Archive for the ‘best of 18’ Category

Scorching the Retinas; Crimson Splattered Martial Arts

kung fu cinema

The Night Comes for Us

Every once in a while, a movie comes along which a great many people talk about. A movie which garners quite the buzz that it’s hard not to be intrigued. This is the case here. When I hear the words martial arts, blood, violent and comparisons to Raid 2 my synapses start firing. But is it warranted? Does this have what it takes to keep one’s interest? Is it worthy of all the accumulated hype? I’ll cut this short right here, spoil the review and say yes, yes, yes and YES!

(trailer courtesy of Trailer City)

The Night Comes for Us (2018)
Indonesia
Director/Writer – Timo Tjahjanto
XYZ Films
Screenplay Infinite Films
Runtime – 121 minutes

the night comes for us

 

I’m not going to fib and say that I’m an expert on the genre. Sure, I’ve seen a myriad of films within it and I can rattle off a few titles which I deem “must watch” and even a few others I consider especially “blood thirsty”. I could even name a couple which I personally deem classics and (this is exciting) then even at a stretch, this is pushing the limits, a few actors whose output (probably not all, mind you) is mandatory viewing. Naturally, this is just my opinion, I’m no expert. I just know what I like and I believe I know the difference between a good and not so good film. Back to the film in question. The Night Comes for Us boasts a great deal going for it. The pace is frenzied and relentless, the acting is spot on and the story line is easy to follow. That’s a good start, right? But it gets better. The on-screen action pulls no punches (welcome to ‘pun city’ folks) and is unflinching in both its depiction of violence and the damage given and taken by all combatants involved. More often than not a gang mentality is front and center. One on one only occasionally takes center stage here. Think a video game within which you have to fight your way through hordes to make your way to the big boss. In a nutshell that’s what also transpires here albeit showcasing a higher level of gratuitous bloodshed, an upped ante of limb snapping, lacerations galore, gouging’s aplenty and a requisite soundtrack to accompany making the tableau that much more effective to the point where one might squirm or jump witnessing such well-executed brutality.

(The Butcher fight scene courtesy of oPix nurizal)

Huge props to the stunt people. The feats herein are plentiful, too numerous to keep tabs upon, excellently produced and a wonder to set eyes on.

ouch my fingers

Ouch, my fingers!

There’s a myriad of scenes I wish to mention, I know I should but fear I would run out of space, leaving my prancing digits in need of ice.

 

Throughout the film there is undeniable cinematic wizardry on display. The fight scenes are ungodly and the fighter’s masters of their craft. Several are recognizable, depending on of course your level of submergement within the genre. Iko Uwais, who plays Arian, (The Raid, The Raid 2, Stuber, Beyond Skyline) stands out and is mired in indecision; does he help his friends, or does he ‘bend at the knee’ to the Triads wishes and stay alive and financially thrive (it’s quite the quandary). Joe Taslim, Ito, is another whose role is prominent (his face might stand out on account of his roles in The Raid, Star Trek Beyond and The Fast and Furious 6). The two are old friends but within the time they’ve been separated a great deal has changed resulting in boiling resentment and a grudge which might only be resolved through combat (or so they believe) making for a crimson splattered fight scene which will resonate with fans and be remembered, and remarked upon, for some time to come.

crazy white man bobby

Another who stands out is ‘White Man Bobby’, played by Zach Lee, on account of his crazed demeanor. Not to mention that his false foot falls off in an early scene which made me laugh even though I knew it wasn’t appropriate and wasn’t intended to add dark humor to the film itself.

girl fight

The film isn’t without surprises however. The “fairer” (it’s in quotation marks, please don’t comment with vitriol) sex also manage to widen the eyes and heighten the senses within scenes of high velocity combat one might not predict based on that which they might have already seen within the genre. I won’t ruin it suffice it to say that the characters here are on much the same pedestal as the ‘Hammer girl’ in The Raid 2 though get significantly more screen time in which to bludgeon, slash, shot and stab their way through various foes.

hammer girl

Excuse me Sir but you appear to have a little something,. Here, let me help.

A testament to human endurance and the highest caliber of fight choreography this delivers to sate both discerning and casual fans. Even a great many, I will state without reservation, who rarely visit the genre. The effects, much like the fighting, are also outstanding. There isn’t merely crimson on offer here there’s trauma resulting from chopping, dicing, stabbing, gunshots and high velocity flesh and blunt instrument contact. Truthfully this trumps many a film I’ve seen in the horror arena in terms of gore and brutality and the sheer amount shown in unflinching detail. Staying on topic TNCfU (obviously an abr.) ironically sports occasional passages of synth which bring to mind European cult affairs in which on screen, over the top, carnage is a staple ingredient but let us not forget; “You can’t kill what’s already dead.”

confused zombie

Confused zombie says “Huh”

 

A quote towards the end of the film, in a show stopping finale, that’s been utilized ad nauseum in a certain genre as to be beaten to death as much as, as, the genre in question itself (to not put so fine a point on it.)

 

Four words will help to summarize the storyline (without me running into diatribe lengths); Triads, Honor, Respect and Friendship. And that’s about all one needs to know. Don’t let assumptions get in the way of your enjoyment here; this overflows with bone crunching action, plenty of it and an unrelenting flow of crimson and thus will satisfy both fight fans and gorehounds alike. I believe this likely won’t be rivaled any time soon and I for one can’t think of anything which comes even remotely close.

Set this before your peepers, I’ve kept this brief as not to spoil the enjoyment, you can thank me later. Did I mention this was first adapted into a graphic novel, and to quote wikipedia “Tjahjanto confirmed he was working with Indonesian artist hub Glitch Network to adapt his original screenplay into comic form”. I, for one, can’t wait.

the-night-comes-for-us

Comments, thoughts, concerns, suggestions? (Yes I know I’ve added more than the normal amount of gifs in this one, and even a few nods to metal and horror, you’re welcome) Feel free to drop me a line. Until then, your slave to the extreme (in audio and visual form),

Cult

 

bestof18Audio

Voidhanger’s Best of 2018

Better late than never, right?  2018 was a Hell of a year, and narrowing it down was difficult.  That’s why we’re thankful for extensive honorable mentions lists!

Honorable mentions:

mortuous

Mortuous – Through Wilderness

Abigor – Höllenzwang – Chronicles of Perdition –

Eskhaton – Omegalitheos

Funeral Winds – Sinister Creed

Hyperdontia – Nexus of Teeth

Mortuous – Through Wilderness

Pagan Hellfire – At the Resting Depths Eternal

Ulthar – Cosmovore

ulthar-cosmovore-01-500x500

Ulthar – Cosmovore

 

Now, on to the meat and potatoes.  The cream of the crop.  The best of the best.  Starting with…

 #10: Nécropole – “Solarité”

An indisputably French sound with delicate strings of melody weaving through the cold harshness, Nécropole are a shining example of how black metal can forge brave new sounds without betraying the old style.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLA7UOUvxTY

necropole

“Necropole” doesn’t translate as  a dead Polish fella

#9 Outre-Tombe – “Nécrovortex”

Three years after dropping their massive debut “Répurgation,” Quebecois death metal band Outre-Tombe continue their old school, Sweden-worshipping death assault with a flailing, unrestrained follow-up.

https://templeofmystery.bandcamp.com/album/n-crovortex

outre-tombe-necrovortex-001

#8: Akitsa – “Credo”

Quebec’s long-running black metal flagship returned in 2018 with their sixth album.  Raw, powerful and with lots of punk influence, “Credo” is Akitsa’s clearest and most focused statement of intent to date.  Awesome cuts like ‘Le monde et ma bile’ showcase Akitsa in prime form and not losing even a smidgen of steam.

https://akitsa.bandcamp.com/album/credo

credo fullbleed coverWHITE TEXTcorrected letter spacingGOLD

 

#7: Clandestine Blaze – “Tranquility of Death”

Clandestine Blaze continues to fly high the banner of unrepentant, no-frills black metal.  While “Tranquility of Death” isn’t quite on the same lofty level as “City of Slaughter” (my #1 album for 2017), it holds its own and Clandestine Blaze keeps representing the best of what the genre has to offer.

https://clandestineblaze.bandcamp.com/album/tranquility-of-death

clandestine blaze

#6: Old Tower – “Stellary Wisdom”

The only non-metal entry on this list, Old Tower channel the sound and emotional resonance of early Mortiis, especially “Født til å Herske.”  A morose journey through medieval dusks and lunar sanctums, it compels you to let go and forget everything else.

https://oldtower.bandcamp.com/album/stellary-wisdom

old tower

#5: Summoning – “With Doom We Come”

A bit of a dark horse in the Summoning discography, “With Doom We Come” seems to have come and gone with little fanfare.  This might be due to it being a more sullen affair than their comparatively bombastic releases like “Let Heroes Sing Your Mortal Fame” or “Oath Bound.”  Contemplative, introspective, mournful and melancholic are all words that apply to “With Doom We Come” in addition to all the various adjectives for “epic” that are usually found in conjunction with Summoning.  Sit back and let these visions of the darker regions of Middle-Earth engulf you.

https://summoning.bandcamp.com/album/with-doom-we-come

summoning

#4: Spectral Wound – “Infernal Decadence”

Firmly entrenched in the Quebec black metal sound with Finnish flairs, “Infernal Decadence” is aggressive but with copious melody and an organic, full sound.  Not a single filler track to be found on the album and they’re a killer live act to boot, so catch ‘em if you can.

https://spectralwound.bandcamp.com/album/infernal-decadence

spectral wound

#3: Drawn and Quartered – “The One Who Lurks”

Managing to release top-tier material over 20 years into a career is a damn impressive feat, but Drawn and Quartered make it look easy by remaining at the top of their game and unleashing one of their most accomplished albums yet.  “The One Who Lurks” brings Drawn and Quartered to unprecedented levels of savagery and complexity.

https://krucyator.bandcamp.com/album/the-one-who-lurks

dnq

#2: Moenen of Xezbeth – “Ancient Spells of Darkness…”

The very soundtrack to a lich awakening in its musty crypt after aeons of restless sleep, Moenen of Xezbeth masterfully echo the mystical feel of Samael and early Hellenic bands Zemial, Agatus, Twilight and Necromantia.  “Ancient Spells of Darkness…” sounds like it could have been recorded in the early nineties and is an absolute gift to anyone who adores that era.

https://nuclearwarnowproductions.bandcamp.com/album/ancient-spells-of-darkness

moenen of xezbeth

#1: Tomb Mold – “Manor of Infinite Forms”

“Manor of Infinite Forms” is a savage flying dragon kick of death metal to the throat that takes the blueprint from their 2017 debut and steps it up in every way.  Sounding like classic Finnish bands Demilich, Convulse and Demigod exploded and spattered their gore-drenched viscera all over Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower and Entombed, Tomb Mold is way closer to death metal perfection than a band this young has any business being.  Here’s hoping the already-announced 2019 album continues their meteoric rise.

https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/manor-of-infinite-forms

tomb-mold2

Thanks Void. Thanks for your invaluable input, thoughts and mind numbing knowledge on the darker corners of the extreme metal universe.

Here’s to another stunning year of metal, minus the bullshit drama.

 

confusion

In no particular order, or even broken up into genre categories, these are the album that distracted me from my daily life and responsibilities in an unfathomably captivating manner oftentimes leading to scenarios where all that was left was for me to do was blame the metal (wasn’t my fault!)

Note, there’s more than ten and this might drag into deep waters on account of my furiously happy scribbling digits. The reasons; I get excited, I can’t count, but more importantly because I can’t decide as all albums herein are just so blisteringly impressive.

Now new and improved complete with Bandcamp links where applicable. 

Without Further Ado…

Ironflame – Tales of Splendor and Sorrow

ironflame

https://ironflame-music.bandcamp.com/

NWOBHM/Heavy metal par excellence. This album is so damn impressive you’ll want to call Granma and tell her.

C’mon Granma this is fkn’ excellent, crank up the Victrolla, clear the kitchen, and let’s move!!

Made all the more impressive as it’s all conceived, created and performed by one ultra-talented fellow.

Nightbreed – Beyond Inferno

nightbreed beyond inferno

https://witchesbrewthrashes.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-inferno

This is what I call Thrash! Be prepared for the limbs to twitch in a spastic manner and the vertebrae to complain for days.

Rifftastic brilliance from Greece in a similar vein to vintage Kreator and Destruction.

Thron – Abysmal

thron

https://thronkvlt.bandcamp.com/

The artwork is stunningly subtle but, strangely, it’s the music which is the more distracting of the two. ‘Blackened Death’ or Death metal with Black elements who cares, just let this wash over you in all its majestic epic exquisiteness.

Fans of Abysmal Dawn and Dissection rejoice this will shatter your recent audio disappointments.

Haunt – Burst into Flame

haunt

https://hauntthenation.bandcamp.com/album/burst-into-flame

Released thirty years ago this may well be heralded today as a genre masterpiece (channeling as it does NWOBHM sensibilities and production values of the same inkling) as it is, today, it’s still stunningly impressive though surrounded by Infinite audio that it might well have been missed.

Don’t let this gem pass you by.

Dissentience – Mask of Pretense

maslk of pretence

https://open.spotify.com/album/1QETLuN3qfn1cQUpxAdrjS?autoplay=true&v=L

(no Bandcamp link available)

I’ll admit, the thrash genre hasn’t done much for me in the past couple of years, but this somehow grabbed me instantly. The multitude of riffs and its gruff vocals aided in its overall distracting qualities, but I believe it’s the fact that it came from nowhere (with zero hype) that impressed me the most. Don’t let this pass by the radar unheard.

Vanha – Melancholia

vanha

https://vanhablacklion.bandcamp.com/album/melancholia

Doom that embodies the best qualities that My Dying Bride, Novembers Doom and Mourning Beloveth have to offer. Turn everything off and sink into this and let it transport you to realms where every day worries and anxieties are no more.

Tomb Mold – Manor of Infinite Forms

tomb-mold2

https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/manor-of-infinite-forms

I’m going to blame Void for introducing this album to me. This isn’t your typical death release, it’s complex, varied in form and unpredictable in its course. Most of all however it’s everything that a fan could ask for. There’s bursts of speed, diabolical passages, technical prowess and controlled chaos.

Thanks again Void. I about rear-ended several vehicles, bobbing my head and a multitude of other limbs, whilst driving listening to this!

Ripped to Shreds -Mai-Zang

ripped to shreds

https://rippedtoshredsdeathmetal.bandcamp.com/album/-

Old school values all the way! This album had me hopping around like a meth-addled primate on a quest for that one misplaced banana.

Grindcore and a filthy dirgey-death style encapsulated in an album with themes that are exceptionally far removed from the ordinary.

Fans with extreme musical tastes stuck in the 90’s will devour this!

Obscura – Diluvium

obscura

https://obscura.bandcamp.com/album/diluvium

These guys never disappoint.

Jaw dropping Tech death with progressive elements and everything in between, this album delivers from the first to the very last note. As unpredictable as a forest fire within the clutches of a hurricane it makes much the same impression on the listener without the insurance claims and heartache.

A must own, every worthwhile collection needs this to be considered somewhat complete.

Serocs – The Phobos/Deimos Suite

serocs

https://everlastingspewrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-phobos-deimos-suite

Tech, brutal death to scramble the brain.

I’m envisioning a plethora of octopus on stage performing this as the beats, melodies and rhythms are inhuman. This was my first experience with the band and I’m left floored, I’m placing this alongside Benighted’s Asylum Cave as the other go-to tech death album when nothing else quite cuts the mood. If you enjoy Archspire, Benighted and the like this is a must discovery!

 Omnipotence – Praecipitium

omnipotence

https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/album/omnipotence-praecipitium

If that cover isn’t enough to make one drop what they are doing to give this a listen I don’t know what to say. It isn’t typical of the genre, but neither is the music – I’ve had disagreements over whether this is (in part even) black metal. Regardless of its genre placement (for it straddles many of them) it makes an indelible impression even on first listen. If I owned a vinyl playing device, I’d purchase this I’m an instant, the cover would live on the wall and the record itself on the player.

This reigns!!!

Piah Mater – The Wandering Daughter

piah mater

https://piahmater.bandcamp.com/album/the-wandering-daughter

Place this in ‘albums to transport the listener to another plane’ entirely folder for it has that power. Think along the lines of Opeth, Amorphis, Alkoloid and Obscura for that is what this spinning slab of awesomeness delivers. A plethora of genre styles, musical virtuosity, beauty and brutality accompanied by an excellent diverse vocal approach combine for an album which can’t be ignored or even listened to just the once.

Helrunar – Vanitas Vanitatvm

helrunar-vanitas.vanitatvm-wolf.078

https://helrunar.bandcamp.com/album/vanitas-vanitatvm

Admittedly I’m typically not a fan of music in the black metal arena but this, so early on in the year, helped change that (opening up my senses to a whole new world draped in eternal darkness).

Oozing with presence, atmosphere, majesty, depth, an epic nature and power it matters not that the lyrics are in another language entirely for this is impressive on ungodly levels. I’m mouth agape listening to it now, to be honest, and I’ve heard it on numerous occasions before now. Cancel your plans for the day, let this seep into your system. You won’t be disappointed!

Burial Invocation – Abiogenesis

burial invocation

https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/abiogenesis

Here’s another that Void has suggested I give a listen to, and he’s right it’s outstanding in every way. This tosses me back to numerous death albums I’ve listened and thought highly of over the years, it oozes with influences and might well leave one’s head spinning as to acts certain passages reminds one of. The whole package is a delight to let wander between the ears. Comes highly recommended to fans of 90’s European death although it has a delicious modern-day technicality and take that transforms it to elevated levels.

Another must discovery!

Shallow Grave – Threshold Between Worlds

shallowgrave

https://thesludgelord.bandcamp.com/album/threshold-between-worlds

However one chooses to place this amongst their collection there’s no doubt its placement will leave a gap. As odds are it’ll spend most of its time being played.

Huge riffs flirt and epic soundscapes with an ominous nature and venomous vocals making one look down often to ensure their feet are still planted in the dirt and not in an uncharted quadrant of the cosmos saturated in unearthly presence and menace.

This might well be the soundtrack to an invasion of ‘The Old Gods’. Or something along those lines. Either way, this release cannot be ignored.

Spectral Wound – Infernal Decadence

spectral wound

https://vendetta-records.bandcamp.com/album/infernal-decadence

Here’s another example of the impact Void has had on my listening habits this year.

To say that this album is massive is an understatement of unfathomable proportions.

The audio herein epitomizes what many thinks of when they ponder upon the genre yet it’s better still. It’s complex, infernal, diabolical yet shot through with melody and purpose that might surprise even the most veteran of fan.

This might well be the album, alongside those already mentioned, to tip my precariously balanced form into dark waters.

Bring on the Corpse paint, bullet belts and let me loose in a Scandinavian forest (with a satellite phone) I’m can feel my restraints and ignorance of the genre fading away.

Hyperdontia – Nexus of Teeth

hyperdontia

https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/nexus-of-teeth

Imagine being embroiled in a knife fight within a whirlwind of razor blades upon a cliff side that’s threatening to fall into the depths of the ocean. I found it hard to do so before I discovered this album (and the band), alas now it’s not so difficult.

This is everything one would hope a death release to be, complete with exquisite drums and vocals drenched in gutter values.

Ask your dentist to recommend an album. If they don’t mention this, I suggest seeking out another dental hygienist preferably one who submerges themselves in audio worth a damn. But obviously still one who bears license to dig around in strangers’ mouths with instruments of assorted torture.

That’s it, I’m out.

Here’s to another year of fantastic tunage.

Cult