Archive for the ‘Supporting the Indy scene’ Category

Scorching the Retinas – Yet another Zombie Film

eyeballs header

Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies (2016)

Attack of the lederhosen Zombies

Fischer Film
Austrian Film Institute
Level 33 Entertainment
Level Film

 

Writers – Armin Prediger and Dominik Hartyl
Director – Dominik Hartyl
Runtime – 75 minutes

 

Well howdy folks.

It’s been a while, but I’m back fully recuperated and rocking regenerated, advanced, appendages. Funny story (well it might be to the most casual of reader), I’ll try to keep it short. Cults youngest offspring mistook me for a toy (do I look like a freakin’ stuffed character? Yea, well perhaps I do! A misfit Gothic cartoon character perhaps) and took time to perfect what she does best. The brat dismantled me! Then she had the gall to walk away as if nothing happened whilst asking for her juice. Brat! So, there I was left in pieces in a dark corner. Thankfully she has a tendency to hide her “kills” where her parents might not be able to immediately find them. This gave me a chance to “pull myself together”. Admittedly this might have seemed kind of strange to a toddler, a toy moving of its own accord (though in this day and age with animatronics and all the advances in manufacturing who knows. Perhaps she’s seen Dolls or Small Soldiers?

Dolls the original

A classic 

The Toy Story films are in constant rotation in the house this I know for a fact). Regardless, I wasn’t about to put myself in jeopardy it’s bad enough I’m hiding the last thing I want is extra attention, or an interview with a ‘journalist’ from ‘The Weekly World News’. But, I digress, it took a little time to knit myself together within which I’ve familiarized myself with several species of spider, roach, all manner of carnivorous dust bunny and Cult’s wife’s hair. It’s all over the damn place to the point where I believe he should charge it a portion of the rent. I’ve been languishing in the shadows one might say, but I’m all better now, fully recuperated though I’ve been avoiding the little one lest it all happen again. so back to the matter at hand. Cult has been gracious enough (though he doesn’t know it just yet) to leave me another template in which to drop my mental diarrhea. And so, I shall with a glorious splatter. The movie in question is the one mentioned above (duh) and I had the pleasure to watch both it and observe Cult and his daughter (who’s in town for the summer) while it was playing (confused yet? Pay closer attention, please).

It should come as no great surprise that Cult loves Zombie features, he has shelves full of them and even a stunning array of collections bursting with the lower budget end of what the same arena offers.

This however will my ponderances on the above-mentioned film, not his, as I’ve ‘beaten him to the punch’, as it were.

(courtesy of Film is Now movie trailers)

Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies is rather an odd name for a film, obviously there’s little left to the imagination in regards to what this is about, this isn’t a drama or a crime flick or even a comic hero action saga. This is a horror film pure and simple although its moniker suggests a theme of a fifties nature, for example, Attack of the… (fill in the blanks to your own liking) suggesting something unnatural and a rampage about to start because it/she/he is pissed or misunderstood and won’t take it anymore (insert Twisted Sister lyrics/picture/single artwork here). The trailer suggests an element of humor here and it doesn’t lead any potential audience members astray. This film bursts with levity and cannot, for the most part, be taken seriously.

Attack of the lederhosen zombie his vomit is green

His vomit is green!

AotLZ (for short, obviously) offers a new spin on the zombie mythos, more precisely the creation of such. In a presentation, in the far reaches of a mountain range, a snow-making machine goes haywire and explodes in the face of a potential Russian (unimpressed) investor.

attack-of-the-lederhosen-zombie-that-infernal-machine-1.jpg

Nevermind the Tupperware container, it works a charm!

The obvious happens, he turns grey, his blood, through snazzy CGI, is seen to be infected by various foreign antibodies, and his vomit is green. As luck would have it a trio of youngsters are on the same mountain, as part of a collective, shooting a promo for various unknown reasons (insert scenes of snowboarders jumping from helicopters, spinning, flipping and a plethora of yahoo antics) but after one of the three “presents” himself to a young fan, in a stunt only he thinks is funny (his parts are censored out, which leads one to believe early on that this movie might not in fact “show the goods”. We can only hope that this is constricted to nudity alone and not gore. As seriously, who watches undead films for the atmosphere this isn’t the seventies/early eighties anymore. But then again, I can see their point as to my knowledge one of the main reasons Watchmen flopped (a cleverly placed pun as you will soon see) is because of that giant blue member flopping about; is there a ‘wiener-less family version’ available I find myself wondering aloud.)

watchmen film

I can do much everything apparently but wear underwear

The trio become stranded and, this should come as no great shocker, they bump into the business types and also the unhealthy-looking vodka swilling fellow. The business deal however is apparently not yet through. Franz, played convincingly by Karl Fischer, is still fighting for a signature and has an instant dislike for the teens, he has to blame someone for the fact that his scheme might not work, although it was he who operated the sub-par equipment which resulted in the poor fellow being sprayed with the peculiarly vicious nuclear appearing chemical. His is a role and attitude which only adds to the difficulties the survivors have to traverse. He has his goals and he will damn well do what he has to in order that they are accomplished to his satisfaction, even if it means drastic results for those (and the immediate community) around him “What happens on this mountain stays on this mountain”.

Attack-of-the-lederhosen-zombies-bad guy

Get orff my grass!

The film continues. It’s the final night of festivities in a local bar, as the season will soon be over, and the place is packed. You might say there’s plenty of ripe flesh for the ripping. And to not put too much of a spoiler on things this happens. Flesh is ripped gouged, shredded, torn and has all manner of other things done to it. Shit, there’s even a death scene in a toilet, the main Frau (who becomes a large part of the film as it nears its climax) ‘taps’ a zombie, utilizes ski-poles to great advantage (“Now you see me…”) and breaks out a snowblower in much the same way Lionel used a lawnmower in Dead Alive. In fact, even early on one could say that this channels that and based on its premise and location another classic in the same genre, Dead Snow. Although the mention of Nazis is nil and there’s absolutely zero ‘Down Under’ accents detected throughout the film.

dead snow dvd cover

Because no zombie film article is complete without a mention, or picture, of Dead Snow

Much like the two aforementioned features the humor is also a huge part in this feature. A terror fueled vibe is abruptly torn asunder when one of the teenagers is heard conversing in unhurried tones with his cousin in a dialect no one can understand (rather than call for help). His companions look at him in confusion only to ask “care to tell what that phone call was about?” when he’s through. He responds quite unperturbed that he was talking to a zombie obsessed family member on “How to kill them…though, it all depends on which zombie movie we’re in.” The main Frau, also known as Rita portrayed by Margarete Tiesel, also appears to be confused as to why people are acting the way they are. Although there is a language barrier the situation is soon explained to her understanding “Not rabies, not ‘Alcho-pops’. But, Zombies”.

Further comical moments, which are surprisingly well executed throughout, include the undead swaying to local Swiss music which appears to placate them, several vengeful, subtitles which transform one languages goodbye into another languages which mean the same thing rather than the dialect one might have expected, “rabid” deer (with a thirst for the same liquid which turned the Russian gent), a snowboarding zombie, a slew of scenes with the aforementioned snowblower (the gore quotient isn’t lost on this film, thank the Dark Lord!) There’s a huge blender scene too as if the crew has a boner (I know I do!) for the classic kung-fu masterpiece that is The Story of Ricki-O.

attack of the lederhosen zombie cmon give me a kiss

C’mon, give me a kiss

A suspension scene featuring ski poles is to my knowledge a first and is guaranteed to be replicated as it is truly a remarkable feat. But let us not forget the small touches. The antagonists sport a Gremlin-esque nature and exhibit groans, squeals, and chirps much like the mischievous little critters Joe Dante helped create. This element is too, I believe, yet another nod to Jackson’s Brain Dead (aka Dead Alive) as it can heard there, most especially with the scenes Selwyn feature in but also in the Priest/Nurse romance sequence (which if you have yet to witness is a must watch, much like the film in its entirety).

The soundtrack is another element which deserves celebration, adding to moments of tension with surprising additions to its already commendation audio accompaniment; instances of both Carpenteresque and Goblinesque synth crop up to add an air of ominous nature and naturally nostalgia to the viewing experience, especially for veteran genre fans. A fiery bar scene is set to audio which sounds as if it were plucked directly from the score of Fulci’s Zombie (aka Zombie 2, Zombie Flesh Eaters).

Attack of the lederhopsen zombie nod to Fulci

Another nod to Fulci comes in the form of rising from the traditional ‘grave’

Even the credits boast somewhat of a Jean Michele Jarre (probably spelt that wrong!) vibe which could well toss most back a few decades to a slew of action epics (I’d even toss Return of the Living Dead in here too although I know it wasn’t heralded by a JMJ score)  which are strangely finding somewhat of a recent resurgence in the form of wearable cotton attire.

However, you care to slice it, rip it, tear it, this turned out a whole sight better than I first imagined it might. It boasts comedy (which works well) it has a buddy vibe which seems natural and even role reversal in the form of two characters who might appear at first rather helpless. Although a bar scene in which Branka (one of the teens with an unfortunate name played by Gabriela Marcinkova) slams a ‘predatory’ local’s face against a table is priceless. Rita manages to steal most every scene she’s in with her antics, naivety and later her willingness to adapt to the situation at hand.

AttachOfTheLederhosenZombies Effects

I’ve never had this view of my belt before now!

The practical effects herein are also a huge plus. Far from what one might expect from their forays into the lower budget of the arena AotLZ delivers. Chekov’s, the investing Russian, early flesh transformation, after the soaking, from pallid (its cold there I would imagine) to boils and a rotten composition is a great early indication as to how the movie might progress. Later effects prove the hopeful assumption/prediction to be fruitful and as the film progresses it provides its audience with a virtual smorgasbord of decapitations, flattened skulls, full body shredding antics and eviscerations all slathered in undeniable joviality.

attack-of-the-lederhosen-zombies theres even a death on the potty

There’s even a death scene on the potty

Sure, AotLZ has a few flaws, it only runs barely over seventy minutes in length; I want more carnage! The lighting is at times a tad insufficient in displaying all of the gore, which is admittedly par for the course, the snowboarding carnage montage is a little too long and artsy and a few of the scenes appear a tad crowded. But overall these are tiny gripes within a gem of a film I wholehearted recommend, a feature which will make a fantastic addition to anyone’s already bursting at the seams undead celluloid collection, time to buy another shelving unit Cult!

Attack of the lederhosen zombies Frau

Margarete Tiesel plays Rita and steals every scene she’s in!

What more is there to say? Well, I for one wouldn’t take heed of IMDB’s abysmally low rating. To be honest I usually don’t, unless I’m in the market for flashing images in a sequence to lull me to sleep (which my current predicament doesn’t allow me to do). Go into this blind. Well, not blind obviously, this takes away from the sheer joy of seeing images on a screen but go into this with no preamble (but take note of what I’ve written. Huh, this doesn’t make sense in the slightest!)  and only then will you be able to have fun.

Attack-of-the-Lederhosen-Zombies-poster

That’s it, I’m done. And about time too I can hear the little one stirring. Time to hide.

 

B

 

Editor’s Note.

I know not who does this or from whose mind these words originate. But I’ll admit I’m appreciative of the assistance so I’ll leave this here.

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Wizard-Rifle band

Abrasive Audio – Another Interview.

A few words with Wizard Rifle

Recently I had the pleasure of laying ears upon audio which is diverse to say the very least, familiar yet stunningly different and warranting of at least a few dozen spins to be able to fully digest. Wizard Rifles newest is the type of album one can’t easily forget, it leaves an impression, an instant glorious appreciation which led me to this, and honestly my words cannot come close to explaining the audio, perhaps the band can help. Without further ado…

Howdy Guys,

First off, thanks for the consideration and taking the time to ponder over what I’m hoping are a few questions which will serve to introduce your unique brand of audio to those who are otherwise ignorant of its captivating qualities.

Let’s start at the beginning, for it seems like as good a place as any, from where did the name, “Wizard Rifle”, and the bands origins stem?

Sam and myself (Max) were both going to school in Portland, and were both trying to start a band, and we were both finding it hard to get people to commit and keep a practice schedule. We were introduced by our mutual friend, and we quickly started jamming together for hours a day, every day we possibly could. Having just one person to coordinate with made it easy to stay on the same page and just spend a lot of time writing and developing our style. The name was something my roommate said while I was playing Super Mario World on SNES.

the SNES

for all those wondering this is the SNES

How would you describe the style which characterizes the audio for which Wizard Rifle is renowned?

We both developed playing styles to fill up the audio spectrum that normally is divided into 3+ people. My riffs and gear are set up to sound big. Having just one guitar allows Sam to play really busy at times which is exciting.
Our songs go through a whole roller-coaster of different styles and ideas and we try to make it like a journey with different distinct movements or whatever. Basically, we just write to keep people on their toes and surprise them.

wizard rifle in the woods

Wizard Rifle chillin’ in the woods

I’ve seen the terms ‘Art fuck scrap metal’ and ‘Scuzzy spaz rock’ used for those who might be confused (including myself) could you better explain these terms?

I think those are some tags we just came up with on our Bandcamp back in the day. We’ve never been able to properly categorize our music, so I guess those are just combinations of words that somehow capture our feeling of what the music is like, and also that we think are funny. “Art fuck scrap metal”: like a welded together sculpture of garbage and scraps made by some wierdo paying 50k a year to express themselves in some dumb-ass BFA program.

Within your newest audio collection, I detect a number of, what I can only presume to be, influences. In instances a certain familiarity, in others passages which bring to mind acts who are also not easily genre categorized, defined by a willingness to experiment somewhat with that which fans already know but have never thought/expected to have grace the ears in such a well-choreographed ensemble. Are there any acts or albums in particular (an example which immediately leaps to mind is “Mutilation Makes Identification Difficult” by Brutal Juice) which have helped shape how the sound and style of the album came to be?

We pull from everything we listen to, and never are like “okay for this track we’re only doing Sleep and E.Wizard”. We find tropey bands boring. Yes Black Sabbath are the greatest band to exist probably. No I don’t wanna hear your direct Iommi ripoff set.
People are always coming up to us like, “Oh you guys obviously love this album or band” and often neither of us have ever even heard it, and that is very pleasing to us that people hear different things. For instance I have never heard Brutal Juice. There have been some very pivotal bands, albums, shows that we have experienced which set us off. Far too many to mention.

WizardRifle

The newest release in all of its seafaring, trash laden collage glory

The image on “Speak Load, Say Nothing” may suggest what to expect from the album (though it doesn’t even begin to hint at its unpredictable exuberance). What did/do you wish to portray/convey with the upcoming (self-titled) albums art?

Well all our album covers (aside from the EP) are photographed sculptures and collages. This cover is a collage of trash and plants and sea creature parts sam put together. We never want our covers to look like a run of the mill metal cover, so we always try to make something that grabs your eye and isn’t as expected. I think the cover Sam did is just really pretty and abstract and has awesome colors. I liked it right away.

Staying on topic of release related queries; It’s been a while since your last album (2014’s “Here in the Deadlights”) with two years separating that from (2014’s) “Speak Loudly, Say Nothing” following on from (2010’s) “Kitties and Pie” were you ever at any point concerned that the new record might not ‘see the light of day’?

It was a long process to finish up the album for many reasons, one of which being that we didn’t want to half-ass it at all. We wanted the songs to be precisely composed and practiced and we wanted it recorded really well. The finished product sounds exactly as I have imagined it should for these past few years so that is pretty cool.
We are always figuring it out along the way in terms of how the band operates, and so there were periods where it took some perseverance to not fall into a hopeless state of mind. Ultimately if our support network fell apart and no one was interested in putting out the record we would have made it happen anyway just because we put the work into the songs and want them out there no matter what. Even if we had to sell our plasma for the next decade or something

The new album is out (August 30th) via Svart Records, a move which might make many wonder – why the split with Seventh Rule Recordings? Can you tell us more?

Scott Flaster over at Seventh Rule was an awesome guy to work with and took a chance putting out our first records. After “Here in the Deadlights” he had a lot going on and just wasn’t putting out new records for a while, so there wasn’t further discussion about the 3rd record.

The first single, and track, (“Rocket from Hell”) from the new album recently premiered on Decibel Magazine (August 30th can’t come fast enough!) and has gotten quite the reaction. Following a brief recording hiatus was it more than expected?

It is hard for me to quantify the magnitude of reaction to content on the internet, maybe because I suck at internet and mostly just try and figure it out for the band. Seems like it’s been pretty amazing thus far, and we definitely have really good people working on it who are killing it. The true barometer will be if people come out to the shows, and if people buy the record.

Acid king wizard rifle tour

 

A US tour is currently underway supporting Acid King (I’m hoping to catch you as you pass through the heartland). Are there any past dates/cities which have stood out for any particular reason?

I mean Portland is always an amazing amazing time, full of old friends and hugs. Sometimes the smaller cities go off and its rad. I feel like it’d be unfair to shout out specific places too much because we’ve met super cool people who have really taken care of us and showed us a good time all over this dang country!

If given ‘free rein’ and choice from artists past or present/living or not who would you wish to tour alongside? For any particular reason?

The Stooges back in the day.

Thanks!

 

And with that the interview comes to an end, my thanks again go out to Curtis (Dewar PR) and Wizard Rifle for responding.

The bands discography is as follows;
Kitties and Pie!!!! (2010) EP

https://wizardrifle.bandcamp.com/album/kitties-and-pie

Speak Loud, Say Nothing (Seventh Rule Recordings) 2012

https://wizardrifle.bandcamp.com/album/speak-loud-say-nothing

alternatively

https://releases.seventhrule.com/album/speak-loud-say-nothing

Here in the Deadlights (Seventh Rule Recordings) 2014

https://releases.seventhrule.com/album/here-in-the-deadlights

Their latest, self titled opus, will drop on August 30th via Svart Records

my review of which is here (please excuse the pool of drool that comes with)

https://cultmetalflix.wordpress.com/2019/06/13/abrasive-audio-to-soothe-the-senses-part-16/

Cult

Abrasive Audio…to Soothe the Senses Part Seventeen

head explosion cavity colors

It’s been a while folks. Please excuse the absence. The kids are in town, it’s the summer holidays, so admittedly my attention is divided. Alas, the word of metal must be spread so I find myself making time (stealing it if you will just like those vertically challenged folks from Time Bandits) in order to preach on my most recent of stellar audio procurements.

 

 

 

Freighter – the Den
freighter the den
(USA)
Release – July/12/2019
Self-Released
Dewar PR
https://freighter.bandcamp.com/album/the-den
ARTWORK – 7.5

A secluded shack/cabin (that really doesn’t look like so) surrounded by a copse (like that word!) of trees with a Post It (trademark name right there) note attached to the image. There’s something going on here folks and this art really doesn’t give much away in regards to that which might grace the ears when the PLAY button is pressed. Regardless I’m intrigued.

FIRST TRACK – 8

Hard to describe, even harder not to instantly like. There’s truly something unique and utterly mesmerizing about the style, or rather the mixture of styles here. To be honest I was thinking I was about to be introduced to college rock of sorts but this threw for a complete loop. The lyrics are comic book-esque and fantastical in their scope with a style that’s somewhat comical and the audio is a hodge-podge of styles which are familiar yet hard to instantly place. Riffs here and there leer at the listener with an air of arrogance as if to say I dare you to pair me with an act, track and album. I dare you to tackle the quest. I’ll try my damndest to do so as I let the remainder of this album frolic between my ears.

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Like the result of a head on collision between coaches leaving a musical festival of sorts transporting SOD, Mr Bungle, Polkadot Cadaver, Meshuggsh, Gojira and SOAD with a sprinkle of Mike Patton creative genius and the experimental madness of Crotch Duster the audio here is rather hard to effectively define though incorporates elements of punk, alternative, nu-metal, djent, thrash/hardcore crossover and a slew which haven’t even been truly defined yet. Varied and assorted vocal styles bring to mind Billy Milano (“Bigger Than the Devil” era SOD), Serj Tankian (SOAD) added to by a plethora of growls, grunts and bellowed passages. Get ready, though truly nothing can really prepare you as this is an orgy of audio which is wild, frenetic, dynamic, unpredictable, often chaotic but always a truck load, a freighter full (to coin a phrase) of fun which one will only want to repeat again and again. Suffice it to say one will need a rather large notebook, a whole lot of time on their hands and an encyclopedic knowledge of metal, rock and similar genres to even begin to tackle the quest set forth.

Favorite Tracks; Future Duke, Hot Car Death Dad, King Pigeon, Harbor of Dieppe.

Don’t sleep on this album as you will hear a great deal upon it following its release.

dogbane

Dogbane – Idylls of Woe
(USA)
Release – July/19/2019
Heaven and Hell Records
Clawhammer PR
https://dogbane1.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 7

A tad simplistic. A dog’s skull and a barbed wire crown. This really doesn’t do much for me, it feels more like a sticker, perhaps the music will…?

FIRST TRACK – 7.5

The audio’s tone instantly struck me. A definite late 70’s, early 80’s feel with a style to match. This is traditional heavy metal with a heaping helping of doom accompanied by clean vocals. Melodious and vintage in aura I have a feeling this is going to garner a great deal of attention.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8

Think early Iron Maiden, Candlemass with carefully woven Paradise Lost melodies, soaring leads and song structures all ingredients that combined will alight a grin on any traditional metal fans visage. Paired with passionate/dramatic (love them or hate them) traditional vocals this is a treat for those who welcome the resurgence of traditional heavy metal with open arms.

Add to the album an introduction (“Blood in the Snow”) that’s reminiscent of “Fast as a Shark” by Accept minus the yodeling and riffs which recall the earliest of Rainbow (With Dio) material and you have all the makings of audio which will delight while making the listener reminisce upon albums they should most probably save from the ravages of being lost to merely memory alone.

Favorite Tracks; Blood in the Snow, Land of Shadows, Sin Eater.

anticosm call of the void

Anticosm The Call of the Void
(USA)
Release – August/16/2019
Hell Kill Destroy Records
Clawhammer PR
https://anticosm.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 8

Quite the dramatic departure from their last efforts art (which depicted the band traversing a lava field in heavy machinery with their logo emblazoned upon its blade) This is more an exercise in optical illusion territory an approach which hopefully doesn’t turn/drive long-time fans away. Am I to expect audio of an experimental nature, only one way to know for sure…?

FIRST TRACK – 9

Undeniable is that Anticosm have significant chops in the rhythm department. This track encompasses atmosphere and blackened values whilst also offering riffs which produce instant appreciation. For some reason this track also puts me in mind of Atheist output lyrically not so much technically although this track is miles from mere ‘chuggery’. A fantastic commencement and introduction to the album and the band.

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Dynamic, ever evolving, melodic, passionate and draped in atmosphere yet miles from what could be termed traditional, both in rhythm and vocal departments. This is thrash (bordering on death) and shrouded in traditional heavy metal values (especially the albums final track, “Never Enough” which showcases inciteful melodies with undeniably more a ‘rock n roll’ leaning) with a decidedly darker approach and it works, tainted by melodic black nuances this is sure to appeal to a wide audience. And for those who aren’t quite wiling to fully immerse themselves fully in any one genre this is great location to start a life-long exploration drenched with realms of amazement and wonder which is guaranteed to set the senses on fire.

Favorite Tracks; Viral, Scorched Earth, Call of the Void, Never Enough.

pestis inferos

Pestis Inferos – Beyond the Veil of Light (EP)
(USA)
Release – June/24/2019
Self – Release
Clawhammer PR
https://pestisinferos.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-the-veil-of-light
ARTWORK – 7.5

It took me a while for me to understand, or gather an assumption as to what, might be going on here. I believe angelic forces are taunting earth bound spirits as Eve (?) in all her uncovered glory (she’s nekkid!) looks on somewhat amused. Archaic somewhat primitive black and white imagery which doesn’t give much away as to the audio within, although I’m of the believe that this isn’t going to be traditional heavy metal in the slightest but something ‘slightly’ darker in tone.

FIRST TRACK – 9

Clear production bolsters a style which is firmly staked in the blackened death arena, albeit with an added gothic aura (by way of the tracks introduction). Furious drumming, of the somewhat technical variety (think Misery Index), stands out in the mix, rhythms which are sure to make one want to move as well the riffage which is somewhat Morbid Angel in nature though drip with wicked intent of the blackened variety. Traditional ‘clawing at the air’, snarling, black vocals add to the mix making for a track which has my attention and bodes extremely well for the remainder of this release.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Chock full of majesty, fury and an overall style which borders on black metal meets punk meets death meets speed metal (what a mouthful) with oodles of atmosphere tossed in for effect this is sure to drum up some attention (I’m surprised it hasn’t yet!) The black element is front and foremost here and though this is far from primitive in its production it still drips with an archaic nature and familiarity fans (can and will instantly fall ass over tits for) which only adds to the overall listening pleasure. On a personal note it’s the drum sound and style in the mix which makes me a salivating fool who hits the repeat button like a hopeless addict.

Don’t miss out on this!

Favorite Tracks; From Throne to Funeral, Invoking the Sigil, Poison Falling Star.

VHS were gonna need some bigger riffs album

VHS – We’re gonna Need Sime Bigger Riffs
(Canada)
Release – July/26/2019
Rotten Roll Rex (CD) Horror Pain Gore Death (Digital)
Anubi Press
https://vhshorror.bandcamp.com/album/were-gonna-need-some-bigger-riffs
ARTWORK – 8.5

Fun, and obviously a tongue in cheek nod to everyone’s favorite prehistoric California beach terrorizing, boat chomping, Spielberg creation complete with other iconic imagery which evoke the 80’s. I’m sold! (Did I mention I’ve been following these guys since their first release?)

FIRST TRACK – 8

A whole sixteen seconds dedicated to a nonsensical scene in a Fulci classic like only theses guys can pull off! I don’t believe anyone’s going to argue this album’s track list proves this to be a release firmly rooted in grindcore values, VHS are known for the style. This, folks is going to be a bumpy ride. But you can forget the seatbelts, it’s more fun that way!

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Leaping from the more traditional into more murkier depths finds VHS concentrating more on sea creatures (Jaws, Lake Placid, etc.) and the carnage they often evoke rather than land-bound knife wielding maniacs and the like. Another change comes in the form of a number of tracks lasting more than a single minute. Truthfully the bands style truly hasn’t evolved much since their earlier output. If anything, it’s been polished some, but thankfully not too much. Grindcore is the audio foundation and still frolics, cavorts and playfully teases a number of other genres to great effect. Punk is front and center also as too is undeniable humor (which could well be called “splatstick” if this were the celluloid equivalent) that’s difficult not to appreciate, obviously this style, and the bands output, would look rather silly without it being present. The production is still a tad muddy but it fits the style perfectly and I don’t believe the fans would want it any other way. I certainly wouldn’t! I’m excited for where the band will turn their attentions to next, perhaps the unfathomable vast expanse of space?

Favorite Tracks; Voracious and Violent, An Old Lady and her Crocodile, Death and Carnage, From the Murky Depths, Marine Monstrosity.

 This installment is a tad shorter than normal (it’s cold here what can I say?) my apologies though I did manage to sneak in some audio which I deemed deserved of attention in the time I’ve managed to put aside. Now back to chores, the demanding brats and gardening. Summer, how I loathe thee.
Until our paths of audio interest intersect again,
Cult

 

Scorching the Retinas

eyeballs header

Meat Grinder (aka Cheuuat gaawn chim) 2009
Thailand (Thai language with English subtitles)
Director/Writer – Tiwa Moeithaisong
Runtime – 102 minutes
Phranakorn Film co. Ltd
4 Digital Media

meat grinder film dvd cover HK

Up for this week’s deliberation is a feature I picked up whilst on vacation in the last few months. A film slathered with numerous warnings across its cover and a slew of blurbs in much the same effect adding to its overall allure. And like one tiny in stature, with garishly decorated wings heading towards a mesmerizing flame, I too, could not help myself.

Meat Grinder opens on a montage of grainy film which includes a plethora of cutting, sawing and what appears to be scrubbing with an unlucky gent looking on suspended from a nearby portion of ceiling. This is rather odd, right? The credits soon take charge, and based on the text flashing across the screen there’s no illusion that this might have been produced nearby.

(Trailer courtesy of munky2ube)

Cut to the first scene; a disgruntled gent is searching for his lost love. He finds himself at a house and confronts who he presumes to be her former employer. Charging around the house he soon realizes that his own foot (and lower leg) are used as a projectile against him. Yes, this is that kind of a movie folks and my spoilers are at an end.

Well I tried!

A classical/folk soundtrack is an early star in this film. Strings and atmosphere bolsters scenes oozing with stigmata-esque barbarity and a slew of montages (newsreel and produced) which depict characters past and the trauma resulting from it (a transition shown through subtle shift from color to black and white), family strife, the importance of food preparation, herbs, spices (this is where I’d normally add a Bad Taste quote but not in this instance), recipes handed down through generations and a locale under militaristic rule. This isn’t the best of combinations and predictably the combined toll has left its mark on both the main character (unfortunately a single mother), Buss portrayed brilliantly by Mai Charoenpura, and the viewer even at this point some twenty minutes in.

(Stigmata-esque barbarity courtesy of blackhecabomb)

To make matters worse the local crime boss/slum lord is owed money. And after years of waiting for rent it’s time to be paid. But wouldn’t you know he has a hankering for noodles, soup, a hostess sporting a wicked smirk and a knife swiped swiftly across his gullet. The film continues. A love interest develops, Buss’es daughter finds she has a knack for cleaning up alongside her mother and the family business starts to thrive. But will Buss run out of ingredients, will the local constabulary forget their love of doughnuts and be drawn instead towards the allure of the noodle. So many unanswered questions, so much bloodshed and, let’s not forget, a slew of subtitles.

mest grinder - yumm whats for dinner mum

Yumm- what’s for dinner, Mum?

Mid way through the film the juxtaposition of dreamy music against tightly knit (interwoven) scenes of preparing the next days ‘special/dish of the day’ and loving romance (scenes in which warm flesh and cooling flesh are both handled with care) is only one of the reasons why this feature won’t (or can’t) be forgotten in a hurry. Obviously, its premise adds to the intriguing nature, the whole ‘what people do behind closed doors’ in relation to how they act in public. A myriad of other scenes, which I’ll neglect to go into in any detail for fear of adding even more spoilers, also serve to elevate the same indelible effect that this a film which one can’t scrub from their cortex fast enough.

Meat Grinder body part stew

‘Body Part Stew’ anyone?

A great deal of light, shadow play and silence hints at an avant-garde’ nature although the film is easy enough to follow, obviously it runs on rails far from the typical American and English narrative, several incidences are brooding and beg for intellectual dissection with their intent. The majority of the film however bursts with sufficient imagery to leave little to the imagination. How’s about a dip in a huge vat filled with body parts floating in a solution which may or may not be largely water. Suffice it to mention Meat Grinder will sate those with a yearning for celluloid draped in crimson and grotesque values whilst adding a certain international flavor, a glimpse into a culture which is far removed from our own.

MCDMEGR EC008

because no film entitled Meat Grinder would be complete without a…

Harrowing, intense and unflinching Meat Grinder boasts effective tension throughout, as well instances which might make some squirm in their seats with a few surprises tossed in for great measure. It chronicles one ladies descent into madness as she attempts to maintain her families tradition of offering the local community the finest (in this case) noodles, not dumplings (which has already been covered in much the same way but by the Chinese in a film with much the same title), delicacies made from the most common, but most underutilized, of ingredients. Call it a cannibal film, an addition to the ‘torture-porn’ arena (though I personally believe it’s far from that!) or merely a screwed-up slice of depraved celluloid there’s no doubt this is highly successful in what its creators initially set out to achieve.

meat-grinder-lady-gaga.jpg

This image showcases Lady Gaga falling into a meat grinder, and means absolutely nothing in the context of this review piece.

It shocks, titillates, enthralls and delivers all the while giving the viewer a glimpse into a culture they might well be unfamiliar with. But most of all it’ll make most think twice about their pre-conceived notions on international cinema.   

 

 

I highly enjoyed this with my only qualm being that some scenes were not quite as well lit as I would’ve liked. Perhaps I need to shell out for a blu-ray version?Apart from that this a must watch, especially for those with jaded and/or gore hound sensibilities which are somewhat similar to my own.

 

Cult

eyeballs header
Scorching the Retinas
Alien Party Crashers (aka Canaries) (US, UK, Wales, Vietnam) 2017

Canaries Poster

 

Writer/Director – Peter Stray
Runtime – 84 minutes
Devilworks
Mapledragon
High Octane Pictures

Tree resin, disco strobe lights, an international investigation in a freezing English forest and a prone body, which is perhaps Vietnamese in origin (as it comes complete with a traditional triangular hat), gets this slice of celluloid out of the starting blocks. A segment of found footage investigation in Vietnam hot on the heels of an alien abduction several years later adds to the films intrigue level. The strangeness continues. Peculiar goings on at Martha’s Vineyard, around the same time, showcases a deceased Norwegian, his death resulting from a fall from several thousand feet up. Investigators are perplexed as personal belongings indicate he’s been missing for several years and was last seen several continents away.

(trailer courtesy of Psychosylum)

Cut to another location where apparently something uncanny is about to happen again. This time however, it’s been proposed and several have been invited as witnesses. More a department, namely black Ops with the moniker The Canary Project. An agency which doesn’t officially exist with a budget which is as equally as minuscule in stature. The proposed location in question is a small town in Wales the name of which probably most will have difficulty pronouncing; Lower Cwmtwch. A name which doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue as easily as say Bath, Bristol or Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (which translates as “St Mary’s church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the fierce whirlpool of St Tysilio of the red cave”) another town, ironically, found in Wales.

At a local level a DJ is introduced Steve- the menace- Dennis (played by Craig Russell) has somehow found a calling far from his roots but returns home in hopes to raise some investment cash (for a proposed night club venture in the Welsh Valley) whilst hosting what he anticipates will be a successful shindig of sorts to celebrate New Year’s.

canaries cast and crew

So, uh…what do we do for fun in these parts?

An element which the viewer will immediately notice is that dialogue and character interaction is rather clever. Steve is somewhat of a weasel, often finds himself in awkward situations, is well-known around the area and is only out for his own benefit. And although his friends, a pair from the Valley, know this they are still willing to tag along, if only to plug their local businesses (“if you want skate (a fish of a type), he’s your mate!”). Pugh, a local and Steve’s closest friend, turns belligerent after a few and starts to pick fights for no reason other than the fact that he’s drunk and frustrated; Steve has managed to leave the valley, has transformed his accent, an origin he should be prouder of, to better fit in with the London scene and he’s invited a pair, an ‘old flame’ and her “loaded” brother, from the area to laugh upon the locals (or so he believes).

Fireworks showcase a sudden shift in mood amidst the paltry gathering, as the ‘countdown’ nears zero a thump upon the roof transpires into the revelers taking their celebrations outside. An object removed from the roof, an African spear from centuries previous, stuns the party goers into silence (“What the hell is going on in Wales?”). Moments later a body falls from the same roof after a little prodding “A dead black man just fell outta the sky onto my house, well it’s not actually my house but…”

One of the party goers, travelling all the way from London, has prior experience with Steve, the honor of having the rich brother and a mysterious background in both anthropology and strange goings on. An impromptu face time, behind closed doors, with her enigmatic employer brings about a personal standpoint that time travel doesn’t exist and nor do aliens but the look on her face shows that she isn’t convinced and several questions still remain unanswered.

Sudden “incidences” of an audio manner bring about raised eyebrows and a slew of quizzical glances, there’s something afoot and it isn’t at all right. Continents away, in a sequestered hotel, members of the Canary Project discover more about the predicament at hand, and similar incidences which have plagued the globe for decades, but are held at bay under orders to merely observe and report. Frustrations understandably arise but their hands are tied.

canaries-sci-fi-comedy

Hah, behind me you say? I’m not falling for that!

The appearance of various humanoid types with extended fingernails (blue work gloves with talons to be kind though later explained as’ replicated’ members of a fishing boat from out of Mass. USA) in yellow rain slickers, comically referred to as ‘vampire fisherman’ (with no relation to the movie IT in which a yellow raincoat/slicker also appears) add a slasher approach (slathered in comic relief) to the film and the township becomes the location of an extraterrestrial invasion, albeit one with a sluggish pace accompanied by oddly abrupt rain showers.

On the run our heroes find themselves navigating the small townships hilly gradients and streets in search of an internet connection so that they might be able to connect with others “in the know”.

Later conversations, all on a need to know, highly classified, basis, shed light on the possible reasons for the rain slickers (which aren’t props left over from a recent Stephen King novelization) but questions still remain, do the antagonist have an Amazon account or a frequent shopper card at ‘Rainslickers R’ Us’ where they might have a significant discount for buying in bulk?

Canaries - aw fer fucks sake

Aw, fer fucks sake!

Our heroes soon find themselves surrounded, (just how big was the crew on that fishing trawler?) in the company of a friend of a friend and under the looming shadow of a myriad of UFOs. “Aw, fer fucks sake!” about covers it! And the movie is through with the legend, to be continued…, boldly emblazoned across the screen.

Understandably this is somewhat an unusual approach for me in reviewing a film, draped in spoilers. I’ve added perhaps more than I should in regards to its synopsis, though not merely enough to spoil the viewing experience. Alien Party Crashers, or Canaries (which ever one chooses to call it, dependent on their location) has a great deal going for it. It boasts likable characters, the flirtatious vibe of Hannah Daniel (playing Agnes D) comes to mind as well characters no miniscule town should be without, namely a grizzled, grumpy, ancient type in this case appearing convincingly in the form of a bar-owner, ex school teacher and local cop Jenkins (portrayed by Robert Pugh). Naturally Steve and his antics steals every scene though Sunita, his former love interest (though its up for debate by both parties involved) portrayed by Sheena Bhattessa and Tsilala Brock in her role as Marcie Gillman, a Special Ops intern, add a sense of gender reversal/female empowerment to the film that’s refreshing and isn’t too blatantly over the top.

Canaries female empowerment

So, you’re telling me you know how to use that!

The films pace is enjoyable and its premise intriguing in a playful and promising manner, as opposed to a technical and overtly scientific one. To put it another way, this has the power to appeal to most everyone regardless of education level or status in ‘geekdom’. At times however the approach misses the mark, plot holes are gaping, and I can only hope that a sequel will perhaps help to tie up loose ends and expand upon others which have been hinted at as there are, as it stands, more than a few. One, the inclusion of a character who appears in the party with zero introduction other than her liking for cold beers (I can only hope I didn’t miss something) though who secures a prime hiding spot later as our vivid colored jacketed friends appear on screen.

The soundtrack/score (courtesy of Marengast) complements the film and adds just the right amount of atmosphere and appropriate mood when required, the choice to utilize this throughout rather than snippets of popular songs in places is applaudable in my opinion, a risk that pays off as obviously the familiarity of tracks which are embedded in the psyche due to over-exposure (from radio play, etc) brings about instant emotion and mood whereas a score might not, but this one works.

Alien-Party-Crashers Canaries

The US release “look”

In conclusion, yes, this movie could have been better, though it could also have been much worse (I’ve seen shoddier efforts with superior budgets). What saves Alien Party Crashers are its characters, their interactions, its humor which doesn’t always hit the spot (again this is probably dependent on one’s sense of humor) and the films pace though not necessarily its effects. I was admittedly hoping for more, though if truth be told I’m probably spoiled based on my admiration of Bad Taste, Brain Dead and similar films from the same undisputed B arena slathered in gratuitous, unflinching, tongue in cheek carnage. Here’s to a sequel, a larger budget, better utilization of likable characters and the tying up of loose ends.

Alien Party Crashers is currently available Stateside on DVD and VOD From High Octane Pictures.

Cult

Abrasive Audio (Part Sixteen)

black metal burgers

Could these be considered Black metal sandwiches?

Introducing the sites first “Black Metal Split” sandwich

(Aka; sandwiching my usual diverse content between two split releases I should have gotten to much earlier (my apologies to those concerned)

Nihtwintre/Albanach ar Dheis (split)
Cassette/Digital format
Release – May/14/2019
Epicurus Records

nihtwintre split

https://nihtwintre.bandcamp.com/

(Note – this is the running order of the cassette, the digital order is reversed)

ARTWORK – 7

Strangely this image reminds me of the movie Trollhunter. Is this an ice giant or merely a perturbed mature gent awoken from a night’s rest to realize someone has trodden all over his freshly planted vegetable garden?

Side A; Albanach ar Dheis (Canada)
(Tracks 1,2)

Epic values drench the first track (as if its length didn’t give it away?) alongside a narrative lyrical approach, dualistic male and female vocals, keyboard atmosphere and undeniable melodic qualities, the effect makes for an overall pleasing introduction. The second track is longer still (coming in at close to eleven minutes) and boasts atmosphere aplenty, a synth folk vibe as well a slew of somewhat traditional (genre) majestic riffs. Managing to hold the attention throughout with its undeniable fluid and mesmerizing qualities it has the attention of a fan who usually doesn’t dwell in black metal (realms) enrapt.

Symphonic black metal which invokes images of epic battles, forests and melancholy, all in all, audio I can subscribe to without reservation or regret. A quite brilliant slice of audio which could well provoke abrupt exploration into audio realms enigmatic and undiscovered.

9
Side B; Nihtwintre (USA)
(Tracks 3,4 and 5)

Stabbing riffs, with an ice-cold aura, accent a drumming salvo to incite vivid imagery of an unforgiving realm draped in antiquity and menace. Narrated by a snarling vocal accompaniment the overall effect is a promising introduction. The second track is the highlight of Nihtwintre’s trio. Complete with groove (yes, groove) and majestic qualities its rhythms strangely invoke chilling atmosphere, a stunning combination. The trio climaxes in much the same manner, an undisputable frigid aura complemented by underlying groove (though not as pronounced as the track before) and riffs that tell of both medieval ancestry and eternal conflict (the harsh element of nature as well the nature of man).  A stunning trio which rounds out a mesmerizing split, showcasing how diverse the genre of atmospheric black metal is, which is deserved of much attention.

8.5

pathetic

OVERALL INITIAL LISTEN – 9
Pathetic – Rat King
(Canada)
Release – July/12/2019
Independent
Qabar PR
https://pathetic666.bandcamp.com/
 ARTWORK – 8

An intriguing image (a creature of sorts compiled of those it’s ‘consumed’, some albeit partially) which offers a myriad of intricate details and grotesqueries. Warranting closer inspection this image hints at brutality, menace and activities of similar ilk therefore I imagine audio of the same variety. Color me intrigued!

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

A distortion laden introduction recalls Acid Bath while the music itself, once it gets started, is accompanied by a soundbite, reeks of the old school with a touch of southern melody, and mid-tempo groove

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

A glorious mixture of influences keeps this album rolling. D-beat rhythms cavort with old school values and plodding riffs akin to that of the earliest Grave material. The word even comes to mind from time to time. Lyrics often reek of a deliciously jaded Pungent Stench vibe, add this to an occasionally wicked soundbite, a dirge-laden tone ripped straight from the basement of the underground 90’s (think Bolt Thrower, Terrorizer) and a pace which often picks up frequently offering groove one cannot sit still to and you have all the right ingredients for an album which feels like it might have been released twenty-something years too late though manages to offer an aura that’s instantly enjoyable and so damn easy to appreciate it borders on criminal. A sublime combination in short which pleases the senses and demands constant attention.

Highly recommended and sure to please those with a penchant for the extreme and values deeply rooted in the old school death/grind department.

Favorite Tracks; The Fatal Charade, Going Postal, Shetani, Defecating Upon the Grave of the Grand Wizard, Empty Threat.

WizardRifle

Wizard Rifle – s/t
(USA)
Release – August/30/2019
Svart Records
Dewar PR
https://wizardrifle.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 7.5

Newsflash; Reports claim that a bright bold logo is seen rising from the earth at an alarming rate alert the authorities, call the National Guard but most of all prepare thyself…

FIRST TRACK – 9.5

Its been awhile but I do believe I’ve found an act who can finally compare to the overall indescribable nature of Brutal Juice. For those who aren’t in the know they boast a sound that’s a wicked mixture of others styles much like what Wizard Rifle offer. A fantastic track I could scribble upon at length though shall refrain from doing so until the release has reached its climax.

INITIAL LISTEN – 9.5

Every once in a while, a promo lands in the email with a description so wild that it demands attention, as promos tend to do. This is another such instance. And being the ever-curious type I pounced. And was not disappointed in the slightest. The sound is altogether mesmerizing, even from the albums first notes, while wholly unclassifiable. The exuberance and energy are undeniable and infectious whilst the rhythms and tempo are ever evolving, shifting like an amorphous beast the likes of which you’d kindly invite in from the cold for a spot by the fire. Brutality and menace are far from what’s on offer here. Doom values meld with punk attitude while the word alternate is bounced around like a circular blur in a championship hockey finale (you were expecting a nod to a certain team? Not here, mate!) Dense riffs collide with sacrificial drum salvos and plodding rhythms transform into galloping frenzied moments all accented by a diverse vocal tirade which incorporates melody, shouting and angst in equal measures. An epic feel underscores the whole shebang though its hardly given much heed as the music whisks the listener away to undiscovered realms, vistas and valleys frequented by constructs which are non-sensical yet accepted as easily as a birthday check, in the mailbox, from a long lost relative.  An atmosphere permeates this same location, a thick smoke hazy with indistinct, fleeting, influence which is familiar yet hard to pinpoint as another replaces its spot within seconds. The album does however have its share of trance/drone moments, instances in which the style doesn’t flutter like the wings of a butterfly, the conclusion to “Funeral of the Sun” is a fantastic example. Fitting is the final tracks moniker, the fifth track known as “V”. The tempo within this is decidedly upbeat bringing to mind Slayer in the first few bars but then late dwindling to a tempo which could best be described as adrenaline infused stoner rock which later changes again to bring to mind Jesus Lizard albeit with a pace that’s not associated with them in the slightest.

Album of the year contender right here, folks. And this is purely based on a first listen basis, I’m of the mind that this will only get better with age.  My only gripe is that this has a street date of late-August, sure I can enjoy it courtesy of the promo package which came my way but I want others to be able to also. The wait is killing me. In the meantime, I’ll let this parade its way through my senses again and do my best to let the smile which is contorting my features not take total control of my faculties.

katechon

Katechon – Sanger Fra Auschwitz
(Norway)
Release – March/1/2019
Saturnal Records
Qabar PR
https://katechon.bandcamp.com/
ARTWORK – 6

Dark, depressive and dreary. Is this an indication of that which I’m about to hear, I can but only wonder?

FIRST TRACK – 7

I’m getting (mid-era) Satyricon vibes again (and this appears to be a constant throughout this piece) this track plods along complete with an ominous tone, unmistakable menace and a familiar traditional vocal style which isn’t at all out of place within its surroundings.

INITIAL LISTEN – 7.5

From early on I deciphered that I wouldn’t be able to understand a bloody word and I was correct, regardless this is intriguing audio indeed, given more an enigmatic/archaic feel based on the fact (that again) I can’t understand the lyrics and their context ( I seriously need to find time to do some research). Furious paced yet moody. Traditional black yet doom laden. Melodic yet vicious. This typifies the variety within the genre which most people still continue to shun. Much like the genre this has a great deal to offer, over and above what those with closed minds, who continue to spawn ignorance, assume. Rhythms are varied as too are the moods and atmosphere making for a release which most fans of the scene will be able to appreciate and easily consume, perhaps even a few who have little knowledge of the scene but who are steadily becoming more accustomed to it, like myself.

Favorite Tracks; Eloi, Ankomst, Davids Skjold.

overt enemy possession

Overt Enemy – Possession
(USA)
Release – August/9/2019
Confused Records
Dewar PR
https://overtenemy.bandcamp.com/
 ARTWORK – 7

Lady, lady. Hey lady. I wouldn’t swallow that if I were you.

We’ll I guess it’s too late, I’m outta’ here before this broad starts to spray the town in split pea soup, a vomitous odor and utilize a crucifix in an unsettling, though deviantly erotic, manner.

FIRST TRACK – 9

Aggressive thrash in a style that’s criminally addictive, infectious, movement inducing but most of all eerily recognizable. This tosses me back to when I first laid ears upon ‘Hell Awaits’ and it’s that far off of the same caliber.

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Slayer worship through and through (there’s even a ripping cover of ‘At Dawn They Sleep’ and the bassists name even has a decidedly “Slayer” slant to it) of that there’s no doubt but Overt Enemy execute the style so damn well that odds are they’ll take the vacated throne without a qualm and little complaint. My only issue with this is that’s it’s too damn short, I want more!! I guess I’ll be forced to spin this again, again and again (or even ‘piece by piece’).

This is the type of thrash which I can subscribe to, it’s vicious, fluid, fast but most of all wicked Fn’ great!

I’m eager for a full length!

portada

Concilivm – The Veiled Enigma (EP)
(Chile)
Release – January/18/2018 (limited edition cassette)
Von Frost Records
(reissue on CD; May/31/2019 via Dawning Septic Productions)
https://concilivm.bandcamp.com/album/the-veiled-enigma
ARTWORK – 7

Classical in tone; St George and the Dragon shenanigans I’m thinking, though it could be anything, a preying mantis lighting a torch perhaps, or is he/she balancing a spear on their nose? Do they even have a nose…? I give up!

FIRST TRACK – 8

An effective introduction leads into a bout of old school riffing ala vintage Gorguts tinged by diabolical melody and vocals of the death doom variety. This is tight and executed with flair. So why is it that I haven’t heard of this until now?

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

I honestly have no idea how it is that I haven’t heard this until now (I seem to have stated that before) this is impressive audio showcasing a mid-pace with death doom sensibilities, groove and enough menace to incite nightmares for an entire kindergarten class, including the teacher. Influence is varied from the above mentioned to Gorefest, Divine Eve, Bolt Thrower and a slew of other European acts around the explosion of the death scene circa the early 90’s. Dirge cavorts with a diabolical nature with often intriguing rhythms, the vocals fit like a tailor made suit for the icing on the cake.

Give this a moment of your time and I believe you’ll be impressed also.

Favorite Tracks; Dark Zenith, Breaking of the Return, Epistemology of Darkness (bonus track).

goregang

Goregäng – Neon Graves
(USA)
Release – May/20/2019
Transcending Obscurity Records
https://goregangband.bandcamp.com/album/neon-graves-death-metal-crust
ARTWORK – 8

Vivid and eye opening, much as the title suggests. I’m left to wonder what’s leaking from the grave and will the resulting malformation find itself walking down main street in search of a signed copy of the first season of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. Yuck, stay away, keep back! Stay away!

FIRST TRACK – 7

The introduction has a definite ominous edge boding towards one would imagine (based on the law of averages) audio of brutal death/atmospheric nature. The first track however has undeniable hardcore leanings, gang vocals and a stabbing approach bordering at times on a style Fear Factory are known for. A diverse mixture for sure which although I’m not totally falling ‘ass over tit’ for, still makes me curious as to what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN – 7.5

Considerable oomph and surprising production values give this release eye-opening appeal. The style herein is varied, though familiar throughout, spanning a wide radius of the extreme metal arena tipping its hat from one track to the next to a slew of ground-breaking acts including Entombed, Grave and Bolt Thrower. A thick style Dirge frolics hand in hand with the “buzzsaw” HM2 sound and groove often jumps into the fold to join in on the fun to play a huge part in the overall mix. Rhythms are predominantly mid-paced and occasional atmosphere is used effectively (especially in the case of “Neon Graves”) keeping the predictability level at a minimum. Overall this is a release which will have listeners reminiscing on a slew of albums (the type everyone should revisit on a regular basis) albeit injected with the production values and exuberant tone which sets this apart from the hordes of others also vying for attention in much the same manner.

Favorite Tracks; Silence is Consent, Neon Graves, Plague of Hammers, The Era of Human.

vokonis

Vokonis – Grasping Time
(Sweden)
Release – September/6/2019
The Sign Records
Dewar PR
https://vokonis.bandcamp.com/album/grasping-time
 ARTWORK – 7

Nice kitchen. But, oh dear. I believe you got shafted on the vaulted ceiling request.

FIRST TRACK – 8

There’s zero introduction with this track, the listener is immediately whisked away to epic doomsville. An unscheduled stop on the outskirts brings them to a dusty location where sludge and melodic rock values converse over coffee, edibles and a raspberry filled ‘Danish’.

A great start which effectively introduces Vokonis and their specific brand of non- traditional down tuned audio.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

Amazingly enough Vokonis have created audio which bridges the gap between Kyuss and Mastodon, liberal sprinklings of psychedelia and a myriad of progressive passages are gleefully companions along for the ride. Featuring riffs with enough distort to shake the Great Wall to dust and an epic nature boasting melodic yet always heavy undertones, the album makes for quite the multi layered audio journey which many might be initially skeptical about. However, somehow, Vokonis manage to pull this mammoth feat off without a hitch. In a seamless manner that’s both entertaining and enthralling (often hypnotic) the band utilize an assortment of brilliantly executed moods aided by shifting rhythms and several vocal styles to keep the senses alight with intrigue. The result is an album which garners the attention instantly though somehow still demands several listens to fully appreciate.

Favorite Tracks; Sunless Hymnal, I Hear the Siren, Embers, Fading Lights.

Darkhorse_OldStar

Dark Throne – Old Star
(Norway)
Release – May/31/2019
Peaceville Records
http://peaceville.com/bands/darkthrone/
ARTWORK – 9.5

Intricate black and white imagery with a definite medieval style. The more one looks closer the more details become apparent. Demons cavorting with nature or an orgy of grotesqueries? Whatever it is this is mesmerizing!

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

Please note that this Is my first full album experience with Dark Throne. Admittedly black metal was never my thing but now I’m finding myself warming up to all it has to offer due in most part to continued prods and “Reccs” from Void (whom I continue to curse and thank continuously, and often at the same time).

Whoa, this Is not entirely what I was expecting. This is melodic, mid -tempo and it has rhythm to spare. I’ve heard dissent among long-time fans that this isn’t what they were expecting and reviews are split down the middle, but I’m finding myself liking this…a lot! The production isn’t what I as expecting either based on I guess my own assumptions, this is clean, far from primitive. The instruments are distinct and the sound, if truth be told, reminds me in part of Sartyricon (newer material not the older, faster audio) mixed with groove tinged Celtic Frost. A fantastic start which leaves me intrigued for what surprises and the remainder of the album will bring to my ears.  

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

This continues to enthrall me from track to track. From the first to the epic and traditional heavy metal riff polluted (though not in a horrid sense) and doom laden second through to its final track; a groove infested doom opus “The Key is Inside the Wall”. This isn’t in the slightest what I was expecting (think I’ve mentioned that before) it’s slower, moody and powerful. But this is something I will definitely spin again, and often if given the chance. I’d suggest keeping the mind open, and the preconceived notions at bay before you spin this especially if you’re at all familiar with their past discography.

Favorite Tracks; I Muffle Your Inner Choir, The Hardship of The Scots, The Key is Inside the Wall.

detherous

Detherous – Hacked to Death
(Canada)
Release – August/16/2019
Redefining Darkness Records
https://redefiningdarknessrecords.bandcamp.com/album/detherous-hacked-to-death
ARTWORK – 9

I’m a little bias here, I’ll admit. As a ‘gorehound’ this image hits all the right notes, recalls VHS covers from the “Video Nasty” era (even puts me in mind of Cancer’s ‘The Gory End’) but is likely an image plucked from the Hatchet franchise. Admittedly I’m more than a little excited, and the music hasn’t even started yet!

FIRST TRACK – 8.5

If the immediate influence which comes to mind isn’t the obvious (and the first word in the genre in which this resides) then I’m honestly not sure what to say. A fantastic track that grabs the attention and gets the adrenaline spiking. I have a sneaking suspicion this is going to be a ‘banger’ (whatever that means!)

INITIAL LISTEN – 9

Channeling Malevolent Creation, Death and Asphyx, Detherous have managed to create a style that’s exuberant, furious (boasting exquisite time changes and abrupt mosh frenzy changes in pace) and technical. Familiar, with nods to the fury of early Kreator and the rhythm transformations of Slayer, easily appreciated and nostalgic yet a breath of fresh air to a scene that’s recently become overcrowded with atmosphere. This is audio which unceremoniously pulls one back to the old school (both European and American) and does a great job of doing so. Call it homage, call it what you will but there’s no doubt this is executed with passion, flair and precision. This is an album which will be in heavy rotation, mark my words!

Keep an eye out for these folks for if this is any indication, they’re going places!

Favorite Tracks; Smoldering Ashes, Ridden, Monstrosity, Brain Death.

vault dweller

Vault Dweller – Existence at a Distance (EP)
(USA)
Release – June/7/2019
Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/existence-at-a-distance
ARTWORK – 8.5

A vicious knife assault from all corners, who’s the assailant? A Poltergeist, and for what reason? This is obviously up for discussion but there’s no doubt that this is a wicked image.

FIRST TRACK – 7.5

An ‘old timey’ soundbite as an introduction, it works brilliantly to set the scene telling of spilling blood for all manner of things, however trivial. The audio soon transforms into grinding whirlwind riffage with distinct punk leanings added to by howling vocals.

A decent introduction to the band and their version of the grind style.

INITIAL LISTEN – 7.5

An Ep which lasts barely more ten minutes, one would immediately think of audio in a grind realm and they wouldn’t be far wrong for have no doubts this is what this is.

Brutal, to the point salvos (though running epic lengths for tracks under the grindcore moniker) completed by surprising melody and gale-force vocals make for a foray that’s a tad different than most in the same genre. Add to that a variety of 60’s movie sci-fi synth explorations and you have a release that’s a refreshing step (albeit a small one!) away from the norm.

Favorite Tracks; Ego Beast, Somebody Blow me Up, Bad Gateway.

ov lustra

Ov Lustra – Tempestas
(USA)
Release – June/7/2019
Black Lion Records
Qabar PR
https://ovlustrablacklion.bandcamp.com/album/tempestas
ARTWORK – 8

A definite fantasy edge is prevalent here. With the lone figure in the center one could also imagine a quest of sorts, which leads one to believe this might be a concept album.

FIRST TRACK – 9

Symphonic, though not overly so, with an undeniable blackened death aura of the technical/melodic variety. An overall concoction/effect which works brilliantly, aided to by way of top-notch production values, adding depth and a cinematic aura.

INITIAL LISTEN – 8.5

A concept album (which hardly feels like such) based on fantastical narrative aided by orchestral brilliance originating from Francesco Ferrini (Fleshgod Apocalypse) and technical leanings with melodic undertones sounds like an intriguing premise, right? In this case the premise is so much more than merely that… the idea has paid off. Showcasing exquisite musicianship, a powerful symphonic backdrop, rhythms which constantly shift and a vocal accompaniment which fits the style Ov Lustra have managed to capture the delicate balance needed to keep the listener intrigued and the audio far from being overwhelming in its intensity. The overall audio is fluid, seamless in its approach and bears unmistakable cinematic scope which only aids in its appeal and invokes vivid imagery along with the sinuous fantastical narrative.

The inclusion of orchestral editions of the first four tracks lends an edge which is not typically seen, a fantastic touch and nod, appreciation, to fan support. The reissue of four tracks (‘I’, ‘Felle’, ‘Ov Lustra’ and ‘Arrival’) serves to spark interest in the bands past work and shows maturity, precision and development from past to present material.

Favorite Tracks; Tempestas, Ov Delicate Rage, Felle, Ov Lustra.

Highly recommended for fans of Inferis, Vale of Pnath, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Septic Flesh and Cradle of Filth.

Recc from Fistful of Doom (@flatulentfuzz on Twitter)

fistful of doom

Archaic Tomb – Persecution Paraphenalia/ / Cryptworm – Putrefactive Regurgitation (7” split EP/Tape)
Release – April/19/2019
Cassette/Digital
Blood Harvest Records
https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/persecution-paraphrenalia-putrefactive-regurgitation

 

ARTWORK – 8.5

blood harvest split

Gnashing teeth, a demon, wings and sublime archaic black and white imagery, nuff said!

Archaic Tomb (Portugal)

Cavernous, dense and sporting intricate rhythm nuance. Hardly melodious and yet there is definite rhythm to be found amidst the dirt-laden brutality and a certain diabolical nature, the smoldering, sizzling finale is a great touch. Overall, an intriguing track which has me salivating for a more definite illustration of what the band can spawn.

8  
Cryptworm (UK)

Gargling, guttural, vocals accompany a sickening tone which has me tumbling back to the brutality I first encountered when discovering the scene many moons ago (around the early 90’s in fact) within a Peaceville, “Deaf Metal”, sampler (which if one is unfamiliar with should check into immediately).

Groove-laden madness slathered in vintage death values, the influence is easy to see (for those paying attention) and tracks title about says it all in regards to what tom expect though doesn’t describe how infectious this is if one’s past is checkered with much the same audio. I’m grinning from ear to ear, though I understand I‘m of the minority who remember music stores, vinyl, compilations rather than YouTube for discovering new tunage and Tipper Gore’s attempts at censoring music.

8
Overall Initial Listen – 8

If brutality and down tuned sickness with melody, rather than noise, is your thing wrap your ears around this!

Plucked from Metal Past

witchburner

Witchburner – Bloodthirsty Eyes
(Germany)
Release – February/22/2013
High Roller Records
https://www.discogs.com/Witchburner-Bloodthirsty-Eyes/release/5349624
Thoughts –

Occasionally I’ll dip into metals past. Often, I’ll reflect upon an album I have fond memories upon, in this instance I’m going to drop a few thoughts upon an album and a release I stumbled upon quite by accident. Recently I went to a show (the first in a few years) and happened to set eyes on a band entitled WitchRipper. For some reason however, I referred to them as Witchburner and this ladies and gents is where my quest began. Is there a band with such a name, indeed there is, and what do they have to offer? Here are my thoughts…

‘Bloodthirsty Eyes’ is the bands seventh full-length, and their most recent, in over a twenty-year span, if the album art (a collective of undead types clamoring for attention from a hooded mysterious type seated upon a throne) doesn’t make you want to spin it you’re obviously not into everything undead in theme as much as yours truly. The album is quick to make an impression with both its wicked pace and venom-fueled vocal attack. The beats are incendiary in nature and often quick to get to the point. If you’re not moving when “Possession” caresses the senses odds are you have little, to zero, appreciation for frantic head bangin’ mayhem and the finest the genre has to offer. Naturally it’s a high point in the album alongside the albums stunning acoustic introduction and opener, “Sermon of Profanity” which sports somewhat of an Exodus vibe albeit ‘Tempo of the Damned’ era in feel. Other standouts come fast, furious and often and include the frantic paced “The Path of the Sinner”, “Apocalyptic Visions” which boasts a Master and Slayer vibe, “Never Surrender” with an undeniable foot tapping vibe, “Bloody Countess” (bonus track) after all who can’t appreciate a track about a blood thirsty, pasty faced, beauty stuck in a castle sans the glory of the internet to waste away those rainy days (*wot another? I don’t care!) and a classic from their first LP “Possessed by Hellfire”.

Stick some ears on this and discover what you’ve been missing. Unless you already have, in which case why didn’t you tell me about it?

cult of osiris split

Daemonibus Inita Vigilia (3-way split)
Release – June/10/2019
Digital
Cult of Osiris
https://cultofosiris.bandcamp.com/album/daemonibus-inita-vigilia
ARTWORK – 8

I’m intrigued by this primitive wicked imagery. Naturally black and white art is one my weaknesses and this immediately puts me in mind of underground old school values.

Apothecary (USA) – Insect Vigil

A swift, spiraling, descent into madness. An experimental outing which combines elements of grindcore, black metal, ambient and avant Garde’ for an overall dizzying experience. Chaotic, archaic, primal, often confusing but always disorienting there appears to be no semblance of order. Non-traditional in its construct and absolutely non-conforming this is recommended for the brave, for those who can see past what is often perceived as normalcy, and what’s easily accepted by the senses.

6
Crossburner (Spain) – Guland I

Unforgiving and primal, this track strangely sports a smidgen of punk influence within its pitch sensibilities. Assaulting the senses with a whirlwind of industrial grade riffage it bears more a traditional black metal approach albeit one that’s basted in archaic production values. A wickedness, a menace that’s melodic though malicious in intent heralded by rasped vocals which only adds to the effect.

7
Uten Håp (Svalbard) – Inner Demons

Cacophonous and blasting in intensity, the rhythm herein is unrelenting and soon builds to a hypnotic state. Snarled vocals add to an effect akin to being in the eye of a storm. A furious slab of pitch darkness delivered on a bed of menacing pace sure to alight the intrigue of the more traditional black metal community. A fitting finale to split which shows Cult of Osiris sticking to his guns and the label showcasing talent which depicts the genre as it was always meant to be, extreme, far from popular with only the darkest of audio intentions, not monetary reward, in mind. Musical expression which cares not for cultural constructs or borders but rather freedom of expression through audio tainted by pitch values and an often DIY primitive nature.

7.5
OVERALL INITIAL LISTEN – 7

 Well there you have it, the sites first ‘sandwich review’ piece!

As always feel free to tell me your thoughts, comment, recommend and please share. Let’s keep the word of metal, in all of its various disguises, alive and thriving for the next generation to enjoy no matter its ‘form’ at that point in time.

Cult

The Eldritch Truth Interview

(Would the “Great Old Ones”, and/or the” Elder Things” approve?)
The Eldritch Truth album art

Release date May/17/2019

 I recently had the pleasure of being able to listen to, and put a few words upon, a release which is drastically different than what could be considered a normal run-of-the-mill extreme audio affair. Sanguinary Origins is an EP consisting of only two tracks and runs barely eight minutes in length. Eight minutes? One might ponder; that’s hardly enough time to whet the appetite. And that’s where one would be wrong. That amount of time is more than sufficient to leave the listener dazed, disoriented and flummoxed (what a wonderful word!) I’ve attempted (in my own words) to describe what can only be experienced when hitting PLAY; “A kaleidoscope of styles assaults the listener instantly inciting disorientation, discombobulation, a state leading to madness I would only predict following a slew of repeated listens.” But mere words alone cannot come close to what the audio offers. What better way then, than to delve into the minds of those responsible to get a better understanding of the audio, of what it is they hope to achieve, and what the future might bring.

Let’s start things off;

Tell us a little about yourselves and how The Eldritch Truth came to be?

The Eldritch Truth consists of myself (Caleb Johnson, Guitar player/Bass/Drum & Synth programming) and Justin Cook who handles all lyric writing and vocals. I had a previous project that was moving too slow for my liking, so I took it upon myself to start something new. I whipped up a 20 second clip to share and posted in a couple Facebook groups looking for a vocalist. Justin was one of the first to comment and seemed super enthusiastic and we hit off immediately and have been 100% on the same page ever since.

(Justin Cook- vocals, lyrics): I’ve always been a huge fan of the most extreme styles of metal. I used to do throat percussion for a band when I was younger. I eventually went full-time into the cannabis industry and didn’t make music for ~10 years. The urge to create had gotten to a boiling point a few months back. I found Caleb’s post on FB and liked the sound immediately!

Lovecraft by Hartman

Lovecraft by Hartman

 

Why the fascination with all manner of things Lovecraftian in tone?

(Caleb): This one is hard to put in to words. I loved Lovecraft before I even knew who he was. The concept of extra dimensional cosmic horrors living in the same space as us but beyond our mortal sights intrigued me. Though I should mention the music is also very inspired by Bloodborne the video game which itself is heavily inspired from the works of Lovecraft.

(JC): I am an avid reader, and Lovecraft was among my favorites, so when Caleb presented the theme, I was excited to have an excuse to re-re-re-read a lot of Lovecraft’s writing! I have to say that studying the video game, Bloodborne, has been fascinating too!

 How about your influences? Those of us who have laid ears upon your audio can attest to your music channeling influence from across a huge radius of extreme genres. Can you elaborate on your decision to adopt the ‘unconventional’ style which you have?

(Caleb): To be honest the most thought I put in to what style I wanted to make was basically “I want to make technical metal with breakdowns and Lovecraft”. Other than that, I listen to a wide range of music, and have never been one to learn other bands songs so I don’t have a singular underlying influence. My music taste leans heavily on the prog/experimental spectrum so I’m sure that’s where the quirkiness comes from.

(JC): My influences are a kaleidoscope. I listen to everything from Coltrane to Disgorge, etc. I like music that is challenging in terms of structure and play-ability, so as soon as I heard what Caleb was brewing up, I was 100% in!

Lovecraft The Great Old One

This is not an artists rendition of SLC. Or, is it?

 The obvious elephant in the room; your location. The area has quite the rap based on its founding and undeniable religious elements how is the ‘scene’ in Salt Lake (Utah)? Wouldn’t it just have been easier to don a shirt, tie and go door to door preaching the ‘good book’?

(Caleb): You’d be surprised actually. SLC has a great music scene that is ruined by the laws and religion of the land. People don’t go to bars so great bands in the area will go unheard, but I could find a “sub”-scene for every genre of metal from deathcore to doom. Where there’s oppression there’s also rebellion and Utah is rife with it.

(JC): I actually live in Boise, ID.

 What have you planned for the future, anything you might be able to tease? Where might you want to be in like say a years’ time?

 (Caleb): We don’t plan on waiting too long to release a 2nd two-track E.P. which is gonna’ have a surprise or two that we are sure people are gonna’ lose their shit over, and that’s planned for a mid-August release. As for a year or more? Man, who knows. The reception we’ve had has already exceeded our expectations considerably, all I can say is we won’t stop releasing music.

(JC): Wherever we organically end up in a year is exactly where I’d like to be! Just as long as we’re making music, I’m happy!

Lovecraft The Deep Ones

“We’re gonna need a bigger boat”

 

 If you had the chance to set up an ideal tour or collaborating artist(s) who would you include and why?

 (Caleb): A sick tour which won’t ever happen unfortunately would be Rings of Saturn, Infant Annihilator, Berried Alive (sp?), and us. For maybe obvious reasons, but these bands were a clear inspiration for the project.

(JC): What Caleb said.

Let’s try a Quickfire round:

Favorite Black metal Album?

(Caleb): Enslaved – RIITIIR

(JC): Naglfar- Harvest

Naglfar- Harvest

Thrash Album?

(Caleb): Rust in Peace (Megadeth)

(JC): Seasons in the Abyss (Slayer)

Death Album?

(Caleb): The Sound of Perseverance (Death. Perhaps I should have phrased the question better? *Ed)

(JC): Anomalous – Cognitive Dissonance

Movie?

Yoda-Quotes

Because no article is complete without the inclusion of the wise ‘old green one’

(Caleb): Star Wars in general

(JC): There are too many movies in my

favorites list to say definitively, but 2001 A Space Odyssey, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Into the Wild are definite standouts for me

Book?

(Caleb): Does my complete works of Lovecraft count?

(JC): Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted, Palahniuk’s Rant, and Jeffery Lowenfel’s “Teaming With” series (yes, I’m a nerd).

Happy! Comic

Need it deserve mention that the series kicks ass too

Comic book?

(Caleb): I could talk your ears off all night about my favorite comics so best not get me started (ha-ha). Though it’s the cosmic stuff that I read more than anything.

(JC): Happy! By Grant Morrison (Author) and Darick Robertson.

 

Insult?

(Caleb): I can’t say I’ve got an answer for this one. If I insult someone it usually has something to do with the context of the conversation.

(JC): I don’t have a favorite. It’s definitely an “in the moment” type of thing for me.

That’s about it, I’ve tried to keep this as painless an experience as able, what better way to finish an interview than by” handing over the mic”. The floor is all yours; Is there anything you wish to add; anyone you’d like to thank or anything you’d like to promote?

(Caleb): Words cannot express the level of gratitude we have for anyone who listens to our music. It is truly surreal and humbling to say the least.

Love craft indeed

Indeed!

(JC): I’d like to reiterate what Caleb said already, words aren’t capable of scratching the itch that is my desire to shower our listeners with gratitude! I’d like to thank Caleb as well. He’s an open-minded guy who writes amazing music that I get to place obnoxious noises and words on, and for that I am grateful! I’d also like to throw out a quick “Thank You!!!!” to my wife, too! She’s very supportive of our project and allows me the time and space to write/record/promote any time I need to!

Thanks again for your time guys. All the best for the future, I’m excited for where it might lead.

The Eldritch Truth (audio and assorted goodies) can be found on many social media platforms including twitter @EldritchTruth

on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/album/1Ju6x4EUKOAQNqr4nUUQjX?si=ms6iPbeOQGO5lY97-9japw

Bandcamp – https://theeldritchtruth.bandcamp.com/album/sanguinary-origins

And YouTube https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLycUdrBq-bDtsfSTN8mwDj51nTVAssgAn

 Cult

Hopefully my adoration of Lovecraft themed art wasn’t too obvious.