Ok…on the reviewing side I’m definitely starting to feel the burnout now that I’m 20 films into the annual Hoop-Tober horror marathon. But the good news is the good is definitely outweighing the bad this week With films ranging from “meh but worth it” to “oh crap totally worth it” on the spectrum of watchability. Joe Dante more than cashed in on the success of Jaws by crafting in Piranha a wickedly fun chomp-fest that has its tongue planted firmly in cheek without sacrificing some tense, gore-filled moments. I satisfied my Barbara Crampton requirement by checking out the nostalgia-filled Beyond the Gates, which has its moments of fun recalling the heyday of VHS board games but it’s really the score by Wojciech Golczewski that satisfies. The Strangers isn’t normally the type of horror I go for, but I’m glad I tried it, because the simplicity of its approach and the craft on hand both in front of and behind the camera made for a chilling, thrilling experience to watch. Netflix has quietly been amassing a plethora of independent horror films to release under its banner, but Gareth Edwards’ follow-up to his Raid films is a masterclass of crazed religious fever. Apostle might be Dan Stevens best performance yet, sacrificing none of Edwards’ gore and action for a nasty take on The Wicker Man. And finally Jaws 2 shows that by turning the shark into essentially a slasher killer and giving us copious amounts of Roy Scheider and Keith Gordon is an okay replacement for a great movie.
Two weeks and 11 films to go, so let’s wade through the viscera tunnel that is this week’s review excerpts and get to it. Continue reading
In Dante’s Inferno, the second circle begins the proper punishment of Hell, a place where “no thing gleams.” It is reserved for those overcome with Lust, where carnal appetites hold sway over reason. In Nine Circles, it’s where we do shorter reviews of new (ish) albums that share a common theme.
It seems I can’t get away from it. I didn’t mean to do another round of technical death metal, but the last few weeks have just brought out some killer stuff and it’s been scratching that melodic itch I’ve had lately. Sometimes it works that way: you spend a few months completely immersed in black metal, then it’s scuzzed out stoner rock or some other genre niche for a couple of weeks until your lizard brain responds to something else. Maybe it’s nü-country, who knows? All I know is I’ve been learning to trust what my ears tell me and when it finds something good, to cling to it until the next thing comes along. But for right now it’s still the progressive hodge-podge that is technical death metal so for this edition of Second Circle let’s dive back into the syncopation with the latest offerings from Beyond Creation and The Odious Construct. Continue reading
Between all the new music that dropped this week and the fact I’m heading upstate for Columbus Day weekend to do some metal activities (picking apples) we’re keeping it brief for Week Three of the annual Hoop-Tober horror marathon. Julia Ducournau’s Raw is an excruciating film about impending womanhood that just happens to feature some of the most gut-wrenching scenes of gore I’ve seen so far in the marathon. Then it’s a slew of anniversary films, starting with the original 1958 The Blob, which holds up surprisingly well as a fun family flick with an early Steve McQueen performance. Kuroneko might stand as the best film I watch during this marathon, a particularly cutting ghost/revenge story that also doubles as insightful commentary and criticism. I wish I could say Martin holds up as well as I thought it would – my first revisit of George Romero’s “vampire” movie had its moments but overall isn’t something I’ll be revisiting much. The same sadly goes for Dracula Has Risen From The Grave, which is a great title with another killer Christopher Lee performance as the Count, but sadly doesn’t hold a candle to the earlier Hammer films.
And just like that I’m almost halfway through the marathon, with plenty of gore left to go, so you know the drill: time to shut up and get to those review excerpts and links are below. Continue reading
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Behemoth must really love 2014’s The Satanist. And with good reason – you couldn’t write a a better story if you made it up: coming off their best album to date, leader of prominent anti-Christian death metal band gets hit with leukemia, refuses to compromise his beliefs, bounces back and crafts a massive “comeback” album that tweaks the formula and invites just enough to turn another great album into their masterpiece. Is it any wonder they’d want to mine that vein again? Unfortunately, I Loved You At Your Darkest feels like imitation, hitting all the touch points the previous album did but without the sincerity to push the album past its limitations. Continue reading
There’s power metal, and then there’s metal with power. Taking a break from his various other projects Andrew D’Cagna created Ironflame as an epic heavy metal outlet that took the melody and power of the bands he loved from the 80s and turbo injected it into a modern speed force. Coming out a few weeks earlier than its physical incarnations, new album Tales of Splendor and Sorrow hit all the spots the debut did, crafting memorable hooks and soaring vocals in a tight, righteous package.