Monday, 9 December 2013
The night was as dark as can be. A crescent moon hung in the sky like the scythe of Satan coming down to destroy humanity in one fell swoop. This night belonged to Watain. This was their third date in the U.K on their Black Death tour of Europe, and the atmosphere outside was one of darkness and anticipation.
The strangest thing happened outside while we were queuing for this show. There were regular looking (compared to the black t-shirt and leather wearing Watain fans) in the same line. My brother proceeded to tell anyone who asked if it was the line for Watain that it was actually the que for Subway, and all he wanted was a meatball sub. Then a couple of ladies in front of us asked who we were there to see. My brother replies "Watain. Who are you here to see". They then looked at each other and one of them said "we don't want to tell you incase you kick our heads in". We did manage to find out that Hanson were playing the same venue, after we explained to them that we aren't the sort of people who go around randomly kicking peoples heads in for not appreciating the same music as we do.
The support bands Watain had chosen were mediocre to say the least. Doom/drone band Coltsblood definitely had the volume to shock the audience, but the music just happened to be too repetitive, with a single riff repeated over and over again, time and again. While I understand that is a pre-requisite with doom/drone bands, it just didn't seem to work for me this time, and by the last song (luckily) I was discussing just how bored I was with their set. Just to let my readers know, I am a fan of Khanate, Reverend Bizarre etc, but for some reason, Coltsblood just didn't do it for me.
Next up to take the stage were Funeral Throne. I could not take them seriously. One of the guitarists looked like he was a rabbit caught in the headlights, constantly opening his eyes as wide as he could, and then attempting to snarl. It gave the impression he had something on the end of his nose, and was trying to focus on it. While the bassist exuded the most energy, my brothers girlfriend commented how it looked like he was making his "sex face". Cue smiles and laughter.
The music was well played though, but I couldn't put my finger on Funeral Throne's style. It seemed to be a mish-mash of black metal, death metal and even a hint of groove sometimes. Not something that I would choose to listen to, but there were a few people who seemed to enjoy it, and I suppose that is all that matters. They just didn't strike chord with me. Maybe it was the anticipation for the headliners. Maybe the support bands just weren't very good.
I was only there for one band though, and yet again Watain fail to disappoint on every level. While the blood, fire and death stage show has been toned down considerably, (no smell apart from incense, and no fire apart from three candles) the new backdrop, the pure sense of evil and frontman Eric Danielsson's spiritual performance made everything that came before instantly forgettable.
As mentioned, the stage show has been toned down, but this allows the audience to pay even more attention to the diabolical music Watain play, each song as perfect as the last. Through eleven tracks, Watain take the audience on a journey to hell, playing classic after classic. A number of the songs are taken from the new album, and it even surprised us that they played "The Wild Hunt", one of the slower and more melodic cuts from their new album of the same name. The band finish on "The Waters of Ain", a near fifteen minute journey that means they run nearly twenty minutes over the curfew. The crowd ate up the misanthropy, this little glimpse into the world of Watain. What they continue to show is that they will not be pinned down by musical restraints or conform to a certain expectation of their performance. Watain are a force unto themselves, and the sheer power they displayed with their presence and music made the night complete. This was only the third date in the bands UK tour, and for them to play such a blinding show is testament to just how powerful Watain are, both as a band, and as an otherworldly force breaking through the darkness into our world
The setlist for the show was as follows:-
1: Night Vision.
2: De Profundis.
4: Devil's Blood.
5: Reaping Death.
6: The Wild Hunt.
7: All That May Bleed.
8: Sworn to the Dark.
10: Holocaust Dawn.
11: Waters of Ain.
Thursday, 5 December 2013
The mighty black metal masters Watain have released a music video for their track "Outlaw" taken from their diabolical opus "The Wild hunt". Be sure to check the video by clicking HERE.
The video is produced by Watain and Johan Bååth who already directed the band's OPUS DIABOLI dvd in 2012.
26 years of blasphemy, hatred and ferocity have bought us to "In the Minds of Evil", the new release from the mighty Decide. Along with classic albums such as their debut, Once Upon the Cross and The Stench of Redemption, there have been a number of complete doozies released by the band such as Insineratehymn and In Torment In Hell. Where will "In the Minds of Evil" fall in with previous Deicide releases?
Well, after numerous plays over the past week, Deicide have yet again released a beast of an album. The one two beating of "In the Minds of Evil" and "Thou Begone" start the album off in an incredibly heavy and furious fashion, and the album looses none of it's ferocity throughout it's thirty seven minute running time. Each song hits you right where it hurts, and reminds the listener just how good, heavy and downright evil Deicide can be. Gone is the tired and lazy sound that was apparent on the two previous albums, to be replaced with a high energy performance in almost all respects.
The first thing that hits you is just how good everything sounds. From Steve Asheim's pummelling drums to Jack Owen and Kevin Quiron's leads and monstrous riffs, everything is so clear, crushing and heavy. Then the songs hit you. Each one drives the band further into the death metal maelstrom they create. The energy this album demonstrates is magnificent. Each track is filled with malice, hate and some of the heaviest riffs Deicide have ever laid down.
The only thing that bothered me about the album is Glenn's vocal performance. Gone are his screams of anguish, only to be replaced by his monstrous but monotonous growl. In every song. It just get's too much sometimes, although his pronunciation and phrasing have improved immensely since Deicide's debut., but that doesn't help his performance feel tired and similar in every song, but this is just a small niggle, because in the grand scheme of things, this is easily Deicide's best album since "The Stench of Redemption". The solo's are also worthy of a mention, moving even further away from the sporadic and Slayer-esque solo's of the Hoffman's, to more rock/blues influenced soloing that has been adapted to fit the death metal template.
"In the Minds of Evil" is Deicide's strongest release for a long while, and goes to show that Benton's hatred of religion is not being tempered with age. It is as strong as ever, and if Deicide carry on releasing albums with the power and fury of "In the Minds of Evil", I will follow them into the mouth of Hell time and again.
Jim VanBebber. A legend in underground cinema, and his partners Stephen Biro and Scott Gabbey (collectively known as Team Gator green) are looking for seed money for launching their company, securing first rate legal representation to prepare an investor offering, create pre-production materials and to produce quality Gator Green investor parties to aid in the investment of the production of the feature film.
Team Gator Green are NOT after the films budget, and unlike some Hollywood crowd-funding projects, they really need your support.
Fellow film fans, let us all pledge what we can, or help to spread the word on what will undoubtedly be an incredible piece of horror cinema.
You can visit the Gator green Indiegogo campaign by clicking HERE.
Tuesday, 1 October 2013
Amityville II: The possession is a tour de force of taboo breaking horror that, on my very first viewing, took me by surprise at just how chilling it is. The film has a deeply disturbing quality that is missing from many horror films, and everything is played straight, with not a joke in sight. This film has it all. Indiscriminate killing, child abuse, incest (yes, they even went there) demonic possession and all sorts of haunted house goings on to keep the viewer interested. The soundtrack compliments the crazy goings on perfectly, adding yet another dimension to the scares.
The Montelli family, which consists of mother Dolores, father Anthony, elder teenage daughter Patricia, elder son Sonny and two younger children, move into the house they always dreamed of owning. Things start off well, but after a tunnel is discovered, things begin taking a turn for the worse, as Sonny begins behaving differently, and the whole family is effected by a negative energy.
The first thing that can be said about Amityville II is just how hard hitting the film actually is. Child abuse, incest, spousal abuse, indiscriminate murder, this film pushes boundaries, and more often than not, it works to great effect. The family break down in this movie is everything Kubrik's The Shining dreamed it could be.
Of course, the majority of movie fans won't agree, but there is something about this movie that chills me to the bone every time I watch it. It's inexplicable. Perhaps it's because I was bought up in a religious household. The power this film holds really is undeniable.
While the film isn't gory in any way, shape or form, it certainly knows how to get under your skin, using P.O.V shots, typical haunted house scares and a brilliant exorcism to add the the demonic goings on.
If you haven't managed to view this film, I suggest you do as soon as possible. While The Amityville Haunting was a slow burn horror film, the sequel/prequel kicks off right away, and builds with scare after scare, breaking taboo after taboo, until it reaches it's unimaginable climax.
Go view what has to be one of the most powerful demonic possession/haunted house movies since The Exorcist.
Sunday, 15 September 2013
Bloodstock!!! The perennial pilgrimage for UK metalheads was underway at Catton Hall, Derby from the 8th to the 12th of August. an unmissable date on the calendar for anyone who cares about metal's history and future, Bloodstock is an important factor in helping to bring up and coming new bands into the public's eye, as well as hosting the gamut of fine, established metal from all subgenres.
That said, while Bloodstock is the premier metal festival of the UK, second to none in showcasing new metal talent, it still didn't go unnoticed that many of bands playing the mainstage were all on Nuclear Blast's roster. That reeks of payola. Yes, these were very good bands, but you'd like to think that what bands get booked has more to do with what the fans want and less to do with a lable's BOGOF incentives.
I have massive respect for the Gregorys, and the whole B'Stock team, so I sincerely hope that isn't the case, but I calls em as I see's em.
Moving on! I tried my best to watch as much as I could at Bloodstock. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak, so what follows is what I managed to drag my sleepy fat ass to, in between stuffing my face with my stash of Hunger Breaks and napping from the sheer exhaustion of doing sweet F.A. It's hard being so metal. Anywho...
Thursday night is party night! Or at least, it should be. After putting up my oversized palace of a tent (it has a carpet!) in the blazing sun, I needed a lie-down, which turned into a full blown nap. Consequently, I missed most of the bands. But, not the most important one:-
Tragedy (9) are a metal tribute to the Bee Gees, and other disco legends of yesteryear, and boy howdy, are they awesome! As if their inception wasn't genius enough, they dazzle the crowd with their reworking of songs that are already timeless gems, transcending genres to get us all in the party mood and having megalolz to boot.
Highlights include It's Reigning Men (a la Reign In Blood), and the spectacular Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight), which in this context is about werewolves! Fan-bloody-tastic. Book them for your Bar Mitzvahs and box socials, immediately.
Gavin McInally, founder of Damnation Festival, did his damnedest to get Earthtone 9 (7) back in action by booking them for their 2010 lineup, and the band have enjoyed a resurrection of their career and much currency among fans new and old ever since. A lost gem of the late 90's, the Nottingham group have cultivated an enjoyable hardcore edge, similar to Feed the Rhino. There's aggression and melody in there, and it's a good thing. It's a hard job waking up hungover metalheads, but they do their best and get a warm reception for their efforts. They're in good form today.
Over to the New Blood Stage, then. It's always a challenge playing the New Blood Stage and clashing with big names on big stages. If you can pull in and retain a crowd, you're on to something.
The first band I see, Rezinwolf (6) is a bit disappointing in this respect. Their reputation precedes them, as is the case with a few of the Metal 2 the Masses winners. They're known for being an awesome band. To be honest though, they ain't all that and a bag o' Doritos. Their thrash pedigree is obvious, but it's fairly run--of-the mill thrash. It has to be said that the solos lack cohesion with the rest of the songs they're in. It's a shame, because the guitarist definitely has the chops to play great solos, they just don't fit in at all.
Sophie Lancaster stage next, to see The Prophecy (8). I LOVE these guys, and I make no secret of that. They're homegrown progressive doom that have been drifting slowly into the same territories as Anathema and Opeth by showcasing their melodic capability, juxtaposed with guttural growls and heavy guitars. They were characteristically excellent, handicapped only slightly by the fact that the guitarist didn't appear to be able to hear himself, and was out of time for the first couple of songs. Nonetheless, the crowd was at least 10 times larger than their last Bloodstock appearance, and deservedly so. Go check them out. Now.
Back on New Blood. Nocturna (6) are bordering somewhere on aggressive and melodic. The sound desk let them down a bit by not boosting the vocals enough. That's a shame, because they had a nice, thick, layered melodic sound. When you can hear the vocals, they are rich and powerful. I was going to recommend seeing them in another setting, but when I met them in the VIP area and told them I'd be recommending them, they didn't seem to give a rat's ass and were totally nonchalant. So, yeah. these guys are actually pretty douchey. I wouldn't bother. You can't even find their Bandcamp page if you Google them, so.... Meh.
Prosperina (8), on the other hand- wow! This power trio from Swansea are the tits! big and atmospheric, at once reminiscent of new Humanfly. They're hard to categorize, so perhaps we shouldn't. They've got tight, driving rhythm-propelled tunes, over which their guitarist-singer imposes compelling melodies. More concerned with big sound than technical finery, which is a good thing, like a warm but boring sweater your nan knitted for you and you secretly love. There's maybe a bit of a Tool/ A Perfect Circle influence in there as well. Very good. highly recommended.
King Diamond (8)
You know when you watch anime, when you wouldn't normally? Maybe a friend recommended it to you, and insisted that it was perfectly accessible, and the overdubbing wasn't that bad; the plot totally followable? So you watch that show/ movie your friend recommends and at the end you have no idea what was going on, why the story jumped around so much, why some characters were so very angry/ happy when seemingly unimportant things were happening, and you just chalk it up to "Maybe some things just get lost in translation"?
I've never seen or heard King Diamond before. I just didn't get it. Maybe it's my age; maybe I fail to grasp how groundbreaking it was when it first came out, maybe the lyrics are poorly translated into English, I'm not sure. But I'm afraid I didn't get it.
That 8 is because, even though I didn't get it, I can recognise the effort that went into the stage show, and the excellent musicianship of the actual band. Yes, full marks for showmanship, especially since the King himself recently recovered from having bypass surgery and was really very ill for a while. Kudos to him for coming back at it with such gusto. What a brave, strange little man. Bravo.
First band I make it to are 3" of Blood (8) on the main stage - these guys are a hoot! They waste no time in breaking out crowd pleasers like Deadly Sinners and Metal Woman, to rapturous glee from those in the know. Their obvious Judas Priest influences have been honed into something truly enjoyable, and still unique. They sound good today, too. I can't see how anyone could not like 3" of Blood.
I plod over to the New Blood Stage to check out Gethika (8), a band I have been aware of for a while but not actually seen yet. It seems they have picked up where American Nightmare left off, makeup and theatrics included. American Nightmare were a good band, so kudos. They're minimalistically theatrical, to be fair, and thoroughly brutal. this band have already made a bit of a name for themselves, and have recently appeared on one of those compilation CD's that comes with Metal Hammer- so, they're getting out there, and show promise to be able to achieve well-known status shortly.
there's an obvious and visible fanbase here. They're all wearing plastic bowler hats. Which is disturbing.
Next up are Scarab (9) in the Sophie Lancaster tent. Like Nile, but actually Egyptian. Brutal like Nile, too. I have absolutely no idea what the lyrics are about, but it sounds epic. These guys purport to be "Egypt's Black Metal Band", as in their only Black metal band. It's a fair claim, as they risk severe punishment for playing and expressing themselves as they do back home, which few would risk doing. That's how much they love and respect the power of metal.
They are obviously truly grateful to be playing here, to such a receptive crowd, and they make that known. Later I see the band members milling about in the festival crowds- hi-fiving people and stopping for pictures and a chat. They really are over the moon to be here, and they deserve it, because they played a blinder of a set.
The wife and I sit back to enjoy Gojira (7), who have the misfortune to have had all their gear lost in transit to Bloodstock. Quelle horreur! They had to borrow a lot of stuff, so couldn't offer their usual level of amazingness and presence, which you will have heard they have in spades. I have to give them the lower score, because it wasn't what it could have been, but Gojira are still amazing, and L'Enfant Sauvage still sounds the DB's.
Sabaton (9) follow Gojira. SABATON!!!! Love em. they have a slightly similar problem to Gojira, in that singer Joakim Brodén have forgotten something utterly quintessential to Sabaton's allure. He isn't wearing his vest. Not to worry though! He somehow spots a chap in the crowd of the exact same build wearing an identical vest, and asks to borrow it. I think the guy tore off a nipple ripping it off to give to Joakim, who is the absolute master of crowd banter, and vocal about how hard it is for him not to swear in English (the performance is streaming live, so subject to Ofcom's rules). He promises to swear when singing in Swedish, so no-one will know.
Brilliant set, the highlight of which is the massive, pounding anthem Panzer Elite, and part the way through he somehow coerces the crowd into chanting for Ikea... "Ikea! Ikea! Ikea!" Funny shit.
Ermahgerd! LERMEHGERD!!! Lamb of God (10) are tonight's headliner. Everyone, especially himself, is so overjoyed to see Randy Blythe free, following his detainment and court appearance in the Czech Republic. Randy has had a rough time, and he celebrates his freedom by throwing himself around like a madman and pouring everything inside him into the mic, washing over the crowd, who in turn give the same energy and joy back to him. The air is full of horns for LOG.
They aren't a technically complicated band, or a pretty bunch of guys, or a showy and theatrical band. They are honest, energetic, and consistently bloody good, and that's all that they need to be to give 100% tonight. They are the jewel in the Bloodstock crown this year.
Fans go ape for Walk With Me in Hell, and Black Label is a familiar friend. Yes, they brought the goods.
There were some big technical problems during the set, and they had to stop playing a few times when power failed. But, the crowd waited, patient and expectant, giving them the reverence they deserve. They finish up, and we all go 'home' happier for having seen them.
By crikey, it's already Sunday! Let's get going, then.
Gama Bomb (7) are good craik! Being of that party-thrash breed, like Municipal Waste, you're guaranteed to have happyfuntimes with the megging-clad Celtic heroes. a good and necessary edition to their year's thrash-festooned lineup.
Whitechapel (8) Have a difficult crowd to win over here. these young guns have enjoyed relatively mainstream success- something which can leave a bitter taste in the mouth of the old crusties, that had to play every dive and toilet just to get a glimpse of a look-in back when.
Whitechapel are the real deal, though. they are completely and utterly brutal- something which their neat little scene haircuts and drainpipe jeans belie. Singer Phil Bozeman clearly gargles with rocks every morning to achieve his guttural and fierce growl.
Verdict: They look like hipster scene kids, but they bring the pain 110%. Good stuff.
Sacred Mother Tongue (6) are not dissimilar to Fozzy. It's balls-out rock with strong vocal melody, so very acessible. The crowd has gotten noticeably smaller, though, which is probably because this isn't really heavy enough for Bloodstock. You can't please everybody, I guess- perhaps a good booking for Download, but not so much for this festival
Neon Halo (7) are another player in the New Blood showcase. They go for the grindcore jugular with gusto, which I am surprised about, given their name sounds like it may have been something more proggy.
Extreme metal pilgrims have been filtering in steadily, seeking shelter from the dulcet tones of Scared Mother tongue.
Song highlights include Penetration Trauma and Fucked Into Remission, love letters both to pioneers like Cannibal Corpse, Obituary and the like. Definitely worth a gander!
So, Fozzy (7), then. Not content with being a kick-ass wrestler, Chris Jericho has only spun himself a career as a kick-ass frontman as well! Again sporting that USA radio-friendly tunefulness that frightened off the death metal fans, Fozzy (like SMT) are arguably more suited to a Donnington crowd. But, it often depends on the mood of the day. t's sunny, the music is fun and sounds good. what's not to like, really? It is contrived, but it's not bad.
You can hear a power metal influence in there, too, and we likes us some power metulz, we does.
Plus- wrestling and music go together like peanut butter and chocolate. You might think it's a bad idea and shun it at first, but once you get a taste you realise it's so right! Drowning Pool, case in point, who were great without wrestling, but WWF endorsement made them a massive success
EVIL SCARECROW (11)!!! That's right! this review goes up to 11! There aren't words for how much I love Evil Scarecrow. they aren't just funny as balls, they are amazing musicians, and super nice guys. They have some kind of ability to bewitch and win over any crown- audience participation is almost certainly 100% at each show, as all are commanded to draw the robotic square box during classic Robotatron, and to scuttle and claw at the air during new hit Crabulon, and all comply. Not to mention that they distributed party popper to the crowd to be makeshift pyrotechnics during War- which was nothing short of hilarious.
The Sophie tent was absolutely HEAVING, as it was the last time they were billed. Bloodstock organisers need to take notice and not try to fit them in there again. they are mainstage material fo' sho'!
If you haven't seen ES before, you better do, or I'll find you and I'll hurt you.
Back on the thrash wagon, stalwarts Exodus (8) pulverise the crowd with unrelenting power and vitriol. People are so stoked when Rob pays tribute to UK soldiers, and they launch into War Is My Shepherd, which is greeted with a roar of appreciation. Bonded by Blood is dedicated to Jeff Hanneman, which also elicits approving cheers from the fans who mourn their loss at a seminal guitarist.
If you're going to have this much thrash at a festival, Exodus are a necessary ingredient.
I caught Betraeus (8) almost by accident while walking past the Jagermeister stage. I'm shocked that they aren;t part of the proper lineup, because they are excellent. No other word for it- they sound huge, tight and complex. they're proggy like Opeth, and you should look out for them.
Breed 77 (7), like earthtone 9, are a bit of a blast from my past. what are they? Not sure. they weren't nu metal then, and aren't now. they mix a range of cultures and styles into what they do. It's exotic and crushing at the same time. they're done a good job of mixing the sound for this set, giving the vocals a necessary boost- because they are what carries this band. They do the best cover of the Craberries' Zombie I've ever heard, as well.
So, the Sunday night headliner is Slayer (6). I want to tell you that they did their best, despite losing Jeff, and the reason I gave them a 6 is because they were so mournful it was hard for them to perform. The truth is, they were just a bit lacklustre, and didn't put the effort in that the other headlining acts did. They seemed distant and unwilling to interact with the crowd. They're Slayer. You know what they are supposed to sound like, and they are legends. If you love them bazillions, you probably would have enjoyed this performance regardless, but for me it wasn't enough for the slot they were given.
That concludes my summary of the Bloodstock experience. The uninitiated amongst you should seriously consider getting your sad ass over there for 2014, not least because the first big announcement had already been made- reuniting and playing their only known UK appearance in 2014 are.... EMPEROR!
I'm literally weeing with delight. Fucking fantastic!
Catch you later, scumbuckets!
Many thanks to Jess for taking the time to write up this fantastic review!!
Wednesday, 11 September 2013
Getting Schooled is the second feature length film directed and produced by Chuck Norfolk and Lucky Chucky Productions. The synopsis given sounds right up any horror fans street, and if Chuck's previous film, The Haunted Trailer, is anything to go by, we are in for one hell of a treat!
In 1983, a group of High School students (A brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal) in a day of detention must run for their lives when a teacher in a wheel chair turns out to be an ex black ops soldier having a murderous flashback.
Check out the Indiegogo page by clicking HERE to find out more info about the movie, the perks and just who is involved! Don't forget to share this where you can, as we need to get the word out so these amazingly talented filmmakers can make more movies!!!