Archive for the ‘Supporting the Indy scene’ Category

Attack of the Compilation – Another Guest Spot

metalegion issue six pic

Putting the Metalegion (issue #6) Sampler CD under scrutiny

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve last touched Cult’s keyboard and tainted his site with my presence. For those scratching their heads in confusion, this is the neighborhoods (probably not your hood’s, I’m imagine each have their own in one shape or another, but most definitely Cults) friendly “demon”. Of course, I use that term lightly as it’s a word which has been passed down through a multitude of generations in ignorance. In all honesty I’m not even sure what to call myself. I’ve lived for longer than I care to mention though have the occasional snippet, snapshot if you prefer, of my past life. That is to say a myriad of instances before the time I rematerialized into service for one of the great Unholy ones (that’s a close enough proximation for anyone to understand, right?) At present, for some reason or another, I find myself on the Earthly plane transforming into what could honestly be called a kindergartener’s representation of a monstrous garden gnome (it looks more impressive in person, trust me) and chasing felines (those pesky four-legged diabolical creatures) for that’s what floats my boat. Hey, it could be worse. When I catch up with them, I introduce myself then break out the eating utensils. I’ll spare the grisly details suffice to say they taste a whole ton better than Raccoons and Possums (which all bear a decidedly earthy texture and an after taste which is rather difficult to scrape away.)

Alf-Cat-Lunch

Before I continue, I feel I must say it’s recently come to my attention that another creature of decidedly more renown than myself is famous for the attention he gives to his shall we say pussy eating appetites (nope, it’s not Ron Jeremy). I’d like to set the record straight, I’m not ALF, neither do I look like ALF and you can rest assured my movements aren’t dictated by a large arm moving around inside my rectal cavity. And I certainly I don’t spend my downtime on a hook in a bag, stuffed in a Hollywood closet waiting for a reprise.

With that out of the way, you may be wondering what exactly is it which brings me back to the messy desk of Cult? In all honesty it’s been hard to even approach it in recent weeks as he’s been milking a knee surgery (poor bastard, wait a few months and I’ll take out the other one for me. But he’ll have to ask nicely) for all its worth. During this time, he’s been complaining, knocking back pain killers like they’re going out of style and generally been acting like a real ass. Apart from that he’s been scribbling like one possessed and has even taken up losing his nose in written texts. (I didn’t even know he could read. Seriously, have you read his attempts at writing?) I believe he’s even put down a few words on the last one he actually finished.

Dr Suess and metal

I’m not even sure what I had in mind here. But this is Dr. Suess and metal (albeit a lunchbox).

Surprise, surprise it wasn’t a Dr. Suess book but rather an entry in the Lincoln Rhyme series, I’d imagine that he garnered interest from the television show (which I even caught snippets of, in between my quests for tasty treats). And for reasons unknown it wasn’t even the first entry. I guess he has a little catching up to do?

 

Anyhow, enough about me and my adventures. What say I tell you about the newest audio treat which has somehow found its way within my grasp. Much like Cult I have a vice for burying my senses deep into musical compilations. Strangely it’s of the same style. In this case the CD consists of artists who have either recently appeared, or have had their output advertised in a magazine which Cult contributes to. Odd that he has to find a magazine so far away to write for. Metalegion Magazine is out of Portugal. Perhaps the language barrier results in Cult’s scribbling sounding infinitely more intelligent? There might be a myriad of other reasons, all rather puzzling to me. In the latest I guess he even has a segment entitled “Popcorn not Allowed” in which he waffles on about an influential dead fellow and a few movies that, this is the puzzling part, he might have enjoyed?

the evil dead poster special edition

May I present – The Evil – Fkn’ Dead

Regardless Cult likes horror, I like grisly images, tension and humans running around screaming in fear for their lives so I guess I’ll make the time to rummage through his collection in order that I might be able to look into out the features he recommends (The Evil Dead, The Void and John Dies at the End for the record).

Now, where was I? Ah yes. The sampler CD from Metalegion magazine (issue six). It come wrapped in plastic alongside a single sheet of paper emblazoned with images. Wait, am I supposed to cut this out to fashion a makeshift case? You really do not want me around scissors. Trust me.

The track listing promises diversity (at least the pictures representing the artists included do) and is as follows;

Thanatos

Thanatos – The Silent War

Melektaus – N.O.X. The Night of Pain

Holycide – Empty Cyber Life

Berserker Legion – Obliterate the Weak

Asarhaddon – Die Vergangnis Erwacht

Mortuary – Delete – Replace

Kevlar Skin – Scourge of Hate

Blasphemathory

Welicoruss – Siberian Heathen Horde

Blasphemathory – Owners of the Death

Unbounded Terror – Hiding from the Light

Nawabs of Destruction – The Merciless

Embloodyment – Master of Disaster

Just Darkness – Between Birth and Death

The Flesh Trading Company – Black Spell Conspiracy

Disinfect

VxPxOxAxAxWxAxMxC – Against Humans, Against Animals, Against Everything

Disinfect – White Lighting

Hangatyr – Blick Aus Eis

Harsh – Bipolar Confrontation

With that out of the way, and the frustration that I should have most probably utilized ‘cut and paste’, I’ll proceed into the meat of the article. But first however let’s explore the ratings system I’ve designed especially for this purpose (it’s a little different than Cults, his is a little tame. Mine reflects more my personality as you’ll likely soon discover);

confued Orc

Uhh-! I’m still confused.

Abysmal.

Not in the good way. Toss this in the ocean and punch the nearest passerby to let out the frustration of spending money on schiite such as this. Jesus might like this. But I still believe it has the potential to do naught but line the birds cage. Jesus loves everything, which in my opinion is rather silly. Jesus you’re a prat!

Hrrrrrhhhhh-!

Better, this shows potential. Much like, I’d imagine, your mother on a first date. But it still leaves me wanting. And she needs more training; those French fries weren’t free dammit!

The Goblin are Going CRAZY!

Admittedly the annoying green bastid’ like most things and get excited at the drop of a turd but occasionally they have a suggestion which turns heads. And if the whole collective, much like an obnoxious stench-ridden green tide, agrees there must be something worth giving, at least, a cursory glance towards.

Time for a Crimson Splattered Moshpit!

Now this is worth sharing, break out the goblets, the fiery liquid, the unwilling, let’s break some limbs and party till the Dark Lord yells at us to get back to work!

All Mine!

I’m a selfish bastid’. And this is too fkn’ good to share, it’s all mine. Just try to take it!!

So, what exactly does this compilation offer and is the magazine worth purchasing? I’ll answer the second question first. Simply put it’s a resounding yes! There are two posters included, hundreds of reviews, interviews, features on artists and let us not forget more than a few words from Cult. The cost of entry alone is worth it just to be able to laugh at his prose, seriously… Onward.

Lest I forget, details on the magazine (both physical and digital formats) can be found here: https://www.metalegion.com/content/

Sampler CD from metalegion issue six

The Sampler CD in all its glory!

This compilation offers as one might expect, its share of stylistic diversity and quality, which thankfully isn’t hampered by label restrictions (in other words and to simplify things this isn’t a compilation based on the output of one label alone). These acts represent a wide variety of labels, most probably undiscovered with a roster of acts warranting exploration. With a preliminary listen out of the way I already have a few favorites and a slew of others which more than tickle my intrigue.

Those tracks which managed to tickle my senses are as follows;

Melektaus

Melektaus (Chile) – N.O.X. The Night of Pain

https://ironbloodanddeath.bandcamp.com/album/self-knowledge-disintegrate-the-veils

Brutal Death with sinister undertones from South America. The heavily accented vocals add just the right amount (is there ever just the “right amount”?) of menace and formidability.

Holycide (Spain) – Empty Cyber Life

https://holycide.bandcamp.com/

I wouldn’t consider myself a Thrash fan. However, this has a certain something about it (perhaps it’s the vocal cadence which is strangely familiar, or the odd rhythms set against blistering moshtastic riffs, or the gang vocals. I honestly can’t put my malformed finger upon it) which caresses my lovin’ it senses. There’s a wide variety of influence on display here and it strangely works.

Berserker Legion

Berserker Legion (International) – Obliterate the Weak

https://listenable-records.bandcamp.com/album/obliterate-the-weak

I’m not going to lie. I’ve performed a little research on the members within this collective and I’m left intrigued as to what would come of their combined abilities. I’m happy with the outcome. The style represents a myriad of influence ranging from across the Death spectrum notably from whence the members hail (Vader, Hypocrisy and Asphyx). This offers chuggery aplenty and a style to split the face of fans of European Death with a look of sated silliness.

Blasphemathory (Mexico) – Owners of the Death

https://ironbloodanddeath.bandcamp.com/album/war-blasphemy-divine-destruction

Brutal Death channeling HM2 worship. A sinister vibe permeates this track, there’s enough ominous atmosphere to go around, and a heady drum mix which has me stomping like an impatient goat. I’m of the believe this track which will most certainly have the curious kind running their digits over a keyboard in exploration.

unbounded terror

Unbounded Terror (Spain) – Hiding from the Light

https://unboundedterror.bandcamp.com/

It’s been a few years,decades, since this act has released anything, touted as one of Spain’s first Death Metal acts these guys haven’t much to their discography, but now they’re back with a youthful line up and energy. This track has sufficient bounce (yes, “bounce”) and atmosphere to yank the interest receptors into waking up and taking notes, if only they were capable of such during the types of movements this is likely to spurn.

Embloodyment (Spain) – Master of Disaster

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrvlkew0sHcmxCK9v9FS5cA

“Squashing clown heads with a bat”? Count me in! Admittedly this is “meat and potatoes” Death Metal, it doesn’t carve any new ground but it hits the spot.

just darkness

Just Darkness (Russia) – Between Life and Death

https://justdarkness.bandcamp.com/releases

Atmospheric Black Metal with old school vocals. Break out the candles, salt and a virgin. (Wait what we can’t find a virgin? Let’s call the whole thing off).

The following tracks are likely to send me into an uncontrollable frenzy (at least on a first listen basis who knows what they are likely to do once I set the ears upon them again?)

Thanatos (The Netherlands) – The Silent War

https://thanatos666.bandcamp.com/

This pounding Blackened Death assault (with Thrash, OSDM of the mid-tempo kind and diabolical leanings. Do I sound like Cult yet?) is a fantastic introduction to the audio on offer (and the band itself) and has me prancing around as though no one is watching (are they?) Who cares? This is a rippin’ track which deserves to be shared and cranked!

asarhaddon

Asarhaddon (Germany) – Die Vergangnis Erwacht

https://asarhaddon.bandcamp.com/

I vividly remember Cult going apeshit over this act. And I can now understand why. Melodic Black Metal with ferocious female vocals. I believe I’m going to have to raid Cult’s collection so I can revel in what exactly it is that this album offers. I believe this is one of his favorites from this year. And seems as our tastes don’t vary that much, I’m assuming I should lay the plastic sheeting out. I get messy when I’m excited.

Mortuary (France) – Delete – Replace

https://mortuarynancy.bandcamp.com/

This track does not let up. A brilliant mix of Grindcore, Brutal Death and Death with ecstatic aggressive Thrash rhythms. If you can stay still while listening to this, odds are you have no pulse. And I was of the mistaken the understanding that France was only famous for its hatred of the English, that, Frog legs and croissants. Add metal to the list.

Nawabs of Destruction

Nawabs of Destruction (Bangladesh) – The Merciless

https://nawabsofdestruction.bandcamp.com/album/rising-vengeance

Tech Death, Progressive/Tech Death, Brutal/Tech Death with a sprinkling of Post (whatever the Fug that is?) Cult would have a fit trying to describe what’s on offer here. Whatever it can classified as there’s no doubt this track has all the right ingredients to light a fire under the ass of those who prefer their audio with, how should we say, undeniable diverse qualities. Strange then that I’m liking this so much, I’m more of the instant gratification (love that phrase) type of fan. However, the question still remains. What’s a “Nawab”?

The Flesh Trading Company

The Flesh Trading Company (Germany) – Black Spell Conspiracy

https://thefleshtradingcompany.bandcamp.com/

The bands logo made me curious. It looks as though one might be in for a Country type of ride, Yeehaw! Thankfully, this isn’t the case here (although I’m kinda’ in the mood for some Country dancin’. Wait what?) This track is a little different than most in that its style is both Heavy Metal, Death and Rock and Roll. I’m sure there’s a name for that combination, but it isn’t coming to mind and I can’t be asked to look it up. Regardless this track is a great introduction to an act which most have never heard of.

Disinfect (Germany) – White Lightning

https://disinfect.bandcamp.com/album/abaddon

With a name like “Disinfect” one could well imagine a Christian metal/rock act (yuck!) But this is as far from that as one can possibly get. No, this isn’t Jazz. This is Brutal Death! And it checks all the boxes, it doesn’t wade too far into guitar ‘wankery’ waters yet it displays enough movement to sate. Short and to the point, this is my jam!

Hangatyr

Hangatyr (Germany) – Blick Aus Eis

https://hangatyr.bandcamp.com/album/kalt

Germany is getting quite the representation in this compilation and who would think they might spawn Black Metal (I’m waiting for a flood of emails from the “know-it-all” genre enthusiasts) that’s up there in stunning caliber with their European counterparts? This is frigid, blistering audio indeed. And there I was thinking I wasn’t a fan of a genre renowned for its corpse painting and church burning antics (before one starts to place digit to keyboard in complaint, I know there’s more on offer in the genre, I’m merely exhibiting my darkly humorous, some might take it as offensive, personality). Guess I’m wrong. Back to the drawing board. But I’m digging this. I’m up for suggestions for other acts in a similar vein to draw me deeper into the shadowy fold. Anyone?

an out of control pit

Fkn’ Metal!

With all this in mind, the list of favorites seen above and the diversity of styles on offer (but I see no Doom here or Stoner Rock or whatever the hell else the vast spectrum of Metal offers, get a grip. You can’t please everyone) I’m happy to stamp this with my seal of approval. In actuality I’ll give this a Time for a Crimson Splattered Moshpit! (Now this is worth sharing, break out the goblets, the fiery liquid, the unwilling, let’s break some limbs and party till the Dark Lord yells at us to get back to work!) rating bordering on All Mine! Admittedly there were a few tracks which didn’t molest the pleasure sensors, but I didn’t skip once and that counts, right?

And this brings me to the conclusion of another Attack of the Compilation piece, I rather like doing these I’ll admit. Here’s hoping I get another chance to do so. Until next we meet.

B

Take time out to rescue a cat (I’m hungry).

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Part Fourteen

abrasive audio header gif

Another entry in the Abrasive Audio series which again finds me exploring a myriad of styles and albums both fresh and not so much. Heads up; I tend to waffle on a bit in this one, and there’s plenty of demos and obscure gems to discover. Again, I got excited by the quantity and quality on offer and I couldn’t help but scribble like one obsessed.

January Releases
BlackGuard - Storm
BlackGuard (Canada) – Storm

https://blackguardmtl.bandcamp.com/album/storm

Release- January/3/2020
Independent

ARTWORK- 74

Something has torn through this landscape with zero remorse leaving only desolation and ash in its wake.

FIRST TRACK- 89

A medieval audio soundscape aided by an angelic chorus and a brilliant symphonic grandiose nature. The guitars kick in and Paul Ablaze’s trademark searing vocal approach and tje stage is set. This is Epic metal though drenched in darkness rather than the usual sound one might expect.

A fantastic reintroduction to an act whose future many pondered upon.

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

Ferocious vocals against searing melodies, symphonic arrangements and an overall undisputable epic nature.

This will keep the listener on their toes. Riffs aplenty support adrenaline spiking arrangements. Think Power Metal’s epic nature shaken in a goblet with the vicious vocal approach of Melodic Death, add the thick liquid of Symphonic majesty and wicked solos (which will make you want to go ‘air guitar’ silly) then you’ll be close to what this offers. Blackguard are back! And I’m going to spin this again!

Favorite Tracks; Exciting throughout.

FFO; Wintersun, Children of Bodom, Byrmir.

Reaper - Unholy Nordic Noise

Reaper (Sweden) – Unholy Nordic Noise

https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/album/reaper-unholy-nordic-noise

Release- January/31/2020 (CD/Vinyl)
Iron Bonehead Productions

ARTWORK- 78

Is it just me or does this look like the entrance to an underworld ‘Rave’? The security is rather lacking though. It appears they’ve long since perished from (perhaps?) boredom.

FIRST TRACK- 82

Catchy a.f. riffs, a blackened speed attack and vicious vocals. A great start!

INITIAL LISTEN- 84

Occasionally cacophonous and often so damn infectious you’d hoped you’d lumbered up beforehand this offers a raw production which fits, rabid Heavy Metal rhythms, drum salvos which invite (nicely, with a gun to the head) the limbs to move along and vicious vocals akin to Toxine of vintage Witchery output and yet… so much more. Overall a stunning mix incorporating D-beat rhythms, blistering Blackened Speed along with an Industrial vibe fans of Psalm and Mind era Ministry will salivate over and a delightful sprinkle of Crust. It’s gonna be damn hard to keep still listening to this. You have been warned!

Favorite Tracks; Hero of the Graveyard Flies, Horn of Hades, The Birth of War, Ravenous Storm of Piss, De Kralande Maskarnas Kor.

FFO; early Bathory, in lieu of other acts to mention Reccd for fans of blistering Black Metal with diverse rhythmic tendencies.

April Releases
Abysmal Dawn - Phylogenesis
Abysmal Dawn (USA) – Phylogenesis

https://abysmaldawn.bandcamp.com/album/phylogenesis

Release – April/17/2020
Season of Mist Records

ARTWORK- 80

A being born of many, in a desolate neon landscape, ushering in a new age soon go be devoid of mankind’s interference.

FIRST TRACK- 77

Blast beats, a nifty intro, Brutal sweeping riffs and Technical fretwork shenanigans. It’s been a while since the bands last effort. This is a good start to get fans back into the mood.

INITIAL LISTEN- 79

Another release to add to the band’s discography. Admittedly, it’s been a while since their last and although this offering neither disappoints nor leaves me emptying the wallet in appreciation it boasts both high points and numerous instances which leave me wanting. Brutal Death with Djent tendencies and Tech leanings, this is a good jumping on point for those relatively new to the scene though will leave those eager for a release offering something to talk about little to discuss; other than the fact that Abysmal Dawn is back and scrambling to keep up with the fore-runners of the genre.

Favorite Tracks; The Path of the Totalitarian, A Speck in the Fabric of Eternity, Coerced Evolution, Soul-Sick Nation.

FFO; Hate Eternal, Origin, Suffocation, Decapitated.

May Releases
Black Pestilence - Hail the Flesh
Black Pestilence (Canada) – Hail the Flesh

https://blackpestilence.bandcamp.com/album/hail-the-flesh

Release- May/1/2020
Independent

ARTWORK- 81

Yep I’m the creepy kind of bloke who likes this type of image. Honestly more into boobs than SnM shenanigans (TMI?). Regardless a black leather clad fellow surrounded by scantily clad naked fanatics, all strangely with skulls rather than faces. This has my attention.

FIRST TRACK- 82

Black Metal, D-beat and Crust with wicked rhythms and vocals. It doesn’t take long to get into this. A fantastic introduction!

INITIAL LISTEN- 80

An explosive accelerant for any gathering who appreciates Crust attitude in collision with melodic Black Metal values. Addictive melodies, rhythms and occasional pace breakdowns designed to tear the body limb from limb in spastic movement. Vicious vocals add to the fun for those warranting such. A fantastic package sure to alight interest in an act deserved of such.

Favorite Tracks; Clear the floor, this excites from beginning to finish.

FFO; WolfBrigade, Disfear, Martyrdod, Tragedy.

Mean Messiah - Divine Technology

Mean Messiah (Czechia) – Divine Technology

https://meanmessiah-sma.bandcamp.com/album/divine-technology

Release – May/5/2020
Slovak Metal Army

ARTWORK- 91

The art shows exactly what the album title states but in a brutally clever and inventive way. Even down to the phone’s logo. Bravo!

FIRST TRACK- 89

Boasting a fairy tale vibe complemented by a robust chorus makes for a curious start to any album. The guitar and drums intrude making for a sound which is grandiose, different but thoroughly captivating, though strangely familiar to those of us who’ve been introduced to the chaotic magnificence of SYL. What an opener! Djent, symphonic values and stellar progressive elements, who would’ve thought they’d play so well together?

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

Quirky, inventive and imaginative. It appears that Devin Townsend might have had a hand in this, he didn’t, but it has that definite feel. Varied styles intertwine to form a diverse and pleasing smorgasbord of an audio landscape which is both melancholic, energetic, atmospheric and immersive. Djent elements often frolic with thrash rhythms and a progressive dreamy nature is exhibited throughout resulting in a listening experience which is different, unique, enthralling and altogether highly infectious. No two tracks are alike and the album makes an impression from first to last note, even after repeated listens. This deserves to be noticed!!

Favorite Tracks; Intriguing, eye-opening and exciting throughout.

FFO; Strapping Young Lad, Fear Factory, Meshuggah.

A Recc from @LFCMFighter

Nygmalion (Hungary) - Deluminate

Nygmalion (Hungary) – Deluminate

https://nygmalion.bandcamp.com/album/deluminate

Release- May/15/2020
Independent
ARTWORK- 84

The eternal balance of Ying and Yang, darkness and light mastered and performed by an all-seeing God. An intriguing image with plenty of details to delight the eye. An image which warrants discussion and dissection.

FIRST TRACK- 91

An apocalyptic cinematic soundscape complete with angelic choruses introduces gymnastic guitar riffs and stunning melodious death arrangements. A great start which leaves me more than intrigued for what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN- 89

A delicate blend of Melodious Death, Grandiose Atmosphere and Epic Metal. Complete with biting vocals, Progressive passages, remarkable rhythms and exquisite arrangements the result is a collection of tunes which exemplifies the finest elements of the genres mentioned an effect that prefers not to drag the listener into any one stylistic realm for suffocating durations. The accompanying atmosphere and presence add cinematic values which are amplified by the albums stellar production. This is quite the feat, there honestly isn’t a moment here which feels out of place, the whole album is spectacular. And to think I may never have laid ears on this if it weren’t for the Recc.

Favorite Tracks; This excites the senses from start to finish!

FFO; Septic Flesh, At the Gates, (early) Arch Enemy, (early) Dark Tranquility.

Atavistia - The Winter Way

Atavistia (Canada) – The Winter Way

https://atavistia.bandcamp.com/

Release – May/29/2020
Independent

ARTWORK- 81

A murder of excitable crows against a bleak wintry landscape consisting of a forest and a mountain range. Rather unassuming, though this makes me think of an Atmospheric, perhaps slightly Progressive release. But I’ve been wrong (many times before, just ask the wife).

FIRST TRACK- 93

A beautiful, wondrous, nature soundscape introduces the album. Tribal drums join the fray, an angelic chorus, chants and an atmosphere more commonly found in an Epica or Nightwish track. It all invokes a civilization somewhat in a state of tranquility. Until, that is, the percussion and (dark) vocals cut in to add an ominous nature. All is not well, there must be trouble in the kingdom (or something). A grand, epic start which is cinematic in both depth and texture. Power, Epic, Folk, Heavy, Viking Metal and Symphonic Black collide and I’m loving it!

INITIAL LISTEN- 95

To call this a sublime congregation of styles would be an understatement. Its movement and flow is outstanding, the seamless diversity awe inspiring. Much like the music the vocals (on offer) are also pleasingly varied. There’s a grandiose nature here which transcends the typical symphonic release based on the fact that this really isn’t genre conforming. Power Metal (don’t let the term put you off, else you’ll miss out BIG time) cavorts with Folk, Black Metal frolics with an angelic chorus and Progressive elements, there are plenty of other examples in between. Think Nightwish meets Amorphis meets Cradle of Filth minus CoF’s sometimes rabid ferocity. Rhapsody might come to mind also in moments Amon Amarth as well a slew of acts known more for their epic and/or atmospheric prowess. In short, there really isn’t a perfect way to describe what’s on offer here. A masterpiece comes close. The prowess, arrangement ingenuity and musicianship on offer is dazzling. This has all the markings of a release which will still be discussed years after its launching. And will most definitely be mentioned again at various length come years end.

Favorite Tracks; the whole album is ungodly hypnotic and utterly enthralling.

FFO; Cradle of Filth, Frosttide, Black Forest, Metsutan, Ensiferum.

WTF Lightning Reviews
A single listen to an album from a wide array of genres followed by a quick scribble (which sometimes isn’t all that brief).

Doomed Spirits -Last Reflections

Doomed Spirits (Brazil) -Last Reflections

https://doomedspirits.bandcamp.com/album/last-reflections

Release – May/30/2020

Independent

Artwork- 82

Ferocity- 73

Groove- 74

Originality- 79

Infectiousness- 85

Genre- Doom/Occult/DeathDoom/Atmospheric Black/Ambient/Gothic Rock/Stoner/Melodic Death

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 85

An undeniably grand atmosphere and ambience permeates this release as well unexpected sweeping rhythms and varied twists and transformations. Influences are wide-reaching (multi-genre) resulting in an audio collective which transcends categorization, though will definitely pull in appeal from an assorted fanbase (if given the proper exposure) based on the composition and arrangement caliber on offer. Open the mind, forget your genre biases, and jump in. This has a great deal to offer.

Nord/Sternklang (Netherlands) split

(courtesy of Rites of Pestilence on YouTube)

Release – 2020

Self-released (limited)

Artwork- n/a

Ferocity; Nord- 78

Sternklang- 70

Groove; Nord- 76

Sternklang- 72

Originality; Nord- 76

Sternklang- 74

Infectiousness; Nord-72

Sternklang- 73

Genre- Noise/Black Metal/Atmospheric Black/Raw Black/Folk

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks;

Nord- 73

White noise against a lulling atmosphere and melancholic rhythm that’s both somber and ominous. As if walking against the whims of a fierce storm with the warm embrace of a loved one in mind driving one onward.

Undeniable atmosphere, meditative quality at times, even soothing. Gothic/Folk melodies amidst the chaos (the guitars blistering foundation and snarling vocals) and a resulting sound which is intriguing (to me) on a criminal level. Cinematic depth.

Sternklang- 74

Oddly alluring and mesmerizing the band has only one track featured here, but it’s of sufficient quality (and length) to whet the appetite for more. An effective blizzard surrounding is manifested by the percussion added to by gentle folk melodies the effect is one that’s both chilling, dramatic and epic yet laced with fleeting instances of hope.

Overall- 73

Raw yet strangely soothing. BM is indeed a vast arena and this Split proves just that. Utilizing a winter backdrop this split takes the listener into frigid realms of the past; draped in mysticism, archaic melodies, atmosphere and beauty but fraught with all manner of enigmatic direction.

Frigid, emotion and haunting yet weirdly tranquil. A release one has to sink into slowly, without distraction.

The Crawling- Wolves and the Hideous White

The Crawling (UK) – Wolves and the Hideous White

https://thecrawlingband.bandcamp.com/album/wolves-and-the-hideous-white

Release – November/16/2018

Grindscene Records

Artwork- 81

Ferocity- 73

Groove- 85

Infectiousness- 83

Originality- 76

Genre- Doom/DeathDoom/Funeral Doom

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 85

Melodious, melancholic to the point of soul-wrenching and often hypnotic. A brilliant combination of lumbering Doom and rhythmic passages to pull the listener into a veritable trance. Fans of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Novembers Doom are likely to lap this up, only then to beg for more.

Carrion Vael - Resurrection of the Doomed

Carrion Vael (USA) – Resurrection of the Doomed

https://carrionvael.bandcamp.com/album/resurrection-of-the-doomed

Release – March/25/2017

Independent

Artwork- 85

Ferocity- 88

Groove- 84

Originality- 74

Infectiousness- 95

Genre- Deathcore/Tech Death/Tech Thrash/Melodic Death

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 95

Holy shit! My jaw is acting as a map presently, it’s in the dirt!

I believe I’ve happened upon a best of 17′ release (top five) which I can’t believe I’ve not heard of until now.

Think Tech Death/Deathcore in a similar vein to Black Dahlia Murder then crank up the ferocity, add sprinkles of a Progressive nature and a dusting of a Classical vibe and then this. Holy Shit! Whoops, I may have said that before! Suffice it to say… I. am. Floored! Jump on this stat!! (Then turn the ears towards their just released album courtesy of HorrorPainGoreDeath Production).

Disownency - Demosick MMXX

Disownency (Equador) – Demosick MMXX

https://disownency.bandcamp.com/album/demosick-mmxx

Release – 2020

Dismembered Records

Artwork- 85

Ferocity- 87

Groove- 68

Originality- 67

Infectiousness- 69

Genre- Brutal Death/Grindcore/Goregrind

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 67

(Barely six and a half minutes in length with two Tracks on offer.) Guttural (swallowing the mic) vox set against hyperfast drums and a machine gun unrelenting wall of sound.

The drums tend to overpower the mix which sounds raw but overall, this shows promise for those who prefer their audio fast, brutal and SICK.

Ande - Vossenkuil

Ande (Belguim) – Vossenkuil

https://ande-be.bandcamp.com/album/vossenkuil

Release – April/3/2020

Independent

Artwork- 64

Ferocity- 71

Groove- 68

Originality- 68

Infectiousness- 66

Genre- Atmospheric Black/Melodic Black/Doom/Drone

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 65

Epic BM with a diverse nature sporting repetitive rhythms and trance-like (somewhat meditative at times) passages which often wallow in tiresome lengths within Doom and Atmospheric realms. Not a horrid release, more an album to be enjoyed in a specific mood.

Larvae 4 track promo tape

Larvae (Romania) 4 track promo tape

https://stygianblackhand.bandcamp.com/album/4-track-promo-tape-2020

Release – March/2/2020

Caligari Records/Stygian Blackhand Records

Artwork- 76

Ferocity- 73

Groove- 81

Originality- 75

Infectiousness- 76

Genre- Goregrind/Sludge/Grindcore/OSDM/DeathDoom/Synth

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 73

Slow and filthy DM straight from the rankest part of the sewer complete with guttural vox, delightfully raw production, Gothic Classic horror soundbites and plentiful groove. Much like contagion this will fester and grow on your senses.

Coffinwood - Storm of Steel

Coffinwood (Poland) – Storm of Steel

https://coffinwood.bandcamp.com/album/storm-of-steel

Release – April/2/2020

Independent

Artwork- 78

Ferocity- 78

Groove- 77

Originality- 65

Infectiousness- 74

Genre- Death Metal/Blackened Death

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 75

Wicked addictive rhythms and venomous vocals keep this intriguing.

Though there is nothing ground-breaking in its style it’s pleasing to see another album cover WWI. Vintage era soundbites add to the albums allure, and although this is short it shows definite promise.

Koffin - Nailed into the Coffin

Koffin (Estonia) – Nailed into the Coffin (demo)

https://koffin.bandcamp.com/album/nailed-into-the-coffin

Release – June/5/2020

Stroke Records

Artwork- 77

Ferocity- 76

Groove- 84

Originality- 68

Infectiousness- 78

Genre- OSDM/Death/Raw Thrash

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 78

Diabolical menace, Old School tone and varied pace showcasing more than sufficient groove. Keep an eye out for these guys and their progress in the resurgence of the 90’s catacomb quality and early Scandinavian Death scene.

Your Last Wish (Canada) - Eradicate

Your Last Wish (Canada) – Eradicate

https://yourlastwish.bandcamp.com/album/eradicate

Release – February/23/2020

Independent

Artwork- 86

Ferocity- 74

Groove- 79

Originality- 78

Infectiousness- 83

Genre- Deathcore/Thrash/Melodic Death

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 83

The first track has me mouthing “How is it I’ve yet to hear of these guys” aloud. The album calms somewhat though still insists on offering wicked rhythms, busy somewhat technical arrangements, soaring leads, Progressive passages and mesmerizing solos. Strangely, nothing appears out of place although the music bears twists, turns, a smorgasbord of mood, and showcases intricate, complex, fret board manipulations aplenty. Fantastic atmosphere is also on offer (the album bears a Sci-Fi theme) as well my personal weakness, when it comes to extreme audio, vicious vocal cord manipulation from a lady which quite honestly puts a great many guys (in the same arena) to shame. Overall a package sure to delight those whose playlists include Arch Enemy and Soilwork.

Denied - Mental Budak Jiwa Penjilat

Denied (Indoniesia) – Mental Budak Jiwa Penjilat

https://deniedgrindcore.bandcamp.com/

Release – May/1/2019

Black Anje Records

Artwork- 82

Ferocity- 82

Groove- 78

Originality- 65

Infectiousness- 78

Genre- Grindcore/Brutal Death/Slam

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 81

Energetic (does that even need to be said?), groove-laden GC with lots to get excited about and from a location one wouldn’t associate with such. Broaden the horizons and take a chance on these guys. Support the underground and a scene which needs more discussion and exploring.

Recc for fans of Misery Index, Benighted.

Miscreance (Italy)- From Awareness to Creation

Miscreance (Italy)- From Awareness to Creation

https://miscreance.bandcamp.com/album/from-awareness-to-creation

Release – April/4/2018

Red Wine Rites Records

Artwork- 82

Ferocity- 74

Groove- 75

Infectiousness- 79

Originality- 74

Genre- Thrash/Technical Thrash

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 81

Riffs, riffs and riffs for days and often in all the same bloody song. This is Technical audio (bearing a slight familiarity to several prominent acts in the 90’s. Atheist chief among them!) with rhythms swirling around as if in a vortex which those of the instant gratification crowd might not like, especially on a first listen basis. Give it time, I’m sure it’ll grow on you as it is me.

Breeding Ignorance - Image and Likeness

Breeding Ignorance (Belarus) – Image and Likeness

https://breedingignorance.bandcamp.com/album/image-and-likeness

Release – May/1/2019

Coyote Records

Artwork- 80

Ferocity- 79

Groove- 78

Originality- 70

Infectiousness- 82

Genre- Brutal Death/Tech Death/OSDM/Grinding Death

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 83

Addictive, infectious rhythms are the order of the day here. Vocals which reside this side of the gutter coupled by arrangements which twist and writhe like a snake having a seizure (has that been used before?) Overall an album and act which shouldn’t be ignored. Support the underground scene and metal in locations you might not typically associate the genre with.

This is a release I will spin again!

Goreworm - Prodigy of the Grotesque

Goreworm (Canada) – Prodigy of the Grotesque

https://goreworm.bandcamp.com/album/prodigy-of-the-grotesque

Release – June/12/2020

CDN Records

Artwork- 75

Ferocity- 82

Groove- 83

Originality- 72

Infectiousness- 92

Genre- Tech Death/Brutal Death/Slam/Melodic Death

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks- 94

Fluid, fast-paced, seamless and unquestionably addictive top-notch Tech-Death which very nearly slipped by unnoticed. I was just not prepared for how impressive this actually is. And those ungodly impressive solos, just… DAMN-!

This grabs ahold and then refuses to diminish its hypnotic grip! Set ears upon it stat!

mix tape action

And that brings another mammoth installment of Abrasive Audio to a close. I have hopes that I’ve introduced some tunes here which will last in the playlists. I know I have my favorites! All that’s left to scribble is the customary; keep those ears open don’t fear that which is normally foreign to the senses.

I’m out!

Cult

Scorching the Retinas; Avalanche of Indy

collar dvd cover

Collar (2014 – Canada)
Writer/Director – Ryan Nicholson
Plotdigger Films
Unearthed Films
Runtime – 72 minutes

(Warning; this is more a stream of consciousness review I had fun scribbling in a groggy early morning hours state rather than the usual intricately planned, thought provoking, well-articulated article – ha! As if)

If you know anything about Ryan Nicholson, you know “Gutterballs”. And if you know that twisted chunk of celluloid you have some understanding of what to expect from this. However, if you don’t know Mr. Nicholson’s style, I’ll supply a few descriptive words.

Gratuitous Sex, depravity and Gore.

(Red Band teaser/trailer courtesy of Stephen Biro of Unearthed Films)

A definite “Deadbeat at Dawn” (A Jim van der Bebber classic cult slice of cinema) vibe gets this film out of the starting blocks, an introduction to a City (the seedier parts) and the films main character (but more on him a little later). For now, let’s just say he’s a homeless fellow who’s causing slightly more than a little disturbance behind the drugstore in the alleyway.  Two deviants who just so happen to be in the area have a penchant for filming ‘Bumfights’ (yes. Unfortunately, it was a “thing”) and have gotten excited as they believe they’ve stumbled upon a goldmine of sorts. Our homeless “friend” is an aggressive sort who likes to show off. Suffice it to say violence sells. Extreme violence brings in more money and sex. Well, you guessed it! These guys have zero morals even fewer prepared lines and it just so happens two full cell phone batteries. (God help us!) Add to the calamitous plot a pair of cops, a street walker a pimp and his sidekick and the story pretty much writes itself. Or, at least it seems like it has.

collar massive

uhhh- I need direction!

Let’s sprinkle in a little D’Amato influence ala the lumbering George Eastman (as The Grim Reaper or Anthropophagous [the Beast], depending upon which version you’ve seen) just think of the poor lobotomized fellow (played by Nick Principle who has a remarkable filmography to his name and appears as if he could play a decent Anthropophagous in a future remake) in a city setting rather than upon a Greek isle and add a delicate sparkle of a backstory. It appears ‘Massive’ (these fellows get inventive with their names) has a past filled with abusive at the hands of a clergyman and a rage fueled by his youth drenched in horrific experiences. Suffice it to say this gargantuan doesn’t speak much, has a dislike for pretty much everyone and treats his female company much like Walmart treats their employees (did I just say that? Whoops).

collar hungry

Do you happen to know my lines?

Naturally seems as this is a Nicholson helmed film the storyline is minimal, really just a thinly veiled excuse to depict carnage, atrocity and horrific abuse on film. And it needs be said homage to his influences. The D’Amato lumbering mindless killer vibe is strong even down to the near fetus eating scene (one of the main reasons the film was banned in so many countries for such a long time. It was a rabbit!) which appreciatively this film stops just short of. The acting is threadbare and the directing…well, surprisingly it’s passable, albeit raw, this is probably based on the fact Ryan has a few films to his credit (perhaps his style is getting more polished as it matures? Is it possible?) Now that’s not to say this is well written, it really isn’t. I’ll be Frank (…but only if I can be Sally later. Huh? What?) Collar is not in any way a great film. It’s horrific (but its far from the worst I’ve laid eyes upon). It has zero socially redeeming values, its dialogue is despicable (probably improvised throughout, with minimal script I don’t doubt) and the most expensive set piece is a haphazardly thrown together shed. It should come as no great shock therefore that I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone. It’s doubtful that the casual B movie fan will find this amusing, it really has very little humor in it unless one counts the acting (some performers stand out more than others) the production values and the dialogue (did I mention the final scene is extremely quotable?) However, the sickest, most jaded among us will love this. Collar thrives on nudity and crimson. Actually, more than a little of the “red stuff”. When someone says “Gore” this is exactly that, far removed from merely blood spraying everywhere, this film gloats on scenes showcasing shattered skulls, dismemberment, people torn in twain and eyes popping from their sockets.

gutterballs dvd cover

An early poster for “Gutterballs”

In short, this is sure to please the most depraved among us. I’ll only watch it once, it’s left a mark on me. For all others, avoid this like the plague. It’s hard to watch, raunchy and “wrong” doesn’t even come close. More importantly it’ll make one want to scrub themselves clean following a view, this is the kind of film which makes most feel dirty… beneath the skin (yuck!) For all others, a rare few to be blunt, this is likely to rank and place among “Gutterballs”, “100 Tears”, “Flesh Mannequins” and “Necromantik” (although to be fair, this was more an art film about doing the nasty with a corpse) in the finest collections of the “connoisseurs” of the genre (that’s the nicest way to say it). Hopefully in a location perched far above the inquisitive grasping hands of the more impressionable (aka as kids), I was once one and this is unfortunately the way I was indoctrinated; wide eyed and fascinated.

Wear a seat-belt, don a mask (fingers crossed this Covid shit goes away sooner rather than later) and keep this away from the kiddos (these are my words of wisdom for today) But most of all steer clear of this if you’re easily offended.

That’s it, I’m out!

Watch at your own risk!

Cult

Collar is available to watch on Tubitv and can (probably) be found online to purchase at a wide range of prices, it’s best to shop around before you start to supply those credit card deets.

Ryan-nicholson

Parting words; In October of 2019 Ryan passed after a lengthy battle with cancer. His career includes numerous directorial duties (namely Gutterballs, Hanger, Live Feed and Collar for Plotdigger Films) and prolific often award winning FX work for such films as Scary Movie, (the most recent) The Predator, The 13th Warrior, Reindeer Games, Mission to Mars, Final Destination, Dreamcatcher, Elf, The Chronicles of Riddick, Blade: Trinity, Ghost Rider and Blair Witch. His films, which are always shocking and often controversial, have left an indelible mark upon the genre joining the fight to eradicate censorship within cinematic realms and the art world.

He shall be missed. RIP.

 

Searing the Brain with Prose

(aka Scribbling upon that which I have recently digested with the eyes)
Part the First – The Skin Collector by Jeffery Deaver

book review header

I’ve been pondering upon something upon these lines for a few months now. Having recently found myself with a spot of free time on my hands (by way of a minor surgery) I rediscovered the indescribable joy of diving into the foreign landscapes a decent book can provide. Admittedly, I spent my youth nose deep in most anything I could find. However, I never managed to break the spine of a large percentage of the library I was amassing. Those days are gone, it’s hard to balance an insane diet of collecting, spending money on all manner of literature and family responsibilities.  Don’t get me wrong, there still remains a great many stacks of books I covet (securely away) but I can hardly find the time to read. It would be easy to blame a myriad of factors but honestly most of the blame lay on me, my schedule, my penchant for digesting music like one possessed and my desire to scribble upon that which I found most intriguing.

the skin collector book

Let’s get back to the matter at hand, shall we? In the past week I’ve had my attentions diverted (I never mentioned that I was a fast reader) by a tome which goes by the title of (the) Skin Collector. This book is just a single title within the Lincoln Rhyme series; of which there are now over fifteen (I really should have discovered this series much earlier).

Admittedly my interest was sparked by two factors. The price of the book (a hardcover at an insane price) and the recent short series on (American) broadcast television (on a network I can’t presently recall; it’s NBC. I lied).

The series, Hunt for the Bone Collector, was well- produced, showcased likable well written characters and boasted an enjoyable frenzied pace which left me (and most viewers, I’d imagine) eagerly awaiting the next episode. An aspect of the series I also appreciated was the fact that it overflowed with technical specifications and (police) procedures which in no way suffocated or bogged down the viewers enjoyment. Thankfully, the series has been renewed for a second season, but who knows what the future might bring.

Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt For the Bone Collector - Season 1

Lincoln Rhyme in the limited “series”

 

The (title) Bone Collector isn’t new. The title has been used before, most recently in a film of the same name starring Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie (the last two were mentioned by my better half, as honestly, I can’t remember too clearly most of the films finer details. My memory isn’t one of my finer characteristics, can you tell?) This is a feature (apparently) I desperately need to revisit. If my memory serves me right (there it is again), both the film and the series differ slightly in character details and specifics. And, this should come as no surprise, the series differs slightly from what I can gather from the book within the characters past and the details it mentions about the case. And no, I won’t ruin it by adding spoilers, as the series is enjoyable in its own right.

lincoln movie

Lincoln Rhyme in the movie

Set ten years after the events portrayed in (The) Bone Collector (the) Skin Collector book finds Lincoln investigating a new case along with familiar faces. His attitude is gruff and impatient as seen in the series but strangely, he still comes off as likable. His genius level IQ and eye for detail and deduction is stunning. Amelia Sachs serves as his ‘feet (and eyes) on the ground’. Please pardon the poor choice of words and the pun. Lincoln is wheel chair bound, a factor which also adds to the allure of the book as Deaver explores his emotions and situation through the senses of one who is in the same position showcasing many of the same thoughts, worries, fears and hopes which are undeniably unfathomable to those who are able-bodied.

Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt For The Bone Collector - Season 1

The series extended cast; most of whom probably aren’t in the books

Interactions between the characters depicted here comes in many ways, in a plethora of situations opening up a slew of curious avenues. Avenues which never detracts from the main story. The dialogue throughout is relatable (both from a business and personal standpoint) and effectively illustrates one’s thoughts and emotions in differing environments. The tension is stellar, often palpable and displays the ease with which Deaver transports his audience in a rapt state as the story develops and the tension builds. Short chapters aid in this effect, keep the interest and the pages turning. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to read (a book) when chapters are shorter, precise and compact? It certainly helps when the reader has a lifestyle in which he/her can only find a few minutes at a time, several times a day to be able to escape (into the wonderful world of fiction).

The Skin Collector another cover

Just one of many covers available

Without offering any plot points or details I’ll gladly report that (the) Skin Collector is a fantastic jumping on point for the series, although it’s probably best to start at the beginning, obviously. This offers prose which is easy to comprehend, a story which is riveting and a myriad of characters which all bear differing backstories, personalities and unique ‘quirks’, for wont of a better term.

The Skin Collector’s story is impactful and immersive and brings to light modern-day fears and a society strife with cultural division and incendiary attitudes. It also delves into the world of ‘Ink’ (tattooing) and its illustrious history making for an informative as well as exciting read. Much the same as the series (the) Skin Collector also introduces its reader to the world of the Detective (as well many public servant branches) and the many methods employed to catch a villain. Far beyond intriguing are the techniques discussed, the modern-day technology utilized and the way in which evidence is correlated to piece a puzzle together where there doesn’t seem much chance of doing so. And Deaver conveys it all in an easy to understand manner which indisputably helps in the enjoyment of the reading experience. Deaver also takes the reader through the eyes of the villain (the other side of the coin if you will) into a world which is eschewed, tainted and jaded. As much like the other characters the villain is one whose life is spread open in a highly effective manner throughout the book (not all in a single chapter appreciatively) for the reader to explore. His background and the other contributing factors which led him to be the person he is, with the quest he embroils himself within.

cold moon book

Enter The book which first introduces “The Watchmaker”

All this and a climax which reintroduces one of Lincolns most formidable adversaries (The Watchmaker) and his unbridled excitement to be on an ‘equal footing’. Obviously, this leads into the following installment in the series (book thirteen I believe), or does it? A tome which I shall rabidly seek out based on my experience with this tone.

To make a long review (story) short, I highly recommend (the) Skin Collector. It delivers without bogging the reader down in unnecessarily technical details, maintains a fast pace and introduces likeable characters who are far from cardboard cutouts. It also sports a comprehension level even I can relate to/understand.

Cult

Im done reading...for now

Well, that’s my first foray into laying thoughts upon a book (on this site anyway). Feel free to tell me what you think, or, alternatively, recommend a book you believe I might enjoy.

 

You can find (the) Skin Collector in most brick and mortar book retailers and establishments. For those interested in more, Jeffery Deaver’s site is here: https://www.jefferydeaver.com/

 

 

Dollar Store Movies – Kill Command (2016)

Dollar Movies Header

Yet another foray into the realm of celluloid which cost me the stunning price of merely a single dollar. Can a movie have any semblance of quality at such a price? Or am I in for merely in for a ninety-minute (the average length of a movie) foray into boredom’s ville? I aim to find out, wish me luck.

 

Kill Command (2016)

kill Command dvd case

Writer/Director – Steve Gomez
Runtime – 100 minutes
Vertical Entertainment
Vertigo Films
Protagonist

 

Having a strange kind of day, I found myself not really knowing what to do. I started to wander around the house not really finding a purpose which fit my mood. Perhaps a movie could pull me out of my funk? After only a brief search (I have movies everywhere, the wife hates it!) I happened upon a towering stack of DVD’s I had recently purchased from the Dollar Store (much like any frugal sort I love those places). And finally chose Kill Command. The film’s running time was about average, as opposed to another I was mulling over (which was closer to two hours) this was the final deciding factor, rather than the story, genre or any other element, if I’m to be brutally honest. I finally got my arse in gear and settled down for a view, still unsure If it was what I really wanted. It didn’t take long for me to decide that a viewing experience was exactly what was in order. Obviously, this film, in particular, helped me come to this conclusion. Within the opening scenes alone one starts to comprehend that this isn’t a run of the mill low budget Sci-Fi affair. Kill Command is polished, sports a significant amount of flair, a certain class and, even early on, doesn’t skimp on displaying dazzling effects and set pieces. I was left intrigued and eager for what’s to follow.

(Trailer courtesy of Vertical Entertainment)

Kill Command bears a familiar vibe, lets be clear, a strong Dog Soldiers aura. And much like in that film a small infantry unit is dropped into the wilderness in a training exercise scenario which transpires into much more (however, in this case there’s no curse and no hybrid, hairy, hungry, beasts on the rampage) and the camaraderie isn’t nearly as playful, the humor element is present but not nearly as pronounced as seen in D.S. The attitude here seems more all “business”. These guys have something to prove and are frustrated at the fact that their action results from mainly training exercises.

kill command eyes

Look deep into my eyes.

Mills (played by Vanessa Kirby who also stars in The Fast and Furious; Hobbs and Shaw and the three newest Mission Impossible films) is a robot programmer, a vendor for the company who produced the Harbinger prototypes (whom the squad are facing in their training exercise, which they don’t realize till later on). She’s also, technically, a cyborg. Mills has an implant/chip which gives her the ability to communicate with computers, the net and interact with robotic intelligence. her eyes are the tell tale sign something is most definitely up. They shine a wicked blue with a circular insignia which flickers depending on the amount of data she’s processing. Mills teams up with the unit though only in the capacity to access/evaluate her creations in action. The team are dubious of her (initially ‘stand-offish’ in fact) and her role though soon warm to her as she proves useful in their unfolding circumstances.

Kill Command nope I cant see a toilet anywhere

Nope. I can’t see a toilet anywhere!

As the exercise unfolds the team soon realize this is anything but merely a practice-type situation. This is all too real. The ammo is live and those they are shooting at (an array of robotic creations) are shooting back with the intent to kill.  They look to Mills for guidance but her words can only tell them so much, she is able to communicate with the ‘artificial enemy’ but there seems to be something blocking her from accessing files which would explain things further. She informs the group that they are locked in combat with her creations (there’s the mistrust issue again understandably and a gallery of questions).

kill-command harbinger robot

AN S.A.R prototype

S.A.R bots (which stands for Study Analyze Reprogram) are intricately designed soldiers set to eventually be the team’s/the infantry’s replacement. Designed and created to save lives (ironic given the circumstances) they learn and adapt as their surroundings and the situation dictates.

Strong performances (notably Thure Lindhardt as Bukes, who also had starring role in the brilliant “Flame and Citreon”, Bentley Kalu as Robinson, Vanessa Kirby as Mills and Mike Noble as Goodwin drive the narrative and help pull the viewer in as the film unfolds and the teams puzzlement turns to fear and a fight for survival. Grit, determination, a sense of brotherhood and personalities far removed from cardboard cut-outs-ville which many other films of the same nature provide, accompanied by spot-on human interaction one can relate to and the characters dire circumstances aid in the enjoyment of the film. It has undeniable flow and starts out of the gates at a satisfactory pace in introducing the characters and futuristic setting.

Stunning atmosphere is provided by a score worthy of high praise. Palpable tension of an adrenaline spiking nature derives from its placement and chilling composition caliber. An exquisite element which only makes this film that much harder to tear yourself away from.

Kill Command gif

There is a myriad of other factors which make this a feature worthy of note; excellent FX and ultra-realistic, meticulously crafted, robotic antagonists models and impressive CGI nod towards a genius creative team and a huge budget without any silliness which might pull the viewer away from the story line. The gore is minimal. However, Kill Command still manages to convey effective dread and appropriate emotions based on what it actually displays rather than depictions of gratuitous unflinching brutality.

Other elements include stunning cinematography; shots of the wilderness in various lighting in which the team are stranded. A clever juxtaposition of beauty and carnage. Camera techniques aren’t experimental but rather precise which leads me to the highly polished directing. Kill Command is a film made by a collective of individuals who know how to effectively convey a story, its “movements”, its characters, and many facets without causing confusion or an aura of predictability in the audience.

kill command go on kiss me i dare ya

Kill Command even has romantic moments

Kill Command offers a bleak and dismal view of the future, much like The Terminator, in which A. I. becomes self-aware and smarter than its creators, resulting in an environment where the manufactured doesn’t require guidance anymore, but it does seek something to keep it entertained. A bleak future indeed.

rise of the machines

I need a Phillips screwdriver. Anyone?

Honestly, this film is probably the best value for a single dollar I believe I’ve ever received (the pleasure from eating a value burger or taco can only last so long). And for a film I had initial doubts about (it’s admittedly rare that Sci-fi themed films do anything for me) this hit the spot and delivered with a flawless execution, it started out quick, was easy to follow and sported a pace which rarely lets up keeping me enthralled the entire time. It’s a great pity that Kill Command never received the praise it should have (perhaps based on its title?) Its quality warrants a large audience’s attention and bodes extremely well for the future of the creative team behind it.

Kill Command another dvd case

Kill Command Blu-ray well worth a peek

In short, if you’re looking for something to watch which is a little different than the usual, with Terminator and Chopping Mall tendencies though provides the thrills and chills you crave, give Kill Command a watch. It has more than earned my stamp of approval. In all honesty I’d probably even pay five dollars for it!

Funfact; Kill Command is aka “Commando Kill” and “Identify”.

9

Cult

Scorching the Retinas – Avalanche of Indy

Creepy Tales of Pizza and Gore (2014)
Creepy Tales of Pizza and Gore (2014)
Italy
Director – Lorenzo Fascina, Marco Giangiareli
Runtime – 59 minutes
Bayview Entertainment
Widowmaker Films

 

How Pizza delivery and Slasher cinema collide I have no idea. Perhaps I should confer with Axe Slasher (a band from California with much the same interests whose work can be found here https://axeslasher.bandcamp.com/) or Werewolves in Siberia (who provided the soundtrack for “Slice” https://werewolvesinsiberia.bandcamp.com/album/slice-original-comic-book-soundtrack an online comic book with much the same premise) before I continue. Regardless, this vignette collection opens with a Pizza delivery person (whoops, I nearly said “boy”) navigating hasty drawn directions. The chosen mode of transport is a skateboard and this is the first indication that this might be a different than normal excursion into cinematic depths.

(trailer courtesy of DirtyTapeProduction)

With the “package” securely fastened cheesy deliciousness is on its way. However, it isn’t as easy as all that. The directions aren’t as easy to follow as believed and an obstacle hampers the deliveries progress; It’s a VHS tape. But more on that later.

Creepy Tales of Pizza and Gore - Ghost

Whoa – You have cold fingers!

 

Scuffed up and bloody the courier believes he’s found his destination. Indeed, he has. Bludgeoning replaces the traditional tip and the movie has an introduction. Cut to the first segment; “Whispering Ghosts”. A shared file proves to boast more than merely something for the eyes to discover, in fact its influence is undeniable. This is “The Ring”, hardly as polished, but in shared file form rather than VHS format. Be wary what you download, check its origin first folks.

The second segment; “Devils in the Night” amps up the skateboard element and adds a Punk rock/metal aura. By this point I’ve realized the movie hasn’t any SUBS.  Surprisingly, there’s hardly any dialogue other than an ominous figure narrating in Italian, a presence much like the Crypt keeper (though more sinister, add a Satanic aura) from the infamous Romero/King helmed “Creepshow” franchise. His narration would I can only imagine would add weight to this particular segment as it merely plays out as a Capture/kill in gruesome ways for little reason short with an arrival at the end which could well tie the reasonings together.

 

creepshow soundtrack

Most probably the first of many Creepshow images this article will boast. (This is a limited edition soundtrack on vinyl)

“Alone in the House” is the following segment. As you can imagine it is exactly that. A solitary female discovers a mysterious intruder, hides, then confronts said intruder (with a knife). Words aren’t needed here; the story is rather self-explanatory. The addition of symbol laden flashes is a nice touch as well the protagonist’s reflection in the knife she wields in a shaking grasp. The ending is a little odd but provides a gruesome climax for those wanting such. If only the lighting were better the FX could have truly shined.

“Wood” is next up. And is blatantly another segment plucked from the aforementioned “Creepshow” ala “Hitchiker” but with a difference, the moniker nods at not only its location (if you catch my drift) but also at this segment’s erotic nature, in part anyway. However, the mood soon transforms when the pairs vehicle collides with…something. One of the most inventive segments on offer “Wood” changes direction veering from predictable realms and yanks its viewers into WTF territories. Suffice to say this is one of my favorites here showcasing one of my favorite actors within this feature; the quite delicious Bunny Roberts, who sadly only has one acting credit to her name (even fewer pictures online), such a tragic waste of talent. Again, the lighting is abysmal leaving many of the FX, action and character in murky shadows and much of the details up to one’s own imagination.

Creepy Tales of Pizza and Gore VHS

Now imagine this has a life of its own and makes humorous noises as it moves around quite comically

Lastly, “Killer Tape”. Serving as the dark humor book end of the piece it gives live to a VHS tape when its owner decides to about face, change personalities from a comic book loving nerd into more a Collegiate Jock and bin bag all of his previous bits and bobs into the nearest trash receptacle to be replaced by various, cliched, sports paraphernalia.

Zero dialogue again in this piece other than grunts, groans (issuing from assorted bedroom activities) squeals, screams and a myriad of cutesy noises one might associate with Gremlins or creatures within features of similar ilk.

Several elements make this my favorite segment here. The tapes movements coupled with the noises it makes and the overall absurd nature propels it into fantastical realms and the fact that it pines over its ripped-up cover is the icing on the cake. Add to this a scene in which it comes face to face with an arch enemy and you have all the makings of a classic segment. I only wish I could say the same for the entire collection.

Bad taste one sheet

Any excuse to add a Bad Taste image and I jump on the opportunity.

“Creepy Tales of Pizza and Gore” has its moments and lovingly embraces a camera style which fans of “The Evil Dead” and “Bad Taste” will be quick to appreciate but only leave them wanting more. The tie ins from several of the segments are clever, especially the Introduction and last segment, though not all seem to fit the puzzle leaving several questions which demand answers. The acting surprisingly isn’t horrid and fits the overall mood of the collection. Even sans conversation the collection makes sense, largely, although subtitles would be useful in working out what the enigmatic narrator is saying, a factor perhaps which might also explain somewhat his place in the proceedings and undoubtedly heighten the flow of the overall feature. Apart from the undeniable channeling of vignette collections before it (namely “Creepshow”) this overall shows promise for the filmmakers involved, although using the word “Gore” dominantly in the title might leave many wanting more. Yes, it has a few scenes of grisliness, though not nearly as many as one might imagine.

hjeavy metal soundtrack

Obviously, this is the  most famous film with a “metal” soundtrack

The ideas are there, the direction is there (the easy to embrace up close somewhat quirky style – the homage in part) and the lighting, well, I believe I’ve mentioned that a few times. The use of Thrash/Speed metal as part of the soundtrack is a nice touch (a love it or hate it element really) which many Independent pioneers are embracing. Sure, the writing requires tightening up, experimental avenues need exploring, but that’s all part of the ongoing filmmaking journey and honestly, I’ve witnessed a great deal worse than this in my past viewing of Independent (low budget) films. All in all, this leaves me curious as to what comes next from the creative team involved. I’ll keep my eyes and ears to the ground.

5

Cult

best horror quotes

Exactly!

Creepy Tales of Pizza and Gore is available on DVD (Region 1: US and Canada) courtesy of Bayview Entertainment from most online retailers including Target, Walmart and Amazon (and I would imagine complete with English subtitles which this screener was absent of).

It can also be purchased here; https://www.familyvideo.com/creepy-tales-of-pizza-and-gore-539471

 

For all those interested “Slice” the online comic can be found here https://stela.com/