible for “Late Phase” (aka “Night of the Wolf”). Is it just me or does this information make you more curious as to what this might provide?

Without further ado, I’m hitting PLAY.

Straight from the get-go the viewer is introduced to a troubled teen and a father who is hoping his son’s reunion with the family will go without a hitch. Within little time the past and the mystery surrounding Neil’s abrupt relocation starts to unravel.

Now, don’t go thinking this is a drama. This isn’t a Hallmark movie of the week. It lays the atmosphere on thick and fast (much like me armed with marmalade with a plate full of toast staring up at me, but that’s a story for another time), there’s definitely something amiss. And it isn’t just that Daddy has a new wife, or that he’s quick to temper or that Paulie has a thing for cardboard boxes. There might actually be something ‘Under the Bed’. But who or what?

Trailer courtesy of Mongrel Media

Yea, I’m not here to spoil a viewing, drop spoilers or stop my ramblings to promote the latest cream, deodorant or spray I might be using. I’m here to glaze over the storyline, add a touch of levity and my two cents on whether this is worth the time.

The atmosphere is huge, even grandiose, in this, that and the score combine to bring the chills even though the acting is oftentimes rather naff and threatens to pull the viewer away. As much as the viewer tries to relate, it’s hard to emphasize with the main character as he bears a monstrous grudge which appears unwilling to downgrade from its primal ferocity status. Part of the films allure lay in the struggle between a son accepting his father’s ‘new’ life, and the new wife trying her damndest to not step on any toes, whilst still asserting herself to protect the youngest brother from that which might be perceived as a threat.

Shades of “Freddy” creep in to leave most everyone sporting a dark ringed eyes motif lest they succumb to that which the night brings. There’s little rhyme or reason as to why the films antagonist chooses to terrorize whom it does, although it obviously might be a metaphor. Until that is shit really starts to hit the fan and extra towels, mops and buckets become the order of the day.

Despite a number of flaws (including an obviously excitable fog machine), the film has a great many things going for it; not least of which being Musetta Vander (the stepmom I honestly believe Daddy doesn’t deserve) in a plunging neckline. Other factors include the dispatching of a pair of neighborhood kids who register an instant vehement dislike on the character scale, a touch of the darkly fantastic, grisly gore, tons of blood, commendable creature FX and a healthy get-to-the-good-bits-fast pace.

The film runs at a great clip, didn’t I just say that, and before you know it the credits are rolling. This is an exciting watch which is rather nonsensical at times though still somehow manages to hold the attention throughout. It doesn’t have much explained (does everything seriously need explaining?), so for those looking for answers and everything to wrapped up with zero loose ends, be fully prepare to leave utterly frustrated and flummoxed. For all others, this a fantastic waste of close to ninety minutes.

8 monsters thirsting for tired brats out of 10

Random Streaming Site Watches

Ashburn Waters (Australia)

Release – 2019

Writer/Director – David Pether

Runtime – 81 minutes

Genre – Creature Feature/Slasher

And you guessed it, this is another “teens doing what they shouldn’t be, and ignoring all of the warnings” films. However, in this case it’s a bunch of Aussie teens with tents.

Old friends with history between them and hardly a lick of acting talent makes for awkwardness aplenty. But, somehow, this is entertaining. Bad decisions, red herrings and rampant hormones, but let’s not forget the beer, for copious consumption of alcohol always makes a “party” better, right?

Trailer courtesy of JoBlo Horror Trailers

Obviously, most everything seem here has been tackled before, often with a better budget and largely better than seen here but this still somehow has an allure. Is it because of the accents, the character interaction, the boobs or the mystery behind what’s really hiding in the wilderness? Or, is it a combination of all of these elements?

I’m honestly not sure. But I’m hooked, and likely to praise this to whomever will lend an ear (or an eye) to my ramblings.

7 and a half prancing lantern-eyed demons out of 10

The Guardians (Russia) *dubbed version

Release – 2017

Writers – Andrea Gavrilov, Sarah Andreasyan, Gavin Andreasyan

Director – Sarik Andreasyan

Genre – Action/Superhero antics

Runtime – 89 minutes

For those not paying attention, and those with little to no imagination, this is in short, a Russian play on the X-Men and a slew of other assorted superhero features. Unlike many however, this has a budget, decent enough actors, great SFX, makeup and obviously a story which has literally been beaten to pulp. Yea, this really doesn’t bring much originality to the table. However, what it does offer the viewer is close to ninety minutes of mindless entertainment (this is paint-by-numbers easy to follow celluloid); a myriad of explosions, furious fisticuffs, furry, CGI enhanced superhuman abilities, a Ninja with superspeed, a chameleon type heroine with the ability to become invisible and a super villain whose influence lays somewhere amidst Mackey Rourke’s character in Iron Man 3, Professor Xavier’s nemesis and Shocker from Spider Man.

Trailer courtesy of KinoCheck(.com)

Silly at times, and remarkably easy to follow, this is a ton of fun especially for those who can’t resist comic book movies bursting at the seams with insane antics and global axis consequences.

8 Fluffy fellows brandishing industrial sized Tommy guns out of 10

The Mutations (aka The Freakmaker) UK

Release – 1974

Writers – Robert D Weinbach & Edward Mann

Director – Jack Cardiff

Genre – Horror/Supernatural Thriller/Human Oddities

Runtime – 92 minutes

Mostly known for his vast cinematography and photography credits, Mr. Cardiff also directed a number of films; “The Mutations” being the final entry of fourteen (dating as far back as 1953) including a myriad of intriguing genres.

So, just what are Donald Pleasance (Halloween) and Tom Baker (Dr Who), both understandably genre favorites, doing in this? Other than collaborating in unsanctioned scientific experiments and trying their best to stomach a chaotic dread-inducing jazz soundtrack featuring maniacally orchestrated Cellos, violins, Saxophones and Bass? I’d say they’re only adding to the nonsense on offer, but that’s just me and I’ve rarely thought of ‘nonsense’ in a bad light, more in an entertaining way. Which is what’s rolling out here.

Without dropping spoilers, as much as others who also partake in dropping their thoughts on film, I’ll add that this offers the viewer plenty to enjoy. It has a carnival bursting at the seams with human “curiosities” (think Browning’s “Freaks” and also in part Gilliam’s “Time Bandits”), local constabulary donning “tits” as headgear, a scientist with a God complex, plentiful nostalgia (if you’re an aged Brit like me this’ll send you spiraling back down memory lane at a fair clip), bell bottoms, plentiful mentions of the word “shag” (not really, but I thought this might be funny on account of the “Austin Powers” franchise), unashamed nudity, a “flesh plant”, and plentiful (laughable at times) costumes and FX.

A vintage trailer to complement a vintage film

Naturally, I haven’t listed everything this depicts. For example, it also showcases rather creepy, time-lapse photography of plants, rather than (thankfully) that unflinchingly depicted within Uwe Boll’s “Seed”. But more importantly it abuses Donald Pleasance’s acting potential to the fullest degree. I’m of the mind that Klaus Kinski might have also fit the role, it’s funny then that Donald (or in this case Dr. Nolter) talks with a slight German accent, but is Klaus even German? I digress.

Tom Baker, a scarf and “Mutations”

Tom Baker wears a scarf, but doesn’t he always? And, shock horror, kicks a cake. One might say that he’s not a happy chappy, and they wouldn’t be far wrong, for apparently, he is cursed; not to travel with a collective of vertically challenged individuals but with a condition which keeps him from respectable peaks within social media-influencing realms.

Alas, I’ve drifted far from that which I’ve intended to do here, yet again.

What say we get back on track?

Mutations is a mite predictable, I’m not going to fib, and the acting isn’t all that. But it’s fun. Sheer escapism in fact; the material of pulp sci-fi churned out by the hundreds many decades ago. Plants and human hybrids? Seriously, who concocts such nonsense? Perhaps place this on a double billing with any one of the ‘Triffyd’ features (now why these haven’t made it to ‘rehashville’ I have not the faintest) or ‘Swamp Thing’, to make for an afternoon’s entertainment?

Where else might you find Tom Baker and Donald Pleasance within the same billing? I’ll wait. The fodder for a drinking game or an introduction to British Creature Features? I’ll let you decide. Either way, this deserves the attention and a rightful place among playlists which include the bizarre, the unusual and vintage. In short, the type of film with an aura which will never be attained again.

8 and a half woman stalking plants out of 10

Exploring the Depths of Tubi

Ninja – Shadow of a Tear (Thailand/USA)

Release – 2013

Writer – David N White, Michael Hurst & Boaz Davidson

Director – Isaac Florentine

Genre – Martial Arts

Runtime – 95 minutes

I’ve somehow found myself within another Scott Adkins celluloid outing.

In this instance he finds himself knee-deep in bad guys and surprisingly on a quest. Scott’s wife has been murdered so he’s understandably perturbed and rather angry.

However, before he starts upon his path of vengeance, he requires to steady his control, technique and understanding of that which he must face.


As luck would have it, he has a few friends with the required tools and knowledge to assist him on his travels.

So off Scott goes, armed with dynamite feet, hands and a sparse understanding of the terrain.

Does he survive, kick arse in a variety of different ways, eat gas station sushi and live to tell the tale? Well, I’m not here to spoil the fun. Though I will gladly state that this is chock full of spinning limbs, barbed wire garrotes, drugs, mentions of Burma and enough portholes into the underworld to leave one feeling rather green, or sea sick if you prefer (see what I did there?)

The film has a larger scope than most with locations including the jungles of Burma, the neon sin-laden environment of Thailand and the parts of Japan which are green rather than vividly bright, screaming tech and crowded.

The cast is huge, with Shun Sugata (featuring in over 180 films, including Tarantino’s “Kill Bill”) and Kane Kosugi (known for more recent martial arts film such as “War” starring both Jet Li and Jason Statham, and ‘game’ adaption outings such as “Tekken”) co-star to round out a huge cast (most of whom appear to know how to fight or fall like a seasoned stunt person) alight the interest of those who aren’t strangers to action based celluloid be it a few years old or more recent.

Trailer courtesy of Movieclips Trailers

Ninja (Shadow of a Tear) serves to surprise, here I was thinking this another pumped out by the hundreds actioneer, when in fact it’s carefully crafted, epic and crammed to the gills with quality fight scenes, commendable stunts (reminiscent of vintage Chinese offerings) and even a few twists.

I guess what I’m trying to impress is that this is worth a peek, especially for those who usually turn their nose up to American composed beat-em-up affairs.

9 – I’m a Ninja, damn you and the Horse you rode in on, the one that killed my wife – out of 10

And introducing… the “WTF Corner”

Benny Loves You (UK)

Release – 2019

Writer/Director – Karl Holt

Runtime – 94 minutes

Without knowing much about this film, one might immediately think upon other celluloid outings in which puppets are utilized in rather nefarious ways. There is literally a shitton (which is rather a lot) in circulation, with the more obvious being the Puppet Master (franchise), Meet the Feebles, The Munchies and Small Soldiers (which probably doesn’t belong in this context, but is one of my favorites. So, I decided to add it). There are, obviously, a great many more, with the quality wavering dramatically from one example to the next; with some being a horrendously painful experience whilst others are an absolute delight to lay the peepers upon.

Benny Loves You, by all intents and purposes should fellate goats; its premise isn’t original, and the whole splatter and cuteness angle has been tackled before (again, to varying degrees of success).

So, what gives?

Even in the office, Benny Loves You

Why is the film utterly and irrefutable so damn impressive? There I said it. I “spoiled” the review early on (obviously these are my thoughts and opinions and they aren’t up for debate).

For one, the film doesn’t take itself too seriously. In stating this I don’t mean to imply that it’s a spoof, or even that it offers silliness of a quantity to evoke a gagging reflex in a seasoned competitive eater, but more that it isn’t out to win any award over and above that which the ‘Indy scene’ and festivals offer. In essence, this is a feature aimed at specific demographic, not so much the easy offended populace at large.

Secondly (I’m thinking I’m going to lose track of numerals soon enough), Benny Loves You doesn’t pander. It hits, albeit with a padded paw, hard and fast, and leaps unmercifully for the jugular. Sure, “Benny” is a lovable tyke, but don’t let that fool you. He has absolutely zero sense of empathy and no mind whatsoever for any repercussions resulting from his actions.


Ok, so Benny is quite literally a politician. Wait… Wha-?

I seem to have veered wildly from my initial intention, what say we steer back on course?

Benny is a bear (technically), designed to keep his companion safe. And he has, for poor Jack (portrayed excellently by the film’s director Karl Holt) has had quite the fearful childhood. Though not even seeing a demon in his closet has quite prepared him for adulthood and all the wonderful predicaments that responsibility offers. Though all is not quite as horrid as it might sound. For Jack has Benny (much to his chagrin), and Benny isn’t the stuffed-do-nothing he once was, but rather due to an odd, unexplained, happenstance a stuffed-will-do-whatever-it-takes.

And that’s about as far as my spoilers (in regards to the plot) will travel.

As well a cast which adds to the films remarkably unforgettable comedic tone, it also receives major props on account of its writing, character interaction and dialogue.

Happy Birthday to me… to me.

Karl Holt nails a middle-aged type who has no luck whatsoever with the largest hammer on the planet. A special mention must also go out to Claire Cartwright’s portrayal of Dawn; a veritable ray of sunshine doused in playfulness and an adaptability which fits well with the whirlwind, bizarre, insanity surrounding Jacks existence. A bumbling Police duo who will invariably carve a smirk on even the most immovable of visage. Other characters of note include Jack’s boss who has trouble pronouncing the letter “F” and a penchant of ruling like an insufferable dictator. Jacks work nemesis is remarkably annoying, oddly reminds me of “Shooter McGavin” (anyone?) and elicits strong emotion whenever gracing the screen (seriously, every workplace has someone much like this). All this and, naturally, Benny, who hops, skips, jumps and utters a shortlist of loveable phrases (“Cuddle me”), which usually follow acts of wanton destruction and bloodshed, with enough glee to make any unanimated plush do absolutely bugger-all in seething envy.

Where it all began.

However, it doesn’t end here. I’m pleased to state that the film offers much more to make the uninitiated sit up and take note. The directing is spot on, and often showcases nods to other genre entries – shadows and sheets hung up on the washing line bring Carpenter’s Halloween to mind, the inanimate/imaginary friend coming to life theme recalls an underrated classic featuring the comedic talents of Rik Mayall, and obviously the misbehaving toys Childs Play, Annabelle and those wicked critters from the Puppet Master series.

But, there’s also a predictability factor. For starters, hilarious montage sequences and no-holds barred Battlebots (yes. Battlebots, you read that correctly, though this is hardly predictable) carnage. The story is easy to follow and moves at an applaudable pace though let us not forget that which might not be anticipated; the gore, the biting dark humor, the shredders of a stuffed toy, and the unadulterated, unflinching, tireless lengths to which a devoted friend will go to ensure his (an assumption which might land me in scalding hot water) lifelong companion is happy. Plus, the fact that this is a ‘puppet movie’ which far surpasses most (99%) others attempts at similar genre ‘cutesy and the carnage’ approaches.

Trailer courtesy of Movieclips Indie

Benny (shortened to save on digital fatigue) really is something special, a film which I only hope I had the creative nature to be able to promote with the effectiveness it rightfully deserves, I honestly cannot possibly locate a bullhorn with a volume level necessary to preach that which I believe to be gospel – Benny Loves You is one of the finest examples of the splatter comedy genre I’ve had the pleasure to witness in a number of years.

Watch it, buy it, but most certainly add this to your collection.

10 Cutesy, Psychotic, Plushes out of 10

Bring me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman (Chile)

Release – 2012

Writer – Ernesto Diaz Espinoza, Fernanda Urrejola

Director – Ernesto Diaz Espinoza

Runtime – 73 minutes

Cited as being “Latin Xploitation” this takes little time to get straight to the point. Fernanda Urrojola stars as a scantily clad bounty hunter on a mission. Dubbed as the Machine Gun Woman she’s scorned and determined. Her ex, a small-time crime lord by name of Don Che Logana Sausage, has sent out professionals to curb her bloodlust but it’s only made it worse. Enter Santiago Fernández, a DJ and dreamer, whose interests include gaming, avoiding a real job and contemplating upon ideas which might actually work. He has 24 hours to bring in the Machine Gun woman lest his fate match that of countless others who have been in much the same situation with a success rate of zero.

Trailer courtesy of Shock Entertainment

Boasting a grainy (retro) feel, plentiful audio tracks to set the mood, an overall vibe matching that of later “Grand Theft Auto” console entries, dark humor, and bloodshed to spare the film sports a great deal to enjoy. And all delivered in a aura which seethes with delicious Exploitative values.


Much of the viewers enjoyment might derive from either Santiago’s in above his head antics along with his lack of confidence or the MG Woman’s undeniably wicked Femme Fatale presence (Fernanda Urrojola certainly demands attention, be it armed or likewise) or in my case both. The film rolls at an enjoyable (easy to follow) pace with fantastic dialogue, squeamish scenes of carnage and a brilliantly executed Mature console vibe, previously mentioned. It ends with… well you should all know by now that I’m not out to ruin a movie with spoilers. Suffice it to say that this is better than IMDB reviewers would have us believe and opens the doors wide for a new genre to be explored by eager appetites bored by the same old, same old.

8.5 heads in burlap sacks out of 10.

2022 sees a 2k restoration

The Seventh Curse (China)

Release – 1986

Writers – Jing Wong, Kai-Chi Yuen

Director – Ngai Choi Lam

Runtime – 80 minutes

When a reporter poses as a nurse (with the help of a nearby brick) she manages to get her biggest ‘scoop’ yet. And somehow finds herself aligned with a ‘supercop’. Their “partnership” takes them from high-rise terrorist activity to deep within the mysterious underworld, cult antics, and even confrontation with an ancient demonic entity. But it doesn’t end there, not by a long shot!

To call this film batshit, bonkers crazy, is an understatement. It moves at an insane pace, delivers typically pleasing ‘Golden Harvest’ flying feet tomfoolery (think stunts and choreography of early Jackie Chan and Cynthia Rothrock quality) and a surprising amount of bared flesh (of the female variety). Rather unpredictable, yet highly entertaining, is the film’s FX quota and instances of eye-widening, grisly carnage.

Trailer courtesy of Colin Tobin

Scenes which bring to mind It’s Alive, (Jackson’s) Dead Alive and (Henenlotter’s) Basketcase as well Return of the Living Dead (albeit with a DIY, shambling Hardware store skeleton for Halloween, approach) while others are slathered in enough cheese to make Kaufman and Troma scramble wildly for the film’s distribution rights.

Help, I’m being attacked by 80’s SFX

Oddly, the film balances dark humor, terror, and suspense with a certain panache, oftentimes even injecting jaw-dropping stunts into the mix to an altogether greater effect. In truth The Seventh Curse shouldn’t work, but it does! Stunts and silliness coupled with standout performances from, understandably, Betsy (the “native girl”), Siu-Ho Chin (portraying Dr Yuan) and Maggie Cheung among a myriad of lesser roles make this intriguingly watchable. Although (if truth be told) it’s the dubbing, the explosions, the bursting blood vessels, the frenetic fights, and the wacky, over the top, occult curse meets modern day explorer meets supercop story ups the ante and provides a viewing experience the likes of which only a rare few such as Riki-Oh (The Story of Ricky), sporting many of the same elements (released five years later), compare.

I may look soft and cuddly but ley it be known that my origins include draining the blood from one hundred children

If your movie watching penchants run to vintage martial arts, cult European genre affairs, jungle cannibal romps, demons spawned from the blood of a hundred children, the cutesy ever so slightly erotic, darkly humorous horror or the slightly bizarre (Did he seriously just shot that guy in the nuts with an arrow?) with a heaping helping of ‘camp’ this is a location where you’ll want to park the retinas for a spell.

Did I mention that Chow Yun-Fat (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hard Boiled, and Let the Bullets Fly) is also in this? This is literally that one movie which no one talks about, which demands attention.

10 Annoyingly squeaky voiced Conjurers out of 10

Until next time,

Your slave to cinema often forgotten, largely misunderstood and more often than not slightly off-kilter,